Friday the 13th, September 2013 and the moon was waxing Gibbous

The Medium, the Man and his Medals

– Joseph Francisco (1881 – 1966)

 The reported spiritual activity atop Zion Hill, gave rise to the Historical Society inviting the Northeast Paranormal Association ( http://www.nepanh.com ) to do an investigation here at our old Stone School Museum. The Museum was originally built as a school which opened in 1843 on land donated by the Newmarket Manufacturing Company.  It was the oldest school building in the State of New Hampshire when it closed in 1965.  Bought for a dollar in 1966, it became the home of the New Market Historical Society.  Since then it has become home to hundreds of items of  Town memorabilia — appliances, tools, and artifacts from the last two centuries  —all donated by families with Newmarket roots. 

The Association demonstrated on the October 28th, 2013 general meeting just how their mediums and investigative staff members communicate with the spirit world.  They took Historical Society members on a search for the paranormal using their scientific equipment and techniques – a unique tour indeed.

Prior to the general membership meeting, the Association performed two preliminary investigations at the Museum.  The first was at the end of summer of 2012, and second was September 2013 on Friday the 13th.

At this Friday the 13th investigation, “Ali” a high school student and “medium-in-training” sensed a specific presence.  Downstairs, in the dimly lit museum, Ali felt a definite unhappy spirit.  She determined a Spanish connection,  ”a young man named of “Jose” who was involved in a fight,” and the letter “E” which was associated to him, although she couldn’t make out what the “E” meant.

When the group of investigators climbed the stairs to check out the second level of the museum, she stopped on the fourth step and was drawn to a display case on the wall.  It contains military medals, ribbons and awards.  The staircase was dark, and the display case is not lit and none of the items were clearly visible.  Her hand went out toward the left side of the display case, “That’s him, that’s Jose.”

(photo: Ali, “Medium-In-Training” — courtesy photo of the Northeast Paranormal Association)

The lights were turned on, and her finger landed on a 4 x 6 inch typed index card above nine medals which had been darkened by age.

 The medals and card belonged  to a Joseph Francisco.  A few medals on the list were for service aboard the USS Eagle during Naval campaigns prior to WW I.   She exclaimed: “That’s him, that’s  Jose and that’s the “E!”   He must have fought and died for those medals.”   She also stated that one, he (Joseph) was upset that his medals were tucked away with everyone else’s; second, that he fought too hard to get them; and third, she relayed that he (Joseph) said they should have their own individual display.

 

Subsequent investigation by the Historical Society staff discovered the following biographical sketch of Ali’s “presence”.

Joseph E. Francisco

Joseph was born 17 Jun 1881 in Brooklyn, New York.  He and his brother Charles were brought up by their grandmother Elizabeth Francisco.  In the 1900 census Elizabeth (age 62) was a seamstress, and Joseph (age 18) made dress dummies.  Joseph was named after his grandfather Joseph H. who was born in 1829 and who fought in the Civil War as a Private in the 102nd New York Infantry enlisting at age 32 on January 28, 1862.  Joseph H. was discharged early for disabilities in November 1862, and he died prior to May 1865.

(photo: courtesy of  Commander Ken Kinglsey, Kennebunk Memorial Post 6548 Veterans  of Foreign Wars, and  Vice Commander, Webber Lefebvre Post 74 American Legion, Kennebunk, ME. )


Joseph E. first enlisted in the US Navy in 1903 and retired after thirty years on Feb 7, 1933.  Most of his early service was that as a Pharmacist’s Mate with the Pacific and China Fleets.  At one time he was the welterweight boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet.  When he retired he attained the rank of  Chief Quarter Master.

After his initial Navy Training he was assigned to the USS Eagle and saw several campaigns in the Caribbean during some of the “Banana Republic Uprisings.”

The USS Eagle would sail between Cuba, Norfolk, VA. and Portsmouth, NH.  It was while he was in Portsmouth that he married Amelia Florence Adams on 25 Aug 1909.  She was born in Prince Edward Island, and was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Burt) Adams.  For most of their married life Joseph and Amelia lived in Kennebunk, Maine, except for a few winters they spent in Florida or at a residence on Middle Street in Portsmouth.

