World War I
Michael A. Dow
York’s World War I memorial tablet is located in the middle of York Village on Gaol (Jail) Hill, just in front of the Civil War cannon. After much research and effort, the date when this important war monument was dedicated still remains a mystery.
During the WWII scrap metal and paper drives, much of the collection of early York newspapers was sacrificed to the war effort. Although generations of York Historians lost significant primary source material with this paper enlistment into the war effort, I am sure history has shown these sacrifices to have been worth it. With that thought foremost in our heart, we dedicate this small historic effort to the men and women whose names appear on that memorial tablet on the hill.
Information gleaned from town records is presented below in chronological order.
February, 1919 – From an inquire to Amanda M. Fulcher from the Office of the Historian General, NSDAR in
Washington, DC, we received the following: “Our records indicate that the Old York Chapter in Maine placed a marker in February of 1919. This marker is located "on the green in front of the old goal Maine" and it commemorates World War I veterans.” Local historians believe this was the permission asked for and received by the Old York Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, to place the WWI monument.
March 10, 1919 - Annual Town Meeting of York, Maine - page 385. Taken from the original, hand written, Town Clerk report that is currently stored in the Town Hall safe and titled: York Records - - Town Affairs
“On motion of E.C. Moody duly seconded, voted that memorial to those called to the colors by Enlistment or Draft in the war with Germany from the town of York, a committee of two be appointed from the floor to act with the Selectmen and the Daughters of the Revolution in erecting a monument stone with tablet suitably inscribed and with names thereon, and it is the sense of the meeting that the same is located on Jail Hill near the cannon, and that a sum of money not exceeding $500 be taken from the fund for incidental expenses. The same to be used in connection with whatever sum the Daughters of the Revolution may contribute.
Arthur E. Bragdon was chosen from the floor and E.C. Moody appointed by the Moderator to serve with the Selectmen.”
May 23, 1919 - Old York Transcript
"Card Party a success of the Old York Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution held at Town Hall. The room was decorated and $82.00 was raised towards its share toward the roll of honor tablet" A German helmet was auctioned to add to the amount from the sale of refreshments and party for a $100 donation. Mrs. E. Moody donated the helmet for the auction. Refreshments were ice cream, eclairs, gingerale and candy."
1919 – 1920 Activity notes. Old York Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution scrap book, page 2.
“Work in World War 1 – Memorial Relief $100 given toward Tablet for same.”
November 19, 1919 - Page 322 of the First Parish Church records, as recorded by S.H. Junkins, Parish Clerk:
“At a legal meeting of the First Parish Church held at the Vestry of said Parish on the fifteenth of November, A.D. 1919 at two o’clock in the afternoon.
Under Art 3, upon motion of Edward C. Moody it was voted that the Parish hereby give permission to the Town of York to place on Jail Hill so called – a memorial Tablet in honor of those who served in the late war with Germany from the Town of York.”
March 15, 1920, 10 A.M. Adjourned Annual Meeting. This was taken from the original, hand written Town Clerk report that is currently stored in the Town Hall safe and titled: York Records - Town Affairs, page 413.
“Moderator Arthur E. Bragdon read a letter from Fremont Varrell and one Mrs. Hungerford objecting to the erecting of the Honor Roll monument on Jail Hill. E.C. Cook suggested it be placed on the premises on the Fire Company’s lot. Katherine Marshall spoke on the proposition. No affirmative action taken.
On motion of E.C. Cook duly seconded it was voted to adjourn without date.
A true copy
Attest: Roger A. Putnam - Town Clerk”
Town of York Annual Report for year ending February 12, 1921 - page 27. The expenses listed below are for the year 1920.
Ellis F.W., Hauling granite slab for Memorial Tablet - $40.00
Liberty Bronze Works. Testimonial Tablet - $325.00
Moody, Edw. C. Paid for typewriting names for Memorial Tablet. $2.00
Same Report, Page 28
Smalley, Fred C., granite slab for tablet - $105.00
As of 2020, no newspaper accounts of the actual monument dedication have been found.