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JIM: Ripped from the headlines, 1944

It was a time in the worst of the World War II years. Adair County had already lost some one dozen lives in the war effort. Wrigley's Spearmint Gum was a paragon of patriotic virtue, (in sharp contrast to the greed of the companies undergoing "Inversion" today). Miss Hattie Lee Willis became owner of "The Dress Shop," beginning a decades long stand as a top Columbia clothier. Mr. Kirk had just been hired as superintendent. Two young women complete nursing training - in Louisville, KY, one of the closest opportunities they had then. The community cannery opened at the high school (an idea whose time has come again?). The Marshall dynasty had a new member, whose father was away, in WWII, and the news had a great mention of a chance meet up with another Adair Countian in England. Ripped from the headlines ends with a choke, with a story of a hero of World II who should never be forgotten. - CM
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As had been the case for every edition of the Adair County News for over three and a half long, wearying years, war news dominated the front page of the Wednesday, August 2, 1944 edition. A sampling of headlines amply makes the point: Adair Soldier Killed in Italy; [Soldier] Wounded in France; 29 Called for Physical Exams; Adair Man Commissioned Lieutenant in Navy; Wallace Hancock Shot by Sniper; and Our Boys in the Service.

Our Boys in Service was a weekly column

The latter-named was a weekly column about enlistments, transfers, furloughs, medals and awards, discharges, promotions, and the like, sponsored by Wrigley's Spearmint Gum. A little known fact is that war-time rationing of sugar kept Wrigley's from obtaining sufficient supplies to meet the civilian demand for their Spearmint and Juicy Fruit brands, so by decision of the company president, every package they produced went to the troops.--every package!

Some two dozen Adair Countians had already died in the war effort

By the time the August 2nd News went to press, some two dozen Adair Countians already had died in the war effort--killed in action or died post-battle from wounds received therein or died by accident or misadventure. Many of these deaths were so recent they had not yet been reported in the paper. Before Japan finally surrendered a year and two weeks later, that number would increase horrifically.

Still, there was news from the home front as well, although much of it too was tinged with war.

Mr. Kirk had just been hired as Superintendent of Columbia schools

Mr. H.B. Kirk had just been hired as the Superintendent of the Columbia schools to replace TC Little, who some months earlier had resigned the position to join the Navy. From all accounts, Mr. Kirk served ably and honorably for several years. He and his wife tragically died toward the end of November, 1950.

A notable event was the opening of the cannery

One of the more notable items was the opening of the just completed Columbia Community Cannery, located on the Columbia High School Campus. It already was in use "with the canning of a few bushels of peaches." The hours of operation were eight a.m. until 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and would remain so "until the supply of fruits and vegetables" -- many of which, no doubt, were raised in Victory Gardens -- " necessitate a change of schedule." Those wishing to use steel cans could purchase same at the cannery; pint-sized cans were a nickel and quarts were six cents. In both cases, the cost included the expense of using the cannery equipment. For glass contains, which had to supplied by the user, the cost of using the equipment was two cents per pint and three cents per quart.

It was the year Miss Hattie Lee Willie took over The Dress Shop

Over on the Square, J. Weatherford had announced on Monday, July 31st that he was "closing out his women's apparel shop as soon as possible and temporarily discontenting his jewelry business due to till health." As he planned to move to Florida as soon as possible, his house near the Square was going on the auction block on August 11th, Mr. M.F. Hawkins in charge of the sale. Shortly after this appeared in the paper, Miss Hattie Lee Willis, who had clerked for Mr. Weatherford for some time, bought the Dress Shop and was in charge of the store by the middle of the following week. A later edition of the paper stated that J.R. Kerbow purchased the house and lot, located just off Fortune Street, for $4,075.

4-H Picnic cancelled on account of drouth and for other reasons

In a meeting held the previous week, the Adair County Farm Bureau board of directors had decided, among other things, to cancel the Bureau picnic and 4-H Club show, scheduled for August 10th, "on account of the drouth and for other reasons."

Union church services were continuing

Union church services, which had been ongoing for several weeks, still held the interest of Columbians. Rev. J.W. Lewis had delivered a stemwinder sermon the previous Sunday night at the local Nazerene Church to "a large crowd of 136 people." The next such service was scheduled for Sunday night, August 6th, at the Columbia Presbyterian Church.

Two Adair County native finished nursing training at Norton

On the educational front, two Adair County natives, Miss Eva Frazer and Miss Ella Kate Rowe, had finished all requirements of the three-year nursing curriculum and would be graduated from the Norton Infirmary School for Nurses on Monday, August 7th.

(Just over a year later, the September 12th edition of the paper reported that ""Lt. Eva Fraser, of Columbia, was one of five nurses in a U.S. 8th Army rescue group of 24, who ventured 365 miles into unoccupied Japan on a Japanese troop train to reach 603 prisoners of war last Friday. The journey took 13 hours and the group was unmolested..." She remained in Japan until January 2, 1946.)

It was the birth year of James Clyde Marshall III

Among the birth announcements were those of James Clyde Marshall III, who recently had made his advent into the world at the Baute Infirmary, Lebanon. The notice carried the obligatory note, "Mother and son are both getting along fine," but it would be quite some before J.C., Jr., would get to see his son, as he had disembarked from a transport on July 25 in England. Oddly enough, one of the first persons he encountered was Adair County's own Raymond Young, a clerk, who had just been sent from France to a Replacement Center in England. In a curious twist of fate, reported the News in an article headlined "A Small World,"

J.C. Marshall was the first Adair Countian Raymond Yong had seen in a year

"Raymond graduated in May, 1943 from the Columbia High School and was inducted into the Armed Forces in June of that same year. With the exception of a furlough, neither in camps here in this country or in England, had Raymond met up with a single soul from home."

Lt. Shipp had completed 38 missions as Flying Fortress Navigator

Not mentioned in this issue was that Lt. Gene Shipp was home on a month's furlough after having completed 38 missions as a Flying Fortress navigator in the European Theater of Operations. He and Mrs. Davis left Adair County on Sunday morning, August 13th, for Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he was to report for duty. As expected, he was returned to the ETO, arriving back in England toward the end of October. Sadly, he would never see home again. On the morning of January 21, 1945, he perished when the B-17 he was aboard was involved in a mid-air collision near Aschaffenburg, Germany.

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2014-08-04 03:44:02
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