Colonel Irving C. Pahl

After reading the title of this post I can hear my relatives asking, “Colonel Who?” A perfectly legitimate question too. But, in order to answer it I will need to go back a few years to give you a frame of reference.

The story starts with Laura, the youngest daughter of FW John and Johanna Deadrich, my great great grandparents. The second youngest of 6 children to survive to adulthood, she was born August 27, 1866 in Gillett, Oconto County, Wisconsin. (Laura was six years older than the youngest child, my great-grandfather, Victor.)

When Laura John was 19 years old she married her first husband, Charles Edward Pahl. A marriage which lasted for 10 years. Here are some notes from the divorce case:

“…That shortly after the said marriage the plaintiff [sic: defendant Charles] commenced a system of cruel and inhuman treatment towards the plaintiff by calling the plaintiff base, vile and abusive names, by threatening to strike, shoot and kill the plaintiff ….. conduct of the defendant became so cruel and inhuman towards the plaintiff and the said child [Victor] that the plaintiff was forced to and did leave …. That during the time the plaintiff and defendant lived together the defendant was ever jealous of every body who spoke to the plaintiff even of the plaintiff’s brothers …would abuse the plaintiff by the use of vile epithets…talking about shooting and killing the plaintiff.

…the defendant had a mania for whipping and punishing the said Victor Pahl … when the plaintiff remonstrated and attempted to prevent the defendant from so whipping and punishing said child the defendant would grossly and outrageously abuse the plaintiff by use of abusive words…

That the defendant frequently took up a stick or wood and threatened to strike and beat the plaintiff. That about six weeks before the plaintiff left the defendant…because she protested against the punishment of the said Victor Pahl by the defendant, the defendant violently assaulted the plaintiff and pinched and bruised her arm with such force as to take the skin off of her arm.

That shortly before the plaintiff left the defendant as aforesaid he told the plaintiff that if his style did not suit her she might leave and the sooner she left the better, that in consequence of said abuse and the great fear the plaintiff had of the defendant she left him as aforesaid.” 1

Laura had three children with Charles: Louis, who died at about a year old, Harold and Victor Pahl. She retained custody of Victor in the divorce proceedings. (It appears that their son Harold might have also died by the time of the divorce as he is not mentioned in the records).

Laura married again in 1899 to Edward Naylor.

Married
Last Saturday morning, at Gillett, Oconto County, this state, Dr. E. S. Naylor to Miss Laura Johns, Justice Riordan officiating. The bride is one of the most popular young ladies of Gillett, and a sister of our obliging station agent at this place, and the groom is well know veterinary surgeon formerly of Ripon, but now in the employ of the Rusch Lumber Company here. They arrived here on the evening train Monday and were duly serenaded by the village band, after which a social ball was given in their honor at the Exchange Hotel, where they are at present staying. The Advertiser joins their many friends in wishing them a happy and prosperous journey through life. 2

This marriage didn’t last long either, and there were no living children of this marriage when divorce was granted in 1904. Laura supported herself by working as a cook in lumber camps, and boarding houses. Skills she most likely learned from her mother, who was acclaimed as a great cook by locals and visitors alike.

Victor was born in 1891. It is possibly because Laura was working in lumber camps, a place that would be dangerous for a young child, that he is found in the 1900 census living with his grandparents, FW and Johanna John. He appears to have had a complicated, rough and confusing childhood, because we find him a few years later at the State School for Boys, in Waukesha, at the age of 14. I don’t know what his incarceration was for, or for how long he was a guest of the facility.

In 1916 when war started in Europe, Victor was working in Ontario as an ironworker. It appears that he was so eager to join in the fight, that he didn’t want to wait for the United States to get involved.

Oconto Boy in the War
Victor Pahl, son of Charles Pahl of Oconto, has enlisted in a Canadian company and will participate in the European war on the side of the allies. Victor was born and brought up in Oconto. 3

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He was in the Canadian Navy. When the United States finally join in the cause, he signed up for the draft there.

