Military Monday: 2nd Lieutenant Roy Edwards of the Rifle Brigade, 10th Battalion

After writing a post the other week about Sydney Henry Payne’s service in World War I, I found myself wondering what happened to Syd’s commander, 2nd Lt. Roy Edwards [no relation to Syd’s brother in law, William James Stephen Edwards, the husband of Syd’s sister Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards, who also served in WWI].

You may recall that he sent Syd’s mother, Edith Jane (Scarrott) Payne Burns Hart the following letter, assuring her of Syd’s safety:

“Oct. 26 1917.  Dear Mrs. Payne, No doubt your son has told you he is servant to me in France and as I have just arrived home on leave I thought you might like to hear from me that he is quite well and as we are in a quiet part of the line he is quite safe for many a day to come. As an officer’s servant he has quite a good time as I think he will admit & I feel sure it will be a consolation for you to know that servant’s seldom if ever do any of the dangerous jobs. Yours truly, Roy Edwards, 2nd Lt. R.B. PS Your son asked me to tell you that I am getting his watch mended & will take it back with me.”

First page of letter written from Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

First page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

Second page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart

Second page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

The tragedy of that letter, of course, was that one month later the 10th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade would be called to participate in the Battle of Cambrai. Sydney Payne was injured in the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917 and died of his wounds on 21 November 1917.

It seems that Lt. Edwards returned to the front in time to give Syd back his newly-repaired watch.

2nd Lt. Roy Edwards is listed as a casualty who died 30 November 1917 on the Cambrai Memorial in Louveral, France, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The War Graves Photographic Commission, but unlike Sydney Payne, he does not have an individual gravestone. Investigating further, it seems that the reason for this was because his body was never found or identified. According to British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920, 2nd Lt. Roy Edwards of the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade [service number NW/5/15883] was “wounded and missing” on 30 November 1917, with a note stating that Roy’s brother, L.H. Edwards, applied for a medal in his late brother’s honor on 29 October 1921, and that Roy’s next of kin was his mother, Mrs. Edwards of 30 Nevern Place, S.W. 5.

Probate of Roy Edwards of 21 Bush-lane Cannon-street, London, a lieutenant of the Rifle Brigade who “died on or since 30 November 1917 in France” was granted to his widow Louise Isabelle Edwards on 20 November 1919. His effects were valued at £1051 7s. 6d., according to the National Probate Calendar.

So Lt. Edwards survived his servant Sydney Payne a mere 10 days along the previously “quiet” and “safe” front in France, yet unlike Syd’s family who were immediately notified of his death, Lt. Edwards’ family waited two years before declaring Roy dead, since his body was not identified on the battlefield, presumably holding onto the slim hope that he would miraculously appear, perhaps having been taken prisoner rather than dead. But like so many of England’s families at the time, their son/husband/brother never came home.

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Tombstone Tuesday: “Chief Seattle’s Grave” and Suquamish Cemetery, Suquamish, Wa.

Suquamish Cemetery and St. Peter's Catholic Mission, Suquamish, Washington

Suquamish Cemetery and St. Peter’s Catholic Mission, Suquamish, Washington

We recently visited Suquamish Cemetery beside St. Peter’s Catholic Mission in Suquamish, Kitsap County, Washington on a cold and rainy day. The cemetery is well-known as the burial site of “Chief Seattle” [so-called by Midwestern settlers who founded the city of Seattle and named it in his honor in the 1850s, the title “Chief” was an American title, he was named si?al in Lushootseed]. It is also the burial site of numerous Catholic Suquamish tribe members and related families.

Chief Seattle, 1864. Photo by E.M. Sammis. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries Special Collections #NA1511.

In the early 19th century, Catholic French Canadian trappers were working along the waters and forests of Puget Sound, and several took local Puget Salish or Lushootseed wives. In the 1830s, the Hudson Bay Company established the trading post Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound, and had enough Catholic workers within the company that in 1838, Catholic priests Francis Blanchet and Modeste Demers arrived to serve the Catholic community at Puget Sound. They also served as missionaries to the local Puget Salish tribes. In 1841, Lt. Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Navy remarked that a large white crucifix stood on the beach beside Ol’-Man-House of the Suquamish tribe (a 2,000 year old village site with a large cedar longhouse). Chief Seattle’s father belonged to the Suquamish tribe, and during the 1840s Chief Seattle began attending Masses held at the Ol’Man House and was baptized there, taking the name “Noah Sealth”. In 1861, a Catholic mission church was built above the Ol’Man House village. In 1870 (shortly after the death of Chief Seattle, who died in 1866), the U.S. government burned the Ol’Man House in an effort to have the Suquamish tribe take up farming and spread out into individual land plots rather than a centralized community. The efforts largely failed, as the tribe rebuilt the village and continued to reside at the Ol’Man House village. The federal government then condemned the Ol’Man House site in 1904 with the intentions of building a naval fortification which was never built, and at this time the mission church was destroyed.  Portions of the church, such as the Gothic windows, were salvaged and included in the new St. Peter’s, which was rebuilt next to the Suquamish Cemetery in 1904. The government sold the Old Man House property in 1937 to private development and much of it became vacations homes. In 1950, the Washington Parks department purchased an acre of waterfront property near the site of the Ol’Man House which was donated to the Suquamish tribe in 2004. Several dedication ceremonies and memorials have been held in honor of Chief Seattle which in part have resulted in a number of historic photographs of his grave as well as the cemetery over time. Here is a view of Chief Seattle’s grave and the overgrown cemetery, overlooking St. Peter’s and Puget Sound, taken by famed photograph Asahel Curtis in 1910:

