Monday, February 28, 2011

On this day in 1888....

On this day in 1888, Thomas Roberts Riley married Elizabeth Ann Maybury.  I am sure they met in Birmingham, England but not sure how they met.  He came to the US in May of 1887 to work in the steel industry in Pennsylvania. I haven't found her immigration record yet.

They were married in Pittsburgh.  They were both 29 years old.  

It appears that this must have been a Justice of the Peace.  The address was in a residential neighborhood and not a church.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I added a "Print this Page" button

In case you would like to print a specific blog post, I have added a "Print This Page" button that will appear at the bottom of every post.  It will allow you to print the post without the "stuff" on the top and side of the blog.  It prints the comments section at the bottom, I haven't figured out how to keep this part from printing yet

Click on the title of the post you want to print, it will open and look for the print button at the bottom.

Sunday Special: EA Brueggeman's First Church: Brandywine, WV

After graduating from Concordia Seminary, EA Brueggeman's first call was in Brandywine, West Virginia at  Propst Lutheran Church.  The building was constructed around 1887 and was in fairly regular use until its abandonment in 1920.  It was the first Lutheran Church in West Virginia and the oldest church  in Pendleton County, WV.  It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here are details from the application:
The congregation that was t o be known as the Propst Lutheran Church was in
existence by 1760. Although this congregation held church services at this time,
it is not known if a church building actually existed or when the firs t one was
constructed. It i s known that the first building was located a bit to the southeast of

the present church on the perpetually deeded 34 acre lot . Constructed
of round logs with clay chinking, it had a wooden chimney with a clay lining to
prevent the logs from catching fire .

The second church building was of hewn-log construction . This church was
located in what is today a corner of the old cemetery. This building served
the community as a place of worship until about 1885, when it was dismantled,
transported and reassembled on a new site and used as a dwelling for many years
before being converted to a barn.

The third ( present) building was constructed around 1887 and was in fairly
regular use until its abandonment in 1920. The church stood vacant and deteriorated 

greatly until 1968 when restoration work was begun. By 1974 the church and
adjoining land (the 3% acres of the original grant)  had been improved, and the
site was once again of service t o the community as a park or community center .

As with the exterior, the interior of the church i s very pla i n and simple.
A raised , goblet-shaped pulpit is attached to the  front wall, access to which is
by way of five steps leading up it side. A small, plain  stands takes  the place
of an altar and is located in front of the pulpit . The pews are original and
were handmade. In one corner near the pulpit is located the first organ used in
the church.

EAB must have arrived as the new church building was completed.  My records show he was installed on September 4, 1887.  Notice the two doors in the picture, one for men and one for women, how times have changed.  We have letters from EAB to his bride-to-be while he was in West Virginia.  I'll be sharing these on the blog soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Remembering Norm Riley Part IV

We left Norm's story at Part III at the battlefield hospital....

This was my first experience with sodium pentathol, used to put me under.  This and penicillin were new drugs that only combat causalities had access to.  Anyhow, when I woke up the next day I was swathed in plaster but fingers were sticking out the end.  The X-rays that I saw the next hospital showed a complete break with bone and shell fragments in between.  The wound on my head was superficial but to this day I do have a small scar over my ear.

On Thanksgiving Day we were moved to an old hotel requisitioned as a hospital.  Before leaving I had Thanksgiving dinner and when I got to the new hospital I had another dinner....

....I was at this hospital through Christmas.  On Christmas Day, Brian Aherne and Katherine Cornell gave a performance of "Barretts of Wimpole Street".  Also at this hospital packages arrived put together by my family including a nice watch.  The packages had been shipped before I was wounded (editor's note:  The packages were packaged and shipped after they heard he was wounded)   I didn't know they knew of my being wounded until arriving back in the States.  They knew but I didn't know that they knew.  After Christmas I was moved by train to a hospital outside of Marseilles.  From here I sneaked into town where the picture was taken that's in the photo album (editor's note:  I don't have this picture but will share it if one of his kids has it).
Brian Aherne and Katherine Cornell

I also engaged in the illegal money trade.  US currency wasn't given until departure dates were set.  I got those that had some to let me exchange for Francs.  I gave them 100 Francs and kept 50 for myself.  The official exchange rate was 50 Francs to the Dollar.

