That Old Cross-Roads Store

My Grandmother, Margaret (Millikan) McKinley wrote this poem July 26, 1934:

That Old Cross-Roads Store

It’s only that old cross-roads store,
The kind that isn’t seen much more.
A faded old sign swings over the door.
And many feet have trod its floor.

It makes no difference what you’ve come to buy,
You’ll find it there, tho’ the price be high.
And as you look around at the things that lie
About on the counter, you give a sigh.

It may be a bolt of print, some lace,
An old pan lid, or a flower vase
A dusty veil for an older face
Or a bit of candy in a worn show case.

It may be something in which to cook,
Or a more recent magazine or book,
It may be a lamp, or a fish hook.
Why there’s even a cat in a cozy nook!

The keeper is smiling, ever fair.
Seems like the whole country side drops in there.
When in want, to the old cross-roads store we tear,
And we know our need will be filled with care.

She indicated in her notebook that she wrote it “in honor of Uncle Lonny’s cross-roads store at Deming, Indiana.”

LonBoone

“Uncle Lonny” was actually her Great-Uncle Cornelius Arlonzo Boone. He was born November 9, 1858 in Indiana, one of the 3 sons of Paul Boone (1832-1917) and Nancy Estle (1835-1896). He married Sarah Ellen Glaze February 19, 1876 in Hamilton County, Indiana. They had 4 children, Bertha E. (1877-1970), Bessie M. (1882-1901), Edgar M. (1886-1960) and Blanche M. (1889-1968).

In 1880, per the US Census, Lon lived in Marion Twp., Boone County on the family farm. Lon shows up in the US Census in Jackson Twp, Hamilton county in 1900. His occupation was grocer. He lived in the Deming community, which is located about 7 miles North of Westfield. Grandma would have been living in Sheridan and to get to Deming she would have to go East about 7 miles.

Through the following census records, he is listed as a “retail merchant” in the “grocery” industry & a “merchant” with a “Country store.” Unfortunately, I do not know the exact location of his store.

I was recently in Indiana. I asked relatives if they remembered what Lon’s store looked like & where it was. They couldn’t remember much. My Great Aunt told me that the store and the family home were connected. I went exploring & followed the road to Deming. Actually, the community is only about the size of a neighborhood block. The church building is still standing, but it is a lodge meeting place now. A couple of houses had just been demolished, with the remnants still visible. There was one house at the cross-roads that could very well have been the store, but I don’t know for sure.

So I kind of wonder if “Uncle Lonnie’s” country store was a gathering place for the community—did men sit around and play checkers & swap stories; did children come in to get penny candy? Right now I guess I can only imagine what it was like. Grandma’s poem gives a little insight, though.

Lon died April 9, 1936 at the age of 77. He was buried in Spencer Cemetery in Hamilton County, IN.

© MJM 2017

Basketball Player in the Family

“March Madness” is here again. Time to think about all things basketball. Many of my Dad’s ancestors lived in Indiana, where the sport of Basketball is like a religion. So it isn’t unusual to find that some relatives played the game. My Dad played in High School and was on a pretty good team. But I never expected to find that my Great Grandmother played the game over a hundred years ago!

MBooneBasketball1

 

First, I found these pictures in the collection of family photos I received from my Grandmother. Mary Boone (1897-1992) is my Great Grandmother. I was quite surprised to see her in these pictures. Hard to imagine “Mamommy,” as we called her, playing basketball as a teenager! She is listed as playing the position of Guard for Sheridan High School in 1914. (She’s in the bottom right side of the first picture) I don’t have any additional information about this season of basketball.

MBooneBasketball2

Then, I have a copy of the Sheridan High School year book, The Syllabus, from 1915. There is an editorial in the front of the book which says that The Syllabus was published for the first time in 1905, then for whatever reason, not continued until 10 years later when the 2nd issue was published in 1915.

Mary Boone shows up in the year book in a picture of the Junior class. She also is pictured with members of the Girls’ Basket Ball team.

SHSGirlsBasketball1915

Basketball is a recent addition to the S.H.S. athletic calendar, but without a doubt it has come to stay.” This was the first sentence describing the Boys’ program.

Then there was an edition of the Sheridan High School Newspaper, The Black and White, Vol. 1, No. 1, dated January 12, 1915. It had an article about Girls Athletics: “The girls are doing splendidly under the direction of Miss Hankemeier. She was captain of the basket ball team at Indiana University for 2 years and was president of the girls athletic association when she was a senior. The girls have been divided into basket ball teams according to their classes, having for their captains, Mary Byrkett, Freshman team; Nellie Burton, Junior & Sophomore team; Verlie Hundley, Senior team. Inter-class games are played but Inter-school games have been voted down. Many exciting games have been played and the girls are starting with greater enthusiasm since vacation; for now every game counts towards winning the banner which will be given to the victorious team.

