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

military_pahlvic_canadian

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:

misc_pahlvic_passport1

pahl_irvingc_headshotfromnewspaper

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.

newpspaper_KentuckyNewEra_06_11_1953p9
Kentucky New Era 06/11/1953p9

 

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

79485056 copy

133746094 copy

147467384983692D_1474620927299CDC copy

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 10.35.20 AM
Excerpt from book published about the Czechoslovakian fight.

Untitled 2

Untitled4

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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April 25 [1943] Lois Shepard to in-laws

letter_shepardl_to_shepardwr_1943_04_25_p01

April 25 [1943]

Dear Dick

Well-Bill will be gone to Washington State tomorrow – & Evelyn leaves tomorrow nite so I shall be all alone. And Bill had to check the beds & bedding back in today so we have one daybed for all of us tonite. Nice life —

Bill wants me to stay here as he can get back to see me at times & there is a chance that he will be sent back to Pendleton Field in a month or two. Here is a proposition — Would you like to come out the last of May & stay until things are decided. Then if I decide to come back to Ohio you can help me with the children which would be one h– of a job alone. Bill is still trying for flight training –

letter_shepardl_to_shepardwr_1943_04_25_p02and3

it will be either that or overseas — and you will want to see him before he goes.

I am going to try to get a second hand bed next week to do me. The kids are having a good time with their Easter basket this A.M. And bill hasn’t had a day at home yet. We went to a formal dance at the Officer’s Club last nite & had a very good time. I initiated the skirt & it held its own with all the other formals & I had one Tom Collins a& after one fast rhumba it started its effects but I managed to conrol myself. I only wish Bill could stay for it would be so much fun to go all the places with him. We have got to go a little in spite of this dam army– One day Bill will come home & pack to go somewhere

& then come back & unpack.–It keeps you guessing till you don’t care whether it happens or not.

Well Sue must have her bath so please write & let me know if you will come or not. Bill wants you to & he wants me to stay for a couple of months at least. I might have gotten ready & come back with Evelyn but we now know what might happen.

Love
Lois.

Operation Torch…

hammraymondSgt. Raymond Fred Hamm was the eldest child of Emma Paugel and Fred Hamm. He was born on June 9, 1919 in Minnesota. According to his obituary he was baptized in Phelps, Vilas County, Wisconsin and confirmed in Wittenberg, Shawano County, Wisconsin on September 30, 1934. His early years were spent growing up and attending school in the Wittenberg area. He moved to Vergas, which is in Otter Tail County, Minnesota where in 1940 he is living in the same county with his father and brother Arthur all working as farm laborers. Sometime around late 1940 all the boys had moved to the area of Green Bay / Door County. Soon afterwards both Raymond and Arthur joined the Army, although Raymond waited until September of 1942.

After Raymond’s enlistment he was immediately sent to North Carolina for seven weeks of boot camp training, of which two weeks were dedicated to intense rifle practice.

After he arrived at the barracks he would have been fed then hustled off to ‘sick bay’ where all the men were inspected and injected, then ejected out the door to pick-up their paperwork, dog tags, IDs etc. They also had the pleasure of a free haircut, clothes, rifles and other necessary gear.

bootcamp_5
Raw recruits arriving in North Carolina on the trains.1

When Raymond’s boot camp training was over he was sent to Virginia. This happened, probably, sometime in late October. The transfer to Virginia was most likely because he and his fellow soldiers were getting ready to head to North Africa in November of 1942. Operation Torch was preparing for action.

Operation Torch was the British planned invasion of French North Africa, with the help of their new American Allies. The end goal was to clear out the Axis powers from the area so that the Allied powers would have better control over the Mediterranean Sea to prepare for a 1943 invasion of Southern Europe.2

The trip by sea took a little over 2 weeks. As I can find no information on Raymond’s assignment in the Army he could have been on any one of the three task forces seen on the map below, as American forces were on all three, according to the Wikipedia summary.

landings

Whatever battles Raymond was involved in during Operation Torch, he survived to move with the Army to Tunisia, the next big event.3 According to the map below on the 6th of April in the southern part of Tunisia there was a battle that could possibly be the one Raymond was involved in where he was injured. (Unfortunately, at this time, I can find no record of Raymond’s service. None.)

Tunisia30Janto10Apr1943

If you have ever seen the movie Patton, the Tunisia Campaign is one of the major battles that they include in the story.

Raymond was seriously wounded April 6, and the next day, Wednesday, April 7, 1943 he died at the age of 24. He never married or had any children who can tell his story, as short as it is.

hammraymondmemorial

Because of the vast amounts of information on stories like this one, regarding Raymond’s North African service, I find it very difficult to condense them into a readable post, so be sure to check out the sources I have noted if you are curious about both the Tunisia Campaign and Operation Torch.

UPDATE: I have added a picture to Raymond’s brother Arthur’s post. I forgot I had it, so be sure to check it out.

 

Sources:
1. http://ww2gyrene.org/boot_camp.htm
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Torch
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisia_Campaign