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15 August 1943
War in the Air
Eighth Air Force Heavy Bomber Mission No. 82: 327 aircraft sent to attack Luftwaffe airfields at Vlissingen (Flushing), Poix, Amiens, Vitry, Merville and Lille/ Vendeville. Two aircraft lost.
Marshal Badoglio, the new Italian leader, sends a peace emissary to Madrid
American and Canadian troops land at Kiska (Aleutian Islands), to find the Japanese have gone
Japanese bombers raid Tsili Tsili (New Guinea) for the first time
The main force of US troops land on Vella Lavella, at the western end of the New Georgia Islands, bypassing the key Japanese base at Kolombangara.
General of Infantry Dr Lothar Rendulic takes command of Second Panzer Army
World War II: Schweinfurt-Regensburg Raid
The first Schweinfurt-Regensburg Raid occurred during >World War II (1939-1945).
American aircraft struck targets in Schweinfurt and Regensburg on August 17, 1943.
Forces & Commanders:
The summer of 1943 saw an expansion of US bomber forces in England as aircraft began returning from North Africa and new aircraft arrived from the United States. This growth in strength coincided with the commencement of Operation Pointblank. Devised by Air Marshal Arthur "Bomber" Harris and Major General Carl Spaatz, Pointblank was intended to destroy the Luftwaffe and its infrastructure prior to the invasion of Europe. This was to be accomplished through a combined bomber offensive against German aircraft factories, ball bearing plants, fuel depots, and other related targets.
Early Pointblank missions were conducted by the USAAF's 1st and 4th Bombardment Wings (1st & 4th BW) based in the Midlands and East Anglia respectively. These operations targeted Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter plants in Kassel, Bremen, and Oschersleben. While American bomber forces had sustained significant casualties in these attacks, they were deemed effective enough to warrant bombing the Messerschmitt Bf 109 plants in Regensburg and Wiener Neustadt. In assessing these targets, it was decided to assign Regensburg to the 8th Air Force in England, while the latter was to be hit by the 9th Air Force in North Africa.
In planning the strike on Regensburg, the 8th Air Force elected to add a second target, the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, with the goal of overwhelming German air defenses. The mission plan called for the 4th BW to hit Regensburg and then proceed south to bases in North Africa. The 1st BW would follow a short distance behind with the goal of catching German fighters on the ground refueling. After striking their targets, the 1st BW would return to England. As with all raids deep into Germany, Allied fighters would only be able to provide an escort as far as Eupen, Belgium due to their limited range.
To support the Schweinfurt-Regensburg effort, two sets of diversionary attacks were scheduled against Luftwaffe airfields and targets along the coast. Originally planned for August 7, the raid was delayed due to poor weather. Dubbed Operation Juggler, the 9th Air Force struck the factories at Wiener Neustadt on August 13, while the 8th Air Force remained grounded because of weather issues. Finally on August 17, the mission commenced even though much of England was covered in fog. After a brief delay, the 4th BW commenced launching its aircraft around 8:00 AM.
Though the mission plan required both Regensburg and Schweinfurt to be hit in rapid succession to ensure minimal losses, the 4th BW was permitted to depart even though the 1st BW was still grounded due to fog. As a result, the 4th BW was crossing the Dutch coast by the time the 1st BW was airborne, opening a wide gap between the strike forces. Led by Colonel Curtis LeMay, the 4th BW consisted of 146 B-17s. Approximately ten minutes after making landfall, German fighter attacks began. Though some fighter escorts were present, they proved insufficient to cover the entire force.
After ninety minutes of aerial combat, the Germans broke off to refuel having shot down 15 B-17s. Arriving over the target, LeMay's bombers encountered little flak and were able to place approximately 300 tons of bombs on target. Turning south, the Regensburg force was met by a few fighters, but had a largely uneventful transit to North Africa. Even so, 9 additional aircraft were lost as 2 damaged B-17s were forced to land in Switzerland and several others crashed in the Mediterranean due to lack of fuel. With the 4th BW departing the area, the Luftwaffe's prepared to deal with the approaching 1st BW.
Behind the schedule, the 230 B-17s of the 1st BW crossed the coast and followed a similar route to the 4th BW. Personally led by Brigadier General Robert B. Williams, the Schweinfurt force was immediately attacked by German fighters. Encountering over 300 fighters during the flight to Schweinfurt, the 1st BW sustained heavy casualties and lost 22 B-17s. As they neared the target the Germans broke off to refuel in preparation to attack the bombers on the return leg of their trip.
Reaching the target around 3:00 PM, Williams' planes encountered heavy flak over the city. As they made their bomb runs, 3 more B-17s were lost. Turning for home, the 4th BW again encountered German fighters. In a running battle, the Luftwaffe downed another 11 B-17s. Reaching Belgium, the bombers were met by a covering force of Allied fighters which allowed them to complete their trip to England relatively unmolested.
The combined Schweinfurt-Regensburg Raid cost the USAAF 60 B-17s and 55 aircrews. The crews lost totaled 552 men, of who half became prisoners of war and twenty were interned by the Swiss. Aboard aircraft that safely returned to base, 7 aircrew were killed, with another 21 wounded. In addition to the bomber force, the Allies lost 3 P-47 Thunderbolts and 2 Spitfires. While Allied air crews claimed 318 German aircraft, the Luftwaffe reported that only 27 fighters had been lost. Though Allied losses were severe, they succeeding in inflicting heavy damage on both the Messerschmitt plants and the ball bearing factories. While the Germans reported an immediate 34% drop in production, this was quickly made up by other plants in Germany. The losses during the raid led Allied leaders to re-think the feasibility of unescorted, long-range, daylight raids on Germany. These types of raids would be temporarily suspended after a second raid on Schweinfurt sustained 20% casualties on October 14, 1943.
Emperor Hirohito announces Japan’s surrender
Although Tokyo had already communicated to the Allies its acceptance of the surrender terms of the Potsdam Conference several days earlier, and a Japanese news service announcement had been made to that effect, the Japanese people were still waiting to hear an authoritative voice speak the unspeakable: that Japan had been defeated.
That voice was the emperor’s. On August 15, that voice—heard over the radio airwaves for the very first time𠅌onfessed that Japan’s enemy “has begun to employ a most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives.” This was the reason given for Japan’s surrender. Hirohito’s oral memoirs, published and translated after the war, evidence the emperor’s fear at the time that “the Japanese race will be destroyed if the war continues.”
