From The Lowell Tribune, Apr. 19, 1917, page 1, column 3:
Soldier Boys Leave
The first soldier boys from Lowell left for Ft. Wayne Saturday morning. They were Chester Wood, John Windbigler and Cleon Wisner. Letters received from the boys stated they had arrived at Ft. Wayne all right and were immediately sent to the barracks at Columbus, Ohio. These boys will all serve in the infantry. On Monday morning Walter Bater went to Hammond and will later go to a barrack. He enlisted in the cavalry.
These boys are the first from Lowell to answer the call of their country for volunteer soldiers, and everyone of them was anxious to get to training so they would be in a position to fight for Uncle Sam. The best wishes of the entire community go with the boys, and many prayers will go up for their safe return.
Boyd Davis left yesterday morning for Ft. Wayne, where he went to enlist and will probably leave at once for some training camp.
from The Lowell Tribune, May 3, 1917, page 4 (page 8 on microfilm), column 2:
Two More Enlist
Two more Lowell boys, Charles Tanner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Tanner, and George Minninger, son of the late Mat Minninger, have enlisted in the army, both boys going into the coast artillery service. They will leave today for Ft. Wayne and from there will go to Columbus, Ohio.
Dear Friend: A letter to let you know I am O.K., and about the army life--it is great and suits me to a T. When I left Lowell I went to Ft. Wayne and then to ________, Ohio, to the barracks, then to ______, Texas, where I started training, and joined company M, 26th Infantry, there being two companies--L and M, there. Company M went to ________, Texas to relieve Company K while they went to the rifle range to shoot.
Two weeks is all we stayed there. It was one grand place and right on the bay, but the water was salty. We left for _______ Saturday and landed here Sunday, the 27th. When we got here they changed three infantry companies to machine gun companies M, H and D, so you see I belong to a fast bunch of fighters. Infantry and machine gunners together there are about 3000 here.
We leave for _________, N.J. about Wednesday, then we go to France. Some trip I know and also some fighting. That is what I joined the army for, to serve the U.S., and I sure will do it. In the machine gun company we carry 45-calliber revolvers instead of rifles, also, a large knife. Just think of firing a machine gun at the rate of 400 shots per minute.
Well I will have to close for this time as I have a lot of packing to do. Will write again from _______. Regards to you and all my friends.
Co. M, Machine Gun Corps.
From the Lowell Tribune, June 21, 1917, page 4, column 1:
Lowell has quite a number of soldier boys at the forts in the United States in training but to Boyd Davis belongs the honor of being the first soldier boy from Lowell to start for the front in France. The last word received from him was that he would sail the next day and without a doubt he is how somewhere on the Atlantic bound for the battlefields of Europe. He is a member of the U.S. Machine Gun Corps. Boyd's many friends hope for his safe return home and also for all the other soldier boys.
from the Lowell Tribune, June 21, 1917, page 4, column 2:
Nate Davis received a letter last Thursday from his brother Boyd, who is serving in the army, in which he said he was writing the letter on board the boat that was to take him to France to fight for his country. He said there were 28 boat loads of soldiers that were going to sail at the same time and that they would not hear from him again as they expected to sail soon. Boyd's many Lowell friends hope he may have a safe passage and that he will return to his home in Lowell after the war is over safe and sound.
from the Lowell Tribune, August 2, 1917, page 1, column 4:
Lowell Boy with Pershing
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Davis have received a letter from their son, Boyd, who is serving under General Pershing in the American Expeditionary Force in France. This is the first letter they have received from him since he landed in France, and they permit us to make the following extracts:
Am. Ex. Force, Paris, France
June 30, 1917
Dear Parents: We landed in ______ O.K., June __. Had a nice journey--I mean voyage across. It has been raining just about every day that we have been here, Had to stay on board ship two days after we were in port, but we are now in quarters. It took thirteen days to get here.
There sure are peculiar looking people over here, and so many different kinds of soldiers and uniforms. Say, what do you think, the first car I saw after landing was a Ford. I guess they are all over the world. We are confined to the camp now. Some of the boys sneak out at night, but they get caught and are given extra work or are reduced to a lower rank. Believe me, I am not going out unless I get a pass, If we do we get 3-30; that means three months pay and 30 days in the guardhouse. I do not care about going up town anyway, because I am broke and I have a good time in camp. We can go up town in about a week, so what is the use of sneaking out and getting into trouble, as I have not been in trouble yet. How are John Windbigler, Cleon Wisner, and Chester Wood? Let me know where they are and when they come if they do. Did Irvin Sargent come to France and what company is he in? Today is muster day and that means payday shortly after. There is a lad in this company from Seymour, Ind., down near Sheridan. Well, I cannot write much more as I have some work to do. Oh yes, don't forget to say hello to Jim Grant and the boys in the store, and tell Jim the fish in the sea are bigger than those in the Kankakee river. How is Lowell and did very many join the army? We get $30 or $36 now, I will let you know in my next letter. Tell everyone to write. Excuse writing as I have only a small pencil, and a mess kit to write on. Address all mail to Boyd Davis, M.G. Co. M. 26th Infantry, Am. Ex. Force, Paris, France.
