History · December 14, 2018

Remembering All Who Served, 100 Years Ago

November 11, 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air between the Allies and Germany in World War I. Six members of this church died during their service in World War I, four of them from hostile action.

On this special Veterans Day, we remember:

  • Sgt. Cecil S. Adams, d. March 2, 1918
  • LCpl. Rice Bassett, d. Oct. 9, 1918
  • Cpl. Henry Norman Grieb, d. Aug. 26, 1917
  • ENS Ammi W. Lancashire, d. Sept. 27, 1918
  • 1stLt. Wilbert Wallace White, d. Oct. 10, 1918
  • 1stLt. Earl Trumbull Williams, d. May 7, 1918

At the Front
According to the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Archives, 233 members of the church were active in the war effort. These included 195 men and women who served in the military, and 38 civilians who served in special war work (including the American Red Cross, International War Council, YMCA and other organizations).

Here are just four examples of the notable people from this church who served in notorious ways.

Capt. John Foster Dulles tried to join the United States Army but was rejected because of poor eyesight. Instead, he received a commission to serve on the War Industries Board. Dulles later served as the U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Eleanor Butler Alexander Roosevelt, the wife of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (and daughter-in-law of the 26th President), was involved in YMCA canteen work in France. The Roosevelts had married at Fifth Avenue in 1910 in a ceremony attended by the former President and 500 of his Rough Riders.

Maj. George G. McMurtry was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism while serving with 308th Infantry, 77th Division, in action at Charlevaux, Argonne Forest. His citation read in part: “Captain McMurtry commanded a battalion which was cut off and surrounded by the enemy and although wounded in the knee by shrapnel on 4 October and suffering great pain, he continued throughout the entire period to encourage his officers and men with a resistless optimism that contributed largely toward preventing panic and disorder among the troops, who were without food, cut off from communication with our lines.” McMurtry and his troops successfully defended their position.

John Sutherland Bonnell had no association with Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church when he entered the Canadian army to serve in the war. Wounded twice in Europe, he was eventually sent home after suffering gas poisoning. Two decades later he became the senior pastor here and served for 26 years.

On the Homefront
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church hosted and supported a range of efforts to serve the war effort. Following are some excerpts from the Sunday bulletins of the period.

An auxiliary of the Red Cross has been organized at John Hall Memorial [a mission church on 63rd Street]. The members are now working on sweaters, slings, bandages and pillows.—April 29, 1917

We desire to bring before the women of the congregation the most urgent need of surgical dressings for the Red Cross Commission in France. We already have a large company of women who are working at the church in Red Cross Service. We want all our women friends to feel the extreme necessity of the call.—Nov. 18, 1917

Next Sunday morning we shall take an offering for the relief of the distressed Armenians. The 120,000 or so dependent persons in Aleppo and vicinity have no other resource for bread, and once the relief stops these people will disappear from the face of the earth.—Nov. 25, 1917

A request has been received for eyeglasses and spectacles to be sent to France. Will any friends having usused glasses kindly send them to Dr. Palmer at 7 West Fifty-fifth Street?—Dec. 2, 1917

To win the war we must practice food substitution and saving as a part of our religious and patriotic duty. We are not asked to sacrifice, only to substitute; in no way to stint ourselves as the peoples of France, Italy, and England have been obliged to stint themselves… If self-denial becomes necessary, we shall be ready to respond.—Feb. 10, 1918

The Honor Roll Service Committee of our Women’s Missionary Society will be glad to meet any men and women in the service of the United States and her Allies in the Chapel directly after the benediction. The Young People’s Association will entertain soldiers and sailors in the Chapel this evening at 6:30.—Feb. 17, 1918

Next Thursday a meeting will be held in this church, over which Dr. Jowett will preside, to consider the Moral Aims of the War and the desirability of a League of Nations.—March 31, 1918

The John Hall Memorial Red Cross Auxiliary No. 45 will hold a patriotic pageant and exhibit in the Church House Friday evening, April 26th. Silver offerings at the door.—April 21, 1918

Remembering the Veterans
Following is a list of the 195 members of this church who served in the military during World War I. Special thanks to our archivist, Dale Hansen, to Archives volunteer Judy Moseley for providing all of these important records from our history.