Also in Marseilles I watched Laurel and Hardy parading around talking French and Fred Astaire singing "Shorty George" being interpreted as "Petite George".

The train boxcars in France were labeled:  40 Men or 8 Horses.  The commodes used by the towns people of Marseilles were pits you stooped over.

Because I was obviously out of place with my heavily bandaged arm, I was stopped by the OSS (the forerunner of the CIA).  However they didn't bother me after initial questioning.

Accommodations on the hospital ship  back the way I had come were much superior to the inbound trip.  1) Fresh water to shower with instead of salt water.  2) An individual bed instead of being piled 5 deep. 3) 3 meals of great food without standing in a long line.  4)A different movie every night.

We got to New York on January 26, 1945.  Treatment at Halloran Hospital on Staten Island was fantastic.  Returning wounded soldiers from a war still raging..I called home and for the first time I was able to discuss what had happened more than two months earlier.  Dad hopped on Greyhound bus and came to see me and we walked around Manhattan for two hours before he got back on his bus and I went back to Halloran.

As a mother of son's, I can understand Sid's need to get to see Norm in the flesh.  It must have been quite a hardship for Sid to drop everything and spend the money and the time away from work to get to Norm.  The whole family needed the first hand report. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Family Picture Friday: EA Brueggemann and Charlie Long

In Selma's pictures, there was this picture of her Dad with her Uncle Charlie Long.  He was the youngest brother of her mother, Emma.  I don't know much about him and it's on my things-to-do list.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marie Anna Hermscheips Brueggemann

Maria died on February 20, 1889.  She was the second wife of Clamor V.L. Brueggemann.  He lived for 20 more years.    She was buried on this day.

We are somewhat uncertain about her age.  A family tree that was done in 1922 had her birth year as 1828.  The City of Cleveland Death Certificate listed the year as 1828 but the ship's record when she immigrated list it at 1819 but I think that was an error on the part of the clerk aboard the ship, maybe he meant 1829.  The 1870 census lists the year as 1824.   The death certificate lists her cause of death as Heart disease.

They are buried together in the Lutheran Cemetery in Cleveland.

Thanks to a volunteer of for these pictures.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Maybury Sisters after their Parents Died

I have discussed the Maybury Sisters, Carrie and Lizzie (Lizzie married Thomas Roberts Riley). and how they had to support their younger siblings after their parents died.    On the 1881 English Census, both of their occupations were listed as Pencil Makers.  Lizzie was 22 and Carrie was 25.

Birmingham was a very industrial city.  It was center of Pen and Pencil Making in England.

 We don't know what their jobs were exactly.  I have researched and found that women held one of two jobs in the pencil factories.

This picture is where the women would put the two halves of the wood around the lead.  This was a job done by women.

The other job they might have done, was to box the finished product, as pictured below.

The pencil making occupation was not a cottage industry, it was a factory job.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On this Day....

On this day in 1937, Otto Charles Birth, Jr. died  in Cleveland, Ohio
(son of Julia Louise Barlag, Anna Marie Ilsebein Brueggeman, Clamor V.L. Brueggemann)
From the Cleveland Necrology File/Cleveland Public Library:

Id#: 0026559
Name: Birth, Otto C., jr.
Date: Feb 22 1937
Source: Source unknown;  Cleveland Necrology File, Reel #007.
Notes: Birth: Otto C., jr., 4405 W. 48 st., beloved husband of Gladys, father of Charles Otto, son of Otto, sr., and Minnie, brother of George, Friday. Services at late residence, Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 1:30 p. m

On this day in 1967, Wayne Bischoff was born (Son of Eric Bischoff, Luther Bischoff, Emma Brueggeman, Ernst August  Brueggeman, Clamor V.L. Brueggemann)

Monday, February 21, 2011

The only connection I have for Presidents' Day

I guess our family doesn't have a lot of connections with Presidents but I do have one story for you. Charles Long (aka Carl Lange) settled in Springfield, IL.  His daughter, Emma, married Ernest August Brueggemann.