Victor died in 1951 in Florida. Leaving three children from his first wife: Irving, Martha and Laura. From the little that I have found, I am quite sure that there is much more that could be written about Victor, but this post is really about Irving, my Dad’s second cousin.

Here is a picture of Victor from a Brazilian Passport4 from 1943. He would be about 52:

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Like his father, Irving C. Pahl was born in Wisconsin. His mother however, was a Romanian immigrant.

Irving’s father moved the family around a lot, probably because of his job (I believe he was a sailor, or worked around boats), so the family wasn’t actually in Wisconsin very long before they left on the first of many moves. It was in Connecticut that the family settled for a short while, and Irving started his formal education.

But he can tell you all about that in his interview.

One of the great things about the internet is how it makes it so much easier to find gems, that you wouldn’t otherwise know about. In researching Irving online, I ran across an interview with him, recorded by the Winthrop University, for their oral history program. The main focus of his interview is the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviets, because he and his family were there when the hammer came down.

Finding the interview, seeing his involvement in Czechoslovakia, and his rank when he retired from the Army, I thought that he might have been an interesting cousin to know about, so I did a little more digging. What follows are newspaper clippings that I found regarding Irving’s life in the military. And I was right, it was pretty interesting.

This first newspaper article is from 1953 and gives a good overview of his accomplishments and involvement in the service from 1939 up to that time. The rest of the articles are chronologically organized.

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Kentucky New Era 06/11/1953p9

 

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Pacific Stars and Stripes, vol.11, no. 149, may 30, 1955

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Excerpt from book published about the Czechoslovakian fight.

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Those are the highlights of what appears to be quite an interesting life for himself, and his family. And when Irving retired in Columbia, South Carolina he didn’t actually ‘retire’. He was still very much involved with the community, volunteering and writing letters to the editor.

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Irving passed way in 1996, leaving a son and a daughter to carry on his legacy.

The interview which I mentioned above can be downloaded from the University’s website, and listened to at your leisure, it is about 50 minutes long. I have also transcribed the interview as best I can. The transcript (a link to it is below in .pdf format) is the best I could get from listening to it on my iPhone. Some bits were too garbled for me to hear clearly, and I indicate such, on occasion he is speaking Czech (or German), or using Czech names and places, and I can’t quite tell what he is saying. A few times several people were talking at once, (I believe his wife was present at the time, interjecting a comment on occasion, which I couldn’t quite hear).

TRANSCRIPT OF PAHL INTERVIEW

As each new generation is born, it is only natural that family starts drifting farther apart. So I am glad when I can find and share these stories of cousins we never knew. I hope you enjoy them too.


Sources:
1. Divorce of Laura Pahl (plaintiff) from Charles E. Pahl (defendant) December 24, 1895 (filed January 8, 1896) Oconto County, Wisconsin, Circuit Court Case #4044, Area Research Center, UW Green Bay, Green Bay, Wisconsin. June 23, 2005.
2. Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison WHS micro PH 73-1888) January 26, 1899 c5 (weekly Thursday paper).

3. The Union Farmer Herald, Vol. 5, Issue 42, March 24, 1916, page 1, col. 1.
4. Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records. Image 145-146 of 201 (pulled from Ancestry.com).

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November 7, 1947 William Shepard to parents

November 7, 1947

Dear Folks,

Ill give you what information that I have, and it may be incorrect.

I should leave here within a week, go to new orleans & ten by boat to Panama. Where to then is anyones guess. it will be somewhere in the carribean my address to write to is:
APO #825
c/o Postmaster, New Orleans, LA

I went in to New York yesterday. What a time! I really didnt care too much

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for it. Its all right, but not what its cracked up to be.

There are too damned many people living in each others backyard in this part of the country.

Ill write you a letter when I leave here. No news so Ill close.
Love
Bill

Andrew Brooks had a patent

In my recent search of newspapers regarding the Brooks family of Cherry Valley, I found an article about David’s son Andrew*, (the only son to  follow in his father’s tinsmithing footsteps). He had apparently won a patent on a new kind of fastener for milk can tops.