Gunner Hubert Harris
Private George Ottaway
Captain Cornelius Winant
Sergeant Cecil S. Adams
Private Arthur J. Brook
Ernest Cowans
George Cumming Cowans
Cadet F. Knight
First Lieutenant Leon Abbett, Jr.
Second Lieutenant Howard Archibald Acheson
Lieutenant John Huyler Acheson
Sergeant Theodore Ahlf
Second Lieutenant Gresham Andrews
Captain James C. Auchincloss
Captain Samuel Sloan Auchincloss
J.M. Auld
Mary Florence Baines
Roslyn Baker
Lieutenant Lee Wheeler Baldwin
Private William J. Barnes
Second Lieutenant Paul Baumgarten
W.R. Bell
Private John I. Blair
Second Lieutenant Robert Lucas Blanchard
First Lieutenant Lawrence Kip Bonner
Candidate James Russell Bourne
Private Francis Brewer
Captain Frank Brookfield
Captain Arthur F. Brown
Major Arthur Jerome Brown
Captain James F. Brown
First Lieutenant R. Rhea Brown
Lieutenant Amory L. Bryan
Private George R. Bryan
Private Joseph Cabus Jr.
Captain Guy A. Caldwell
Almina Campbell
May Eleanor Campbell
Private Vincent Castka
Candidate James E. Cattell
Private Alexander M. Christie
Private Frank Chuber
Private William Chuber
Corporal Charles F. Chuber, Jr.
Private Frank Citek
Private Clarence C. Clark
First Lieutenant Charles A. Cone
Major Charles Calhoun Cragin
First Lieutenant Robert E. Cumming
Sergeant Alfred R. Dalby
Robert W. Davis
Private William W. de Treville
Agnes C. Duff
Captain John Foster Dulles
Second Lieutenant Walter Grey Dunnington
Private Frank Elias
Private William Elias
Lieutenant Matthew G. Ely
Cadet Matthew C. Fleming, Jr.
First Lieutenant Francis Bonner Forbes
Winifred M. Forsythe
Major James B.A. Fosburgh
Candidate Stuart M. Frame
First Lieutenant Seth B.French
Candidate John H. French, Jr.
Private Otto Fritz
First Lieutenant T. Maury Galbreath
Captain Lorenzo Todd Getty
Sergeant William Kenneth Gilderson
Second Lieutenant Leon M. Giroux
Sergeant Frederick Harold Grieb
Corporal Henry Norman Grieb
Lieutenant William Clark Grieb
Captain Alexander Mitchell Hall
Major R.H. Halsey
First Sergeant James W. Harle
Corporal Thomas A. Hegarty
Private Julius Horvath
Private Joseph Hosek
Cadet Charles McMillan Houser
First Lieutenant Ewing Sloan Humphreys
Captain James Imbrie
Sara Burns Ingalls
Lieutenant John H. Inman
First Lieutenant Maynard C. Ivison
Private Emil Jahoda
Major Percy H. Jennings
Lieutenant Henry Webb Johnstone
Captain Carlyle Marlette Keyes
Candidate Clarence Kimball
Private Herbert Kollander
Private Otto Kollander
Private George Leach
Major Henry H.M. Lyle
Second Lieutenant William Lewis Lyon
Private Alexander Mackey
First Lieutenant Frank H. Mann
Private Henry Maybach
First Lieutenant Paul Ely McChesney
First Lieutenant George Anson McCook
Major Ewen Cameron McIntyre
Lieutenant Colonel Robert McLean
First Lieutenant Welborn Goulding McMurray
Major Alden Lothrop McMurtry
Major Edward Painter McMurtry
First Lieutenant George G. McMurtry
First Lieutenant George Plummer McNear
Sergeant Arnold L. Meyer
First Lieutenant Haydock H. Miller
First Lieutenant Dudley H. Mills
