Violin and Bow

Violin and Bow
Jerome Thibouville-Lamy (Mirecourt, France)
Circa early 20th century
Gift of DeValles Family

This Medio Fino violin once belonged to Knights of Columbus World War I chaplain, Rev. John B. DeValles (1879-1920). For several years Father DeValles served as pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford, Mass. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, he volunteered to give spiritual assistance and guidance to U.S. troops fighting in Europe. Father DeValles was assigned to the 104th Infantry of the 26th Division as a military chaplain.

During the war, Father DeValles repeatedly braved enemy artillery and machine-gun fire in order to assist in the removal of the wounded from the battlefield. He worked for long periods of time with stretcher bearers helping to carry injured soldiers to safety. Due to wounds sustained from the war, as well as to mustard gas, Father DeValles died May 12, 1920 at the age of 41. He was posthumously awarded the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross, Portuguese Military Order of Christ and the French Croix de Guerre for his heroic service of and beyond his priestly duties. Other artifacts, including his uniform and service medals, are on display in the Museum’s Wall of History.