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Otsego Farmer, June 10, 1910, page 1.

It took a while but I finally found the patent using the Google Patent search engine. Trying to search the patent office for records before 1975 is very difficult if you don’t know exact dates, patent numbers, etc. The Google Patent search worked great.

So below is the sketch of what the device looked like, along with detailed instructions on how it was suppose to work.

 

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It is very likely that Andrew’s tin-smithing skills, and his experience working at the local dairy influenced this innovative design. There is no information on how successful this fastener was, so I don’t know if he got rich off of it.

This is the second relative of mine to have a patent. Dillon Hatch (husband of Almyra Brooks), together with two other men, applied for, and received, a patent on a door design in 1891 (which I wrote about in an earlier post).

Andrew and his wife Elizabeth had one child, a daughter Mary L. Brooks, who appears to have died in her early 20s, leaving no heirs. Which means there were no descendants around to brag about Andrew’s clever invention. Maybe this post will make up for that loss.

*Andrew is my mother’s 1st cousin 3 times removed.

 

October 18, 1947 Letter to Dick & Dad

Trenton, Ill.
October 18, 1947

Dear Mother & Father:

I am happy to hear that you all had asuch a good time in Canada, and that the fishing was so good.

I had planned on going up next year, but now I guess it is all off. I received instructions today to be prepared to move to the Carribean area very soon. I will leave Nov 1. for Camp Kilmer and go on from there to either the Panama Canal Zone or Puerto Rico, (I think).

Lois & the kids will stay here until I get the house all ready, wherever that is. She will probably come down about Christmas time. Everyone says that I am lucky to get foreign service so close to the U.S. and it is supposed to be nicest place to live in the Air Force.

I think that It would be a good idea for you folks to drop out before I go. If you can make it next week end (the 25th) it would be fine. Anytime between now and the 1st of Nov.

[page 2]
I wont be able to make it home. If H.O. & Ruth can come we can make room for them also.

Dad. we owe you $1700.00 and I am enclosing a check for $1600.00 Perhaps we can send the $100.00 next month. Thanks so much for letting us use the money. It helped out very much.

Dont worry about the kids as the climate and surroundings are very nice in the Carribean. It isnt like going to Japan or Germany.

Well Ill close and I hope you can get out to see us.

Love
Bill

Dear Folks–

I think perhaps if you can arrange it; it would be better to come the week-end of the 25-26th. I’ll probably still come home for over Thanksgiving–
Love
Lois

David Brooks’ final tragedy

Earlier this year I wrote about David Brooks of Cherry Valley, New York regarding the fire that destroyed the family’s home and belongings in July of 1866. I ended with the hope that this was the extent of the family’s trials. Unfortunately that hope was squashed when I found this newspaper article:

David Brooks, aged 70, a tinner of Cherry Valley, committed suicide a while ago by hanging himself to his bedpost during a temporary fit of insanity.1

I tried to find more about this sad event, and a couple more articles showed up, each with a slightly different account in them 2, 3:

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newspaper_brooksdavid_suicide2 copy

 

David Brooks was John Brooks’ brother. I do not know if they kept in touch when they both left Albany, with John moving to Vermont, and David heading to Cherry Valley, NY.  There was no family history passed down in our family regarding either of the brothers.

David was survived by his wife Margaret, who died about 1891 and five children Sarah, Jennie, Andrew, Benjamin, and Charles.

Source:
1. 1882-10-1 Utica Weekly Herald, Utica, New York, page 5, column 2 [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
2. 1882-10-12 The Radii, Canajoharie, New York, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
3. 1882-10-10 The Canajoarie Courier, Tuesday, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].