It does appear that his medals were quite important to him, as he must have petitioned the US Navy for them.  During his military career, Joseph never received them and it wasn’t until eight years after his retirement that he was finally got to wear them. The AP services carried the story which ran in several Maine, NH and Mass papers –

 Joseph Francisco of Kennebunk, the retired chief quartermaster of the US Navy, recently received medals which he earned over 15 years ago.  Mr. Francisco fought in five revolutions and has received a medal for his services in each.  He is now employed as a guard at the Portsmouth NH Electric Light plant.  He retired from the Navy in 1932.

                                                       (Daily Kennebec Journal, Sat. July 5, 1941)

 

The following are his medals which were displayed in the stairway cabinet:

New Market, New Hampshire Historical Society –

Medals donated March 1969 by Armand LePage.

1)      Cuban Pacification 1908, US Navy

2)      Mexican Border Service 1916-1917, Presented by State of NY

3)      WWI for Service  1917 -1919,  State of New York with clasp “Destroyer”

4)      US Navy Medal USS Eagle (Joseph Francisco) Sept 20, 1911 CSC NO.21538

5)      Great War for Civilization, France  Destroyer  (WWI) USS MacDonough ribbon

6)      Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal - Navy  for Service 1926-1930 —

            (aboard USS Nitro, Ammunition and supply ship for the Marines 5thRegiment)

7)      WW II Victory

8)      Non-military:             Knights of Phythias  F.C.B.

9)      Non-military:             Small gold medal w/ white circle “Spirit Body Mind”

Military Medals Described Below:

1)  Cuban Pacification, 1908 

 Awarded to U.S. Navy personnel having served in the United States occupation force, garrisoned on the island of Cuba between the dates of October 6, 1906 and April 1, 1909.  The Cuban Pacification Medal was created by orders of the United States War Department on May 11, 1909. The medal was conceived to recognize service during the withdrawal of the United States military presence in Cuba as an aftermath of the Spanish-American War.

 

 

2)  Mexican Border Service 1916-1917, Navy -  Presented by State of NY

Awarded to those U.S. service members having performed military service against Mexican forces between the dates of April 12, 1911, and June 16, 1919.  The United States Navy issued the Mexican Service Medal to members of the Navy and Marine Corps who participated in the actions, as well as to service members who served aboard U.S. naval vessels, patrolling Mexican waters, between April 21, 1914, and November 26, 1914, or between March 14, 1916 and February 7, 1917.  The Navy version depicted a waterfront fortress with the annotation “1911 - 1917” at the bottom of the medal.

 

3)  WWI for Service  1917 -1919,  State of NY World War I Victory Medal

A war service medal to be known as a Victory Medal be awarded to all persons in the naval service who served on active duty between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918, or who entered the naval service on or after 12 November 1918, and prior to 30 March 1920, and served not less than 10 days on shore in Northern Russia or Siberia.

4)  US Navy Medal USS Eagle

(Medal is engraved: Joseph Francisco - Sept 20, 1911 CSC NO.21538)

The USS Eagle sailed from New York on 17 April 1898 for duty with the North Atlantic Squadron on blockade and dispatch duty in Cuban waters. On 29 June, she shelled the Spanish battery at Rio Honda and on 12 July captured the Spanish merchant ship Santo Domingo. Eagle returned to Norfolk on 22 August to be fitted out for surveying duty, her principal employment through the remainder of her naval service.  She compiled new charts and corrected existing ones for the waters surrounding Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

   The 1910 Census lists Joseph as age 29 and residing aboard the USS Eagle, Guantanamo, Cuba, Military and Naval Forces.

(photo: courtesy of  Commander Ken Kinglsey, Kennebunk Memorial Post 6548 Veterans  of Foreign Wars, and Vice Commander, Webber Lefebvre Post 74 American Legion, Kennebunk, ME. )

 Joseph Francisco wearing his medals photo taken at Memorial Day Parade, late 1930’s, Kennebunk, ME.)


