This Memorial Day weekend Veteran’s Agent Tim White and his wife Diane arranged for flags, flowers, and wreaths to be set up at each of the Veteran Memorial corner markers throughout the town of Hanson. Selectman Wes Blauss photographed each of the corners featured below. Special thanks to each of them for their efforts!
You are welcome to share additional memories, service details, or photographs of these soldiers and sailors in the comments below.
First Lieutenant David C. Hall Corner, South Hanson Train Depot, Main St. KIA 1967 Vietnam.
David Colin Hall (1942-1967) served in Vietnam. His memorial from FindAGrave reads: “On August 29, 1967, First Lieutenant David Colin Hall, a U. S. Army Helicopter Pilot, died in Vietnam from the injuries he received when the helicopter that he was piloting crashed after encountering severe weather conditions. David grew up in the Hanson-Whitman area of Massachusetts, where he attended Whitman High School, graduating with the class of 1960. While he was a student at Whitman, David was active in athletics, playing on his school’s football and track teams. After high school, David continued his education at Cornell University, where he was a member of the University’s track team. In 1964 David graduated from Cornell and received his undergraduate degree and a Commission as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army. Shortly after David joined the U. S. Army, he applied for and was accepted into the Army’s Officer’s Rotary Wing Aviator Course. David became a U. S. Army helicopter pilot when he completed that course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, graduating with Fight School Class of 66-20. After becoming a U. S. Army helicopter pilot, Lt. Hall was assigned to the 191st Assault Helicopter Company, which was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In May of 1967, David deployed to Vietnam with the 191st until his untimely death in August of 1967. The awards and decorations that David received for his military service include: U. S. Army Pilot Wings, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the National Defense service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. David was 25 years old at the time of his death, and he was survived by his wife Janet E. Hall and his daughter Michelle of Whitman, Massachusetts, his parents Ralph E. and Emily Hall of Hanson, Massachusetts, his brother Albert W. (Lorraine) Hall, and his nephew Shawn Hall of Charlton City, Massachusetts, and his sister Sally Hatch of Gilford, New Hampshire. David was preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth “Betty” Hall. David’s photograph and the information contained in his bio were collected and processed by his nephew Shawn Hall and the 191st AHC Association. Other crew who were lost in the same incident were: 1LT Sharel Edward Bales (1937-1967), Berthoud, Colorado; SP4 Peter Steven Martinez (1942-1967), Chicago, Illinois; SP4 Joseph Leon Whitaker (1947-1967), Ontario, Oregon; and, SGT Louis Charles Muser, II (1947-1967), Hoboken, New Jersey. Lt Hall is remembered on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at: Panel 25E, Line 62.”
A memorial ceremony for David Hall was held in Hanson in 2017.
Capt. Dr. Royce B. Josselyn Corner, Reed Street and Main. WWI.
Dr. Royce Brewster Josselyn (1888-1925) served in WWI in the Medical Corps, with active engagements at Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, and the battle of St Mihiel. He trained at Bowdoin Medical School in Maine and practiced as a doctor in South Hanson, Mass. and Portland, Maine. He is buried in Fern Hill Cemetery.
Howard Willis Corner, Pleasant and Main. WWI.
Eng. 2C Howard Franklin Willis (1895-1928) served as a sailor in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Fulton in WWI.
Bourne Square, Pleasant and South Street. Civil War.
Three Hanson Bourne soldiers were killed during the Civil War: Daniel Bourne (1839-1864), a member of the Union Army, Co. D 58 of the Massachusetts Infantry, was killed in action at the battle of the Wilderness, George H. Bourne (1840-1863), a private in Co. B, 40th MA Infantry who died at Folley Island, SC, and Joseph Thompson Bourne (1824-1862), a soldier in Co. E, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, who died at Sharpsburgh, Md.
Esson Baker Square, South and Monponsett Streets. Spanish American War and WWI.
