Spritz Navy

The crew of the Scorpion submarine were trained in the school of Charlie Spritz. Below are some memories of “Spritz Navy”.

The following is dedicated to my Dad and all of his shipmatcs who sacrificed their lives in United States Navy Submarines during World War II ...
by Lorie F. Allen

The “Volunteers” of Spritz’s Navy

An average of 9 out of every 107 applicants were accepted for two weeks of preliminary testing at the Navy’s National Submarine Training School in New London. Connecticut.(I) Of that select group of nine, 25 to 30% were rejected before the program began, based upon tests given to determine who was physically and mentally fit for submarine duty.(2) Vision tests (night vision being crucial) were first to be passed. Finally, there were many physically demanding tests. One was enduring 55 pounds of pressure (three times that of sea level) in a tiny chamber designed to simulate a submarine at a depth of 100 feet, amid a sizzling 130 degrees. Glistening with sweat, the men would swallow hard, popping their ears. The heat made breathing difficult, increasing the psychological strain. Any sign of panic or undue stress, led to failure. The last and one of the most rigorously stressful of the physical tests was a 100’ ascent from the bottom of the submarine escape towcr, (where two voluntccrs had died) involving thc disciplined and proper use of the “Momsen Lung”. The “water works tests” caused many not to be selected when they exhibited signs of panic or lack of discipline. Before the war, only 200 were enrolled at the Submarine School at any given time.

The training school master was Chief Torpedoman Charles Spritz, a former Bronx policeman, a veteran master diver and the navy’s version of the marine master sergeant. Spritz expected impeccable grooming and regulation clothing at all times. In addition to universal military disciplines while on assigmuent, no smoking or talking were allowed. There was no standing, sitting, or walking anywhere on the basc. Every move was in fast time, and in the words of one of the instructors, “The way he ran that place was like a concentration camp.”(2)

He never married, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and he devoted his life to governing the daily routines of the trainees and other CPO instructors themselves mostly 20 year veterans of deep sea diving and submarines. Many were convinced that he had gone a little crazy alter a deep-sea diving accident in the 1930s, and it seems he was universally hated for his constant haranguing and punishments dealt for the slightest infractions of rules.

Spnitz would blare axioms until they were fixed in the subconscious: “Around here there’s only one daily prayer—you’ll commit it to memory: ‘0 Lord, help us to keep our big mouths shut until we know what we are talking about!’.. .There is room for anything on a submarine--except a mistake.”(3) Learning to use all the complicated equipment is extremely difficult, as is learning to work together; so is the captain’s task of welding his 75 man crew into a fighting unit. The successful submarine is one in which teamwork is perfect, and only practice creates this teamwork.(4)

Although most graduated from New London detesting Spritz, the teamwork he achieved was a major factor in the success of submarines in days to come. Said one veteran, “He molded into us the discipline needed.”, and another, “He instilled fear into those he commanded. but only that fear of making a mistake that could cost not only your life but all the lives of your ship-mates.”(3)

This rather small pool of volunteers who passed the preliminary tests and made it into the program had to meet exceedingly tough criteria. They had to possess a certain work ethic and I.Q.. One submariner said. “Two-thirds of my company were college grads or had gone to college for two or three years. The Navy was looking for someone who would study and who was devoted to duty.”(3) Each enlisted had to be studious and capable of committing to memory every one of the thousands of valves, gears, pipes, switches, and hatches inside the complex underseas war-ships. Lectures and assignments kept lights burning into the night, as the men devoured such 200-page tomes as “Submarine Operations”, “Diesel Engines”, “Electricity”, “Submarine Tactical Instructions”, “Storage Batteries”, and “Torpedoes”. In school laboratories, every man spent exhaustive hours tearing down and putting together practically every item making up a submarine. Each had to draw from memory accurate diagrams of more than thirty electrical. mechanical, and pneumatic systems in the boats. Each also had to train unerringly to perform not only his own specialty aboard but that of every other crewman, with precision. Thus, even the sub’s cook had to be able to fire a torpedo, to start an engine, and to dive the submarine. That ability at times could spell the difference between disaster and safety for the vessel. Every Monday morning, each trainee took written tests; any who failed two exams, or showed an inability to learn rapidly enough, were quietly returned to the surface fleet. Every week, someone else would be missing. This mechanical aptitude was only one characteristic of the “typical submariner” being sought by the Navy.(3)

Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, a WWI submariner who rose to commander-in-chief of the Pacific sub fleet during World War II, said. “The tasks of diving, attack and surfacing take scores of interlocking motions by dozens of crewmen with split-second timing, but more is required of submariners. They must be alert without being brittle, interested in their shipmates without being nosy, respect privacy without being reclusive, talk without being gabby, and be friendly without being tail-waggers --- in short, round pegs for very closely machined round holes. The wrong kind of man aboard a sub can be an insufferable thorn in the sides of shipmates. He can, emotionally, cause almost as much damage as an enemy depth bomb .... In no other branch of military service are men required to remain away from normal human contacts as long as submariners assigned to lengthy patrols that demand long hours --- sometimes days at depths far below the least glimmer of sunlight and far away from the natural feel and smell of natural air. Moreover, these conditions must be endured with good cheer in overcrowded, sometimes ill-smelling, dew-dripping, steel compartments. Those whose tempers or temperaments cannot stand the strain are soon eliminated.” Teamwork was paramount, and a unique camaraderie normally existed within sub crews, as well as a mystique about this elite cadre of men on secret missions, sailors who under no circumstances could discuss their operational orders.(3)

So rigorous was the selection and training process for Submarine School, during the course of World War II, only 2,000 officers and 22,000 enlisted volunteers, highly qualified men, graduated from “Spritz’s Navy”, out of over 250,000 men who had applied for entry into the Navy’s Silent Service. (2), (5)

Just as mysterious as their service were most of their deaths. Most of the underseas sailors who never came back vanished completely. For the years since WWII, the nation has known little of the sacrifice of these gallant submariners, including the living and those still Missing In Action. Much of their work remained “classified” until only a few years ago. From a percentage point of view. six submariners died for every non-submariner killed in action, and only a handful of survivors lived to tell about our submariners lost in battle.(3)

In the annals of United States military history, few were more courageous, none took more risk, none suffered a higher casualty rate and none had the devastating effect on the enemy’s morale as did the U.S. Navy’s Silent Service in World War II. These men were unlike the crews of any other naval vessels. No naval career was as dangerous. For years after the war, the nation knew little of the sacrifice of these men, but they never objected and never claimed to be owed anything. Rather, they remained within the code of their service long after the war(3) -- in silent tribute to their lost shipmates after fighting the greatest undersea war in history

Lloyd Charles McKenzie, a veteran of the U.S.S. Stewart (DD-224) in the Asiatic Navy, graduated third in his class, of 18 men, from Chief Sprilz’s Submarine School in New London, April 15, 1940. He was assigned to the U.S.S. TRITON, a new class of U.S. submarine with many annotations, becoming a member of her initial crew. After her commissioning in August, 1940, TRITON was transferred to the Pacific to be in the forefront of the Navy’s defense efforts before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He remained with TRiTON, part of her battle-wise crew, until she fell to depth charges in combat with three Japanese destroyers on her sixth war patrol, March 15, 1943. TRITON and crew rest at a depth of 18,000 feet. in the Pacific. in the Caroline Basin, north of the island of New Guinea.

U.S.S. TRITON is credited with having destroyed 18 ships of the Japanese Empire and damaging 6 others before her loss.(6) TRITON is also credited as being the first United States submarine to sink a Japanese ship by deck gun in World War II. Lloyd McKenzie was “first loader” of that deck gun crew. According to a living surviving TRITON shipmate who was not assigned to TRITON’s final war patrol, Lloyd McKenzie was promoted to Chief Torpedoman, and thrown into the Brisbane River as part of his initiation to TMC, two days before the departure for that fatal sixth war patrol. No official U.S. Navy record of his promotion to TMC has ever been found.

Lloyd McKenzie is one of 3617 submarine shipmates, on 52 U.S. submarines, from World War II, who remain on eternal patrol. They are in the unending line of patriots that have defended our nation with their lives so that we might live in a free country. Americans must always remember that our Freedom has not been established without an extremely high cost.

Their resting places are known only to the almighty.


(1) Torpedoman, Ron Smith, U.S.S. Seal, SS-183, 1990.

(2) United States Submarine Memorial and Library, Groton, Connecticut, 1995.

(3) Back From the Deep, Carl LAVO, U.S. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, p. viii, pp 11-24, 1994.

(4) Victory at Sea - The Submarine, The Ridge Press, Incorporated, New York, New York, p. 23, pp 57-58, 1959.

(5) Navy & Marine Corps World War H Commemorative Committee Report, Summer 1995, p. 13.

(6) U.S. Submarine Attacks During World War II, John 0. Alden, United States Naval Institute Press, 1989.


SUNDAY, DEC. 14, 1975

EMBERS OF faded memories glow anew whenever those congregate who served in the United States Submarine Service during World War II, inevitably the talk turns to New London, Conn.. and “Spritz’ Navy”.

Spritz’ Navy, a navy within the U.S. Navy, ranked among the most unusual in seafaring annals, it never put to sea, It never fired a shot, it offered about as much romance as a bowl of cold mush, and was commanded with an autocracy approaching despotism by a chief petty officer--a non-commissioned enlisted man. Yet, Spritz’ Navy represented one of the finest assemblages of fighting men in the world, holding forth on American submarines beneath the swells of the Pacific from Honshu to Singapore and Cutch Harbor to Australia.

As “admiral” of Spritz’ Navy, Chief Torpedoman’s Mate Charles

(Charley) Spritz was responsible for indoctrinating, approving and assembling more than 20,000 enlisted men into classes for submarine schooling.

My introduction to the skipper of Spritz Navy occurred in early summer 1944. I was a 17-year-old seaman, and, like all others who serve in submarines, had volunteered for duty, passed preliminary physical and psychological tests, and was sent with 11 others for schooling to the U.S. Submarine Base at New London.

None of us knew Spritz. And none of us was aware of Spritz’ Navy until the driver of the Navy bus that met us at the train in New London to take us to the base referred to it wryly, but with a trace of empathy.

Before the bus had rolled to a stop in front of the base administration building, a stern-faced chief petty officer in his early 50s seemed to materialize on the landing in the bus doorway and a raspy, guttural bellow echoed the length of the nearly empty vehicle.

“End of the line, sailors! Grab your gear and fall in on the sidewalk, facing the flagpole!”

No one had to introduce us. We knew we had just made Spritz’ acquaintance.

We stood at attention while Spritz walked the length of the line, stopping before each man and eyeing him from white hat to shoe soles. Occasionally. he turned and spoke to a yeoman second class, who was to be ever-present with his paper-filled clipboard during our tour of duty in Spritz’s Navy, always standing a pace behind the chief, like a shadow.

"You men came here to learn to be submarine sailors,” Spritz barked. A tinge of the Bronx edged his words. “We’ll find out about that!”

His dark eyes bored into those of each man as he spoke. The thrust of his distinctly cleft chin accentuated a large firm mouth with prominent, uneven teeth, and his leonine head and square face were marked with a large Roman nose. Just short of 6 feet, he bristled with authority and he was immaculately regulation. His blues were pressed to razor sharpness. The triple chevrons, torpedo, rocker and crow of the chief petty officer stood out on his right arm, and

he wore so many hash marks they mode me think of a gold picket fence. The emblems of the master deep sea diver and ordnance specialist were neatly flat stitched on his uniform along with the twin dolphins and conning tower insignia of the qualified submariner. Oddly, he displayed no service ribbons.

“You men may have passed some tests wherever you come from,” he snapped, “But that don’t mean you’re gonna make it here! You’re just get-tin’ started!”

With the exactness of a submerged approach of an enemy target, Spritz outlined his commandments. They were to be observed to the letter. From that moment we knew we would have to work our way out of Spritz’ Navy.

We were to be clean-shaven and wear regulation haircuts, spit-shined shoes, clean dungarees, dress blues and whites. Bunks were to be mode properly and there was to be no stray gear. Each morning before quarters and colors, Spritz inspected all personnel and barracks.

We also discovered that before we were to be admitted to submarine school we would be subjected to extensive individual and collective psychological, aptitude, and physical testing, underwater escape training, and demonstrating our ability to endure the pressure and closeness of the compression chamber. When we weren’t engaged in testing at various intervals during the day, we were assigned to work details collecting garbage, cleaning grease traps, polishing barracks GI cans with steel wool and other chores of lesser allure.

“You may, or may not, be church gain’ people. That’s your business.” Spritz snorted. “Around here, there’s only one daily prayer. You’ll commit it to memory: ‘0 Lord, Help Us To Keep Our Big Mouths Shut Until We Know What We Are Talking About.”

He also advised that we would be last in chow line daily at all three meals. Smoking was permitted only when the smoking lamp was lighted and that was when the order was passed by Spritz, who neither drank nor smoked. Neither were we to walk, sit, lie, lounge or stand on the grass at any time, anywhere on the

base. One man would fall out and count cadence while his companions marched. Talking and smoking absolutely were forbidden while assigned to a working party.

Liberty was granted one day a week, either Saturday or Sunday, contingent on passing Spritz’ inspection and no recorded infractians of his rules. A broken eommandment meant restriction and extra duty. Extra duty meant not only additional work assignments after regular working hours, but removing all your gear from your locker, stowing it properly in your seabag and reporting to an isolated barracks in which all the light bulbs were blue. Appropriately, the barracks was known as the “Blue Room.” A bunk was assigned, gear stowed and roll call was held on the hour throughout the night. A half-hour before regular 5 a.m. reveille. “Blue Roam” guests were awakened to return to their own barracks, restow their gear in their lockers and make ready for Spritz’ personal inspection before the normal work day began.

“There’s room for anything on a submarine -- except a mistake," Spritz admonished at every opportunity. The admonition also was posted in bold black letters on signs in every classroom.

“If you men wanno drink, that’s your business.” Spritz condescended, then added: “But don’t bring your problems to me because you gotta two-quart imagination and a two-pint capacity and not enough sense to know why you’re hung over like the belly of a 30-year cook. You’ll report for full duty during regular working hours!”

Yet, there was another side to the commander of Spritz’ Navy. The salty old chief, who then had served in submarines 24 of the 32 years he had been in the Navy, also doubled as father confessor to many and intermediary between enlisted men and commissioned officers. When he detected a man he believed might crack under the strain of long patrol, he took him aside, as he did with five among the group with which I arrived at New London, and saw to it that each man returned to his previous surface unit without stigma.

Spritz contended he could tell whether or not a man would make a submariner by looking at his neck. If soap and water were in order, Spritz held the man wouldn’t make the grade. Cleanliness, and what it indicated. were prized next to perfection, in his mind.

One morning while inspecting those hopefully bound for Saturday liberty. I was directed to step forward. I complied.with that sinking feeling that accompanies being singled out among your peers.

“Is that uniform regulation?” Spritz demanded -- and I trembled.

“No, sir,” I muttered, groping for an excuse. The base cleaners had misplaced my government issue blues. Rather than spend liberty on the base, I elected to risk standing inspection in new tailor-made bell bottom blues that had cost me the better part of two months pay.

“Look at this man!” Spritz bellowed. “He looks like a submarine sailor should. Whassa matter with you people?”

I was granted liberty, the incident was closed, and for a fleeting moment I could have sworn I detected a hint of a smile that deepened the road map of wrinkles at the corners of his dark eyes.

Spritz contended that those who had learned self-reliance by having to shift for themselves made the best submariners; the worst, those who had been babied at home. His own circumstances undoubtedly contributed to his philosophy and penchant for perfection.

A sister, Mrs. Alice Pera of Great Barrington, Mass., was to recall years later that Spritz was "very unhappy” at home and that “the family was concerned about him. He just didn’t seem to fit anywhere. He was a misfit socially, I suppose.

Spritz was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but the family moved soon after to New York City, where he was reared. He was a “very poor student,” and was out of the house at 17” when he joined the Navy with his parents’ consent, Mrs. Pera recalled.

That would explain why. despite his autocratic demeanor and unrelenting rules portending perfection, many sensed that he still remembered that he also once was a young submariner making the same blunders we did.

