|A U.S. Army 37-mm gun crew manning their weapon on September 26, 1918 during the World War I Meuse-Argonne Allied offensive, France. This would have been the day after Corp. Glenn C. Gillen was killed in this battle.|
The Gillen family is a direct line for me. I descend from William Gillen (1782-1841) and his wife Rachel Frampton (1781-1855). They are my 4th great grandparents.
It is one of their great grandchildren that is the focus of my post today.
Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen
born 1 Jan 1896 in Chesapeake, Lawrence, Ohio
Killed in action 25 Sep 1918 in France
Corp. Gillen is my 2nd cousin 3 times removed. Glenn’s parents are Elijah C. Gillen and Bessie Etta Cowen. Glenn was the 2nd son born to this family. He had 3 sisters and 5 brothers, two of which were twins. All but the youngest girl would have had vivid memories of him.
A recent hint on Ancestry.com brought up a record group I had never heard of before. It’s called U.S. World War I Mothers’ Pilgrimage, 1929. In it is a list of mothers and widows who desired to travel to Europe to see the final resting place of their sons who were killed in action during World War I.
Here is the index:
|Name:||Glenn C Gillen|
|Relationship to Soldier:||Self|
|Military Unit:||Co. D, 139th Inf|
|Burial Place:||Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse, Lorraine, France|
The image lists the Name and Addresses of the family member, their relationship to the deceased soldier and information about that solider.
(CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT)
Transcription of this entry:
Mrs. Bessie Gillen of Independence, Montgomery, Kansas is the mother of deceased soldier Cpl. Glenn C. Gillen, of Co. D, 139th Inf. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery and she desires to make a pilgrimage to his burial location at a later date.
I wanted to learn more about this young man, who died at age 22 yrs. serving his country. I was able to find the following records:
- World War I Draft Registration Card
- Global, Find A Grave Index for Burial at Sea……..
- International Find A Grave Index
- Kansas, Fraternal Order Death Index, 1873-1969
- WWI, WWII and Korean War Casualty Listings
- Several newspapers articles referencing Glenn’s death on Newspapers.com
|World War I Draft Registration for Glenn Clifford Gillen|
During this tough time in our country, I wonder what this young man thought as he registered for the draft.
His parents visited him before he left for duty in September 1917.
And there was a family picnic too.
I think about this family, like millions of others, who said goodbye to their sons and never saw them again.
From the Independence Daily Reporter, 21 Oct 1918, pg 3.
This article is titled OME BOY HIT BY MACHINE GUN BULLET and is a letter from Sgt. Ben Taylor to his mother Mrs. Myrtle M. Taylor. In it he mentions his experience and then says the following:
“I don’t know how true it is but I heard that night that Sergt. Frank D. Coate and Corp. C. Gillen were killed in action….”
Two more articles located on newspapers.com mention Corp. Gillen as missing in action and another names him for an honor roll. I notice that Glenn’s brother, E. Ross Gillen is also mentioned for this honor roll.
Glenn’s mother, Bessie, was finally able to make that journey to France to see her son’s grave. She was 61 yrs. old and appears to have traveled alone. We can only imagine how she felt as she walked up to his headstone, so far from home.
|Name||Bessie Etta Gillen|
|Arrival Date||4 Sep 1931|
|Birth Date||1 Dec 1869|
|Birth Location Other||Springfield|
|Port of Departure||Cherbourg, France|
|Port of Arrival||New York, New York|
Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen of Independence, Montgomery, Kansas served in the 139th Infantry, 35th Division, Company D.
You can find his memorial on findagrave.com by clicking here.
He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial in Romagne, Lorraine, France.
Here is a photo of his headstone. Used with permission.
I’m glad to have met Glenn C. Gillen all these years later, and learned a little about him and his family. He never married and had no children that I am aware of. But, his memory lives on.
Rest in Peace Corporal Gillen.
If you think you might be related to anyone mentioned in this blog post, please contact me.In honor,
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