Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday - Clues From WWI Discharge Certificates

        On the 10th of December 1917 , Frank E. Sullivan, Sr.(1880-1925). enlisted in the Army in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 pg 16982

Frank is listed on the top of the page in this image. It gives his address in Cleveland, Ohio and his birth information. According to this, Frank E. Sullivan was 36 1/2 years old when he enlisted in Dec. of 1917 and  was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
His military service for WWI is recorded as-

302 Repair Unit Motor Transport Corps to Discharge Sergeant 1 Feb 1918; Private 3 Sept 1918. American Expeditionary Forces 11 Jan 1918 to 8 July 1919. Honorable discharge 10 July 1919.

 Frank's original Discharge Certificates were discovered and are now in my possession. A request for service records was made, but none were found due to the fire at National Archives at St. Louis in 1973.

Frank E. Sullivan, Sr. Discharge Certificate 1- Front
© Cheri Hudson Passey

Frank E. Sullivan, Sr. Discharge Certificate 1-Back
© Cheri Hudson Passey

Frank E. Sullivan, Sr. Discharge Certificate 2-Front
© Cheri Hudson Passey

Frank E. Sullivan, Sr . Discharge Certificate 2-Back
© Cheri Hudson Passey

 After WWI Frank re-enlisted and served at Camp Jackson, SC until he was discharged in 1922. He married Mary Christine Williams (1896-1930) in Camden, Kershaw, South Carolina on June 11, 1921 and had one son, my maternal step grandfather, Francis "Frank" Emerson Sullivan, Jr. (1923-2004) 

Francis "Frank" Emerson Sullivan Sr. was killed in 1925 when the inn where he was living was hit by a tornado. To read about that tragedy see my previous post:     

Headstone of Frank Emerson Sullivan, Sr.
Quaker Cemetery, Camden, Kershaw, SC
© Cheri Hudson Passey

  Nothing is known at this point about Frank Sullivan Sr.'s parents. His death certificate has no information other than his death date, age, cause of death and burial place. Since both of his parents died when he was young, Frank, Jr. had no information about his father's family. 

These military records hold clues that may lead to the discovery of Frank, Sr.'s people.

His reported age and birth place are a starting point. Looking in Ohio where he enlisted may lead to what he was doing there. Perhaps other family members can be found as well.
 I am hoping that this post will reach someone who can help me either with his WWI Military Records or with Sullivan research in Pennsylvania or Ohio.
In addition, there is some oral history saying the family could have come from Indiana. 
Where will these clues lead? I am excited to find out!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,


  1. Who owned the property he lived at in Cleveland? Was he a boarder or a renter? Were there other Sullivan's in the Cleveland City Directory for 1916-1918? He was older when he married Mary Christine; makes you wonder if he hadn't been married before.

    1. Yes,there are Sullivans in the Directory. There are several Franks and even some Frank E.'s too. Was a popular name among the Sullivans!None living at that address. I have made a list of them to see if I can determine a connection. He is not in the census in 1910 for Ohio and in the 1920 census he was in SC. I am not sure if he was a renter or owned the property. That is something that I need to check. Thank you! As far as being married before, I have wondered that too and have searched for any information that would lead me in that direction.
      Thanks so much for reading and giving me such great suggestions. It always helps to see your research through someone else's eyes!

  2. It is very cool to see these discharge certificates! I would suggest researching the two units he was assigned to. Many, many WWI units wrote their histories following the war and you may be able to find something out that way. You could also look for write ups in the local paper, I've found quite a bit on my WWI ancestors just by mention of their participation in the war. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for the great suggestions! I really appreciate you reading my blog!

  3. You have a lot of information about Frank already -- two discharge certificates, a page about his enlistment from Ancestry, a tombstone, a 1920 census from SC. You are really putting together a picture of this person. I assume that you've looked for obituaries in local papers, whether from FL or SC? I found a second cousin who died in CT, and there were newspaper obituaries both in Waterbury CT and in his hometown of SC. Local libraries will sometimes send you copies of the full obituary from a small local paper.

    Laying out all these certificates is really impressive! By the way.

    1. Mariann,
      I have his obit from the SC paper and it says nothing about his parents or where he was from! It just tells that he died in Miami and that he had a wife and child. Leads me to think that his wife may not have known much about his past either!! The reports of his death in Florida just talk about the tornado that killed him and no information about his life. I have been looking into Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania newspapers but nothing so far.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!