Thursday, September 30, 2010

Criteria for a Medal of Honor

From the September 22nd Chicago Tribune.

May be awarded to a member of the military who "distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty."

The act "must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life."

"Incontestable proof" of the act is required.

High Standards for a High Honor. --DaCoot

The Medal of Honor

From the September 22nd Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune had a Medal of Honor graphic to go along with the story on Richard Etchberger.

It was introduced in 1861, during the Civil War, to recognize acts of bravery by Union troops. Since then, it has been awarded 3,400 times.


With years of involvement and number of troops involved.

CIVIL WAR-- (1861-1865) Union troops only 1,522 out of 2.2 million

SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR-- (1898) 110 out of 307.000

WORLD WAR I-- (1917-1918) 124 out of 4.7 million

WORLD WAR II-- (1941-1945) 464 out of 16.1 million

KOREAN WAR-- (1950-1953) 133 out of 5.7 million

VIETNAM WAR-- (1964-1973) 245 out of 8.7 million

IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN-- (2001-present) 8* out of about 2 million

*Medals for two recipients have been announced but not awarded yet.

After looking at the criteria and write ups for Civil War soldiers as compared to what verification has to be done today, there is a huge difference. During the Civil War, a commander's recommendation was all that was needed. Today, a lot more information is needed.

An Award of Great Honor. --Cooter

Vitenam Medal of Honor Awarded

September 22nd Chicago Tribune "After years of secrecy, heroism is recognized" by Jordan Steffen.

Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Richard Etchberger was on a secret mission 42 years ago in Laos when his radar station was surrounded and ambushed by North Vietnamese troops. He fought back and helped three wounded airmen into a helicopter for evacuation. He was the last to climb in and killed by enemy fire as it took off. His actions were classified for years.

On September 21st, President Obama awarded Etchberger the Congressional Medal of Honor. His three sons, Steve, Richard and Cory accepted it. Back then, they were told that their father had died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

Etchberger was a radio technician from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and was working at a secret station in the mountains of Laos. It was secret because Laos was neutral and as such, US forces were not supposed to be there. The station directed US pilots in an air campaign against North Vietnam.

Nineteen men were at the station when the attack occurred, seven survived, three directly because of Etchberger's actions.

He was a technician with no formal combat training, but he took charge during the attack, defending the station while coordinating US air strikes and rescue efforts.

A True Hero.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TV Shows Debuting Today

Quite a big day for TV shows debuting today.

1953 "MAKE ROOM OR DADDY"-- Starring Danny Thomas ran 11 years, 4 on ABC and last 7 on CBS. Of course, the "Andy Griffith Show" spun off this one.

1955 "SGT. PRESTON OF THE YUKON"-- ran three years on CBS. Anyone still have your Quaker Oats stock?

1959 "THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS"-- ran four seasons on CBS.

1960 "MY THREE SONS"-- Starring Fred MacMurray. ran 13 seasons, the first 5 on ABC and last ones on CBS.

1969 "LOVE AMERICAN STYLE"-- with that song by the Cowsills. Ran 5 seasons on ABC.

1986 "DESIGNING WOMEN"-- 7 years on CBS

There were others, but these were some of my favorites.

From the Ye Olde Disc Jockey Almanac site.

These Are Some Mighty Good Shows. --Cooter

What Was the Mothball Fleet?-- Part 2

Way back on August 27th, I started this entry. Now is a good time to finish it since we're about out of September. From the January 20th Wilmington Star-News My Reporter by Ben Stillman.

People write in questions and reporters research and answer them.

After World War II, there was a huge reserve fleet anchored by Wilmington, North Carolina. They were there in case they were needed in a future war. Sometimes the fleet was referred to as the Mothball Fleet as well as Ghost Fleet.

A total of 628 vessels, mostly Liberty Ships, were tied up there from 1946 to 1970. Also, 68 Victory Ships (the successor of the Liberty Ships), tankers and 41 others were tied up as well.

There are still a few Ghost Fleets left in the US, and every so often, you hear of a World War II ship being towed off for dismantling. They have digressed to the point that they now pose an environmental threat.

But, you still hate to hear about their demise.

