WWI: First Soldier Killed in WWI from Hamilton County
Posted On: 09/20/2017 - 12:56pm, Posted By: Other
This post was guest authored written by Katie Fiorelli, Cincinnati Museum Center's former UC Graduate Intern, in 2015.
April 6, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. Every other Wednesday, we will present items from our collections that highlight life in Cincinnati, around the nation and from the battlefields during the war.
Carlton Bowen was one of the thousands of local men from Hamilton County who were drafted to serve during the Great War, now known as World War I. Bowen was drafted in September, and enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 3, 1917. He became a member of the American Expeditionary Force, a designation for soldiers who have been deployed overseas, on February 27, 1918 after he arrived in France. He served in Company D, 2nd Regiment of Engineers for a little more than two weeks (April 6-April 22), when he tragically lost his life. His gravestone in Hopewell Cemetery in Montgomery informs that Bowen was killed at Sommediue, part of the Verdun Front.
The Cincinnati History Library and Archives have many letters, photos, and newspaper articles related to local soldiers who died in service to their country during the Great War. What makes Bowen notable is that he has been identified as the first soldier in Hamilton County to be killed in WWI. An article in The Enquirer, Cincinnati from May 6, 1918 notes:
“Relatives of Private Carlton Bowen, Montgomery, Ohio, near Cincinnati, were notified yesterday by the War Department that he was killed in action, when in France with a regiment of engineers. Private Bowen went to Camp Sherman last September with a draft contingent, and two months ago left for France with an engineering regiment. So far as known, he is the first drafted man from this vicinity to have been killed in action in France. Private Bowen was 23 years old and the son of N.F. Bowen, Montgomery. He is survived by four brothers. A cousin, George Dean, Madisonville, is in France with the Marine Corps.”
In addition to this article, a letter accompanies the two photos of Bowen, written by his father.
¾ length portrait of Carlton Bowen (1895-1918). Co. D 2nd Reg. of Engineers, A.E.F. Killed in action April 22nd, 1918, age 23. Cincinnati Museum Center. SC#77.
Full length portrait of Private Carlton Bowen (1895-1918). National Army. Company D. 2nd Regiment of Engineers. Killed in action April 22nd, 1918. Cincinnati Museum Center. SC#77. Cincinnati Museum Center. SC#77.
Letter dated July 22, 1919 from the family of Carlton Bowen to the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio (HPSO) forerunner to the Cincinnati History Library and Archives at Cincinnati Museum Center. Cincinnati Museum Center. SC#77.
His is just one of thousands of stories available for discovery in the Cincinnati History Library and Archives located in the Cincinnati Museum Center.