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Welcome to our news and history blog!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Private Mead Home: Plucky Greenwich Soldier Who Lost a Leg in the War (1919)

Source: Greenwich News and Graphic. March 21, 1919. Page 1.

With his right leg amputated above the knee, and hobbling about on crutches, Private "Eddie" Mead, of Company M. 313th Infantry, 79th Division, who has been enjoying a forty-eight-hour furlough at the home of his sister, Mrs. Irving R. Moshier, Greenwich avenue, told in a modest way how a German sniper wounded him, while performing his duty as scout despatch runner, after he had relieved a comrade who had been shell-shocked.

He had going over the top in the Argonne Forest drive on the morning of September 26, 1918, with other members of this company, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon he started through the woods to ascertain the nearest route of a barb wire entanglement. Another despatch, who probably would have gone on this route was wounded, and it fell to Private Mead's lot to take his place. He had gone but a short distance, when the snipers high explosive bullet hit him in the leg. For two days and two nights he remained there, with the hundreds of wounded dead soldiers lying all around him. Finally he was taken to a base hospital, where it was at first believed that the leg had only been fractured, but after seven operations had been performed by the attending physicians, it was found that the bones in the leg had been so horribly shattered that the leg had to be amputated just above-the-knee. Until he returned from overseas, he was confined in the hospital and while there he made a beaded necklace, which he has since presented to his sister, Mrs. Mosier. It is a splendid piece of workmanship and Mrs. Mosier prices it most highly, not only because of its beauty, but for its sentimental and historic value.

On March 12, Private Mead arrived on the USS Steamship Mercy, which came by the way of Bermuda. He was taken to the Grand Central Palace hospital in New York and returned to that institution on Tuesday morning. In his section of the hospital he says there are 158 soldiers, each of whom has lost a leg. The men show no signs of despondency, but on the contrary are in a happy frame of mind and are congratulating themselves that they suffered no worse hardships. It probably will be a year before "Eddie"will receive his discharge and it may be necessary for him to undergo another operation.

Private Mead went overseas on July 7, 1917 and his Division, which probably saw more of the actual fighting than any other, not excepting the 27th division, was cited for bravery in the Argonne Forest Drive, and he showed a reporter a cross, presented to each man, which represents a gold Liberty Bell upside down, with the Lorraine cross in blue. Private Ernest Nolan and Carl Palmer, of Greenwich were also in the same Division.

There were some ten Indians in his Division whose services proved invaluable, since the Germans easily learned the American code, but it was a difficult matter to send messages for this reason. The Indians had a code all their own which baffled the Huns. The despatchers would go out all night, for the purpose of finding the nearest barb-wire entanglement, and they encountered much danger, from German snipers, who were always on the lookout for them.

"I just gave my leg to some poor German as a souvenir," said Private Mead, with a smile on his face. "It was a great experience and I would go back to the firing line tomorrow, if my country called me. I got through pretty lucky, for it would have been much worse had I lost an arm or my eyes like many of the other poor fellows."

Eddie was according to most hearty welcome by his numerous friends here, and Mrs. Moshier entertained a number of his friends at her home on Sunday and Monday nights in his honor.

Mrs. Nath. Webb and "The Boys" Get Royal Greeting at Reception in Second Congregational Church (1919)

Source: Greenwich News and Graphic. February 14, 1919. Page 1.

 Mrs Nathaniel Webb and more than thirty soldiers and Marines, who have been in the service or at the call of the government, were the guests of honor at a "Welcome Home" reception, given in the memorial chapel of the Second Congregational Church on Tuesday evening. It was a patriotic occasion and was largely attended by the families of the boys and other members of the church. The chapel was attractively decorated with the National colors and the flags of the Allies.

Popular selections were played on the piano by Mrs. Frederick C. Studwell and Mr. Studwell opened the evening's program, and to the strains of "Keep the Home Fires Burning," Mrs. Webb and the boys were escorted by members of the Council from the parlors below to the chapel at 8:15. As Mrs. Webb, with Stuart Mead, of the U.S.N., followed by the soldiers and Marines entered the chapel, the audience rose to its feet and burst into loud and prolonged applause, which lasted until all had taken the seats reserved for them in the front ranks.

Following the singing of "America," Rev. Dr. Oliver Huckel, as presiding officer of the occasion made a few introductory remarks, telling Mrs. Webb and the boys are glad they were to have them all back again. He lauded them for the part they have played in the great war and told how those at home had "kept the home fires burning" during their absence by "doing their bit" to help America win the great war. Dr. Huckel then called upon Corporal Everett Schofield, as the first speaker of the evening.

The corporal told of an incident that occurred during the Argonne drive, when so many American soldiers were wounded. He said that these men, although suffering great pain, never murmured or complained and the thought came to him at the time that if the General and the people all over the world and have seen those men as he saw them, they would be able to realize that no country in the world could ____ a nation, whose soldiers had such "pep" and grit as the American "C_____ies."

Lieutenant George Hubbard, who sustained a broken leg, fractured skull and other injuries while in the flying corps, related some of his experience as an aviator, taking his audience with him from the time he enlisted, through the course of training, which had he had to undergo in order to become an experienced flyer. Landing, he explained, was the hardest part of flying. The best flyers he stated were under 21 years of age and he attributed this to the fact that these men were more daring than men of more advanced age.