A sticking point in the Japanese surrender terms had been Hirohito’s status as emperor. Tokyo wanted the emperor’s status protected the Allies wanted no preconditions. There was a compromise. The emperor retained his title Gen. Douglas MacArthur believed his at least ceremonial presence would be a stabilizing influence in postwar Japan. But Hirohito was forced to disclaim his divine status. Japan lost more than a war—it lost a god.
Hampstead, NH – August 19, 1943
There is not a lot of information about this accident.
At 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of August 19, 1943, a U.S. military C-49J, (#43-1971), was seen circling Island Pond in Hampstead, New Hampshire, at altitude of between 1,000 and 1,500 feet with its wheels extended, when it suddenly went into a spin and crashed into a wooded area.
All five men aboard were killed.
The weather at the time was “broken to scattered, 3-4000 feet, visibility unrestricted.”
According to the Air Corps crash investigation report, the pilot is listed as one R. T. Whidden, “commercial pilot”. Under “pilot’s mission” in the report it stated “Army ATTF Transition training.”
Servicemen aboard included:
2nd Lt. Charles Appier. He’s buried in Star of Hope Cemetery in Huntington, Indiana.
2nd Lt. Robert W. Barron. He’s buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Escanaba, Michigan.
Pfc. Robert A. Bell. He’s buried in Union Cemetery in Flandreau, South Dakota.
Helpful links in machine-readable formats.
Archival Resource Key (ARK)
International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)
Brownwood Bulletin (Brownwood, Tex.), Vol. 43, No. 302, Ed. 1 Sunday, August 15, 1943 , newspaper , August 15, 1943 (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1094743/: accessed June 21, 2021 ), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu crediting Brownwood Public Library .
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The Sunday Record (Mineola, Tex.), Vol. 31, No. 20, Ed. 1 Sunday, August 15, 1943
Weekly newspaper from Mineola, Texas that includes local, state and national news along with advertising.
four pages : ill. page 21 x 15 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.
Creator: Unknown. August 15, 1943.
This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the Mineola Memorial Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 39 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.
People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.
Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.
Mineola Memorial Library
Located in the East Texas town of Mineola in Wood County, the Mineola Memorial Library came to fruition in 1950 and has since flourished to include more than 46,000 books, digital newspapers, and many other materials. The Tocker Foundation provided funding for digitization of library materials.
In conducting Operation Dragoon, the Allies sustained around 17,000 killed and wounded while inflicting losses numbering approximately 7,000 killed, 10,000 wounded, and 130,000 captured on the Germans. Shortly after their capture, work began to repair the port facilities at Toulon and Marseille. Both were open to shipping by September 20. As the railroads running north were restored, the two ports became vital supply hubs for Allied forces in France. Though its value was debated, Operation Dragoon saw Devers and Patch clear southern France in faster than expected time while effectively gutting Army Group G.
Rupee's journey since Independence: What was the exchange rate of dollar to INR in August 15 1947?
New Delhi, Aug 14: The Independence Day of India is celebrated religiously throughout the country every year. India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on 15th of August, 2020. The year 2020 marks the 74th Independence Day which will be celebrated amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country.
However, since its Independence in 1947, India has faced two major financial crises and two consequent devaluations of the rupee: In 1966 and 1991. Many geopolitical and economic developments have affected its movement in the last 74 years.
There were several reports that when India got freedom on August 15, 1947, the value of the rupee was on a par with the American dollar but today we have to spend 66 INR to buy a USD 74.82 INR. However, there are no real data points to suggest its validity.
According to reports, the exchange rate was pegged to pound sterling at Rs. 13.33 or Rs. 4.75/dollar in September 1949. This was remained unchanged till June 1966, when the rupee was devalued by 36.5% to Rs. 21/pound or 1$ = Rs. 7.10. This system continued till the 1971, when the Bretton woods system collapsed with the suspension of convertibility of the dollar by the USA.
Here, a chart will show you the changing value of 1 USD to INR:
Tunisia 1942 - 1943
The Tunisian Campaign is interesting in historical terms as the first where the British and United States forces were deployed together in combat. It was the first time in the Second World War that U.S. troops saw action in the European or Mediterranean theatres. Many of the problems and tensions that arose during this campaign were to continue through the campaigns in Sicily, Italy and North West Europe, but the Tunisian Campaign provided the foundation for the eventual success of the Allies in defeating the Axis. Key Allied commanders including EISENHOWER, BRADLEY, PATTON and CLARK all saw their first active service in Tunisia.
The countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia were all French colonies in North West Africa. They aligned themselves with the Vichy French government following the defeat of France in 1940. Planning commenced in early 1942 for an expeditionary force capable of an amphibious landing in French North Africa. The experience of the Dieppe raid in August 1942 proved the challenges of assaulting defended coastline. With the entry of the United States into the war, it was important to begin deploying the large U.S. forces in combat, so French North Africa was the logical choice.
Landings were undertaken on 8 November 1942 at three locations. The Western Task Force consisted of U.S. formations that had sailed directly from the United States to Morocco. The Centre Task Force consisted of U.S. formations that landed at Oran and the Eastern Task Force comprised one British infantry division and one U.S. infantry division which landed at Algiers.
The Vichy French forces agreed to a ceasefire on 9 November, which left a ‘vacuum’ in Tunisia, with the French governor being even handed in his dealing with the Axis and Allies forces. On the same day as the ceasefire, German forces began landing in Tunisia. HITLER decided to send troops to Tunisia to avoid having the Afrika Korps surrounded, to maintain some control of the Mediterranean Sea, and to hold Tunisia to prevent an invasion of Italy. In the end, it was fruitless commitment of personnel and resources as far as the Axis powers were concerned. For the Germans, this was occurring at the same time as major battle at Stalingrad, and was a major division of resources. For example, the aircraft used to bring men and materiel into Tunisia were in consequence not available to supply the German 6th Army at Stalingrad.
The race was on to secure Tunis which the Germans won – just. Allied troops actually reached the outskirts of Tunis, but with insufficient strength to hold the ground. It led to a hard fought and bitter campaign that lasted until 13 May 1943. In the end, some 250,000 German and Italian troops were killed or captured, a defeat second only to that the Germans suffered at Stalingrad.
As this was the first deployement of U.S. forces in the West, an introductory paper on the United States Army in the Second World War is attached for your persual.