Spritz never married. The Navy was his life. He left the base only once a month briefly to visit friends and go to the bank. Yet, those close to him confided that during occasional moments of somber reflection he spoke fondly of an English nurse who was killed during the German V-2 rocket blitz of London.

I never again saw Spritz after he came to the barracks where we had been assembled upon completing school and assigned to submarine relief crew duty in the Pacific. He had come to say goodby, wish us well, and in the event we had forgotten within a matter of days, one last time reminded us that, “There’s room for anything aboard a submarine--except a mistake."

During the years after peace once again had come, an incident or topic of casual conversation would trigger reminiscences of Spritz and what it had meant to have served in “Spritz’ Navy.” To be sure, Spritz instilled fear in those he commanded, but only that fear of making a mistake that could cost not only your own life but the lives of your shipmates. He also imbued those around him with dedication to the task ahead and confidence stemming from knowing and doing your job well. Esprit de corps was second to none, resulting from his dogmatic insistence that everyone understand the spirit and letter of teamwork and cooperation and that a submarine without it is no more than “a bastard cousin to a foundering whale.”

A letter I received in mid-1973 revived the words of John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir. To paraphrase Buchan: “Our roll of those committed to duty, honor, country is long, but it bears the name of no worthier figure.”

The letter advised that Chief Tarpedoman’s Mate Charles Spritz. USN (Ret.), was admitted May 28, 1957 to the U.S. Naval Home in Philadelphia, Pa., and died there Nov. 3. 1970.





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The Scorpion (SS-278)

In 1999, Fred Gahimer wrote:

“One of my wife’s brothers, Stanley Matthews, was a radioman aboard the Scorpion submarine (SS-278) in January 1944 when it disappeared and was presumed lost with a crew of 77 in the South China Sea. We have, over time, located other families of crewmen. In our conversations the common thread was that they did not feel closure. There was no body to bury. A cemetery marker gave us a place to visit and mourn, but we seemed cheated because we were unable to share our crewmen’s experiences because of the wartime censorship of correspondence.

I finally decided that what we needed was a history of the sub, and a brief history of each of the crewmen to record for succeeding generations that their crewman didn’t just join the Navy and die, but had a life, albeit short, crammed with rigorous training, exciting and perilous patrols against the Japanese, and festive shore leaves in Hawaii between patrols. I have compiled such a history which I have titled, “Scorpion Diary,” because it is virtually a day-by-day record of the activities on the sub. It consists mostly of the detailed Patrol Reports, the Deck Logs, and some background information.”

This section of the website is dedicated to the 77 crewmen of the USS Scorpion and their loved ones.

For the complete Scorpion Diary, see the following:

USS Scorpion Diary

2 Samuel 22:4-20

   I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
   In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
   He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.
   The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
   He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Launch of the Scorpion (SS-278), 20 July 1942.
Maximilian Gmelich Schmidt, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Scorpion (SS-278) at the time of her loss.
Google Earth satellite photo of the East China & Yellow Seas, where the Scorpion’s (SS-278) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Scorpion and her crew.
The Daily Chronicle (De Kalb, IL), Wed., March 22, 1944
The News (Frederick Maryland) Wed., March 22, 1944
The Daily Chronicle (De Kalb, IL), Fri., Jan 25, 1946


Listing of Scorpion radiomen by patrol:

Radiomen by Patrol

US Navy rates and pay:

US Navy Rates and Pay

Example Scorpion casualty card:

Bill Saunders casualty card







Stan Matthews

Stan served in the Navy, as did his father, Herbert, and his brothers Jim and Herb. He trained as a radioman, and when America entered World War II he was assigned to the submarine Scorpion in the China Sea. He was  a dedicated son and loving brother, who sent a large portion of his Navy earnings home to help the family make ends meet. In February 1944, the Scorpion was lost at sea, and so Stanley, at the age of 20, and his fellow crew members are now on eternal patrol.

Stanley Edward Matthews was born to Herbert L. and Goldie (Reeder) Matthews on May 17, 1923.

Stan Matthews

He was the fourth child of eight, and learned at an early age about responsibility, and caring for family members.

L-R: Mary, Anne, Stan, and Jim Matthews

With a large family and modest income, Herbert and Goldie expected and depended on their older children to help keep house and help raise the younger children. And like all families of that time period, they struggled through the great depression, and they learned that by working together and pooling resources, they could get by.

And so it was that in September 1940, at the age of 17, Stan dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Naval Reserves to help support the family. His father, Herbert, and older brother Jim were already serving in the Navy. His father was aboard the USS Sacramento (PG-19), a gunboat commissioned in 1914, but used at that time at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center for training Naval Reserves. Jim was aboard the USS Memphis (CL-13), a light cruiser commissioned in 1925, and at that time operating on the east coast of the United States.

Stan Matthews enlistment photo

Stan was learning to be a radioman at the Indianapolis Armory, and he was able to go home on weekends.

During his time in the Navy, Stan wrote many letters to family members. Eighteen of these letters still exist, and provide a unique glimpse into Stan’s personality, and his love and devotion to his family.

On December 19, 1940, Stan wrote a letter from the Naval Armory in Indianapolis to his father, Herbert, who was laid up in the St. Luc Hospital in Montreal, Canada. Prior to this, Herbert had dislocated his shoulder by a shore-leave accident (fell down a gangway) and was still in the hospital recovering. Stan wrote to wish his father well and a Merry Christmas. He tells his father that he’s making decent grades and expected to be deployed to a ship or a plane in a month or so.

On January 8, 1941, Stan wrote another letter to his father, who was now back on the USS Sacramento in Boston saying he was glad Herbert was released from the hospital that Tuesday. He also discussed the radioman test he would be taking soon and expected to pass.

On January 13, 1941, Stan wrote to his brother Jim who was aboard the USS Memphis. He told Jim that the following day he would take the final radioman exam. He mentioned that some of the graduates will be sent to Jacksonville, FL to become airmen. He mentioned that he hoped his father would get discharged due to the injury so he could return home to be with his mother, who was worried with her husband and two eldest sons gone.

On January 23, 1941, Stan wrote from the Naval Armory in Indianapolis to his brother Jim on the USS Memphis. Stan informed Jim that he had passed the test with good grades and was shipping out to Norfolk, VA. He again said he hoped his father would be home soon, and mentioned that he (Stan) had replastered and painted a bathroom in the Matthews home the previous weekend to make it nicer for the family. Stan also told of an accident he was in as he returned to the armory. His friend was driving Stan in his car and was speeding and crashed into a truck. No one was injured but the car and truck were heavily damaged. Stan rode to the armory with policemen who had come to the scene.

On February 16, 1941, Stan wrote home to his mother from the USS Texas in Puerto Rico. The USS Texas (BB-35) was a New York-class battleship commissioned in 1914. He had sailed from Norfolk, VA to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then on to the Calebra Island in the Virgin Islands. He mentioned passing by the Memphis in Calebra Island but was unable to get off and see Jim before the Memphis left for Boston.

Stan Matthews

He described Cuba this way:

“I am in Maya Guez, Puerto Rico now. It is a pretty good-sized town. When you walk down the street you can see coconuts in the trees. The people speak Spanish, so I can’t understand them. Little girls and boys play in the streets without no clothes on. Every time you turn around the little boy says “Give me one cent”. Ha ha. That’s about the only English words they know. I bought a lot of different fruits here yesterday. You can buy 6 oranges for a nickel, some will give you 8 or more for a nickel. Coconut and pineapple are 2 for a nickel. You can jew these people down to give you 3 or 4 for a nickel. Bananas are 2 for a penny. The men who sell these try to gyp you but if you talk up, you usually gyp them. Yesterday I walked up to a man who sold fruit. I couldn’t understand him, but I got what I wanted. I held up a nickel and pointed to the oranges. He knew what I wanted and he held up two oranges. I shook my head “no” and held up 6 fingers. He had a worried look, but gave me 6 oranges.”

He asked about how the family members were doing, and asked his mom if she would send crossword puzzles from the news.

After leaving Maya Guez, Puerto Rico, the USS Texas sailed to St. Thomas, of the Virgin Islands.

On February 23, 1941, Stan wrote home again to his mother from the USS Texas, now underway to Norfolk, VA. He mentioned that he just bought a fountain pen for his letter-writing. He informed Goldie that his Commanding Officer told him he’d be transferring to another ship soon and asked if Stan had any preference. Stan asked if he could be transferred to the Memphis to be with his brother Jim. The Commanding Officer said he felt Stan should be on the Memphis then, and would see what he could do. Stan commented that the ship was pitching very badly in rough seas and Stan was getting seasick.

Stan described the training on the ship:

“They have about 4 scout planes on the ship, and boy are they nifty. The other day a pilot took up a plane and dived at the ship to give the antiaircraft crew some practice on aiming. He would go up until he looked as small as a bird then dive straight at the ship. It looked like he was going to hit us, but he pulled out of it about 20 feet above the masts. Sometimes he would even come down so low he would circle around the mast.”

On February 26, 1941, Stan wrote home again from the USS Texas, now moored at Norfolk, VA. He thanked his mother for her letter and crossword puzzles, which he said gave him something to do to pass the time away. He asked if she received the money he sent home. He asked about the family members, and mentioned that he was surprised his father wasn’t home yet. He said he would write his father since he hadn’t written him thinking he was headed home.

He described his life on Norfolk this way:

“We are in dry dock now. Yesterday all hands scrubbed the ship from the keel to the water line. Well, I had better stop for right now to eat dinner. I’ll finish after dinner. Our meals are pretty good if you’re there when the chow begins. If you’re not there it’s all gone before you get there.”

He asked his mom if she was getting along alright on the money he was sending, and asked his mom to ask his family members to write.

On March 4, 1941, he wrote home from the USS Texas. He told his mom he was sending two-thirds of his pay home to her:

“Mom if you need any more money than what I am sending you, just write and tell. I know how hard it was for you to get along when I was home. I hope to have over $100 saved when I come home. I get $60 a month. I am sending you $40 a month. I have $20 a month, and so I am saving $15 of that. I hardly ever spend over $4 or $5 a month. Sometimes only $2 or $3. I’ve got 7 more months yet. So I figure I should have at least $100. I’ll sure need that for clothes and school.”

He mentioned that the USS Texas is headed to Tiajardo Roads, Puerto Rico. Again he asked his mom to ask others to write.

On March 21, 1941, Stan wrote home from the USS Texas

USS Texas
March 21, 1941

Dear Mom,
Yesterday I got paid again. I am sending you $20.

I wrote dad a letter yesterday.

I am the only reserve who came from the radio school to the Texas that has been qualified for messenger duty. I am my own boss, now. The rest never passed the test Mr. Webb gave us.

We are enroute to Norfork again I think. Hardly anyone knows where we're going. The Memphis, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee (cruisers) are with us. The Arkansas a battleship and 3 destroyers, an aircraft carrier (Ranger), and 2 submarines (Squalus, and I don't know the other one) are all with us.

It's quite a sight. The Squalus was the submarine that sunk. They repaired it and named it the Sailfish. They always rename a ship that was sunk and had to be built over.

It looks as if I'll be in England before long. Since the US is going to send ships with supplies over there we have to go to guard the convoy. At least that's what I hear. It may be a dead rumor. About everything is anyway.

It seems funny to be so near Jim and yet not able to see him. He anchored at Fajardo Roads, where the Texas was, but I never got a chance to see him.

Hey, Mom, you haven't sent me Mary's address yet. Tell Herb he had better write or I will get the ghosts in the attic to haunt him. Ha ha. Herbie will probably hear the Lewis-Simon fight so he can write about it. I might hear it over the radio. Here's hoping Simon wins. Ask Herb to write me about the basketball tournament. In other words I want some news on things going on. Ha ha.

Well, so long.

With love,

P.S. I'll see Jim yet. Ha ha. Maybe.

On March 27, 1941, Stan wrote home again from the USS Texas stating they were in Norfolk getting the ship ready for wartime use “They are putting in steel portholes. Painting it a smoke color. Taking off lifeboats and putting on life rafts. They’re getting rid of all stuff that isn’t necessary.”

He mentioned that he’s not planning to remain in the Navy after his year is up.

“Don’t worry about me staying in 4 years. I’ve had enough right now. I won’t have to stay in over my one year. They are letting us out. Unless war’s going on. My time is up September 28, 1941. They called us into the executive office and told us.”

He’d apparently been told that he’d not be transferring to the Memphis and commented that he’ll probably not see Jim until he’s out of the Navy.

He commented that he’s heard the younger children, like Herb, are growing quite a bit and you can feel his dismay that he’s missing out on that.

On April 5, 1941, Stan wrote home to send his pay, and informed Goldie:

“They passed a law now that all men in the Naval Reserve who were called to active duty would have to stay on active duty to the end of their enlistment or the duration of the war. The ones who volunteered like me, Jim and Moody will be able to get out at the end of our active duty. So I guess I was pretty lucky in getting in this radio school.”

On April 11, 1941, Stan wrote to his father, still in the Navy:

USS Texas
Newport Rhode Island
April 11, 1941

Dear Dad,

I received your letter today. The Texas isn't so bad. It's pretty crowded right now. We have pretty good meals. They serve us cafeteria style. All we do is sit down and the mess cook waits on us. It sure is a lot better than standing in line.

I guess the North Carolina is pretty big. The Texas is only 600 and some feet long. They are building the Alabama at Norfolk Naval Yard area and it doesn't look much like a ship right now. I think they are going to make the North Carolina the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet. The Texas is the flagship now. The radiomen really have a lot of work to do since they have control of the circuits.

Fajardo Road is a town in Puerto Rico. It isn't very big though. They raise a lot of sugar cane there.

I was hoping we would go to New York City so I could see the Statue of Liberty, but we passed it on the way to Newport, here. A lot of rich people, like the Vanderbilts, have summer homes here. They say this part of the country is the most healthiest. I haven't seen Jim yet, but I've been pretty near him. The Memphis pulled in at Newport, Monday morning and pulled out Monday at noon. No boats were running between the Texas and the Memphis so I wasn't able to see him.

Tomorrow I think we are pulling out for Boston. At least that's what I heard the officers talking about. They don't tell the enlisted men where we are going, because it is supposed to be secret movements.

He told me in one of his letters he had had liberty with you several times. He also told me Herb was getting big. I finally got one letter from Herb. I haven't received any letters from Mary yet.

I guess I'll be an uncle pretty soon. Ha ha. Things sure have changed a lot in the past year.

I think I can hold my rate. The test at the armory was a lot easier than what the test they will give us is.

I'll bet you look like something in glasses. Ha ha. I guess it's better wearing glasses than straining your eyes trying to see without them.

Don't worry about me getting hitched to any Puerto Rican. I'll still take the good old American girl. Ha ha.

I haven't got much of a suntan because they made us wear a full uniform above decks, since the Adm. was aboard.

I write home about once a week. It's pretty hard to think of anything to write about. But I figure if she even hears from me or anybody else it cheers her up a lot. She sure has been brave to see so many of the family leave. First it was Mary, then Jim, then you, and finally me. Annie stays home with her a lot though. At least she did when I left.

I didn't hear the Tony Musta fight, but I heard the one between Louis and Abe Simon. That was a pretty good fight too. I guess Louis is losing its punch. They all do after a time.

When are you going home?

I hear the reserves who are called to active duty would have to stay in the duration of the war or to the end of their enlistment. Did Lieut. Cmdr. Rockwell, come aboard the Sacramento? Several of the boys on the ship saw the Sacramento when it was at the scene of the Squalus, where it sank.

We copy press news over our circuits, so we get the news first rate. According to yesterday's news the British bombed Berlin. One of the best bombing raids of the war. Also the paper said the Nazi's had small Greek forces trapped. But the Greeks are fooling them. They are capturing Nazi's from the rear. The British have a number of troops in southern Greece. The Greeks are gradually getting behind the Nazi's and in that way might trap them. I sure am hoping it will work. Maybe you heard this news, if you didn't you do now. Ha ha.

Well, I had better be closing so I can get this letter in the mailbox.

Your son,

On April 17, Stan wrote home from his new assignment, the submarine S-14. The submarine USS S-14 (or USS SS-119) was originally commissioned in 1921, then decommissioned in 1935. With World War II clouds looming on the horizon, USS S-14 was recommissioned on 10 December 1940. Following duty along the northeast coast of the United States, and a visit to the Panama Canal Zone, the S-boat operated out of Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands from 31 October 1941 to 1 December 1941.

