Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!







 A Valentine from my grandfather Jack Hoyt to my grandmother Rose. Unknown date.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 5): Trading Addresses

Although this is the only photo in this post which was unmarked, I know the subject very well. It is Uncle Lowell himself. There were two copies of this picture in his collection, and my guess is that he had originally a whole handful of them, which he signed and passed out to his buddies.

I have saved the best for last! In this short series presenting my great-Uncle Lowell’s small collection of pictures from his time in the Army, we have finally reached the pile of marked photographs. This sub-collection appears to be Lowell’s buddies, many of them giving their postal address. I presume that they were exchanged towards the end of their basic training (or perhaps their tours of duty), as a way to keep in touch in the future.

Lowell had enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service on 18 Apr 1946. For at least part of that time, he served with the Military Police.

If you find a photograph of your own loved one on this page, you may want to check out the first, second, third, and fourth posts in this series. There may be another, unmarked, photo among those pictures. And if you are able to identify any of those people, please let me know. I would love to find out!


This is one of the few pictures with names and addresses on it that is set in front of a building with slatted siding. I love that it shows the men playing dice and drinking beer. The names are Albert Matkovich, with the address 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio, and B. L. (or B. F.?) Simpson, with the address P.O. 62, Bells, Tenn.

Albert Matkovich must have really wanted to keep in touch, because there are two more signed pictures of him in Lowell’s collection.


This picture, also signed by Albert Matkovich, appears to have been taken in the same general area. Some of the buildings in the background have the same type of siding as the building in the picture above, and several wooden walkways are visible which are similar to the walkway shown in the picture above. This time Albert Matkovich is shown hard at work shoveling. His address is still 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio.



Here is Albert Matkovich yet again, with the same address of 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio. It is set in front of some sort of long building with windows its entire length, perhaps a barracks? The building number is “I 94 H,” and if you look carefully you will see that every photograph posted below (with the possible exception of one) was taken in front of the same building, as was the picture of Lowell at the top of this post.


In this picture of Pvt Desmond Call you can see a gas mask hanging from the shutter of the window. His address is Soda Springs, Idaho. These were the days of general delivery, in which one could address a letter with only a name and city and the letter would still be delivered. I have found a several cards or letters among my grandparents’ papers which are addressed so simply.


In this photograph of Ed Whitten, he does not rely on general delivery, but gives his full address of 48 Rockvale Circle, Jamaica Plain, Mass. He also parenthetically explains that he lives in the Boston area. In the picture, he is showing his rifle.


This photograph is the one possible exception to the series of photos in front of building “I 94 H.” It is the only one in which the address is not visible, and the only one in which the window shutters are closed. It does, however, appear to be the same building. The man in the picture is identified as Rocco Robertson of Providence, Rhode Island. On the back the street address “87 Harold St” is added.


This photograph of S. J. Marquis is once again taken in front of building “I 94 H,” but in examining the address it becomes apparent that the image has been reversed! He gives his address as 637 Prindle St., Chehalis, Washington. With the relatively short distance of this address from Lowell’s own in Portland, Oregon, I wonder if they ever got together again after the war.


This last photo in front of building “I 94 H,” also showing that gas mask dangling from the window shutter, is of Wynn Tingey of Tremonton, Utah.


Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 4): In the Field

This may be a picture of the army camp from a distance, or this may be a picture of the European countryside.


Parts one, two, and three of this short series have already been posted. In this series, I have been posting my great-uncle Lowell’s small collection of photographs from his time in the U.S. Army. He had enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service on 18 Apr 1946. For at least part of that time, he served with the Military Police.

This time, I will post pictures that appear to have been taken in that vague “somewhere in Europe” during the war. None of them are marked with names or locations, and, although I can recognize Lowell himself when he appears, I have no knowledge of the other people who might show up. Because of other (marked) photos in the collection, I can make a guess on a couple of them, though.


In this photo, Lowell is on the left. The cannon they are posing by appears to be similar or the same as the one that shows up in the first post with Lowell and Melvin Chrisman. In fact, I believe that I should have placed this photo with those other two, despite this cannon being set up and the other one still on the truck. The man on the right certainly resembles the man identified as Melvin Chrisman in the other picture, and the pictures could easily have been taken the same day. 


Once again, Lowell is on the left in this photograph. I am inclined to think that this picture was also taken the same day and that the man on the right is again Melvin Chrisman.