More to Come, But It Won't be Another Month This Time. --DaCoot

Battle of Britain Underground Station to Reopen

From September 23rd AP.

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the long-closed Aldwych Station near Central London's Covent Garden, a refuge for thousands between September 1940 and May 1941, was reopened last weekend. It was one of the first undergrounds used as a shelter.

It has been closed for 16 years. Visitors to it will be guided by staff in period costume including one dressed as and playing the role of an air-raid warden. An original 1943 train will be parked in the station and a period bus will be parked outside the station.

Survivors of the battle were invited for a preview on the 23rd and were urged to record their memories.

Margret Clark, 78, remembers, "At first we went down for an hour or two, then we'd go home after getting the all-clear. After that it started lasting all night-- we weren't exactly sleeping, we had no bedding, we just sat, sat on the floor, sat on the benches.... My mother had a corner of the bottom of one escalator and my auntie the corner of another."

All the while, these poor people had to listen to the bombs falling and wonder whether they'd have anything left at home after it was over.

A Very hard Life Back then. --Cooter

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dead Page: Mickey's Guy



Died August 15th at age 89. He selected sites that became Disneyland and Disneyworld.

See today's date on my blog.

I sure though I was typing on this blog, where it actually belongs. Oh well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dead Page: Bagpiper at D-Day

BILL MILLIN (1922-2010)


'Piper Bill' played to rally his comrades into battle at Normandy

Bill Millen, the bagpiper who defied German fire at the Normandy D-day landings in 1944 died August 17th. He became known as "Piper Bill" and he was immortalized in the film "The Longest Day."

he was unarmed and had friends falling all around him on Sword Beach, but continued playing his "Highland Laddie" tune. His commanding officer, Lord Lovat, had asked him to ignore the rules forbidding playing the bagpipes in battle, saying they were English orders and since they were both Scottish it didn't apply and requested that Mr. Millin to so to rally the troops and boost morale.

He was 21 at the time. In a 2001 BBC interview, he said, "When you're young, you do things you wouldn't dream of doing when you're older. I enjoyed playing the pipes, but I didn't notice I was being shot at."

After the battle, Mr. Millin talked to captured Germans who said they didn't shoot him because they thought he was crazy. It's a wonder they didn't make him a special target because of the infernal sounds he was making.

His bagpipes were badly damaged by shrapnel a few days after D-Day and are on display at the National War Museum in Scotland.

One of the Greatest Generation.

August 20th Chicago Tribune by Anna Tomforde.

Dead Page: Man Who Inspired a Rock Band



You have to wonder if the band will be attending the funeral. Perhaps they will play.

Leonard Skinner was a Jacksonville, Florida, high school gym teacher and coach died at age 77 September 20th of Alzheimer's disease. he earned a place in rock history in the late 1960s at Robert E. Lee High School after he sent students to the OFFICE because of the length of their hair. At least one of them was a future member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In 2009, Mr. Skinner explained that the long hair was against school rules, "I don't particularly like long hair on men, but again, it wasn't my rule." His daughter, Susie Moore, described him as a disciplinarian, "There was right and there was wrong and you'd better not deviate."

he was born Forby Leonard Skinner on Jan. 11, 1933 in Jacksonville and graduated from lee High. He served in the Army and graduated from Florida State in 1957.

He was no fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd's music, but stayed connected with them through the years. The band had several names before settling on their sarcastic tribute to Mr. Skinner. Lynyrd Skynyrd had quite a few hots in the 1970s including "Sweet Home Alabama" and, of course, "Free Bird."

Three band members, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant were killed in a 1977 plane crash.

In 2009, Mr. Skinner said, "They were good, talented hard-working boys. They worked hard, lived hard and boozed hard."

So, It Comes to This.

From September 22nd Chicago Tribune.

Friday, September 24, 2010

AHS Centaur Memorial

From September 22nd

Judith Holland of Auchenflower, Australia, will spread her husband's ashes at the site of the wreck of the AHS Centaur as part of a memorial. Professor Angus Holland died three years ago. Major L.L. Holland, one of the victims of the attack on the hospital ship back during World War II. Angus was just sixteen when his father died.

