The Road to Barnard, Part 2, in which some questions are answered and others raised

Posted on February 11, 2016


As Part 1 closed, Bruce, Andi and I were headed out Barnard Road.  Bruce drove, I talked, Andi watched for signs.

Andi and the Weatherman help investigate

Andi and the Weatherman help investigate. We found the house from Babs’s picture.

I babbled on about how Barnard was settled in 1866 when Barnard Burns filed his homestead claim on 160 acres and built a sawmill on the creek that tumbled through the land. He became the first postmaster, which explains the name of the tiny community.  His son William was farming 80 acres of Barnard’s land in 1901, when this plat map was published, and was still farming it in 1931 when he died.  Eventually the Boss family acquired the land, and most of it belongs to them today.

1901 Charlevoix plat map - Marion Township - Burns land in Section 20

1901 Charlevoix County plat map – Marion Township – Section 20

I digress.  We were on a mission.  We found the Barnard United Methodist Church, and Barnard Grange No. 689, and the Barnard cemetery. (If you look closely, you can see the church and the cemetery marked on the plat map.)

United Methodist Church - Barnard

Barnard United Methodist Church

Barnard Grange No 689

Barnard Grange No. 689

Barnard Cemetery

Barnard Cemetery

The one-room Barnard School is long gone, but the flagpole remains, next to the Grange Hall.  A plaque on the big stone base says In loving memory of Sergeant Leslie T Shapton, Priv. Harry Potter, and Priv. Harold Cole, who gave their lives in France for their country 1917-1918. Erected by Barnard School.

Barnard Grange flagpole memorial

Memorial plaque on the stone flagpole base next to the Barnard Grange hall.

That was the first mystery I wanted to solve. Who were those three?

Uh-oh, you’re thinking.  Longtime readers may remember a journey that began with a Civil War flag.  Now my beloved Civil War veterans may have to make room for another generation.

Yes.  I have been busy, and Bill Bennett has been helping me.  Let’s begin with Leslie T. Shapton. That’s him all right, perched on his mother’s lap wearing a dress, just like all the other little boys born in 1897.

Shapton family portrait from Bill Bennett

The Shapton family, c. 1898, courtesy of Bill Bennett. Back, Edmund Shapton and Elizabeth Bennett Shapton. Front, their daughter Ethel May and son Leslie (on his mother’s lap).

Leslie went to Barnard School through the eighth grade and graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1916. He must have done well, because in the fall he headed off to college in Ann Arbor.  In April, 1917, the United States entered the Great War, and a lot of young men changed their plans.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there

Leslie T. Shapton enlisted in the Marine Corps on January 24, 1918. He was 21 years old. By the end of the month he was in Company L at the Marine Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina. He was there in February and in March, when, if I understand the records correctly, he qualified as a sharpshooter.

That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
The drums rum-tumming everywhere.

In April, 1918 he was at sea aboard the USS Henderson, on his way to France.

In May he was part of the 146th Co, Third Replacement Battalion, U.S. Marines, A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force). In June he was attached to the Eighteenth Company, Second Battalion, Fifth Regiment.

So prepare, say a prayer, Send the word, send the word to beware

In July the regiment was part of the massive Second Battle of the Marne.

Leslie T. Shapton was near Vierzy on July 18.  It’s that tiny little place on the rail line in the lower left corner of the map.


Detail, Second Battle of the Marne (near Vierzy)

At the end of July the muster roll reported Staff returns not received . . . missing since offensive operation at Vierzy.  The August muster roll reported S/Rs not received. . . . Missing since offensive operations at Vierzy, France.

It was early September when his parents received the first telegram.  Missing in Action at Vierzy, it said.  The next telegram came in October.  Killed in Action, it said.  Buried at Oise-Aisne, it said.  In France.

We’ll be over, we’re coming over, And we won’t come back . . .

Elizabeth Bennett Shapton became the first Gold Star Mother of Charlevoix County.  The American Legion Post in Charlevoix was named for her son.  Her son.  He was buried in France.  She would see about that.

In March, 1921 the letter came.  Leslie T. Shapton’s remains had been disinterred.  They would be shipped to Hoboken, New Jersey.  Hoboken.  And then on to Charlevoix.

In May, 1921, an American Legion honor guard from Leslie T Shapton Post 226 accompanied his remains as they were reinterred at Brookside Cemetery in Charlevoix.

The last muster roll reported Shapton, Leslie T. Previously shown as missing in action should appear as KILLED in action July 18 1918, would have been awarded CHARACTER EXCELLENT had he been discharged.

Good to know.

I’m tired now.  I’ll bet you’re tired, too, if you managed to get this far.  And our long, long trip on Barnard Road has another part.  Part 3.  I leave you with this thought.  It’s from a note Norm Veliquette sent today about Milton Township’s 150th Anniversary history.

The Milton book is a treasure. I’m glad to see lots of it devoted to pioneers who came and hung on.  History sometimes focuses on those who came and made a splash, then left.