The description of the Girls’ Basket Ball program from The Syllabus stated:

The boys condescended to let the girls use the gym on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after school, and they have had some exciting contests. Heretofore the teams have been divided according to their classes but as there were not enough players in some of the classes to make a full team and as some did not come out for regular practice, Miss Hankemeier organized the strongest players into two teams, the “Black” and the “White.” The line-up for the teams is as follows:

BLACK—Mary Byrkett, F; Leona Butcher, F; Dorthea Applegate, C; Edith McMurtry, S.C; Lula Laughlin, G; Bernice Inman, G.

WHITE—Mary Melson, F; Lois Fristoe, F; Nellie Burton, C; Ivalu Vickery, S.C; Mary Boone, G; Laura Mae Kercheval, G.

All the girls seem to enjoy the game. We are glad to see the girls take an interest in athletics and we hope that they will continue it next year.

Obviously, the teams changed a little since the January article, but regardless of that, it seems that the girls were enjoying themselves. There is no indication of which team won the banner at the end of the season. Hard to imagine playing basketball in the “gym clothes” of that era. Also, considering the hair styles of the day, one general reference I found indicated that after girls’ basketball games there would be hair pins scattered all over the floor!

Anyway, it is fun to think that “Mamommy” played basketball!

© MJM 2017

Dear Friend…

I have this letter in my collection. It was sent to “Miss Mary Boone, Sheridan, Ind.” The date of the letter is Feb. 16, 1915. Mary was 17 years old.

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letterarzatomary1915b

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Arza Millikan

So Arza Millikan was asking Mary for a date! He was 31 years old. Quite a difference in age, but I guess they hit it off, as they got married November 22, 1916. They were my Great-Grandparents.

A few notes about the letter:

“Elfleda” was Elfleda Emery, a good friend of Mary’s. They were in the same class at Sheridan High School.

“Lamong” was probably Lamong Friends Meeting.

“Bob Wilson” was a neighbor of Arza’s Grandfather, Clark Millikan. Arza spent much of his time helping out at Clark’s farm. From what I can tell, “Hazel” Wilson survived the scarlet fever.

© MJM 2017

A Boone Family Portrait

Since I just finished a few posts about Paul Boone and his family, I figured this would be a good follow-up to those.

Grandma had a photograph in her collection that I now have in mine. Actually, I have a couple of copies of it. Unfortunately, none of the copies are 100% clear. The picture is of a large group and the caption under the photo is “Paul Boone Family.” There was a key with the photo, but it wasn’t completely filled in. Then I found more copies that had more names. That left only one name left to fill in–#9 in the key.

The photo was probably taken at a Boone family reunion. The time would be before 1912, as the woman in the center of the picture is Sarah Alexander Erp, and she died November 4, 1912.

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Paul Boone Family, ca 1911

pboonekey

  1. Paul Boone [b.1832, ~79y]
  2. Cornelius Arlonzo Boone [b.1857, ~54y]
  3. Alva Lorenzo Boone [b.1861, ~50y]
  4. Aldes Sanford Boone [b.1864, ~47y]
  5. Dorothy Mabel Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1907, ~4y]
  6. (Merritt) Henry Benson [husb of 17.Cynthia Estle Benson, b.1849, ~62y ]
  7. Ella (Glaze) Boone [wife of 2.Cornelius, b.1856, ~55y]
  8. Gertrude Boone [dau of 3.Alva, b.1896, ~15y]
  9. ??
  10. William Hobart Boone [son of 4.Aldes, b.1896, ~15y]
  11. Eliza Candice (Kingslover) Boone [wife of 4.Aldes, b.1876, ~35y]
  12. Eva Delores Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1909, ~2y]
  13. Sarah Alzada (Erp) Boone [wife of 3.Alva, b.1869, ~42y]
  14. Clora (Burris) Boone [wife of 30.Edgar Boone, b.1886, ~25y]
  15. Bertha Boone Walls-France [dau of 2.Cornelius b.1877, ~34y]
  16. Henry Walls [son of 16.Bertha Boone Walls, b.1908, ~3y]
  17. Cynthia (Estle) Ballard-Benson [sis of Nancy Estle, b.1848, ~63y]
  18. Grace Pauline Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1898, ~13y]
  19. Mary Geneva Boone [dau of 3.Alva, b.1897, ~14y]
  20. Hannah (Boone) Copeland [sis of 1.Paul Boone, b.1828, ~83y]
  21. Ernest Walls [son of 15.Bertha Boone Walls, b.1904, ~7y]
  22. Paul Marvin Boone [son of 4.Aldes, b.1903, ~8y]
  23. Richard Edwin Boone [son of 3.Alva, b.1906, ~5y]
  24. Sarah (Alexander) Erp [mother-in-law of 3.Alva, b.1829, ~82y ]
  25. Audna Boone [dau of 30.Edgar Boone, b.1903, ~8y]
  26. Blanche (Boone) Martin [dau of 2.Cornelius, b.1889, ~22y]
  27. Mary Edith Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1902, ~9y]
  28. Edna Gladys Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1905, ~6y]
  29. Ruth Marie Boone [dau of 4.Aldes, b.1900, ~11y]
  30. Edgar Boone [son of 2.Cornelius, b.1886, ~25y]
  31. Bernie Martin [husb of 15.Blanche Boone, b.1888, ~23y]
  32. Chester Emmett Boone [son of 3.Alva, b. 1892, ~19y]
  33. Ursula Martin [dau of 26.Blanche Boone Martin, b.1908, ~3y]
  34. Nora Martin [dau of 26. Blanche Boone Martin, b. 1910, ~1y]