I guess you know the most famous resident of Springfield and they are both buried in the same cemetery.  Ernest left us some notes about their connection:

C H.'s business consisted of a bakery, grocery, and seed. Abe Lincoln's office was accross the street, and he 
bought his groceries and bread from C. H. Long. The latter, when relating his association with Abe never forgot 
to add: Abe always asked for stale-bread. He thought it to be healthier.

C. H. had a good comma
nd of fluent English, but with a brogue. He called Lincoln "Abe" and the latter called 
him "Charley", and they would swap jokes. C. H. Laughed until tears flowed telling the story about Murphy.
When C. H. had his back turned to customers, Murphy filled his pockets with eggs from the egg basket. Then C.
H. hastened to the front and gleefully addressed him: "Hello Murphy, you are looking fine", and patted him on his

shoulder and roughly struck his pockets. Murphy said nothing but walked out as if he were sick.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Special: Notes on Rev. Harry George Bernard Reinhardt

Harry was the son of Sophie (Brueggemann) and  Rev JW Reinhardt.  Thanks to David Reinhardt's records for the following information:

(August 10, 1924) at Hope Lutheran Church,
(Hickory and Adams Street in the Carrollton area) New Orleans, Louisiana by Pastor E. W. Kuss. The congregation was dissolved several years after the death of Pastor Reinhardt but we have been successful in locating a portion of the church records. He also served Messiah Lutheran Church in New Orleans (Octavia and Camp Streets). The church location is now owned by a Tulane University professor. Pastor would conduct 8:00 o'clock service at Hope and then open Sunday School session at 9:00. About 9:15 he would leave on the run and drive the twenty minute trip to Messiah for services. Mrs. Reinhardt and the boys would stay and attend Sunday
School at Hope Lutheran.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Letter from Ray to Norm about his service

Dad and I were talking about Norm's story the other day.  Mom remembered she had a copy of a letter Ray wrote Norm about this and with his permission, I will share it with you today:

March 19, 1997

Dear Norm:
The other day while traveling and listening to Public Radio, I came across an interview of the author of the enclosed book.  (Editors Note: The Short Life of the ASTP by Francis Inglehar)....

....I am not sure if you were involved in the same field of battle.  The timing and Vosque Mountains seem to connect..  In any case reading the book brought back a flood of feelings and memories, an appreciation for you and the others who went through hell for us.

Nori and I discussed at some length (as best as we could imagine) what it must have been like for a barely 19 year old who had limited life's experiences, never held a gun, never traveled more than a days drive, never had been away from family to be faced with and be a part of that war.

For one who has never missed a meal, had a serious health problem, had empty pockets or threatened in any serious way, it may be hard to imagine the real effects of your experiences on you.

No day in my pre-adult life holds more memories than the day we found out you were wounded.  A very small, kindly man came to our door with a telegram that contained the news.  My reaction, my brothers, my classmates and most of all Dad's are clear to me.  I can still picture Dad sitting a small wooden chair in the middle of the living room staring at the telegram for what seemed like hours.  He was also and helpless to know more or to anything for his injured son.  This was the only time I ever saw Dad in a position of helplessness.  He showed the depth of his love and from that moment,I was always sure that I could count on him to be there for me if needed.

This was truly a family crisis......
....Love, Ray

Friday, February 18, 2011

Family Picture Friday: Sue, Sid, Ezra, and Tom Riley

I have reached out to some of the Riley Second Cousins (my second cousins, the kids of Ray's cousins) and some are now reading the blog.  I thought they would like this picture of the Riley siblings (missing from the picture is their sister, Grace).  I think this was taken around the time of Lizzie's Funeral in Akron, Ohio.

On this Day in 1919

Just over one year after his parent's wedding, Robert Edwin Brueggeman was born to Gus and Dora in Akron, Ohio.
It's funny the things you remember from when you were a kid.  I remember him asking if I wanted to see his pride and joy... and  he pulled this out..

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Remembering Norm Riley Part III

Today I am continuing Norm's WWII story in his own words  We have his daughter Lisa to thank for making sure these memories were recorded.