Chief Seattle’s Grave in Suquamish Cemetery overlooking St. Peter’s Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound beyond. Taken by Asahel Curtis, c. 1910. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division.

Mary Kitsap’s grave, St. Peter’s Catholic cemetery, Suquamish. Taken by Asahel Curtis, c. 1911. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.

Here is the cemetery in 1938:

Chief Seattle’s grave. Taken by Lawrence Denny Lindsley, 1938. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division

The overgrown tree stumps and brush evident in the 1910 and 1938 photographs are nowhere to be seen today, as the cemetery has expanded as a burial location to the present day, and as various grants over the past century have been obtained to help with landscaping, pathway development, and plaques and sign installation. In 1939 the graveyard was restored by funding from the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Suquamish Commercial Club. Using burial records from St. Peter’s Church, the groups made and placed 503 cement grave markers. Over 400 names were carved into the markers, and unidentified graves were noted a stone marked with an X.

Our view of the cemetery was the same as Asahel Curtis’ in 1910:

View of Chief Seattle's grave, overlooking St. Peter's Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound

View of Chief Seattle’s grave, overlooking St. Peter’s Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound

View of Suquamish Cemetery overlooking Puget Sound

View of Suquamish Cemetery overlooking Puget Sound

In 1890, a white marble gravestone was placed over Chief Seattle’s burial site by Seattle pioneers, including Arthur Denny, on which they inscribed the following: “”SEATTLE Chief of the Suqampsh and Allied Tribes, Died June 7, 1866. The Firm Friend of the Whites, and for Him the City of Seattle was Named by Its Founders” On the reverse is written: “Baptismal name, Noah Sealth, Age probably 80 years.” In the 1976, a Bicentennial grant funded the construction of cedar poles and two war canoes, carved by Jim and Ernest Chester of the Nitinat and George David of the Nootka, to place by Chief Seattle’s grave. As it deteriorated, recently two 12 foot cedar poles portraying the life of Chief Seattle, created by artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, replaced the canoe memorial.

Marker by the entrance to the cemetery recognizing the 2009 renovation of Chief Seattle's gravesite.

Marker by the entrance to the cemetery recognizing the 2009 renovation of Chief Seattle’s gravesite.

Chief Seattle gravestone and monument

Chief Seattle’s gravestone, flanked by two 12 foot cedar poles portraying the life story of Chief Seattle by artist  Andrea Wilbur-Sigo of the Squaxin Island Tribe.

Chief Seattle grave

Chief Seattle’s grave

Tributes left along the stone wall by Chief Seattle's grave.

Tributes left along the stone wall by Chief Seattle’s grave.

A plaque marked the recent burial site of “Our Ancestors from Old Man House Village, Returned to Rest In Peace, September 21, 2007, With Others from Our Ancient Village Sites”. The Burke Museum in Seattle for many years had held the remains of  almost a dozen historic Native Americans which had been discovered through construction activities near the site of the Old Man House Village during the past century. The museum had very little in the way of acquisition, provenance, or historical records pertaining to the remains. In 2007, following the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Burke Museum notified the Suquamish tribe and the remains were reburied on 21 September 2007.

Memorial plaque honoring the 11 human remains that had been discovered near the Old Man House Village and held for many years at the Burke Museum. Pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains were reburied at Suquamish Cemetery in 2007.

Memorial plaque honoring the 11 human remains that had been discovered near the Old Man House Village and held for many years at the Burke Museum. Pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains were reburied at Suquamish Cemetery in 2007.

There were several benches installed throughout the cemetery modeled after historic Suquamish canoes (the silhouette of which is also featured on the marker memorializing the Old Man House burials):

One of several benches installed throughout the cemetery styled as historic Suquamish canoes.

One of several benches installed throughout the cemetery styled as historic Suquamish canoes.

Many of the cemetery’s burial records from the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum are listed at the Suquamish Cemetery’s FindAGrave page.