Fort Ticonderoga Museum founder, Stephen Hyatt Pelham Pell (1874-1950) served two nations in World War I. In early 1917, prior to the United States’ involvement in the war, Stephen Pell enlisted in the Norton Harjes Ambulance Service attached to the Chasseurs Alpins achieving the rank of sergeant. On October 2, at Baccaret, France, after lying about his age claiming to be only 39 years old, he transferred to the American army. With the American forces Pell served at Chemin des Dames, 1917, Ourcq, 1918, and Oulchy Le Chateau where he was wounded by gunshots to the leg on August 1, 1918. As a result of the wounds, Stephen Pell was honorably discharged on May 29, 1919. In 1927 Pell was awarded the Legion of Honor by the government of France in recognition of his service to their country during the war. In March 1932 the United States awarded Pell with the Purple Heart “on account of wounds received in action August 1, 1918.”
Fort Ticonderoga preserves many objects related to Stephen Pell’s World War I service including numerous medals, correspondence and photographs taken during his military service. He wears his French uniform in his formal portrait painted in 1920. His portrait is exhibit in Fort Ticonderoga’s exhibit “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists” through 2012.
Blog post by Christopher D. Fox, Curator, Fort Ticonderoga.