From November 1st 1944 to November 19th 1944 I had nineteen days of WWII combat. After 60 years many memories of that nineteen days are still with me.  The first day when we took over from the 45th Infantry Division we were bequeathed a dugout shelter.  It was nice except that it leaked.  It rained or snowed almost all of the nineteen days.  Nearby was a large unexploded shell, ours or theirs, I don't know.  A dead German was nearby.  On him was a picture of him and his lady.

The 1944 Presidential election was held during my nineteen days of combat  We learned of FDR's victory via The Stars and Stripes several days later.

During all of the nineteen days the sound of gunfire or shell explosions was constant.  We got to hear their machine guns zzzth versus ours that went putt, putt, putt.  It was then I saw how slowly sound travels.  We overlooked an area being shelled.  We saw the explosion and later heard it.  Being a defensive machine gunner, I didn't have to go on scouting missions on enemy lines.  However, defensive positions were targeted often.  I remember seeing a direct hit on one of our rifleman's head.  I remember laying flat in the foxhole with machine gun bullets ripping through the branches above me.  I remember listening to shells roaring overhead.  We learned quickly that if you heard it, it missed you.  The night before our assault in the opening through the Vosges Mountains the air was pierced with a wounded soldier somewhere screaming for help, but we couldn't give away our position....

...The day of the important assault we ascended a slope nearly straight up.  This approach was selected on the theory that it would be least heavily defended.  When I got to the top our captain, very distraught, said get the machine gun set up.  On the top there were dead of our company and dead Germans.  I dug my foxhole and we dug a machine gun position.  We could hear German chatter below us.  The occupation of this hill took place on November 15th.  From then on we were continually a target of mortar and artillery and two of us were on the machine gun at all times.

So on Sunday afternoon, November 19th I was in my foxhole, standing up reading a letter from home when a mortar shell hit a tree next to my foxhole and fragments came from the ground up under my left arm and steel helmet.  The helmet was knocked off my head with a hole in it.  I couldn't move my arm.  I called over to Shuman, the other man not on the gun at this time, if he was wounded.  He said no and I told him I was.  He led me back to Company Headquarters which was located between two large mounds, the safest spot, of course.  I remember thinking as the shelling went on; Maybe I can get out of this.  This is when Lt. Landus remarked "I hope you never come back, isn't this hell, Riley?"  When the shelling stopped the company jeep driver took me back to the aid station where I had the first coffee I had ever drunk and a splint put on my arm.  Later a truck moved me and other wounded men back to an operating tent hospital (probably the forerunner of MASH).  I was gurneyed back to an operating room where a doctor whose name I will never know, saved my arm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sid's Retirement Hobby

My grandfather, Sid Riley, would draw designs on scraps of paper with colored pencils.  It was all done free hand and with out any tools.  They always reminded us of free handed Spyrographs.  He would draw them on envelopes, Christmas cards, bills, anything he had a hand.  Tom has one that is written on a back of a thank you note from one of the grandchildren.

I thought you'd might like to some of his handy work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On this Day in 1900

Marie Catharine Dorothea Brueggeman (daughter of Johann Friederich/Fred, granddaughter of Clamor V.L. Brueggemann) married Adolph Fortlage on Feb 15, 1900 in Trinity Lutheran in Cleveland. Her father, Fred, was Clamor's son from his first wife. His occupation at the time of the marriage was a Tin Smith.  Her father was also a Tin Smith.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Mandy!

Today is the 20th Birthday of my niece, Amanda Lee Raymer.  She is the eldest daughter of my sister, Judy and her husband. She is a Sophomore at the College of Charleston.  

Happy 30th Anniversary Liz and Frank Marshall

Elizabeth Ann Riley  (aka Liz) married Frank Marshall in 1981.  She is the youngest daughter of Mark and Minnalu Riley.  Liz kindly supplied the wedding picture for us.

This picture also from the wedding (Left to Right:  Mark Riley, Lydia Brueggeman Darkow, Minnalu Riley and Mark Riley -brother of the Bride), stylin' in their Red Velvet.

On this Day in 1918..

Ernst August Brueggemann Jr and Dora Loose married on this day in 1918. 
Gus and Dora, a couple of years after the wedding
Gus sure had the Brueggeman hair!

