Frank Danforth Laber d 6 January 1964

Frank D Laber was born 8 February, 1899, in Barton VT, the seventh of nine children of Frank T and Lizzie (LaClair) Labor.  One brother, Joseph Ray, died as an infant.  The rest of his siblings lived to be adults, and have families, although the longest-lived, Eugene, was only 69 when he died.  It is unknow for sure why Frank T’s children spell their name with an E rather than O.  One speculation is that Lizzie thought the ER option sounded less French.  It should be noted, however, that the descendants of Frank T’s younger brother Marcel used the ER spelling, while the descendants of Frank T’s older brother Louis retained the OR spelling.  Either way, researching this family requires checking both spellings.

The 1900 census of Barton lists Frank as the one-year-old son of Frank and Lizzie Labor.  About 1901 or 1902, Frank and Lizzie moved their family to Lebanon, NH.   I have not been able to find the Frank T Labor family in the 1910 census.  They should have been in Lebanon at that time.  Frank attended high school there, listed as a member of the class of 1917, although he may have actually returned after the War to finish school.   

Frank enlisted to serve in World War 1, Twenty-sixth, 26th Division (New England National Guard.)  The 26th Infantry division was first mustered into service after the outbreak of the First World War in 1917. It was the first National Guard Division to be formed during the war. Consisting of guard troops from all six New England states, the division was soon christened the “Yankee Division” or “YD” for short. At this time the YD was comprised of the 101st (MA NG), 102nd (CT NG), 103rd (ME NG), and 104th (MA NG) infantry regiments. The division had the distinction of being the first National Guard division to land in France, as well as the first complete U.S. division (elements of the 1st Infantry Division had landed a few months earlier) to deploy overseas. Under the command of Maj. Gen Clarence Edwards, the division saw extensive service on the front lines throughout the war, amassing a battle record which was only rivaled by the regulars of the “Big Red One”. The division won the right to wear the battle clasps for Ile de France, Lorraine, Aisne Marne, St. Mihel, Meuse Argonne, and Champagne Marne After the war, the division returned to New England and its individual units resumed duty with their respective state National Guards.

Frank served in France in 1918. He was gassed during the war and suffered from its effects. He also had a horse shot out from under him, and was wounded and stayed for a while in France to recover.  Frank named one of his sons Clarence Edwards Laber. 

The 1920 census of Lebanon lists Frank with his parents, and with younger siblings Wilmer and Ruth.  Frank married Pearl Isabelle LaBombard on 3 June 1920 in Lebanon.  They had five sons and a daughter.  This generation has been much longer lived than their father, as all have reached or exceeded the age of their longest-lived Laber aunt or uncle. 

In 1929, Frank’s youngest brother Wilmer (Bill) developed blood poisoning after a tooth extraction. Wilmer lived in California.  Frank and his good friend Harry Ryan (and Harry’s brother) drove cross-country to try to get to California to provide a blood transfusion for Wilmer.  They did not get there in time.  Frank kept a diary of the trip out, where he meticulously recorded their expenses and incidents that happened along the way.  His observations were that the southwest did not seem very fertile for agriculture.

In 1930, Frank, Pearl, and the first three sons were living in Lebanon, where Frank was a dairy farmer.  Various nieces and nephews and other family members spent time living with Frank and Pearl.  They also took in boarders. 

Frank spent most of his life dairy farming and working in the woods. He lost his farm in Charlestown NH during the depression of the 1930’s.  He also farmed in Cornish and Newport, New Hampshire.  He was always a conservative Republican and very patriotic. 

Frank built the ski trails on Mt. Sunapee with the help of prisoners from the New Hampshire State prison. He also was responsible for all the logging of the trees that were fallen during the 1938 hurricane in 36-square-mile Corbin’s Park. The trees were cut in the winter and put on ponds so they could be retrieved in the summer. The ponds protected the logs from termites. The Corp of U.S. Army Engineers came to see how he was able to cross the swamps to get the logs. He built a corduroy  road by putting sawdust on the frozen ground with slabs of lumber and that kept the ground frozen most of the summer.  Lumber that was stored on the Newport farm was owned by the U.S. Government and was used in WW 2.  Frank’s youngest sons used to run from the tops of one stack to another until they were driven off by hornets. They also carried a few boards through the woods so Frank’s eldest son could build his house.
During the logging days in Newport, Frank’s Jersey cow Penny was stolen in the winter from our camp. Frank traced the cow for six miles to the thief’s house in South Cornish where he beat him up and led the cow back to camp. 

Frank had a large garden at the farm on East Mountain.  The 1952 Newport city directory lists Frank and Pearl Laber as a farmer and milk dealer on East Mountain road. In 1954, Frank bought a new Farmall Super-C tractor, and his grandchildren enjoyed riding on it with Gramps. The tractor has been restored and is a prized possession of his great grandson.  Frank died 6 January 1964 at age 64, at the Veteran’s Hospital at White River Junction VT after a long illness.  He was buried with military honors at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Newport NH.  The home on East Mountain is now Soo-Nipi Lodge.

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2 Comments

  1. Roger Laber said,

    January 6, 2011 at 15:19

    Frank was a member of the 103rd Field Artillery at Kittery, Maine and was allowed to return to Lebanon and graduated from Lebanon High School. He graduated in uniform. The graduating class records are available in Lebanon. There is also a Monument with his name on it for serving from Lebanon in WW 1.

    The farm was sold in Lebanon in 1930 and the family moved to North Charlestown where Roger was born in November. Alfred was born also born in Charlestown. They next moved to Claremont where they rented an apartment until the bought a small farm in Cornish where Jeanie was born after being delivered by our neighbor Cora Dickerman.

  2. Evelyn Laber said,

    January 9, 2011 at 19:05

    He was diabetic but preferred to “eat what he wanted to” end enjoy it even though he knew it would shorten his life.


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