WWI Photo – 13th Marine Regiment MP Studio Photo Identified – Evald A. Johnson

Evald A. Johnson in France 1918

Evald A. Johnson in France 1918

Followers of this blog know that I love to identify WWI photographs using obscure bits of information to track down census and military records.  In this case, I purchased a series of three postcards on eBay with no solid identification in hand.  When the postcards arrived, I realized that I had a slight chance to identifying the Marine.  His hat is sporting a Marine Corps EGA insignia as well as some unit designation.  13 M identifies him as being in Company M of the 13th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Division.  Included with the photo was a postcard note sent to a loved one when he returned from overseas service.


The unknown Marine scribbled his first name and middle and last initials.  Evald A J.  He also sent the postcard to a Mrs. C F Poulson of Idaho Falls, Idaho.  A quick census search for a C Poulson of Idaho Falls brought up a record for a Mr. Christian Poulson and a Esther A. Poulson.  My gut instinct told me that he was likely sending the card to his sister to announce his arrival back home in the states, so I did a series of census searches to find some clues………




The 1910 US Census record for Esther and Christian Poulson show a mystery resident.  Ms. Ebba Johnson is listed as being a sister-in-law who happened to be living with the couple in 1910.  Bingo!  Now I have a last name to research for Esther.  I quickly found the 1900 census record for Esther and Ebba………..


Bingo!  Evald Johnson is listed as a brother to both Esther and Ebba.  The mystery is solved!  Now to confirm his service with the 13th Marine Regiment.

I easily tracked down his WWI draft card and matched up the signature with the postcard.  A perfect match.


WWI Draft Card  Evald A. Johnson

WWI Draft Card
Evald A. Johnson

From here I had a hunch to track down the Marine Corps muster role for Company M of the 13th Marine Regiment.  Another solid hit.

Marine Register

Marine Register

And to top it all off, I did a newspaper search for the Idaho area in 1919.  With some luck I found a brief article mentioning his return and his service with the Marines.


“They have come back bigger and better men than when they went away and have taken up their work with the Register and filling their places with credit. The three men are Evald A. John­son, who has been with the Register for some fifteen years, and who re­signed the position of foreman to en­ter the service, enlisting in the ma­rines, going to France, where he put in abmout one years of service.”

Vol 40, No 29 Idaho Register 1919

Vol 40, No 29 Idaho Register 1919


WWI Photo Collection – 31st Railway Engineers in France

I love collecting WWI albums and named photo groupings.  They are much harder to come by compared with the relatively plentiful single photo purchases.  In this case, I was able to come across a wonderful grouping of photos from the grandson of a WWI 31st Engineer veteran.  I promised to post the photos on the site to help raise interest in this obscure unit and help bring this man’s photos to the digital world.  Digital preservation allows thousands of viewers to enjoy images that would otherwise be relegated to the corner of a dusty upstairs closet.  I will do my best to describe what I can about the unit and share a few biographical vignettes.

Pvt. Herbert Conner posed in France

Pvt. Conner


“My grandfather was born in 1892 in Fordsville, Kentucky later the family moved to Amity Oregon and later to St Helens, Oregon. As a young man he was a prizefighter(that what they called them in those days). He was a logger for awhile later he went to work in Portland, Oregon for the railroad before the war  and after the war he continued with the railroad for over forty years as a fireman and an engineer. He never owned a car and the station was about two blocks from his house and Kelly’s Bar and the grocery store were across the street from work  so I guess he felt he didn’t need one. He passed away in 1968.

Grandpa was very proud to have served in World War 1. I do not believe he was in combat. The 31st engineers provided supplies and transported troops. The only story I can remember when he was on guard duty in France and a soldier had gone awol for the night, apparently celebrating and didn’t know the password or had forgotten it and Grandpa felt sorry for him and let him back in the camp. It has been such a long time ago there were probably other things that happened that I can’t remember right now. He must have spent some time at the French Riviera and Monte Carlo because there was a lot of postcards from that area and one postcard to his brother had him on the Italian Riviera for awhile.”

Some Guys from A Company

SS Manchuria in Port (Not the return ship for the 31st)

Hospital Train

German Prisoners

Check back for updates…………….

WWI Doughboy Medics Pose in France w/ Mascot Terrier

One of my favorite WWI photo tropes is the mascot dog pose.  This photo caught my eye due to the presence of the medics with visible red cross armbands but was further enhanced by a little Jack Russell Terrier mascot.  Taken in France in early 1918, this image is a wonderful representation of the lighthearted antics that kept front line medics sane during the horrors of WWI trench warfare.