3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 2, 2020 10:47 AM by Lisa Sharik

    Seeking WWI records of Benjamin Harper & unit


      My Grandpa was in WWI. He was in Company D & F 142, 42 INF, 36 Division out of Oklahoma. I don’t know much but one night in 1930 he was drinking and was picked up by deputy and on the way to jail he said something about the deputy who stopped the car drug him out handcuffed and beat him on the neck and head and he died in a cell overnight my Father was 3!


      His name is Benjamin Harper was born October 18, 1898 and died August 7, 1930. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I’ve often wondered if he suffered from PTSD from the War! Thank you all.

        • Re: Seeking WWI records of Benjamin Harper & unit
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Was your grandfather still in the service at the time of incident? If so you can see if provost Marshal  have anything regarding a death or investigation. If he was not in service I would contact county or municipal authorities to see if their was any arrest records or perhaps his death records can shed light on any investigation. Next I would also try contacting the Department of Veterans Affairs to see if ever received treatment from them in regards to PTSD or Shell Shock in those days.



          Elliot Schneider

          • Re: Seeking WWI records of Benjamin Harper & unit
            Jason Atkinson Ranger

            Dear Mr. Harper,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

            We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1955 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. 


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Records of Divisions, 1917 - 1920 in the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (Record Group 120) that includes 36th Infantry Division. We also located Records of the 1st Through 338th and the 559th Infantry Regiment, 1/1/1916 - 12/31/1921 in the Records of U.S. Regular Army Mobile Units, 1815 - 1970 (Record Group 391) that may include records of the 142nd Infantry Regiment. To access these records please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


            You may also wish to contact the Texas Military Forces Museum as they have accumulated a great deal of information about the 36th Infantry Division during World War I.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


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            • Re: Seeking WWI records of Benjamin Harper & unit
              Lisa Sharik Adventurer

              Mr. Harper:

              At the end of WWI, the 142nd Infantry Regiment returns entirely to the control of the Texas National Guard. During WWI it did contain Texas and OK soldiers but after 1919, it is back to being a Guard unit.

              At the Texas Military Forces Museum we have the service cards for every Texas who served during WWI, I did not find your grandfather listed since I assume he was from OK. 

              I also checked the book "History of the 142nd Infantry Regiment" by Chaplin Barnes published in 1922, which has a number of rosters, I could not find a Benjamin Harper in any of the lists. I did find a Richard W Harper with Company F, with the 1st OK Infantry before it was consolidated as part of the 142nd but that was all.

              If he continued in military service after 1919 in OK, then you might check with their National Guard to see if they have records for him.

              Sorry we could not be of more assistance.

              Lisa Sharik

              Deputy Director

              Texas Military Forces Museum

              1 person found this helpful