Submarine base
New London, Connecticut
April 17, 1941

Dear Mom,

Well, Mom I was transferred, but to the wrong boat. Instead of transferring me to the Memphis, they transferred me to the USS S-14, a submarine.

Oh well, I get $5 more a month I think. If I qualify I get $80 a month. But I won't be in long enough to qualify, maybe.

Boy these submarines are really crowded. They have only 44 men on the S-14. The Texas had about 1500 men. The S-14 has 1 chief radioman and 1 striker and 3 rated men counting me. The Texas had 6 chief radiomen and 5 strike men and 60 rated men.

I like this submarine duty though. We wear dungarees instead of the regular uniform. We stay in dock about all the time.

They told me about 10:45 AM April 15 that I was being transferred to submarine duty. At 1 PM I had to be ready to leave. I had to take the bus to Providence Rhode Island and from there I took the train to New London, Connecticut where I'm at now. I would have written you sooner, but I had the writing materials on my seabag.

When you get submarine duty you have 2 bunks and lockers. When you're at your home port you have a bunk and locker in the submarine crew's barracks ashore. When you're at another port you use the locker and bunk onboard. Since the subs are so small and machinery makes it so crowded when a few men get in there. I don't have nothing to do but sit around. Hardly any messages come over. I'm studying electricity and radio so I can get a job at RCA when I finish school. At the armory back in Indianapolis we just learned how to operate and receive, but I want to learn how to fix them and put them together.

The guys on the sub sure are swell compared with the guys on the Texas. Well, I had better close now.

Your son,

P.S. 5 1/2 more months yet. Love, Stan

On October 6, 1941, Stan wrote home to his parents. Apparently his father had been discharged by then and was back at home. He mentioned his visit home on his recent leave.

USS S 13
Cocosolo, Panama City
October 6, 1941

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well I finally got to Panama yesterday, after spending almost 18 days at sea. It is sure beautiful down here. This is quite a place. They have a sub base, a Naval Air Station, a Marine camp, and an army camp, all down here by Cocosolo. We are stationed down here now. They say we will probably be here from six months to a year. We will do most of our operating in the Pacific. It only takes about 4 or 5 hours to go through the Panama Canal.

By the way the YP 26 is down here. I guess you know about that boat. Ha ha. We left September 19th and got here October 5th.

How did Mary and her baby turn out. I got a letter from her yesterday dated September 18th, in it she said she would have her baby September the 21st.

I was really worried this last month.

I saw Moody Riggle in New London. I had 2 liberties with him then I left for Panama. He hasn't changed much except he's about 6' 3" tall now. He is going up for 3rd class Baker in January. He always did want to be a cook or baker. We seem to follow each other. He is on a submarine tender the USS Griffin. It sure is a big boat.

Have you heard from Jim lately. I haven't heard from him for at least 2 months. He never did answer my last letter. I'll write him tonight.

Boy I really hated to leave home again. I think Carl made the greatest change of all. Tell Annie that I've seen a lot of girls but none as beautiful as her. I hope she don't get the swell head now. Ha ha. By the way Mom you ain't so bad looking yourself. Tell Herb and the little kids to lay off too much Pepsi-Cola and candy and brush their teeth, because if I come home again and find them in the same condition, I'll really lay it on them. I don't mean maybe.

Well, me and Jim will have a lot of sea tales to tell when we get home. Of course he's been to a lot more places, but I've got a better line of bull. Ha ha.

This place is paradise compared to Bermuda. We have 2 swimming pools and a big gym. Nice big barracks. Almost all the married men bring their wives down. They live in houses on the base here. I hope you get this twenty dollars okay. They just paid us up to September the 17th. They still owe us 2 weeks yet.

Well, I had better close now.

With love,

P.S. Air mail cost $.15 from here to the USA. (My address is the same.)

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese fleet attacked Pearl Harbor. With the declaration of war, those like Stan were counted on to be on active duty through the duration of the war. For a detailed accounting of the USS Scorpion, see the “USS Scorpion Submarine” post.

On October 2, 1942, Stan reported for duty aboard the USS Scorpion from the submarine base in New London, CT.

USS Scorpion

It’s likely that Stan wrote home again many times between October 1941 and December 1943, but only three letters survive: November 28, 1942, December 16, 1943, and December 23, 1943.

On April 9, 1943, the USS Scorpion left the island of Midway for their first patrol.

On Monday, April 19, 1943, they laid mines down about 26 km off the east coast of Japan near Kamisu, Japan. The next day, about 130 km away, the Scorpion sank a Japanese gun boat, the MEIJI MARU No. 1.

On Friday, April 23, the Scorpion attacked 2 merchant ships being escorted by a Japanese destroyer. Inflicted damage and possibly sank 1 ship.

On Tuesday, April 27, the Scorpion attacked a freighter among four freighters and two destroyer escorts. Sank the largest freighter.

On Friday, April 30th, while retuning to Midway, the Scorpion encountered a large patrol vessel and attacked with guns and cannons. At one point, the Scorpion Lt. Cmdr. manning the gun was shot through the head and died. He was buried at sea.

On Saturday, May 1st, Stan was promoted to radioman 1st class.

On Friday, May 7, 1943, the Scorpion returned to Pearl Harbor, completing the first patrol. The results of the first patrol were that 2 large freighters were sunk (1 TAGA MARU class, 1 KIKRYU MARU class), 2 patrol vessels were sunk, and 4 Sampans were sunk (they discovered the Scorpion and were sunk to prevent their informing Japan). Three submarines were patrolling eastern Japan during this mission (Scorpion, Flying Fish, Pickerel), and the Pickerel did not return.

After returning to Pearl Harbor from their first war patrol, routine refit was accomplished by relief crew and submarine base repair force and the vessel was made ready for sea on 29 May.  The following major materiel alterations and changes were made:  (a) exterior periscope and mast supports secured to Conning Tower, (b) installed handlebar controls on 20 MM guns, (c) replaced 3″ gun with a 4″ gun, (d) installed additional ammunition lockers, (e) installed 50 cal. machine gun mounts.

USS Scorpion

On June 2, 1943, the USS Scorpion left the island of Midway for their second patrol.

While patrolling Saturday, July 3, the Scorpion encountered five freighters with a Japanese escort. Six torpedoes were fired and then as the Scorpion tried to dive in what it thought was 33 fathom deep water (198 ft), it struck bottom at 25 fathoms (150 ft). As a result, two close depth charges sounded near the Scorpion, followed by 5 more. The Japanese then dragged a chain over the Scorpion (to listen for metal, apparently) and sent another depth charge. The Scorpion began moving with evasive actions as depth charges exploded around it. It was believed that three of the freighters were damaged by the Scorpion.

On Wednesday, July 7, the Scorpion was attacked by a MITSU-BISHI type 96 bomber. A depth charge sounded in the distance. The Scorpion remained submerged the rest of the day.

On Thursday, July 15, the Scorpion returned to Midway, ending the second patrol. On Thursday, August 19, the Scorpion entered the sub base at Pearl Harbor.

On Wednesday, October 13, the Scorpion left Pearl Harbor for the third patrol. On Sunday, October 17, the Scorpion left Midway for the third patrol, which focused on the Marianas Islands.

On November 2, while exploring the island of Farallon de Pajaros, the USS Scorpion struck an uncharted pinnacle in the ocean bed. No damage was observed, so the USS Scorpion continued on.

On Monday, November 8, the Scorpion fired three torpedoes at a large steamer. The torpedoes missed and the Scorpion received 11 depth charges with the first 8 being very close.

On Saturday, November 13, the Scorpion sighted a convoy of two large freighters escorted by three ships. The Scorpion fired 4 bow tubes and at least one hit and likely sank a target. The USS Scorpion dived and received 9 depth charges, none close.

During the third patrol, the USS Scorpion experienced radar equipment failure and were constantly having to try to fix their equipment.

On Tuesday, November 30, the Scorpion returned to Midway, ending the third patrol. It was discovered the USS Scorpion had damage to the frame near the 5th and 6th torpedo tubes. On Sunday, December 5, the USS Scorpion entered the sub base at Pearl Harbor for repairs to the frame caused by striking the rocky pinnacle while submerged.

USS Scorpion
December 16, 1943

Dear Mom and Dad,

Received your letter today and was glad to hear from you again. I also got a letter from Betty Cobb. She is still in California. She works at the Consolidated Aircraft plant there. She doesn't care much for California.

I seen Moody now and then. He seems to be getting along as good as usual.

I haven't heard from Herb for a long time. I lost his address so I can't send him any letters. If you think of it, how's to send his address just in case he doesn't write for a while yet.

Yes, I got a letter from Jim. You got quite a kick the last time he went home. He said when he stepped in the door you thought it was me and Dad thought it was Herb. I guess there was quite a mix up.

I hardly think I will be home for Christmas. But I will be home one of these days.

Our communication officer wants to get me rated chief, next May, if he is still aboard or if I am still aboard. I don't know whether I will be so glad to have it or not. I am too young and haven't had enough experience. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to hold down my job.

How is everyone a home? I hope none of you get the flu. I'm feeling pretty good and hope all of you are too.

Well, I must be closing since we can only write on 3 sheets.

With love,

P.S. Write soon.

Stan’s last surviving letter home was written on December 23, 1943 from the USS Scorpion. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and commented that he’d like his brother Carl to invent an end to the war.

USS Scorpion
December 23, 1943

Dear Mom and Dad,

I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you again.

How is everyone at home enjoying the Christmas spirit? I sure wish I could be with all of you, but I guess that isn't possible this year.

I still haven't heard from Herb. I've received several from Jim, though.

I haven't received the package you sent, but I guess I'll get it soon, at least I hope so.

Is the flu very bad around home? I hope none of you get it.

Has Anna ever decide to join the Waac's or Wave's? Boy, if she does she's really in for something. I'll bet all the women in now are sorry they ever got in.

No, I haven't ever taken up much dancing. I ain't very interested in it, anyway. I'll bet if I had a nice, young girl like you, Mom, I could really learn to dance. Ha ha.

How have the kids been lately?

Jim tells me Carl is still trying to invent things. Tell him if he really wants to get on the good side of me, he had better invent a way to end this war right soon, so I can come home to stay.

Well, I can't think of much more to say, so I will close.

With love,

P.S. Write soon and tell the rest to write and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

S.E. Matthews

On Wednesday, December 29, 1943, the USS Scorpion left Pearl Harbor for the fourth and final patrol. This patrol was targeted at the China and Yellow Seas.

On Monday, January 3, 1944, the USS Scorpion left Midway headed towards the patrol area.

On Wednesday, January 5, the USS Scorpion reported that a crewman had broken an arm, and requested a rendezvous with the submarine Herring which was passing through the area on its return to Pearl Harbor, and could take the injured crewman back to the hospital.  The rendezvous was made in the afternoon at 30° 7’N, 167° 30′ E.  The sea was very rough, and despite several attempts to transfer him via a rubber raft, it was determined that it was too dangerous to both the injured man and the submarines, and the transfer was abandoned, as well as the rubber raft.

On Thursday, January 6, 1944, the USS Herring sent a message reporting what had happened and stated “USS Scorpion reports case under control.”  The USS Scorpion was never heard from again.

When no report was received from her by February 24, Midway was directed to keep a watchful eye for her, and the USS Scorpion was directed to make a transmission.  Neither of these measures proved fruitful, and the USS Scorpion was reported on March 6, 1944 as presumed lost.  No information has been received since the war that the loss was due to enemy antisubmarine tactics.

In March, the families of Scorpion servicemen each received a telegram like the one to the parents of Paul Shea:

BRA 249 75 GOVT=WASHINGTON DC 18 748P 1944 MAR 18 PM 8 19




When the Gilbert and Marshall Islands were captured during the war, thousands of classified Japanese documents fell into the hands of the U.S. Navy.  Among these documents were some red-bordered “Notices to Mariners” showing the exact locations of Japanese minefields – vital information to U.S submarines.  The Navy set up a special unit to translate these documents.  The results were sent to submarine skippers in booklet form.  Among the notices was information that the Japanese had laid new and extensive minefields in the East China Sea.  However, it was much too late to help the USS Scorpion.  In the meantime, several submarines had made patrols in this area, crossing and recrossing the (unknown) minefields without incident.  It is probable that these mine lines were very thin, offering only about a ten percent threat to submarines at maximum, and steadily decreasing in effectiveness with the passage of time.  The USS Scorpion was lost soon after these mines were laid, at a time when they offered the greatest threat.  She could have been an operational casualty, but her area consisted of water shallow enough so that it might be expected that some men would have survived.  Since we know of no survivors, the most reasonable assumption is that she hit a mine and sank.

The USS Scorpion earned three battle stars for its war operations.

Stan Matthews, The Indianapolis News, April 6, 1944
Stan Matthews, The Indianapolis News, February 11, 1946

Stan died at the young age of 20, not living to see his 21st birthday. He was a dedicated son and brother, supporting his family to the end. He served in the US Navy for the last three and a half years of his short life, and in the end, like his crew mates and many other service men and women in World War II, gave his life in defense of our freedom.

Herbert Matthews Steamship Letter

Letter from Herbert Matthews from Antwerp Belgium, September 20, 1913

Herbert wrote the following letter to his family:

To read, letter take sheet apart and read a whole sheet a time, follow number.

To my dear uncles, aunts, and cousins,

I drop you a few lines to let you know I am well and happy and still thinking of you and of those happy days I spent with a few years ago. I hope I will be able to visit you again before long. How are you and aunt Lena, aunt Alice and the children getting along these fine summer days. I hope you're all well and happy. 

I suppose you wonder how I got here so I will endeavor to tell you well the way it is. I left New York City May 30, 1913 on the SS Gordon Castle bound for South and East Africa, and India, and England via the Suez Canal. The next port will be London England. We will arrive in London the 30th September so that will be just 4 months to the day that I have been tossed about on the high seas. And believe me these are high seas I speak of. On the way going to India from Africa we met a hurricane on the Indian Ocean which swept everything off the decks, broke the doors of our rooms and and also washed them out. The waves dashed high over the bridge decks and this storm lasted for 5 days. I stood for 40 min. in the galley one day before I dare venture to cross the deck to the cabin so you can imagine how glad I will (be) next week when we will be paid off in London. But I am going to work for the company in London for about 8 weeks while our ship is in dry dock and then I shall return to New York on her. So I shall give you an address so you can write to me and I will surely receive all letters which you may send me. I shall also drop a line or two to uncle George and Aunt Helen and children. 

I suppose you are just harvesting your crop now are you not. I wish I was there to help you as I would rather harvest any day than take another servants job. My position on the ship is 2nd steward. I suppose you know what a steward is on a ship. He is a waiter and servant to Captain and officers. Now the 1st thing is we serve 3 meals a day in the saloon and there are 5 to eat in the saloon: Captain, chief officer, 2nd officer, 3rd officer, and chief engineer. Now I must wait on them 3 times a day. I must be up at 5:00 AM sharp every morning scrub out the saloon which is larger than your kitchen then I dusted every morning and rub all the brass every morning finished in the saloon at 7:00 AM. I go there to the chief officers room where I work till 8:00 AM. Make his bed, brushes carpet, change wash water, rub his brass up, spot down the white work, and so on and so etc. then from 8:00 to 8:15 every day I have to warm baths to fix up one for Captain and the other for chief officer. 8:15 AM to 8:30 AM set table, make breakfast ready, also clean myself up. Everything must be okay at 8:30 AM to ring the breakfast bell sharp. Breakfast over at 9:30 AM must help wash dishes, finished at 9:45 AM. Then go to Captain's room. Clean it out spotless, finished at 11:15 AM. Then go to 2nd officers room, clean it out finished at 12:00 PM. Then go to bathroom, clean out, rub brass, scrub floor, finished at 12:30 PM. The make table ready for 1:00 PM dinner sharp. Finished dinner 2:30 PM. Help wash dishes, clean silver, finished at 3:00 PM. Rest till 3:30 PM. Make tea for all with toast finished at 4:30 PM. Serve it to them while they are in bed. Chief officer has his tea 3:45 PM. Capt. has his at 4 clock p.m. 2nd officer at 4:30 PM. Pantry boy looks after the 3rd officer, finished at 4:30 PM till 5:00 PM. There make table, ready for 5:30 PM supper sharp 5:30 PM. Then finished with supper at 6:30 PM. The make sandwiches, cocoa, coffee, tea for midnight lunches, finished at 8:00 PM. Done for the day, go to bed and be sure to be up at 5:00 AM sharp in the morning for the same routine again. 