Two people not listed in the key for the picture are Kenneth Sanford and Geneva Maxine Boone. They were children of Aldes and Eliza. Kenneth was born in Nov 1911 and Geneva in 1913.

I recently found a newspaper article about a Boone Reunion that probably solved the question of when the photo was taken. (I use Newspaperarchive.com for the Indiana Newspaper research.) The Friday, September 22, 1911 edition of the Sheridan News has an article on page 14, titled “Boone Reunion.” The article states:

Last Sunday Alva Boone and family entertained at dinner the formers father and brothers together with their families. Those present were Paul Boone, C.R. Boone and wife, Edgar Boone and family, Bernie Martin and family and Mrs. S.A. Wall and children of Deming, Merritt Benson and wife of Westfield, Mrs. Nancy Estle of Terre Haute and Aldes Boone and family of near Terhune. If Mr. and Mrs. J. O’rear of Carmel could have attended the fifth generation of the family would have been present, their son being a great-great grandchild of Paul Boone.

The family consists of three sons, fifteen grandchildren, six great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Most names from the article are familiar and match the key. The 1911 date fits with the presumed date of the picture.

I’m not sure who Mrs. Nancy Estle is. She is not listed in the key. However, person #17 is Cynthia (Estle) Ballard-Benson, who was the sister of Paul Boone’s first wife, Nancy Estle (d.1896) . These women had a brother, Jesse, who married Nancy Trimble Pritchard. So perhaps the Nancy Estle mentioned in the article is the Sister-in-law to Paul Boone’s first wife. Some records show her birth date as 1833, so she would have been ~79 years old in 1911. Due to the exposure of the picture, it is very difficult to see the mysterious woman #9, could this be Nancy Estle?

The J. O’Rear family mentioned in the article refers to John O’Rear and his wife Ethel Goodner. Ethel was the daughter of Bertha Boone (#16) and her first husband, William Goodner. Ethel would have been around 17 years old in 1911. Bernard Fletcher O’Rear was the first child of this family and he was born August 31, 1910. (Found his name through the Indiana Birth Certificates collection at Ancestry.com) At first, I thought Ethel would be the elusive woman #9, but that wouldn’t work since, according to the article, she wasn’t there.

So, I’m still not sure of the identity of woman #9 in this picture, but I’m glad we have most of the names & relationships figured out. I wish we could remember to put a key with all group pictures at the time they are taken, so later generations wouldn’t have to scrounge through records to find the connections.

© MJM 2017

Paul Boone had 3 Sons…Following the Census Trail, Part 2

Continuing from the last post, following the Census records for Paul Boone’s 3 sons. Here are the records for Alva and Aldes Boone:

Alva Lorenzo Boone

I’ve mentioned Alva Lorenzo (my GG Grandfather) in a previous post. He married Sarah Alzada “Allie” Erp. They had 6 children, with 2 dying as infants. Nora Mabel and Chauncy died young. Their other children were Chester Emmett, Rachel Gertrude, Mary Geneva and Richard Edwin.

1900cenalvab

1900 US Census, Alva Boone

In 1900, Alva and Allie were living in Sugar Creek Twp, Clinton Co, IN. Sarah Erp, his mother-in-law is also part of the household. The record shows that Allie has had 4 children with only 3 living. Nora Mabel doesn’t show up in the Census records and has already died. “Hester” is actually Chester, but is difficult to decipher.

1910alvab

1910 US Census, Alva Boone

1910 finds them in Adams Twp, Hamilton County, IN, which is where they will reside for the rest of their lives. Edwin is listed as “Edmond.”

