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A History of Hartford
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Military Home Page

Revolutionary War 1773-1783   ·   Civil War 1861-1865   ·   Spanish-Amer War 1898-1902       
WW1 1914-1919     ·      WW11 1939-1945     ·      Korean War 1950-1953  
   Vietnam Era 1964-1974   ·   Desert Storm 1990-1991   ·   Iraq 2001-2011 Afghanistan 2001-    ·   Other


War Memorials

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Use the Search Our Site icon to find specific words or topics on the entire website.

1914            «   World War 1   »         1919

April 2, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson delivers war address to Congress at 8:32 pm and asks the House of Representatives to declare war on Germany.
June 28, 1919 – Treaty of Versailles signed in Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, officially ending the Great War.

Killed in Action     Wounded in action      POW/MIA    
Died during active duty     
+ Contracted disease-illness-disability during service

Austin, Harold Merton

US Army


In service

Resided in Hartford Twp. 1896-1915.
The Austin Hartford Township
home was located on the
Berrien-Van Buren County Line.

Class of 1915
Watervliet High School

Stationed at
Camp Custer, MI

Son of
Amos & Martha Rendell Austin

Married to
Letha May Kelley

Harold served as Grand Marshal for some
Watervliet Veterans Day Parades, and at Grand Haven, when he was in his 90s!  He was justifiably proud of those honors.

b 9-17-1896         d 5-14-1994
Watervliet MI     Grand Haven MI
Age 97y, 7m, 26d
Buried at
Riverside Cemetery
Section OO, Lot 109, Grave 01
Kalamazoo MI

9/28/2009 – Photo and information
submitted by nephew, Rendell J. Austin.

Harold was stationed at Fort Custer during the 1918 flu epidemic.  In 1977, he wrote a brief letter that was published in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

 Memories of 1918 Flu

"To the Editor:  I was very interested in the article in The Gazette last Sunday about the flu epidemic in 1918. It brought back old memories. I was an orderly in the old base hospital at Camp Custer at the time, and we were sure busy working four hours on and four hours off around the clock. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get the flu, but one of my buddies did. He weighed around 200 pounds and went down to 98. But he pulled through. We would make our rounds, and if we saw a bare foot sticking out with a tag fastened to a toe, we knew we had another one to take away. There were 636 who died in just three weeks, and as they couldn’t get coffins fast enough, we just stacked them up in an old unused guard house for a time. I have always thought that a lot of those deaths were unnecessary. Let’s all get out and have our flu shots now. I am 80 years old, and have received mine." 


Beckwith, Glen W.

US Army
Private First Class

Courier, Dispatch Rider
Colonel’s Chauffeur

b 12-30-1893 in Bangor MI      
d 4-5-1978 in Grand Rapids MI
Age 84y, 3m, 5d
Buried in Arlington Cemetery
Bangor MI

In service 1916-1919

Served at
Camp Custer, Battle Creek MI,
later renamed Fort Custer.

From Bangor MI
Attended Bangor High school,
from the class of 1901 or 1902

Resided in Hartford 1932-1942

My Dad was born and raised on a farm in Bangor, where he learned to drive a truck and a car.  Many men didn’t know how to drive when WWI began, so Dad was assigned to drive many different vehicles, trucks, cars, motorcycles, etc.  He was a courier, a dispatch rider, and a Colonel’s chauffeur.  He spent the entire War years at Camp Custer later renamed Ft. Custer.

Dad and Mother lived in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in the 1920’s.  Mother was school teacher.  Dad was in the gas station business with oil delivery truck, etc.  Great Depression hit in 1929 and Dad lost business, home, auto, etc.  The family moved back to Hartford Michigan in 1932.  No jobs available, so Dad picked cherries the first year then worked on the WPA* for a year.  Went to work as a clerk at Olds Grocery, then hired by IGA Gleaner Store and became manager of that Grocery Store.  Continued in that work till WWII began then he went into War production work at Kalamazoo and St Joe. 

Glen is the father of Bick Beckwith, who served in the US Air Force during WW11.  Bick submitted the photo and information on 5-15-2003.

