05-23-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Anyone know this World War II soldier? Photo is stamped “Dec 7 1943” on the back. Probably not the date it was taken. Notice the lack of snow, and leaves on the trees. Stop by the NBHS Museum or give us a call at 468-3330 if you have information on this photo appearing here. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted by email to info@northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

Burial at sea

A famous Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman, said, “War is at best barbarism… war is hell!” He had it exactly right! All through history men have been trying to figure out better ways to kill each other. We have gotten more sophisticated at it. But in all wars somebody wins and somebody loses… and people get killed. Every year when this time rolls around I think about that. Memorial Day! It used to be called Decoration Day because we decorated the graves of soldiers and sailors and airmen from all of our wars. We celebrate it with speeches, ceremonies, and the mournful playing of Taps. That always causes shivers up and down my spine. I am aware of the huge losses we have all sustained because men insist upon killing each other. I thought I had seen just about every ceremony, every type of celebration of that day. But just recently Jim Neuman and Larry Wozniak from the organization of Lest We Forget, sent around a YouTube clip of film that was taken way back in World War II. That was my war, the Big One as Archie Bunker called it. And it hit me right in the middle all over again. It was taken on one of our aircraft carriers. All airplanes had been out on a raid somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Now the planes were coming back. They were TBF avengers, torpedo bombers that carried a crew of three… pilot, radio operator, and rear gunner. One after another they came in guided by a signal man with flags. Then this one came in. It was limping, shot up, and the pilot was angling carefully as if he were afraid it might fall apart before he got on the deck. And they treated it special. The pilot was OK, the radio operator was OK, but the rear gunner… his turret was all shot up with a tracing of bullet holes right down the fuselage where he sat. Nobody could have survived that, and he did not. Just another casualty among many! So many! Well, that’s what war is about. But here’s where it changed. The airplane was so shot up they made a quick decision that it could probably not be repaired. They placed a shroud around the body of the lost airman. One of the plane handlers brought out a fingerprint kit, and we can see him inking the dead man’s fingers, then pressing them on the paper. Another crew member brought out a knife and quickly cut off his dog tags. Meanwhile all the sailors not on duty had gathered at the fantail (rear of the ship). They stood in respectful silence as the chaplain stood next to the riddled airplane. Then he read the following… I can hear his voice reading the office for dead sailors: “…We therefore commit this body to the deep, looking for the general Resurrection in the last day, and the life of the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose second coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up our dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in Him shall be changed, and made like unto His glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Him.” About a dozen sailors gathered and pushed the wrecked airplane off the back of the aircraft carrier. I held my breath watching it, hoping no one would fall overboard. They didn’t. And then the camera watched the propellers’ wake and the airplane smaller and smaller in the distance is it gradually sank. And I thought, just another casualty? No, there went someone’s son… the hope for their old age. Perhaps someone’s sweetheart with her letters carefully preserved in his bunk below deck. He might even have been married with a small child held on his mother’s lap as she watched for the mailman to see if there might be a letter from her guy. They will never see him again, and they don’t even know it yet. That’s the thing about war… you never know… a quirk of fate and someone lives and someone dies. The worst part of it is that it is deliberate. Right now in parts of the world we are trying to kill each other. All these years the human race has been struggling. There must be something in our human makeup… a flaw or some characteristic that makes us go on a rampage and kill each other. In the early days of our country the Puritans had a name for it. They called it Original Sin, something we are all born with. And we must fight it all of our lives. On the other hand we also have some impulses towards kindness and helping others. I’ve known cases where people gave up their own lives so that others might live. One of the best known examples of that are the four chaplains from World War II. They were on a troopship crossing the ocean when it was torpedoed. As the ship went down lifeboats were filling, and there weren’t enough lifejackets for everyone. The four chaplains (of every faith) gave theirs to sailors who had none. They linked arms with each other and prayed as they went down with the ship. If there is a sure and deserving reward, they would deserve it. Seldom do we hear of a more clearly defined definition for the term “heroism,” as we live our ordinary lives weaving more golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River. And, Dear Readers, there are my thoughts for this Memorial Day.

Coloma Library News

Summer Reading Program The Coloma Public Library is getting ready for an exciting 2019 Summer Reading Program. The theme is “A Universe of Stories”. They are lining up programs and activities for kids, teens, and adults. Check their website, colomapubliclibrary.net, or stop in to see staff for more details. It’s going to be a great summer in Coloma! Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 30 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. New members are gladly welcomed. Michigan Activity Pass Get free or discounted admission to hundreds of Michigan’s cultural and natural destinations including state parks, campgrounds, museums, trails, and more using your Coloma Public Library card. Visit the link on the Library’s website and follow the prompts to print a pass. DIY car repair Save money by repairing your own vehicle. The Coloma Public Library provides free access to Auto Repair Source, an online service with repair information including diagrams, step-by-step instructions, service alerts, and recalls. Learn your history The library offers Ancestry Library Edition, an online database with genealogical records dating back as far as the 1400s. Users can access census data, birth, marriage, death, and military records for free at the library. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma Library activity.