Major Holland was a graduate of the University of Sydney and a medical officer on board the Centaur. He had previously served in the Middle East during the war.

Three hundred Centaur family members from across Australia will be going to the site aboard the HMAS Kanimbia.

Ms. Holland will be one of three people spreading loved ones' ashes over the wreck. Flowers will also be thrown overboard.

For more information, just click on the label Centaur below. I've had lots of posts about the ship, 53 to be exact.

A Sad Event Memorialized. --Cooter

The Dixie Highway, Dixie Bee Line and Hubbard's Trail

I have been writing about Illinois Highway 1 along the eastern border of the state, specifically that part between Chicago and Vincennes, Indiana, in my September blog entries on RoadDog's RoadLog Blog (Lots of Gs).

This road, established as a fur trail was a significant part of why Chicago became such a huge city.

Check it Out. --Cooter

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Liberation of Paris Flag Returned-- Part 2

Continued from Monday's entry.

During the celebrations, the flag quickly disappeared and its absence not really noticed. A different, larger flag was there the day after when French General Charles de Gaulle led a victory parade down the Champs-Elesees.

In 2008, French chef Armand Lourdin was cooking for a group of US World War II veterans in Chappaqua, New York. After dinner, they sent for him. "Everybody was standing up, they had opened up the flag and they were all singing the Marseillaise in French--they had learned the words."

One of the men said he had taken the flag when Paris was liberated and asked Lourdin to take it back to France with him when he returned on vacation. Lourdin did, and gave it to a relative in southern France. He notified the government in Paris. The flag has been verified and French firefighters hung it September 18th from the top of the town's town hall before returning it to Paris.

Good to Have It Back Where It Belongs. --Cooter

Monday, September 20, 2010

Liberation of Paris Flag Returned-- Part 1

From September 19th Chron World News "Remorseful US vet returns French war flag to Paris" by Angela Doland.

The day Paris was liberated from the Germans in 1944, a young American soldier nabbed himself a souvenir, the French flag hanging from the Arc de Triomphe. Now, 26 years later, the 13 yard tricolor flag has come back home. A ceremony in southern France was held and the flag flown from town hall.

The American soldier remains anonymous and is embarrassed for what he did back then. The French government just wants to thank him for returning it and plans no punishment.

The cotton flag is still in excellent shape and has been carefully preserved.

Members of the French Resistance had placed the flag at the Arch August 25, 1944 after General Phillipe Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division, backed by American troops, rolled into Paris. The German occupiers had ignored Hitler's orders to destroy the city and surrendered.

More to come.

It's Great to Have It back Where It Belongs. --DaCoot

Battle of Britain Service

A service was held at Westminster Abbey in London to commemorate the sacrifices and heroism of "The Few." That would be the RAF pilots and crews who battled the German Luftwaffe from July to October 1940 in what is known as the Battle of Britain.

Prince Charles and Prince Williams led the tribute.

The Roll of Honor was read which consists of 2,936 crew names who fought. It is thought that there are only 25 survivors of these brave souls, all in their late 80s and 90s.

From Sept. 20th

The Passing of the Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Friday, September 17, 2010

Original Navajo Code Talker Tells Story-- Part 1

From September 5th Goldsboro News-Argus "Original Navajo Code Talker Tells Story" by the Associated Press.

Only three of the original Code Talkers are still alive and two of them can no longer tell that story.

There were the Original 29, the first ones chosen by the US Army to develop a code based on their unwritten language that could be used to send military information over the airwaves in the Pacific Theater. The Japanese were never able to crack the code and valuable information was able to be dispersed by Americans in a quick and timely matter without the need for deciphering.

Thousands of messages were sent and received without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications. This helped greatly in the eventual US victory.

Eventually, there were hundreds of Code Talkers, but just those Original 29, now down to three.

And only one of those, Corporal Chester Nez, 89, is able to still tell the story. And, even he has lost both legs to diabetes. The other two are Lloyd Oliver who speaks, but his words are extremely difficult to make out and he is nearly deaf. The other, Allen dale June, 88, has a severe case of Alzheimer's.

The amazing thing is that these men would do so much for a country who treated their people so badly. I'm not sure that I would have had I been in their place.