Books on the Tunisian Campaign you may find of use are:
ATKINSON, Rick An Army at Dawn – The War in North Africa 1942 – 1943 (New York, Henry Holt and Company, 2002) [ISBN 0-8050-6288-2]
BLAXLAND, Gregory The Plain Cook and the Great Showman – the First and Eighth Armies in North Africa (Abingdon, William Kimber, 1977)
ROLF, David The Bloody Road to Tunis – Destruction of the Axis Forces in North Africa November 1942 – May 1943 (London, Greenhill Books, 2001) [ISBN 1-85367-445-1]
I’d like to continue writing about the children of Horace G. Adams, Sr. and his wife Mabel G. (Warren) Adams, both prominent in the history of Maple Hill, Kansas.
Horace G. Adams, II was born September 19, 1897 at the ranch home of his parents northeast of Maple Hill, Kansas. Horace G. Adams, II (sometimes referred to as Jr.) had four older sisters, Bessie, Mabel Rae, Helen and Mary Adams.
Horace was raised on the ranch at Maple Hill, and attended Maple Hill Grade School through the sixth grade, after which he attended several private schools in Topeka and finished his high school education at Country Day School in Kansas City, Missouri.
I wasn’t able to learn much of his youth, but fortunately his sister, Mary (Adams) Dugan saved several newspaper articles related to his athletic abilities while at Country Day School, where he lettered in baseball, track, football and basketball. His primary talent appeared to be in football. Fortunately, his sister, Mary (Adams) Dougan saved three newspaper articles that spoke to his football skills at Country Day. Thanks to Jill Dougan Dykes, granddaughter of Mrs. Dougan and an attorney in Topeka, Kansas, I was able to copy the newspaper articles and they accompany this information.
There were many mentions in “Maple Hill News Items” of H. G. Adams, Sr. taking his son with him to visit the XI Ranch at Plains, Kansas and also to various cattle association meetings around the country. The family was very active in showing cattle at the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri.
I was not able to find out if Horace G. Adams, II attended or graduated from any college or university. It is certain that he became affiliated with his father, Horace G. Adams, Sr. in the Adams Cattle enterprises, which included the ranch headquarters at Maple Hill, Kansas and also the XI Ranch located in Meade County, Kansas and Beaver County, Oklahoma.
Horace G. Adams, II was married to Doris Evelyn Jamieson of Rossville, Kansas on July 3, 1919. The wedding took place at the farm home of the bride’s parents, Arthur Bruce and Susan Salome “Loma” (Wilt) Jamieson, in rural Rossville, Kansas. The newspaper account states that only the immediate families were present. Bruce and Loma Jamieson were prominent members of the farming and business community in Rossville, as were their children. The Jamieson family was a well-established and prosperous farm family in Ohio before relocating to the Rossville community in the 1880s, where they owned a large farm and later opened several retail businesses in Rossville, including feed, dry goods, furniture stores and an undertaking funeral home.
Doris Evelyn Jamieson was born on her parent’s farm at Rossville, Shawnee County, Kansas on March 14, 1900. In reading newspaper articles, the author learned that Doris Jamieson attended rural schools in the Rossville community and graduated from Rossville High School, where she was active in a number of musical and drama clubs. I was not able to learn if she attended any university however she took the county examination to obtain a teaching certificate in rural schools. I did not learn if she ever taught. I did find that her father, A. Bruce Jamieson did serve on the local school board.
The wedding announcement indicated that the couple enjoyed a honeymoon in Colorado, and drove a new Buick touring car there, which was a wedding gift from Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Adams, Sr. After the honeymoon, they lived on the ranch headquarters at Maple Hill, and are shown as a part of the H. G. Adams household on the 1920 US Census.
When the 1930 US Census was taken, Horace G. and Doris Adams were living at the XI Ranch headquarters in Meade County, Kansas where his occupation was given as “head man.” By that time, the Adams had become parents of two sons, Horace G. Adams, III and Bruce E. Adams. Horace G. Adams, III was born on July 14, 1921 at the ranch headquarters in Maple Hill, Kansas.
His younger brother Bruce E. Adams was also born there on July 23, 1929. There were 15 laborers listed as XI ranch hands on the census, but no other members of the Adams family, indicating that Horace was managing the ranch with the oversight of his father.
At some time during his young years, he became known as “Hooly” Adams. The name was used throughout his life by family and friends.
A third child, Marilyn Melee Adams, was born in a Topeka, Kansas hospital on October 24, 1933. She graduated from Kansas State University with honors where she was involved in many activities. She was married to William Lee Larrabee on November 24, 1955 after graduation from KSU.
William “Bill” Larrabee was born on February 15, 1933 to Robert Lee and Rosemary (Kinney) Larrabee. He was a graduate of Liberal High School and the University of Kansas. He was the third generation of his family to own and manage the Star Lumber Company of Liberal, Kansas.
Marilyn and Bill Larrabee were the parents of Steven Lee Larrabee born in 1957 and Kevin Robert Larrabee born in 1964.
Marilyn M. (Adams) Larrabee died on February 2, 2001 and William L. “Bill” Larrabee died on February 16, 2017. They are buried in the Adams plot in Graceland Cemetery, Liberal, Kansas. Their descendants continue to operate the Star Lumber Company.
As is the case in families where there is a great deal of wealth, newspaper accounts indicate family disagreements over distribution of estate assets after the death of Horace Adams, Sr. on February 5, 1933. Mr. Adams died without a will which increased the difficulties. His widow, Mabel G. (Warren) Adams lived until November 23, 1940 and seemed to “hold” the family together in some degree, until her passing. After her death, there were a number of litigations but ultimately, the vast land and cattle holdings of H. G. Adams, Sr. were divided among the three surviving Adams sons through purchases and agreements, with the rights of the Adams sisters bought through private purchase.
Horace Adams, II and Doris Adams and their children moved to Western Kansas and lived on many thousands of acres primarily in Meade County, Kansas, a portion of the former XI Ranch which had been owned by Horace Adams, Sr. Later, oil and gas were discovered on the XI Ranch adding to the already important Adams family business enterprises.
Two other sons of H. G. and Mabel Adams, Alexander and Raymond E. Adams, Sr., would also come to own portions of the XI Ranch and continue the family legacy, but more of their families and contributions later.
Bruce E. Adams, son of Horace and Doris Adams, was killed in a tragic airplane accident on August 4, 1952. According to one newspaper account, Mr. Adams way flying over the family ranch spraying cattle when his plane suddenly stalled and crashed. He had married Shirley Ann Demmitt only six weeks earlier in July 1952. There were no children.