 

 

1920alvab

1920 US Census, Alva Boone

1930alvab

1930 US Census, Alva Boone

1940alvab

1940 US Census, Alva Boone

The 1920, 1930 and 1940 Census records have Alva and Allie at home on the farm. Edwin stays with them until he gets married—note he is listed as Richard E. and Edwin. Alva’s name also changes in 1930, it looks like it is “Alsa.” So, again other records are needed to even find their other son, Chauncey and to clarify the names.

Aldes Sanford Boone

Aldes Sanford Boone married Eliza Candace Kingsolver. They had 10 children: William Hobart, Grace Pauline, Ruth Marie, Mary Edith, Paul M, Edna Gladys, Dorothy May, Eva Delores, Kenneth Sanford and Geneva Maxine.

1900paldesb

1900 US Census, Paul Boone, Aldes Boone

Aldes lived in Marion Twp of Boone County, IN in 1900, showing up just after his father, Paul. He raised his family on this farm.

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1910 US Census, Aldes Boone

The 1910 record has more children added to the family.

1920aldesboone

1920 US Census, Aldes Boone

By 1920, Grace and Ruth have moved on, Edith M. becomes Mary, “Dortha” (Dorothy) disappears and 2 more children have been added to the family. Dorothy may be visiting someone at the time the Census taker made rounds. So she may show up with another family.

1930aldesboone

1930 US Census, Aldes Boone

The 1930 Census record has some of the children still at home. Note that Dorothy has returned. Aldes died in 1931.

So there we have it, following the US Census records for Paul’s 3 sons. Obviously, these records are a good start for finding the family relationships, but other records are needed to complete the story.

© MJM 2017

Paul Boone had 3 Sons…Following the Census Trail, Part 1

 

pboonandsons

As mentioned in the previous post, Paul Boone (1832-1917) was married 3 times. He had 3 sons with his first wife, Nancy Estle (1835-1896). His son’s names were Cornelius Arlonzo, Alva Lorenzo and Aldes Sanford. This picture shows Aldes and Alva in the back with Cornelius and Paul in the front.

Census records from Ancestry.com follow the families through the decades.

1860pb

1860 US Census, Paul Boon

In 1860, Paul is listed in the US Census with his wife Nancy and son Cornelius, in Washington Twp, Hamilton Co., IN. Cornelius was born in 1858. The next family group on the census belongs to his Mother-in-law, Alice “Elsie” Estle.

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1870 US Census, Paul Boone

 

The 1870 Census shows his family has grown with the addition of Alva and Aldes. He is still in Washington Twp, Hamilton Co., IN. Alva was born in 1861 & Aldes in 1868.

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1880 US Census, Paul Boone

 

By 1880, Paul had moved to Marion Twp of Boone Co, IN.

Cornelius has gotten married to Sarah E. and shows up as the next family on the census with their daughter, Bertha E.

 

The 1890 Census was destroyed by fire, so there is a 20 year gap until the next US Census records. By 1900, Paul’s sons had all married and started their own families. Some of their children were also married and starting families.

Cornelius Arlonzo Boone

Following Cornelius Arlonzo’s trail: From Census and other records I have the information that he was known as “Lon.” He and his wife, Sara Ellen “Ellie” Glaze had 4 children: Bertha E., Bessie M., Edgar M., and Blanche M.

1900lonb

1900 US Census, Cornelius Boone

Cornelius shows up in the 1900 Census as “R’lonzo.” Searching for him by his first name doesn’t get us anywhere. Bertha is already out of the house. His second daughter, Bessie doesn’t even show up in the Census records for his family. So we had to find information about her from other sources. Lon and his family are now in Jackson Twp, Hamilton County, IN which is where they appear in the remaining Census records.

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1910 US Census Cornelius Boone

By 1910, the girls are out of the house, Edgar shows up as the next family in the Census with his wife and daughter. The family name is spelled “Boon.” Note that Sarah E has a “4/3” after her name. This indicates that she had 4 children and only 3 are still living. Other records show that daughter, Bessie, has died.

1920corneliusb

1920 US Census, Cornelius Boone

1930cboone

1930 US Census, Cornelius Boone

The final 2 Census records from 1920 and 1930 have Cornelius and Sarah living on their own. They own a house and he is a “groceryman.” Note that Cornelius has an R after his name in 1920—I suppose this is for “R’lonzo.” Then 1930, his middle initial looks like an “O.” Lon died in 1936.

I’ll continue with the other 2 sons, Alva and Aldes next time…

© MJM 2017

Paul Boone had 3 Wives…

But not all at the same time.

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Paul Boone

Paul Boone was my GGG-Grandfather. He was born in Randolph County, Indiana April 8, 1832. He died November 4, 1917 at the home of his son in Deming, Hamilton County, Indiana. His parents were John Boone, Jr (1798-1875) & Sarah Pierson (1794-1875). Paul was one of 10 children. He lived his entire life in Indiana.