While stationed with his Battalion at Camp Merritt, Lieutenant Pierpont Minor told how Mrs. Nathaniel Webb paid a visit to the camp one day and brought the men a number of sweaters. After they arrived oversees, the Major of the Battalion, speaking of Mrs. Webb's visit said, "She is certainly a wonderful woman." In speaking of the pluck of the American soldier, the Lieutenant Minor told of a British soldier who complained greatly in a hospital, where he had been taken, suffering from wounds. An American soldier who had also been wounded was brought in and placed on a cot beside him. This man he said showed much courage and never ordered a groan, although suffering much pain. It was a lesson to the British soldier, who changed to be patient and more courageous than he had been theretofore.

As secretary of the Church Council Walter M. Anderson said in part, "I think every member of the church feel that it is an honor to pay tribute to those who participated in this conflict. It is highly fitting that a tribute should emanate from the church at this time."

In mentioning Mrs. Webb as the last speaker selected, Dr. Huckel said that she had told him that she would rather die then say anything, so he would ask her to sing some of the songs she sang to the boys "Over There." Mrs. Webb, who prior to her enlistment in the Red Cross service was the soprano soloist of the church, sang in an excellent voice, "Dear Old Pal of Mine" and "The Long, Long Trail."

Mrs. Webb was followed by Henry Dayton, who delivered an eloquent address. "Welcome is lodged in every heart to greet you boys," said he, "many of whom have been on the firing line in the trenches and in No Man's Land. I personally am glad to greet everyone of you boys tonight. You wanted to go over on the firing line. You wanted to meet a certain Mr. Wilhelm Hun and excellent Mr. Hahn and Mr. Gott. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Y.M.C.A., Hebrew Benevolent society and Knights of Columbus all have joined, hand-in-hand, in helping to win this war. Never before has this country been so committed. Religious creeds have been set aside and political creeds suspended.

The speeches were interspersed by a _____ rendered by Mrs. Studwell and Mr. Tilley, vocal solos by Mr. Tilley, Mr. Studwell and Mrs. ____, all members of the church choir.

Ice cream and cake were served at the close of the program.

Those included in the welcome home were Mrs. Nathaniel Webb, Lieutenant Pierpont L. Minor, Lieutenant George F. Hubbard, Bugler Everett H. Schofield, Corp. William Myles, Hobart R. Mead, Harry B. Libra, Sidney O. Thompson, Arthur W. Howard, Lieutenant William J. Crichton, Stuart A. Mead, Wm. A. Bridge, Ensign Paul B. Tubby, Ensign Wm. B. Tubby, Jr., Roger M. Judd, Lieutenant Nelson B. Mead, Jr., Douglas S. Mead, Thomas R. Waterbury, Harry S. Brundage, E. Howard Baker, Jr., Walter L. Eddy, Eric A. Erickson, Ensign Richard O. Mead, Harry Bunton, Joseph L. Crawford, Hervey M. Mead, E. Leighton Lent, Sylvester S. Mead, Lloyd T. Mead, Guy F. Pullem, Frederick Pray, L. Foster Day, J. Frederick Close, Frederick Abrams, Alfred James Chahmers, Lieut. Ralph Cameron, Dr. Stanley Knapp, Lester Reynolds. Of this list the last three were special guests, not formally on this honor roll, but brought up in this church and in service; several years detained by illness or were out of the town on business; but the large majority were present. Thirty-five out of the seventy-five names on the roll of honor of this church have returned, only three have died. As soon as another large group has returned, the church will give another similar reception.

Saunterings Around Town: A New York Correspondent... (1916)

Greenwich News and Graphic. Source: August 22, 1916.

A New York correspondent, who has been reading in the NEWS AND GRAPHIC of the development of the Higgins tract on Putnam avenue writes for information.

He wants to know if this land was not owned forty years ago by the late Solomon Mead who used it as a farm before it was sold to Frank Shepard, Francis Tomes and finally Mr. A. Foster Higgins.

The undulating territory north of Putnam avenue, including the Higgins property and the land occupied by numerous houses along Maple avenue and lower North Street, is suggestive of pre-Revolutionary days. The land records furnish the strongest incentive to a play of the imagination, but so many actual facts are resent that it is unnecessary to call upon the imagination to embellish an interesting story.

Here was the "Main Country road," the Putnam avenue of to-day. The little white wooden country church occupied a position near the present stone church.

The Putnam Cottage, then without the stone ell was the Tavern of Israel Knapp.

To the west and north were the farm houses of James Mead, who died in 1783 and of Samuel Seymour, who was born in 1730 and lived to realize the results of two wars, departing this life, at re old homestead in 1818.

Long after the cessation of hostilities the Knapp tavern was a popular stopping place.

Two generations of the same name-Israel Knapp- were in control. Daniel Merritt Mead in his history of the town, published in 1857 but long since out of print states that the members of this family were "the most inveterate Tories" and then he goes on to tell the story of the tragic death of the son of the first Israel-Timothy-to whom his father bequeathed twenty-five pounds sterling but the unfortunate Timothy died before his father and the legacy then considered a large sum went to his three sisters.