Horace Greeley Adams, III was born July 14, 1921 at the Adams Ranch headquarters in Maple Hill, Kansas. He spent his early life in Maple Hill and Meade County, Kansas. During his youth, he acquired the nickname “Buck” which he used throughout his life.
He was married to Wynona Gardine Keller on November 23, 1943 at Synder, Texas where her parents owned a large furniture store and real estate business. Wynona was born on October 31, 1921 at Snyder, Texas to John Marshall and Eula E. (Burt) Keller. She attended schools in Synder, graduated from Hockaday High School in Dallas, Texas and attended Texas Tech University for several years.
She and Buck Adams first lived on the Adams Ranch Headquarters in Maple Hill, Kansas and then moved to the Adams Ranch in Meade County, Kansas where they spent the remainder of their lives. I was able to find quite a lot of information about the Burt family and its genealogy, and while I will not provide it here, I’d be happy to share it with family members who may be interested.
Buck and Wynona Adams are the parents of Horace Greeley Adams IV, known as “Kell” Adams and a daughter Karen Sue “Kiki” Adams. As I’ve said earlier, it will not be my intention to write about the present generations of the Adams family out of concern for their privacy.
H. G. “Buck” Adams was inducted into the Cattleman’s Hall of Fame in 2004. The following photograph and article appeared with the induction ceremony announcement:
Horace Greely “Buck” Adams – Rancher Cattleman
“My father was a conservationist before anyone ever thought about what that meant.” – H.G. Adams IV describing his father’s dedication to preserving the land.
Horace Greely “Buck” Adams, owner of the XI Ranch located near Plains, Kansas, was born in Topeka in 1921 and lived on the XI Ranch as a child. By 1923, Buck’s grandfather had amassed 75,000 acres on the ranch. Unfortunately, Buck’s immediate family had to move away in 1933 to their farm in eastern Kansas because his younger brother had dust pneumonia. Buck married Wynona Keller in 1943.
Two years later, the couple moved to the XI Ranch, where they raised their family. Growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl Era, Buck learned how tough the ranching lifestyle could be. He recalled a time when his family ran 5,000 heifers on their 75,000 acres yet by 1934, they sold almost all of them. After moving back to the XI Ranch, Buck devoted the rest of his life to ranching. He endured many of the same problems his grandfather had dealt with before him. In the 1950s, a drought caused Buck to run 150 cattle on 25,000 acres that normally held 1,000 head. Later, in the spring of 1957, blizzard broke the drought and killed sixty of their 150 head. Yet Buck persevered.
Buck believed that a handshake sealed a deal. Buck’s son, H.G. Adams IV, couldn’t recall a time when his father had a contract to sell cattle. He had a reputation for never backing out on a deal, even if the price of beef increased after the agreement was made. Being a conservationist by nature kept him in the agriculture business, even during the hardest of times. He preached about the need to take care of the land. Buck wanted to join the rodeo circuit during his youth. He felt his height of 6’1” and weight of 200 lbs. would have been an advantage in steer roping competitions. Buck would always look back with a twinge of regret that he never had the time or money to fulfill his rodeo dreams. Horace Greely “Buck” Adams passed away in 1995, leaving the XI Ranch to his family and a lifetime of ranching knowledge to all he came in contact with.
Year inducted: 2004”
H. G. “Buck” Adams passed away May 20, 1995 and Wynona Gardine (Keller) Adams passed away November 2, 2005.
The following is the obituary for Wynona G. Adams: Wynona Gardine (Keller) Adams, 84, Liberal, Kansas died Tuesday, November 2, 2002 at the Southwest Medical Center, Liberal.
She was born October 31, 1921 at Snyder, Texas, the daughter of John and Eula (Burt) Keller.
She graduated from Hockaday High School, Dallas, Texas and attended Texas Tech for several years. She married Horace G. Adams, III, on November 23, 1943 at Snyder, Texas. He died May 20, 1995. She and Buck Adams first lived at Maple Hill, Kansas on his family ranch before moving to the XI Ranch in Plains, Kansas in 1947. They retired from active ranching in 1984 and moved to Liberal, Kansas.
She was involved in many community services, painted in oils, and enjoyed reading. She loved her family. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Liberal.
She is survived by one son, Horace Greeley "Kell" Adams, IV and his wife Wanda of Plains one daughter, Kiki Adams Dayton and her husband William "Bill," of Tyrone, OK two grandsons, Horace G. Adams, V, and his wife Regan, Canadian, Texas and Cooper Wade Adams of Plains. She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister.
Private memorial services and inurnment will be conducted at the family ranch.
The family suggests that memorials be sent to the Wynona K. Adams Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1551 N. Western, Liberal, KS 67901.
The Adam’s daughter, Karen Sue “Kiki” Adams was born January 11, 1952 and lives with her husband, William Leroy Dayton in Tyrone, Oklahoma.
H. G. “Kell” Adams, IV lives and works on the family ranch near Plains, Kansas and is a partner in H. G. Adams and Son Cattle Company. He was married to Wanda Joanne Cook in Oklahoma on December 16, 1971. He and Wanda Adams have been active in conservation efforts. Wanda Adams was a founding member of Concerned Citizens for Clean Air and Water for Meade County, Kansas and served as a director of the Kansas Rural Center.
H. G. and Wanda Adams are the parents of Cooper Wade Adams and Horace G. Adams V. The Adams family continues to live on and operate the Adams Ranch near Plains, Kansas.
It is very interesting that these descendants of Horace Greeley and Mabel G. (Warren) Adams are continuing to successfully honor their cattle industry heritage all these generations and more than 110 years after his original purchase of an interest in the XI Ranch in 1902.
The next article will be about Alexander Warren “Alec” Adams, the sixth child of Horace G. and Mabel G. (Warren) Adams.
Photo 1 - A Christmas Eve Gathering of the Adams Family 1937 - beginning at the left center, L-R are Jessie (Stewart) Adams, Doris (Jamieson) Adams, Raymond E. Adams, Mary (Adams) Dougan, Horace Adams, II, Rae (Adams) Tod, Mabel (Warren) Adams, Alexander Adams, Friend of Antoinette Tod,
Antoinette Tod, Helen (Lewis) Adams, and Frank Dougan. This is the only photograph I have showing Horace and Doris Adams.
Photo 2 - A news clipping from 1917 about the Adams boys at Country Day School, Kansas City, MO.
Photo 3 - A news clipping from 1917 about the Adams boys at Country Day School, Kansas City, MO.