Joseph Francisco

Service Record and Medals

U.S.S. Eagle June 1912-March 1916   Troubled conditions throughout the Caribbean often interrupted Eagle’s surveying duty and she gave varied service in protecting American interests. She patrolled off Haiti in January–February 1908 and again in November and December. She was sent to Nicaragua in December 1909.  In June 1912, she transported Marines to Santiago de Cuba and Siboney to protect American lives and property during a rebellion in Cuba, and continued to investigate conditions and serve as base ship for the Marines until 1914.  She also provided gunboat duty with a cruiser squadron during the Haiti operation of July 1915-March 1916.

Haiti —8 July, 1915, a landing force of 22 men, under command of Ensign L.B. Green, U.S. Navy, was landed from the U.S.S. Eagle, at Cape Haitian, Haiti, to occupy the French Consulate. This landing force returned to the Eagle on Aug. 8th.  She then remained off Haiti to conduct surveys for only three days until 11 August when another landing force of the U.S.S. Eagle was landed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti for patrol duty on shore until August 15th.

 U.S.S. Eagle 21 Feb to 15 Jul 1917 — a landing force of one officer and 30 men  was sent from the U.S.S. Eagle, at Nuevitas Bay, Cuba.  The landing force returned aboard on seven days later.  On March 5th, a landing force again embarked for duty at Banes, Cuba.  Five days later on 10 March, small detachments were landed from the U.S.S. Eagle for duty at Preston, La Guara and Lacajo, Cuba. On March 12, 1917, the detachments were relieved.  On 17 March another landing force from the USS Eagle arrived at the Mill of the Manti Sugar Company, at Batey, Nuevitas Bay, Cuba.  And in early April, 1917, a small landing force set out from the U.S.S. Eagle for duty at Preston, Cuba. This party returned aboard ship at the end of the month.

 U.S.S. Eagle 1917 – 1920  With American entry into World War I, Eagle returned to Cuban waters attached to the American Patrol Detachment, Atlantic Fleet, and between 1917-1918 was continually on patrol off Cuba, Santo Domingo, and the southern coast of the United States. From Key West, Florida, she patrolled the Florida Straits and after the end of the war operated on target practice, and tactical exercises. The ship left Key West 29 Apr 1919 for Portsmouth Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 23 May and sold on 3 Jan 1920.

 

5)  Great War for Civilization, France  Destroyer  (WWI)  Navy plate  ribbon “MacDonough”

 Joseph Francisco was assigned aboard the USS MacDonough and joined the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet.  Until Jan 1918, she performed screening assignments off the east coast. On 16 Jan 1918, she departed Philadelphia for Brest, France, arriving 20 Feb. She remained off the coast of France, providing escort and patrol services until 20 May 1919 when she returned to Philadelphia and remained in that port until decommissioned on 3 Sep.  The Macdonough was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 7 Nov 1919 and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 10 Mar 1920.

 

6)   Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal  1926 - 1930– Navy

Joseph served on the USS Nitro  - US NAVY, Pharmacist, 2ndClass,   8 Sep 1926 – Oct 1930

Hdqrs and Hdqrs CO, 5th Regt, 2nd Brig, U S Marine Corps, Managua, Nicaragua

 This medal was awarded to U.S. Marine Corps and Navy personnel having either served on a United States ship, or as an embarked Marine, in the waters or land territory of Nicaragua between 27 Aug 1926 and 2 Jan 1933.  The medal displayed a woman, armed with sword, defending two other figures with a cloak. The medal bore the words “Second Nicaraguan Campaign” with the dates “1926 - 1930” displayed on the medal’s edges.

 

7)   WW II Victory Medal

During WW II Joseph re-enlisted in the US Navy.  Although past enlistment age, after petitioning the Navy, he was accepted as a recruiter and actively worked out of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from 1942 til 1945.

He travelled all over Southern Maine and New Hampshire as well as Northern Massachussetts — seeking out and interviewing candidates for various positions within the US Navy.  The Portsmouth Herald ran his photograph and a story on 30 Jul 1943   about Joseph travelling by school bus to several towns seeking 50 men to enlist in the Seabees.  He rolled out his School bus recruitment campaign many times looking for both Waves and Seamen.  He specifically sought out young men with special skills as electricians, pipefitters and plumbers, bull-dozer and road-machine operators, quarry workers, welders and numerous associated tradesmen for enlistment in the Seabees.