*The WPA was President Roosevelt’s "Works Progress Administration". The program was created during the Depression as a means to put men back to work.  The WPA built bridges, post office buildings, military bases and of particular interest, they built the sewer system for the town of Hartford and the Pine Creek bridge (built in 1935 or 36) out west of town on old US-12, now Red Arrow Hwy.

Burkitt, Orville G.

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 1911

Carpenter, Everard Lorne

b 6-18-1890            d 4-30-1963
     Hartford MI       Winnipeg MB CAN
Age 72y, 10m, 15d
Buried at
Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens
Winnipeg MB CAN
In service
1917-1919 (2 years)

Married to
Glenna Carpenter

NHL Hockey Player
43 years with Canadian National Railways

Resided in
Winnipeg MB CAN from 1944-1963

Click here for more information


Curry, Howard Arthur
US Navy

In service 19__ to 19__
+Entered during WW1, given disability discharge.  Was later drafted and saw military service again before the armistice.

From Allendale, MI
Owned Curry Grocery Store in Hartford
from 1926-1946



Erwin, John Clarey

US Army
Photo dated 1917

From Hartford
HHS Class of 19__

From the album of Roy Davis
  Foster, Dean Dwight

b 3/7/1892        d 1/20/1980
Age 87y, 10m, 14d

From Hartford
HSS Class of 1910

Submitted by Virginia Meachum,
grandniece, on 11/30/2004

Garrison, Jessie

Helweg, Otto 

US Navy

HHS Class of 1919


US Navy –

In service 19__-1946

Served in WW1 and WW11

HHS Class of 19__


Horton, DeLeon
b 1894

From Tennessee

Kelly, Roy C.

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 19__

Kellogg, Fred D.

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 19
Knapp, LeRoy "Roy"  

US Army – Private
Company C, 7th Infantry
b 4-30-1896      d 1-14-1966
Lawrence MI       Hartford MI
Buried in Hill Cemetery
Lawrence MI

Stationed in Europe and was in Belgium

For approximately 20 years during the 1940s-60s, Roy was proprietor of the
Green Lantern Restaurant, in the building located on the NE corner of Main and Maple Streets in Hartford.

Ray was an older brother to Ray(mond) "Ted" Knapp, who was a photographer in and served as a Hartford councilman and mayor for several years. 

Photo and information submitted by Donna Knapp Broadhurst HHS 1956, niece of LeRoy Knapp and dauther of Ted Knapp.

Lightner, Daniel Dudley

US Army – Pvt
Photo dated 1917
b 2-18-1888    d 12-6-1966
Age 78y, 9m, 19d
Buried in
Maple Hill Cemetery
Sec 8 – Lot 5
Hartford MI

In service 19__ to 19__

Both photos of Daniel Lightner are shown to give a clear picture of the Army uniforms worn during WW1

Father-in-Law, Marion Hoover, served during the Civil War,
Grandson, Daniel Keith Lightner served in the Army during Vietnam and
Great Grandson, Matthew Lightner, served in the Marines during Iraq.


Lightner, Seward (Pep)

US Army
b 5/17/1899       d 7/21/1996
 Alleghany NC
Age 97y 2m 6d

Seward Lightner at Camp Tinemon (?), California in 1918

Letter of Sept 15, 1917

HHS Class of 1917
from Hartford MI

Meachum Jr., Henry James

US Army – Calvary 
Horse Trainer

b 18 Dec 1893      
d 30 Mar 1935
 Hartford MI            Hartford MI

Age 41y, 3m, 11d

In service 19__ to 19__
Served at Camp Custer, Battle Creek MI.

He was the son of Henry James 
& Orpha (Sammons) Meachum.  

Attended Hartford High School 
and lived in Hartford all his life.

Died of pneumonia after returning from a horse buying trip to Wyoming.

An interesting story is that the Army was trying to disembark horses into the water and get them to land.  When the horses went into the water, they started to drown.  Henry jumped into the water behind the horses and started pulling on their tails, at which point they raised their heads above the water line and onto shore.  