Heroes, All. --Cooter

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Battle of Britain Day-- September 15th

As mentioned in the earlier posting, yesterday, September 15th marked the 70th anniversary of what is considered to be the turning point of the Battle of Britain pitting the German Luftwaffe against the British RAF, ground crews and anti-aircraft batteries for control of British airspace.

This information according to the BBC Home page On This Day.

On September 15, 1940, the RAF (Royal Air Force) Fighter Command claimed victory over the Luftwaffe after that organization sustained huge losses during attacks on Britain that day.

A total of 176 enemy aircraft were destroyed by RAF fighters and at least 9 others were shot by anti-aircraft fire.

British losses amounted to 25 aircraft and 12 pilots killed or missing.

Two major attacks by 250 Luftwaffe were launched against London along with several others on the south coast of Britain around Southampton and Portsmouth.

Buckingham Place was hit three times in the first attack in London. Two bombs failed to explode and a third cause damage to the Queen's private quarters, but both King and Queen were not in residence at the time.

A Major Turning Point of the War. --DaCoot

Recognizing German Pilots on Battle of Britain Day

September 15th is observed as Battle of Britain Day in the United Kingdom. This date is usually considered to be the turning point of the battle.

From September 15th Telegraph "Battle of Britain Day" a time to remember all who lost their lives in the confict" by Nicholas Milton.

The surviving pilots and airmen on both sides are rapidly dwindling. Current RAF Squadron Leader Ian Smith, referring to the RAF's counterparts, said, "Make no mistake the regime was truly appalling but seventy years on surely it's time to distinguish between Nazism and the bravery of the German pilots."

He continued, "Like all military personnel they were just following orders and like a lot of our boys they made the ultimate sacrifice."

Germany rarely honors its Luftwaffe because of its connection to Nazi Germany. They have no day to celebrate their bravery.

"Never Has So much..." --Cooter

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dead Page: Music and Howdy

The August 29th Chicago Tribune listed three obituaries of particular interest to me.

KENNY EDWARDS (1946-August 18, 2010) Member of Stone Poneys and worked with Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon. I was a fan of the Stone Poneys and especially that singer, Linda Ronstadt. Their biggest hit was "Different Drum" which hit #13 and was written by Mike Nesmith before he joined the Monkees.

EDWARD KEAN, 85 August 13th-- The original head writer of "The Howdy Doody Show" the famous NBC children's show that I used to watch regularly. He also wrote the songs and created characters.

GEORGE DAVID WEISS, 89 August 23rd-- Prolific songwriter from 40s to 60s. Wrote "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and "Can't Help Falling in Love" a big hit for Elvis Presley.

Dead Page: Ran White Fence Farm on Route 66-- Part 2

According to his daughter, Robert Hastert liked to see people enjoying themselves.

In the late 60s, he began opening satellite carry-out White Fence Farm locations and there are currently four of them. He also allowed the White Fence Farm name to be used at another place in Lakewood, Colorado.

Hastert told the Tribune in 1993, "Over the years, we've put on a total of 30 additions, including 11 new dining rooms, 11 additions to the kitchen and eight sets of bathrooms." The effort clearly shows with the place's popularity and steady stream of customers (but you have to catch the place open. Liz and I have been there probably five times and they were closed each time except once when they were open for the Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour so at least we were able to go inside.

For almost 50 years, Hastert lived within a mile of his place.

An example of a Mom and Pop kind of a place that has done well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dead Page: Ran White Fence Farm on Route 66


One of the top attractions and places to eat along all of Route 66 is White Fence Farm near Romeoville, Illinois, and it is so because of the efforts of Robert Hastert who took his father's business and expanded it until now they can seat 1100 people in 12 dining rooms.

He died June 30, 2010.

He was born in Aurora, Illinois and worked in his father Robert C. Hastert's poultry business delivering chickens to local restaurants. In 1953, his father bought the 450-acre estate of coal tycoon Stuyvesant Peabody on the old Route 66. Peabody had already converted the farmhouse into a hamburger joint.

His father saw the possibility of drawing crowds from the Chicagoland area even though the area was still rural.

His daughter Laura Hastert-Gardner said, "He liked to make sure people were happy and that they got fed good."