When ship is in port it is still worse as I must feed steadores and foremen who are working by the ship every time ship takes coal everything get black then all white work in saloon and rooms has to be washed down. We have already taken coal in about 5 ports so you know how much white work I have washed. 

In Africa native blacks carry coal aboard in little baskets on the heads and dump them in the bunkers on deck. It is wonderful to see them run up the narrow springy plank which they use and they must sing while they work. If singing ceases work ceases. There is usually a dozen or so natives with strong voices employed to jump about the coal barges singing in order to keep those working in the same humor. In India they call the ships the same only with coolie labor and they also sing while they work. In Port Said Egypt and Algiers Algeria coaling is done the same way only women are used in these places instead of men. The same here in Antwerp. The most of them working on our ship unloading is done by women. They handle bags of grain which way as high as 240 pounds each. Men and women work right along together. Women draw same pay as men. So Alice this is for you: Don't ever think of coming to the continent unless you are amply supplied with cash to keep you and also to purchase your steamship passage home again. 

Well I think I have written a long letter now of my experiences, and I hope when you read the part telling what I do you will surely feel sorry for me won't you. But it is a fact I do all of that and more too. Never again will I bite on a servant's job. Well I will close now with love to all from Herbert L Matthews.

Address over.

If you write to this address I will surely receive your letter.

Herbert L Matthews
In/c Union Castle Mail
Steamship Co. Ltd
London England

Good night

Here's the actual letter:
Matthews Herbert - 1913-09-20 - Steamship Ltr

Herbert Matthews Autobiography

I left home while the family lived at Clinton, Illinois.  It was adventure in Blood at the age of 13, however my stays away from home were of short duration until Mothers Death, when I was about 17 years of age.  Family Parentage on the Fathers side was Scotch Irish and dated away back to Baltimore in 17th Century or thereabouts, at any rate Fathers relatives fought in the Revolutionary war.

My mother came to America from Stockholm Sweden when 8 weeks old and settled in Mississippi from there they journeyed northward to Sheffield Indiana where my Grandparents lived several years, later moving to northern Michigan Baldwin Michigan then later to Charlevoix where some of my mothers relatives live today.

My wanderlust activities began about the [time] Pres. Wm McKinley was President of the United States, My dad took me out of school when I was in the 7th grade and forced me to work and help support a large family, but the money earned was not used the [way] dad said it would be, he squandered it in inventions and patent attorneys fees which disgusted me, and in consequence caused me to leave home and hide out a great deal of the time. I have served sometime in various capacities in Department Stores in Chicago Ills, Seigel, Coopers,  The Boston Store, The Fair Store, Cap Factory in Chicago, Rabinger Bros, and Werner, Red Diamond Overall Factory St. Louis Mo.  Sewing Machine, Tin Shop, General Factory Work, Saw Mills, Veneer Mill, RR Round House Section Hand, Teamster, Hotel Work, Bell hop, Kitchen Help, Cook, Case And Martin Pie Factory  Chicago Ills. Worked for the Van nuy News Co Chicago Ills Traveled on Trains selling wares such as Fruit Candy, Magazines, Daily Papers, etc.  Was a Western Union Boy in Chicago.   Spent a year or so in Indpls prior to the time that my folks moved here.  Places worked at then were the Van Camp Packing Co  was a Box Nailer, and General Factory Work. Worked for a Wilmington Del Firm who installed the Stokers, Turbines, and steam fittings in the Mill St Plant of the Indpls Power & Light Co  was a steam fitters helper, was employed at Nordyke & Marmon Co as Line Shaft oiler, later employed in the tin Shop.

Entered the Postal Service on Dec 4th, 1916 at Indianapolis, Indiana.  Introduced to the employees and formally accepted for duty on that date, usually worked on the pick-up table, daubed small parcels, and assisted in sacking out Parcel Post Mail, the Parcel Post Law had only been in effect then about 4 years, all of the Indiana Parcel Post Mail in those days was worked in bins about 3 tiers high and now are outside the door leading into the Inquiry Section, they only occupied about 20 square feet, we used to clean up all the mail on the Indiana Rack by about 10:00 pm the out of town mail was very light then, I mean Parcel Post Mail, there were no Mail Handlers in those days, sacks were dumped by Clerks, there were no rest bars  neither were employees permitted to use stools or lean against tubs etc., standing up was the rule at all the cases, carriers stood for inspection on the steps in front steps of the Federal Bldg., about once each year, to see if shoes were shined, uniforms clean and neat.

Demerits were levied fast and furiously in those days for mis-handling mail, outbound schemes were thrown twice a year, nothing short of 99% on exams. and 100% on junctions, the twice rule applied to city schemes.  there were very few day runs, very little choice on vacations the hourly rate was 35 cts per hr.  40 cts if you were lucky enough to work a regular run, if a regular was late to more than 15 min he was told to take WOP and a sub was assigned at 40 ct time for that tour. Special Delivery Messengers walked or rode bikes. Mail was handled to the trains by horse drawn vehicles, on a contract basis with the Frank Bird Transfer Co. Your present Gen. Supt. of Mails and I made many trips to the Terminal Station to throw off the Mails which went by Interurban in those days. I joined up with the Feds and the Mutual Benefit Association when I received my first Pay, and have been in them ever since, I still expect to maintain my membership in both.

I resigned to join the Military in Aug 7th 1917, but Postmaster Robert E. Springsteen would not have it that way so he asked the Dept to grant me a indefinite Leave during my Military Service that was later done for all employees, on Oct. 10th 1917 he informed me that I had been promoted to Regular Clerk, I was then at Great lakes Ills  Before entering the Postal Service I had served considerable time aboard a British Tramp Steamer owned and operated by the Union Castle Steamship Co of London England, I served aboard that vessel in the capacity as the Captains Stewart, and we plyed between between New York Cape Ports and India, also European ports, such as Antwerp, Rotterdam, Belfast, Glasscow, Southhampton, and London England. After making several trips to these countries I came to Indpls because my parents had located here [since] when joining the Navy they were only allowed one recruit per day from this district, when they saw my qualifications that I had from my former service they decided that I was the man for that day so they immediately dismissed 20 applicants and took me, but I was 8 lbs underweight so I was told to go home and come back the following day, the doctor Thurston prescribed what I should eat before coming back the next day, which consisted of a big dinner plus as many bananas, and Buttermilk that I could eat, I did I ate two Plates of Spare Ribs and Beans, 1 dozen Bananas, 2 quarts of Buttermilk, after arising that morning until 2:00 pm that afternoon, when he weighed me the second time, he pronounced me as one lb over the minimum, I was given Transportation

(the remainder is missing)

Here’s the actual autobiography.

Matthews Herbert L — autobiography

For more on his steamship experience, see his steamship letter.

Herbert Matthews and Goldie Reeder

For the early life of Goldie, see this post.

After Herbert’s mother died, he left home and took various odd jobs in Chicago.  He had a wide variety of jobs (see his autobiography) – traveled on trains, worked for Barnum and Bailey Circus, did odd jobs in Indianapolis, etc.  He worked on a British ship and sailed around the world.  One of his buddies on the ship was Jim Hanna.  After the trip, Jim and Herbert went to Indianapolis where Herbert’s father and step-mother were living.  Jim Hanna met Laurinda (Renie) Hatcher.  She was Goldie’s great aunt (Amanda Cozatt’s sister).  Amanda was Nettie’s mother.  Jim and Renie later married.  Herbert met Goldie at Aunt Renie’s house.

Young Goldie and Herbert Matthews

They were married on January 6,  1916 in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - JAN. 7, 1916, p4.   Marriage License:  Herbert L. Matthews and Goldie Reeder

Newman’s daughter Iva married John Wickliff Denton in Indianapolis on June 1, 1916.

Herbert had passed the Civil Service examination on Oct. 2, 1915, and was notified by mail on April 12, 1916.  He sent his medical certificate on Oct. 8.  He was appointed as substitute clerk Nov. 25, went to work on Dec. 5 at 5:59 pm at the Indianapolis, getting a his first paychecks on Dec. 18th of $11.78, and Jan. 3, 1917 of $28.10.

He took a leave from there and entered the Navy in October 1917 for service in WW1.

Goldie and Herbert Matthews, as Herbert entered WW I service
Herbert Matthews left the postal service for WW I. The Indianapolis Star, November 14, 1917.

After the war, Herbert went back to the post office but remained in the Naval Reserve.

Their first child, James Douglas, was born at 10:00 am on Friday, February 7, 1919 at their residence at 717 E. 11th Street in Indianapolis.

In the 1920 census Newman (65) and Helen (52)  were living at 1036 N. King Avenue on the west side of Indianapolis with daughters Nellie R. (20, a typist), and Bernice E. (15), and a 13 month old boarder, Adolph Milharsie.  All had been born in Illinois but the baby (1 1/12), born in Indiana. Iva (23) and her husband, John Denton (34), were living in Indianapolis with son Glenn (15 mo.), and a Sybil Trosky (47), probably a boarder.  Mable (32) and her husband, Fred Reeder (32), were living in Posey County, Indiana.

In the 1920 census, Herbert L. Matthews (30, a postal clerk) and wife Goldie (22) were living with son James D. (11/12 months) at 450 N. Senate Avenue.

Their second child, Mary Luella, was born at 12:00 noon on Friday, May 28, 1920, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.  Anna Louise was born at 11:00 pm on Thursday, February 16, 1922 at Methodist Hospital.

Newman lived at 537 North Capital where daughter Betty walked to Manual High School.

Glenn Denton, Newman Matthews; c. 1921

Daughter Nellie married Ralph Sidney Cox in Marion County, Indiana on August 19, 1922. They remained in Indianapolis, and were living at 340 N. Hamilton when Newman died on January 25, 1923 of cancer of the pancreas and chronic intestinal nephritis.  His age was 68y7m28d.   He was buried in the Mackinaw Cemetery, Mackinaw, Illinois.

Newman Matthews Obituary, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), Jan 26, 1923.


N. H. Matthews, a former resident of Clinton and brother of C. H. Matthews, 403 East Main street, passed away at his home in Indianapolis, Ind., this morning at 2:30 o'clock, following an illness of several months.  He was 69 years old.

Newman Matthews was born in Mackinaw, Illinois in 1853.  For several years he lived in Clinton, having been a tinner.  At one time he was in business here, selling out to Herman Metz.  He was married to Miss Anna Swanson in 1887, who preceded him in death fifteen years ago.  He was married a second time and this wife and seven children survive.  They are Mrs. Fred Reeder, Mrs. Nellie Cox, Mrs. Iva [Denton], Herbert, Ralph, and Bernice of Indianapolis, Ind., and Carl, of Ann Arbor, Mich.  He also leaves two brothers and a sister, C. H. Matthews of Clinton; G. L. Matthews of Champaign, and Mrs. B. F. Spencer, of Clinton.  The funeral services and burial will be held at Mackinaw Saturday.


INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - JAN. 25, 1923, p24

OBITUARY - Matthews, N. H., 340 N. Hamilton Ave., passed away Thursday morning, January 25, at the Methodist Hospital.  Mr. Matthews was formerly in the radiator repair business at 142 W. 10th.  Funeral services at the Ragsdale & Price Parlors, 1219 W. Alabama 2:30 p.m., Friday, January 26.  Friends invited.  Burial at Mackinaw, Ill. Saturday afternoon.

Newman’s brother, Charles Holmes Matthews, died in Clinton, Illinois on September 21, 1926.  His wife Mary died on May 5, 1949.  Their son Solomon had died in 1910.  All were buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Stanley Edwards was born at 9:30 am on Thursday, May 17, 1923 at Deaconess Hospital.  Herbert Leslie, Jr., was born at 4:00 pm on Saturday, December 20, 1924 at Deaconess Hospital.

Herbert and Goldie Matthews, and their children left to right: Stan (baby), Jim, Anne, Mary

In April of 1927, for a postal promotional event, Herbert painted 3 foot postcards.

Three foot post cards. The Indianapolis Star, April 5, 1927.
Herbert Matthews (right)

Goldie, Betty, Jim, Herb “Les”, Anne, Mary, StanBetty Jean was born at 11:45 pm on Thursday, September 12, 1929 at their residence at 2837 N. Olney in Indianapolis.

Herbert and Goldie Matthews and their children. Back: Jim, Anne, Mary. Front: Betty, Herb, Stan

Son Jim also remembers the family living near the present site of the Masonic Temple.

In 1930, Herbert, Goldie, and family moved to New Philadelphia east of Indianapolis on US 40.  They moved there so they could have a garden and cow, as this was the worst of the depression.  Carl Eugene was born there at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 1931.

Jim Matthews, Buster; 25th Street Indianapolis; c. 1924-1925

In July 2003 Anne Matthews Dillane provided the following story for the Matthews reunion:

“This is an early childhood memory while we were living in Philly Indiana. One evening, Dad decided to take the family into town to see a movie. We all piled into our old Nash and drove the 20+ miles to the big city. Upon arriving, to our surprise we had an extra passenger, Buster, our faithful little dog!! He had ridden all the way with us, lying between the hood and running board of the car. Dad put him in one of the rooms at the post office where he worked while we were at the show. Of course, coming home he had a less airy ride and many loving laps to lay on!!”

They lived there until 1934 and then moved back to Indianapolis and rented a house at 405 N. Beville.  Their last child, Ethel May, was born in the Deaconess Hospital in Indianapolis on September 4, 1934.

Herbert, Stan, Mary, Carl, Anne, Betty, Herb “Les”, Goldie, Ethel; Taken at 414 Beville, looking at the back of 410 Beville

After about a year they moved up the street to 414 N. Beville.  In 1937 they bought the house at 410 N. Beville.

Margaret “Jeanne” Reeder, Mabel (Matthews) Reeder, Janet Cox (Nellie’s daughter), Nellie (Matthews) Cox, Helen (Kilby) Matthews, Iva (Matthews) Denton

Helen Kilby, Newman’s wife, died in September 1940.

Helen Kilby Obituary, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), Sep 21, 1940

Mrs. Helen Kilby Matthews, daughter of N. L. and Margaret Allensworth Kilby, was born on the Kilby homestead south of Mackinaw June 6, 1867, and died at 2:55 pm Friday [Sep 20, 1940] at the Illinois Christian Home in Jacksonville.  She was married to Newman Matthews of Indianapolis, Indiana, at Mackinaw in September, 1913.  They made their home in Indianapolis, where Mr. Matthews preceded her in death several years ago.  After his death she returned to this community to make her home until 1938 when she entered the Christian Home for the Aged at Jacksonville.

She is survived by one sister, Mrs. Inez Bollan of Havanna, onr brother, O. B. Kilby of Mackinaw; two step-sons and four step-daughters, Herbert and Ralph Matthews, Mrs. Mabel Reeder, Mrs. Iva Denton, Mrs. Nellie Cox, and Mrs. Bernice Blase, all of Indianapolis.  There are also several step-grandchildren and a host of friends in the Mackinaw community.  Funeral services were held in the Christian home at 2:30 pm Sunday, in charge of the Reverend M. L. Pontius of Jacksonville.  Burial was in the cemetery at the Home.  Pallbearers were Glenn Kilby of Virginia, Alvin Trimble of Hopedale, Warren Trimble of Pekin, Francis Kilby of Mackinaw, Glen Denton and Mr. Blase of Indianapolis.

In 1942, Herbert was called up to serve in WW II, but was sent home after breaking his shoulder in Canada.

Herbert Matthews, WW II

Herbert was an active member of several lodges, including the Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the Murat Shrine, and the Queen Esther Chapter of the eastern Star. He was very social and enjoyed the activities. Goldie was very reserved and tolerated them.

On right, Goldie and Herbert Matthews
On right, Goldie and Herbert Matthews
On right, Herbert Matthews, unknown man, Goldie Matthews

In 1962 Herbert was installed as the vice-president of the National Association of Retired Civil Employees. In 1963 he was installed as president. His chapter had over 400 members.

