Looking south towards Soldiers’ National Monument in Gettysburg National Cemetery, from behind “Section 8” graves; containing the few WWI veterans. An arrow points to the grave stone of William H. Myers, of York, PA. (S. H. Smith illustration)
York WWI hero buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery
William H. Myers completes the series examining the three York County WWI Veterans who were recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross. Private Myers is one of the few WWI Veterans granted permission to be buried in Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg.
The following illustrated map pinpoints the location of William H. Myers’ grave at Gettysburg. As shown, it is roughly west of the New York Monument and north of, and facing, the Soldiers’ National Monument. That particular location is within the 102-graves “Section 8” of Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg.
Recently the ydr.com site has been dropping photos from YorksPast posts. Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full Size View of the original photos in this post if details are cut off in the cropping of the photos, or if any have been removed from the ydr.com site.
William H. Myers is featured in “York County and the World War,” by Clifford Hall and John Lehn. The first paragraph of their article, on page 29, notes: Private Myers “was but sixteen years old when he entered the service. He was rejected at the recruiting station when he first applied for enlistment, because of his youth, but with that never-give-up spirit, which marked his whole army career, he kept trying until he was finally accepted, on his fifth attempt.”
William Hargraves Myers was born December 20, 1900, in York, Pennsylvania, to William and Emma Myers. This birth date is given in Emma’s 1934 sworn application for Veteran’s Compensation, as the widowed mother of Private William H. Myers. That claim was approved and Emma received $10 per month, with 20 months maximum.
William’s middle name, Hargraves , is the maiden name of his grandmother on his mother’s side; Mary (Hargraves) Timperlake. There are two discovered period records, where the middle initial of William H. Myers is incorrectly noted as “A.” These are: the article within “York County and the World War,” by Hall and Lehn, and a 1921 article within the Evening News, Harrisburg, PA.
Private William H. Myers is honored on the World War I columns fronting the York County Administration Center on East Market Street. William H. Myers is also honored on the Gate 4, World War I, Memorial Tablets at the York Expo Center.
In 1908, Emma Myers remarries Howard S. Sheely. The 1910 U.S. Census has Howard and Emma Sheely residing on West Poplar Street in West Manchester Township; also in the household is Howard’s stepson William H. Myers. This family is living at 1102-1/2 West King Street in York, at the time of William’s enlistment.
William Myers, from York, Pennsylvania, enlisted at Fort Logan, Colorado, on June 2, 1917. Those enlistments records show he claimed to be 18-years and 11-months old. However on William’s fifth, and finally successful, enlistment attempt, he added 2-1/2 years to his actual age of 16-years and 5-months. His mother also recalled an enlistment attempt in Kansas; which might have been his third or fourth unsuccessful attempt to enlist.
William H. Myers served his whole Army enlistment with the 10th Field Artillery. That artillery unit was organized at Fort Douglas, Arizona on June 1, 1917, and was assigned, on November of 1917, to the 3rd Infantry Division for the duration of WWI.
The 10th Field Artillery continuing to train at Fort Douglas until orders were received to transfer to Camp Merritt, New Jersey; prior to debarkation for overseas duty with the 3rd Infantry Division on April 23, 1918. The 3rd Infantry Division is famed for its actions at the Battle of the Marne from July 15th to 18th, 1918.
For heroic actions in the Battle of the Marne, the entire 10th Field Artillery was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, with three members of the unit being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Private William H. Myers was killed in action during that battle, at Chateau-Thierry, France, on July 15, 1918.
William H. Myers is the only York County Veteran noted as receiving the Distinguished Service Cross in “York County and the World War,” by Hall and Lehn; thus he was likely the first of the three to receive that honor. Wilbur Suiter and Ervin Sheffer received their honors after Hall and Lehn finished research on those veterans or the book had already gone to print. For all three, the honors were presented posthumously to their parents.
The Evening News, Harrisburg, PA, reported in a March 18, 1921 article: “Private William A. (actually H.) Myers, a York boy, who died in France in the World War, will rest in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Permission for the burial of the body there has been given at the request of the soldier’s mother, Mrs. Emma Sheely. The body is now on the way from France. It will be interred with fitting military ceremonies. Private Myers was but 16 years old when he enlisted. He was killed in action July 15, 1918, at Chateau-Thierry. For extraordinary valor under fire the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded him and presented to his mother.”
The Gazette and Daily, York, PA, reported on Myers funeral in an August 8, 1921 article: “Funeral services over the body of Private William H. Myers were held Saturday afternoon (Aug. 6th) at 2 o’clock at St. Matthew’s Church, with Rev. M. R. Hamsher officiating. The dead hero’s body was taken to Gettysburg, where it was buried in the National Cemetery.”
“Comrades of Private Myers who served in his regiment in France acted as escort, while the American Legion post furnished the firing squad. Private Myers was a member of Battery E, Tenth Field Artillery. The pallbearers were: C. H. Frey, G. E. Peters, C. E. Bischoff, J. Ross Kable, Ira Engle and Ralph Wallick; all artillerymen who served with Myers. W. A. Biddle was the Bugler. The firing squad was composed of Luther Hildebrand, Walter R. Stout, Walter Scott, Fred Smyser, Spurgeon Hovis, John L. Craver, Harry Swartz, George Altman, and John C. Hoffman. A number of other legionnaires accompanied the body and acted as escort.”
The following view looks south towards Soldiers’ National Monument in Gettysburg National Cemetery; from behind “Section 8” graves. That section, of 102-graves, contains four rows; consisting of a few veterans from the Spanish American War and World War I; although the majority are aged Civil War Veterans. An arrow points to the back of the grave stone of William H. Myers, of York, PA.
William H. Myers is not the only non-Civil War York County veteran buried in Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. I previously wrote about a Dallastown Soldier buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Links to related WWI posts:
Ervin Sheffer: York WWI hero buried in France
Wilbur Suiter: from York erecting engineer to WWI hero
York brothers killed by same WWI shell
African-American George A. Wood killed in WWI
Funeral of George A. Wood of York following WWI
Great War tales from the Fairground wall
WWI chaplain Albert D. Bell of York
WWI veteran James Franklin Schuman
Veteran Henry F. Emswiler should be honored
Yorker Jeannette Zinn a national WWI Patriot
More about WWI patriot Jeannette Zinn
First York County WWI soldier dies in France
German Submarine Mailed Letter at Newport then Sank 6 Ships
York WWI Veterans buried near Eiffel Tower
Local WWI Veterans buried in Europe
Yorker George B. Hoffman killed with sinking of U.S.S. President Lincoln
WWI & WWII Navy Destroyers Named after York Veteran
U.S. WWI declaration to Lafayette, we are here!
Susquehanna Trail WWI Memorial Sycamores