He is listed in the Peoples Guide of Hamilton Co., Indiana; by Cline & McHaffie; Indianapolis, 1874; on page 247 in the section on Washington Twp.: “Boone, Paul; farmer & mechanic; 2 m S E Westfield. Born in Indiana 1832; settled in Hamilton Co. 1839. Republican, Wesleyan Methodist.” Another note I have says he was a blacksmith. I’m not sure where that information came from.

He shows up in the 1850 US Census in Washington Twp, Hamilton Co., IN in his father’s home with his parents, his grandfather, John, and his sister Eunice.

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Paul Boone & Nancy Estle Marriage record

He married Nancy Estle, daughter of Joseph P. Estle and Alice Crawford, on November 1, 1855 in Hamilton Co. Indiana. Their marriage record indicates they were married by Isaac Stanton, Justice of the Peace. Paul & Nancy had 3 sons: Cornelius Arlonzo (1858-1936), my GG-Grandfather–Alva Lorenzo (1861-1945) and Aldes Sanford (1864-1931). Nancy died in 1896 at the age of 61. Paul was 64.

After Nancy died, he married 2 more times. When Grandma gave me her notes on the family, we had no clear idea who the other two wives were. Through the years, I have found more information to clarify the situation.

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1900 US Census Boone Co, IN

The 1900 US Census has Paul in Marion Twp., Boone Co., Indiana with wife, Loucinda. They had been married less than a year. She is 60 years old and it indicates her birth month and year are May 1840. She has 4 living children.

Ancestry.com’s Indiana Marriage Collection (1800-1941) has Paul marrying Lucinda (Compton) Carnine on Februrary 6, 1900 in Marion County, Indiana. She was probably in her 50’s but there is conflicting information in some of the records. She is listed as being 40 years old in 1880 on the US Census. At that time, she was married to Abram N. Carnine. They had 4 children. Lucinda died May 30, 1903 of stomach cancer. Her Death Certificate has her age as 58.

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1910 US Census Hamilton Co, IN

In 1910, Paul is listed in the US Census with another wife, Malinda. She is 75 years old, has been married 5 times, gave birth to 5 children, with none living. She and Paul had been married for a year. They are living in Sheridan, Hamilton Co., IN. There is also a “step-daughter” listed in the family, Anna McMurtry.

Paul married Malinda (Keyste/Kist) McMurtry on March 12, 1909 in Hamilton Co. Indiana. She was 74 and he was 77. According to the newspaper announcement, they got married at her home on East 4th Street in Sheridan, IN. The application for marriage indicates that she was married 4 times before marrying Paul. Her obituary from the Sheridan News, in 1914 lists her husbands as Permaneas Beam, William Young, William Higbee and David McMurtry. She had a total of 3 sons and 2 daughters from these marriages, all of whom preceded her in death. The obit also mentions 7 step-children. So I guess Anna McMurtry was one of those step-children.

So there we have it, Paul Boone’s 3 wives: Nancy Estle, Lucinda (Compton) Carnine & Malinda (Kist) McMurtry. While he was married 3 times, he only had children with his first wife, Nancy.

© MJM 2017

Uncle Edwin’s Story, Part 5…on to Germany

The start of 1945 had Edwin Boone still in Europe with the 415 Medical Collecting Company. The Allied forces were pushing hard against the Germans. Edwin was probably still part of the medical support for Patton’s 3rd Army. His letters are up-beat, reassuring his family that he is fine, eating well & not doing much. January 20, 1945, he wrote “The War News now is sounding awfully good. Maybe I’ll get to see you by “Corn-plantin’” time!” On January 29, he said the snow was a foot deep with talk of the “worst winter in Europe for a good many years, but where I am it compares with a mild winter back in Indiana.” February 1, it had quit snowing & with warmer weather “the snow is practically all gone. And just as I had finished building a new toboggan, too! We built one and used it the last day there was snow. Had a nice long slide, and was really fun, even for an old man!” By February 4 the snow had melted and the rain started again.

reboonevalentineHe made a Valentine card for his parents.

Later in February, his APO address changed to 339, which connected him to the 9th Army. He wrote from Holland. He told of seeing “some of the war’s desolation” on the trip to Holland. The soldiers were staying in a schoolhouse & subject to regular inspections “just like we had back in the States.” February 11, he tells that he has been permitted to get a room in a private home. He is staying with the Baan family. Professor Baan teaches English in one of the local schools. “I don’t think the folks in America have ever showed the hospitality that these Dutch do.” He says the Dutch people are “very friendly” and are learning English. “They have taken us into their home & can’t seem to do enough for us.”

