Looking for Families of World War I Soldiers

Posted by on June 13, 2011

Maison Esnoms-au-Val

Maison Esnoms-au-Val

I am looking for families of American World War I soldiers.  My family in France recently wrote to tell me that they have made an exciting discovery while renovating the old family homestead.  This homestead is located in Esnoms-au-Val, in the Department of Haute Marne.

In the first World War, many American soldiers took refuge in the house and surrounding barns, some staying only a few days, others several months, as the U.S. Army furiously fought the German Army in that region.  This is now a vacation home for my relatives and the house pretty much stands as it did ninety years ago.

Stacks of lumber, rusty farm implements and bales of hay had to be removed in order to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. To my cousin Patrick Flocard’s surprise, they discovered graffiti left there by young American soldiers as they found refuge in that French farmhouse, in the middles of the war zone, nearly 100 years ago.

I am enclosing photos taken of these old walls.  They are not very clear as dust and years took their toll, but it is my hope that somewhere on the Internet someone will recognize the name of their ancestor.  I am sure they would love to add these incredible notes left behind by their relative, fighting in a foreign country, to their genealogy records and photo albums.  In turn, my family in France would love to know that these young American soldiers made it safely back to the States after the war.

No doubt my great-great-grandmother made some “goodies” for these young Americans; she was a great cook.  As a matter of fact her daughter, my great aunt, met an American officer stationed in that house,

married him and followed him to Glendale, California after the war.

These inscriptions left by the soldiers are pretty faded and their handwriting is  not always legible.  Here is what I can make out:

Charles Fanstermacher – 315 Inf. Band  – July 25th thru September 30, 1918 (This could also be Fonstermacher.)  This young soldier spent three months in my family’s home.

J.P. Baranque 326 Infantry Hq.Co., First Pounders. (could be Barangue.)

Edward Clark – 114th U.S. Infantry – Camp McClellan, Anniston, Alabama- November 17, 1918.  He obviously wrote that as he was departing the farmhouse in France as he scribbled “Now in Berlin” I believe Camp McClellan was formed in Alabama only a year before the end of the First World War, so, unless he was an officer, Edward Clark was probably a very young man in 1918.

Below you will find actual photos taken from the walls of my family’s barn:

Signature01

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Signature02

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Signature01

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I hope the magic of the Internet will “reunite” these soldiers of long ago with their family.

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