Photo 4 - A photograph of Horace Greeley Adams, III used with his induction into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Photo 5 - This is a photograph taken in California of the extended Adams Family on vacation in 1909. Horace Adams, II is the boy standing third from the right end, next to his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Benjamin Warren.
Maple Hill, Kansas: Its History, People, Legends and Photographs
Maple Hill Train Wrecks – 1900 to 1902
Ted Hammarlund was going through some family photographs recently and came across two that depict train wrecks near Maple Hill. I easily found a newspaper article about the November 12, 1900 train wreck but after going through all of the local newspapers for 1902, week by week, I wasn’t able to find an article about a wreck occurring near Maple Hill.
I don’t consider the search a waste of time, because it allows me to obtain a “picture” of what was occurring in Maple Hill during 1902. It was very interesting and will no doubt be the subject of future articles on the Maple Hill page.
It was interesting to read about the vast number of train wrecks across America (and abroad) that were reported in the pages of the Alma Enterprise and the Alma Signal. During 1900 and 1902 there were hundreds of train derailments that killed hundreds of people and thousands of cattle, sheep, horses and hogs. It was obvious to me that traveling by train was not as safe as I had thought at that time. As one might expect, most of the accidents were caused by human error followed closely by mechanical and equipment failure. It was also easy to determine that riding in the engine and caboose were the two most dangerous places. Most of the deaths occurred in those two train locations.
The first photograph was taken following a wreck on November 2, 1900. Here is the article:
“Monday, November 2nd, at 8:15am while the local freight, eastbound, Train Number 32, pulled by engine 456, was switching, an eastbound extra pulled by engine 469, scheduled to run at 46 miles per hour, but running at the rate of ten miles per hour, ran into the caboose which with a flat ar and three boxcars was at a curve one-quarter mile west of Maple Hill. One of the crew of #32 had gone back the required distance and flagged the extra but the brakes of the latter would not work.
When within a short distance of #32, the engineer reversed his engine and then both he and the fireman jumped. Mrs. Lou Coleman of Maple Hill, and the conductor of #32 were the only occupants of the caboose and they escaped just in the nick of time.
When the crash came the coupling between the flat car and box cars was thrown out and the three boxcars shot down the track, while the caboose and flat car were completely demolished. The engine jumped the trace and was badly wrecked, one side of the tender remained on the ties, but after repeated efforts to set it back on the track, it had to be turned over into the ditch.
The work train from Topeka in charge of roadmaster Sullivan, arrived on the scene at noon and at 1:15pm the track was cleared and ready for traffic. At 9:00 pm the remains of the caboose and flat cars were burned by the railroad hands while the engine was hoisted onto flat cars by crane and hauled off the following day.
It is lucky indeed that no one was injured in the accident. The local freight #32 was in charge of engineer, Jack Slater, and conductor Frank Enerton, while the extra was in charge of engineer Buskirk and conductor Vanscoy.”
Ted said that on the back of the photograph was written: “West of Maple Hill toward the McClelland Farm. Joe Romick and Ed Chapman.”
The second photograph has the following written on the back:
“1902 – East of Maple Hill near Mill Creek Bridge.” From the photograph, it would appear that the wreck occurred during the summer because there are leaves on the trees. The wreck is near the bridge across Mill Creek, at or near the junction of the Maple Hill/Willard and Bouchey Roads. I wasn’t able to find any further information.
Thanks to Ted Hammarlund for providing the photos and captions.
Photo 1 - The 1900 Train Wreck
Photo 2 - The 1902 Train Wreck
Maple Hill, Kansas: Its History, People, Legends and Photographs
Remembering and Honoring Maple Hill’s Own Lt. Col. Mabel Hammarlund on Memorial Day 2021
This coming weekend will be the federal Memorial Day observance when all those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States will be thanked and paid respect by millions of Americans. One of those who will be honored at the Old Stone Church was born at Maple Hill, Kansas, raised on a farm four miles west of town, educated at the Thayer School District #57 and Maple Hill High School, was a life-long nurse, and served in the United States Army most of her career. I am speaking of Lt. Col. (Retired) Mabel Hammarland.
Mabel was the daughter of Oscar Theodore and Lillie Belle (Miller) Hammarlund and was the sixth of eight children, born on November 2, 1910. Mabel’s siblings were Cecilia born 1901, Easter born 1902, Charles Arthur Nels born 1903, Ella Elna born in 1906, Milton Oscar born 1908, Robert Everett born 1913 and Henry Howard born 1919. Cecilia and Easter Hammarlund died as infants and are buried in the family plot at the Old Stone Church.
I will write a second article about the Hammarlund Family, but the intent of this post is to focus on Mabel and her distinguished career and life.
Mabel Hammarlund was born on November 2, 1910, on the Warren/Crouch Farm, three miles west of Maple Hill, Kansas. Her parents were Oscar Theodore and Lillie Belle (Miller) Hammarlund. At the time of her birth, the family lived in what was formerly the parsonage of the Eliot Congregational Church (Old Stone Church) which was located across the road north of the W. W. Cocks/Grant Romig stone house. The house burned in 1924, when the William Mitchell family lived there. Oscar farmed for the Warren and Crouch families and was also the road maintenance man for the Vera-Maple Hill Road. In 1921, Oscar and Lillie Hammarlund moved 1.5 miles west and rented the Albert and Ellen (Cheney) Thayer farm of 320-acres. The Hammarlund family would remain on that farm for more than four decades.
Mabel and her siblings were like other farm children, helping their parents with the chores and responsibilities that come with caring for a large farm. Her older sister Ella and Mabel helped their mother with household responsibilities, cooking, washing, ironing, cleaning, and other duties. Like her brothers and sisters, Mabel began school by walking down Vera road to the south and attending the Thayer School District #57, on the banks of Mill Creek. The school building still exists but has been extensively remodeled, enlarged, and is a part of the Imthurn Ranch. Oscar T. Hammarlund was a member of the District #57 school board from 1910 until 1925 and was chair of the board several of those years. Miss Annie Crouch, Superintendent of Wabaunsee County Schools often commended District #57 for maintaining their school building and providing a barn, two outhouses, and play equipment.
Mabel went to the town school, Maple Hill High School, where she graduated with honors in 1928. As with many rural students, Mabel boarded at the Clements Hotel on Maple Hill’s Main Street while she attended high school. According to a Maple Hill News Item in 1928, Mabel was working on Saturdays and evenings as a clerk in Frank Steven’s General Store.