We have been by White Fence Farm many times, but have never eaten here because they are always closed when we do. But some day we hope to get a meal there. We've already eaten at the nearby Del Rhea's Chicken Basket and understand there is quite a rivalry between the two.

More to Come. --Cooter

From July 9th Chicago Tribune.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Indian Chief Pontiac

While on my trip to North Carolina at the end of last month, I passed a history-in-a-Stick marker about the site where Ottawa Chief Pontiac signed a peace treaty with the British to stop hostilities back in 1765.

I made a blog entry on it Saturday, September 11th on my history blog. Fir more information, go to

As in Pontiac, Illinois. --Cooter

Saturday, September 11, 2010

AHS Centaur Update

There are not too many articles in Australian papers now about the tragic hospital ship Centaur, but, I did come across this in the August 27th Courier-Mail (Australia). "Centaur Memorial Health Precinct to remind nursing students of World War II sacrifice" by Margaret Wenham.

Pam Gilbert was just 5 and not yet in school when her father, Fred Fortier, was killed in the May 14, 1943, Japanese submarine attack on the Centaur.

Now 72, Gilbert and two other relatives of Centaur's crew attended the opening of the Centaur Memorial Health Precinct, a new $4.5 million facility for training nurses.

She remembers that her mother received the telegram that her husband was dead within hours after a similar one arrived at her grandparents' house saying that her Uncle Alan was dead. Both brothers had been members of the 2nd 12th Field Ambulance contingent aboard the ill-fated Centaur.

The new facility has classrooms, a staff room and state-of-the-art health center. The staff area is named after Sister Savage, the only one of 12 nurses aboard the Centaur to survive the attack.

Still a Very Heart Rending Event. --Cooter

Hazy Future for the Wreck and Artifacts of PS Lady Sterling-- Part 2

I'm not sure why Wikipedia listed the Lady Elgin as PS instead of SS.

As important of a shipwreck as the Lady Elgin is, the discoverer and owner of the shipwreck, Harry Zych says he can't find a museum willing to spend the money for preservation of the artifacts and an exhibit.

Now, it comes to light that gold and silver coins, valued at $300 at the time of the sinking, but worth much more now, have been discovered.

The 150th anniversary of the sinking has caused a book to be written, a play and seminars. Valerie van Heest, a shipwreck diver, has led a diving expedition to document the site and has written a book "Lost on the Lady Elgin" and spoke September 9th at the Evanston History Center.

She has experience with exhibits and says one for the ship would be in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, but the cost of conserving the artifacts would be much higher.

During the 1990s, there was a long legal battle in Illinois courts over the ship's rightful owner. The Illinois Supreme Court finally declared Harry Zych the owner.

In the meantime, the site is continually picked over by divers so much of it is already gone.

I have to wonder what shape the artifacts already taken from the wreck are in if they have not been preserved?

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hazy Future for the Wreck and Artifacts of the PS Lady Elgin-- Part 1

From the September 9th Chicago Tribune "Hazy future for relic of past" by Robert McCoppin and Wikipedia.

It was the worst ever open-water disaster on Lake Michigan and took place 150 years ago, September 8, 1860, when 350 men, women and children lost their lives when the Lady Elgin sank returning to Milwaukee from Chicago after being rammed by another ship.

The worst-ever loss of life on all of the Great Lakes took place on the Chicago River in Chicago when the SS Eastland capsized July 24, 1915, and 884 died.

Its anchor still stands upright and a long chain is attached to it. The ship's wooden beams stand upright like a whale skeleton and pieces of broken china lie scattered on the lake floor along with a boiler and even a Civil War era rifle.

The site of the wreck is in 60 feet of water, several miles offshore of Highland Park (a suburb north of Chicago)

Some 200 artifacts from the wreck are still in storage, waiting for a museum to take them.

Most people Have never heard of the Lady Elgin. More to Come. --DaCoot

The Search for the Bonhomme Richard-- Part 2

From Wikipedia

The Bonhomme Richard was built for France in 1765 and named the Duc de Duras and intended for the East Indies trade. The French king placed the ship at John Paul Jones' disposal and he renamed in Bonhomme Richard in honor of Benjamin Franklin who had written Poor Richard's Almanac which was published in France as Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard.

