|South Hadley, Massachusetts, in the world war
|Anker Printing Co.
|Boston Public Library
|South Hadley Public Library
At the annual meeting of the Town of South Hadley, March 16, 1925, it was voted that a Memorial Volume concerning South Hadley in The World War be prepared by a committee of five to be appointed by the Moderator, and that the sum of 31,200 be appropriated for that purpose. The Moderator, Fred M. Smith, appointed Frank A. Brainerd, Maurice E. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Mary K. O’Brien, Mrs. Jean B. Kinney and Rev. JesseG. Nichols, members of the committee to prepare such a volume. The committee organized with the choice of Frank A. Brainerd, Chairman and Mrs. Jean B. Kinney, Secretary. Within a few weeks several pre¬ liminary meetings were held and general plans were outlined. The members of the committee recognized that the individual among all of South Hadley’s citizens who had in his possession most of the valuable material for the memorial volume, was Mr. Fred M. Smith, the Moderator, who was largely responsible for securing the action of the town. Mr. Smith was the efficient Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety during the period of the war, and during most of the time was also Chairman of the Local Board for Division No. 7.
A meeting was held at the home of Mr. Smith at which he placed all of the public records and much of his private notes and correspondence at the disposal of the Committee, and endorsed enthusiastically the plans which the Committee sub¬ mitted. There was every reason to expect that the work of preparation of the mem¬ orial volume would progress steadily and be completed within a reasonable time. Before that hope was realized, however, Mr. Smith, after a protracted illness, passed away. The citizens of South Hadley, representatives of The Commonwealth, of Amherst College, his Alma Mater, and his associates in fraternal organizations joined in loving tribute to a public servant who, throughout his life, had given generously of his time, strength and means to every interest for the welfare of his fellow citizens.
Upon the resignation of Hartley W. Morrill of Ludlow, as chairman of the Local Board, and upon the appointment of Mr. Smith to that office, the headquart¬ ers of the Board was transferred to the Town Hall, South Hadley. Mr. Smith, with characteristic devotion, threw himself, with all the power at his command, into the task of supervising the work of the Draft Board, and of sending into the service of the United States, men who were physically and mentally fit. He was careful to send them, not en masse, but, so far as he was able, he studied the individual case. He placed special stress upon the work of the Board of Instruction, affecting the social and moral welfare, the intelligence and high purpose of the soldier as citizen and patriot. He maintained that painstaking, personal interest in the in¬ dividual service man and in his family during the war, and for many months after the Armistice. No inquiry into the welfare of all parties concerned, no provision for their needs, escaped his attention. In the mass of correspondence on file, now in the possession of the committee, there are letters to men in the service and to their families, and letters received in reply, that are too intimate and personal to publish in full, but which reveal the fact that the writer was more than a public official, concerned with routine duties; that he was one who carried in his heart the welfare of the individual. This was true, not only of the citizens of South Hadley, but also of all the towns in the district. To a South Hadley boy, reported as seriously wounded in France, who gave his life, he wrote:
“Everybody here was very sorry to hear the news that came last night that you had been wounded * * * If the good wishes and hopes of the people of the town amount to anything, 1 can assure you that your recovery will be rapid and complete. I wish I might be able to send you something * * * if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call upon me, even if you have to cable at my expense. Keep up your courage and rest assured that the people of South Hadley are thinking of you and are with you in spirit, even though they cannot be so in person.”
To a South Hadley Pastor he wrote:
“Will you kindly give a message to your Christian Endeavor Society which S- has asked me to do. * * * I am glad they are writing to him, for I know what letters from his home town mean to a boy like him. I know of quite a few boys from this town who have no one to write to them, and they are more than appreciative to have some one in town write to them. 1 have tried to impress upon the people here their duty to write to such boys, and how much they would appre¬ ciate such attention. There are quite a few boys from this town, who are in the service who have no relatives to write to them, and some who have relatives who cannot write. All the boys say that if they had to choose between their pay and letters from home they would take the latter.”
These letters, and other similar messages, reveal the heart of the man who had three sons in the service. Under the leadership of Mr. Smith, Local Board, Division No. 7, was ranked as second in efficiency among all the Boards in the State; and second to none in personal devotion.
Naturally, the committee, bereft of its guiding spirit, could not proceed at once to the completion of its work. All the members felt, however, that the Mem¬ orial volume would have an added significance as a tribute to one who exalted public office by personal devotion.
Within a comparatively brief period a further loss to the town and to the Memorial Committee was sustained in the death of the Chairman, Mr. Frank A. Brainerd. Mr. Brainerd, who had served the Town of South Hadley in various capacities in public office, had been honored by the voters of the district with a re-election as Representative to the General Court. In the midst of many and exacting demands of private and official business, he found time to further the plans and to provide for the completion of the Memorial, in which he took such a deep personal interest. For a second time the citizens of South Hadley, associates in business and in the service of the town and The Commonwealth, were called upon to pay their tribute of respect to an honored citizen.
After repeated and unavoidable delays, such as have been described, the remaining members of the committee were authorized by the town at the annual meeting in March, 1931, to select other citizens to assist in completing the work. Four ex-service men consented to serve; who, by their personal experience in camps in this country and in service overseas, could add much to the accuracy and worth of the volume as a valuable record. The new members were: William H. Gaylord, George F. Dudley, Francis M. Fitzgerald, and Rev. John P. O’Day. The committee reorganized with the choice of Rev. Jesse G. Nichols, Chairman and Mrs. Mary K. O’Brien, Secretary.
The Memorial volume herewith presented to the citizens of South Hadley is the result of the fine spirit of co-operation and careful work of all members of the Committee. Each member has made an important contribution, and there is an underlying unity which marks the spirit in which they have labored. As the work has proceeded the members of the Committee have been impressed with the importance of the trust committed to them in the careful preparation of a faithful record of events, which should be a worthy Memorial to the citizens of South Hadley, who gave themselves so freely in civil life and in military service in a struggle which has affected vitally the future welfare of all the peoples of the world.
Table of Contents
- America Enters the Great War. 13
- America Organizes for War. 15
- South Hadley’s Expedition. 20
- Local Activities. 26
- The Glorious Dead. 43
- The Roll of Those In Service. 55
- Reference List of Places Where South Hadley Men Fought. 127
- Names of Citizens Connected with Local Board for Division No. 7. 133
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