from the Lowell Tribune, Aug. 2, 1917, page 5, column 5:
We doubt if there are many soldier boys who have a better record than Boyd Davis. He enlisted in the army on April 18. He went to a training camp in Texas and after remaining there for a short time was transferred to a machine gun corps and in a few days he was heard of in New York ready to sail for France. He was only in the army six or seven weeks before he was on his way to France. This is certainly a good record and Boyd must have took up the work in extra good shape to have been able to go with Pershing's troops in that short length of time.
from The Lowell Tribune, Aug. 30, 1917, page 4, column 3:
Boyd Davis Writes
Am. Ex. Force, Paris, France
July 31, 1917
Just a few lines to pass away a rainy day. I guess I have written about a dozen letters and have received no answer. I suppose I will before you get this one. It is raining again toady but the last week had been fine weather and it sure was hot.
We signed the pay roll today and I made a deposit of $25.00. I intend to do so every month. At home I made more than that in a week only I didn't save it.
Say did you know my birthday is very near, 11 more days. It will be past and forgot about by the time you get this. But if you want to send me a (real) present send me some Bull Durham in a box that will not come apart and loose it all. Well it is time for supper now and I will ring off until after.
August 1, 1917: I didn't get time to finish this letter yesterday evening, so will try and do so now. I suppose you are all well at home. I am O.K., except an earache and that is better at present. Where is dad working? I bet he is awful busy these days. I wish I was there to help. Ha! Ha! No chance yet. Say where is John and what company is he in! I don't think he is in this regiment. Write often if you can and send all the news once a week anyway, as it takes a long time to get it here.
Well good bye,
This August 26, 1920, Lowell Tribune article appeared on page 1, column 5:
Davis - Hennesy
Boyd Davis and Miss Sarah Hennesy*, of Hammond, were united in marriage at Crown Point Saturday. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Davis and is one of our most highly respected young men. The bride is spoken of very highly by those who have the pleasure of her acquaintance. We extend to the newly married couple our hearty congratulations. They well make their future home in Lowell.
* Note -- The bride's maiden name is "Hennesy" in this article, but it was listed as "Hensley" in the obituary below.
The following article from an unkonwn source can be found in the Local History Files at the Lowell Public Library (LH--Vital Statistics, vol. 3, page 3):
Boyd Davis, 1st Lowell W W I Soldier, Dies
Boyd Davis, 60, of 264 Florence St., Hammond, died at St. Margaret's hospital, September 15. The first Lowell boy to answer the call to service at the onset of World War I, Boyd went to France with General Pershing's unit. He was a gunner throughout the war and was gassed and wounded in the last big battle in the Argonne Forest, which led directly to the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Born and reared in Lowell, Boyd was a most popular boy and the Lowell youth staged a big farewell party before he left for service.
His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Ben J. Davis. His mother, who will be 90 in December, resides in Calumet City.
Boyd married Miss Sarah Hensley* of Hammond and the couple resided here until the 1930's when they moved to Hammond. Their eldest son, Benjamin, was killed in Italy on Sept. 12, 1944, while on duty with the U.S. 15th Air Force.
Formerly a member of the Lowell American Legion Post 101, he transferred his membership to Hammond Post 16. He had been totally disabled for the past eight years and had been hospitalized many times since his return from France.
Surviving with his wife, Sarah of Hammond, are one son, James of Cedar Lake, who is Lowell's night watchman; two daughters, Mrs. Paul Haynes of Gary and Mrs. Ray Dwoznik of Hammond; two brothers, Nate of Hammond and Foreman of Calumet City; three sisters, Mrs. Joseph Linsenman, Mrs. Russell Hensley, both of Hammond, and Mrs. Paul Lorenz of Calumet City; also six grandchildren and a host of friends.
The Rev. Father Joseph Klinker officiated at the 9 a.m. Requiem Mass on Monday, Sept. 19 in All Saints Church, Hammond, and burial was in Elmwood cemetery.
* Note -- Mrs. Davis's maiden name is listed as "Hensley" in this article, but in the 1920 wedding announcement article (above), is was listed as "Hennesy."