The ship weighed 998 tons, was 152 feet long and had a 40 foot beam and a crew of 380. Its armament consisted of 28X12-pounder smoothbores, 6X18-pounder smoothbores and 8X9-pounder smoothbores.

Before the battle, it had been sailing off the British coast attacking merchant ships when it came across a big convoy protected by the HMS Serapis and another British ship.

The battle last four hours and at first appeared to be a victory for the British. About half of the crews of both ships were killed or wounded and eventually the fighting was between the two ships as they were tied together. When the French warship Alliance joined in and opened fire on both vessels, the Serapis was forced to surrender when it could not bring its guns to bear on it.

The Bonhomme Richard sank September 25, 1779, after Jones had transferred his command to the Serapis which later became a French privateer and sank.

I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight. --Cooter

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Search for the Bonhomme Richard-- Part 1

The September New Haven (Ct) Register reports that the Ocean Technology Foundation is getting ready to mount their fifth expedition to locate the wreck of John Paul Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard which sank after its battle with the British frigate HMS Serapis in what is called the Battle of Flamborough Head off the coast of Yorkshire, England, on September 23, 1779.

It was in this battle that Jones uttered the famous words, "I have not yet begun to fight."

The wreck of the Serapis was discovered in November 1999.

Many efforts have been made to find it, but the Bonhomme Richard has so far been elusive. It is believed to be in several pieces and there are many other shipwrecks in the area, further compounding the problem of locating it.

Here's Hoping They Find It. --DaCoot

World War I Veterans Auxiliary

Mrs. Ham mentioned that my grandmother was a major mover in the World War I Veterans Auxiliary in Goldsboro. I could find no mention of that organization.

However. it is possible that she meant the American Legion Auxiliary of Post 11 at 2933 US Highway 117 North between Goldsboro and Mount Olive.

The American Legion was established right after World War I and I would guess the #11 designation would be for how early the post was established, making Goldsboro's one of the first ones in the state.

Was There Such an Organization? --Cooter

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic in North Carolina-- Part 2


Don Tonkel was a child living in Goldsboro at the time. He gave an idea of what i was like to live in those times:

"I felt like I was walking on eggshells. I was afraid to go out, to play with my playmates, my neighbors. I was almost afraid to breathe...People were afraid to talk to each other...Farmers stopped farming, merchants stopped selling. The country more or less shut down....

So many people were dying we could hardly count them. We never knew from one day to another who was going to be next on the death list."

Definitely a mighty fearful time to be alive.

From North Carolina Flu Epidemic.

The epidemic overwhelmed the North Carolina's medical community and fledgling health care system. Public gatherings were outlawed and victims quarantined. Over 20 million died worldwide (I've heard as many as 100 million) and 13,000 in North Carolina.

In some cases, death occurred within 48 hours of the first sneeze.

It was especially deadly on those who cared for the sick, both professionally and volunteer basis. My grandmother was very brave to help as she did, but since she had already had it, was immune.

One positive result of the epidemic was that there was a huge hospital building program in the state during the 1920s.

A Scary Time. --DaCoot

The 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic in North Carolina-- Part 1

In reference to the last five posts about my grandmother.

I never knew that my grandmother, Gertrude Hood had had the Spanish Fly back then and that after she recovered, she volunteered to nurse other victims. My mom said that my grandfather, Graham Hood, also had it but recovered. He always said he recovered because he kept his bowels clear. I wouldn't know whether or not that is true.

I have noticed while walking through cemeteries a large number of people dying in 1918. North Carolina, with its many military bases was particularly hard hit. It seemed that the flu followed our soldiers back from Europe at the conclusion of World War I. My grandfather was in the Army, but had never gone to Europe. My great Uncle David had, but evidently had not contracted the disease before he died in the attempt to save the little boy from the flooded river.


The pandemic lasted from 1918 to 1919. By September 27, 1918, North Carolina reported that all hospitals from Wilmington to Raleigh were crowded with victims. By the first week of October, the disease was an epidemic. A week later, Fayetteville reported it to be especially bad.