 

September 12, 1947 William Shepard to parents…

This is Thanksgiving week, so there will only be one entry this week as I have every intention of totally vegging out and enjoying my 4 days off. Lord of the Rings marathon here I come! Have an excellent Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

Officers Mail Section
Scott Field, Ill.
September 12, 1947

Dear Dick & Dad,

There just isnt enough time in the day any more. We seem to be going all the time.

Hunting season is in Nov. Im going out tomorrow after dove & squirrel. Fishing is OK here. We have a mess in the ice box & Im going again Sunday.

I suppose that you folks are catching whoppers. Mine are all little fellows.

K.W. is all happy, he got an erector set (big one) and is busy building most the time. Sue got a rubber doll,

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she likes it too.

We all like it here. My work is OK, takes about 6 hours a day. We have every week end off & thats OK.

The car is running fine and it sure is a blessing. I dont know what we would have done without it. It needs a tuneup now & I think Ill have it done soon.

As soon as you folks get back let us know and Ill ship you a bundle of money. We owe you some, remember? We got the check from Hilliards bank but you were on your way to Canada.

Well I wish you a very good time and Ill see you.

Love
Bill

Dick and Dad in Florida

One major disadvantage to growing up as a military brat, is that you don’t get a chance to become attached to ‘place’ or know your relatives, because you aren’t around, or around long enough, to do so. But I am glad that in my case I do have a some great memories of extended family.

Because my dad was stationed at McCoy AFB in Orlando in the late 60s, we were able to visit with my great grandparents, Dick and Dad, several times over the few years that we lived there because they weren’t too far away. My fist real connection to family other than mom and dad.

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Dick and Dad

Although their earlier years were spent in West Virginia, Rachel ‘Dick’ and William Shepard, Sr. ‘Dad’ lived mostly in Ohio raising their family of two boys, until Dad retired from his supervisory job at the post office in the 1950s.

They had had a cottage in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada that they went to often, as early as the 1940s. (I don’t know yet if they bought it or rented it.) Below is a photograph of the cottage in Canada that gramps is always mentioning in his letters to his parents, where the fishing was fine.

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When Dad officially retired, they went down to Safety Harbor in late 1956 where they rented a place in the area until they could find the perfect winter retirement home. (We know this because their son Herman wrote a letter to them in Dec of 1956 asking how they were liking their temporary accomodations.)

By December 26, 1956 they had found their spot, and it was at this time they purchased their second vacation/retirement home at 305 7th Ave N in Safety Harbor, Florida, near Tampa. The place that we visited several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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So in this post I thought it would be fun to do a sort of slideshow from past to present on the house I remember visiting in Florida.

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This was probably taken about when they purchased the property in 1957. (Found in the Shepard family slide collection.)

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This is about the late 1960s, when we would be visiting.

In the above second picture you can see the tree is much taller, there are awnings added to the windows, and the front entrance/patio area is now enclosed. Everything else is pretty much the same.

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Here’s another view from the late 1960s.

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Here’s Dick in her kitchen mixing up some libations for her guests. Late 1970s or early 80s. Dad had passed away in 1973.

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Here she is with friends or family, laughing it up on the couch I remember sitting on when we visited. This was probably in the late 70s or early 80s.

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Late 70s, early 1980s? The landscaping has been changed up a bit.

Dick passed away in 1986 and the house was sold sometime later that year by her son Herman.

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Now for the shocker, here is a 2014 image of the property from Google street view:

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These are images posted in 2002 when it was for sale and the outdoor shots look pretty close to the 2014 images:

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Quite a difference from the 50s though! That kitchen sure doesn’t look the same. The property sold for $74,000 in 2002, and it is currently valued at about $185,000, for 916 sq. ft. of living space. I like the improvements, although the carport/garage doesn’t look like it has been worked on at all. (It looks like someone tried to sell it in 2015 for $225,000, but it was only on the market for a couple of months before they unlisted it.)

Because the city used crushed shells, instead of gravel, in the driveway, when we visited I would go looking for cool shells when I got bored with all the adult talk. I still have some great finds in my shell collection.