From Selma's Diary:
August was married by Rev. Lothmann, Lousie and O.K. (Editor Note: Louise was eldest sister and OK was her future husband, Otto Krausman) were best man and maid of honor, Augusta Kocha and Edwin also stood up with Dora and August.  We had a wedding supper at Looses' house and was very good including chicken and everything else that was good.  Then in the evening Dora and August went to Cleveland where they spent their wedding moon......It rained and we had to carry Emma's children home.  Emma was also at the wedding, all our family were there except Walter and he could not come as he was at Concordia College....We all had to cry a little bit when August left, but it was no wonder to think of losing such a good brother, he certainly was always good to his folks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Special: Revs

I received a CD this week from David Reinhardt that is chock full of info.  It is a PDF so I can search through it.
I search "Rev" and look how many names came up, all Revs.

Ernst August Brueggeman
Martin Brueggeman
Anna Louise Brueggeman married August Huesemann, son of a Lutheran Pastor
Sophie Brueggeman married Rev John Reinhardt

Harry Reinhardt, son of Sophie and John Reinhardt
Victor Brugge, son of Martin Brueggeman
Anna Benhoff (daughter of Louise Marie Brueggemann) married Rev. William Meyer
Emma Huesemann (daughter of Anna Brueggemann) married Rev. Herman Reinhardt
Clara Huesemann (daughter of Anna Brueggemann) married Rev. Walter Lussky (son of a pastor)
Elsie Huesemann (daughter of Anna Brueggemann) married Rev. Frederick Schumacher (son of a pastor)

Frederick Schumacher, son of Elsie Huesemann
Paul Schumacher, son of Elsie Huesemann
Eugene Brueggeman, son of Rudolf Brueggeman
Clifford Brueggeman, son of Rudolf Brueggeman
David Riley, son of Selma Brueggeman
Harold Reinhardt, son of Harry Reinhardt
William Reinhardt, son of Harry Reinhardt
Robert Reinhardt, son of Harry Reinhardt
Ronald Reinhardt, son of Alexander Reinhardt
Cornelia Keske (daughter of Louise Barlag, grand daughter of Anna Marie Brueggemann) married  Rev. Fred Rockett
Elsa Schumacher (daughter of Elsie Hueseman) married Rev. Martin Marty
Rita Zehnder ( daughter of Cornelia Brueggeman, granddaughter of Louis Brueggemann) married Rev. William Naatz
Barbara Reinhardt (daughter of Alexander Reinhardt, granddaughter of Sophie Brueggemann) married Rev. Bernhard Kurzweg)
Ellen Brugge (daughter of Victor Brugge, granddaughter of Martin Brueggemann) married Rev. Walter Harms

George Zehnder ( son of Louise Keske,  grandson of Louise Barlag, great grandson of Anna Marie Brueggemann)
Peter Marty (son of Elsa Schumacher, grandson of Elsie Huesman)
David Glawe (son of Marie Krausman, grandson of Louise Brueggeman)
Frederick Reinhardt (son of David Reinhardt, grandson Alexander Reinhardt,  great grandson of Sophie Brueggemann)

Isn't interesting, kind of like a family business.


I have reached a milestone this week.  I have made over 100 postings to this blog, at least one every day since November 18th.  If no one other than my Dad has read it, it's been worth it.

I have reached out an made contacts with many different family members that I didn't know.  It's been great virtually meeting them and hope to add more.  The daily readership has grown slowly.  I want to remind you that you can subscribe which means you will get an email daily with the previous day's posting(s).    The form is on the right hand column.  It looks like this. Be sure to click on the confirmation email that you get

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

On this day in 1952....

Mark A. Riley and Minnalu Brewer were married on this day in 1952.  They had three children; Mark, Debra (Debbie), and Elizabeth (Liz). Thanks to Liz for this 1951 picture of Mark and Minnalu.

Happy Birthday Patricia Krausman LaFrance

Today is Patsy's birthday.  She is third daughter of Russell and Mary Krausman.  Thanks to her brother-in-law (David Leigh) for the recent picture with her sister Donna.
Patsy and Donna

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Picture Friday: Victor Brugge and friend

This was in Selma's pictures.  She talked in her diary from this time about Victor making a trip to Ohio to preach.  This picture was labeled"August 30, 1918 Victor and Monroe Miertsluin.

