Dorchester Illustration no. 2326 Harold Davis Archer
At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of WWI Dorchester residents, we will be featuring servicemen and women in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and women and their service to our country.
Our next biography features: Harold Davis Archer
Harold Davis Archer was born 25 December 1888 to Frederick W. and Cora A. (Brown) Archer in Boston. In 1900, the family was living on Richview Street, Dorchester. Frederick was a druggist (Lower Mills) whose parents were born in Canada. Harold was 12 years old now with a brother, Charles F., who was 9 years old. They also had a servant.
In 1910, the family was still living on Richview Street but now with a grandmother and a servant. Harold’s father owned his own drugstore and perhaps Harold worked with his father as he too became a druggist. In 1911, Harold joined the Masons and was a member of the Macedonian Lodge of Dorchester. His occupation was listed as druggist.
Harold married a girl from the neighborhood, Alfreda (Freida) H. Gore, on October 7, 1913. According to a news article in the Boston Globe on October 8, the wedding took place at the bride’s home on Adams St. and was attended by 300 guests including Mayor Fitzgerald. Rev. Ernest S. Meredith, pastor of the Third Religious Society (Unitarian) officiated. The couple were to travel (New York and Canada included) and then to reside on Adams St.He is listed as a pharmacist.
He traveled to Havana, Cuba on business in 1916 as there is a record of his return to New York in July 1916, residence then given as 180 Hudson St., New York.
On July 5, 1917, he registered for the draft in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He and his wife were living there and he claimed her on the draft card. He was a Parke-Davis & Co. sales representative for Puerto Rico. He was short with regular build, green or blue eyes and reddish hair. Harold and Frieda sailed from San Juan to New York, 180 Hudson St. in November 1917.
His New York service record listed his residence as 168 Hudson St., New York. He was appointed 1st Lt. Inf (374th) on May 27, 1918 and principally stationed at Camp Las Casas, Puerto Rico (a U.S. military installation established in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1904). He was with the 374th Infantry until honorably discharged on January 18, 1919. On a passport application later in 1919, he listed his permanent address as Richview Street, Dorchester.
From 1919-1921, he traveled to Venezuela, Colombia, Trinidad, Mexico, Cuba, Vera Cruz and British West Indies. He had his passport stolen in Mexico and he had to reapply for a new one November 11, 1921 in New Orleans. He had to have it expedited by Parke-Davis.
In the 1920s and 30s, he also traveled to the Canal Zone (Cristobol), Havana and San Juan. His address in New York was given as 181 Hudson St. or c/o Parke-Davis. In May of 1935, his wife, Alfreda, died at age 46. They were living on Front St., Weymouth and she is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
Sometime between 1935 and 1942, Harold remarried to Evelyn Lee Meldrum.
In 1942, he registered for WWII, his residence then being 1284 Beacon St.,Brookline and his new employer being Sharp & Dohme of Philadelphia.Harold and Evelyn Archer, both of 1284 Beacon St., traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado. Over the next few years he still traveled to and from Mexico.
On a Puerto Rico Passenger Crew List (Pan American Airways Manifest) on February 28, 1947, Harold and Evelyn Archer of 563 W. 191st St., New York were destined for San Juan.
Harold died suddenly on February 8, 1950 at age 61. He was listed as white and widowed with his address as Leach Ave., Brockton, his occupation being Branch Manager, Sharp & Dohme, Argentina. The informant was his brother, Charles. He is buried at Forest Hills Crematory and is memorialized on a plaque from the Third Religious Society. The plaque is now located at the Dorchester Historical Society.
No records of children were found.
Do you know more about Harold D. Archer? 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!
Dr. Perkins’ records
Birth records, FamilySearch.org
Census records, federal, 1900, 1910, FamilySearch.org
Death records, State Archives, Columbia Point and Vital Statistics, Mt. Vernon St.
Draft registration cards, WW1 & WW11, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org
Masonic membership card, Ancestry.com
Marriage record, FamilySearch.org
Marriage announcement, Boston Globe, Oct. 8, 1913
Passport and Ship Manifests, Ancestry.com
Service Card, Military Museum, Concord, MA