FUNERAL NOTICES — Biddeford Journal

KENNEBUNK — Amelia A. Francisco, age 70, wife of Kennebunk, Maine, passed away July 20, 1959. Funeral services Wed. at 2 p.m. from The Roger K. Lucas Funeral Home. Friends may call at their convenience Tues. afternoon and evening.     Mrs. Amelia A. Francisco, 70, wife of Joseph Francisco of this town, died at her home yesterday.  A native of Prince Edward Island, she was born March 25, 1889, the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Burt) Adams. Besides her husband, survivors include two brothers, Waldron Adams of Beverly, Mass., and Walter Adams: two sisters, Mrs. Lucy Court of North Berwick and Miss Viola Adams of Worcester, Mass.

OBITUARY –Nov 5, 1966 – Biddeford Journal

KENNEBUNK  – Joseph E. Francisco, 85, known as this town’s “Mr. Veteran” died yesterday in a Berwick nursing home after a long illness.  Born June 17, 1881 in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of Charles G. and Rose Snyder Francisco.  He was a retired Naval Chief Quartermaster, and saw service in two world wars and several foreign campaigns.

He first enlisted in the US Navy in 1903 and retired Feb 7, 1933.  A large percentage of his service was with the Pacific and China Fleets, and at one time he was the welterweight boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet.  At the start of World War II, Francisco’s request for re-entry in the service was granted by the Navy Department, and from Oct 21, 1942 until 1945, he served on active duty, chiefly as a recruiting officer.

The holder of several naval decorations and commendations, Francisco was one of the founders and charter members of the Kennebunk Memorial Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and held service offices in the local VFW post and in the VFW district.  On Memorial Days until his illness, he was in charge of the colors in the annual parades.  He also had taken an active interest in the Sea Shore Trolley Museum, and was a member of the York Masonic Lodge, A.F. & A.M., this community.  Surviving are several nieces and nephews.  Funeral Services will be conducted Monday at 1:30 p.m. from the Angell Funeral Home, 9 Dane Street, this town, with burial in the First Parish Cemetery, York.

Medals held with the New Market Historical Society

Just why the medals came into the possession of the New Market Historical Society remains unclear.  Three years after Joseph’s death, Armand “Baker” LePage gave them to the town’s undertaker Roy Kent as a donation to the Society with no documented information as to Joseph’s link to the town.  Today, some forty years after the gift, Mr. Kent does not recall it, and Baker died in 1985.  In speaking with Phil LePage, Baker’s nephew, one plausible answer might be that the two met while Joseph was a resident of the Berwick nursing home.  Baker was originally from the Berwicks, and he visited his two elderly aunts at the same nursing home quite frequently.

Armand LePage was the oldest man from Newmarket to enlist in World War II.  A baker by trade, he enlisted as a baker with the US Army and saw service in France.  The two veterans may have struck up a friendship based on their past military history.  Baker may have even met Joseph as he came to town on one of his recruitment campaigns at the beginning of WW II.  Another explanation is that Baker was an avid collector of memorabilia; he may have asked for the medals, been willed them, or even purchased them from a pawn or antiques shop.   We may never know.

But after a paranormal prompt on Friday the 13th, Joseph’s medals have now been removed from the general collection and given their own display, along with this abbreviated bio of man who served his country between 1903 and 1945 – and served his fellow veterans until his illness incapacitated him.

—-written by John Carmichael, New Market Historical Society.

All Published


Stone School Museum

The Stone School Museum, built in 1841, as a two-room schoolhouse, and now home to the New Market Historical Society, is located high upon Zion’s Hill on Granite Street.  Hours of operation are in our program of events and are on our web page and Facebook.  If you need further information, please call 603-659-7420 and leave a message or via email at newmarketnh.historicalsociety@gmail.com. Your inquiry will be returned as soon as possible.


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