I haven’t been able to learn what Mabel was doing between 1928 and 1930, but in September 1930, she enrolled in Christ’s Hospital School of Nursing in Topeka, Kansas where she took a three-year course and graduated, again with honors, as a Registered Nurse. According to her nephew, Dr. Marion Hammarlund (now 92 years old) she worked for several years in the Topeka Public Health Department after graduation. He said that the family always worried about her because she had to go out and visit families when there was illness and decide whether or not they should be quarantined. She later worked for the Genn Hospital in Wamego, Kansas. Dr. Hammarlund said that she would take him and his cousins to work with her as a special treat. He remembered that she would give them a bottle of pop in the car to keep them entertained. When they would cross a railroad track, Mabel would make them put their bottle of pop between their knees so they couldn’t chip their teeth. While Mabel worked at Genn, she paid for Dr. Hammarlund and his cousins to have their tonsils taken out. She believed that tonsils were the cause of much illness. Marion has many fond memories of his Aunt Mabel.
When WWII began, Mabel decided to enlist as a second lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. Anyone who had successfully completed a registered nursing course at an accredited institution was automatically enlisted as an officer. Mabel’s official record of service is over 20 pages long, but let it suffice to say that she was stationed in many locations during the war and after, serving as a nurse in various hospitals. In one article I read, it stated that when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, there were 5,300 nurses in the Corp and when the war concluded in 1945, there were 55,000. No nurse was ever drafted into service, but all volunteered. Later on, when Mabel was an administrator in the Army Nurse Corps, she was always interested in nurse recruitment, making sure that they were paid appropriately and that Congress passed acts ensuring that nurses could be promoted to ever higher ranks as was merited. There are several newspaper and magazine articles in that regard.
After the war ended, Mabel must have decided that she was going to make Army nursing a career, because she began to structure her tenure in such a way that she became a nursing administrator rather than a clinical nurse. Mabel was assigned to several posts over the next 10 years in which she handled administrative duties and advanced in rank from a second lieutenant to a lieutenant, then captain, major, and finally Lt. Coronel. She was made a Lt. Coronel in 1958 when she was serving as Army Nurse Corp Special Force Nurse at Ft. Hood in Texas. Her next promotion brought her to the apex of her career when she was appointed Army Nurse Corp, Fourth Army Head Nurse, with responsibility for most nursing in the southern half of the United States. Her final assignment took her to Europe where she was the Army Nurse Corp, European Theater Head Nurse, in charge of all army nurses in Europe. Congress had not yet made it possible for women to hold the rank of General in the Nursing Corp, so Mabel was among 8 women that held the rank of Lt. Colonel. Mabel retired on December 31, 1963 after serving 21 years.
On September 18, 1963, President John F. Kennedy ordered and Congress approved, the awarding of the Legion of Merit to Lt. Col. Mabel Hammarlund for the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from August 1955 to December 1963, reflecting her service in World War II and Korea. The Legion of Merit was at that time the highest honor that could be bestowed upon a living female service member. There were nurses who were killed in action and received the Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I know of no other service person from Maple Hill, Kansas that has received a Legion of Merit award.
After Mabel retired, she returned to Topeka, Kansas where she bought a home and moved her parents there to live with her. Mabel was not finished nursing, however. In 1964, she became a member of the Topeka Unified School District’s School Nursing Corp and served until retiring in 1974, rounding out a superb career of nearly 40 years in healthcare.
I would consider myself an acquaintance of Mabel’s, but those of us who knew her will remember her as a rather quiet, unassuming, often gregarious, attentive to family, gracious, lady. Her father, Oscar Hammarlund died in 1963 after he and wife Lillie had celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in 1960. Lillie Hammarlund died in 1981 at the age of 101. Both are buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery at the Old Stone Church. Mabel Hammarlund died a year before her mother, on August 8, 1980. All are buried in the Hammarland Plot at the Old Stone Church. Mabel has a plain marble military tombstone as she would have wanted.
Although Mabel has been deceased for more than 40 years, it is important on this Memorial Day that we pause to remember her contribution to nursing, to the Army Nurse Corp and to the United States of America. Thank you Mabel and Rest In Peace!!
1. The Hammarlund Family, this photo was taken on the occasion of Oscar and Lillie's 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1950. Oscar and Lillie Belle (Miller) Hammarlund are seated in front. Standing behind them L-R are Ella and Mabel Hammarlund. Standing in the third-row L-R are Oscar Milton, Charles Arthur, Robert Everett, and Howard Henry Hammarlund.
2. The Albert Thayer stone house, built-in 1874 four miles west of Maple Hill. The Hammarlunds lived in this house and rented the farm from 1921 until they moved to Topeka in 1963.
3. Christ's School of Nursing, Topeka, Kansas. This is where Mabel Hammarlund took nurses training and lived from 1930-1933.
4. Genn Hospital, Wamego, Kansas. Mabel Hammarlund worked as a registered nurse at Genn Hospital during the late 1930s.
5. - 11. These are all photographs of Mabel Hammarlund taken during her Army Nurse Corp career.
12. This photograph is of the Topeka Unified School District School Nurses. Mabel Hammarlund is in the top row, far left.
13. Mabel Hammerland, taken after retirement from the Army Nurse Corp, in her Topeka home on Saline Street.
14. Mabel Hammarlund's military headstone in the Maple Hill Cemetery at the Old Stone Church.
Many thanks to Ted Hammarlund, nephew of Lt. Col. Mabel Hammarlund, for providing the photographs for this post.
Maple Hill, Kansas: Its History, People, Legends and Photographs
Nicholas Clark You Know You're From Wabaunsee County When.
I always get very upset with myself when I don't attend Memorial Day Services at the Old Stone Church. What a wonderful collection of memories I have surrounding all the years I have been able to attend. I wrote a story about my experiences a few years ago and I'll share it with you now.
Decoration Day Fifty Years Ago
By: Nick Clark – May 24, 2003
As I awoke this morning to find bright sunlight streaming through my window, I couldn’t help thinking that had it been fifty years ago, my mother would have been tugging at my toe and urging me to, “Get up. We need to get the jars in the car, pick flowers and get going to the cemeteries.” The next day, Sunday, would be Decoration Day, and we weren’t the only ones hurrying around—nearly every household in Maple Hill and the surrounding countryside would be doing the same thing.
By the time breakfast was over, my grandmother, Mildred McCauley Corbin would be in our kitchen, as well as my Aunt Bonnie Mitchell and at different times, others of our family and neighbors. My paternal grandmother, “Central” Mable Clark, was always running the telephone switchboard located in her home so she would send jars the night before to take to the cemeteries where her relatives were buried.
