One April in Boston

Photographs, Paintings, and Artifacts

The following images support the children’s book and help bring the story to life.

  1. Ten-year-old Ben Edwards glimpses the future through his grandfather’s spyglass. [View Page]
  2. The signature of Captain Edwards (Ben’s grandfather) from his family Bible. [View Page]
  3. The framed portrait of Captain Edwards that Ben’s uncles show him on April 14, 1775. [View Page]
  4. The 1708 Edwards family Bible [View Page] and entries in the hand of Captain Benjamin Edwards. [View Page]
  5. Ben’s Uncle Alex and the Sons of Liberty – original documents from 1769 that contain his signature and name. [View Page]
  6. The weekly issue of the Boston Gazette that Uncle Ben would have read on April 15. The paper is dated Monday, April 10, 1775, and contains a masthead engraved by Paul Revere. [View Page]
  7. A desk owned by young Ben’s great-grandfather, circa 1680, brought to Boston in the early 1700s by sailing ship. This is the desk that Uncle Alex makes a copy of for his friend Nathaniel Barber. [View Page]
  8. The Revere/Edwards family records written from memory by Paul Revere (b. 1789) son of Sally Edwards and Paul Revere Jr. This document lists the birth dates of Sally and Paul Jr.’s 12 children. Their accurate wedding date is July 25, 1782. [View Page]
  9. Colonel Paul Joseph Revere, grandson of Paul Revere, who died on July 4, 1863 from wounds he suffered in the Battle of Gettysburg. [View Page]
  10. The outside of the newly restored Paul Revere House as in appeared in 1909 [View Page] and Pauline Revere Thayer, daughter of Colonel Paul Joseph Revere. [View Page]
  11. Philip Edwards, about age 10, sits with his parents on the front porch [View Page] of his family home in the Millville section of Naugatuck, Connecticut, circa 1905. [View Page]
  12. The Edwards Family farmhouse in East Haddam, Connecticut [View Page] and Phil’s Grandpa Ben who took him to Boston in 1909. [View Page]
  13. The 1812 Edwards family Bible [View Page] and the family record section that Grandpa Ben shared with Phil in the story. [View Page]
  14. This New Year’s card dated 1865 is an artifact from the family Bible of Joseph B. Edwards of Boston. In the story, Phil’s grandfather explained how it got into the Bible and why. [View Page]
  15. Philip Edwards (right) with his best friend John Simmons (holding football) circa 1908 [View Page] and John with his sweetheart Ethel Elliott near the “star stone” in 1915. [View Page]
  16. Ethel Elliott and Ella Wininger at the Elliott farm on April 7, 1915. [View Page]
  17. Private Philip Edwards and Private John Simmons in uniform circa 1917 [View Page] and Ella Wininger when she became a nurse in 1921. [View Page]
  18. Private Philip Edwards. [View Page]
  19. The newspaper clipping about Private Philip Edwards that author Ben Edwards read as a child [View Page] and members of Phil’s regiment speak with his relatives after his burial at Grove Cemetery on July 17, 1921. [View Page]
  20. Boston welcomes home the 26th Division on April 25, 1919. Phil and John were members of the 26th. [View Page] [View Article]
  21. Ben L. Edwards and Ben F. Edwards (the author and his father) in 1964 next to the family marker at Copp’s Hill [View Page] and the new Edwards marker as it appears today. [View Page]
  22. The letter that author Ben Edwards received from Doris Wininger Harkins in March 2000 mentioning that Ella also received a letter from Phil before “going over the top.” [View Page]
  23. The letter that author Ben Edwards received from Bill Simmons, son of Philip Edwards’ best friend John Simmons, in September 2000 after he read One April in Boston. [View Page]
  24. As One April in Boston neared completion, Ella Wininger’s personal scrapbook was discovered in an attic by a relative. It included newspaper clippings on World War I. Some of these clippings were about Philip Edwards. The scrapbook also contained the following poems that surely had an affect on Ella as she dealt with the loss of Phil. [View Page]

