Tuesday, May 04, 2010

An extraordinary World War II resource

I had this great idea Monday, about two months after it should have occurred to me, that we should develop a temporary display in the LCHS commons room related to Memorial Day since the museum opens for the season over the Memorial Day weekend. Marilyn concurred, the case is empty and now the scramble begins.

Since it will relate to Memorial Day, one thing I definitely want to do is come up with rosters of Lucas Countyans who died in our wars --- Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. We have had no in-service fatalities during the more recent and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Looking for information about the 50 Lucas Countyans who died during World War II took me to another of those extraordinary resources available in the Lucas County Genealogical Society library at the Chariton Public library.

This series of 17 notebooks, arranged alphabetically, contains detailed information collected during and shortly after World War II about each Lucas Countyan who served in it. Collecting the information was a county-wide project --- each township and each incorporated town had a chairman in charge of contacting soldiers and/or their families, recording personal and service information, asking for (and in most cases receiving) photographs of each soldier, sailor or Marine and delivering the material to a central repository --- the Chariton Public Library.

At the library, the material was combined with the results of a clipping project that had been underway during the war to collect newspaper reports regarding Lucas Countyans in the service. These include tiny local items reporting visits home while on leave, accounts of letters received from sons and daughters stationed thousands of miles away, reports of marriages and homecomings and, of course, the extensive stories that resulted when a soldier, sailor or Marine was killed.

Many years after all of the material had been collected, assembled, filed away and for the most part forgotten, the genealogical society arranged it in its current user-friendly form. Just leafing through the notebooks and looking into the young faces of people you know now as 80- and 90-plus-year-olds is an amazing experience. If you’re at the library some day, take a look!

Just for the record, here are the names of the 50 Lucas Countyans who died while in service during World War II:

Mahlon Angstead, Johnny Baxter, Mark D. Bingaman, Ora Everett Cackler Jr., David L. Blue, Beryl L. Clark , James D. Clark,, Prosdocimo “Dutch” Della Betta, Walter Eckerman and Roy Ellis.

Forrest Exley, Gerald O. Gathercole, Arlie Lester Hanks, Harlan Ellis Hatfield, Ronald B. Hayes, Wilma Lucile Jarvis, Robert Keene, Theron Andrew Knapp, Lawrence Krashowetz and Joseph J. Larson.

Conrad F. McDonald, Franklin W. McDonald, William Marshall, Fred E. Minicka Jr., Robert Mitchem, Lyle H. Morris, Raymond D. Morrison, Lyle Mosbey, Wayne M. Needles and Loren E. Nussbaum.

Raymond A. Nutt, Howard M. Oden, Jefferson Osenbaugh, Paul Pastovich, Richard L. Patterson, Vernon Pearcy, Steve Pesuth, Oscar E. Peterson, Carlos L. Poush and Kenneth H. Ross.

Leo I. Sampson, Herman L. Skinner, Robert L. Smith, Zaccheus Stemm, Gerald E. Storie, Henry L. Thompson, John M. Vickroy, Charles Walker, Vernon S. Wells and Floyd H. Zimmer.

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