Interesting fun fact: According to the 1959 directory for Safety Harbor, Lois and William Shepard, jr. were also living at this address. My grandparents. (Hey Mom, I don’t remember you mentioning this.)

What a fun drive down memory lane.

 

January 12, 1947 William Shepard to parents…

This letter is in regards to William and Lois Shepard move to Puerto Rico.

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January 12, 1947

Hello Dick & Dad:

We are settled down now. At least we are settled as much as we can be until the trunks arrive.

Lois & the children like it here very much and it is nice. I work when I want to, report in the morning 8 to 9. Off at 11 until 1, quit about 4.

It has been raining some the last two days, rather cool, about 70°! It will undoubtedly warm up the next few days.

Sunday we went to the beach for a while after lunch. The kids had a swell time. Played in the sand. Found coconuts. I opened one for them. They found about a bushel of shells.

I think they are going to send some home. Havent sent your Xmas present yet. So it is still pending. What I have in mind is in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. My next trip there, Ill pick them up.

Prices on food are about the same as the U.S. a lot of frozen foods. The milk is also frozen. Vegtables are fresh grown & frozen both. We get the sweetest tasting cabbage here. No lettuce though. Oranges, big ones, are 1¢ a piece. Lemons grow all over the place.

The farmers grow coffee, sugar cane & vegetables. Some pinneapple too, I think.

Sue is going to school here. She goes about two hours a day. KW & Sue both seem to like the school here.

We went to the show friday. Saw Spencer Tracy in “Cass Timberlaine.” Only about 2 blocks away as Ive told you.

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The only thing that you folks can do for us or rather me is to have my gun fitted with a poly-choke and shipped down. Pack it well & ship it to me at the below address.

Lt. William A. Shepard Jr 0-48155
24th Composite Wing*
Borinquen Field**
Puerto Rico

What ever it costs let me know. By the way we will send you the $100 we owe you next month. And while we are on debts. Thank you very very much Dick, for helping Lois to New Orleans she really appreciated it. And Lois tells me that dad helped a lot in Trenton. It made the trip a lot easier.

I expect the car down the 25th of January. We can use it here. The post is large and we want to travel over Puerto Rico.

Well, Ill close for now. Xcuse the paper.
Havent found film to take pictures yet.

Love
Bill

 

*From August 1946 until replaced by the Antilles Air Division in July 1948 the wing supervised large numbers of major and minor bases and Air Force units in the Caribbean area from Puerto Rico to British Guiana. [https://www.revolvy.com/topic/24th%20Composite%20Wing&item_type=topic]
and
Constituted as 24th Composite Wing on 19 Nov 1942. Activated in Iceland on 25 Dec 1942. Served in the defense of Iceland. Disbanded on 15 Jun 1944.
          Reconstituted on 5 Aug 1946 and activated in Puerto Rico on 25 Aug. Assigned to Caribbean Air Command. No tactical groups were assigned, but the wing supervised various air force units and bases in the Antilles. Inactivated in Puerto Rico on 28 Jul 1948. [http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/24th_Composite_Wing.cfm]

**Borinquen Field was an American military airfield built in northwestern Puerto Rico in 1940. During WW2, it served as a base for US Army Air Corps (later US Army Air Forces) reconnaissance flights over the approaches to the Caribbean Sea. In 1947, it was turned over to the newly formed US Air Force, which renamed the field Ramey Air Force Base the following year. [https://ww2db.com/facility/Borinquen_Field/]

Clarence and the Wisconsin State Guard Reserve

It was pure chance that I was preparing this post for this week, and Veteran’s Day is Saturday. Brilliant. To all the veterans in my family, past and present, thank you for your service.

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Clarence with his State Guard Reserve unit. (He is in the back row, straight back from the gentleman sitting on the far right in front.) His designation was provided by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison.

In 1904 the Wisconsin State Legislature enacted Chapter 434.

