Military Monday- Lester Harlow Hicks, the son of Bertha Ann Shackford, was Hillsboro NH’s First WWI Death (Blog 420)

Today’s blog honors Lester Harlow Hicks (1899-1917), the 18 year old son of Bertha Ann Shackford and Joseph Waldo Hicks who contracted pneumonia aboard the battleship Maine and died a few weeks later on June 23, 1917 at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in New York.

Obituary Lester Harlow Shackford We Begin to Realize, Hillsborough Messenger (Hillsboro, N. H.), 28 June 1917 Part 1
Hillsborough Messenger, 28 Jun 1917

We Begin to Realize

A feeling of gloom was cast over the
town this week when the body of Hills-
boro’s first contribution to the terrible
conflict we are now engaged in, came
home, Lester Harlow Hicks, son of
Joseph W. and Bertha A. Hicks.
Young Hicks was born in Westford,
Vt., March 28, 1899, and came to town
six years ago with his parents.
He enlisted April 7, in the Navy and
was sent to Newport, R. I. and from
there put on the battleship Maine
where he contracted pneumonia, and
was sent to the Brooklyn naval hospt-
al and Bright’s disease developed. He
was sick ten of the twelve weeks he
was away and died Saturday.
The body arrived here by express
Monday night in a heavy mahogany
metallic casket provided by the Naval
department, and was taken to the
home of his parents on Water street.
The funeral was held Tuesday at 2:30
from the Methodist church, both Rev.
Mr. Buckler and Rev Mr. Beal officiat-
ing. Members of the local guards
acted as escort with the boys who
have enlisted, but as yet have not been
called into service.
The bearers were Dennis Bowie of
Hillsboro, Co. H, National Guards,
Arthur Gruenler of Hillsboro, Co. M.
Harry Sanborn and Fred Merrill of
Newport, both of Co. M. George
Boynton sang two selections, “No
Night in Heaven” and Lead Kindly
Light,” The G. A. R., W. R. C. S.,
of V, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and
a delegation from the Deborah club
attended the service and the church
was crowded with sympathizing
There was a profusion of beautiful
flowers from relatives and friends.
The services were impressive and
brought tears to many eyes.
In the casket with the body was a
handsom silk flag sent by Harold Ab-
bott, now of the the battleship, Illi-
nois Abbott and Hicks left town
the same day for enlistment and ex-
pected to be assigned to the same ship,
but were separated when their assign-
ments were given out.
Young Hicks, though not a rugged
looking boy, got by and was accepted
where many of his acquaintances failed
to pass. He offered himself willingly
and entered the service full of enthus-
iasm and expected to be in the service
with young Abbott
While the grim horrors of a naval
battle are not associated with the end-
ing of this young manhood, neverthe-
less he has given his life to the service
and has done all that any man can do.
The sincere sympathy of the entire
community goes out to the father,
mother, sisters, and grandmother in
this hour of their sad affliction. The
body was taken to Canaan Wednesday
for burial.

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1900 United States Federal Census, Grafton County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Canaan Town, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 53, Sheet No 14 (A79), Elma Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 February 2014).

1910 United States Federal Census, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Plainfield, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 319, Sheet No 10A, Rollo Shackford; digital images, ( : accessed 6 March 2014).

New Hampshire “New Hampshire Deaths and Burials, 1784-1949,,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 March 2017), Lester H Hicks

“We Begin to Realize,” Hillsborough Messenger (Hillsboro, N. H.), 28 June 1917; digital images, ( : accessed 19 March 2017).

Copyright 2017 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy any part of this material and paste it elsewhere)