Esson O. Baker (1865-1929) served in the Spanish American War and World War I.
James F. Harrington Corner, Hancock Field, Hancock St., Monponsett. KIA 1951 Korea.
Army Sgt. James Francis “Red” Harrington (1928-1951) graduated Whitman High in 1946. Sergeant Harrington was a member of the 937th Field Artillery Battalion. He was killed in action in North Korea on 8 April 1951. Whitman-Hanson Express, 1 October 2015: “Hanson honors native son killed in Korean War“.
Admirals Albert S. Barker and Albert C. Read Memorial, Main Street, in front of the First Baptist Church.
This marker memorializes Hanson’s two admirals:
Albert Smith Barker (1843-1916) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served in the American Civil War and the Spanish–American War. In the Spanish–American War he commanded the battleship USS Oregon and participated in the bombardment of Santiago on July 1, 1898. He was Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Fleet from 1903 to 1905.
Albert Cushing Read (1887-1967) was an aviator and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. He and his crew made the first transatlantic flight in the NC-4, a Curtiss NC flying boat in May 1919, eight years before Charles Lindbergh’s flight.
Chester Loring Besse Corner, High Street and Main. WWI.
Chester Loring Besse (1892-1929) served in WWI as a Quartermaster for the U.S. Coast Guard aboard the cutter Gresham.
Theodore Lyman Bonney Corner, Holmes and High Streets. Civil War.
Theodore Lyman Bonney (1836-1863) enlisted in the Civil War in 1861 and died of typhoid fever caught at the Battle of Chancellorsville on 11 May 1863 at the age of 26. He was buried at Potomac Creek Station. His body was later re-interred in Fern Hill Cemetery, and Hanson’s GAR Post was named in his honor. See HHS’s previous article “Theodore Lyman Bonney Civil War Photograph” for more details about his Civil War service and life.
Roland Ford Square, at the intersection of High Street, Routes 14 and 58. WWI.
Roland Ford (1898-1927). The marker is near where his father Watson B. Ford’s house was located on Liberty St. near McDonald’s.
Ramsdell Corner, at West Washington & Spring Street, named for Isaac and Nathaniel Ramsdell. Civil War.
Isaac Ramsdell (1822-1899) served as a private in Co. C, 38th MA Heavy Artillery from August 1862 to November 1863.
Nathaniel F. Ramsdell (1830-1893) served with four regiments during the Civil War. According to historian Donald Thompson, Nathaniel “first enlisted on April 16, 1861 and was mustered into the 4th Massachusetts Infantry, Co. E on April 22, 1861. He was mustered out of this regiment on July 23, 1861. He then enlisted on Feb. 7, 1862 and was mustered into the 31st Massachusetts. Infantry, Co. K on Feb. 14, 1862. He was discharged due to disability on June 17, 1862. As a 34 year-old shoemaker from Boston, MA, he was one of the last men to enlist and be mustered into the 18th Massachusetts Infantry, when he enlisted on March 21, 1864 and was mustered into the regiment on March 24, 1864. He had been recruited for three years military service in Boston by N.I Nash and was granted a $350.00 enlistment bonus. He was transferred, with the remnants of the regiment, to the 32nd Mass. Infantry on October 21, 1864 and assigned to Company L and mustered out of military service with the 32nd Mass. Infantry on June 30, 1865.”
Captain Gary T. Porter, USMC, Killed in Action, 1967, in Vietnam. Liberty and East Washington Street.
Gary T. Porter (1941-1967) was a UMASS graduate who was commissioned as a Second Lt. in the US Marine Corps and went through aviation training. He performed Marine Corps helicopter operations in Vietnam. He crashed off the coast of Vietnam on 20 June 1967. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial reported: “On June 20, 1967, a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46A (tail number 150936), YT-15, from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 (HMM 164), was part of an eight-ship troop lift when it suffered an apparent power loss and went into the sea as it lifted off the USS Tripoli (LPH-10). Two crewmen were rescued and two were lost at sea. The lost crewmen were pilot CPT Gary T. Porter and crew chief LCPL Leslie E. Engelhart.” Gary’s family operated Porter’s Apple Farm on East Washington Street in Hanson.
