The Hero forgotten

He was born December 18, 1893.  He left Ferne Ireland, with his Father John S, brothers Laurence, Miles, Hugh and sisters Mary and Ellen. Family history hasn’t released what happened to his Mother.  They arrived in New Jersery, USA in July 1899.  Times were rough and in order to help his Father make ends meet, he moved to Montana and worked as a farmer.  After the out break of World War One, he enlisted in Valley Montana June 5, 1917 along with his brothers.  On his enlistment card FHL roll # 1711447, both listed the reason they wanted to enlist was to help his Father. He was assigned to 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division, Company D.   He saw many horrific battles while in the service of his adopted country.  In reading accounts of the 79th, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of messengers killed.  Back then radios didn’t exist. Communication was by a volunteer running from one section of the battle field to a another.

Carl Brackin, Jr. did a restoration for me of the original photo.    Didn’t he do a wonderful job.  Thank you very much Carl.

The following is from page 259 November 7, 1918 account of “History of the Seventy-ninth division, A. E. F. during the world war: 1917-1919″:   

“The balance of the 158th Infantry Brigade front had been comparatively quiet during the daylight hours of November 7, but just at dusk—about the time the Brigade Detachment was springing toward its last objective—on the front facing the sector held by the Second Battalion, 315th Infantry, north and east of Molleville Farm, the period of quiet “was suddenly broken by a terrific outpouring of shot and shell.

 The valley to the rear was filled with gas fumes and Boche machine gunners sprayed the lines viciously. The Second Battalion expected an attack and prepared for it by answering the enemy fire with all machine guns on the front. But nothing happened.  The whole occurrence may have been a bit of spleen on the part of the enemy because of the successes of the American troops on the left. The deadly interchange of shells, machine guns and gas, however, resulted in numerous casualties. “ 

 He was buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Plot F, Row 18 grave 2.  His family probably wasn’t in attendance, as they lacked funds. His name was added to the list on the WWI Honor Roll.

 Years later a little girl going through a barrel filled with old family photos and documents finds a banner signed by President Woodrow Wilson commending the deceased for the supreme service of his country.  She asks her Dad who was this and was told it was his uncle who was killed in the war.   No other information was forth coming as his Dad didn’t pass along that part of the family history either.

 Forward several years later, and the document is destroyed by rats making a nest in the old barrel.  The savaged family history shares a photo of a soldier. No name is written on the back.  When the farm was sold after her Dad dies, an old rusty lard can is found in the well house and is thrown into the back of the truck.  Recently the old can is open and reveals a document dated 1927 settling the government’s life insurance payment to the family of the soldier and letters to the Veterans Bureau asking for payment of the policy.  A full nine years later after his death, his father receives needy funds two years after his death.  The law firm of Durand, Ivins & Carton on the document is Googled, and lost cousins from the soldiers’ home town are also found. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Genealogy research by Billie Jo Westby finds the final resting place of the soldier who is no longer forgotten.  One task remains, making sure the name of Francis Frank Carton is on a World War I monument.  Is it on one in Valley county Montana or his home county of Monmouth New Jersey?




Let us not forget these from our county who died so that we can have our day at the river or park.

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6 Responses to The Hero forgotten

  1. Janice M. Williams says:

    Pray for the families of the fallen. Mary, I am proud to have you as a friend

    • Thanks Janice, I’m glad to have you as a friend.

      • Jim Carton 3rd says:

        Thanks for keeping us in N.J. in mind. I guess that we are not more closely related than Adam & Eve. Our John was 10 when his uncle brought him over from Ireland in the 1850’s. That John named his children James, John, Lawrence Joe Catherine and Mary

  2. Firenze says:

    That is both a dramatic and poignant story, Mary. World War I is dear to me since my own father was a Dough Boy; however, he enlisted too late to see action after he arrived in France. Good luck in finding where his memorial is…or belongs. He certainly should be properly remembered.

  3. Bj says:

    Nothing could make my heart happier than to have assisted you in finding this young man and on this Memorial Day what a wonderful tribute you have given him. May we never forget these young men and women who give all knowing that “freedom is not free. Francis became very real to me as we un tangled the peices to find him. God Bless

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