Monday, July 18, 2011

Military Monday - Edward Creeden in Army, Marines, Canadian Forces, Part III

I've posted previously here about the mysteries surrounding my great-grandfather's brother Edward Creeden, born on April 10, 1884 in Celina, OH. Nobody in the family seemed to know what he did after leaving Celina.

Military records I found on had an Edward Creeden that served in the Army (1904-1910), the Marines (1910-1911), the Army again (1912-1915), and finally, the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (1917-?), but could these all be the same Edward? It seemed unlikely.

I ordered records from NARA for Edward Creeden's military service and received them this weekend. They solved one mystery, added some new information, and raised another mystery!

The records contained the following documents:
  • Edward's enlistment in the Army in 1904 and 1907 and his enlistment in the Marines in 1910. He enlisted in the Marines a few days after being discharged from the Army in 1910, so that explains the 1910 overlap. This was indeed the same Edward from Celina, OH, so one mystery solved!
  • The various units and locations he was in were listed. He first enlisted in Salt Lake City, Utah and gave his previous residence as Pueblo, CO and listed his sister Julia in Pueblo as next of kin. Locations included Porter, NY, the Philippines, Monterey, CA, San Francisco, and Puget Sound, WA.
  • Beneficiary information designating his sister Julia and brother Charles Creeden (my great-grandfather).
  • Promotions from Private to Corporal to Sergeant in the Army and Marines.
  • Military records showing that he served in the Army in the Philippines for 4 years and was in an Expedition against the Pulajames in Samar in the Philippines from Feb. 10 to April 1,1905.
  • Records of tests he took to be certified as an first class rifleman and sharpshooter. His record from the Army was transferred to the Marines.
  • Physical description including two tattoos-- an eagle with flowers on one arm and an eagle with a shield on the other.
  • Records of his desertion from the Marines in October, 1911 and warrants put out for his return. This is the biggest mystery. The records state that his clothing was left in good condition, that he was an excellent soldier in all respects and no reason could be found for the disappearance.
His last enlistment in the Army in January 1912 was not included in the NARA records. This was only a few weeks after his desertion from the Marines, so is very curious. It's definitely the same Edward as the Army enlistment lists Celina, OH, April 10, 1882, and the physical description is the same. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1915.

It's still a mystery as to why he joined the Marines after working his way up to Sergeant in the Army, then deserted the Marines after earning an excellent reputation there and went back to the Army. Then there's the question of whether or not the same Edward joined the Canadian forces.

A couple of the papers had Edward's signature and in comparing it to the signatures on the Canadian Expeditionary Forces form, they look pretty similar. The Canadian enlistment gives his real birth date of April 10, 1884, so maybe by then his age was working against him. It also lists his brother Charles as next of kin and the physical description matches. When I started looking at these records, I doubted that my Edward was in all 3 forces, but now it appears likely that he did have a very interesting and varied military career. Some signatures from the Canadian and US forms are below:

My next step will be to follow up with NARA to see if there is any record of Edward's Army service from 1912-1915. I was actually only expecting the Marine records in the package they sent, so was pleasantly surprised to get the earlier Army records too. The Marines records referenced his previous service in the Army, so I am curious to see if the later Army records make any mention of Edward's Marines service or desertion. I'm also wondering if it would be worth it to order the Canadian records. One mystery seems to lead to another with Edward!

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