William Callahan Corner, County Road and Independence Avenue.
Hanson’s most recent hero to be honored, Marine Staff Sgt. Bill Callahan, USMC, died at age 28, during combat in Iraq’s Al Anbar province on April 27, 2007.
John J. Ferry Square at Liberty and Winter Street. WWII.
John J. Ferry (1923-2015) was the proprietor of Ferry’s Sunoco and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross in WWII. According to John’s obituary, he served as a: “B-25 flight engineer-gunner in the China-Burma-India theater of the war, flying 75 missions during that time and achieving the rank of staff sergeant. He served with the 83rd Bomb Squadron, 12th Bomb Group of the 10th Air Force. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, seven Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal.”
Ebenezer Henry Gurney Square, located on the island by Jay’s Carpets at the intersection of 27 and 58. Civil War.
Ebenezer Henry Gurney (1841-1902), son of Ebenezer Bourn Keene Gurney and Almira Jane Josselyn. He was a private in the 3rd Massachusetts Infantry, Company A, enlisted on 14 Apr 1861 and fought for three years. During his initial training at Fort Monroe, Virginia Henry wrote a letter to his brother Lt. Thomas Gurney:
Fort Monroe Saturday 11th, May, ’61
My dear Brother,
I received your letter of the 28th of April, last Thursday, so you see that it was a long time on the way. I would like to have you here this day just to see our style of living and how we work too, but I shouldn’t want you or anyone else to come here and live as we do, unless it was for the preservation of our country’s flag, as it is with us. I always thought I was not so hard and tough as the other boys from home, but I find, to my astonishment, that I go far beyond the endurance of the other boys. All of the other boys except Wallace (e.g. Wallace Hood, Pleasant Street) have been hauled up with something or other and I have been tough as a bear. Edwin Thayer has been in the hospital three or four days from a swelling in the neck. Willard is sick from boils. Otis (e.g. Otis Bonney, Washington Street) is not very well this day and the others have been complaining about something almost every day. All from our mode of living, which is pork and bread to eat, almost every day. I never felt better in my life than I have since I have been here, notwithstanding I never worked so hard before. I get up at quarter before five in the morning and shake my blanket; then I have to go out on company drill until breakfast, when we have pork and bread; never anything else. After breakfast we have our own time until eight o’clock when we have regimental drill for three hours. Afternoon we have our own time until four and then drill for two hours. We have to keep awake until 9 o’clock for roll call and do not get to sleep until 10 or after on account of the boys making so much noise. There are 150 of us in one room.
This is our parade duty. On guard and fatigue days we get up as usual and shake our beds but do not have to go out on line until 8.00 a.m. Our fatigue duty is the easiest and our guard duty the hardest. They are bound to put us through every day. As I have very often explained , our victuals are just right to create humors. I don’t eat anything except the bread, beans once in a week, meat once in ten days, rice once a week and what I buy from the officer’s wives or from the cooks. Nothing but pork and bread for breakfast and bread and coffee for supper. This is to serve one’s country.
Our place here is well fortified beside the fort. Yesterday the Pawnee, Cumberland, Harriet Lane and Monticello were all here as blockade; Pawnee, 10 guns, Cumberland, 3p., Harriet L, 6 or 8, and Monticello, 1 large 10-inch gun besides two small ones on deck (Howitzers). Today the Pawnee went out and the Quaker City came in. The Harbor is full of sail stopped by the blockade. We don’t know whether the rebels will be bold enough to attack us or not, but every place is being strengthened and guns put in order. Today they are covering the magazine with bags of sand to prevent all possible explosions. Last night was a busy night over in Hampton for the secessionists. Drums were going all night and this morning the scouts reported a sand battery in process of erection. If they get too fast, they may be used up before they expect. That big gun weighs 19.099-11 marked on it. Will throw a shot or shell from 4 to 7 miles and costs $100.00 everytime it is fired. It is a 15-inch Columbiad and is called the Floyd gun. It is four feet and over through the “britch”. I have stood on it and it was about 15 feet from the ground. I wish you to write as often as you can and tell me all the news. My love to all.
