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Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Birthplace: New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey,, United States
Death: July 30, 1918 (31)
Seringes-et-Nesles, Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France (Killed in action by sniper during WWI)
Place of Burial: Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Frederick Barnett Kilmer and Ann Elizabeth Kilmer
Husband of Aline Kilmer
Father of Kenton Sinclair Kilmer; Rose Kilburn Kilmer and Michael Barry Kilmer
Brother of Andy Fredrick Kilmer; Ellen Anne Kilmer and Charles Willoughby Kilmer

Occupation: Poet, Journalist
Managed by: Patricia Ann Clark
Last Updated:

About Joyce Kilmer

Find a Grave

Birth: Dec. 6, 1886 New Brunswick Middlesex County New Jersey, USA

Death: Jul. 30, 1918 Seringes-et-Nesles Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France

Poet. Most remembered for his 1913 poem "Trees", he was educated at Rutgers College and was a graduate of Columbia University in 1908. He had a brief career as a teacher before he moved on to his vocation of journalism. From 1909 to 1912, he worked on the staff of "The Standard Dictionary" (a division of the Funk and Wagnalls Publishing Company) in New York City, and became a special writer for the "New York Times Sunday Magazine." He enjoyed writing poetry, essays, and critical reviews of other poets, and was a frequent contributor to various magazines. He lived most of his life in Mahwah, New Jersey, in a house on top of a wooded hill, and often used his bedroom as a part time office. Raised in the Anglican Church, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1913. In August 1913, the magazine "Poetry" published his work "Trees" which became his most famous poem, which in turn was published in his 1914 book "Trees and Other Poems." He dedicated the book to his mother. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, he enlisted at age 30 in the United States Army, and quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant in the 69th Volunteer Infantry Regiment (later redesignated the 165th Infantry Regiment) of the 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division). Originally assigned as the Regimental Statistician, he became an observer in the Regimental Intelligence Section, gathering information about the enemy. This required him to participate in numerous patrols deep into enemy territory. On July 30, 1918, during the battle of Ourcq, France, he attached himself as adjutant to Major William Donovan, who commanded the First Battalion, as Donovan's aide had been killed the day before. He was killed at the Muercy Farm in France later that day when a German sniper shot him. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) for his valor. His poem, "When the Sixty-Ninth Comes Back" was set to music by composer Victor Herbert and played by the Regimental Band during their return triumphal march up 5th Avenue in New York City in 1919. Interred with his comrades in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France, his family erected a cenotaph for him in their plot in Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1993, his son, Kenton Kilmer, wrote a book about his father, entitled "Memories of my Father, Joyce Kilmer." (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Family links:

 Frederick Barnett Kilmer (1851 - 1934)+
 Annie Ellen Kilburn Kilmer (1852 - 1932)

 Aline Murray Kilmer (1888 - 1941)*

 Kenton Sinclair Kilmer (1909 - 1995)*
 Rose Kilburn Kilmer (1912 - 1917)*
 Michael Barry Kilmer (1916 - 1927)*

 Anda Frederick Kilmer (1873 - 1899)*
 Ellen Anne Kilmer (1874 - 1875)*
 Charles Willoughby Kilmer (1880 - 1881)*
 Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918)
  • Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Killed in action by sniper during WWI

Burial: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial Fere-en-Tardenois Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France Plot: Plot B, Row 9, Grave 15

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Aug 05, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 3363

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Joyce Kilmer's Timeline

December 6, 1886
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey,, United States
March 21, 1909
Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey, United States
November 15, 1912
February 20, 1916
July 30, 1918
Age 31
Seringes-et-Nesles, Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l'Aisne Picardie, France