Leo Franklin Weisse

No. 13108 Leo Franklin Weisse

Photograph 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.

Leo F Weisse 41 Bearse Ave enlisted March 28, 1917 National Naval Volunteers U.S.S. Kearsarge until October 11, 1918 transferred to the Little building

Leo Franklin Weisse.  Written by Donna Albino.

Leo Franklin Weisse was born on May 10, 1898 in Boston. His parents, Leopold Weisse and Ellen (Murdock) Weisse, lived on Bearse Avenue in the Lower Mills neighborhood of Dorchester. In 1900, the family was renting their home at 15 Bearse Avenue in Dorchester, and Leo had an older brother named Carl (age 5). Their father, Leopold, worked as a machinist.

By 1910, the family moved a few houses away to 43 Bearse Avenue. Leopold was working as an engineer for a regulator company, probably the Mason Regulator Company a few blocks away, and several more siblings had joined the family: Frederick, Francis, Walter, and Paul.

Disaster struck in 1916. In May, Leo’s younger brother, Walter, fell from the Lower Mills Bridge trying to fetch a half dollar he lost in the Neponset River. His young friends ran for help, but Walter drowned before adults could get to the scene. He was only 9 years old.

On March 29, 1917, Leo joined the United States Navy on the same day that his older brother, Carl, joined the National Naval Volunteers, a reserve military organization for reservists, retirees, and volunteers. While his birth certificate lists his name as Leo Franklin Weisse, the name on his service card was Leo Francis Weisse, the name he used for the rest of his life. Leo and Carl both served on USS Kearsarge, a United States Navy ship used for coastal defense. During the Great War, USS Kearsarge was used to train Armed Guard crews and naval engineers during cruises along the Atlantic seaboard. On August 18, 1918, Kearsarge rescued 26 survivors of the Norwegian barque Nordhav, which had been sunk by U-117, a submarine in the German Navy, and brought them to Boston. Leo transferred to the District Detail Office in Boston on October 11, 1918, and was released from active duty on July 25, 1919. His honorable discharge was March 28, 1920.

In the 1920 census, Leo was living with his parents and brothers at 41 Bearse Avenue in Dorchester. Leo was a typist in an insurance office, his father Leopold was working as a master mechanic in a machine shop, his brother Carl was working as a bank clerk, and his brother Frederick was a typist in a manufacturing office.

Leo was still living with his parents in 1922, but by 1925 he had moved to Canton. In 1926, Leo married Nina Durham in Canton. By 1930, Leo and Nina had a 2-year-old daughter, Barbara. Leo’s mother passed away in 1929, so Leo’s father Leopold and Leo’s youngest brother Paul moved out of their Dorchester home on Bearse Avenue and came to live with the young family in their home in Canton. Leopold was working as a machinist in a factory, Leo was working as a bank clerk, and Paul was working as a clerk in a state home. By 1940, Leo and Nina had two more children, a daughter named Janet and a son named Leo. They were still living at the same address in Canton, and Leo’s father Leopold lived with them until he passed away in 1946.

By 1951, Leo and Nina were living in Milford, Connecticut. Leo was working as a labor investigator for the US government. Leo passed away suddenly on May 22, 1951 in Stamford, Connecticut. The cause of death was acute coronary thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel of the heart. He was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Canton. In 1954, his wife Nina applied for a military veteran’s headstone for his grave. A flat bronze marker with a Christian cross was installed later that year, and can be viewed in the photo of his grave at FindAGrave.com. Nina passed away in 1986, and is buried next to him.


Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2003.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Boston Ward 24, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 1528; FHL microfilm: 1240687

Year: 1910; Census Place: Boston Ward 24, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_624; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1631; FHL microfilm: 1374637

Year: 1920; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_739; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 525

Year: 1930; Census Place: Canton, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0034; FHL microfilm: 2340669

Year: 1940; Census Place: Canton, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01626; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 11-75

Military, Compiled Service Records. World War I. Carded Records. Records of the Military Division of the Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts National Guard.

Wikipedia, USS Kearsarge (BB-5)

Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Ancestry.com, Sokolowski Family Tree by sokolowd

Ancestry.com, Sandra Wilcox family tree by SandiRaff

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.


Posted on

April 12, 2022

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