It was an important day for the entire community. It was a day to remember and honor the lives of all ancestors, but especially those who had served in the Armed Forces. Decoration Day began on May 5, 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization honoring those who served in the Union Army) held a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, wife of the President, gave a stirring address lauding the deeds of brave soldiers who had “served in blue” during the war between the states. After the speech making had been completed, orphans of soldiers and sailors paraded into the cemetery with baskets of flowers, strewing them on the more than 20,000 newly occupied graves. As years passed the ceremony was echoed through the entire country and became a part of the fabric of our nation’s ceremonial history.
As America engaged in other wars over time, the occasion took on significance and also changed names. After World War I, the observance became known as Memorial Day and in 1971, Congress at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, made Memorial Day an official holiday to honor those who served in America’s Armed Forces. Although I had certainly heard or read the term Memorial Day, I don’t remember my family calling it anything other than Decoration Day until I was grown.
Activity in the household would increase on those Saturday mornings, as we loaded jars into the trunk of my grandmother Corbin’s car (as I recall a 1953 Ford). We would take big gallon jars of water along and in later years, rolls of foil to wrap around the jars. Then we would proceed to the home gardens of various family members and pick fresh flowers to put in the jars placed on graves. My great grandmother, Jeanetta Reinhardt Jones, always had beautiful big boughs of spirea. The little white crowns of flowers were striking in bouquets. We would then proceed to my Aunt Bonnie Mitchell’s home and pick up the bucket or two of multi-colored iris that she had picked earlier. My Grandmother Clark would have supplied Iris of various colors from the Central Office garden. She also had big tall spikes of larkspur in pink, purple and blue. Grandmother Corbin had a beautiful climbing red rose, a “Mary Perkins,” which bloomed early and was beautiful to include as a highlight in bouquets. All these ladies furnished varieties of colored peonies. When finished, the car would look like one following a hearse to a funeral. We would then set off to the cemeteries where various relatives were buried.
We often went to the Uniontown/Greene Cemetery southeast of Willard, Kansas first. In that cemetery are buried my paternal great great grandfather Francis Marion Jones, and my great grandmother Virgia Miller Jones, and my great uncle Louis Jones. They were the grandfather, mother and brother of Mable Clark. The cemetery was small and was usually well kept by the Greene and Viergiver Families, who lived nearby. But as they aged, the cemetery fell into an unkempt condition and it was always tricky getting into the graves without the fear of SNAKES! Great great grandfather had served in the Civil War, had a Civil War headstone and also a GAR marker. It was important that we “decorate” his grave. Always mixed in with the placing of flowers was the telling of family stories and talk of their military service. It was a great time to be 10-years-old and hear those accumulated memories—a real treasure.
Then we would usually go back to Maple Hill via gravel road, trying our best not to upset the buckets of flowers or slosh water into the trunk and back seat—where I was crowded between giant sprays of iris, peonies and larkspur. Our destination was the Old Stone Church Cemetery west of Maple Hill.
There we drove up and down the avenues of eastern red cedar trees, stopping at the graves of the Clark, Corbin, Mitchell, Lemon, Jones, and McCauley Families as well as at the graves of others who might not have family members living nearby. It was always a courtesy of many families to decorate the graves of dear friends or long-gone families. The James Elmer Romick American Legion Post members would be visiting the graves of veterans and placing little metal American Legion plaques on the graves of soldiers. In each plaque was placed a tiny America Flag.
In the evening, we would usually go to Bethlehem Cemetery, south of Paxico, where we would place flowers on the graves of Clark relatives. Sometimes, not always, we would go to the Vera Community and stop at the graves of Albert and Martha Graham Phillips, who were buried in the pasture across the road from the home of Merle and Nora Lietz. They were the parents of my cousin, Mable Phillips Herron (Mrs. Jack). They were struck by lightening and killed in their carriage in the 1870s. The horses were not injured and carried their bodies home. The telling of that morbid but fascinating story would then occupy the return trip to Maple Hill.
In my high school years (1958-1962,) the Maple Hill Community Congregational Church had a very active youth group composed of junior and senior high
young folks. Although I don’t recall the exact numbers, I would estimate that there were 20 to 30 in regular attendance. During my memory, the Pilgrim Fellowship Group was led and supervised by Jack and Bill Warren—sons of William Warren, a charter member of MHCCC. The Warren brothers lived on a farm three miles west of Maple Hill and would usually bring their farm truck into town and meet PFG members at the newly constructed Parish Hall. We would load folding chairs, a huge upright piano, hymnals, the big original bible, lectern stands and sometimes we would take the old original chairs from the church alter. Warner Adams and other men were always on hand to help. This moving was necessary because most of the original Stone Church furnishings had been destroyed in a tragic fire on May 12, 1952.
Although only seven at the time, I remember the Stone Church fire because it was one of those major community events that is vividly recalled to the minds of most of those who witnessed it. Ivan Yount and Walter “Punt” Romick were trimming cedar trees at the cemetery and had piled a stack of sheared limbs at the north side of the cemetery property, a good 300 yards from the building. Limbs had been burned before in the same way and the distance was presumed to be safe. Nothing burns with more vigor than red cedar and when the pile was lighted there were only light winds from the south. Suddenly gusts of wind began, the direction changed to the north and the sparks were carried to the wooden shingles of the church before anything could be done to prevent it.
I was just completing the second grade at Maple Hill Grade School and was spending a pleasant spring day at my Grandmother Corbin’s farm home located one and one-half miles southwest of Maple Hill. We were planting beans in the garden. All of a sudden, we heard the old wall telephone in the kitchen begin to continuously ring in short bursts. That was a sign to immediately “pick up” on the eight-party line, because there was something of dire importance that needed the attention of the entire community. Grandmother hurried to the house where the voice on the phone was that of my other grandmother, Mable Clark at the Central Office. She was notifying the community that help was needed at the church fire. Punt Romick and Ivan Yount had driven one-quarter mile to the Romick home, and had phoned in the alarm.
Grandfather Corbin had taken the car at the time, and we had no way to go to the fire, but we could clearly see the cemetery from the farm and could also see the column of black smoke rising high into the sky. My grandmother just sat down on the back steps and buried her head in her big apron and wept. Pretty soon, we heard someone calling to us from the road and it was Mrs. Ella Yount, Ivan’s mother, who had walked the quarter mile to my grandmothers. They both sat on the steps and wept in each others arms while I looked on—stunned. The decades-old shingles were consumed within minutes and it was only through heroic efforts that the original pump organ, pulpit and a few other treasures were saved.
