Cpl. Lawrence B. Williams

Hero Profile - WWI

Address when enlisted - 266 South Main Street

Date of Sacrifice July 19, 1918 - Age 25

Corporal Lawrence B Williams was a member of A battery 101 st field artillery and was killed in action on the Marne July 19, 1918. Two days after Sgt. George H. Mealey.

Cohasset residents George H. Mealy and Lawrence B. Williams may have never crossed paths on the road of life. Instead, they walked parallel paths as they were both members of the Massachusetts National Guard who were sent to fight in France during World War I. Both were mortally wounded just two days apart and both were laid to rest more than 4,000 miles from home. Eighty-seven years ago on July 17 and 19, 1918, Cohasset lost two brave young men, as both Mealy and Williams paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom during the battle of Chateau-Thierry in Fismes, France. Mealy, who died at the age of 28, was a sergeant and a member of Company K, 101st Infantry Yankee Division, while Williams, then 25, was a corporal with Battery A 101 Field Artillery.

Born to George W. Mealy and Charlotte Otis (Snow) Mealy on Nov. 10, 1889, George H. Mealy spent his childhood in and around Cohasset. His family had a successful ice business which delivered giant blocks of ice to residents of the town. Perhaps the ice from Mealy's family business was added to glasses filled with the product fabled to have been generated by a member of the Williams family - Cohasset punch - a drink that has become somewhat famous in the town's history.

Williams is the son of Marshall and Edith Barrett Williams, and it has been said Marshall Williams is the creator of Cohasset punch. Legend says Marshall invented the drink, which although its exact recipe is unknown, is a cherry-colored, rum based liqueur. The punch was rumored to have been invented by Williams for a party at the estate of the late comedian William H. Crane.

But it wasn't just Williams' father who was well know, his mother was the daughter of the well known Shakespearean actor of his time, Lawrence Barrett.

Growing up, Mealy lived at 39 Beechwood St., a large Victorian home which has since been converted into condominiums. Williams lived close by, just up the road at 266 South Main St. The sacrifice both men made has been remembered with a memorial square, both of which are located at intersections on South Main Street. A memorial for Mealy is at the intersection of South Main and Elm streets and a memorial for Williams is at the intersection of South Main and Summer streets. Because Mealy was the first Cohasset man killed during World War I, as an additional tribute, the American Legion Post was named the George H. Mealy Post #118. But paying tribute in Cohasset wasn't enough for some fellow residents. In September 1931, then Cohasset American Legion Post Commander Nathaniel Hurwitz, along with Joseph Barrow, Frank Migliaccio and the Pond Plain Band of Weymouth went to France to visit the soldiers' grave sites and pay their respects. The group placed wreaths and Cohasset earth over the graves of both young men.

In total, five Cohasset men were killed during World War I. The summer of 1918 saw the deaths of not only Mealy and Williams, but Pvt. John W. Sidney, who was killed Aug. 17, 1918, exactly one month after Mealy's death. Both Joseph Gonsalves and Herman Daley were killed in October of that same year, on the 6th and 14th, respectively.

Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee Glenn Pratt provided the Mariner with the information for this article. For more information on George Mealy, Lawrence Williams, or any of the Cohasset veterans who have paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom, please visit the Cohasset Veterans Memorial Committee Web site at www.cohassetveteransmemorial.com.

Home   Back to Hero Profiles

Cohasset Massachusetts