to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
Now we’ve reached a time in our history where things not only could get worse, but they surely did. In the late 1930’s we could read and hear about all the discontent in Europe. We also heard of the debate among the world leaders as to whether or not this guy called Hitler was all hot air or were the stories about Hungary and Poland really true? We really hadn’t gotten over WWI and the problems that the treaty had caused were bound to start WWII. Many people in the U.S. went to Europe to see for themselves and they, like the leaders in England, couldn’t force themselves to believe that WWII had already started. Even as all this went on, worthless treaties and no-war agreements were signed.
Closer to home, here on the Prairie farm prices and any sign of fiscal stability were being jerked up and down like a yo-yo. Buy, by our very nature, we seemed to make do and get by. Using some of the New Deal programs the North-South Highway was completed and all but a couple of areas were even paved. The mining industry was slowly fading out to be replaced by the fast growing timber industry. Farm prices were being bolstered by world unrest and the famous lend-lease started to kick in and many people went to work in the industrial centers. Also in 1937, F.D.R. was sworn in for a second term and according to vote tallies, this suited the people here just fine! In May of 1937 the Hindenberg, a German airship went down. The Gold Gate Bridge, a public works project, was opened in San Francisco.
In 1938 “nylon” came into our realm with a nylon toothbrush. Kate Smith sang Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” for the first time. Time magazine chose Hitler as “Man of the Year.”
In Sept. 1939, enough is enough as the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Australia declared war on Germany. Canada jumped in a week later. In 1940 the roof fell in in Europe as Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill took over. The Battle of France began in May 1940. On June 14, 1942, 728 Polish prisoners became residents of Auschwitz. In July the Battle of Britain began.
At home the new movie theater just built in 1938 by Ben Lightfield is doing a land office business. The movie is preceded by a cartoon and usually a newsreel. Gen. John J. Pershing in a nation-wide appeal urges aide to Britain while Charles Lindbergh speaks out for isolationism. Underneath all this political hogwash China is recruiting pilots and maintenance people to hold off the ongoing battle with the Japanese. We know it’s coming, but when?
Here in our own backyard we still had a stock show and 4-H exhibits. Most all of the grade school children imagined themselves as soldiers or nurses and many a mock war battle was held in local foxholes or on Butler or Schnider Pond. It’s quite interesting to remember the ways almost everyone showed their support as the days and weeks went by. Stars started to show up in a few windows and as time went by, more houses than not proudly displayed flags and stars. Everywhere you went they were singing “Anchors Aweigh,” “Over hill, over dale as the caissons go rolling along” and “From the Halls of Montezuma.” A few of the larger families had 5 or 6 of their sons in the service at one time. God love them all! Just think of the strain and worry…
In August of 1940 Oxford University published medical test results on vastly improved penicillin which will play a major role in the many battlefield wounds that lie ahead.
In September 1940 the 45th Infantry Division was activated and sent to Ft. Sill and Louisiana prior to serving in WWII. Also the U.S. sent 45 war ships to England on the “lend lease” program. Also the first peace-time draft in U.S. history is created in Sept. 1940.
In November 1940 F.D.R. defeats Wendell Willkie to become our first third-term president. The radio, newsreels and newspaper bombard us with all the news. Our mothers and fathers want to get closer to the young men who will fight this war. Family dinners with a special prayer became the order of the day. We all talk big but we are really quaking in our boots!
As the country stepped up production, unemployment went from 14% in 1940 to less than 2% in 1943. People who had trouble finding work in the industrial area and had fled to the country now started to return to these centers to fill the new jobs. We all know of families who did just that from this area. Just to have work and a decent steady income overshadowed the coming war.
Somehow as we look at what went on during this time and the date I see on the paper in front of me (Dec. 7, 1941), just 70 years ago all hell broke loose. The national debt, carrying al the problems then, was small compared to what it would be the next 6 years! The politicians standing around singing “Happy Days are Here Again” just plain missed the boat. Tell that to the millions who would lose their lives in this war of all wars.
So then, Pearl Harbor came and went, the whole world chose up sides and went to war. As usual, think of what would have happened to you and yours if they hadn’t? How many of the people in this area’s history would not be here because those in power would judge them not to be of this “super race?”
Some of our local men were already working in the war effort across the oceans. A few of them were taken prisoner and really paid the price in enduring unbelievable punishment. We weren’t even told of things like the Bataan Death March. So it wasn’t until 1944 before we really learned what the other side was like. The answer to the “Cost of Freedom” was shown when these men came home with “I would do it again!”
School children at Keuterville. Back row from left are Sister Deodata, Sister Martina, Oliva Poxleitner, Dolores Schmidt, Vincent Enneking, Bernard Nuttman, John Andre, Edward Uptmor, Vincent Hattrup, Maxine Romain, Helen Sprute, Marguerite Sprute and Raymond Hattrup. Middle from left are Viola Nuttman, Grace Poxleitner, Margaret Uhlenkott, Ethel Gehring, Theresa Blake, Doreen Romain, Ellen Schmidt, Lena Uhlenkott, Josephine Uptmor, Patty Schmidt, Joan Hilbert and Ella Mae Romain. Front from left are Gerald Hattrup (/), Earl Bensching, Stanley Hattrup, Harold Bensching, Mike Uhlenkott, Vincent Poxleitner, Vincent Uhlenkott, Donald Bensching, James Gehring, Virgil Sprute, Kenneth Hattrup and Norman Poxleitner.
Youngsters at the Moughmer Point School. Among them are George, Frank and Lawrence Uptmor.
A Stock Show parade on Main Street in 1933. The Conoco Service Garage is now The Corner Cupboard and B & R Sales. The 2-story building is the old KC Hall. Photo courtesy of Karen Gehring.
The cattle entered in the Stock Show were part of the parade in 1933. The grassy looking ground is part of the current Nuxoll Shell lot. You can see the top of the rock crusher in the background located at the quarry where the Chronicle building is now located. Note also the vintage cars at right. Photo courtesy of Karen Gehring.
Hogs from Greencreek and Winona being delivered to Cottonwood. Photo brought in by Don Hoene from a reproduction that previously appeared in the Chronicle.
Hay being hauled by horse and wagon. Photo provided by Jim Gehring.
You first saw Superman? (Started in 1938)
You first heard Truth or Consequences? (March 1940)
Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling? (June 1938)
“The Wizard of Oz” first performance (1939)
Your first pair of nylon stockings? (1939)
“Gone With the Wind?” (Dec. 15, 1939)
The first automatic transmission in a car? (1939 Oldsmobile)
School proms, carnivals and fund raisers were the center of our social life?
King Street was part of the main North-South Highway?
As mentioned above, new things like nylon came into our lives then the war shortages took them out again. Remember when “coupon books” were needed for gas, rubber tires and even meat?
You had to buy your first hunting and fishing license?
When you first heard of social security?
When items went to the local junkyard, they stayed there?.