Book Trailer


A Real Hero

Audiobook Left at Marker Leads to Treasured Photo

Author Ben L. Edwards placed a copy of the One April in Boston audiobook at the marker of Philip Edwards in Grove Cemetery, Naugatuck, Connecticut in late 2002 or early 2003. It stayed there undisturbed for 3 years until something incredible happened. You can learn the story at and through it travel back in time to meet Phil and Ella on a summer day in 1916.
  1. The photo of Philip Edwards and Ella Wininger that eighteen-year-old Augusta Ericson took in 1916. Her grandson Michael Anderson located it in one of her photo albums after Augusta’s death in 1999 at the age of 101. [View Page] Close up image. [View Page]
  2. A photo of Augusta Ericson at the age of eighteen [View Page]; and a Kodak Brownie No. 2 A camera like the one she used as a teenage girl to photograph her friends and family. [View Page]
  3. Emma (Staub) Ericson with baby daughter Augusta and son Raymond in 1900 [View Page] and Augusta Ericson at the family home in the Millville section of Naugatuck, Connecticut. [View Page]
  4. Cortney Skinner’s illustration of the photograph of Philip Edwards and Ella Wininger. [View Page]

The story of this photo of Phil and Ella, along with many other interesting tales, appears in a section of the One April in Boston eBook called “The Journey Continues—Author’s Update 2015.”

Finding Philip Edwards in France

In 2012, military historian Gilles Lagin of Marigny-en-Orxois, France used recently acquired National Archives records and original battlefield maps to determine how Private Philip Edwards spent his final days in France. The images below, taken in July 2012, show the area Phil’s company passed through on July 19, 20, and 21, 1918 and reveal the church where his name is carved along with other members of the 26th Division who made the supreme sacrifice for their country. In September 2014, Gilles traveled to Belleau to pay another visit to the 26th Division Memorial Church. Photos taken during that trip also appear below.

On July 18, 1918, in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, the 103rd and 104th Infantry Regiments of the 26th Division attacked, taking the villages of Belleau, Torcy and Givry, while the 102nd was held in reserve. The 102nd was subjected to artillery fire from the Germans and they heard the sound of very intense machine gun fire and rifle fire on their left flank during the full day on the 18th. On July 19th, Private Philip Edwards waited with other members of the 102nd. The men knew there would be no artillery support for their attack on the 20th and the Germans were waiting with machine guns on the edge of the forest.

  1. The area where the 102nd Regiment was positioned on July 19, 1918 extended from Bouresches to Triangle. The line at Triangle was a deep trench line crossing the fields from Bouresches to the wood north of La Cense farm. The trench is no longer visible. Somewhere in this general location, likely while sitting in a trench, Private Philip Edwards wrote farewell letters to his parents and his sweetheart Ella Wininger before “going over the top.” [View Page]
  2. The view in front of Triangle of the open field, then Bois de Bouresches, where the 26th Division advanced on July 20, 1918 with the 3rd Battalion of the 102nd Regiment leading and the 2nd Battalion (Philip Edwards) in support. [View Page]
  3. The eastern edge of Bois de Bouresches which was reached by the end of the attack on July 20, 1918. [View Page]
  4. La Gonetrie farm taken by the 102nd Regiment on July 20, 1918. [View Page]
  5. The edge of the forest where Private Philip Edwards was killed by an artillery shell when his company was advancing on Epieds on July 21, 1918. This photo was taken from Trugny Epieds Road. [View Page]
  6. This was the last view Private Philip Edwards had of Trugny/Epieds before he was killed. This is Trugny farm and Epieds (church) taken from the edge of the forest about 140 meters north from where he was first buried. [View Page]
  7. Private Philip Edwards was initially buried on July 21, 1918 in a shell hole along with 3 other American soldiers: Private Lee L. Kressler, Private Ernest H. Melton, and Private Robert A. C. Peters. The shell hole was  located “330 paces east of the road from Breteuil Farm to Trugny, 50 feet south of trail, leading thru woods from above road.” This document located by Gilles Lagin in the archives of Epieds provides more details. [View Page] Phil and the 3 soldiers were reburied separately in the same general area on July 26, 1918 with Orville A. Petty, chaplain of the 102nd U.S. Infantry, present. Four months later Phil was reburied in grave #7, plot 84, in the American Cemetery at Epieds. [View Page] On June 11, 1919 he was again reburied in grave #38, section A, plot #1 in the American cemetery at Seringes-et-Nesles (Aisne). Today he rests in Grove Cemetery in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
  8. The 26th Division Memorial Church at the entrance to Belleau [View Page] where Philip Edwards’ name [View Page] is carved on the honor wall with other members of Boston’s 26th Division who made the supreme sacrifice for their country. [View Page]
  9. Interior photo of the 26th Division Memorial Church [View Page] and a beautiful stained glass window with the image of an American soldier. [View Page]
  10. Three photos of the exterior of the 26th Division Memorial Church taken by Gilles Lagin in September 2014. [View Page] [View Page] [View Page]
  11. Remembering Private Philip Edwards on July 21, 2018the 100th anniversary of his death in World War I. [View Page]
  12. In 2022, 87-year-old Fred Birdsall, son of Warren Birdsall who grew up in Naugatuck, Connecticut with Philip Edwards and fought with him in World War I, contacted author Ben L. Edwards. Fred sent Ben a medal that was given by the state of Connecticut to Philip Edwards’ parents in honor of their son’s service in World War I. That medal was eventually gifted to Warren by Phil’s mom Minnie because the men had been good friends. [View Page] [View Page] [View Page]. It is believed the state of Connecticut awarded these medals to all its World War I soldiers in 1919. Here is original footage of the town of Naugatuck’s Welcome Home Celebration/World War I Parade on July 4, 1919. [View Video]. 