Herbert Matthews installed as president. The Indianapolis Star, January 1, 1963.
Herbert Matthews

Herbert was a friendly, fun-loving man, who enjoyed being the life of the party.

Herbert Matthews

Herbert and Goldie lived at 410 N. Beville when Herbert died on September 11, 1965 in the Veterans Hospital in Indianapolis due to a failing heart caused by emphysema.  His age was 76y1m4d.

Herbert Matthews obituary. The Indianapolis Star, September 12, 1965.
INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - SEP. 13, 1965, p17.

OBITUARY - Rites for Herbert L. Matthews, 76, 410 N. Beville, will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Flanner & Buchanan Fall Creek Mortuary.  Matthews was a retired postal clerk.  He died yesterday at the 10th Street Veterans Hospital.  He was a member of East Park Methodist Church, Capital City Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and Murat Shrine.

Goldie lived at 410 N. Beville a few more years, then sold the home and rented a double in the 2300 block of North Elizabeth Street on the east side of Indianapolis.  A few years later she rented a small house at 129 N. 2nd Avenue in Beech Grove.  When her health started to deteriorate, she moved into Crestwood Village South Apartments.  She died in the Hospice at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on April 23, 1981 of breast cancer.

Goldie Matthews obit, The Indianapolis Star, April 30, 1981.

Herbert and Goldie were buried in the Washington Park East Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Lee Reeder and Nettie Turner

Continued from Joseph Reeder and Christina Condon post.

Much thanks to Garry Knight for his extensive research on this story.

Goldie May was born to Lee Reeder (age 28) and Nettie Turner (age 31) on March 1, 1897.

Lee (age ~29) and Nettie (age 31) were married July 12, 1897 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Lee used his middle name James on the marriage license probably because he was still legally married to Martha “Mattie” Parks.

On December 20, 1898, Wilson S. Bowers posted a $500 bond (equal to $14,700 in 2014) to the court and was appointed guardian of Malinda (age 15) and John F (age 17) Reeder. On January 12, 1899, Wilson S. Bowers was granted a pension for being the guardian of Malinda A. ‘Addie’ Reeder.

On 1/17/1899, Gardner Condon died. He was the last surviving grandparent of Joseph and Christina’s children.

Lee was an alcoholic and Nettie lived a miserable life with him.  They were living in Dayton, Ohio from 1898 through 1905. Claudine was born to Lee (age 30) and Nettie (age 33) on May 6, 1899.

On April 9, 1900, Lizzie (age 27) married her second husband, James H Hursey (age 46) in McLean County, IL. This was the second marriage for James Hursey as well. In September 1895, James sued his former wife for divorce on the grounds of desertion and was granted a divorce.

In the 1900 Census, Lizzie (age 27) and James Hursey (age 46) were boarding with Roscoe Patchett (age 4) in the home of William Hursey (age 73) and his wife Sidney (age 72), likely parents of James. James’ occupation was a house painter. After this time, James must have adopted Roscoe Patchett because after this time Roscoe was known as Roscoe Hursey. Interestingly, living next door was the widow, Dorothea Shiner (age 66), the mother of Charles Shiner, future husband of Addie. Dorothea’s husband, Jacob, had died in 1888.

In the 1900 census, Lee (31) was living on 3rd Street in Dayton, Ohio with his wife Nettie (34), and children Otto E. (16), Nova (12), Goldie (3), and Claudine (1).  Otto and Nova had been born in Indiana, all others in Ohio.

Meanwhile, Lee Reeder’s sister Lillie (25) was living in Bloomington, Illinois at 1102 West Clay Street with her husband Earl Cox (28) and their daughters June (13), and Hazel (6).

Also in the 1900 census (June 1, 1900), Nova Davis (John and Nettie’s daughter, age 12) was boarding with a farmer, Chancy (sp?) Wallace (age 40) and his wife Alice (age 39) in Bethel Township, Clark County, OH. Nova was probably visiting at the time.

In the 1900 census, Lizzie’s first husband, Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 34) was living with his parents, Alan and Nancy, in Greenville, OH. He is listed as divorced, having been married for 9 years (presumably to Lizzie) with no children, and now with an occupation of hostler (looking after the horses of people staying at an Inn). A 32 year old female boarder, Haas Libbie, was also living with them. She’s listed as currently married for 13 years with 1 child. She has no occupation.

On September 27, 1901, Addie Reeder (age 18) married John Thomas Wagner (age 21) of Ft. Recovery, OH in Mercer County, OH. On the marriage license, Addie’s occupation was listed as music teacher. In the 1900 Census, John (age 19) was living with his parents and his occupation was listed as ‘laborer in factory’.

In 1904, Pearl was born to Lee (age 35) and Nettie (age 38) in Dayton, Ohio.

On February 4, 1904, James Gardner (age 24) married a widow, Pearl Lowders (age 24), in Darke County, OH. Pearl was the daughter of George Eliker and Eliza Hershey. James’ occupation was listed as clerking.

On June 22, 1905 Otto (age 21) enlisted in the 2nd US Infantry. On his enlistment entry, he was listed as having blue eyes, black hair, height of 5’ 11′ (tall for that time), and a dark complexion.

On April 18, 1906, Nova Davis (age 18) married Tony Urick (age 29) in Hamilton County, OH. This was Nova’s first marriage and Tony’s second (divorced). Tony was a finisher and Nova was a waitress.

In the fall of 1906, Lee (age 38) and Nettie (age 41) moved to Hartford City, Indiana, where Lee worked at a nitroglycerine plant.  Nettie died there on January 8, 1907 at the age of 40y11m20d.

HARTFORD CITY DAILY TIMES-GAZETTE;  Wednesday, January 9, 1907

Mrs. Lee Reeder, 40 years old, died Tuesday night about eight o'clock at the Reeder home on [77] West Commercial Street of consumption [tuberculosis].  The deceased is survived by a husband and three small children.  The family has lived here only about three months.  They came here from Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Reeder having obtained employment at the nitroglycerine plant north of the city.  The arrangements have not been made known.

The funeral of Mrs. Lee Reeder of West Commercial Street was held at the house Friday morning and burial was made.  Mrs. Reeder died Tuesday of consumption.

Novie Davis lived with Nettie and Lee Reeder off and on.  She did not get along with her step father Lee.  Novie was married when her mother died on January 8, 1907.  She lived in Shelbyville most of her life and had one daughter, Bertha (Pope), and two sons, Frank and Kenneth Urick.

On January 11, the county buried Nettie in the Hartford City IOOF Cemetery.  The day Nettie died, Lee put Goldie (~10) and Claudine (age 7) in a private foster home of 6-7 children run by an older couple.

The Evening News Hartford City, Indiana Saturday, 12 January 1907 Page 1, Column 5

Mother dies and father is unable to care for them.

Turned over to the Board of guardians

In the Circuit Court Saturday morning Levi Reeder willingly consented to having his three children committed to the Board of guardians and the three little ones are now being cared for at the county home, northwest of the city.

Mrs. Reeder died this week after a long illness consumption leaving her three children to be cared for by their father, who found themselves unable to do so and he was then obliged to ask assistance of the court. The children are Golda, age 10; Claudine, age 8; Pearl, age 3. The Reeder family came to Hartford City three months ago from Dayton, Ohio and had lived on W. Commercial St. The father is employed at the nitroglycerin plant.

On January 14, 1907 Pearl (age 2) was placed with George and Alice Claycomb (Nettie’s sister) and their children Glenn (age 14) and Lawrence (age 12) in Hartford City, Indiana. On the application, George’s occupation was listed as ‘oil pumper’. Alice and the foster home were told by the court that Lee was not to take the girls.

Goldie and Claudine stayed in the foster home only a few months.  Their father’s sister, Lillie Cox, and possibly another sister, Lizzie Hursey took them out to find homes for them.  They lived in Hudson, Illinois, and Lillie had five children of her own.

In March, Lee took Pearl from George and Alice Claycomb (Nettie’s half-sister) to live with Mary Reese, whom he would marry later that year. Mary raised Pearl. (Note: Fred’s write-up said Lee never came to get her there, but he continued to be married to Mary until their deaths in 1930.)

Board of State Charities

Indianapolis, IN

Date of visit May 28, 1907

Report of Pearl Reeder

Ward of Backford County

Placed with Alice and Geo. Claycomb, an oil pumper residing 6 miles N.E. of Upland, IN in Grant County.

The child was born -04, placed in this home 1-14-07.

Remarks: This child's father took her from Mrs. Claycomb, who is its aunt, in March ostensibly for visiting relatives in Illinois, promising to return it, but they have never heard a word from him since. She does not know the name of the place in Illinois.

Leila M. Thomas

State Agent

In a drunken state, Lee got into a fight with the man he was boarding with and as result, the man died. Note that Lee was not living with Mary and Pearl at this time.

The Dayton Herald, Dayton, Ohio, Friday, 02 Aug 1907, page 4, column 7.


Police searching for James Reeder, who beat Benjamin Davis with chair.

Victim dies at St. Elizabeth's.

The police are making a diligent search throughout the city for James Reeder, a junk collector, who inflicted such injuries on Benjamin Davis Monday evening as caused his death at the St. Elizabeth Hospital yesterday. Reader had been boarding at the Davis home in Arlington Heights near the Soldiers Home and came to the house in the evening under the influence of liquor, after having been discharged by his employer, M. Ostrow.

He was reprimanded by Mrs. Davis and in return began to abuse her. Her husband took her part, and also gave the drunken man a severe scolding. A quarrel followed, which ended by Reeder striking Davis with a chair four times. He then made his escape, and has not been located since.

Ribs penetrated lungs

A postmortem examination held at the hospital by Dr.'s Light and Grey show that two ribs have been fractured, and had penetrated the lungs, causing death. Coroner Schuater has had charge of the case. None of the facts in the case developed until the death of the man and he died without making a statement of any kind. Mrs. Davis told the corner that all the trouble arose over Reeder being drunk.

The dead man was 51 years old, and leaves two children and a wife.

The police are doing all in their power to locate the assailant but have been unable to do so as yet.
The Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Friday, 02 Aug 1907, page 11, column 1-2.


Efforts of police to locate a legislator of Benjamin Davis unsuccessful so far – relative promises to aid in capture.

The police and the County officials are leaving no stone unturned to locate James Reeder, wanted for the murder of Benjamin Davis, the story of which was detailed exclusively in the Daily News Thursday.

Several arrests have been made of men whom the police thought might know of Reeder’s whereabouts, but in each instance the parties professed ignorance of his whereabouts. A relative of Reeder’s was apprehended by Detective Tobias shortly after noon Friday and taken to headquarters. He says he does not know where Reeder is, and that he has been looking for him and will turn him over to the police and the event he can locate him.

Corner Schuster's postmortem examination of the body of Davis shows that death was due to the breaking of two ribs, which punctured lungs. This the family of the dead man say was caused when Reeder struck Davis with a chair last Monday night. The attending physician realized the condition of the man as a most serious one, and on Tuesday ordered him to the hospital. He died there Thursday morning without making a statement as to the fight.

The family testified before the corner, as stated Thursday, that Reeder was employed by M. Ostrow, a junk dealer, collecting junk for him, but was discharged last Monday. He was boarding with the Davis family and after being discharged became intoxicated, went to the house at Arlington Heights and abused the family, striking Davis with a chair. He left immediately and the police are now hunting diligently for him.

Davis is survived by a widow and two children. The arrangements for the funeral have not been completed. The body is still at Reisinger and Hibbler’s morgue and will probably be buried Saturday morning. Reeder has three children, small girls. His wife is dead.
The Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio, Friday, 02 Aug 1907, page 5, column 5-6.

The Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Saturday, 03 Aug 1907, page 9, column 3.


Levi Reeder admits inflicting injuries that caused the death of Benjamin Davis, but pleads self-defense

Knowing that he was a fugitive from justice and that a charge of manslaughter would be placed against him, and yet not fearing to face that charge, Levi Reeder appeared at police headquarters Friday night and surrendered himself to the police.

Reeder is the man who, on last Monday night struck Benjamin Davis of Arlington Heights about the body and head with a chair, inflicting injuries which resulted in the death of Davis Thursday morning. The police made a search for Reeder but he could not be found. His whereabouts were unknown until he came into headquarters Friday and told where he had been in gave his version of the story.

He stated that he went to the Davis home on Monday evening, where he had been boarding, and he found Davis in an intoxicated condition. He states that Davis was abusing his family and that he started in to abuse him. He says Davis drew a knife and was attempting to plunge it into him when he picked up a chair and struck him with it several times. Then he says he left the place and went to the home of some friends in the country, being out of work, and remained there until he learned that Davis was dead. He immediately started for the city with the determination to give himself up to the police.

Reeder’s story was taken and then he was locked up in the station house on a charge of manslaughter. He will be arraigned on that charge on Monday morning. Reader is a middle-aged man and has three small children living. His wife is dead.
The Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio, Saturday, 03 Aug 1907, page 11, column 3.


Man who killed Davis and fight is now locked in station house.

Claims he acted in self-defense.

Levi Reeder calmly walked into police headquarters and gave himself up to Lieut. Walsh. Reeder is the man the local department have been looking for since last Monday when he had a fight with Benjamin Davis, hitting the latter over the head and body with a chair, and inflicting wounds about and that resulted in his death.

After Reeder had told the lieutenant who he was, he said that he went to his boarding place, which is the residence of his victim, and found Davis in an intoxicated condition. He claims that Davis was creating a disturbance about the house and when he (Reeder) called Davis down, Davis produced a long knife and attempted to kill him. Reader, according to his own statement, had to defend himself and picked up a chair, with which he hit his antagonist several times, which caused death.

Reader is a middle-aged man and had a child living with him (likely Pearl). It is also claimed that he has two other children living in Bloomington, Illinois (obviously Goldie and Claudine). Immediately after the fight he says he went to the country, and has been there until last night, when he came back for the sole purpose of giving himself up. His victim was about 51 years of age and leaves a wife and two children.

Reader is left to the police station awaiting his hearing. He is charged with manslaughter.
The Dayton Herald, Dayton, Ohio, Saturday, 03 Aug 1907, page 2, column 6.


Levi Reeder, a man who struck Benjamin Davis with a chair during a fight last Monday inflicting injuries which caused his death Thursday and who had been hunted throughout the city the past two days without success calmly walked into police headquarters Friday evening and gave himself up. He claims he killed Davis in self-defense, saying that he, (Davis), was drunk when he came home. Reeder claims that he reprimanded him and a quarrel started. Davis drew a knife, according to Reeder, and he then used the chair in self-defense.

He told the police that he had been in the country since Monday and that he came to the city for the sole purpose of surrendering. It is now locked up in the station house with a charge of manslaughter standing against him. He will likely be removed to the jail for safekeeping. He has a child living here and two others in Bloomington, Illinois.
The Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Monday, 05 Aug 1907, page 10, column 3.


Placed against Frank Reeder by the widow of Benjamin Davis, whose death resulted from by injuries.

Mrs. Benjamin Davis, widow of Benjamin Davis, who died last Thursday morning from the effects of being struck by a chair in the hands of Frank reader, came to the city from her home in Arlington Heights Monday morning and swore out a warrant against reader, charging him with murder.

The fight, in which Davis received the injuries that later resulted in this death, occurred at the Davis home in Arlington Heights, near the Soldiers Home, last Monday. Reeder escaped but gave himself up to police Friday, claiming that he did not know that Davis was so badly injured and that he came to the city from a farm where he had been working as soon as he learned Davis was dead. He was locked up.

He states that the fight started when Davis came home drunk and started to abuse his wife. He was boarding at the place. Davis made a statement before death, however, that it was Reeder who came home drunk after losing his position and insulted Mrs. Davis and then struck him with a chair in the back and head, breaking two ribs which penetrated the lungs, causing death.

The case will come to trial in Magistrate Terry's court, having occurred outside the city limits.
The Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Monday, 05 Aug 1907, page 10, column 4.


The trial of Levi Reeder, charged with manslaughter, was set for Tuesday.
The Dayton Herald, Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, 06 Aug 1907, page 7, column 1.


Mrs. Benjamin Davis of New Arlington Heights whose husband died from the effects of being struck by a chair in the hands of Frank Reeder today swore out a warrant for Reeder’s arrest on a charge of murder. Davis and Reeder became involved in a fight at the former’s home last Monday. Reeder escaped but gave himself up to the police as soon as he learned Davis was dead. The case will be tried before Magistrate Terry.
The Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Wednesday 07 Aug 1907, page 9, column 3.


