Title: Army Private, World War I
Birthdate: August 26, 1887
Death Date: January 8, 1948
Plot Location: Section 202, Lot 40
The youngest of nine children, Bill was born when his parents were in their 40s. Bill’s father was a Civil War veteran and served for a time as a city firefighter. (Read his Notable story here.) Five boys were listed on the 1900 census living in their parents’ home south of the Queen Village section of Philadelphia.
His oldest brother Calvin had just married at age 30 and left the house later that year. Then another brother died two years later. Bill was in his 20s when his parents and another brother died, leaving one other brother, Tom (whose own Notable story is found here). When America entered the Great War, Bill registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 and was inducted the following February.
Since he was experienced in manual labor, joining the Corps of Engineers was a good fit for him. The 7th Engineer Regiment was overseas from July of 1918 through July of 1919. The work was less about engineering and more about building and repairing bridges, roads, buildings, and train tracks. Sometimes they worked under the cover of darkness and sometimes under enemy attack. These photos show members of the 7th working on a road and a railroad.
Bill was discharged from Camp Dix, New Jersey on August 2, 1919. He went to live with Calvin, his wife, and three children who lived near the riverfront. Calvin would walk to work as a stevedore (dock worker) for a steamship company, so that’s where Bill was hired to do the same job. Later he was employed by the Works Progress Administration when League Island Park (now FDR Park) was being built.
He remained single and lived with his niece, Calvin’s daughter, until his life ended at age 60. She buried him with his parents and brothers here in Section 202.
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