Harry Leon Causland


Harry Leon Causland

Harry Leon Causland was born July 22, 1887 on Guemes Island to parents Frank and Fannie Causland. He grew up on his family's farm and would later act as Overseer on the Guemes Grange. His time at the Grange put him in a position of prominence in the community; he became a leader in many local initiatives, including a stint as the treasurer of Guemes’ first-ever Sunday School. He pursued an education at Anacortes Business College and opened a small store in town as well. Papers published shortly after his death referred to him as, “...one of the most highly respected young men in the community.” (1)

Causland FamilyHarry Causland (second from right) with family and friends, 1910. Ref : on back "Ed, Buster, G'Ma, H.L and Lorena." H.L. is Harry Leon Causland. 

"World War I was now in progress. As the draft kept on taking boys, the age was raised. Harry entered the service June 24, 1918." - Causland History 

On June 24, 1918 Harry Causland was called into the service. No more than two years ago the young man had been planning Guemes Island’s Arts and Crafts Fair. Now he was headed to war. Causland first served at a number of camps around the US. He started his career at Camp Lewis, WA (today part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord), then transferred to Camp Kearny, California. He next went to Camp Mills, New York, and finally to his last American camp Camp Merritt, New Jersey. On August 31, 1918 Causland was assigned to the front lines of the war and began the long trip overseas.

Harry’s boat landed at Glasgow, Scotland. He would then make his way to France where he was assigned to the 90th Division at the battle of Saint-Mihiel. After the week-long battle the Division was transferred to participate in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. He would perform his most memorable and final act of heroism during this battle at a hill outside of Bantheville, France. Friend and fellow soldier, D.A. Emerson tells his story like this.

“A corporal and two men were out in front with a machine gun in a shell hole. The Germans were pressuring us hard and were putting over a machine gun and artillery barrage that threatened to annihilate us, especially as they were flanking us on both sides.

    The men with the machine gun out in front ran out of ammunition and were in a helpless condition. They called back to the carriers for more ammunition but all the men refused to go across the open space because it seemed that it meant certain death to venture across. Finally Harry grabbed two boxes of ammunition and started to the machine gunners. He made it across the open space through a torrent of machine gun fire from the enemy and just reached his objective when he fell. By his getting the ammunition to the machine gunners he not only saved their lives but made it possible for them to hold back the enemy.” 

Harry Leon Causland died October 24, 1918

Harry Leon 02Harry L. Causland (1887-1918)

Distinguished Service

Harry L. Causland Distinguished Service Announcement

When word came of Causland’s death the town collectively mourned for the fallen hero. Native Son of Guemes Killed adorned the front of every Anacortes American on December 5th, 1918. The Causland legacy was only more inspirited as time went on. D.A. Emerson's story, published in the Anacortes American on March 27, 1919 told of an honorable and selfless man who sacrificed himself to defend his fellow soldiers. He became a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and earned a spot on a list General John Pershing called his “100 Heroes." Sometimes referred to as the 100 Immortals. Both of these honors were bestowed on him sometime in early 1919. It wasn’t long before ideas of a way to properly memorialize the hero became the talk of the town.

Rest Well

By Charley L. Gant

To the sacred memory of Harry Leon Causland - Friend, Neighbor, Patriot and Martyred Hero, this poem is affectionately dedicated.

Rest Well, and may the smiles of God,

Shine thru His sunlight gleaming,

And with a halo bless the sod,

Where you, brave heart, lay dreaming,

Let starbeams fall and kind winds blow lightly,

While moonbeams mild and tender,

Keep vigil, sentinel for you, oh mankind’s brave defender,

Your brave heart did not quake nor falter,

When all the world was crying,

You proved yourself a martyred saint,

By daring, doing, dying.

May Heaven’s rains descend as tears,

And nourish flowers and grasses that they may bloom thru endless years,

As time unhalting passes, let caroling birds with golden throats,

Sing from boughs above you and tell you with caroled note,

How tenderly we love you. Rest well in endless sleep serene,

We shall not count the hours, but we shall keep your pillow green,

And deck your bed with flowers.

Rest well beneath your cross of worth,

And we shall tell the story,

You proved yourself the salt of earth,

And won immortal glory. 

Sing low your lullaby, oh seas,

And winds, blow lightly thru the trees,

While harps keep softly ringing,

Beat low the drums, sound low the fife,

Here rests a martyred brother,

Who volunteered to give his life,

And died to save another.