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: May Stop-Motion Station – Use library laptop or your phone but definitely use their props. The Academy Awards awaits! Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m., Friday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m. Book a Social Work Intern! Tuesdays 1–4 p.m. Thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, Watervliet Library will have a shared intern. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? She can help with questions or problems. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.


100 years ago – 1919 Resort owners expect a good season in 1919. Many inquiries have been received for accommodations in the Paw Paw Lake area. With the war ended and employment at good wages, the Chicago people will seek the country resorts. The Woodward pavilion has secured the services of G.S.B. Schultz of Chicago as master of ceremonies again. The opening party will be given July 3. The Coloma Home Guards have been invited by the Grand Army of the Republic to take charge of the annual Memorial Day exercises. 60 years ago – 1959 Two major roads are being resurfaced. Center Street and Paw Paw Lake Road are under construction. Residents can look forward to relief from “dust and jolts” soon. “Wear a Poppy!” is the appeal from the American Legion Auxiliary. “A poppy is the way to show that we remember and are grateful to those who gave their lives in our country’s defense,” said Mrs. George Paul, chairman of the event. The annual senior class play kicks off graduation week. Other activities include readings of the class history, the class prophecy and the class address. 30 years ago – 1989 American Legion Post #362 will sponsor the Memorial Day Parade. Line-up will be on Washington Street and end at the cemetery. Ex-Mayor Glenn Randall will be the speaker. Contact Pat Schrieber, Commander, for more information. A candidate has been chosen for City Coordinator. Richard J. Shakman from Virginia will sign the contract and be welcomed with an open house. Also, Mayor’s Exchange Day brought a group from Stanton who enjoyed learning about our town. Coloma High School Academic Challenge Team has been successful thus far in the season. They have advanced to the finals of the White Division. Jim Walke is captain. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 Hartford devotees of dancing enjoyed an excellent party at the town hall last Friday evening, with music by Clay’s orchestra. It was the first appearance of that orchestra in Hartford and devotees of the dancing pastime were so highly pleased with the music rendered that they have been engaged for another dancing party next Tuesday evening. Robert Martin is the latest Hartford soldier to return from overseas, having arrived in New York on May 11 and reached Hartford Monday. He received his honorable discharge from Camp Custer Saturday. Bob was with Co. D, 306th machine gun battalion, and saw considerable action from the Chateau Thiery drive to the end of the war. He escaped without a wound although on one occasion a piece of shrapnel tore away his wrist watch but did not injure him. At another time he hung his overcoat on a convenient tree and a Hun sniper filled it full of bullet holes. He gives an interesting account of the fighting in which his company suffered some heavy losses. 75 years ago – 1944 Two meetings of the Hartford Junior Mother’s club were held during the month of May. The first was at the home of Mrs. John Kendzior. After the business meeting, a short program was conducted by Mrs. Max Lee, who used Mother’s Day as her theme. The second meeting was at the home of Mrs. Bill Kozelink. Bunco was played, first prize going to Mrs. Lee and second to Mrs. Garritt Keech. The Hartford Garden Club met at the home of Mrs. Harry Bowman Friday afternoon with Miss Agnes Weir assisting as hostess. The program consisted of an article on the Passion flower, read by Mrs. Lee Davis. Following the meeting, the ladies visited Davis’ greenhouse and saw the Passion flower in bloom. 50 years ago – 1969 Dr. Clyde M. Campbell, professor of administration and higher education at Michigan State, will give the commencement address at Hartford High School. Commencement exercises will be held Thursday, June 5, at the high school gymnasium. Members of the Immaculate Conception parish broke ground for a new Catholic church at Hartford. Work is expected to get underway within a week on the new church. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 Scholastic accomplishment was given formal recognition at Watervliet High School on June 4, 1929 to Norbert Hutchins, valedictorian of the class of 1929. The first setting of 5,000 ring-neck pheasant eggs at the Mason game farm hatched on June 1, 1929. With the propagation of the pheasant in full swing the game farm becomes one of the busiest places in the state. A.D. Clapp has been making some attractive improvements to the North Watervliet service station with an addition of a refreshment stand and repainting of the buildings. He sells Sinclair gas and oils furnished by the Watervliet Oil Company. 60 years ago – 1959 Of importance to all the people in this community is the announcement this week of a 3.5% hourly wage increase made to all hourly paid employees of the Watervliet Paper Company. major medical benefits. Watervliet Police Chief Victor Bianchi has received several complaints about dogs running loose and advises residents to please comply with the City Ordinance No. 43 stating that no owner or keeper of any dogs, male or female, shall permit the same to run at large. Miss Kay Smith, WHS graduate, has received the 1959 Secretarial Scholarship Grant of Fruitland Chapter of the National Secretaries Association. 30 years ago – 1989 Ellen Tober, a senior at WHS, has been awarded two scholarships for the 1989-90 year from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. She is considering a major in either illustration or commercial art. Of the 127 students named on the 1989 Dean’s list at Lake Michigan College the following were from Watervliet: Marie Yager, Joyce F. Andres-Thornburg, Andrea D. DeMay and Daryl Thomas Skorupa. The Watervliet Lions Club Scholarship was presented on May 26, 1989, to Angela Dee McVay. The scholarship is for $500 for the student and the college of her choice.

Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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