An Almost-Forgotten Part of US History. --Cooter

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In Memory of Gertrude Prince Hood-- Part 5

Friends were shocked to learn of her death after a fall.  She would have been 93 September 3, 1993.
We shall miss seeing her at meetings and church for a long time to come.
Our World War I Veterans Auxiliary will especially miss her as she was a prime mover in its organization and kept it going.
Thank you, Gertrude, for all you've meant to us.

Catherine Matthew Ham.
Quite a heartfelt and very informative letter.  Thank you Mrs. Ham.

In Memory of Gertrude Prince Hood-- Part 4

Gertrude and Graham bought a house in front of Herman Park at 504 N. Jackson Street [where I'm typing this right now].

We had a Sewing Circle, sewing baby clothes.

They had two sons who preceded them in death, avid, an infant; and William who married Dot Harris. hey had two children, Graham III and Gayle.

Their (Gertrude and Graham's) daughter was Barbara who married Donald Hatch.

Gertrude's sister Annie Mae married Clifton Phillips, William married Julia Mae Roberts and after her death Virgi Forbes. Julia married Bush Nash.

Gertrude loved her home and delighted in having a flower garden full of gorgeous roses. She also loved bridge and sewing. She took them to the sick.

She was a member of many clubs and organizations such as the Garden Club, D.A.R., World War I Veterans Auxiliary, Bridge Clubs, etc.. She loved people and they loved her. She was also a teacher in the Carey Newton Sunday School Class and was active in church work and in the Silver Singers.

More to Come.

In Memory of Gertrude Prince Hood-- Part 3-- 1918 Flu Epidemic

(I found this part to be of particular interest.)

During the Flu epidemic of 1918 Gertrude was a volunteer nurse and nursed some of the people who were sick. Many times a whole family would get sick with the flu with nobody left to wait on them.

So, after Gertrude got over it, she nursed others.

Her brother David was gassed during the war. A short time after he arrived home he tried to rescue a little boy who was about to drown in a flood near the Union Train Station. he saved the boy and fell in the water and died. David was presented the Cerngay [Carnegie] Medal posthumously.

Some of the girls were married after the boys came home from war. Gertrude and Graham Hood were married April 21, 1920. They were happily married for 65 years. he was a Studebaker dealer.

(I never knew my grandmother had nursed victims of the flu epidemic. And I especially did not know she had had the flu.)

In Memory of Gertrude Prince Hood-- Part 2

There were lots of girls in the neighborhood. We had a good time together. Especially since all the boys had gone to war.

The girls were Rachel Hunt (Brown); Narjorie Haynes (Waters); Mary Lena Cestin (Loftin); Ruby Morris (Bryan); Nellie Edwards (Best); Memie Edwards, Fannie Edwards (Greene); Louisa Kornegay (Boney); Helen Brogden (Swartz) and Catherine Matthews (Ham).

Most of us were in school. We had parties, played Flinch and Rook, went to the movies, went to the Candy Kitchen and Williams Drug Store for ice cream sodas, rode the SummerStreet Car (open) all over the whole system for 20 cents on some Sunday afternoons and enjoyed our church activities. There was never a dull moment.

To Be Continued.

In Memory of Gertrude Prince Hood-- Part 1

This was written about my grandmother on my mother's side shortly after her death on April 29, 1993, by her friend Catherine Matthews Ham.

Gertrude and I have been friends since 1917.

I think she and her family had just moved here [Goldsboro, NC] from Scotland Neck.

Her mother had died leaving her father and two brothers, David and William, and two sisters, Annie Mae and Julia.

Gertrude was 17 and Annie Mae 19 and they became mothers to Julia 10 and the boys.

They lived in a large apartment on Center Street over Drs. Will and Richard Spicer's office.

Later they moved to 211 E. Pine Street. David had to go to World War I.

More to Come.

Beetle Bailey Turns 60-- Part 2

There is an extensive cast of characters who interact with Beetle, including Lt. Fuzz, General Halftrack, Zero, Duke, the general's secretary, Miss Buxley, and, of course, Sarge and his dog Otto.

King Features was actually considering dropping Beetle after his first year, but that was until Beetle accidentally entered an Army recruiting office, and, the rest is history. Back then, the Korean War was underway.