“In the event of all or part of the Wisconsin National Guard being called into the service of the United States, the governor is hereby authorized to organize and equip a temporary military force equal in size and organization to that called from the state, provided, that upon the return to the state of the troops called into the service of the United States the temporary military force shall be disbanded.”

Both my grandfather Clarence Fredrick John and his uncle Milton Cain were members of the Wisconsin State Guard (or in Clarence’s case it was the State Guard Reserve). Milton went on to fight in France with the Rainbow Division. My grandfather, on the other hand, never stepped foot in Europe, or Africa for that matter, during this war. He did not turn 21 until October 29, 1919 and the war was over a little more than a week later.

The State Guard was organized after the Wisconsin National Guard went overseas to join in the war effort in July of 1917. The first units of the State Guard that were organized were in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Green Bay. The men recruited were all volunteers who were too old or too young for the draft.

Its first encampment was at Camp Douglas in July of 1918. It was comprised of four regiments of infantry and a State Guard Reserve. In total about 5,500 officers and men.

The Guard was paid an allowance by the state for: armory rent, upkeep of clothing, and the expenses connected with their training. However, the men in the Guard were all volunteers so received no wages or pay. And if you were in the State Guard Reserve, you paid for your own equipment and uniform.

The camp was commanded by BG Charles King, a retired officer of the Wisconsin National Guard. He trained the men as if they were regular army, and their competence  after a few days of intensive training, along with their own drills at home, was impressive. In his report to the adjutant general Gen. King complimented them highly.

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From the family album. Clarence Fredrick John in his State Guard Reserve uniform.

It was understood that joining the State Guard did not exempt the men from the draft. Those who were too young to join at that time would be eligible for active service when they reached the age of 21. The older men could be called up if they ran out of young blood.

The Wisconsin State Guard was needed 3 times during the World War I:
1. Sept. 16-18, 1918 Clark County; to assist in search for draft dodgers.
2. Aug. 20-24, 1919 As guards during the Cudahy riots.
3. Sept. 9-12, 1919 Troops were assembled in the armory at Manitowoc, for use in strike riots at Two Rivers, but they were not used.

The State Guard was incrementally disbanded starting on May 5, 1920, as the National Guard was slowly reactivated in full, a process which was completed in 1921.

Clarence was with the 26th Separate Company of Crandon.5 He sure does look cute in his duds. He apparently liked to say that his ship was turned around at sea because the war was over, so he never got to fight. It makes for a nice story, but I am doubtful that that was the case, as he wouldn’t have had time to be on a ship heading overseas, less than two weeks after he was of age. He might, however, have had his bags all packed and been raring to go.

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Sources:
1.  http://www.b-1-105.us/history/wsg.html.
2. Email from: Horton, Russell <Russell.Horton@dva.state.wi.us.
3. “State Guard to Camp Douglas”, The Farmer-Herald, Oconto Falls, Wis., Friday, June 28, 1918. Page 4 Column 2.
4. “Wisconsin in the World War,” by R. B. Pixley. Milwaukee, The Wisconsin War History Company, 1919. Copyright 1919:S.E. Tate Printing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Google Books digitized. p285
5. “…found a Clarence F. John in the State Guard Reserve microfilm. It appears he with the 26th Separate Company, which seems to be based out of Crandon” — email from Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 
30 West Mifflin Street, Madison, WI 53703.

September 17, 1945 William Shepard to parents

September 17

Dear Dick & Dad:

A short note before I turn in to sleep. No news on the discharge that I havent already told you. I will probably fly tomorrow, I hope so as it means $80.00 to me. Nothing else to do, so I had might as well fly.

If I get back too soon before hunting season I will go right to work for Ma Bell. No use loafing around all the rest of the year. Well I doubt very much if I will be able to come up this year, but next year the story

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will be different.

give Mr & Mrs Forder my regards and tell them that I shall see them next year. Bring back some fish so I can have some real fish to eat. I’ll always remember that lake trout.

Take care of yourselves and Ill see you when you get back or when I get back.

Your son
Bill