Henry Laurence Gau was born on Saturday, October 7, 1899, to Paul David Gau and Ann Malvina Landry, both of whom immigrated to the United States around the same time. Paul Gau was born September 27, 1869 in Bavaria, Germany. He arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1887 and became a United States citizen in 1891. 1 In 1896 Ann Malvina immigrated from Nova Scotia, Canada to the United States.2 At the ages of twenty-nine and twenty-three respectively, Paul and Ann married in Boston, Massachusetts. 3 According to the 1910 Census, Henry Gau was the oldest of four children.4 The Gau family was likely living in Massachusetts when the famous Fenway Park opened in 1912.5 Five years later, two months after the United States entered World War I, Gau joined the United States Navy.
Gau served in the Navy from 1917 to 1920, spending July and August of 1917 awaiting orders at Rhode Island’s Naval Training Station. From there, he attended Naval Radio School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 6 The original location of the Navy’s Radio School became too small for the rapid increase of students; the Naval Radio School moved to Harvard and began using its classrooms and buildings as temporary barracks until the war was over. 7 In March 1918, Gau began his year long service on the USS Carola, originally the Carola IV—a luxury steam yacht that the Navy purchased from a private owner to patrol the coasts of France. 8 This picture shows all of the officers and men who were assigned to the USS Carola. 9 Gau was likely one of these men.
After the war, Gau returned to his father’s home in Baltimore, Maryland. 10 In 1937, Gau married his second wife, Elizabeth Cupit; this was also her second marriage. 11 As noted in the Sandusky County Marriage Records, Elizabeth was a widow and her first husband’s name was Wenzel. Gau’s first wife’s last name is unknown. 12 Just two years after their marriage and with World War II taking place in Europe and Asia, Gau joined the Army in 1939 at the age of forty. Gau rose to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel. He also served in Korea. 13 Unfortunately, we have few records pertaining to Gau’s service in World War II and the Korean War.
Gau and Elizabeth’s marriage ended sometime before 1970. In the early seventies Gau moved down to Florida. While in Florida, Gau met Mildred Reynolds. At the age of seventy-two Gau married Reynolds; their marriage lasted about sixteen years before his passing in 1988. 14 During his life with Mildred, they lived at Sun City Center, a retirement community on Florida’s west coast, where Gau joined the community’s Retired Officers Association. 15 Henry Laurence Gau was buried at the Florida National Cemetery in 1988 and his wife joined him in 1996. 16
1 “Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Paul D Gau, Circuit Court, Massachusetts.
2 “1920 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Ann Melvina Landry, Baltimore Ward 27, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland.
3 “Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Ann Melvina Landry, 1553 of 1819.
4 “1910 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Ann Melvina Landry, Boston Ward 1, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
5 “Historical Insights: Fenway Park,” Ancestry, accessed July 10, 2017, https://www.ancestry.com/contextux/historicalinsights/fenway-park/persons/290103706284:1030:112534375
6 “Maryland Military Men, 1917-1918,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ansestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Henry Lawrence Gau, Maryland in the World War 1917-1919, Military and Naval Service Records, Volumes I & II.
7 National Archives at Boston, “U.S. Naval Radio School at Harvard 1917-1919,” Facebook, December 2, 2016, accessed July 10, 2017,
8 “Maryland Military Men, 1917-1918.”
9 “USS Carola IV (SP-812), 1917-1919. Originally steam yacht Carola IV (1885)” Naval Historical Center, published September 29, 2004, accessed July 10, 2017, https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-c/sp812.htm
10 “1920 United States Federal Census.”
11 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Henry Lawrence Gau, Sandusky, 1934-1940.
13 “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Henry Lawrence Gau, 212093951.
14 “Florida Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001,” database, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.com (date accessed July 10, 2017) entry for Henry Lawrence Gau, Certificate 001113.
15 “Obituaries,” St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) January 31, 1988.
16 National Cemetery Administration, "Henry L. Gau," US Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed July 10, 2017, https://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/NGLMap?ID=5980191
© 2017, University of Central Florida