The hearing of Frank Reeder, now in the county jail, charged with man-slaughter for the killing of Benjamin Davis, will be held Thursday morning at 9 o’clock at Squire Holderman’s office.
The Greenville Journal, Greenville, Ohio, Thursday, 08 Aug 1907, page 3, column 7.

Fight costs him his life.

Dayton Ohio – Benjamin Davis had a fight with James Reeder here. Reader worth the Davis and the latter died at the hospital from his injuries. Davis had two ribs broken, his head In several places and internal injuries. Reader was arrested on the charge of murder.

On October 31, 1907, Lee (age 39) married Mary E. Reese (age 50), a widow in Montgomery County, Ohio. His occupation at the time was listed as a teamster. His residence was listed as 324 May St. and her’s as 441 Chapel St.

Lee did visit with Goldie at the school house after she was taken away, but after that, he was never heard from again.

In March, Lillie provided he required periodic report on Goldie (age 11) who was living with her at the time.

March 12, 1908

To the board of state charities, Indianapolis Indiana

Dear Sir: the following answers to your printed questions constitute my report in regard to Goldie Reeder.

In what condition is the child's health? Good

How many months has the child attended school during the past year? Eight

What kind of progress has the child made at school? Just tolerably

Has the child attended church and Sunday school regularly? Yes

Is the child obedient? Yes

And industrious? Yes

What can you say of the child's moral conduct? Very good

How old is the child? 11 = March 12, 1908

On June 21, 1908 Otto was discharged from the US military (2nd US Infantry).

In June, Lillie provided the required periodic report on Claudine (age 9), who was living with her at the time.

June 27, 1908

To the board of state charities; Indianapolis, Indiana

Dear Sir: The following answers to your printed questions constitute my report in regard to Claudine Reeder.

In what condition is the child's health? Very good

Is the child obedient? Yes and industrious? Yes

What can you say of the child's moral conduct? Very good

How old is the child? 9 May 1908

Remarks: child was not properly cared for where she was for year and have brought her home now.

Mrs. Lillie Cox

My nearest railroad station is Hudson.
My PO address is Hudson.
I reside in the Township of Hudson. County of McLean, Illinois.
Yours truly, Mrs. Lillie Cox, guardian.

Date June 27, 1908

Lillie wrote a note to the authorities explaining the situation. At this time, Lillie placed Goldie (age 11) with Tom Inman and his family in Vandalia, IL.

June 27, 1908

Hudson, Illinois

Board of state charities,<p>

I will drop you a few lines as I want to explain a few things to you. One of the girls is staying with me at the present time or can until I get her a home. That is Claudine. She was staying with a family out here and they did not send her to school not very much nor to Sunday school and they didn't treat her well in no way. So I took her away from them and will try getting her a new home. But Goldie is now living in Vandalia, Ill. she just went there last week and I think has a good home. Well I will fill out their blanks the best I know how.

From Lillie B Cox
Hudson, Ill.
McClean Co.

In July 1908, Lillie Cox (Lee’s sister, Claudine’s aunt) took Claudine from her foster home where Claudine was being mistreated.

In July, Lillie responded to an inquiry about the status of the girls.

July 6, 1908
Hudson, Illinois

Board of charities,

Dear friends, I will answer your letter which came to hand a few days ago and will say I will be glad to give you any information you ask concerning the little girls. I would've liked to keep the girls with me but I find it impossible to do so. We have five children of our own and my husband works by the day this summer. So you see it is about all we can do to keep things agoing and I find it real hard to get the little girls homes. Goldie has a good home I think. I will give you her address or the folks she is living with. His name is Tom Inman, Arandalia, Ill., RR2 and Claudine is still with me but as soon as I find her a home I will write you. I can't tell you a thing about Pearl. Her father hasn't been at my home for over a year. The last I heard from her she was in Dayton, Ohio. Her father and I have no correspondence at all. I will be glad to answer any questions you ask me if I can.

Yours most respectfully,
Lillie B Cox
Hudson, Ill.

In August, Lillie wrote the authorities for permission to place Claudine with her father, Lee who had remarried (to Mary Reese, where Pearl was living).

August 3, 1908
Hudson, Ill.

Mary Carmichael

Dear friend,

I thought I would write you a few lines this morning concerning my nieces I have care of. I have a letter from Goldie and also from the lady she is living with and it seems as though this woman isn't satisfied with Goldie, but Goldie is well pleased with her home or at least that is what she writes me and I am afraid that this woman is not going to keep her and I have Claudine here with me yet it seems as though homes are awful scarce. I have tried awful hard to get the little girls homes but it is impossible for me to do so. My husband is not very stout, and he just works by the day to make a living and we have five children and none old enough to look out for themselves. So you see we have our hands full, and what I want to say was this will you give me full consent to let their father have them, he is married again and he is big and stout and I think he had ought to be the one to look after them. And I hear he is leading a better life, you know the bad can reform and I hope he does for his children’s sake anyway. He has never wrote to me for the children since he got married but he did want them before he was married but I knew he couldn't care for them then. But I know he would take them gladly now. I look at it this way, if you do let him have them and he don't do by them like he should then you know the authorities will see that they are cared for there in Dayton as well as in any place else. Of course strangers could take them to a home better than I could. Every time I speak of taking them to a home tears comes in their eyes and of course I couldn't stand that. You can write to any of my neighbors and they will tell you that I have done all I can for the girls. I will give you the names of any or all of them if you say so and they can tell you all about me, and so if you say so we will give their father another trial. That will take the responsibility off my shoulders.

Of course I want your full consent as I don't want to get in any trouble. I will enclose a stamp for an early reply.

Yours most respect,
Mrs. Lillie B Cox
Hudson, Ill.
McClain Co.
RR No. 1

In October, Lillie could not find homes for the girls, so she took them nearby to Bloomington, Illinois and put them in the Lucy Morgan Home for girls, run by a cruel woman who made the girls do hard work.

STATE OF ILLINOIS, County of McClean, ss.        

YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED to take forthwith into your charge and care Goldie May Reeder, aged 11 years March 12th, 1908, and Claudine Ruby Reeder, aged 9 years May 8th, 1908, who have been declared dependent girls and convey them to the Girls Industrial Home of McClean County, Illinois.  And of this warrant you are commanded to make due return to this Court after its execution.

Witness, my hand and seal of our said County Court at Bloomington,
This 10th day of October A.D. 1908
C. C. Hassler     Clerk,
By   C. W. Atkinson     Deputy.

On December 22, 1908, Otto (age 24) married Mabel Mathews (age 27) in Hamilton County, Ohio. Otto’s occupation was listed as ‘painter’.

In March 1909, Lillie responded to authorities that the girls had been taken to the Industrial Girls Home.

March 23
Hudson, Illinois


In regard to the Reeder girls I will say they are not in my care anymore. I felt like I couldn't look after them any longer and they are now at the Girls Industrial Home in Bloomington. If you want any information you'll have to write to them. Will say they are at a good home and was well and hardy when I seen them last, couple of weeks ago.

Yours respectively,
Mrs. Lillie B Cox
Hudson, Ill.

Claudine was taken out at age 10 by a young couple, Joseph Rudin (age 27), and his wife of four years, Anne (age 23).  They lived and farmed on his father’s farm (location illegible), and also owned a farm in Texas.  They apparently wanted Claudine to baby-sit their 3-year old son and 10 month old daughter.

Application and agreement

I hereby apply to the board of managers of the Girls Industrial Home of McLean County, Illinois, to be given the custody and control of Claudine Reeder, a female child about 10 years old, or such other child as may, by the consent of said board, be selected. This application is made subject to the rules of said board, and the questions and answers hereto and to the attached contract, which contract I agree to execute before taking charge of said child, should this application be granted.

Questions to be answered by applicant

1. Full name and age of applicant: husband Joseph Rudin, age 27; wife Annie Rudin, age 23.

2. Of what country is applicant a native? US

3. Is applicant a citizen of the United States? Yes

4. How long married? 4 years

5. Give name of last two places of residence and length of residence at each place:   live at the same place the last 15 years

6. Any children? If so, how many, their ages and sex? 2 - Boy 3 yrs and 1 girl 10 months

7. What is applicants occupation? Farming

8. Does wife attend to household work in person? Yes

9. What, if any, property do you? I own a farm in Texas but live on my father's farm

10. Post office address Cissna Park Illinois

11. Residence Pigeon Grove Township, Iroquois County

12. How far to nearest school house? 60 rods

13. Do you believe in the Christian religion? Yes

14. Will you legally adopt a child? No

15. If not adopted, what financial aid will you give when the child is of legal age? I will give her fifty dollars.

16. Will you keep child until she is of legal age? Yes

17. If not, state for what time and for what kind of employment you wish to take girl.

18. References (not less than two): G R Stoller, M L Stoubus, Lewis F Friedinger, Lillian Bahr.

The answers to the above questions and all the representations and statements in this application are true in substance and in fact, and are assented to and signed by me.

Applicant: Joseph Rudin
Applicant: Annie Rudin

In the 1910 census, Claudine (age 11) was a hired girl in the home of Joseph (age 27) and Anne (age 23) Rudin with their two girls, ages 8 and 1 year old baby. Joseph was  farmer.

Within a year, Goldie was taken out of the orphanage by a 64 year old retired farmer, Daniel Webster Spidle (born 10 Aug 1844 in Mechnicsberg, PA), and his wife, Eliza Caroline English (born July 1849 in Ohio), age 56.  Daniel and Eliza were married 23 Dec 1869 in Knox, ILL. They were from Atlanta, in the northeast corner of Logan County, the neighboring county southwest of McLean.  They also owned a 60 acre farm two miles east of Atlanta.  They had been married 40 years, and had a 25 year old married daughter Bertha.  Spidle stated on the application that he was taking her ‘Because I want a child to take in my home as a full member of the family.’

Daniel’s parents were John Spidle and Jane Brocker, both of Mechnicsberg, PA. Daniel was a civil war veteran, fighting for the 12th Regiment Illinois Infantry between October 27, 1864 and July 10, 1865. He was 5’ 6′ tall, with hazel eyes and light hair.

Application and agreement

I hereby apply to the board of managers of the Girls Industrial Home of McLean County, Illinois, to be given the custody and control of Goldie Reeder, a female child about 12 years old, or such other child as may, by the consent of said board, be selected. This application is made subject to the rules of said board, and the questions and answers hereto and to the attached contract, which contract I agree to execute before taking charge of said child, should this application be granted.

Questions to be answered by applicant

1. Full name and age of applicant: husband Daniel W Spidle, age 64; wife Eliza C Spidle, age 56.

2. Of what country is applicant a native? US of America

3. Is applicant a citizen of the United States? Yes

4. How long married? 40 years

5. Give name of last two places of residence and length of residence at each place: Eminence Iroquois Co., Ill. 17 years, in Atlanta, Ill. 6 years

6. Any children? If so, how many, their ages and sex? One daughter – 25 years – married

7. What is applicants occupation? Retired farmer

8. Does wife attend to household work in person? Yes

9. What, if any, property do you? House in Atlanta Illinois +60 acres farmland 2 miles east of Atlanta

10. Post office address Atlanta Illinois

11. Residence Atlanta Illinois

12. How far to nearest school house? Two blocks

13. Do you believe in the Christian religion? Yes

14. Will you legally adopt a child? No

15. If not adopted, what financial aid will you give when the child is of legal age? Can't say until I know child

16. Will you keep child until she is of legal age? Can't say

17. If not, state for what time and for what kind of employment you wish to take girl. I want a child to take in my home as a full member of the family.

18. References (not less than two): John Bevan, J. S. Curtis, Atlanta Illinois

The answers to the above questions and all the representations and statements in this application are true in substance and in fact, and are assented to and signed by me.

Applicant: Daniel W Spidle

In the 1910 census (April 16, 1910), James Hursey (age 56), his wife Lizzie (age 37), and Roscoe (age 14) were living in Bloomington, IL. This was James second marriage. James occupation was listed as the proprietor of a boarding house and there were 5 male boarders listed.

In the 1910 census (April 18, 1910), Lizzie’s first husband Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 44) was still living with his mother, Nancy, in Greenville, OH. Nancy is listed as being a widow, and having 2 children, 1 still living. Living with them was a single, 55 year-old man John Cozatt, listed as Nancy’s brother. Elmer and John are listed as not having an occupation.

Goldie wasn’t found in the 1910 Census. Daniel Spidle and Eliza were living by themselves (April 20, 1910).

In the 1910 Census (May 3, 1910), Lee Reeder (age 41) and his wife Mary (age 52), along with Lee’s daughter Pearl (age 6) were boarding with four other boarders in the home of Theodore and Elizabeth Nils and their daughter, 8 year old Lucile Nils in Dayton, OH. Theodore was a molder in a foundry. Lee was a brick maker in a brickyard.

In the 1910 census (May 3, 1910), Lillie (35) and her husband Earl Franklin Cox (37) were farming in McLean Co.,  Hudson Twp., Illinois, with their five children, Ethel (15), Marie (13), Belle and Bess (both 10), and Earl F. (7).

In the 1910 census (May 5, 1910), Claudine (11) was still living with Joseph and Anne Rudin and their two daughters, Clarence (8) and Nettie (1), in Pigeon Grove, Iroquois County, IL.

On August 20, 1910, James Gardner Reeder married May King in Marion County, IN. It is unknown whether Pearl Lowder (married six years previously) died or they divorced.

Goldie’s stay apparently didn’t last long, and she was taken at age 13 by James H. Hursey of Bloomington, Illinois, the husband of her aunt, Lizzie Hursey.  James had a boarding house in Bloomington.

Goldie Reeder
Industrial Women’s Home
Indentured to James H. Hursey of Bloomington, ILL

Daniel Spidle died on December 9, 1927 and is buried in the Mountjoy Cemetery in Atlanta, ILL.

James L. Reeder, a laborer, was found in the Dayton, Ohio city directory in 1910, living at 721 E. 5th Street.  A James Reeder was also found in the 1911 directory living at 1118 East 5th Street.  He was not found after that.

On September 28, 1910, Charles Shiner (age 33), son of Jacob and Dorothea ‘Dorothy’ (Albaugh) Shiner, married Addie Reeder (age 27) in Bloomington, IL. Addie must have divorced John Thomas Wagner by this time. [John was still living in 1942 based on his WW II draft card.] Charles was the 9th child of 11 in Jacob and Dorothy’s family. Jacob and Dorothy married in 1853 shortly after Jacob’s return form the Mexican War. They came to McLean County, IL., by covered wagon and settled on a farm about 5 miles east of Hudson. James provided wood for fuel for the Illinois Central railroad and Normal University. Unusual for the time, Dorothy’s mother lived to 96 years, and her grandfather lived to 110 years.

On November 11, 1910, Nettie’s father died.

Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio, Friday, 11 Nov 1910, page 3, column 7.

Recovers from fracture; dies of consumption

Jameson V. Turner, aged and well-known resident, succumbs to ravages of tuberculosis at home of his son.

After recovering from a triple fracture of the leg, James V Turner, 73 years old, died at the residence of his son, William Turner, 531 S. College St., Thursday morning at 11 o'clock from tuberculosis.

Mr. Turner was a carpenter portrayed and was well-known in this city, and resided here for a number of years. Some time ago Mr. Turner was repairing roof, when he lost his balance and fell, breaking his leg in three places. He recovered from this only to fall a victim to the ravages of the dread disease.

Despite his advanced age, Mr. Turner was active and was always working at his trade. He is survived by seven children. The funeral will be held Saturday morning at 11 o'clock from his late residence. Burial will be made in Woodland Cemetery.
Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Friday, 11 Nov 1910, page 6, column 6.

James V Turner

The funeral of James V Turner, who died Thursday morning, will be held Saturday morning at 11 o'clock at the late residence, 531 South College St. Interment was made in Woodland Cemetery. Death resulted from a lingering malady which developed after Mr. Turner had received a triple fracture of the leg. He was injured by falling from a roof which he was engaged in repairing. It apparently recovered, but was attacked sometime later with the illness which carried him away. He leaves seven children.
Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio, Saturday, 12 Nov 1910, page 15, column 6.

