23 October 2010

Treasures From Our Father's Past

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
October 2010

I recently read that the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland, Kentucky is developing a wonderful display with World War II memorabilia and will be host to a traveling exhibit as well.

During and after the war soldiers families received advertisements to submit their picture and information for publication in a book. The books were published across the country. Today we tag these type of books as "vanity books." You paid to submit your information and got a copy of the book.

But the World War II books and many other of these historical submitted publications are truly jewels for family and genealogists today.

The Boyd County Public Library received a worn and tattered copy of Patriots of Kentucky WW2 as a donation the other day. You can tell the book has been used over and over again.

I found no publisher listed nor date of publication. But the dedication says "To those who have died for their country - 2nd WW." It does not appear to be the same series as the WWII Young American Patriots 1941-45 series. But the publication is similar.

Another quirk of the publication is the use of 2 vs II throughout the publication. And unlike the Young American Patriots Series the photographs are not alphabetical. The book is organized by town and then by soldier. The book states "Look for your hometown and refer to the page indicated where you will find your picture and historical sketch..."

I spent some time just reading the list of cities and towns in the front of the book. Many of our soldiers were from rural Kentucky and I did find a few entries for Kentucky's unique rural burgs. Most entries, of course were for Louisville, Lexington and a large group from Ashland.

Since this blog is based in the postal service area of Rush, Kentucky I of course looked to see how many entries were from this area. I found two entries. Many more served from this area of Boyd County but these two were submitted:

Charlie C. Coburn Pvt 20, Entered US Army Inf. European Theater. Attended Boyd Co. School. Member of the Methodist Church. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Coburn. Rush, KY.

J. H. Lambert, Pvt. 22 US Army. Mediterranean. Attended Canburg High School and Baptist Church. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey Lambert.

Canburg is the Boyd County High School that was then held at Cannonsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky.

Three more entries caught my eye from northeastern Kentucky. Having raised three sons my heart went out to the mother who waited back home for word from three of hers. Under Flatwoods, Kentucky I found the entries of Charles Kenneth Clarke age 20 in the US Army and a POW in Germany. Lemuel Morton Clarke age 35 in the US Engineers and Leonard G. Clarke age 21 in the US Army. All three gentlemen the sons of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Clarke.

William R. Clarke and wife Stella are listed in the 1930 Federal Census in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky. Kenneth and Leonard are 5 and 6 years old and Lemuel Morton is listed as Morton age 20. The Clarke family was large with a total 0f ten children that year. It was no surprise to see that William R. Clarke supported his large family by working at the steel mill.

My generation grew up surrounded by silent hero's. They did not talk much about their service until the past few years. Now they are leaving us. This wonderful book was not about vanity but pride in being an American.

This treasure can be viewed in the Minnie Crawford Winder Genealogy Room at the Boyd County Public Library.

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