On this day (maybe) in 1934....

My records differ with David Reinhardt here ( I show the 11th and he shows the 18th)..
Elmer Conrad Brueggeman married Sadye K. Dulian   He was the son of Ernst and Emma Brueggeman and was a beloved brother.

On this day in 1936...

Karl Long Brueggeman Jr was born on this day in 1936 to Karl L Brueggeman and Ruth Wild.

Happy Birthday Sue Brueggeman Usner Miller

 Today is the birthday of SUE KAROLYN BRUEGGEMAN USNER MILLER.  She is the daughter of Elmer and Sayde Brueggeman.  She's a newlywed, having married Robert Miller on November 6, 2010.  Here is a picture of Sue's Parents.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family Artifacts

As time passes, family artifacts get spread more thinly and I wonder if the details sometimes get lost.  Part of the goal of this blog is to gather pictures and stories in one place so as to be available to all interested parties.  Rev. Eugene Brueggeman said in an email to me that these things "belong" to the whole family.  He has a bed that was made by Clamor Ludwig Brueggeman and a chair that he didn't make but was in his home. Eugene was even born in this bed, a bed made by his great-grandfather.

I would encourage those who have "family treasures" to photograph them and tell their stories to your family, even leaving a note inside or on the bottom.  Of course, I'd love it if you shared them with me even if not directly related.  Everything has a story that may be interesting to others.

Ray has a tobacco jar that was Thomas Roberts Riley. It's not a valuable piece by any means but it is the only thing he has of his grandfather's.  When I was reviewing some pictures with Nori, she noticed it in this one.  How nice it is to have this item but also have it in a picture with him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On this day in 1891....

On this day in 1891, Emma Lizette Brueggeman was born in Springfield, Illinois.  Her father, Ernst, had a church at the time in Ireton, Iowa but she was born in Springfield, where her mother was from.  According to the records from St John Church, she was born in Springfield to receive proper medical attention.  It must have been quite a trip from Ireton to Springfield, over 550 miles in the middle of the winter.

I can only speculate as to why they were worried.  Their first born, was Louise and a twin who died at birth.  Maybe Emma was worried. 

Remember, you can click on this to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ASTP and the 100th Division

As mentioned in Norm's recollections, he was a member of the !00th Division, 399th Infantry Regiment, Company A:

From the Website on the 100th Division

Greeting Center for the new member of the 100th, Spring 1944
The 100th was thus "backfilled" with thousands of replacements from a variety of sources. Air crews and other personnel from the Air Corps filled the ranks, as did soldiers from antiaircraft units and service support outfits. Ironically, the largest single source of replacements for the men who shipped out to join other units already in combat was the ASTP, which was broken up in early 1944; the Army needed riflemen more than it needed Hungarian radio intercept operators or chemical engineers. That they were especially bright (the ASTP required a 115 general technical score for admission; Officer Candidate School required a 110!) was an added bonus in the bargain for all concerned. The challenges of the modern battlefield required using every possible advantage.
Grenade Training for the 100th

Additional  roadmarches toughened the new infantry physically and mentally while bonding
the new men with their veteran buddies
 Thus, the 100th Infantry Division embarked on a "Supplemental Training Period" designed to assimilate the new arrivals, while building on the experience already gained by the vast majority of the Division's soldiers since late 1942. The chain of command instituted an especially vigorous physical regimen as well, not only to toughen the ASTP men, fresh from college campuses around America, but to help psychologically weld them together with the "veterans" who were already present. A strong intramural athletic program only added to this effect.

Throughout the Division's tenure at Fort Bragg, rumors abounded regarding the Division's ultimate role in the war. The temporary issue of camouflage utility uniforms led some to believe that the Division was bound for the Pacific; ranger training made some believe the outfit was headed for Norway. Some hopeful few believed the emphasis placed on physical conditioning and drill -- actually a coherent attempt to build discipline and cohesion -- indicated that the 100th was really only a "show division." This latter rumor was reinforced by numerous visits by dignitaries such as the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and dozens of generals, senior businessmen, and the like. The participation by a select provisional battalion of the Division's smartest marchers in the Fifth War Loan Drive in New York City did little to allay this rumor of nothing but stateside soldiering in the 100th's future.