James V Turner

Saturday morning at 11 o'clock the funeral of James V Turner, who died Thursday morning, will be conducted from the residence of his son, William Turner, 531 South College St. The deceased was well known in the city and died from tuberculosis. Burial will be made in Woodland Cemetery.
Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio, Sunday, 13 Nov 1910, page 11, column 3.

James V Turner

The funeral of James V Turner, who died Thursday morning, was held Saturday morning at a 11 o'clock from the residence of his son, William, 531 South College St. Burial was made in Woodland Cemetery.

In the 1913 Bloomington, Illinois City Directory, James H Hursey and Lizzie ran a boarding house at 813 E Washington. Roscoe was living wth them.

James H Hursey (age 61), husband of Lizzie Reeder (age 41) died of a stroke. He was a blacksmith, painter, and ran a boarding house.

The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) · Wed, Apr 8, 1914 · Page 6

Death of J.H. Hurley

J.H. Hurley died Tuesday afternoon at the family residence, 813 East Washington street, following a paralytic stroke, Monday afternoon. He was able to return to his home, but his condition grew worse during the night. A complication of Bright’s disease and paralysis, caused his death.

Deceased was born in Hudson, Feb. 2, 1853, and was 61 years of age. Deceased was married to Miss Elizabeth Patchett, on April 9, 1900, to this union there were no children. Mr. Hursey was a blacksmith by trade.

He is survived by a step-son, Roscoe Patchett, and wife besides these he leaves the following: George, a patrolman on the Bloomington Police force; Charles of Peoria; Mrs. Euri Blough, of Kansas, and Mary Houston, of this city. Deceased was a member of the Court of Honor. His death will come as a surprise to his many friends, and will be learned of with deep regret.

In 1914, Earl Franklin Cox (age 41) and Lillie (age 39) moved from Hudson, Illinois to Bloomington, Illinois where he operated a water power mill on the Mackinaw River.

Claudine was adopted by a German family named Funk and raised by them.  Goldie lived with her Aunt Lizzie until she was 18.  She then (early 1915) went to Indianapolis to stay with her Uncle Frank Turner, Nettie’s brother, until she found work.  Goldie took various housekeeper jobs and lived with the employers.  She was housekeeping for a Doctor and his family when she met Herbert Matthews in 1915.

Lizzie and Roscoe must have moved from Bloomington, IL to Dayton, OH in late 1915 or early 1916. In the 1915 Bloomington directory, only Roscoe is listed. Neither is listed in the 1915 Dayton directory. In the 1916 Dayton Directory, Lizzie (age 44) and Roscoe were living at 27 S Horton with Lizzie listed as a widow of James.

On Jan 6, 1916, Goldie (nearly 19 years old) married Herbert Matthews in Indianapolis, IN.

On July 23, 1918, Claudine (age 19) married Paul Richard Lawhorn (age 19) of Shelbyville, IN. Paul was an express driver.

In 1918, William Perry Reeder (age 41) was living with his sister, Lillie Cox at 815 East Front Street in Bloomington, IL. He was a farm laborer. He is described as medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and light colored hair. (WW I draft card)

In the 1920 census Lee “James” (age 51) and Mary (age 62) were living (likely boarding) at 183 E. Rich Street, Precinct C of Columbus, Ohio. Along with Mary and Lee at the same address were Henry Riley (age (82) and Henry Hultz (age 33). Lee was listed as a laborer in a junk shop.

In the 1920 census, Lizzie’s first husband, Elmer (age 54) was boarding with James Cozatt and his wife Phebe in Greenville, OH. Living with them was the elder widowed sister of Phebe, Maggie Douglas. Elmer’s occupation is listed as ‘day work’.

In the 1920 census of Dayton, OH, Lizzie (age 47) was listed as a widower (of husband Jim Hursey). Their son, Roscoe (age 23), was listed as a lathe worker at a brass factory. Lizzie was listed as a saleswoman at a delicatessen. If Roscoe was Lizzie’s child, she would have had him at age 24 in 1897.

In the 1920 census, Claudine (age 20) was married and living with her step-sister Nova Davis (age 32) and Nova’s husband Anthony Urick (age 42) and their children, Bertha (age 12), Frank (age 10), and Kenneth (age 4). Claudine’s son Paul Jr. (age 5 months), was also living with them. Anthony was working as a finisher at a furniture factory, and Nova was working as a launderer.

On October 21, 1922, Pearl (age 18) married Theodore R. Ewry (age 22) in Montgomery County, Ohio. Both were listed as being born in Dayton, Ohio. Theodore was listed as a ‘press-man’ and Pearl as a ‘binder’.

Otto lived with Uncle Frank Turner for a while. Otto drank denatured alcohol in Dayton, Ohio during prohibition and lost his sight.  He was put in a VA hospital in 1924. Otto was transferred to the Marion VA (Grant Co., Indiana) from the Dayton VA (Montgomery Co., Ohio) in 1925 as an invalid. He was blind and his diagnosis was bilateral almost total, probably toxic pyorrhea. His closest relative was listed as an uncle David Martin of 1500 W 9th St., Muncie, IN. He is listed as a resident of the U.S. VA Facility on the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census, Center Township, Grant County, Indiana. He remained there until he died.

John P. Davis (Nettie’s first husband, and Nova’s father) died suddenly at age 64 in 1926.

1926 Obituaries from the Shelbyville Democrat Newspaper, Shelbyville, Indiana, complied by Paula Karmire, page 140.

August 11, 1926

John P.  Davis died suddenly

Intense heat thought to have caused heart attack that hastened death of man

John P Davis, 64 years old, well-known resident of the city, died very suddenly at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Helen Urich, 345 East Washington St., at 1:30 o'clock this afternoon. It was stated that Mr. Davis had been pulling sugar corn in a field near the city today and is thought to have been overcome with heat which brought on a heart attack resulting in death. Following the man's death, Dr. G I Inlow, Shelbyville for a number of years coroner, was called.

Six Mr. Davis has been a resident of and had many friends who will regret to learn of his sudden death. He was one of the most ardent workers in the Vine Street M P Church and was a man of splendid character. Besides the daughter atoms only died, Mr. Davis is survived by one brother, Charles Davis, of Portland Indiana, and three sisters. One sister, Mrs. Fred Bain, resides at Portland and two sisters lives at Muncie.

For a number of years Mr. Davis was employed at the Indian Refining Company. He had apparently been in the best of health when he left his home this morning and it is thought that the intense heat might have caused the heart attack. When taken ill, the man was brought to his daughter's home where he only lived for a short time after being stricken.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later by Platt and Murphy, funeral directors.
1926 Obituaries from the Shelbyville Republican, Shelbyville, Indiana, compiled by Charlene Hoff, page 113.

Thursday, August 12, 1926

Davis funeral to be Friday

Services will be held at 2 PM tomorrow at Vine Street MP Church.

Died suddenly Wednesday

Funeral services for John P Davis, a 64, whose death occurred suddenly at 1:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Helen Ulrich of this city, will be held at 2 PM Friday at the Vine St. Methodist Protestant church. The Rev. RE Crider, pastor of the church, will have charge of the services. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery in charge of Platt and Murphy, funeral directors.

Mr. Davis suffered a sunstroke, while working in the field for George Ogden, east of the city. He was taken to the home of his daughter, where death occurred before medical aid could be obtained. The body of the deceased has been taken to the funeral home of Platt and Murphy on E. Washington St., where friends may call at any time after 6 o'clock this evening, until the time of the funeral services.

Born in Salem Indiana November 12, 1861, Mr. Davis was the son of Isaac and Mahaley Davis. He had resided in Shelbyville for a number of years. He was formerly employed by the Indian Refining Company and recently has been an employee of the Blanchard-Hamilton Furniture Company. He was a devoted member of the Vine St. Methodist Protestant Church.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Davis is survived by two brothers, Alonzo Davis of Richmond Indiana, and Charles Davis of Portland Indiana, and three sisters.
1926 Obituaries from the Shelbyville Republican, Shelbyville, Indiana, compiled by Charlene Hoff, page 111.

Wednesday, August 11, 1926

Sudden death occurs today

John P Davis dies suddenly at 1:30 PM at the home of daughter

Taken ill in the field

John P Davis, a 64, well-known resident of the city died suddenly at 1:30 o'clock today at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Helen Urich. Mr. Davis was taken suddenly ill while working in the field of George Ogden, east of the city. He was brought to the home of his daughter in this city where he died before medical aid could be obtained.

Mr. Davis had resided in this city for a number of years. He was formerly employed by the Indian Refining Company and recently has been in the employee of the Blanchard-Hamilton Furniture Company. He was a devoted member of the Pine St. Methodist Protestant Church.

Besides his daughter he is survived by one brother, Charles Davis and a sister, Mrs. Fred Bane, both of Portland Indiana, two sisters, residing at Muncie Indiana.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later by Platt and Murphy, funeral directors.

Lee (age 61) and Mary (age 72) died one day apart in March of 1930.

The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, 08 Mar 1930, page 2, Column 4

REEDER - Mrs. Mary, aged 78, died suddenly Saturday at her home of paralysis. She had suffered a stroke of paralysis some time ago, a second stroke resulting in death. Survivors: Husband, James Reeder; one brother and one sister. The body is at the Egan-Ryan Chapel where services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. with burial in Union Cemetery.
The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, Monday, 10 Mar 1930, page 2-A, column 5.

Mr. and Mrs. James Reeder, ??? Kilbourne Street, will be buried side by side Tuesday in Mt. Union Cemetery.

Death had separated the aged couple but only for a few hours. Mrs. Mary Reeder, aged 72, died at 2 a.m. Saturday at her home. She had been suffering from paralysis. The husband died at 8 a.m. Sunday of a heart attack, at the age of 70.

Authorities have failed to locate any relatives in Columbus and are appealing to police at Chicago in an effort to find a son.

After making arrangements for his wide’s funeral at the Egan-Ryan Co., Reeder returned to his home and became suddenly ill. Neighbors found him unconscious Sunday morning and he was taken to St. Francis Hospital. Coroner Joseph Murphy pronounced death due to heart trouble.

Funeral services for the couple will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Egan-Ryan Chapel. Burial will be in Union Cemetery.
The Columbus Citizen, Columbus Ohio, Monday, 10 Mar 1930, page 12, column 1.


Double funeral Tuesday for aged man and wife

Double funeral services will be held for James Reeder, 70, and his wife, Mrs. Mary Reeder, 72, who died within a few hours of each other Saturday and Sunday. Reeder died of a heart disease at 8:30 a.m. Sunday as he was being taken to St. Francis Hospital in a police ambulance. His wife died Saturday of paralysis. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Egan-Ryan Chapel, 403 E. Broad Street, with burial at Union Cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Montgomery County, OH, Roscoe Hursey (age 34), son of Lizzie’s second husband James Hursey, was listed as the head of the household and Lizzie (age 57) was living with him. Roscoe was listed as divorced and living on a farm. Roscoe’s occupation was a machinist in an electrical refrigeration plant.

In the 1930 census, Paul Lawhorn (age 31) and Claudine (age 31) were living in Richmond, IN with their two sons, Paul Jr. (age 10), and Cleo B. (age 8).

Evangelo ‘Van’ Roseland and Lizzie Reeder must have married in 1938. In the 1936 Dayton Directory, Van Roseland was listed as single and a waiter and living at 42 S Williams. Roscoe (James’ Hursey’s son) was married to a woman named Betty, lived at 2003 Preston, and was a group leader at 300 Taylor. Lizzie was not found in the Directory under Reeder, Patchett, or Hursey. In the 1937 Dayton Directory, Van and Elizabeth were listed as married and living at 47 S Williams. In the 1938 Dayton Directory, Van was listed as a cook at Riviera, Inc and Elizabeth was listed as a dishwasher at Ark Restaurant. In the 1939 Dayton Directory, Van and Lizzie were living in the same house and he was still a cook.

Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 73), Lizzie’s first husband, died on Feb 25, 1939 (OH death index).

In the 1940 census, Roscoe Hursey (age 44) was living in Dayton, OH with his wife Betty (age 33) and Betty’s mother, May Oiwine. Roscoe is listed as a tool maker at the Electric Refrigeration Mfg. Co.

In the 1940 census, Paul Lawhorn (age 41) and Claudine (age 41) were still living in Richmond, IN with their two sons, Paul Jr. (age 20), and Cleo B. (age 18). Also living with them were their daughter-in-law Edna (age 17) and their grandson Leslie (age less than a year). Paul was a laborer at Harris Produce. Paul Jr. was working at a furniture company.

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Sun, May 3, 1942

Cox-Carter Wedding Told

Mrs. Lillie B. Cox, 508 East Mulberry street, announces the marriage of her daughter, Martha Ellen, to J. Donald Carter, son of Mrs. Mary E. Carter, 814 East Locust street.

The double ring ceremony took place Dec. 26, 1941, in St. Louis, Mo.

Mrs. Carter has been affiliated with the adult education group and Mr. Carter is a former student at Illinois State Normal university.

The couple will make their home in Rock Island where Mr. Carter will be employed.

In the 1942, 1944, 1950, 1955, 1959 Dayton Directories, Roscoe Hursey (son of Lizzie’s second husband James Hursey) and a wife named Mildred were living at 2903 Preston. Roscoe was still a tool maker for Frigidaire Mfg Div.

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Tue, Aug 4, 1942

Visits Sisters

Mrs. Van Rosalind (Lizzie) of Dayton, Ohio, formerly Mrs. Jim Hersey of Bloomington and Hudson, is visiting her sisters, Mrs. Lily Cox of 506 East Mulberry street and Mrs. Charles Shiner of Hudson.
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

The, Sep. 2, 1943

Pfc. Edward F. Cox, who has been visiting his mother, Mrs. Lillie B. Cox, 508 East Mulberry street, has returned to his station at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Ga. He is stationed with the field artillery.

On Friday, November 19, 1943, Lillie B. Cox was admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital.

On November 28, 1943, Lillie Reeder Cox (age 69) died at St. Joseph’s hospital. In her obituary it says she and Earl had 7 children, two of which preceded her in death, and 7 grandchildren.

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Monday, November 29, 1943

Mrs. Lillie Cox die in hospital

Mrs. Lillie Belle Cox of 508 East Mulberry Street died at St. Joseph’s hospital, at 8:50 am Sunday.

She was born at Dayton, Ohio Nov. 12, 1874, daughter of Joseph Nad Catherine Reeder, a pioneer Ohio family. She spent her girlhood in Greenville, Ohio, and was married to E.F. Cox of Greenville in 1894. Shortly afterwards they came to Illinois and established a home at Hudson. In 1914, they moved to Bloomington, where the family has resided since.

Surviving are the husband, E.F. Cox, and the following children, Mrs. Dean Dillon, of Normal, Earl R. Cox of Chicago, Mrs. Don Carter, who is at present in Bloomington, Mrs. R.J. Deane of Bloomington, Edward F. Cox of Camp Campbell, Ky. Two daughters, Belle and Marie, preceded her in death.

Also surviving are two sisters and two brothers, Mrs. Addie Shiner of Hudson, Mrs. Van Roseland of Dayton, Ohio, and James and Levi Reeder of Dayton, Ohio, and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the Beck memorial home. Burial will be in the Hudson Cemetery. Definite date for the services will be announced later pending the arrival of the son, and a grandson, Roger A. Deane, who is at the army base, Boston, Mass.

Friends may call at the funeral home.
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Thu, Dec 2, 1943

Rites for Mrs. Cox

Rev. Loyal M. Thompson officiated at funeral services held Wednesday for Mrs. Lillie B. Cox at 2 PM. at the Beck funeral home. Mrs. Wayne Balty sang, accompanied by Mrs. T.O. Tiffin at the organ. The pallbearer were Michael Heister, Harley Dillon, Glenn Stevens, Thomas Craig, Earl Baird and Hershel Johnson. Burial was at Hudson.
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Fri, Dec 3, 1943

Cox Funeral Attended by Out of Town People

Out of town people attending the funeral of Mrs. Lillie B. Cox, were Mr. and Mrs. Earl Cox and family, Mr. and Mrs. George Ellington and family of Chicago; James Reeder, Mrs. Van Roseland and Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Hursey, all of Dayton, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shiner of Hudson; Mrs. Edna McAnnelly of Danville; Pfc. Edward Cox, Camp Campbell, Ky.; Pvt. Roger A. Deane, army base, Boston; Pfc. Don Carter of Denver. The funeral was held Wednesday afternoon in the Beck memorial home, with the Rev. Loyal M. Thompson officiating. Mrs. Wayne Batty was singer, accompanied by Mrs. T.O. Tiffin, organist.

