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Sgt Joseph Clarence “Joe” Carson

Sgt Joseph Clarence “Joe” Carson

Petrolia, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
Death 26 Sep 1918 (aged 22)
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Body not recovered, and his name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, France. He is also memorialized at Rose Hill Cemetery by a simple marker.
Memorial ID 105308236 · View Source
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Sergeant Joe Carson is the original namesake of Carson - Wilson - Rigney - Forrester - Shoemaker American Legion Post 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sergeant Carson was one of thousands of United States service members who died in what was known at the time as The Great War. When the original Tulsa American Legion post was formed, Sergeant Carson's story inspired the founders of Post 1 to permanently honor Sergeant Carson by naming their American Legion post after him.

Born on New Years Day in 1896, Joe was the youngest of five boys born to Mary and John Carson in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. John Carson was a railroad engineer who emigrated from Ireland to Canada with his parents in the1850s. John died in Petrolia in 1904, and his death record describes him as retired, wth a cause of death of pneumonia due to sepsis.

Mary, who was born in Canada, was his second wife. After John's death, she emigrated from Petrolia to Tulsa sometime in the next few years with three of her sons: Joe, Simpson and Gordon. The reasons she chose Tulsa as her destination are not known, but Tulsa, like Petrolia, was an oil boom town, and there were others from Petrolia who moved to Tulsa during the early decades of the 1900s.

The Carson family quickly established themselves in Tulsa. Mary, as was the custom at the time, retained her married name and was known as Mrs. John Carson. Meanwhile, the society pages in the Tulsa Daily World contain reports of Joe's attendance at dances and other social events.

Joe graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1915. He joined his brothers in working in the oil industry in Tulsa. In 1917 he and his brothers registered for the draft. Sergeant Carson's draft card mentions that he was a naturalized citizen, and was attending the Citizens Military Camp at Camp Pike, Arkansas at the time he registered for the draft.

Sergeant Carson entered military service with other Tulsa men in 1918 and they were sent to Camp Travis, Texas for training as members of the 358th Infantry, 90th Division. Prior to the 358th's departure to France, Joe's mother brought his sweetheart, Ruth Brown, to San Antonio, where they were married. He departed for France two days later.

After deployment to France and unit training, the 358th was moved to the Meuse-Argonne sector. Early on September 26, 1918, Sergeant Carson's company was ordered to conduct a feint and advanced on the German lines. Sergeant Carson was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor in this action. The citation accompanying the award tells the story of his brave death:

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Joseph C. Carson (ASN: 2806618), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company D, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Division, A.E.F., near Les Huit, Chemins, France, 26 September 1918. Sergeant Carson, with two other men, volunteered to rush an enemy machine gun which had concentrated its fire on an opening in some barbed-wire entanglement through which his company was endeavoring to advance. He had successfully silenced its fire when he was killed by the fire of other enemy machine guns.

In May 1919, the founding members of the Tulsa American Legion Post voted unanimously to name their new post as the Joe Carson American Legion Post 1 in honor of Sergeant Carson, who was well known and respected by many of his fellow soldiers in Tulsa.

There is more about Sergeant Carson on our website,

Family Members

Gravesite Details Sergeant Carson's body was not recovered from the battlefield. The marker at Rose Hill is therefore a memorial. It reads in full: Joseph C. Carson, 1896-1918, Sergeant 358th Infantry, DSC (Distinguished Service Cross)


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  • Maintained by: TulsaJAG
  • Originally Created by: Finding Family
  • Added: 16 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 105308236
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Joseph Clarence “Joe” Carson (1 Jan 1896–26 Sep 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 105308236, ; Maintained by TulsaJAG (contributor 48842474) Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Body not recovered, and his name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, France. He is also memorialized at Rose Hill Cemetery by a simple marker..