”Honor the Past; Deserve the Present“

Earl R. Shope

Private, Army
Wagoner, Battery D, 62nd Artillery, CAC (Coast Artillery Corps), 97th Division
(August 1897-October 17, 1918)

Contributor:  Dana Cronin

Documentary materials provided in part by
Marie Bowen, whose father, Herman Meyer, was a friend of Earl Shope

Early Life

  • Born in August 1897 in Texas to James Shope and Sallie Stillwell
  • Father's birthplace: Tennessee
  • Mother's birthplace: Texas

Move to California

  • In 1900, family moved to Fresno, CA
  • Soon after, the family moved to Daly City, CA
  • Earl had two sisters: Dora (born in 1895) and Alma May (born in 1899)
  • Family moved to San Francisco between 1916-1917
  • Earl became close friends with Joseph Voss and Herman Meyer
  • Earl may have been employed at Associated Oil Company [Marie Bowen, e-mail to Dana Cronin, 28 March 2013]

War-Time Experience

  • Earl and his friend Joseph Voss enlisted in the 62nd Artillery Regiment, which came to be called the "Market Street Artillery"
  • Both Earl and Joseph were Wagoners, Battery D, 62nd Artillery, CAC, 97th Division
  • Earl's serial number was 823 405
    • 62nd Artillery had been formed in January 1918, with headquarters at Fort Winfield Scott
  • 62nd Artillery had been formed in January 1918, with headquarters at Fort Winfield Scott
  • Regiment paraded on Market Street for the last time on June 13, 1918
  • Regiment was then moved to Camp Mills, NY, in June 1918
    • Regiment embarked on HMS Baltic for England in July 1918; Regiment then sailed for France
  • 60th, 61st, and 62nd Regiments formed the 33rd Brigade which trained at O & T (Operations and Training) Center No. 1 in Libourne, a town in southwestern France
  • Of the three regiments only the 60th saw action
  • On September 15, 1918, Earl wrote a letter to "My Old Pal," his friend Herman Meyer, who had continued employment in San Francisco (and later enlisted on October 23, 1918)
  • The date of Earl's letter and his comments suggest he was referring to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, then in progress: He notes in the letter, "we will get by somehow or other 'cause we sure got the devils on the run. . . ." He also notes that he had just completed a month's course in operating a caterpillar and believes that, when he returns to the U. S., he will be "a pretty good gas engine man."

Death and Burial in France

  • Herman Meyer received Earl's letter on October 26, 1918
    • Unbeknownst to Herman, Earl had died one week earlier on October 17, 1918, of Spanish Influenza and secondary pneumonia
    • Joseph Voss, friend of Earl and Herman, had died the preceding day (October 16) of the same disease
      • Herman kept Earl's letter until his death in 1977; the letter was found , fragile and tattered, in his Bible
      • Earl's letter to Herman was donated to the St. Helena High School WWI Research Institute in 2009
    • Shope and Voss were buried side by side in the town of Li Bourne, France where the regiment had been in training

62nd Regiment Returns to U. S.

  • Regiment embarked on the USS Pocahontas, departing Bordeaux, France, on February 13, 1919
  • 14-day voyage to Newport News, VA
  • Regiment went to Camp Stuart, Virginia
  • Regiment demobilized at Camp Eustis, VA, in March 1919

U. S. Burial

  • In late 1920, the bodies of both Earl and Joseph were disinterred from their Libourne, France, burial sites and brought to San Francisco where they were buried side-by-side at the San Francisco National Cemetery, Presidio (Section NAWS Site 1441-A for Earl Shope, 1440-A for Joseph Voss), on January 1, 1921
  • Earl was survived by his parents, divorced at that time, and both his sisters, one of whom was living with his mother
    • Note—a 1921 newspaper article on the Presidio burial of Earl and Joseph erred in stating that Earl was survived only by his mother and one sister [Marie Bowen, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 21 March 2013]


(rev. 3.29.2013)