Private Ernest Thomas McVicker

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Pennsylvania.

Ernest Thomas McVicker

Born in Hanley in the Staffordshire Potteries on 4 November 1884, Ernest McVicker emigrated to the United States with his parents around 1887.[1] He grew up in Pittsburgh, where his siblings were born and where he went to work in the glass industry; he was a member of the American Flint Glass Workers Union.

On 28 September 1904 he married Evangeline Wagner and the couple had a daughter, Evelyn, and two sons, Ernest and Edwin; a third son, James died in infancy.[2] In August 1914 his wife succumbed to tuberculosis; she was buried in Calvary Cemetery.

In the spring of 1918 McVicker decided to enlist and attested at the recruiting centre in Pittsburgh on 13 May. He travelled by train to Canada and joined the 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment at Toronto and was allocated the regimental number 3042312. Before he could begin training he fell ill and was admitted to the Base Hospital, Toronto on 20 May, diagnosed with pneumonia. Private McVicker died four days later on 24 May, having served since his attestation for only 11 days. His remains were returned home and after a Requiem Mass at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church he was buried with his wife in Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh overlooking the Monongahela River, in Section 11, Range 2, Grave 32; his wife’s presence in the grave is not marked. His father is buried nearby.

The grave of Private Ernest Thomas McVicker

Private Ernest McVicker is commemorated on page 465 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 3 October. His Memorial Cross was sent to his mother and his Memorial Plaque and Scroll were sent to his eldest son.

His brother Albert served as a Private First Class with the Machine Gun Company of 320th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division. His son Edwin served in the Philippines with the United States Army during the Second World War. His step-brother (from his mother’s first marriage), Edward Chell, served during the South Africa War with The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s), and his step-brother, Henry Jones Chell, served in the British Army during the First World War.

Chris Dubbs and Dale Pysher for their efforts to visit and photograph the graves.
Ernest McVicker’s family for permission to use their photographs.

1. (Back) His mother, Ann Farnworth (7 April 1861-29 July 1925) had married William Chell on 7 April 1879. The couple had two sons, Edward (20 June 1879-1950) and Henry Jones (26 November 1882-NK) but they were divorced on 23 January 1884. She then married Patrick Joseph McVicker (14 April 1854-20 June 1914) in Stoke-on-Trent on 27 December 1886: John (8 July 1887-12 June 1936); Patrick (3 December 1889-September 1967); Albert Horatio (17 May 1892-13 October 1952); Florence (15 April 1899-28 August 1919); and George Clarence (23 April 1902-12 June 1970).
2. (Back) Evangeline Wagner (5 April 1888-28 August 1914): James Conrad (28 July 1905-4 June 1906); Evelyn M. (later Miller) (18 March 1907-18 November 1963); Ernest Thomas (15 July 1909-25 April 1993); and Edwin Henry (21 October 1911-20 November 1977).

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