March 4, 1945, Edwin writes from Germany. He says, “finally we’re getting to see some of the sights that lots of people say they’d like to see. A Germany that has seen some of the ravages of war. I’m sure that these people are beginning to wonder why they ever followed their “leaderreboonefatigues.”” Allied forces were continuously bombing targets in Germany, causing significant devastation. On March 7, US forces of the 1st Army crossed the Rhine River at Remagen over a railroad bridge that the Germans had failed to destroy.

Later in March he mentions the Red Cross and “making arrangements.” He is working on trying to get home to help take care of his parents.

March 29, they have moved again.On March 24, the 9th US Army forces crossed the Rhine River at Dinslaken. “This part of Germany isn’t so well serviced with electricity as the last area was, but they may have it functioning before long. We had lights, radio & electric irons on the other side of the river.”

May 1, Edwin writes that he took a 3 day pass to Holland & “by the time I got back 8 days had passed.” The Company had moved while he was gone and they had difficulty getting transportation to catch up. He said he spent a night “in a real castle, which is being used as Battalion Headquarters.”

Back home, on May 2, his parents, Alva and Allie Boone, had a sale of their personal property. This is the announcement:boonefarmsale1945

May 6, Edwin writes of expecting the war to be over by the time his letter gets to the folks at home. On May 8, 1945 (VE Day) the Germans surrendered and the war in Europe was officially over.

He changed APO address mid May & connected again with the 3rd Army. He said they had traveled several hundred miles in about a week. “We are located within a quarter of a mile of one of these camps filled with displaced persons Polish, Russian & Italian. It’s certainly an odd assortment of humanity. It’s really pitiful to see so many of these people who have been, either voluntarily or otherwise—mostly otherwise!, taken from their homes and used as laboreboonearmycasualrers here in Germany.” He talks of the point system for discharge from the Army and is frustrated that he has less than half the points needed. Also, he indicates he is not getting much help in trying to get home to help care for his father, Alva.

June 4 he is in Deggendorf, Germany, sleeping in an office building. He’s on 24hr guard duty—2hrs on then 4hrs off for 24hrs at a time. He also writes that he is painting signs. He mentions the sale at home and the eventual sale of the farm. He indicates that even though his father expected one of his sons to carry on with the farm, he’s not sure what he will do when he gets out of the Army. There are rumors of possibly the older soldiers being d/c soon. June 25, he sent a photo home.

July 5 he mentions he is riding with a truck driver all over the area, transporting German hospital patients from one hospital to another. Still talking about discharge points and that he has 3 battle stars, which added to his points. “The fact that I have 3 doesn’t mean that I, personally, was in 3 battles! They are for the arenas of the Ardennes, in Belgium, the Rhineland and Central Europe. We had our Company spread out so we got credit for all of them!”

At the end of July he sent drawings of Deggendorf:

August: He was busy painting and decorating the various clubs for the battalion—the Non-Com’s club Officer’s club and Enlisted men’s club. He considers getting back into painting when he returns home or trying dental work, which may pay pretty well.

Edwin probably contributed to the decor on this wall.clubdecor

The US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Then on August 10, Nagasaki was bombed. The war in the Pacific was coming to an end. August 14, Emperor Hirohito agrees to surrender terms but the formal ceremony didn’t take place until September 2, 1945.The war was finally over.

Aug 19 Edwin tells of a report that soldiers who were at least 38 yrs old were being discharged from the Army. August 31, he writes from Etampes, Franreboonearmyce, in process of returning home. Sept 7, from Compeigne, France, he mentions being bounced from camp to camp, while still awaiting the trip home. Sept 12 he is part of the 16th Reinforcement Depot in Pierrefonds, France, continuing to wait. Sept 19, his name has been read off and he plans his return trip on the 21st.

This was the last of Edwin’s letters. He did get home to Indiana and was given his discharge papers at the Separation Center at Camp Atterbury, IN on October 13, 1945. His papers indicate that he departed for the European Theater on October 4, 1944, arriving October 12. He departed for home Sept 28, 1945 and arrived October 9, 1945.

Sadly, his father, Alva Boone, died of pneumonia on October 6.

Edwin returned to Indianapolis with is wife, Pauline. They lived there for the rest of their lives. Edwin did work as a dental technician and continued with art as a hobby. He died in 1980, and Pauline died in 1997. They did not have children.

So, that’s most of Uncle Edwin’s story. I’m sure he was involved in more than just KP, guard duty and sign painting with his time in the Army in Europe during the final stages of WWII. But that’s all that he shared with his family. There is one more tangent to his story to be shared at a later date.

© MJM 2016

Uncle Edwin’s Story, Part 4…Going to War

(The business of the Christmas season has interrupted my ability to post stories regularly, hopefully I can get back on track now.)