Nothing could have been more untrue. On 10 August 1944, the Division was alerted for deployment to the European Theater of Operations. The words of the Story of the Century say it best,
To the accompaniment of martial strains from the 100th Division van, first elements of the Century, carrying full field packs and horseshoe rolls, boarded the long line of waiting Pullmans and flopped onto prearranged seats. For several moments the inspiring tunes, which had paced our steps on uncounted reviews across the drill fields of Bragg and Jackson were drowned in the cacophony of grunts and curses as we shifted duffel bags in an effort to make ourselves comfortable. Then, noses and foreheads pressed to windows, we watched Fort Bragg hide behind a curve in the railroad.

By 30 September, the Division had closed on Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, where preparations were made for embarkation in New York. Final passes were granted, essential classes were taught, and the staff and chain of command made last-minute plans and adjustments. On 5 October, the Division loaded aboard the George Washington, George Gordon, McAndrews, and Mooremac Moon. The convoy, which also included the entire 103d Infantry Division and the advance party of the 14th Armored Division, set sail the next morning, bound for Marseilles -- and combat.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Remembering Norm Part Two

I am continuing Norm's war story:

On October 5th evening, we were loaded on our ship of demarcation.  The next morning, my nineteenth birthday, while we were asleep, we were off to where we didn't know.

It turned out to be Marseilles France. What I remember most about this were the two times I got sea sick and the passage through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea.  The Mediterranean Sea was one of the two times I was sea sick.

We landed in Marseilles October 20th, 1944, which had been recently liberated.  We marched for ten miles through the outskirts of the city to a bivouac area.  That night was the first of many cold rainy times to come.  After nine days, including a four-hour pass to the city, the divisio headed for the front in open trucks stopping overnight in Valence and Dijion.  

On the night of October 31st arriving behind our front line, we heard artillery for the first time.  it was our artillery, but we didn't know that.  The next morning, November 1st, we relieved the 179th Infantry of the 45th Division.  We met the veterans of infantry combat; the beaten up dog faces that we were to become.

The position was astride the small village of LaSalle France in the Vosges Mountains.  On November 3rd we marched into the town of St Remy where we slept in basements while the town was being shelled, causing casualties.  At dawn we moved to a ground facing the enemy.  I had my first experience in sweating out being shelled by 88's.  The 88 was the German all purpose Artillery and Anti-Aircraft Weapon.  They produced a terrifying whistling sound, while cowering in a just dug foxhole.  On November 6th the company launched it's first attack taking the objection which was two small woods.  It was here I learned a lot of the trouble comes when you have won the position.  I lay prone as I could get with enemy machine gun rounds whistling over me.  Another company relieved us the next day
German 88 capture Sarrebourge France November 1944
On November 10th with snow covering the ground, our company attacked a high hill in the Baccarat Woods.  Again, after taking the hill the position was heavily shelled.  On  Novembe 13th we spent the night on little shelves hacked out of the side of the cliff.  The next day was the operation that earned our battalion the Presidential Unit Citation.  The Seventh Army to this point had been stopped cold the German winter defensive line in the Vosges Mountains.  So on the morning of November 14th a skirmish line was formed at the base of the hill nearly straight up in places.  When the tops of the hill's knobs were reached terrible fighting occurred.  These casualties were incurred by our riflemen.  I was a machine gunner so I was lugging up the machine gun behind the action.

The gateway through the Vosges Mountains had been won.  Our machine gun was set up defensively to protect against enemy attempts to retake the hill.  From the time the hill was taken until I was wounded, November 19th, the shelling was continuous.  It was during a respite I was standing in my foxhole reading a letter from home when the mortar shelling resumed.  I was hit by a ground burst with fragments coming up under my left arm and helmet.  The helmet had a hole blown in it.  I only had a scratch above my ear but my arm was shattered, I thought.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Special: Another Lutheran Pastor

Rev. Eugene Brueggeman is the son of Rudolph  and grandson of Louis.  Ray remembers him when he was working with Kent State students.  Rev. Eugene currently lives in Colorado and is with Trinity Lutheran in Boulder. He is the Visitation Pastor

From their web site:

Pastor Gene's calling is to serve Trinity in its program of senior ministries, with special 
emphasis on visitation of those who are unable to worship regularly with the 
congregation. Pastor Gene began this ministry in January, 2006 on a part-time basis, 
having retired from full-time pastoral ministry in 1991. He graduated from Concordia 
Seminary, St. Louis, in 1950, and served as both parish pastor and campus pastor until 
retirement, when he served part-time at a congregation in Fort Collins. Pastor Gene 
has a Masters in Divinity degree in a combined program from Northwestern University 
and Garrett Seminary.