Photo and information submitted by granddaughter, Virginia (Ginny) Meachum in Oct, 2002 

Millhouse Sr., Robert
US Army – Cook


b 2-5-1892           d 6-10-1974
Platteville WI          Keeler MI
Age 82y, 4m, 5d

Buried in Keeler Cemetery
Keeler MI

In service 19__ to 19__

Served in France near the border.

Resided in Keeler after the war.

Photo submitted by John and Nancy Millhouse. 
John served in the military during the Vietnam Era.

Olds, Ralph W.

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 19__

Rice, Dewey M.

Dewey M. Rice - ww1 - Hartford MI

Dewey M. Rice - ww1 - Hartford MI
Dewey’s sons, Dale Rice and Dwaine Rice served during WW2.

Stoddard, Clinton 
Co. B, 26th U.S. Inf.  –  Pvt.

Clinton Stoddard - W1 from Hartford MIClinton Stoddard - W1 from Hartford MI 

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

Clinton was the first
death of a soldier from
Hartford Township during WW1. 
The Hartford American Legion
Stoddard Post #93 
was named in his honor.

Son of

Charles Frank (Stanley) Stoddard and Cornelia Stickney Stoddard.

Clinton was an Uncle to Martin and Chink Stoddard; both served in WW11.

  Clinton Stoddard Memorial Card - W1

Photos provided by the Stoddard family via Bill Dyer 3-2003

Stowe, Bernard A.
US Army – 1st Lieutenant
Motor Transport Corps – Repair Unit 304

b 7-8-1870          1-9-1949
  Hartford MI     Cleveland OH
Buried at
Lakewood Cemetery
Cleveland Hts OH

In Service
10-10-1918 to 4-20-1919

Served at
Ft. Sam Houston, TX

From Hartford
HHS Class of 1888

Resided in Hartford 1870 – ?

Photo taken in 1918 at a farm in Alamo Heights San Antonio TX with a Mr. Thompson

Bernard was the son of Freeman Stowe, a Civil War veteran and pioneer resident and builder of Hartford.  Bernard Street was named for him.  While working as a contract engineer at an electrical firm in Cleveland, Bernard invented the modern oscillating fan.  During WW11, he was engaged as a war production technician.

Bernard’s great-great grandfather, Francis Delong, was the only known Revolutionary War soldier to have resided in Hartford.

Information and photo submitted by Bernard’s great niece, Laurie Warner Jacobs 5-2007.

Talpin, Floyd

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 19__
Thornburg, Marvin Frank
(aka Almeda Franklin Thornburg)
Marvin Frank Thornburg (aka Almeda Franklin Thornburg) about 1920
Army National Guard
Co. F 4th Infantry – Pvt.
Border Patrol and

b 8-23-1893          d 3-15-1985
Cedar Bluff AL       Torrance CA
Age 91y, 6m, 22d

In service
Enlisted July 14, 1916
Gadsden AL
Discharged June 19, 1917

Served at Nogales AZ and
Sanora Mexico along the Mexican border.

US declared war on Germany while serving in the National Guard. Federal government took over all National Guard. Served 11 months, 6 days in regular Army after that time.

 » Bronze Victory Button

Born in Cedar Bluff, Alabama
Lived in Hartford during 
1940s and 1970 – 1985

Son of
Henry John & Martha Webb Thornburg

Married to
Francis Robbles Thornburg
Married in Tuscon AZ
1917 to June 19, 1919 (div)
Mary Pansy Dendy Thornburg
January 19, 1920 – March 30, 1972

Frank is the father of Henry Shores Thornburg and Lawrence Clifton Thornburg, who both served in the military.  He is the grandfather of  Emma Thornburg Sefcik, webmaster of the History of Hartford.

Wessendorf, Albert Edward

US Army

In service 19__ to 19__
Saw action in France.
Remained in the US Army until
after Germany surrendered.

Whitmore, Wilbur

Killed in action
See WW1 Memorial

HHS Class of 19__

Youella, Lyle C.
1st Division Calvary

This site will change when names and photos become available.  Check back often for updates.  Please email the webmaster with  information about any one you known of who served in the military and lived in Hartford at any time during their life.  

Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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Pearls In Our Past - Hartford Michigan
A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik
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History of Hartford Michigan
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Revised: March 23, 2009