Fallen Heroes: Private John Warner Carr

American troops marching into the St. Mihiel salient on the morning of September 12, 1918.

The fields of France claimed a number of Tuscarawas County’s young men in the summer and fall of 1918. The names of those fallen heroes, who advanced across no-man’s land never to return, filled an entire column of the newspaper after the war. This is one of those heroes.

The Carr family was one of the earliest families to settle in Tuscarawas County and the uncle of Aquilla Carr (1812-1892), also named Aquilla, has his name inscribed on a monument in Gnadenhutten dedicated to Revolutionary War veterans. Aquilla was born in Ohio and married a woman born in Maryland named Elizabeth Bell (1821-1895) in the late 1840s. The couple settled in the Port Washington area of Salem Township and raised a large family there. The family welcomed at least nine children, including a set of twins, in the span of twenty years.

One of those twins, a son named Calvin Carr (1852-1938), grew up working on the family farm before setting out on his own. Calvin married Flora Nicholas (1859-1926) in the summer of 1875 and started farming on a neighboring farm to his father. The family eventually located to a farm in Union Township where Calvin and Flora would raise their own large family, including a son named John Warner Carr (1888-1918).

John W. Carr was working in the car shops at the Dennison Yard just before being drafted in 1918. (Source: loc.gov)

During his youth John worked on his father’s farm with the rest of his siblings and attended school in nearby Uhrichsville. After high school John went to work as a farm laborer on his father’s farm, as well as offering his labor to other local farmers. By the time World War One began, and John was required to register for the draft, he was working in the locomotive car shops in the railroad’s booming Dennison Yard.

John Warner Carr registered for the draft in June 1917 but was not called up for service until late spring 1918 when he, along with 124 other county men, were notified to prepare for service. The last week in May 1918 the drafted men boarded trains bound for Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky for basic training. The men trained there for several weeks and, assigned to a replacement unit, were transported to Brooklyn, New York to board ships bound for France. Private Carr, temporarily assigned to the 66th Infantry, boarded the S.S. Vestis and left port on July 23, 1918.

The 5th Infantry Division, 11th Infantry Regiment’s movements during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the fall of 1918.

Upon his arrival in France Private Carr was assigned to a machine gun company in the 11th Infantry Regiment. That regiment was part of the United States Army’s 5th Infantry Division, part of the Army’s First Corps. The 11th Infantry Regiment was initially stationed near Chaumont, France and saw service in the Vosege Moutains and combat at Frapelle during the summer of 1918, and then the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in September. Through these trials, Private Carr managed to avoid being wounded despite his unit being heavily engaged and the use of mustard gas by the Germans.

Private Carr’s good fortune ran out in October 1918 as the 11th Infantry Regiment took part in the second phase of the Meuse River–Argonne Forest offensive. An attack by the 5th Infantry Division began on the morning of October 15 when the troops attempted to seize Bois-de-Rappes. The assault was unsuccessful and the division returned to their original line. Two days later another attempt was made, and yet again repulsed by the German defenders. It was during these few days of action that Private Carr was killed.

Private John Warner Carr’s family were notified of their son’s death on November 21, 1918, ten days after the Armistice that ended the war. Private John Warner Carr is buried in Union Cemetery in Uhrichsville.

Private John Warner Carr’s headstone in Union Cemetery, Uhrichsville. (Source: findagrave.com)

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2021.


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