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 Author  Topic: Off topic: Sgt. Elmer Easter
Patrick Matthews

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Mar 23, 2015 - 6:05am
Nothing to do with PTs, and only tangentially related to boats at all but I thought youd appreciate this story that came out of small town America.

Ive been researching biographical data on a fellow named Elmer Easter, who was a noted designer of inland river towboats- the powerful boats used to push floats of coal barges that cover an acre of water. But in my research, I was getting a lot of hits that didn't make sense, until I realized there was ANOTHER Elmer Easter in the Pittsburgh area (who knew?). Research can turn up some unexpected leads, but it's a little bitter-sweet looking at the life of this second Elmer Easter.

The town of Perryopolis, PA, with a current population of about 1100, is in coal country near Pittsburgh. Its the sort of place where the local paper carried the wire news of the world, as well as stories out of local schools and churches, and all the latest on local birthday parties and the ladies teas. Heres what the locals reported on THIS Elmer Easter; I think the timeline will be familiar to you:

6 Apr 1931, Daily Courier (Connellsville PA): Elmer Easter wins third place in a bird house building contest sponsored by the Perryopolis Boy Scout troop.

20 Apr 1932, Daily Courier: As a memorial to George Washington on the bi-centennial of his birth, local students planted 1000 trees near Perryopolis. Elmer Easter is listed among the participants.

24 May 1932, Morning Herald (Uniontown, PA): 8th grade commencement is planned at the Perryopolis school auditorium. Elmer Easter is among the graduates.

16 Jan 1935, Daily Courier: Elmer Easter is appointed supply secretary at the Perryopolis Christian Bible School.

24 May 1940, Daily Courier: Elmer Easter was a guest at a surprise birthday party for daughter of Mrs. Judson Smith. On the same page, a photo of British tanks rolling through London.

16 Aug 1940, Daily Courier: Another birthday party in Perryopolis! Quite a crowd was there, including Elmer Easter.
On the front page: LONDON BOMBED IN MIGHTY AIR MOVE TO CRUSH BRITAIN; Estimated 2000 Planes in Skies as Nazis Open Peak Drive on Air Force

24 Apr 1941: New officers appointed at the Perryopolis church Elmer Easter will be an usher. On the front page: US EXTENDS PATROLS [in the N. Atlantic]; BRITAINS FLEE GREECE

18 Mar 1942, Daily Courier: The Missionary Society of the Christian Church had a meeting; among other activities, letters were read from Elmer Easter and Willis Harris, two boys from the church who are in the Army.
On the front page: ALLIES AVENGE LOSSES OF JAVA; United Nations Smashing Sea Victory Bags 23 Jap Ships; and CITY TO HAVE BLACK-OUT TONIGHT

3 Sep 1943, Evening Standard (Uniontown, PA): In a column titled Our Men in Service, we find that Corporal Elmer Easter who is now stationed in the North African theater of operations, wrote a letter home to his mother on her birthday and in it wrote a very appropriate poem. In the poem he spoke of his mother and how he had thought of her and that he would soon be on his way home. The letter was written on his mothers birthday which made things seem so different to all concerned.
On the front page: SECOND FRONT OPENED IN SOUTHERN ITALY; Eighth Army Swarms Across Narrow Strait

9 Oct 1944, Daily Courier: Staff Sergeant Elmer Easter, 23, is killed in action in France, according to word received by his parents, Levi and Mary Easter

2 Aug 1945, Daily Courier: We find out more details about Sgt Easter: Staff Sergeant Elmer Easter, who was killed on July 31, 1944, while enroute to Paris, was a victim of a German bombing raid. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Easter, he was the husband of Mrs. Thelma Rauth Easter The soldier entered the service in January 1942, where he served in the African and Sicilian campaigns and was later appointed as a radio instructor A sister, Sp.Q. 2/c Melissa Easter, is serving in the WAVES.

19 Jan 1949, Daily Courier: The body of Staff Sergeant Elmer Easter, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Easter of Perryopolis, was who was killed in action in France July 31, 1944, was shipped into Connellsville this afternoon

5 Feb 1973, Evening Standard: Mr. and Mrs. Levi Easter celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. They are parents of four children: Mrs. Melissa BloomMary M. Easter Ernest Easter of Honolulu, Hawaii [!!] and the late Elmer Easter, who was killed during World War II. They also have five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Easter, for your son Sergeant Easter.

Patrick Matthews
Matthews Model Marine

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Patrick Matthews

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Mar 23, 2015 - 6:41am
p.s.: The story seems so schmaltzy you might think it's contrived... but I'm not that good a writer... every clipping above was found online in the newspaper archiving service "".

I think the story is probably more typical of America in this period than jaded citizens of today would appreciate.

Patrick Matthews
Matthews Model Marine

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