Lowell is again on the left, but this time I am not convinced that the man on the right is Melvin Chrisman or that this photo was taken the same day as the other two. It appears to have been taken somewhere in a city, whereas the other pictures look more rural, and the men are wearing different uniforms. The man on the right is armed and also seems to be carrying a canteen and some other unidentified objects.


This picture has me completely at a loss. It appears to have been taken in a city somewhere, and the two men in the picture are unidentified. I could find no one in the marked pictures who in my opinion resembled either of these men. I notice that they are standing under a “one way” sign, which is made out of cardboard and apparently tacked on to the brickwork.


Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 3): Around Camp

This photo appears to be of a military camp of some sort. I have no idea what the long white thing is in the middle. Two ideas that occurred to me were a huge Thanksgiving table or a raised roadway. That should give you some notion of how clueless I am about this picture.



As I have already written in the first and second installments of this short series on my great-Uncle Lowell’s army photos, Lowell Brosius enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service 18 Apr 1946. He served with the Military Police for at least a portion of that time.



This time around I am posting some pictures that appear to have been taken around camp. Whether it is basic training camp, a camp where he served somewhere in Europe, some combination of both, or something else, I have no idea. Perhaps research will eventually answer some of those questions.



I can generally recognize Lowell when he appears in a photo, but most if not all of the pictures this week are unmarked, and I do not know who the other people are. Once again, I will do my best to guess at identities based upon the few marked pictures in Lowell’s collection, but many in this group of pictures are particularly poorly focused and I don’t foresee my success rate as being very good this week.



In this picture, for instance, I wouldn’t dare try to guess the identities of the men. I imagine that if I had been there and known them personally the figures in this photograph would be sufficient for identification, but that is not the case. The buildings are reasonably clear, though, and it is interesting to imagine what life was like in those wooden-skeletoned tents.




The only identified person in any of Lowell’s pictures who remotely resembles this man is Wynn Tingey, but I am not convinced that this is he. Whoever he is, note that he is displaying something in his hands. I think it may be a pistol, but it was evidently moved during the shutter exposure. I also enjoy the fact that he is photographed against a background of clean laundry.




Here are two more men against the same background of clean laundry. Note that the man on the left is holding a pistol. I could not find anyone in Lowell’s marked pictures who resembled either of these men enough to merit hazarding a guess at their identities.



I rather like this one. It is set against the same backdrop of clean laundry, but in this picture the subject is also photographing the photographer. I think the man may be the same one who was holding the pistol above, but that picture is too blurry to make a very good comparison.



There certainly seems to have been a lot of posing going on in front of that clean laundry that day. I would say that the man pictured on the left is the same one who was aiming a camera at the photographer in the picture just above, and the man on the right is the same one who I thought somewhat resembled Wynn Tingey.




I would guess that this photo was taken within seconds of the one above. The man on the left is almost certainly the same man in the photograph above (as well as the photograph above that), but the man on the right appears to be a different person than in the picture above. I would guess him to be Melvin Chrisman, although he also somewhat resembles Albert Matkovich and S. J. Marquis.



Whew! It is exhausting examining every face and comparing it to every face in every other photograph. I think that at this point I am ready to turn down the level of ambition just a bit. We appear to remain in the laundry day photo session, but only for a short time longer.



 

And now we shall move toward a different area of the camp (if, indeed, it is the same camp), away from the living area toward what appears to be (judging from my experiences watching old movies—I claim absolutely no firsthand knowledge of army camps) the motor pool.





This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures in this series, and not only because there is a puppy in it. It is also one of my favorites because you can see Lowell’s reaction to the puppy. He was a dog-lover, too, and you can see it in his face. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Lowell is the man on the right. While the other man is posing for the picture and trying to show the puppy to the camera, Lowell’s focus is on the puppy.



Here is one last picture, which appears to have been taken in the same general area:


Sources:




National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.



National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 2)

Lowell and two unidentified buddies standing in front of a Jeep. The Jeep number is partially visible. The vehicle has a tattered-looking cover, and a shovel and what appears to be an ax are attached to the side. With those tools, I wonder if it may have been intended for use in some sort of fire-fighting, though I don’t know if there was much demand for that in the Army in WWII. Lowell is the man on the left, with the cigarette in his hand. I never knew Lowell to smoke; he always chewed snus during my lifetime.

As I said in the last post, my great-uncle Lowell Brosius served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service 18 Apr 1946. At least part of that time he was an MP. I am posting some more of his photographs from his army days. Most of them, unfortunately, are unmarked. But some are marked, enabling me to make guesses as to the identities of some of the unmarked individuals.

