Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 4, 1891
Place of BirthGravenhurst, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Trade / CallingSawmill worker
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
ForceUnited States Army
Branch1st Cavalry Regiment
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentJackson, Oregon
Date of EnlistmentMay 21, 1917
Age at Enlistment26
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 1968
Age at Death77

Smith, Charles Henry

Charles Henry Smith was one of three brothers, the oldest of seven sons of Charles Alexander Smith of Keewatin, Ontario to enlist during the Great War.

Charles Henry Smith served with the U.S. Army while his brothers John Wesley Smith and Leonard Edward Smith served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Charles Henry was Charles Smith’s second eldest son and child, born April 4, 1891 to Charles’ second wife Orvina Etler who he’d married in 1890 when the family lived in the Muskoka District of central Ontario.

The Smith family was large, along with John Wesley Smith (1888) who was the only child of Charles Smith’s first wife Margaret it included Charles Henry (1891), Hannah (1892), Leonard (1895), Wellington (1890), Edward (1903), Gladys (1905), Frank (1906), Florence (1908), Mathew (1909) and Andrew.

Charles Smith moved his growing family to Keewatin in the late-1890s and took a job at the local flour mill.

Charles Henry emigrated to the United States in 1915 and was working at a sawmill in Jackson, Oregeon when he filled out his Selective Service Act registration card.

Rather than waiting for his number to be called in the draft that summer, Charles enlisted in the army May 28, 1917.

By December of 1917 he was serving with the 1st Cavalry Regiment at Camp Harry J. Jones in Douglas, Arizona.

He became a naturalized U.S. citizen when 160 foreign-born men in his unit signed naturalization papers enmass in June of 1918 at the camp.

While most of the army personnel records for that period were lost in a federal government army records centre fire in the 1970s, it is unlikely Charles Henry Smith was sent to Europe. By mid-1918 the U.S. army had determined there would be little need for mounted troops in Europe and only a few units were sent there. The 1st Cavalry Regiment, part of the 3rd Brigade, 15th Cavalry Division until May 1918, was removed from the army’s order of battle for service in Europe and tasked with border patrol and security duties along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Charles Henry remained in the army after the war and was enumerated as a soldier at Camp Stanley, Texas in the January 1920 U.S. census.

He left the army shortly after that and moved to Cerro Gordo, Iowa where he married Alma Clara Brahm and they tried their luck at farming. They had two children in Iowa, a daughter born in September 1921 who died as an infant, and a son, Richard Brahm Smith, born Sept. 27, 1923.

By the 1930 census the family had moved to Colton, San Bernardino, California, later settling in Jackson, Oregon by the 1940 census where Charles Henry continued to work as a farmer. According to the census details he owned his farm, but lived in a rented house with his wife and son in nearby Central Point North. Alma is recorded in the census as a housewife and Richard in his second year of high school.

Charles Henry Smith passed away April 1968 in Jackson, Oregon.

by Bob Stewart

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