WWI Vermonter – 103rd MG, 26th Division – Walter J. Fuller Dies of Disease 1917 – Westminster, VT Native


WalterFuller365

Walter J. Fuller Poses in Westminster

A recent Walter J. Fuller poses for the camera near his home in Westminster before shipping off for training in 1917.  The photo was originally part of a much larger scrapbook which was broken up and sold on eBay in 2012.  Luckily they included a bit of context to the sale listing, enabling me to track down the identity of this brave Vermonter.  A member of the 103rd MG Bn., Walter shipped out from Fort Ethan Allen down to Camp Bartlett in Massachusetts.  It was here that he contracted the bronchial pneumonia and passed away at 3:30 (yes, we know the exact time!) on October 27th, 1917.  His family was contacted via telephone about his worsening condition and were able to be present when he passed away.

Fuller

Johnson, Herbert T. Roster of Vermont Men and Women in the Military and Naval Service of the United States and Allies in the World War, 1917-1919. Montpelier, VT: Tuttle, 1927.

I was able to track down a few articles in the 1917 Vermont Phoenix

Fuller1

“Soldier Dies in Westfield.” Vermont Phoenix, November 2, 1917, 2. Accessed December 4, 2013. ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov.

fuller2

WWI 26th Yankee Division, 103rd Machine Gun Battalion Vermont Dog Tag Grouping


103rd MG Dog Tag

VT NG Dog Tag

WWI Soldier Registry Entry

Daughters of the American Revolution Application

Grave Site in St. Albans

Evarts

Followers of PoW will know that I love WWI Vermont material.  I actively seek interesting groupings of World War 1 items  to add to my collection; today I was able to add a wonderful little piece of 26th Division and Vermont history.  This set of dog tags once belonged to a Joseph Allen Evarts from St. Albans, VT.  Originally born in Swanton, Evarts attended Norwich in 1904 and eventually joined up with the 1st VT National Guard.  He was a direct descendent of the famous Allen family and can claim Ethan Allen as a great-great-uncle.  He went overseas in October of 1917 with the 101st Machine Gun Battalion as a 1st LT and was promoted to Captain in August of 1918.   He was assigned as Company Commander of Company D of the 103rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 26th Division.  Evarts was well loved by the citizens of St. Albans and was sorely missed after he passed away in 1920 from gas-related lung complications.

He was cited at least two times for bravery while overseas and likely saw a lot of combat.  I was able to track down an interesting article with some original material from Evarts:

PICTURE PROVES HIM A PRISONER

Lieut. Evarts Writes of Seeing Tenney’s Photo in Group of Men Missing

Arthur G. Tenney, of Fairfield st., received a letter Saturday from Lieut. Joseph A. Evarts, of this city, who is with the American Expeditionary Forces in France, saying that he had seen a German propagandist paper in which was a picture of those missing in action at a certain place on the American line and among them was Lieut. Walter M. Tenney, of this city. Lieutenant Tenney was reported missing in action April 20. He went from this city over a year ago as second lieutenant in the machine gun company of which Evarts was first lieutenant. The company was later divided and Lieutenant Tenny went with a division composed of Connecticut and Massachusetts men while Lieutenant Evarts remained with St. Albans men. In his letter Lieutenant Evarts says that he and his command were stationed just to the left of where Lieutenant Tenney was.

The portion of the letter received here by Mr. Tenney, which tells of the picture is as follows:

“In Trenches, “June 12, 1918.

“Mr. Arthur Tenney, St. Albans, Vt.

“Dear sir:–

“I have just received a St. Albans Messenger that tells about Walter being missing in action.

“I have something that may be of interest to you.

“Today a few German planes came over spreading propaganda in newspaper form printed in French. The boys brought me some of them, and to my surprise I found it was an illustrated paper, and had a group picture of those missing in action at the place where Walter was. I recognized quite a few, and Walter was very plainly among them, and all of we boys recognized him. I have all the details and the picture with me.

“I felt that you would want to know this right away, and I must say it was a strange coincidence.

“If Walter ever writes you, will you write me and let me know about him?

“Our boys were in a big fight just to the left of where Walter was.***

“Sincerely, “J. A. Evarts.”

St. Albans Daily Messenger, St. Albans, VT 4 Jul 1918

Another article of interest:

ALBANS GIVES
ROYAL WELCOME
Greeting for City’s Home-Corn-ing
Boys Is Wildly
Enthusiastic
St. Albans, April 30. Capt. Joseph B.
Evarts, First Llouts. Walter Tenney,
James McConncll, Francis Shannon, Ar
nold Spauldlng, and 13 members of the
original Machine Gun company from
St. Albans returnod this evening nt
0:40. Thoy were mot at tho station by
Co. E, V. V. M St. Albans Brigade band
and tho Boy Scouts and thousands of
their friends. Tho boys wero escorted
to tho armory by the band, Company K.
and tho Boy Scouts. Tho armory wns
lined with a Bolld mans of people, can
non boomed, bolls rang, whistles blow
and tho people shouted a welcome home
to their boys.
At tho armory tho boys were served
with hot coffoo doughnuts, lco-cronm
and cake.
At 4:30 a. m. Tuesday the military
call was sounded which was a signal
to notify St. Albanians that tho boys
were coming on train No. 1 at C:30
oclock. During Monday evening Wel
come Homo signs had been hung up
on Lake street and flags hung from tho
business places. Tho exterior of tho
armory was gayly decorated with flags
and bunting. With tho sounding of mil
itary call whistles and bells did all that
was possible to awake tho inhabitants
of St. Albans. The members of Com
pany 11, V. V. M., assembled at the
armory and marched down to tho train.
Only a few St. Albans boys appeared,
but they wore given a royal welcome,
by tho largo crowd that had assembled
at tho railroad station. Company E.
had prepared hot coffee, sandwiches
and doughnuts, but only two return
ing soldiers appeared at the armory.
so tho members of tho company enjoyed
an unexpected repast. Among tho boys
who returned Tuesday morning were,
Harris W. Alexander, Dewey Daniels,
John Daley, Herbert Laduo and Earl
Swlggott.