Sunday, May 29, 2011

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

boys coming.

"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.

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