Summary

Samuel Shethar was a war hero, earning the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in the Champagne sector in 1918.

Conflict Period:
World War I 1
Branch:
Army National Guard 1
Rank:
Captain 1
Birth:
19 Jul 1886 1
New York 1
Death:
25 Apr 1940 1
Weston, Fairfield Co., Conn. 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Samuel Shethar 1
Birth:
19 Jul 1886 1
New York 1
Death:
25 Apr 1940 1
Weston, Fairfield Co., Conn. 1
Cause: After-effects of gassing from World War I 1
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Marriage:
Ethel Cozzens 1
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World War I 1

Branch:
Army National Guard 1
Rank:
Captain 1

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Sources

  1. Contributed by gersonyfam1217
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Stories

Samuel Shethar was the oldest son of Edwin and Agnes Shethar. He was a war hero from World War I. His health never recovered from being gassed during that war, and he died in 1940 at the age of 54. He was married twice, to sisters. From his first marriage, to Pauline Cozzens, he had a son, Sam, born in 1913, who very tragically died at the age of 10, when he ran to catch an elevator and it turned out that the door was open to an empty elevator shaft. His second wife, Ethel Cozzens, married him despite his poor health, saying, according to George J. Davis (my uncle), that she had always loved him and would be happy to nurse and take care of him.

Here is the text for his citation from his service in World War I:

Distinguished Service Cross

Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Infantry) Samuel Shethar, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 369th Infantry Regiment, 93d Division, A.E.F., in the Champagne Sector, France, September 26 - 1 October 1918. Acting as operations officer, Captain Shethar on several occasions voluntarily collected small units which had become separated from their organizations, organized them, and led them to their positions through intense machine-gun and shell fire. At another time he spent several hours searching for a wounded battalion commander until he found him and carried him through heavy fire to the rear.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 37 (1919)

Action Date: September 26 - October 1, 1918

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Regiment: 369th Infantry Regiment

Division: 93d Division, American Expeditionary Forces

Sam Shethar had a prominent obituary in the New York Times, April 26, 1940, page 21, column 6, as follows:

WORLD WAR HERO

He Fled Hospital to Join His Battalion in Battle -- Hat Manufacturer Dies at 53

SAVED LORILLARD SPENCER

Carried Wounded Major Back to Lines Under Heavy Fire -- Ex-Connecticut Legislator

Weston, Conn., April 25 - Samuel Shethar, World War hero, New York hat manufacturer, and former member of the Connecticut Legislature, died today at his home here. He was 53 years old.

Mr. Shethar, who had lived here since 1924, spent his business life as a hat manufacturer, heading a concern of his name. He retired several years ago. He had been first Selectman here, and in 1932 was elected on the Republican ticket to the State Legislature. He served for several terms, and was also chairman of the State Motor Vehicle Department.

Mr. Shethar was born in New York, the son of Edwin Hall Shethar and Agnes Nesmith Shethar, and was a descendant of Captain John Shethar, who was with the Continental Dragoons in the Revolutionary War. General Washington presented Captain Shethar with a sword after the Battle of Brandywine, and Mr. Shethar possessed this sword.

Studied in Germany

He attended the Berkley School, and after study in Munich, Germany, was graduated from New York University in 1906. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Club, Republican Club, and was an enthusiastic yachtsman. He became a thirty-second degree Mason at the age of 24.

As a member of Company K of the Seventh Regiment, N.Y.N.G. (New York National Guard), Mr. Shethar served on the Mexican border, and when the United States entered the World War he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Fighting Fifteenth Infantry. After nineteen hours of service in France he was ordered to a hospital with influenza. But at midnight, hearing that there was heavy fighting, he eluded his nurses and made his way back to the lines. He reported to his battalion commander and went into action, went through a twelve-hour shrapnel attack and was gassed. For his bravery in this action he was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1918.

Had Helmet Shot Off

In the action on the Champagne front late in September, he volunteered to search for Major Lorillard Spencer who was lost. Under heavy machine gun fire he found the major, who was badly wounded, and carried him back to the American lines. Mr. Shethar's helmet was shot off on the trip. For this action General Pershing personally bestowed on him the Distinguished Service Cross.

At the end of the war he held the rank of major, and after four citations for valor, possessed the Croix de Guerre with palm and silver star, and was made a member of the Legion of Honor. Besides being gassed, he was twice wounded. At the end of the war, when near death from pneumonia, he was detained in France.

He leaves a widow, Mrs. Ethel Shethar; three sisters, Mrs. Frances B. Beals, Mrs. Beatrice Holdridge, and Mrs. Louis P. Davis, and a brother, John B. Shethar.

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