Dewey Burr was Trumbull County’s first World War I casualty | News, Sports, Jobs
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a weekly series on our region’s history offered as a collaborative effort by local historical societies.
Dewey George Burr was born on June 12, 1898 to Harvey and Lottie Hudson Burr. The family resided in Bristolville.
Shortly after the United States entered World War I on April 20, 1917, Dewey enlisted in Company B of the 26th Infantry. His unit was combined with others to form the First Expeditionary Division. They are the first American soldiers to land in France.
The First Division won the first American victory of World War I at the Battle of Cantigny, north of Paris, on May 28, 1918. Unfortunately, Dewey received fatal wounds during this battle and died on May 30. He became one of the first Trumbull County boys to enlist, one of the first to cross the seas and the first to lay down his life.
The Warren Daily Tribune reported on his memorial service in its June 24, 1918 edition:
“Yesterday, stretched in front of the town hall of Bristolville, hung a huge American flag. It was patriotism.
“Nearby hung the flag of the municipal service, with its 27 stars, one of which was recently replaced by a gold star. It was a sacrifice.
“And because of the gold star – the first to appear in any Trumbull County service flag – because the spirit it represented had given its life to carry out its mission on the battlefield of France, 2,000 people gathered in the town square in Bristolville yesterday afternoon for the Dewey Burr memorial service.
“Realizing what acts of bravery can be contained in the government’s simple statement, ‘Killed in Action,’ Dewey Burr’s friends and people from all parts of the county came out yesterday to honor his memory as a hero.
“Clear skies brought out dozens of machines which made the journey to Bristolville in the early afternoon. As services began, the village square was lined with automobiles, and more than 2,000 people had gathered in front of the open-air platform erected in front of the town hall. The services were held in the shade of the monument erected in honor of the heroes of more than half a century ago, the lads of Bristol who gave their lives during the Civil War.
“A parade attended by the Warren and Bristol organizations preceded the services. At the head of the column that marched around the square to open the service were the Warren Fife and Drum Corps and the army and navy veterans of that town. The local Boy Scouts troop followed, and then the Girl Scouts Company. Civil War veterans, mostly from Bristol, Warren and Cortland, and the Bristol Woman’s Relief Corps, were the other organizations in the parade.
“Tower. JP Wiseman, of the Methodist Church of Bristolville, acted as president at the time. Following the invocation, given by Doctor JC Smith, of that city, he told the story of the dead hero , and read the government dispatches which were received by the family.
“Tribute was paid to the brave youth who was the first in the county to make the supreme sacrifice, in the principal address delivered by the Hon. Warren Thomas, of this town. As a volunteer in the regular army, Dewey Burr had sailed with the 26th Infantry and met death in combat, as the speaker put it, “With Pershing’s troops, the vanguard of the millions to follow.
“Dewey Burr left his father and mother and other family members a great legacy – an honorable and patriotic name, a record of dedication and service”, said the speaker.
“Let us learn some lessons of patriotism from him, some lessons of devotion to our country. Let us appreciate, by his sacrifice, the full magnitude of the great battle that is currently unfolding.
“We could not have done more noble than to come together in such great numbers to honor this boy from Bristol. By his sacrifice, he made his name shine through the relative obscurity to make himself known throughout the section of the country. People all over this community stop for a minute today and a tear drops in silent tribute to his memory.
Concluding the services, Dr. Smith spoke of the action of those who meet death on the battlefields and the duty of those who remain at home. During the service, several selections were rendered by a quartet made up of members of the Male Warren Choir.
It is only at the end of the war that the body of the dead soldier will be taken back to the hometown for burial. At that time, however, the government assured the parents, Mr and Mrs Harvey Burr, that he would be moved from his current resting place somewhere near the battlefields of Flanders, where he was laid with all military honours.
Dewey Burr’s remains were returned in March 1921 for burial in Evergreen Cemetery.