WORLD WAR I
LETTERS HOME


Note: During World War I, as I read the accounts and reports from the front in the Record newspaper, Harry B. Doremus seemed to be the central figure. Most local young men were either serving in his Company or serving him on his staff. The letters home portray him as a man looked up to and trusted. At home, the parents of these young men in his Company must have looked at him as the father of the boys while overseas. Harry B. Doremus was born on April 30, 1876, so he would have been 42 years old when he was KIA on October 27, 1918. A rather older man for the day and one who had already served in the Spanish American War and Mexican border conflicts. To understand how old he was for the day, the average life span at the turn of the century was 47 years old and it reached an all time low in 1918 because of the Spanish Influenza, not the first World War, of just 39 years old.

Walter Brown who was killed in action on October 12, 1918, lived on the North end of Hackensack on Grand Avenue , which is in the area of ‘McDonalds' in River Edge today. On some local maps even today, it is marked North Hackensack . The article below tells of
Walter Brown'
s parents receiving the message of their son's death. The article tells of his relationship with Harry B. Doremus who lived on State Street in Hackensack and the Fifth New Jersey Regiment.

I do not know if Walter Brown attended Hackensack High School but his connection with the town through his church and his home are solid. The River Edge American Legion Post is named in Walter Brown's honor. Harry B. Doremus was killed in action only 15 days after Walter Brown on October 27, 1918. The Hackensack American Legion Post was named in Harry Doremus's honor. Let us never forget the soldiers sacrifice.

Written by: Bob Meli June 10, 2009

 

WALTER BROWN
KILLED IN ACTION
North Hackensack Boy Was Aide to
Capt. Doremus of Old Company G.
November 20, 1918
 

Word was received here Monday night by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brown, of Grand avenue, North Hackensack, that their son Walter S. Brown, of old Company G. Fifth New Jersey Regiment, now the 114 th U.S. infantry, attached to the 29 th Division, had been killed in action in France on October 12.

The message was a great shock to his parents and to his many friends, as the young man was highly esteemed and respected in the community.

It is hoped and there is reason to believe that a mistake has been made by the War Department as letters received here from other boys in the regiment written as late as October 23, make no mention of the demise of the young man.

Brown was 20 years old and a graduate of the River Edge School . Up to the time of being called into service he was employed in the filing department of the Mutual Life Insurance Co.

He saw service with Company G on the Mexican border and upon his return home was mustered out and placed on the reserve list. When the war with Germany was declared, Brown was again called to the colors and promoted to Corporal. For awhile he was stationed at Passaic and did guard duty on the pipe line from the Boonton reservoir. Later he went with his regiment to Pompton Lakes and from there to camp McClellan at Anniston Ala. At the latter place he was again promoted to sergeant and in June sailed overseas with his regiment. His latest promotion was to that of Gas mask officer. That he was a dependable soldier was indicated by the fact that Capt. Doremus, of his company, kept him as an aide and greatly relied upon him for assistance.

While of coarse nothing definite is known as to just where he met his death, it is assumed that it was in the neighborhood of the Argonne Forest where the boys of the old Fifth Regiment did such a valiant service.

Brown was a member of the North Hackensack Reformed church and was a Boy Scout up to the time of his enlistment in the Militia.