Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Great War: June 4, 1918

Last June, when telling the story of Helen M. Hall, the Hudson girl who went to aviation school and hoped to be commissioned as a pilot in the Army Signal Corps, Gossips touched on the topic of women as ambulance drivers during World War I. While she was waiting for the U.S. military to begin admitting women, Hall organized a Cornell Women's Ambulance Corps for service in France. I wasn't able to discover if Hall and the Cornell Women's Ambulance Corps ever made it to France. Adequate records of the American women who served as ambulance drivers during World War I do not exist. Today's story is related to the story of Helen Hall. 

On June 4, 1918, the Columbia Republican reported that eight Columbia County women applied to be part of an ambulance unit being organized by the New York State Guard.


Unfortunately, I have so far been unable to discover if the ambulance unit was ever formed in Columbia County, nor have I discovered much about the two women mentioned in the article. 

Marion Jeane Van de Carr appears to have been from Stockport. An article that appeared in the Chatham Courier in July 1917 reveals that she was an alumna of the Hudson City Hospital Training School, which is appropriate for someone who wants to be part of an ambulance unit. 

Frances Lillian Atwood seems to gone by the name Lillian not Frances. She was the daughter of Barbara Atwood, a widow, and lived with her mother and two siblings at 29 Worth Avenue. Her name appears in the newspapers a few times: in April 1916, the Columbia Republican reported that she was among those nominated in something called "the Republican's $2,000 Voting Contest"; in September 1916, the Albany Times-Union reported that she, wearing "black and peach taffeta," was one of the guests at an engagement party; and in April 1914, the Columbia Republican published this announcement: "Miss Lillian Atwood, of this city, has several very clever oil paintings on exhibition at the jewelry store of George F. Clow on Warren street. The paintings are attracting much attention." George F. Clow's jewelry store was located at 532 Warren Street, now the location of Mane Street.


  1. Lillian Atwood, possibily Mrs. Lillian Atwood Begley. A death notice for John Harold Begley appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle, Tuesday, 11/25/1952, Page 7, Excerpts: Died Sunday in Fort Hamilton Veterans Hospital. Born in Gloversville, but spent most of his boyhood in Hudson. In WW1 he served as a non-commissioned officer in an infantry unit. Burial will take place in Hudson. Survived by his widow, Mrs. Lillian Atwood Begley, one daughter, Mrs. Frances Stokes and two grandchildren, Barbara Ellen and Ronald Stokes.

  2. Lillian Atwood, Additional Information: Engagement Announcement, The Hudson Evening Register, 06/23/1943. "Mr. and Mrs. John Harold Begley, of Brooklyn, announce the engagement of their daughter, Frances Barbara, to Charles J. Math?son Jr. of East Hartford. Conn...Mr. and Mrs. Begley are former well known Hudsonians, Mrs. Begley being the former Miss. Lillian Atwood."
    Social Security Death Index: Lillian A. Begley, born 10/16/1893, died 07/19/1955.