Centennial Commemoration of the Great War


June 10, 2017, 12:00 pm


Chatham Borough Hall
In France during the Great War, five Chatham Borough men lost their lives. In 1919, their sacrifice was honored by the planting of five red oak trees on the grounds of Public School #1, now Chatham Borough Hall. Sadly none remain.
In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into WW1, the Chatham Historical Society will dedicate another red oak tree in memory of the soldiers whose lives it commemorates and in gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice. 

FRED R. PIHLMAN was a member of the first graduating class of Chatham High School in 1911. He was proficient in his studies as well as the captain of the football and baseball teams. He attended Middlebury College and graduated from Pratt Institute of Technology in 1916. He was working as a chemical engineer when he was drafted. After his parents received a telegram their son had been killed in action, they received letters from him indicating he was injured but doing well. It took months to clarify he was dead but the full details of his death were never found. He was 25.

FREDERICK P. PARCELLS was a volunteer fireman. In war, he was a communications expert. At the front line he was hit by heavy fire but continued keeping communications running. He was then injured by a shell blast and died the next day at the age of 23.

VAN HORN D. WOLFE was injured by a gas shell explosion which killed all his men. He died two months later while recovering. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he was a talented artist and architect working in NYC until he resigned to enter the service. He was 26 years old. His father was the local doctor.

EUGENE P. HUBBARD was 22 years old when he was the first killed in action. He was posthumously cited for bravery, for repeatedly and voluntarily exposing himself to enemy artillery fire in the performance of his duties. He was killed while directing the removal of the bodies of three of his men. A graduate of Middlebury College, he went to officers’ school in Plattsburg. 
PAUL C. VAN FLEET was 24 and engaged to be married when he enlisted. He was killed in the trenches trying to repair a vital communication wire which was damaged. He was the son of a decorated Civil War veteran.


News & Events

Post date: April 5, 2017

The society hosted a well-attended spring program on April 2nd at the Library of the Chathams. Janet W. Foster, an architectural historian and historic preservation consultant, led a group of over 60 people through a wonderful presentation on the history late 19th Century American Architecture.

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Check here for other upcoming events pertaining to the Chatham Historical Society and Chatham's history