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World War, 1914-1918

Page history last edited by abrandenburg@mvlc.org 7 years ago

Residents of Topsfield began to serve in the World War as early as June, 1915.  It was a few years later "...on the motion of James Duncan Phillips, the following resolutions were adopted at the annual town meeting held March 5, 1917, viz:


As the descendants and successors of the men of one of the groups of little communities surrounding Salem Bay, which, during the Revolutionary War, and the early days of American rights on the high seas it is hereby :

RESOLVED : that we, the citizens of Topsfield, indorse the action of the President of the United States in dismissing the German Ambassador.

RESOLVED : that we urge the immediate calling of an extra session of Congress and the use of the full power of the nation in defense of America, American lives and American honor on the high seas.

RESOLVED : that we pledge our loyalty and support to the President for this purpose. (Dow, p. 231)


A Home Guard was organized. The Topsfield branch of the American Fund for French Wounded made and sent to headquarters needed supplies.  A Canning Club was formed to help conserve (preserve) food.


Topsfield residents exceeded their quota for supporting the war by subscribing to $244,650 to the Fourth Liberty Loan, a government bond issued in 1918.


An annotated list of residents who served in the World War may be found in the History of Topsfield by George Francis Dow on pages 233-245.  Two soldiers, resident John Joseph Farrell who served as Private in Company A, 312th Regiment of Engineers, 87th Division and former resident Robert Whitaker Lake of Boxford, who served as Private in Company F, 8th Massachusetts Infantry, died during the war and were buried in France.


A monument commemorating the service of veterans in both World Wars is located in front of the Topsfield Town Library on Topsfield's Veterans Memorial Green.



Dow, G.F. History of Topsfield, Topsfield, Mass.: Topsfield Historical Society, 1940. 
View Library Catalog record; read online at the Internet Archive.




Further Reading

Roll of Honor, "Roll of Topsfield Citizens Mustered Into United States Service in the Late War," may be found in the Annual Report of Receipts and Expenditures of the Town of Topsfield, Mass. for the years of 1918, 1919, and 1920.  The reports may be viewed online or at the Topsfield Town Library.


The War Activities of Topsfield, Massachusetts During the Great War- 1917-1918 may be viewed at the Internet Archive.


External Links

Read more about the American Fund for the French Wounded at the Internet Archive..

Read more about the Fourth Liberty Loan (Bond)at wikipedia.org

John Joseph Farrell/American Battle Monuments Commission

Robert W. Lake/American Battle Monuments Commission

World War I Soldier Photographs may be viewed at The State Library of Massachusetts. (This resource does not contain photographs of either John Farrell or Robert Lake.)



Topsfield Times: A Community and Local History Resource


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