Private First Class Robert J. MacPherson Mills
Candidate John T. Mills, Jr.
First Lieutenant Charles Miner
Lieutenant Colonel John J. Moorhead
Candidate John B. Morgan
Second Lieutenant M.G. Morgan
Captain Dudley Joy Morton
First Lieutenant Marcus Mills Munsill
Sergeant F. William Oetjen
Second Lieutenant T. Wallace Orr
John T. Owen
Corporal Henry W. Palen
Major Frederic Warren Pearl
Richard N. Pierson
First Lieutenant Walter Devereux Pinkus
First Lieutenant Livingston Platt
Candidate Chester DeWitt Pugsley
Mada Ratterree
Private Horace S. Roberts
Chaplain Robert McWatty Russell
First Lieutenant George D. Saville
Private Carl H. Schaeffer
Private Albert Schick
Private George Schick
First Sergeant James H. Schmelzel, Jr.
Major Arthur Jarvis Slade
Colonel George P. Slade
Sergeant George Sloane
Anna Smith
Private Harold Coe Stuart
Cadet Preston L. Sutphen
Elizabeth M. Thomson
Georgina Thomson
John Van Norden
Captain Albert Vander Veer
Private John Vek
Private Edward Warmington
First Lieutenant Wilbert Wallace White
Mess Sergeant William White
Ida Whitlan
Major Arnold Whitridge
First Lieutenant Earl Trumbull Williams
Mrs. Peter Williams
Captain Clinton D. Winant
Captain John Gilbert Winant
Captain Frederick Winant, Jr.
Cadet Ralph Wells Wolf
First Lieutenant Walter Reid Wolf
Private Peter Woodbury
Major William R. Wright
Candidate Austin McRae Wynne
Private Richard Zimmerman
Lieutenant Winthrop W. Aldrich
Ensign Anthony Anable
Cadet Richard A. Anthony, Jr.
Ensign Reginald Auchincloss
Horace R. Baker
Lance Corporal Rice Bassett
Seaman 2nd Class Clifton K. Baumann
Lieutenant (JG) Elliott C. Burrows
Ensign Edward B. Condon
Seaman 2nd Class George Taylor Connolly
Clarence F. Eddy
Seaman 2nd Class Gilbert Forbes
Carpenter’s Mate 2nd Class Benjamin Curtis Grieb
Yeoman 2nd Class Charles Hall, Jr.
Frederick Whiley Hilles
Ensign Philip Hofer
Ensign Ammi W. Lancashire
Seaman Barnard Lugsinek
Charles A. Morton
Lieutenant Commander Truman H. Newbery
First Lieutenant Charles F. Pabst
Edward Parkinson
First Lieutenant Harry L. Parr
Ensign E. Stuart Peck
Cadet Cornwell Burnham Rogers
Machinists Mate 1st Class H.J. Slater
Cadet Henry Wallingford Todd
Ensign Franklin Warren Wolf
Frank Harris
Private William Paul
Gunnery Sergeant John Lester Prater
Lance Corporal Roy L. Thomson
Mrs. Winthrop Aldrich
Mary Crocker Alexander
Mrs. Charles B. Alexander
Mrs. William H. Andrews
Gordon Auchincloss
T. William Bennett
Mrs. James Russell Bourne
Oolooah Burner
Baylis M. Dawson
Annie Margaret Douglas
John I. Downey
Clara L. Faber
Reverend John C. Faries
Mrs. G.E. Fountain
Florence R. Frame
Hilah C. French
F.H. Gallagher
James Anderson Hawes
Gertrude Hill
James W. Lovegrove, Jr.
Edward M. McConoughey
Martha McCook
Elizabeth McMillan
Mrs. John J. Moorhead
Amy Lea Pearl
Grace Rogers
Eleanor Butler Alexander Roosevelt
Clarence Schmelzel
James H. Schmelzel
Reverend A.E. Shepard
F.G. Smith
Marjorie Smith
Elizabeth H. Taylor
Wilhelmina H. Taylor
Lisa Gilman Todd
Mrs. Arnold Whitridge
Frances Williams
Gordon Woodbury