Your brother Henry
Henry was a musician and during his second enlistment he was Chief Bugler in the First Rhode Island Cavalry. Don Blauss reports that “one of the stories remembered by his family was that Henry rode with General Sherman on that “scorching raid through Georgia.” On another one of his letters he reported entering a beautiful Georgia mansion where the soldiers were destroying everything in sight. There was a fine piano there and Henry refused to let them touch it; instead, he sat down and played until they left the room. In a flyleaf of a book he found the name “Semple”. When his first daughter was born, he named her Amy Semple Gurney.”
PFC Belmiro J. Tavares, USMC, Killed in Action in Vietnam, 1966, located on the island at School and Maquan Streets, across from the library.
Private First Class Belmiro Tavares Jr. (1947-1966), served with Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Third Marine Amphibious Force. He was killed in the line of duty on October 2, 1966 in Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam.
PFC Joseph Wirth, US Army, Killed in Action in 1970, Vietnam. His memorial is at the intersection of Brook and State Streets.
PFC Joseph William Wirth (1949-1970) was killed in the line of duty on March 2, 1970 in Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam.
PFC Robert S. Hammond Memorial Bridge on State Street. KIA 1945 WWII.
Robert Searles Hammond (1917-1945) enlisted 6 April 1944 at Fort Devens for service in WWII. He died in battle of artillery shell wounds in Belgium on March 4, 1945.
Luther Square is at the intersection of East Washington and Winter Street. Brothers Austin E. Luther KIA 1864, Edward Luther, Herbert Luther. Civil War.
Luther Square is named in honor of three Luther brothers who served in the Civil War, all sons of Job Luther and Ludy Josselyn: Austin E. Luther (1836-1864), Edward Luther (1839-1875), and Herbert M. Luther (1841-1883). Austin was a private in Co. E, 3 MA Cavalry, and was wounded in battle in Louisiana and required leg amputation, then died in a field hospital of infection. He is buried in Chalmette National Cemetery, Chalmette, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Herbert enlisted as a private in Co. G, 18th MA Regiment and served from Aug 24, 1861 to Jan 31, 1863, and mustered out at Boston at rank of Sgt. Edward and Herbert are buried in Fern Hill Cemetery.
If you would like to visit and pay respects at any of these memorials, here is a map of the sites:
- First Lieutenant David C. Hall Corner, South Hanson Train Depot
- Royce B. Josselyn Corner, Reed St & MA-27
- Howard Willis Corner, Pleasant and Main
- Bourne Square, Pleasant and South Street
- Esson Baker Square, South and Monponsett Streets
- James F. Harrington Corner, Hancock St. Field
- Admirals Albert S. Barker and Albert C. Read Memorial, 214 Main Street
- Chester Loring Besse Corner, High Street and Main
- Theodore Lyman Bonney Corner, Holmes and High Streets
- Roland Ford Square, at the intersection of High Street, Routes 14 and 58
- Ramsdell Corner, at West Washington & Spring Street
- Gary Porter memorial, East Washington Street & Liberty Street
- William Callahan Corner, County Road and Independence Avenue
- John J. Ferry Square at Liberty and Winter Street
- Ebenezer Henry Gurney Square, located on the island by Jay’s Carpets at the intersection of 27 and 58
- Belmiro J. Tavares Memorial, School Street & Maquan Street
- Joseph Wirth Memorial, Brook Street & State Street
- Robert S. Hammond Memorial Bridge on State Street
- Luther Square, East Washington and Winter Street