Henry Higgins Gross

No. 13144 William P. Gross, Arthur W. Gross and Henry H. Gross

Photograph of William P Gross, Arthur W Gross and Henry H Gross. Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

William P Gross 1234 Morton St Dorchester Ft Banks Boston Harbor

Arthur W Gross 1234 Morton St, Dorchester. In France.

Henry H Gross 1234 Morton St In France


Henry Higgins Gross.  Written by Donna Albino.


Henry Higgins Gross was born on June 4, 1893, in Milton, Massachusetts, to Sylvester Gross and Ellen (Pelrine) Gross. Henry was their second child; their first child was a son named Arthur, born two years earlier. The family had moved several times between Milton and Dorchester Lower Mills for a few years. By 1900, the family had settled in a rented house at 22 Bakers Court in Lower Mills, and Sylvester was working as a coachman. Two more children had been born to the family: a son named William, and a daughter named Mary.


In 1910, the family was renting a home at 12 Millers Lane in the Lower Mills neighborhood of Dorchester. Sylvester was working as a teamster for a chocolate factory, and Henry, then 17 years old, was working as a clerk for an insurance company.


On June 5, 1917, Henry registered for the draft. He was 24 years old and self-employed in the express business. He was living with his parents at 1234 Morton Street in Lower Mills. On his draft card, Henry claimed exemption from the war for business reasons, but a few months later, on November 23, 1917, he enlisted with the National Guard. Henry served with the 28th Company of the Boston Coast Artillery Corps at Fort Standish, a coastal fort located on Lovell’s Island in Boston Harbor. After the American entry into World War I, in early 1917, the fort was expanded to include temporary structures such as quarters and addition storehouses, and hosted seven gun batteries. Several of these were earmarked for potential use in the war effort, but were never sent overseas.


Henry was then transferred to Battery F, 55th Artillery Coast Artillery Corps until March 24, 1918. The US Army Coast Artillery Corps was an administrative corps responsible for coastal, harbor, and aircraft defense of the United States, and operated heavy and railway artillery during WWI. On March 25, 1918, Henry was listed with the 55th as a passenger on the RMS Mauretania heading to France, but his name was crossed out on the passenger list. According to his service card, Henry had been transferred to Battery F, 54th Artillery Coast Artillery Corps.


The Maine Regular Army Coast Artillery formed Battery F of the 54th Artillery Coast Corps. The battery was trained and issued new steel helmets, something that the American Army would use for the first time during combat, and another first-time item, a round aluminum dog tag. They were also issued rifles, packs and all small items a soldier would need, but not artillery pieces. Americans had no heavy artillery that was mobile to take to France. The 54th Battery F had already left on the SS Canada on March 22, and Henry was not on that ship. He sailed instead on March 30, 1918 with the Overseas Casual Company on the USS President Lincoln to Hoboken, NJ and then on to France to work at the Trench Artillery Center until his discharge on April 11, 1919 from Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts.


After the war, Henry did not stay in Massachusetts. He met Margaret McCarrick, a young woman living in New York City with her mother, and working as a stenographer. In April of 1920, he and Margaret McCarrick registered for a marriage license in New York City, and married in May of 1920. In the 1925 New York census, they were living at 269 West 153rd Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. They had three children: a son and two daughters. Henry was working as a chauffeur. In the 1930 census, the family had moved to 146 West 168th Street in the Bronx, and they had had a second son. William was working as a chauffeur for a private family. In the 1940 census, the family was still living at the same address, and William was still working as a chauffeur.

Henry Higgins Gross lived a quiet life in New York City until he passed away on December 30, 1971. His wife and four children survived him, as well as nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.




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Posted on

April 3, 2022

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