This photo was obviously taken in front of the same Jeep as the photo at the beginning of this post, and the man at the right of this picture is clearly the same man at the center of the above picture. He resembles men identified in other photos as Desmond Call and Rocco Robertson, however his hairline does not quite match up with the hairlines in either of the identified photos. It is possible that it is one of those men with his hair swept forward, but I am not convinced. The man at the left of this picture resembles men identified in other pictures as Ed Whitten, S. J. Marquis, and Melvin Chrisman. In this case I would guess that it is Melvin Chrisman.


Here is another (rather blurry) photograph taken in front of that Jeep. This one, too, is unmarked. The man on the left is clearly (blurrily) the same man who was on the left in the second picture. I think that the man second from the left is the same man who was on the right in the first picture. That might be Uncle Lowell in the middle, but if it is it’s not a very good resemblance. However, I couldn’t find anyone else in the marked photos who it could be. The second man from the right could be Desmond Call or Rocco Robertson or S. J. Marquis or Albert Matkovich. The features are too blurry in this photograph for me to hazard a more positive guess. But I do feel pretty sure that the man on the far right is Wynn Tingey (or Wynn Fingey; I’m not quite confident about the handwriting on the marked photo).

As you can see, this time all the pictures were unmarked, but perhaps some of my guesses may help someone identify their family in one or more of these photos.


Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 1)

An unmarked picture, that to my untrained eye appears to have been taken at a military base somewhere. Perhaps this taken where they underwent their training. I do not recognize any of these men as my Uncle Lowell, but the shadows from the helmets make any identification difficult.


My great-uncle Lowell Brosius served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service 18 Apr 1946. He served with the Military Police.

Our family was very close to Uncle Lowell. When he could no longer drive, my dad (and usually I tagged along) would go over to his trailer house once a week and offer him the opportunity to do some grocery shopping. Sometimes Lowell would take us up on the offer, and other times he didn’t need to do any shopping, so we would hang out with him and visit for a while. When Lowell’s health began to fail and it was no longer advisable that he live alone, he moved in with us. We had a nice, finished basement which we fixed up as an apartment for him so he could have his independence, but we could check on him any time. If he became unwell enough to require nursing, we would have had to find a nursing home, but that never became necessary. He passed away one October morning in 1995, sitting in his easy chair.

As his closest family, we inherited his small collection of photographs. Unfortunately, most of them are unmarked, but some of them are. Today I thought I would showcase some of his photos from the war. Perhaps you will find someone from your family among these pictures.

[Please note, my comments on each picture appear below the image.]


This is one of the marked photographs, marked only “Lowell Brosius Speed Patrol Maurmelon France.” I recognize Lowell as the passenger in the Jeep. If you look carefully, you can see that the sign above the rear fender reads “Military Police.” The Jeep is numbered 20655756, and perhaps some day that will be of use in my research. Or yours, if you happen to recognize the driver. As for the driver, although he is unidentified in this picture, I may be able to make a guess. He resembles a man identified in another of Lowell’s pictures as Desmond Call. But then again, he also resembles the one identified as Rocco Robertson. But, really, I think Desmond Call is the more likely candidate. (Those photographs—and all others referred to in this post—will be in an upcoming post, and then you can compare them for yourself.)



This photograph is marked “Melvin Chrisman.”


This picture appears to have been taken in the same time and place as the one of Melvin Chrisman above. This one is not marked, but I’m pretty sure that is Uncle Lowell squatting atop the tire of that vehicle. I can picture Lowell and Melvin taking turns posing with the artillery while the other handles the camera.

The next group of pictures has a similar theme: army buddies posing with an interesting vehicle. This time it is some sort of caterpillar-tired thing marked “USA 950858.”


This first picture is Uncle Lowell. He had two copies of this one. The other print is in better condition and slightly brighter. It is easier to make out the numbering on the vehicle. But in my opinion this print shows Lowell’s face a little more clearly.


Here is the apparent mate to the picture of Lowell above. Unfortunately, it is not marked, so I cannot identify the man posing. He looks a little like a man identified in another photo as B. F. Simpson, but I am not convinced they are the same man. In the other photo, B. F. Simpson is kneeling on the ground, wearing a hat, so it is difficult to compare.