The impulse is to omit the details of Timothy Knapp and yet, possibly as true facts are unwound they may come out.

But before they are reached it is pleasant to contemplate those old sweepback farm houses, on the hill occupied by James Mead and Dr. Amos Mead, the latter being active on the committee of safety during the revolution and finding it convenient to "retire into the country for the whole winter" as Major Mead, the historian writes: Territory of more than one hundred and fifty acres, north of the country road with the exception of a small piece, known as the rock lot, was under cultivation. The two houses backed up against the superb view of the land and water and what little might have been seen from the kitchen windows was shut out by thrifty apple orchards or an imposing array of barns. In those days little regard was had for a view.

The settlement was decidedly think and when we read that Dr. Amos Mead had to go back "into the country," for safety from the enemy, it was fair to assume that Stanwich, Banksville and Round Hill were then a hovering wilderness.

The little triangle where the soldier's monument stands was for many years the center of the town's activities. before and during the Revolution it was he site of the village Smithy's shop. Here the oxen and horses were shod and artistic door hinges and latches were made for the carpenter and joiner. Possibly when the first meeting house for the Second Congregational church society was built, about 1705 that building was used for town meetings as was usually done throughout New England. The church members were the voters and the voters had to be church members in order to hold office.

Although the town records were kept at Cos Cob, this diminutive triangle, now called "Monument Park" was the center of activities in the west society.

The column is filled and yet the purpose with which it was begun has been sidetracked. It s so easy to ramble among the facts of other days, because there are so many of them that are interesting and some of them are instructive. And therefore the New York correspondent met wait t hear about the little farm of thirty-eight acres, which Solomon Mead's mother bought in 1823. He died eighteen years ago and most of his contemporaries have disappeared from view.

But Solomon Mead will always have a place in local history, as a man of honor, integrity and good judgment, and the only native of Greenwich who started with nothing, remained here all his life and left a million.


Saunterings Around Town: Solomon Mead (1916)

Source: Greenwich News and Graphic. August 22, 1916. Page 4.

Solomon Mead when asked his occupation stated that he was a farmer. His ninety years of life in Greenwich indicate that his outdoor occupations and his love for nature of which he was so observant were conducive to a long life; while his accumulations of a million dollars, indicates that he was a careful, shrewd financier. He was only fifteen years old when his mother, Hannah Mead, whose praises he was always sounding, bought of Ruben Holmes-the farmer, shoemaker, school teacher-, thirty-two acres of the tract under discussion last week. This parcel included land now owned by the Parmalee J. McFadden estate and the site of the old Titus Mead homestead where Timothy Knapp met his tragic death.

Hannah Mead was the widow of Joshua Mead who died early in life and Solomon was Hannah's only child. While the son was always unstinted in the praises of his mother we have reason to assume that she had an equal admiration for her only child.

It was here that Solomon learned to be a farmer and as his wisdom increased with his years he studied and worked and observed, becoming finally one of the most intelligent and well read of our local farmers.

He had the trait also of accretion and long after his mother's death he was adding to the little farm. He made many improvements upon the property. The blind ditches he laid for drainage purposes still remain to attest his skillful, scientific handling of the property.

Finally the Solomon Mead possession extended south to the Post road and west to Maple avenue.

Forty years ago Francis Tomes and Frank Shepard appear as buyers and Mr. Mead began to realize the difference between buying low and selling high.

And yet the prices he obtained were insignificant compared with the price which the new real estate company is said to have paid.

At the time Mr. Mead disposed of his holdings there was an old potato cellar located on what is now the rear of Dr. Hyde's property.

Potatoes being the principal and profitable crop of the farmers a century ago, no farm was without a storage place. The old cellar was built so many years ago that it was probably the work of Samuel Seymour, when he owned and cultivated the entire tract, as well as land on the west side of Maple avenue.

But the memory of the old potato cellar is bound to recur to every Academy scholar who in those bygone days imagined that it was a robbers cave and gathered there with his playmates while scheming for mischief.

Probably in the entire career of Solomon Mead nothing interested him more than the construction of the stone house on Maple avenue still in possession of members of his family. 

The old farm house from which every field of the one hundred and fifty acres was visible stood just inside the south entrance of the main house. Possibly Henry Bush built it for in the spring of 1755 he sold it to Samuel Seymour and it remained in the family till 1830 when Solomon Mead bought it with eight acres of land.

This included the two acres, now the cemetery near the church, where lie the remains of Solomon Mead. 

The old Seymour farmhouse was a fine example of the Connecticut houses built between 1675 and 1700.

When the Saunterer first saw it, it had a comfortable "sit down" appearance characteristic of all the old gray shingle, low-studdd sweep backs of that period of construction.

Near its north end was the well house in which an empty bucket hung over the curb.

Under its small front windows, that looked out from the porchless house, bunches of phlox and marigold nodded in the summer breeze. It was overshadowed by the great stone house, then just completed and it was only a short time after that the family moved into the new house and the old one disappeared.