On September 23, 1944, Private Edwin Boone left Camp Bowie, TX with the 415 Medical Collecting Company under concealed orders, destination unknown. His address was APO 17100 New York, NY. (APO stands for Army Post Office)

At the same time on the home front, his parents, Alva and Allie Boone, were getting on up in years & starting to have trouble managing the farm. His nephew, Arza Clark Millikan, a US Marine, was in a hospital in California with pneumonia.

Edwin’s first letter after he left was from “somewhere in the Eastern USA” dated September 28. He wasn’t allowed to write about where he was or where he was going. He could only write about “the food, the weather & recreation.” So “the food is excellent, the weather is a little cloudy… & I took a walk to the movies last night.” The next letters gave no more news until mid October.

October 19, 1944, Edwin sent a letter from “somewhere in France.” He commented on the constant rain and the “people are mud splattered & hungry.” He also mentioned how much he appreciated the “picturesque buildings” of France. He stated that most of the towns they hiked through were “practically ghost towns.”

By this time, the Allied forces had progressed from the D-day landing to liberating Paris in August. The forces were moving on toward the German border.

Edwin’s letters tell very little of what he is involved in. He said they spent time cutting & gathering wood for their fires. They constructed a stove out of empty meat cans. They had church services in the field. He asked his Mother to teach his wife, Pauline, how to knit sox so they could send him some. He interacted with a young French boy who taught him the ABC’s in French. He showed much concern for the plight of his parents. By November they had moved in with his sister, Mary.

In Mid November, he wrote that he was “making Christmas cards for some of the fellows.” I wonder what kind of drawings he did. November 22, the day before Thanksgiving he sent a V-mail letter. (Victory mail was a way to decrease the amount of space needed to transport mail from soldiers by transferring the letters to microfilm and then reprinting them for delivery.) The reprinted letter is about 4x5inches. In the letter he let his family know what he was thankful for.

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By early December, he had moved again. Mail censors limited what he could tell the folks back home, but he was allowed to mention that he had visited Valognes, Paris & Cherbourg. The next week his APO address had changed to APO 403 which connected him to the US 3rd Army lead by General Patton. At this point he said he was “sleeping in permanent buildings (on the floor), enjoying warm fires, & eating our chow with a hospital unit.”

There was an interesting card in Edwin’s papers:

pattonprayer“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”

From what I could find this card was issued to all members of the US 3rd Army, reportedly 250,000 cards were printed. Rain had been a significant problem for Patton’s forces throughout the Fall months. On December 8, 1944 he requested the Chaplain to find a prayer for improved weather conditions. By December 20, the weather had improved. On the back side of the Prayer card were Patton’s Christmas wishes for the troops.

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“To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessing rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.”

December 16, 1944 was the start of the Ardennes campaign, otherwise known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” US forces worked to push the German army back through Belgium and Luxembourg toward the German lines. The “bulge” was the shape the battle line took initially as the Germans had pushed through the Allied lines creating what newspapers reported as a bulge in the lines. By January 16, 1945, the Allied forces had pushed the “bulge” back and the Germans were forced back to Germany. Heavy casualties were sustained on all sides of the fighting. It was considered one of the most desperate US battles in Europe.

I can’t find much information specifically about the 415th Collecting Company and their role in the European campaign. However, it is pretty obvious that they were assigned to support Patton’s 3rd Army forces during the Battle of the Bulge. Edwin may have been at the hospital base or closer to the front lines, transporting wounded. Regardless, I’m sure he was overwhelmed by what he saw.

His letters during this time tell of moving frequently, sometimes sleeping in buildings & sometimes in “squad tents” holding 16 men. On January 4 he wrote of being promoted to P.F.C. (Private First Class) and receiving the Good Conduct Medal. January 11 he wrote from the “ETO or European Theater of Operations or Somewhere in France.”

With the Battle of the Bulge won, in 1945 the US forces moved on toward the Rhine River & Germany.

Edwin moved on with the Army…

© MJM 2016

Uncle Edwin’s Story, Part 3…Moving with the Army

At the end of April of 1944, Pauline Boone, Edwin’s wife, sent a letter home from Colorado, where Edwin was finishing training as a Dental Technician. She said, “I feel like we are awaiting a sentence of some kind, which can be good or bad. He won’t know where he is going to be sent for a few more days yet, and I can tell you that the suspense is almost unbearable. If I only knew he would be allowed to serve his country here in the United States…but that is the Question!” Edwin had the highest average in his class and had completed his training, so they were waiting to see where the Army would send him next. She also wrote, “I frankly hope Edwin won’t get a furlough right now, unless it is a delayed routing, because that would indicate that he might be going over-seas. So I have hoped that he would be assigned someplace & then get a furlough later on.”