This is apparently the same vehicle, or at least the same type of vehicle, as the one pictured above, but taken from the opposite side. Perhaps it was taken in the same place, looking the opposite direction, though an inspection of the backgrounds in the three pictures inclines me to think that unlikely. The man is another unidentified friend of Uncle Lowell’s. He resembles men identified in other photos as Ed Whitten and S. J. Marquis, but this picture is too grainy for me to decide with much certainty between the two.

Although this portion of Lowell’s army photo collection was pretty low in names, I hope that my guesses may have helped someone out there!



Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Brick Fight? Seriously?

Did you know that Missouri has digital images of all of its death certificates between 1910-1965 available for free online at Missouri Digital Heritage? I took advantage of this service and downloaded the death certificates for all of the individuals in my tree who are known to have died in Missouri between those dates. Last weekend I was examining all those certificates and inputting them into my database.

One of the wonderful things about death certificates is that not only do they provide the date and place of death, but they also provide the cause of death. It can be extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to learn a cause of death without a death certificate, especially if it is one of the mundane ones that are named in so many of them: “Arteriosclerosis,” for example, or “Coronary occlusion.” I transcribed the word “hemorrhage” so many times that I no longer had to double-check how many Ms, how many Rs, or where the heck the second H goes.

But when I got to the death certificate of Ray Nelson, my great-great-great-uncle, the brother of my great-great-great-grandmother Minnie (Nelson) Hoyt—and the grandson of Timothy Soper—I was surprised to see the cause of death listed as “Concussion of brain from being hit in forehead with brick (Homicidal).” That piqued my interest, and so as soon as I got the chance I went to the Chronicling America website and began to look up newspaper articles. I figured that anyone who got a homicidal brick to the head would undoubtedly have made the papers. Though there was less than I expected, I did find two articles. The first article gave the information that Ray Nelson (denoting his first name as “Orren,” while I had “Otis” in my database) had died at the home of my 3great-grandmother, giving her address—which I previously did not have—and that the brick had hit him near the intersection of Eighth and Olive streets.



Transcription:
Orren Ray Nelson died at the home of his sister, Mrs. E. E. Hoyt, 712 Powell street, Monday. On the Saturday night previous he was hit by a brick thrown by some one at Eighth and Olive streets, which caused his death.

This, of course, is all very useful information, but it still leave a lot of questions, such as why a brick was flying at the corner of Eighth and Olive streets. Was someone just standing there throwing bricks? Was someone targeting him? After some more searching I found the second article, which turned out to be in the same edition of the newspaper on a different page. This article answered a few more questions. It turned out that a couple of parties were having a brick fight. A brick fight? Hmm. 



Transcription:
KINZIE CHARGED WITH KILLING NELSON
When a coroner’s inquest was held Wednesday over the case of Orren R. Nelson, who was killed Saturday night by being struck by a brick, testimony was introduced that put new light into the matter and resulted in the arrest of J. E. Kinzie, his wife Dorothy and Bert A. Jensen. It developed that the Kinzie’s and Jensen were involved in a row, during the course of which bricks were thrown by both sides. At the hearing proof was adduced to show that it was Kinzie who threw the brick that caused Nelson’s death and he was held to the criminal court on a charge of manslaughter. His wife and Jensen were not held.

So, now we know to an extent how a brick happened to be flying through the air near Eighth and Olive streets, but I still have some questions. Was Ray Nelson participating in the brick fight? Was he trying to stop it? Was he an extremely unfortunate passerby at the wrong moment? Perhaps I will find still more articles, once I stumble upon the right search terms. (The limitations of OCR were quite glaring during this research. Finding the second article took some creativity.) I can’t help but think that a brick fight resulting in manslaughter would be an unusual enough occurrence to merit at least a couple more articles. Right now there is plenty of mystery to keep me engaged.



Citations:


"Kinzie Charged With Killing Nelson," The St. Joseph Observer, 8 Feb 1919, p. 7, col. 4; digital images, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 24 Oct 2016), Image provided by State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO.

"Local Matters of General Interest," The St. Joseph Observer, 8 Feb 1919, p. 5, col. 4; digital images, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 24 Oct 2016), Image provided by State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO.

Missouri Missouri State Board of Health, death certificate 4793 (1919), Ray Nelson; digital image, Missouri Office of the Secretary of State, Missouri State Library, and Missouri State Archives, "Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1965," Missouri Digital Heritage (http://www.sos.mo.gov/mdh/ : accessed 14 Oct 2016).