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
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
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.