On Memorial Day I'd like to remember my great uncle, George Fairchild. He was the first soldier
from Danbury to die in World War I.
George Alonzo Fairchild was born circa 1895, the son of Alonzo Merritt Fairchild and Elizabeth R Meeker.
He appeared on the census of 1910 in the household of Alonzo
Merritt Fairchild and Carrie Jane Durgy, Alonzo's second wife at New Fairfield,
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States of America. George Fairchild, son
of Alonzo Fairchild, has entered the United States navy and later enlisted in the United States Army.
His military record follows:
Fairchild, George A.
Ind NA Danbury, Conn. Sept 7/17. Br Bridgeport, Conn. 23 2/12 yrs. Co M 304
Inf to Sept 19/17; Co E 102 Inf to death. Pvt Sept 7/17; Pvt lcl Feb 1/18.
Chanegnow; Seicheprey. AEF Sept 22/17 to death. KIA Ar 20/18. Notified Mrs.
Alpheus B. Durgy, Aunt, RFD 6, Danbury, Conn on 20 Apr 1918. He was buried
at Cypress Hills National Cemetery, 625 Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn, Kings,
New York, United States of America.
From the Danbury NewsTimes
Geo. Fairchild First to Die
New Fairfield Man loses life in Battle on French Front
May 2, 1918 - George C. Fairchild of New Fairfield, one of the first
selective service men from this district to enter the army, was killed in
action on the western front of France, on April 20, 1918. A telegram from
the war department at Washington, received by his relatives in this city
last evening, brought first news of the young soldier's death.
Mr. Fairchild, who was a private in the 102d infantry, was the first man
from this exemption district to lose his life in battle. While not actually
a Danburian, a portion of his boyhood was spent in this city, and he had
many friends and acquaintances here.
George C. Fairchild was twenty four years old and was born in Bridgeport.
He came to Danbury with his parents when about ten years old and attended
New Street School. After the death of his mother his father re-married and
the family moved to New Fairfield. When he was seventeen years old he
joined the navy, serving an enlistment of four years, and receiving
honorable discharge. He is highly spoken of by his friends and
The message from the war department was addressed to Mrs. Alpheus Durgy a
sister of the young man's step-mother whom he had looked up as his guilding
hand. It was signed by M. C. Cain adjutant general and read as follows:
"Deeply regret to inform you that Private George Fairchild, infantry, is
officially reported as killed in action, April 20."
While there is no present means of obtaining further information in regard
to the death of Private George Fairchild, it is assumed that he was killed
in the vicinity of Seichepry, where the 102d is understood to have taken
part in a furious battle that Captain Locke of Hartford, commander of
Company M. of the same regiment whose death was reported on Wednesday, was
The 102d infantry is the former First Connecticut infantry, in which there
are several Danbury men and scores who have relatives or acquaintances
Private Fairchild went from this city to Camp Devens, at Ayer Mass. After
he was selected for service and with Cornelius J. Culhane and Arthur Crest
of this city, was transferred to New Haven with a detachment of men to
become members of the 102d. They started for Europe last fall but a mishap
to the boat on which they sailed made it necessary for them to return to
the port at which they embarked. They were sent to Fort Totten where they
remained two weeks, sailed for France at the expiration of that time.
During the time of his stay at Fort Totten Private Fairchild was given a
nine day leave of absence, which he spent at the home of his sister, Mrs.
R.F.Baker, of 37 Stevens St. of the city.
A brother of Private Fairchild, Eli K. Fairchild, has served eight years in
the navy and is now an instructor in the nautical school in Brooklyn. Mr.
Fairchild is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. Baker of this city and Mrs.
Benjamin Segur of Kent and a half brother, John Fairchild of New Fairfield.
Mrs. Joseph Hamilton of George St. and Mrs. John Sherman of 74 Balmforth
Ave. are the aunts of the young man. John Fairchild of Branchville and
William Fairchild of New Fairfield are uncles.
An interesting letter written by Private Fairchild to his sister, Mrs.
Baker, under the date of April 18 was received by the News yesterday before
news of the young man's death arrived and was prepared for publication
today. This letter which now has unusual interest was written only two days
before Private Fairchild's death.
Dated "Somewhere in France," the letter reads as follows:
"I am writing to let you know that I feel o.k. as well as the rest of the
boys who left Camp Ayers with me. That is, the Danbury boys, Connie Culhane
and Artur Cresci. We have been here almost six months and during that time
have seen some lively times.
"I have heard that in an article in the Danbury News they stated that the
Danbury boys were in a very heated argument with Fritz, mentioning the
names of Connie Culhane and others, but not Cresci and myself. Now I want
to say that we three have been together since leaving Ayer. Cresci and I
are in the same company, "Galloping" Company E. and Culhane is in Company
F. You can just bet that this war is not all gravy for the allies. But
before it is over, Heinie will have to turn over the whole of Germany to
the allies in payment for the damages he has done.
"But he still insists upon keeping us just so uneasy. We are in back of the
firing line, on reserve, after having done our third bit in the front
lines. Only last night just as we had nicely settled, Heinie had to start
in shelling us to disturb our slumber and believe me he came very near
doing so. But the old reliable American artillery just opened upon on him
and he shut up like a clam.
"I have not seen a Danbury newspaper since I have been here, so I do not
know very much about what is going on in the old Hat Town. When a fellow is
in the front line trench and he is expecting something to happen every
minute, no, every second, for it takes the short end of a second for the
fireworks to commence, he doesn't fee any too good.
"I am writing this in the Y.M.C.A. which is our only place of amusement. A
great deal of praise is due them for their good work but tobacco is our
greatest need at this stage of the game. Well, anyhow, I expect to see all
the folks once more very soon, perhaps a year and a half.
"Culhane, Cresci and myself would be tickled to death to receive the
Danbury News, even if you can only send the weekly. It can be sent to any
one of us and we can pass it around. You know on the 15th of March it will
be six months that we are in the world's war and we want to know something
about our home town.
"Will close now with love to all and my regards to good old Danbury. Also,
tell the Danbury people that her boys over here are among the best and I
will tell the kaiser that he had better watch out as there are more Danbury
"P.S. Watech the papers for news about the New England troops and you can
tell when we are in the fight" on 2 May 1918 at Danbury, Fairfield,
Connecticut, United States of America.
The family received the following letter:
In Memory Of
Private 1st Class George A. Fairchild Co E 102nd Infantry who was killed in
battle April 20th 1918. He bravely laid down his life for the cause of his
country. His name wll ever remain fresh in the hearts of his friends and
comrades. The record of his honorable service will be preserved in the
archives of the American Expeditionary Forces.
John J Pershing
Commander-in-chief on 20 Apr 1918.