Not everyone, however, is a big fan. Mort walker has come under attack by women's rights groups because of Miss Buxley.

Joe Schiesel, 72, says that every organization has deadbeats. And every deadbeat has someone on their case trying to change them.

Mort Walker was born in El Dorado, Kansas, and earned $1 for his first cartoon at age 11 and decided that this was much better than the 10 cents an hour he made delivering to a local drugstore.

Still Not Finished. --DaCoot

Beetle Bailey Turns 60-- Part 1

From the September 5th Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus. Associated Press.

You'd think that by the age of 60, Beetle bailey would be able to retire from the US Army and get away from his nemesis, Sarge, but his creator, Mort Walker, says he will continue on for as long as Mort is able.

Beetle Bailey, that slouching, lazy private, first appeared in 12 newspapers yesterday, back 60 years ago, September 4, 1950. Today, he is high up in comic strip hierarchy appearing seven days a week in 1800 newspapers.

Said Mort Walker, "He's still pretty much lazy. I haven't changed him a tremendous amount because I think that's his character that I want to keep. He represents the little man in all of us."

Walker continued, "Beetle is the embodiment of everybody's resistance to authority, all the rules and regulations which you have to follow. He deals with it in his own way."

More Beetle to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fort Knox I and Fort Knox II, Vincennes, Indiana

Two Fort Knoxes, named after the US Secretary of War, were built in and near Vincennes. The first FORT KNOX was at the intersection of First and Buntin streets and from 1787 to 1803 was the westernmost American military outpost. The garrison and townspeople did not get along, so badly that in 1796, the soldiers were ordered not to go 100 yards beyond the walls.


In 1803, the Federal government approved $200 to build a new fort three miles north on Vincennes on the Wabash River. It was moved here probably because of the town-soldier problem. Not much important happened at the fort other than some duels and desertions.

In 1811, as relations between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison deteriorated, a new commander, Captain Zachary Taylor was put in charge of the fort. The fort became the scene of a muster point for US and militia soldiers late in 811 as Harrison prepared for his march to Prophetstown and the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Troops returned here after the battle and several died from their wounds.

In 1813, it was determined that Fort Knox II was too far from Vincennes to protect it and the fort was disassembled and moved down the river and rebuilt near the former site of the first Fort Knox.

Stuff I Didn't Know. --Cooter

Vincennes is a Historical City

Besides the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park with that impressive structure on the site of British Fort Sackville which was captured Feb. 25, 1779, there are a lot of sites worth visiting.

FORT KNOX II is located three miles north of town on Fort Knox Road. It was one of three early US forts in the Vincennes area and served as a staging area for troops before the Battle of Tippecanoe' It's shape and size is outlines by a series of small posts.


BROUILLET FRENCH HOUSE at 509 North First Street. Built around 1806and the home of a French fur trader. One of six remaining upright log and mud houses in North America.

GROUSELAND at 3 West Scott Street. Home of William Henry Harrison 1803 to 1812 when he was governor of Indiana Territory.

INDIANA TERRITORIAL STATE MEMORIAL. From 1800 to 1813, Vincennes was the capital of the Indiana Territory.

From the Econolodge Brochure.

Like I Said,a Very Historical Place. --DaCoot

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

North Carolina Trip: August--September 2010

I saw quite a bit of colonial/Revolutionary War/Indian places on the way, especially in Illinois and Indiana. At one point in Illinois, there was a history-on-a stick about a treaty signed by Chief Pontiac.

Then, Vincennes, Indiana, is a trip back in time all by itself. I already knew about the George Rodgers Clark Memorial at the former site of British Fort Sackville along the Wabash River, but I did not know about Vincennes being the former capital of Indiana Territory and the reconstructed buildings that give its story. Also, future president William Henry Harrison was territorial governor and his house, Grouseland has been preserved by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Also, there is the Brouillet French House built in 1806 and the home of a French fur trader. They say it is one of only six remaining upright log and mud houses in North America.

There was also a sign by Grouseland House saying it was the future site of Walnut Grove, not the Little House on the Prairie, where William Henry Harrison had two Indian meetings in 1810 and 1811.

Lots of History in Vincennes. --Cooter