Ralph Watson Fearing

No. 13134 Ralph Watson Fearing

Photograph of Ralph Watson Fearing. 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.

Ralph Watson Fearing Lieut Born in Hingham May 15, 1894. Son of Massachusetts Agricultural College 1917 Entered Officers Training School Camp Upton? Jan 5, 1918. Overseas April 1918. Made  Serg. Commissioned 2d Lieutenant Aug 1918 In several battles, wounded. Three machine bullets in legs in the Battle of Argonne in the last of September 1918 was in a base hospital several weeks then sent to a convalescent camp or …

Ralph Watson Fearing was born on May 15, 1894, on Prospect Street, Hingham, Massachusetts to Watson Burbank Fearing of Hingham, MA, and Eva L. Sawyer of Hillsboro, N.H. His father was a Superintendent of a milk farm in Hingham.

But by 1900, the family was living at 951 Washington Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Ralph, age 6, had 4 siblings, all girls; Emma (21), Martha (15), Ruth (9) and Mary (1). There were 3 male boarders. The father was a milkman.  In 1910, most of the family was still living together including the oldest sister with her husband, an additional child, a younger brother Albert, an uncle, 2 female servants and 5 male employees. The father was listed as a dairy farm farmer.

Ralph graduated from the Gilbert Stuart School, then Dorchester High School in 1912. He attended Worcester Academy for 1 year and then graduated from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1917.

Ralph, age 23 registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 at the local board 21. He was still living at 951 Washington Street, Dorchester and working for his father as a farmer at W. B. Fearing Company (Codman Farm), Dorchester. He is listed as medium height and build with blue eyes and light brown hair. He indicated that he had poor eyesight. Never the less, he was inducted into the Regular Army on January 5, 1918 and entered Officers Training School at Camp Upton. He served in Co D, 307th Infantry and as Private 1st Class and went overseas, leaving New York on April 7, 1918 on the ship “Justicia”. He was promoted to Corporal on April 16, 1918, Sergeant on January 3, 1918 and was engaged in Defense Sector at Baccarat. He was honorably discharged on July 12, 1918 to accept a commission as Second Lieutenant August 1918. He served in several battles and was wounded in the legs by machine gun fire in the battle of Argonne. By the end of September, he had been in a base hospital for several weeks before being sent to a convalescent camp or hospital at Hyeres, Southern France, on the shore of the Mediterranean on November 29, 1918.  He was discharged from the Army and arrived home February 1, 1919.

In 1920, Ralph was living with his parents and two of his siblings. There were 5 male lodgers and Ralph is President of the Co-op. But he is not home for long as in the early 1920s, he moved to California and worked for the Electric Railway.

On June 13, 1930, Ralph married Esther M. Waldeen of Minnesota in the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, San Francisco. In 1940, they were still living in San Francisco. They had three children; Watson, Edward and Isabel. Ralph was a Power Station Operator for the Electric Railway.

Ralph again registered for the draft in 1942 when he was employed by the Market Street Railway with offices at 11th& Bryant Street, San Francisco.

He died on February 12, 1972 at about age 80, in Sisikiyou, California and is buried in the Etna Cemetery. He was survived by his wife who died in 1989 at about age 89.

Do you know more aboutRalph Watson Fearing? We would love to hear from you! All material has been researched by volunteers  at the Dorchester Historical Society, so please let us know if we got something wrong or you think a piece of the story is missing!


Army Transport & Service Passenger List, Ancestry.com

Birth Records, FamilySearch.org

Census Records, Federal, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1940; FamilySearch.org

City Directories, Ancestry.com

Death record; FamilySearch.org

Draft Registration, 1917 and 1942; FamilySearch.org

Dr. Perkins’ notes

Fearing Family Tree; FamilySearch.org

Graduation program, Boston City Archives

Marriage Record, FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com

Service Record; The Adjutant General Office, Archives-Museum Branch, Concord, MA




Posted on

April 3, 2022

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.