The Old Stone Church Cemetery Board had raised enough money immediately following the fire to replace the roof, floor, windows and front doors. Topeka architect, Charles Marshall, cousin of Mrs. Warner Adams, donated his time to plan the restoration. Services were held in the building’s shell until 1962, when some of Maple Hill’s older citizens joined forces with the Pilgrim Youth Group to raise funds for the restoration of the Old Stone Church interior. Emily Adams made long lists of local and distant people whose relatives had attended the Old Stone Church. From January through May, I went to the Adam’s home and typed letters on an old portable Royal typewriter. Miss Adams furnished the stationary, envelopes and stamps. The response was overwhelmingly favorable. My only regret, is that the letters that accompanied donor checks were not saved as they were a tribute to the love of the Old Stone Church, held so dearly by early church and community pioneers.
Although the outer structure of the church had been replaced, the interior plaster had never been removed from the walls and that would require tedious labor. At the urging of Jack and Bill Warren, the PFG decided to spend weekends taking the old plaster off the walls. Scaffolding was placed inside and we all brought our claw hammers and worked long hours removing plaster which had been applied directly to the stone walls. We would go home in the evening with hair stiff from plaster dust. Our mothers brought lunch to the church and we had grand times playing games and exploring the cemetery. I am going to be sorry that I ever tried to list names, and my apologies to those I have omitted because of memory loss, but I recall the following helping with plaster removal: Mary Sue Kitt, Janice Yount, Patty Holmes, Norris and Horace Hoobler, Art and Kathryn Adams, Rod and Cathy Say, Eugene and Karen Travis, Tracy and Larry Ables, Larry and Lana Schulte, Mike Turnbull, Bill, Art and Ruth Ann Raine, Linda and Terry Ungeheuer, Allen and Loren Lett, Trudi and Marcia Mee, Claudia and Kenny Arnold, Larry and Cheryl Oliver, Eula and Beulah Adams, Dean and Jean Adams, and Ronnie and Herb Crawshaw.
Ronnell Bennett, a Black plasterer from Alma, Kansas was employed to put on three good coats of plaster. Mr. Bennett had learned his trade from pioneer German plasterers and had an excellent reputation. The workmanship was superb and his work remains in good condition today. I don’t remember the exact cost of the total restoration, but I do remember that Miss Adams and I were delighted when the bank account approached $4,000.00. Special thanks is owned to Ann Gorbet Adams and her father, John Gorbet, who provided expertise in choosing colors of stain for the floor and paint for the wall. In addition, the Hammarlund Family donated a beautiful cross for the front of the sanctuary that was made from the historic timbers of the St. Marys Congregational Church, St. Marys, Kansas.
After the plastering was completed, there was about $300 or $400 left in the account. Miss Adams read in the Topeka Capital-Journal that the Jewish Synagogue was being remodeled and that they had oak pews for sale. The individual that was in charge of the remodeling was Shoal Pozez, who was just starting a brand new company we know today as, PayLess Shoes. I drove Emily Adams to Topeka where we met Mr. Pozez at the Synagogue. Emily told him the story of our efforts to restore the Old Stone Church and he said, “We want to help. These are $100 pews but we’ll let you have them at the bargin price of $20 each.” I don’t recall exactly how many we purchased but it seems there were 15 or 20. Warner Adams and Jack and Bill Warren made the trip to Topeka with their trucks where we loaded the pews and took them to Maple Hill. These were massive pews in good condition, which would today cost $500 each or more—if they could even be made. And so it is—that the Old Stone Church has pews that were in a Jewish Synagogue for the first 100 years of their existence!
One of the last events in the restoration was the placing of the bell in the tower. The original church bell had been destroyed in the church fire. As I recall, Don and Hattie McClelland had the old bell from the Maple Hill Grade School at their home and donated it to be used at the Old Stone Church. The bell was extremely heavy and it required many men and special pulleys to wrench it into place. There were smiles and cheers all around when the clear peals of that bell were once again heard across the Mill Creek Valley. Everyone took turns pulling on the long sisal rope. The tower roof was then completed and the church was ready for Decoration Day Services.
The interior of the Old Stone Church was usually decorated with flowers by Emma Jeanne and Wanda Adams, sisters-in-law. Emma Jeanne and Warner Adams had beautiful flower gardens at their home in north Maple Hill. Emma Jeanne brought large wicker baskets of peonies, iris and spirea while Wanda (Mrs. Arthur Adams) would usually go to the pastures and pick all manner of wildflowers. Each of the big windows would have containers of flowers while there were one or two baskets at the front.
Lois Hammarlund was the church pianist at the time and it was the bain of her existence to have to play the old piano that had been badly water damaged during the fire. The keys didn’t all work, some stuck together, but somehow, with God’s inspiration and her natural musical talent, she was able to make beautiful music. The choir would either go to the Old Stone Church and rehearse on Saturday or early Sunday before services.
My Grandfather, Robert Corbin, and my uncles were members of the American Legion and were a part of the Presentation of Colors Ceremony when the American flag, the American Legion Flag, and the Christian Flag where carried into the church. At my earliest memories, there were probably 25 or 30 men who wore their military uniforms and participated. Just prior to services, the Legion members would march in front of the west side of the church and fire a salute to fallen soldiers. Taps would be played and tears would be shed as memories of loved ones were recalled. Then the men would bring the flags inside the church, and the church services would begin. The church was always packed so full that many times people would either stand near the windows on the outside or would just walk through the graveyard, visiting with friends and relatives who had come from a distance to decorate family graves.
Warner Adams, who took his mother’s position on the cemetery board at her death in 1946, served in that capacity for four decades. It was always Warner’s job to walk among the families and to take an offering to help pay for cemetery upkeep. In those days, the Cemetery Association didn’t have much money and the Memorial Day contributions were important in being able to keep the cemetery mowed and the church in good repair. Warner always carried his hat and people put their contributions into his hat.
And so it is—that 50 years have passed since the days of my youth. In that half century, “times” have become quicker and less melancholy while long-held traditions have changed. My dear mother, Lucille Clark, now 82, and many of her generation still do their best to carry on but the grandeur of Decoration Day Weekend fifty years ago are now just cherished memories.
1. The Old Stone Church, Maple Hill, Kansas
2. The Avenue of Flags honoring veterans.
3. The view from the front steps of the church looking west towards Buffalo Mound.