Lorraine and Pastor Gene were married in 1951 and have five children, three in 
California, one in Forest Park, Ill., and one in Trinity (Priscilla Murphy), and two Murphy 


Kent, Ohi0

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Remembering Norm

Since Norm and his family lived in California, I didn't know him.  With his daughter Lisa's help, they wrote a short biography several years ago.  I will excerpt it here over the next several days.  What I remember most was hearing about his experience in World War II and getting injured.  I heard about it from Dad's perspective on the home front.

Here it is from Norm's perspective:

The story of my military experience starts with an examination given country-wide to seventeen year olds to determine their qualifications to enlist for the opportunity for two years of college.  This program came to be known as the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP).  I learned later that Henry Kissinger was in this program, but he somehow escaped combat.

I was soon notified that I had qualified and should report for a physical and swearing in until further instructions.  When these instructions came I was told to report to the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY where I would be a student until passing the age of eighteen.  Eighteen at time was legal Army age.  I spent thirteen weeks there after which I had fifteen days at home.  My status at UK was that of a cadet with room and board and schooling provided.  At the end of this term I spent fifteen days at home before reporting to Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio for active duty.  There I became Private Norman Riley; allowed to wear the military uniform and use free mailing privileges, receiving a salary of $50 a month.

The contractual arrangement in the ASTP program was to receive thirteen weeks of basic infantry training and then back to college to complete the two years.  From Fort Hayes I was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for the basic training.  The ASTP attracted many Jewish boys  In Christmas Day the Jewish boys in our basic training company volunteered to do the KP chores. It was here that I saw for myself Jim Crowism with water fountains marked for coloreds.  While at Fort Benning, they just reneged on the contract by discontinuing ASTP.

I was not good at soldering; just barely qualified on the M-1 rifle, as well as just getting by on the other army tasks.  I did though qualify well on the machine gun.  Which is why I was machine gunner when basic training ended.

From Fort Benning I went to Fort Bragg North Carolina to join the 100th Infantry Division where I was assigned to the 399th Infantry Regiment Company A Weapons Platoon Machine Gun Squad.  While at Fort Bragg with the 100th Division until the division was shipped to France.  While there I got two ten-day furloughs home (What a delight wartime furloughs were).

After D-Day June 6, 1944, the demand for infantry replacements was huge and many in our division were scheduled to go as replacements.  I was on the original list only to be pulled off at the last minute.  I've always suspected the Lt. Landis pulled me off the list.  I remained there with the 100th Division.  In late September 1944, the 100th Division moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.  In a few days there, we were given a twelve hour pass to New York City.  This was on  October 2nd, my Dad's birthday, I called home and wished him a happy birthday and let him know I was going overseas.

We recently found out that Harold Bischoff was also part of the ASTP program.  We will pick up later after Norm gets to France.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sad news....

Norman O. Riley died yesterday (2/3) in San Jose, California.
He was born 6 Oct 1925 in Akron.  He was the eldest son of Sidney Riley and Selma Brueggeman.
He and his wife, Louise, were married 62 years and have seven children and many grandchildren.

It is ironic that today's Friday Family Picture is of Norman O. Riley, the uncle that Norm was named after.  I wrote that post over a week ago to be posted today.

As more details become available, I will post.

Keep Louise, the kids, and Norm's brothers in your prayers.

Family Picture Friday

I received this wonderful picture from Theda Hill.  It is Norman Riley (the youngest son of Thomas and Lizzie Riley) who died at age 18.  Every time I look at this, I cannot help but smile.  The writing is from the back of the picture.  I have never seen a picture like this before.