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Henry Elton Pease

Corporal, Headquarters Company, 121st Field Artillery, 32nd Division

(22 June 1894 - 23 February 1974)

Documentary materials provided by William McDonald,
Stepson of Henry Elton Pease

  • Born 22 June 1894 in Elgin, Illinois, to Martin A. Pease and Elizabeth M. Denison
  • Eyes: blue
  • Hair: dark brown
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Natural born citizen
  • Moved to Canton City, Ohio, in 1900
  • Moved to Elgin, Illinois, in 1910
  • President of Capex in Evanston, Illinois; the company built display booths for trade shows
  • Home address in 1917: 814 Wilson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois [Draft Registration Card, 5 June 1917]
Registering for the Draft
  • Registered for draft on June 5, 1917 [Draft Registration Card, 5 June 1917]
Departure for Europe
  • Member of Headquarters Company, 121st Field Artillery, 32nd Division
    • 121st FA was a component of the 32nd Division, a National Guard formation primarily from Michigan and Wisconsin
    • The 32nd Division's artillery regiments sailed on 26 February and 4 March 1918, arriving at Liverpool on 6 March and 12 March
      • 121st FA sailed on March 4 and arrived in Liverpool on March 12 According to an official account, Pease's convoy was attacked by submarines and two German submarines were sunk in a "battle" that followed [E. E. Pierson and J. L. Hasbrouck, eds., McLean County, Illinois, in the World War, 1917-1918 (Bloomington, Illinois: McLean County War Publishing Co., 1921), p. 381]
  • Troops were received enthusiastically in England [Ibid.]
  • From England, sailed to Le Havre, France
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
  • Note—When Elton Pease returned from the war he typed on his employer's letterhead stationery (he was employed by Standard Show Card Service in Chicago, Illinois) a lengthy hand-written letter that he had addressed to "Mother and Everybody" on October 6, 1918. Some of his wartime experiences are mentioned in that letter [Letter, Elton Pease to "Mother and Everybody," ts, 6 October 1918], as noted below.

    • He describes the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a four-hour early morning (September 26, 1918) U.S. artillery barrage, as "one continual roar—the sky was red and it's impossible to tell the noise they made—and I'll bet Fritz sure thot [sic] that hell broke loose on him." Then it was "over the top."
    • He describes himself as a "forward observer," and one of the "artillery observers"
  • "Meals" in first four days of Offensive
    • Re: "meals," "Well, there was no such thing—we each carried a couple boxes of hard bread and with our canteen full of water we had two pieces of hard bread, a drink of water, and a Bull cigarette three times a day for the four days. . . ."
  • Snipers
    • Pease wrote that "the snipers are chained in the trees and sometimes two or three days pass before they are picked off."
    • Some wore French or American uniforms
      • Doughboys were not likely to take snipers alive as prisoners. The sniper "is the most hated of all—and how they like to get them—and when they do, you should see them scramble for his souvenirs—all trying to get his automatic pistol, field glasses, knife, etc."
  • Prisoners
    • Captives were "mostly kids that fairly had a good start in school and they sure looked relieved when they marched in. Now and then you would see a few men 30 years or more. I guess they mix them up but it does no good as they sure seem to be pleased to be in our hands alive."
  • German Trenches
    • "The Hidenberg [sic] trenches are lined with bags of cement and some of their dugouts are great—over 50 feet down—bunks all built in—tables, stoves, etc., and we are making good use of them right now."
  • Observation Balloons
    • "In the past three days I'll bet 15 planes have been brought down within a mile of us. Also a few of our balloons and it's also some sight to see the observer jump out with his parachute, which happens quite often within good sight of us right now."
    • Last 7 weeks of war were a constant bombardment [McLean County, Illinois, in the World War, 1917-1918, p. 381]
  • Red Cross and Salvation Army
    • "We all take off our tin hats to the Red Cross and Salvation Army Lassie who do more than their share in cheering up the boys as they are right in action. I haven't had the pleasure as yet in sharing in their doughnuts and pies but I sure would like to, just so I could see an American girl. . . ."
  • Re: candy
    • "My, how I long for some candy—I never thot [sic] that I would miss it so much—and so it is with all the boys. The candy business sure will be great when they get back."
    • Note—The Pease family was in the candy-making business; that company, later owned by distant relatives of Martin and Elizabeth Pease (Elton's parents) later moved to Springfield, Illinois, and became famous for its packaged nuts [William McDonald, telephone conversation with Frank Mazzi, 21 October 2011]
Employment After the War
  • Pease was employed at the Standard Show Card Service in Chicago, Illinois. Having learned calligraphy, he made signs
  • He may also have sold golf clubs for either Wilson or Spaulding sports equipment companies [William McDonald, telephone conversation with Frank Mazzi, 21 October 2011]
  • Enjoyed competing in golf tournaments
    • Note— The Sheboygan Press for 21 August 1929 makes reference to an "H. Elton Pease" participating in a golf tournament in Ozaukee, Wisconsin [The Sheboygan Press, 21 August 1929, page 6, column 2]
  • Pease's first marriage—date unknown; (first name Louise) died (cause?) in (date?)
  • There were no children from this marriage
  • His second marriage, taking place on October 3, 1964, in Troy, Ohio, was to Dorothy McDonald, whom he met at Capex [William McDonald, telephone conversation with Dana Cronin, 28 October 2011]
  • Elton Pease was 72 and Dorothy McDonald was 65
    • Dorothy McDonald was a widow; her husband, Herman McDonald, had died in 1956 at age 78 [William McDonald, telephone conversation with Frank Mazzi, 19 September 2011]
    • Herman and Dorothy McDonald had one child, William
Move to Florida
  • Following his marriage Pease sold Capex; he and Dorothy moved to Sarasota, Florida, purchasing a home for about $14,000.
  • Elton died at age 79 on February 23, 1974, in Sarasota, Florida [Florida Death Index]
    • Stepson believes he was buried next to his first wife in Elgin, Illinois
    • Following Elton's death Dorothy sold the Sarasota, Florida, house and moved to Los Altos, California, and then to a retirement home in Stanton, California
  • Dorothy died of a heart attack at age 91 in 1990 [William McDonald, telephone conversation with Dana Cronin, 28 October 2011]
  • She is buried next to her first husband, Herman, in Forest Park, Illinois