John Simmons’ Service in World War I

In One April in Boston you read the moving letter that Private John Simmons wrote to Benjamin and Minnie Edwards after their son Phil was killed in action in France on July 21, 1918. In 2017 author Ben L. Edwards helped the Simmons family obtain artifacts that belonged to John and, with the assistance of military historian Gilles Lagin, learned more about John’s service in World War I. Ben provided this information to the Simmons family so they could pass it on to future generations. John Simmons and his wife Ethel Elliott have 11 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; 17 great great grandchildren; and 1 great great great grandchild.

John H. Simmons received the Citation Star which was awarded for “Gallantry in Action against an enemy of the United States.” The award was established on July 9, 1918. On July 19, 1932, the United States Secretary of War approved the Silver Star Medal to replace the Citation Star. Recipients of the Citation Star could exchange the award for the medal. The box for John H. Simmons’ Silver Star Medal has the date August 29, 1932 and the Medal Number 2683. The Silver Star Medal is the third-highest award for bravery in combat given by the United States. Acts of heroism that earned a Silver Star, though not deserving of a Distinguished Service Cross or Medal of Honor, must have been “performed with marked distinction.” John Simmons, like Philip Edwards, was a company runner. He was cited by Major General Clarence R. Edwards for “gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on July 18, 1918, delivering messages under heavy enemy fire, Belleau Woods, Second Battle of the Marne.”

1. The Silver Star awarded to John H. Simmons [View Page] and the box showing the date and medal number. [View Page]

2. John Simmons’ Yankee Division patch and the buttons from his World War I uniform [View Page] and a closeup photo of those buttons. [View Page]

3. John Simmons’ rank chevrons from his World War I uniform and in the upper right, in the gold metallic-thread, his two wound chevrons. [View Page]

4. A document from the captain of the 102nd U.S. Infantry Regiment noting that John H. Simmons was wounded in action twice. [View Page]

5. The first page of John Simmons’ World War I diary where he has written his name [View Page] and the next two pages showing a portion of his first entry in that diary. [View Page] [View Page]

6. The page from John Simmons’ World War I diary where he lists the deaths of George Lawson and Philip Edwards. [View Page] The correct date of Phil’s death was July 21, 1918 according to accounts in his Burial Case File at the National Archives.

7. John Simmons and Ethel Elliott at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut in 1917. [View Page]

8. Cortney Skinner’s illustration of John Simmons and Ethel Elliott at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut in 1917. [View Page]