Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

World War I and Our Pierce Cousin

Vern Joslin, Private WWI

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Veteran's Day was November 11. It was once called Armistice Day, a commemoration of the day World War I ended with Germany's surrender. I was very please to receive the following email and pictures telling the story of a Pierce cousin that fought in The Great War. This information comes from Richard Carlton.

Thank you Richard.

Let's begin with a Relationship Chart so you can see how we are related to this Pierce "Dough Boy". As a side note, you'll read that he was in the Balloon Corps. During WWI the army would put people up in balloons to see where the enemy troops were located. He may have spent his time in the war dangling from a balloon making observations or he could have worked the winches that raised and lowered the balloons (the winch operaters made good yatchman because of their speed with the winches).

You see then that Vern Joslin was the son of our Great Great Great Aunt Jennie Pierce Joslin.

And Now Richard's Email:

Because he died so young, Vern is almost unknown.

Vern was taken ill with pleurisy in Jan 1916 and missed so much school that he could not graduate with his class that year. He graduated in May 1917 from Cassville (MO) high school (per Jenny Joslin's Journal and an article in Cassville Republican newspaper).

According to Jenny's Journal - in Oct. 1917 he went to Joplin, MO and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His Soldier's Record says that he was actually inducted, subsequently, at the Jefferson Barracks Army Training Camp, near St. Louis, MO. He served in France as a private in Company A of the 3rd Balloon Squadron. It was organized on 11-04-1917 at Fort Omaha, NE. They were shipped overseas about the end of Jan 1918, first to England, and then to France in mid-Feb, and were renamed the 5th Balloon Company. Verne was still in France in April 1919, and according to an article in the "Cassville Republican" newspaper, he arrived back home on May 16, 1919. His Soldier's Record indicates he served from 1-31-1918 to 5-03-1919 and was honorably discharged.

After the war, Vern entered the University of Cincinnati in Sept, 1919 (according to the Cassville Republican) to study Mechanical Engineering. The family album has a several photos taken at UC, including one of a fire at UC Baldwin Hall that occurred in Jan 1920.

In Aug. 1920 Vern came home (to Rolla) from Cincinnati, and in Sept. entered the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla to continue his education in Mechanical Engineering. He finished in May, 1922, but was graduated with the Class of 1923.

Family lore was that the family moved to Rolla after the creamery burned down in Cassville. But I have found no reference in the Barry County GenWeb site of such an event, nor is it mentioned in Jenny Joslin's Journal. What I've found instead, is that George sold the business to a Mr. VanHorn, and according the the Cassville Republican (Nov 1919) the new proprietor reported that business was good. It also related that George was removing to Rolla, with DeVere to soon follow. In 1920 they established a creamery and ice plant business in Rolla.

Vern was taken seriously ill with back pain and fever on July 19, 1925 and died on July 31, 1925, just one week after Bobette was born.

Mother always said that he had bad kidneys, he also had contracted typhoid as a young teen, and that may have weakened them. The back pain he had the week before dying might have been symptomatic of kidney failure.

Richard Carlton

DeVere & Verne (Teens) c 1905 - 1910

Vern on Motorcycle. WWI

DeVere & Vern (Teen Photographer)

Luella Returns from the Hospital and Young Violet Pierce (Our Grandma Mattson) in 1926

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
A fine morning it is turning out to be. The weather is calm and warming, usual before a storm. The weekend will be windy with rain and snow. I'm not enjoying the snow as much as I use to. It's more of a bother now.

An update on Luella, the Queen Mother. She returned safely from the hospital on Tuesday. She has been pampered, waited on, coddled, hugged and 'listened to'. Believe it or not, it was difficult but we all tried our best to stay focused through entire conversations lasting minutes! ;)
Then yesterday, a possible set back.

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from my sister Jilane telling me mother might have a blood clot. She had one thousand things to do (and began listing them thinking I might not believe her) and wanted me to take her back to the hospital for an ultrasound. I stopped her in mid conversation and told her I'd be right there . Note: I said I would be right there so she could do her 1000 things. Ahemm. The good and dutiful son. Let's all make a note of that for future reference :)

We checked into the Emergency Room at 5:15 P.M. and left at 7:00 P.M. The ultra sound was good. There was no blood clot. I think she just missed the place and wanted to go back to see her the friends she'd left behind. Dad was there as well using the visit as his lunch break.

I sat totally engrossed (not) in Luella's conversation with the patient across the curtain. They were comparing injuries, treatments, doctors etc. I stepped from the curtain into the hallway and saw a buzz of nothing. Must have been six or seven nurses and orderly sitting at computers typing. I was disappointed. This wasn't what I thought an Emergency Room would be like. I imagined blood soaked tile and screaming and doctors shouting orders and nurses rushing with defibrillators and priests giving last rights and patients lining the hallways in cots reaching out to anyone passing for the smallest bit of human companionship. I was disappointed.
Well, enough of that. Luella is home and waiting for your phone calls. Don't let me down now.

Now an updated and new pictures from the Pierce side of our family.

Our cousin Len Pierce found the following photographs and sent them to me yesterday. I'm very pleased. We have so few pictures of Grandma Mattson as a young girl.

If you've been reading the blog then you'll be able to pick Grandma out right away BEFORE you look at the bottom photo and see the caption. Give it a go. Did you find her? Violet Pierce is the lower girl on the far right.

Here she is again and labeled for you. You'll notice that both pictures were taken in 1926, making Violet 8 years old. Don't know where her brother Walter was at the time. He doesn't appear in the photographs. Remember, Violet's mother Vesta and her father Walter (Eddy) separated around 1920.

Len sent the following information with the pictures:

Attached are two photos from May Pierce Gadient's scrapbook. May references Violet in the 2nd picture and the first picture looks like it was taken at the same time in 1926. Again, this was in 1926 and May had her son Lester with Cousin Dora and her girls. This would take a comparison photo of Violet to check with but I will send the two photos to you anyway.
Len Pierce

FYI. May Pierce Gadient was Violet's aunt - sister to her father Walter Edwin Pierce (Eddy). She is here with her aunt and cousins.

Thank you Len for sending the pictures.