Mid-May, 1944, Edwin wrote that he was on a train headed to California. “We crossed the Divide about 5 o’clock after going through 31 or 32 tunnels!” He said he was in a “troop sleeper” car attached to a regular train. The car held 30 men with 3 tiers of bunks. He lists his new address as ASF-PRD, 1st Bn. Co E-1, Camp Beale, California.

Camp Beale was located about 40 miles north of Sacramento, near Maryville, CA. It was a large camp with training for several divisions. In May of 1944, it opened a German Prisoner of War base camp. Edwin was assigned to ASF-PRD which was the code for Army Service Forces Personnel Replacement Depot. It essentially was a temporary duty station for soldiers waiting new assignments.

Edwin’s letters from Camp Beale tell of a waiting game. He was expecting to work temporarily in the Dental clinic—can’t say that he actually did that. Otherwise, he had KP duty, went on hikes—up to 8 miles at a time, and loafed. He said in June that he started going to a ranch to help “thin out the peach crop, ” for which he got $5/day and his meals. He said that about 150 men from Camp went out each day with 10 to 20 going to each ranch, working for about 9 hours a day. He wrote about this in a letter postmarked June 8, 1944. One of the last sentences was, “It looks like the war is just a little nearer being over. At least we can hope and pray that it is soon.” Of course, on June 6, the US forces had landed on the beaches of Normandy. Perhaps this is what Edwin was referring to.

On June 20, he wrote that he had gone to a nearby Baptist Church on Sunday and was treated to Sunday dinner from one of the families. He then said he went on a 10 1/2 mile hike on Monday, drilled & then had Judo training. He was called off the field in the afternoon to prepare to ship out to Ft. Sam Houston, TX. He traveled by train to Los Angeles and then across country to Texas. He drew a picture of a yucca plant that he saw along the way.

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Edwin stopped in Ft. Sam Houston for a few days, sending only one letter from there. Then he was back in Camp Barkeley, Texas. He was assigned to the 415 Medical Collecting Company. He was expecting to be on KP duty, but said “KP isn’t very hard here for we eat out of mess kits, consequently there will be no dishes to wash.” So I guess they changed things a little since he was first stationed there. Eating out of mess kits was the norm now instead of a punishment for not passing inspection. He also began to wonder what the next move would be. “They keep shipping me around this way, I’ll begin to think there isn’t any place for me in the Army.” Pauline moved out to Texas again in July.

By the end of July, Edwin had moved again. This time he was stationed at Camp Bowie at Brownwood, TX. He was still assigned to the 415 Medical Collecting Company. Camp Bowie was another large training camp. Edwin said the camp could hold 80,000 soldiers. He started painting signs again but didn’t do much else. Pauline followed him to Brownwood. However, with such a small town near the large Army base, Pauline mentioned that prices were “double or triple for everything.”

Edwin didn’t have much news to report home. He spent time in the field practicing carrying litters or riding in the ambulance. He indicated toward the end of August that the unit has been “alerted” and is to prepare to go overseas. Edwin didn’t think he would be going with the group. As he was nearing 38 years old, he was showing his frustration with the system & was hoping that he would get out of the Army. He also indicated he wished he could be home to help his aging parents with the farm.

He explained the workings of a Medical Collecting Company to his folks. “Contrary to what the name makes you think of, it has nothing to do with finance! Casualties are picked up at the stations near the front lines and are carried back to the Collecting station and sent by ambulance back to a “Clearing station” (serving several Coll Co’s), from where the “Clearing” evacuates them on to a field hospital. As I am a litter bearer in this Co. you know that they aren’t going to take me when there are younger men in the Army they can use.” Again he expected to get out of the Army. “Under Army Regulations they cannot change my classification (as a dental lab technician), so eventually they will either find a place for me or let me out of this Army.”

Still at Camp Bowie in September, soon after his 38th birthday, Edwin wrote of his job of “putting the men’s serial numbers in their shoes and helmets.” Two days before this the company had their physical fitness test, so he was glad to be able to sit and work on a task! The fitness test included the following exercises as well as “creeping and crawling in the mud” & a 4 mile forced march which they did in 44 minutes.

edwinexercises

He still talks of the company moving out soon and expects he will transfer to a hospital where he can “begin to do some good for the Army.”

On Sunday, September 24, 1944, Pauline sent a letter home. Edwin had been restricted to Camp for the week before, but he managed to slip out & meet Pauline Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings. He didn’t show on Friday night or Saturday. Pauline didn’t hear from him. She went to the Camp Sunday morning and was informed that “several hundred men left at 2 o’clock Friday nite and the 415th was among them. They shipped out under concealed orders, destination unknown. Of course, I know he is going to the Port of Embarkation.”

The standard War Department change of address postcard was also sent to his parents.It had an APO New York address instead of a camp name.

So Edwin was on his way to a new duty station with the Army…

© MJM 2016