Timothy P. Tarpy

1894 - 1949


Their Story

Timothy Patrick Tarpy was born on February 28, 1894, in Conesville, Iowa, the son of Timothy and Johanna Brown Tarpy. His father was born in Sligo, Ireland.1 He had two brothers, Matthew Joseph and John, and a sister. His brother John died in 1909. His father died on October 7, 1910, and his mother died on March 21, 1898.2 Tarpy never married.

Tarpy registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, in Burlington, Iowa.3 He was working as a farm laborer for J.G. Dailey at the time of his registration. Tarpy enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 24, 1918, serving in France with the 47th Company, 14th Battalion, 20th Engineer Regiment. Private Tarpy was honorably discharged on July 13, 1919.4

The 20th Engineers was formed in 1917 and grew to become the largest regiment ever to exist in the United States Army. By Armistice Day in 1918 the 20th had over 500 officers and 30,000 soldiers. The primary function of the 20th Engineers was forestry – to produce lumber and timber for Allied forces.5

The 47th Regiment of Engineers was organized in February, 1918. The regiment trained at Camp American University in Washington, D.C. before leaving for France in May, 1918. The 47th conducted lumbering operations at St. Julien, France, until the end of the war. The regiment departed from St. Nazaire, France, on June 24, 1919, on the transport Mercury arriving at Newport News, Virginia, on July 5, 1919.6

After leaving the service, Tarpy worked various jobs in Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to Davenport, Iowa. He was employed at the Rock Island Arsenal as a crane follower for the last ten years of his life.7 Tarpy was a member of the Rock Island Arsenal Veterans Association and the F.W. Galbraith Post #828, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Tarpy collapsed and died of a heart attack in Mills Cafe in Rock Island on October 22, 1949. Owners of the rooming house where Tarpy lived said that he had a heart problem as well as diabetes. He was just 54.8 He was survived by his brother Matthew of Middleburg, Virginia.9


1 11 Oct 1910, 7 – The Muscatine Journal at Newspapers.com

2 Timothy Patrick Tarpy – Facts (ancestry.com).

3 Ancestry.com – U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

4 Tarpy, Timothy P in U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2019 – Fold3.

5 20thEngineers.com – World War 1.

6 20thEngineers.com – World War 1 – 14th Battalion and 43rd Engineers.

7 Ancestry.com – U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

8 22 Oct 1949, 10 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

9 Obituary for Timothy P. i TARPY (Aged 55) – Newspapers.com.