On Thursday, Dec. 9, 1943, Earl Cox (age 71) was admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital. He was released on Jan 3, 1944.

In the 1944 Dayton Directory, Van and Lizzie were still living at 47 S Williams. Van is still listed as a cook.

On December 11, 1944, Earl Franklin Cox (age 72) died at St. Joseph’s hospital.

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Tue, Dec 12, 1944

Earl Frank Cox Dies in Hospital

Earl Frank Cox, 1115 Colton Avenue, died at 8:15 am. Monday at St. Joseph’s hospital.

Mr. Cox was born July 5, 1872 in Darke County, Ohio, the son of Jesse and Catherine Cox. He was married to Lily Reeder of Greenville, Ohio, and came to Hudson in 1894 where he engaged in farming. Since 1914, he had made his home in Bloomington.

He was preceded in death by his wife, who died Nov. 28, 1943, and two daughters. Mr. Cox was the last of 14 brothers and sisters and was the last man to operate the old water power mill on the Mackinaw River in the vicinity of Kappa.

Surviving are the following children: Corp. Edward F. Cox, now on the western front in Europe; Earl Cox, Chicago; Mrs. Dean Dillon, Normal; Mrs. R. Deane and Mrs. Don Carter, both of Bloomington; seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 10 am. Wednesday at the Beck Memorial home. Burial will be in the Hudson cemetery.
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Wed, Dec 13, 1944

Cox Funeral

Funeral services for Earl F. Cox were held at the Beck Memorial home at 10 am. Wednesday with the Rev. Daniel J. Gretzinger officiating. The organist was Mrs. T.O. Tiffin. Henry Charles sang. Pallbearers were Harley Dillon, Charles Shiner, Lyle Swope, Gilbert Boughton, Hershal Johnson and Carroll Shiner. Burial was in the Hudson cemetery.

Otto (age 65) died in 1950. On his death certificate, the cause of death was listed as: syphilis tertiary, meningoencephalitic type, brancho pneumonia.

The Chronicle Tribune, Marion, Indiana, Sunday, 05 Mar 1950, page 17, column 2.

Otto E. Reeder dies at VA Hospital here.

Otto E. Reeder, 64, died at the VA hospital at 10:27 AM Saturday. He had been at the hospital since 1925.

A resident of Richmond, Mr. Reeder had served in the infantry from 1905 to 1908.

Rights will be held at 1:15 PM Monday at the VA Chapel with the Rev. William Reifanyder officiating, and burial will be in the VA cemetery.

Survivors are four sisters, Mrs. Claudine Lawhorn of Richmond, Mrs. Nora Amos of Shelbyville, Mrs. Goldie Matthews of Indianapolis, and Mrs. Pearl Ewry of Dayton, Ohio.

Pearl died in May, 1950.

The Palladium Item and Richmond Sun-Telegram, Richmond, Indiana, Monday, 27 Nov 1950

Mrs. Claudine D. Lawhorn

Mrs. Claudine D. Lawhorn, 51 years old, of 1325 Hunt street, died Sunday evening at the Reid Memorial hospital. Mrs. Lawhorn was born at Dayton, Ohio.

Survivors are two sons, Paul J. Lawhorn, jr., and Cleo B., both of Richmond; three sisters, Mrs. Pearl Ewry of Dayton, Mrs. Nora Amos of Shelbyville and Mrs. Goldie Matthews of Indianapolis, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services for Mrs. Lawhorn will be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Stegall-Berheide funeral home. Burial will be in Earlham cemetery. Friends may call Monday evening.

In the 1950 Dayton Directory, Van (age unknown) and Lizzie (age 77) had moved to 818 Burwood Avenue. In the 1951-56 directories, Van is listed as Otto V with Lizzie and they have moved to 311 Calumet Lane. After 1956, neither is listed again.

James Gardner Reeder (age 71) died in 1950.

The Journal Herald, Monday, September 4, 1950, page 5.

James G. Reeder

Services for James G. Reeder, 71, of 1235 Wayne Avenue, who died at 9:35 a.m. Saturday at St. Elizabeth Hospital, will be conducted at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Morris Sons funeral home, 1809 East Third street, with Rev. Harmon F. Ray officiating. Burial, Woodland Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home after noon today. A native of Darke County, Mr. Reeder had lived in Dayton 50 years and was a machinist. Survivors include his wife, Annis D., four sons, James D. Jr., Clifford, John Calvin, and Paul, all of Dayton; two sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Roseland of Dayton, and Mrs. Adeline Johnson, Hudson, Ill., and two grandchildren.

Claudine (age 51) died in November 1950.

The Palladium Item and Richmond Sun-Telegram, Richmond, Indiana, Monday, 27 Nov 1950, page 10, column 4.

Mrs. Claudine D Lawhorn

Mrs. Claudine the Lawhorn, 51 years old, of 1325 Hunt St., died Sunday evening at the Reid Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Lawhorn was born at Dayton, Ohio.

Survivors are two sons, Paul J Lawhorn Jr., and Cleo B, both of Richmond; three sisters, Mrs. Perl Ewry of Dayton, Mrs. Nora Amos of Shelbyville, and Mrs. Goldie Matthews at Indianapolis, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services for Mrs. Lawhorn will be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM at the Stegall-Herheide funeral home. Burial will be in Earlham Cemetery. Friends may call Monday evening.

Pearl (age 47) died in December 1951.

Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, Wednesday. 17 Dec 1951, page 27.

Mrs. Pearl Ewry

Services for Mrs. Pearl Ewry, 46, of R.R.2 (Cemetery Drive) who died Saturday at her residence after a brief illness, will be conducted at 1 PM Wednesday at the Morris Sons funeral home, 1809 E. 3rd St., by the Rev. Sheldon T Harbach. Burial will be in the Beavertown Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home after 4 PM Tuesday.

Charles Shiner (age 79), Addie’s husband, died in 1956. His estate was valued at $2000 (equal to $13,500 in 2014).

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Thu, May 17, 1956

Charles Shiner

HUDSON — Charles Shiner, 79, died at 5:28 P.M. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s hospital in Bloomington. He had been a patient there since April 5.

He was taken to the Beck Memorial Home. The funeral will be there at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with the Rev. James Barnett, pastor of the Atlanta Christian Church, officiating. Burial will be in Hudson Cemetery.

Mr. Shiner, a retired carpenter, was born near Hudson Dec 24, 1876, son of Jacob and Dorothy Albaugh Shiner. He married Addie Reeder in Bloomington Sept. 28, 1910.

Surviving are his wife, one sister, Mrs. Emily Baxter, Powhatan, Kansas, and several nieces and nephews.

Paul Lawhorn (age 64), Claudine’s husband, died in 1963.

The Palladium Item and Richmond Sun-Telegram, Richmond, Indiana, Wednesday, 01 May 1963, page 7, column 4.

Paul Lawhorn

Paul Lawhorn, 1359 Boyer St., died Tuesday evening following an extended illness. He was 63 years old.

Mr. Lawhorn was an employee of the Rathskeljer. He was a veteran of World War I and a member of the Eagles Lodge of Richmond.

Survivors include the widow, Hellen; two sons, Paul Junior, of Dayton Ohio and Cleo of Centerville; three stepsons, Joseph Phillips and Richard Phillips both of Richmond, and airman first class William Phillips, Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts; two brothers, Charles Richmond and Harley of Shelbyville; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Services for Mr. Lawhorn will be held Friday at 1:30 PM at the Stegall-Berheide-Orr funeral home. Rev. George Goris will officiate. Burial will be in Earlham Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home Thursday after 2 PM.

Addie (Malinda) Reeder (age 83) died in 1966.

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois

Wed, Dec 21, 1966

Mrs. Addie Shiner

HUDSON — Mrs. Addie M. Shiner, 83, former Hudson town clerk and treasurer, died at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday at Brokaw Hospital in Normal.

Her funeral will be at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Beck Memorial Home in Bloomington, with he Rev. Merlin Stratton officiating. Burial will be in Hudson Cemetery.

Friends my call at the memorial home this evening.

She was born at Greenville, Ohio, Sept. 10, 1883, a daughter of Joseph and Catherine Condon Reeder. She was married to Charles Shiner Sept. 29, 1910, at Bloomington.

Her only survivors are nieces and nephews.

She was a member of the Hudson Christian Church.

The story continues in Goldie Reeder’s post.

Joseph Reeder and Christina Condon

The story of Joseph and Christina Reeder (Lee’s parents) and their family is a story of tragedy. It’s the story of a man (Joseph) who survived the civil war, including a death march, and horrendous conditions of a POW camp, who after the war went on to father a large family, only to die young and leave them destitute. It’s the story of a poor widow (Christina) who struggled to provide for her family, who also died young, leaving minors without parents or any means of support. It’s the story of a wayward alcoholic son (Lee), who lost his wife at young age, abandoned his young girls, and who, in a drunken rage, reportedly killed a man in a brawl and became a fugitive of the law. It’s the story of three young girls, whose world turned upside down when their mother died suddenly, and they were abandoned by their father; two of the girls (Goldie and Claudine) were subjected to hard work in foster homes followed by cold-hearted rejection, until they eventually landed in a girls orphanage where they were treated harshly.

But the story is also a story of strength and triumph against staggering challenges and hardships. It’s the story of a young woman (Lizzie) who, at the passing of her widowed mother, and although she could barely support herself, took on the burden of raising her minor siblings. It’s the story of an aunt (Lillie), who, with a family of her own in desperate financial situation, came to the aid and defense of her young nieces (Goldie and Claudine) again and again after they were abandoned by their father and mistreated by their wards. It is the story of an elderly widow (Mary) who married a drunkard, and raised his daughter (Pearl) as her own, sparing the girl from the hard life endured by her two orphaned sisters (Goldie and Claudine). And it’s the story of three sisters (Goldie, Claudine, and Pearl) who, in the end, triumphed over the tragic lives they’d been dealt as young girls, who would marry, and raise families of their own, with a love that transcended the deficit they themselves experienced as children.

Joe Gahimer 2015

In the 1840 census, Gardner Condon and his wife Alma were farming in Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. This is just north of Cincinnati, in what today is Port Union on the outskirts of Cincinnati). They had a daughter under the age of 5.

Joseph Reeder was born in June of 1846 in Ohio to Levi C. Reeder (age 29) and his wife Jane Casky. Levi was a farmer.

In the 1850 census, Gardner Condon (age 29) and his wife Alma (age 33) were still farming in Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. They had several children: Aadalisa (age 10), William (age 8), Malissa (age 6), Lucy (age 4), and James (age 2).

Christina Condon was born about 1852 in Ohio to Gardner Condon and his wife Alma Young. Like Joseph Reeder, Gardner was also a farmer.

In the 1860 census, Gardner Condon (age 39) and his wife Alma (age 43) were farming in Deerfield Township, Warren County, Ohio, about 13 miles east of their previous farm. They had several children: Adaline (age 19), William (age 18), Malissa (age 16), Lucy (age 14), James (age 12), Christina (age 10), Elizabeth (age 8), and Mary (age 6).

In the 1860 census, Joseph (13), was living with his parents, Levi C. and Jane, in Allen Twp., Darke Co., Ohio.  Joseph had at that time five brothers and two sisters, all born in Ohio.

Sometime around 1862 or 1863 Levi C. Reeder died.

On 9/1/1864, a Levi Reeder was killed in action at the Jonesboro, GA battle for the Union army in the 14th Ohio Volunteers, Co. I.

On November 17, 1864, Joseph (age 18) enlisted in the military (34th regiment of the Ohio Volunteers infantry). In January, the 8th and 34th Ohio regiments were stationed outside the town of Beverly, Virginia in the mountain region. In the dark early morning of January 11, a Confederate force of 300 attacked the much larger force (1200+) of the Union stationed there. The Confederate surprise attack caught the Union completely off guard. With the deep snow and dark conditions, the fight lasted only about a half an hour. About 800 Union solders were captured, along with Joseph, and only 400 escaped. Joseph, along with the other soldiers were marched through the mountains and snow and deep streams to Richmond, Virginia, where he was confined on January 21. Two or three soldiers filed affidavits that while on the forced march, Joseph became overheated and had to drop out of the ranks and he made a complaint of his heart troubling him.

The Institute for Historical Review

The Civil War Concentration Camps

By Mark Weber

'Some 12,000 Union soldiers were confined at Richmond in several centers, the worst of which was Belle Isle, a low-lying island on the James River. Less than half of the 6,000 prisoners could seek shelter in tents; most slept on the ground without clothing or blankets. Many had no pants, shirts or shoes, and went without fuel or soap. At least ten men died a day in vermin-ridden conditions of inexpressible filthiness. The entire surface of the island compound became saturated with putrid waste matter. Hospitals for the prisoners in Richmond quickly became overcrowded and many died on Belle Isle without ever having seen a doctor.

Rations were meager indeed. Christmas Day, 1863, saw the prisoners without rations of any kind. The daily ration of a pound of bread and a half-pound of beef was steadily reduced. Bread gave way to cornbread of unsifted meal. One small sweet potato replaced the meat. For the last two weeks of captivity the entire daily ration consisted of three-fourths of a pound of cornbread.'

Joseph was paroled on February 15 and made it back to College Green Barracks, Maryland (now St. John’s College at Annapolis) on February 17. He was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio on Feb 19th, where he joined Co. F 36th regiment Ohio Volunteers on February 24th. Early in the war Camp Chase was a training camp for Ohio Volunteers. As the war progressed, the Union army started using training camps as prisoner of war camps for Confederate soldiers. In 1865, Camp Chase had swelled to over 8,000 Confederate soldiers and the camp was unable to support that many, and so many starved. It probably looked as desperate as his POW camp in Richmond.

Joseph was furloughed March 16 for 30 days, then returned and served with the 36th regiment. On June 23, 1865, the last confederate general, Cherokee leader Stand Watie, surrendered his troops and the war was over. Joseph was discharged on July 27, 1865.

Nettie Louella Turner (Levi Reeder’s wife) was born in Ohio on January 19, 1866, the daughter of James Van Buren Turner (age 27) and Amanda Cozat (age 22). Throughout her life, Nettie went by various names: Nettie, Louella, Lula, and Ella.

On February 11, 1868, Joseph Reeder (age 21) married Christina Condon (age 17?), who was pregnant at the time.

Their son Levi (or Levi ‘Lee’ James) was born August 10, 1868 in St. Mary’s, Auglaize, Ohio (nearly to the Indiana border between Columbus, Ohio and Ft. Wayne, Indiana). Throughout his life, Lee went by various names: Lee, Levi, Levi James, James, James Levi, and Frank.

In the 1870 census, a Joseph Reeder (24) was living in Greenville Twp., Darke Co. (located about midway between Dayton, Ohio, and Muncie, Indiana), and doing farm labor.  The fact that he was living alone rather than being listed in someone else’s household suggests that he had a family, since single young men did not usually live alone back then. Either his wife and child (two-year-old Lee) were visiting her parents, or he may have been setting up a new home while his family stayed with her parents.  His age and location are right for our Joseph.

In the 1870 census, Jane Reeder was living with her youngest daughter Malinda (age 10).

On December 26, 1872, Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Reeder was born to Joseph (age 26) and Christina (age 22). Throughout her life, Lizzie went by various names: Elizabeth, Lizzie, and Sarah. Lee was 4 years old.

On November 12, 1874, Lillian Belle Reeder was born to Joseph (age 28) and Christina (age 24). Throughout her life, Lillie went by various names: Lillie, Lillian, and Lily. Lee was 6 years old, and Lizzie almost 2.

On December 12, 1976, William Perry Reeder was born to Joseph (age 30) and Christina (age 26). Lee was 8 years old, Lizzie was 4, and Lillie was 2.

On April 9, 1879, James Gardner Reeder was born to Joseph (nearly 33) and Christina (nearly 29). Lee was 10 years old, Lizzie 6, Lillie 4, and William Perry 2.

In the 1880 census, Joseph (34) and wife Christina (30) were farming in Greenville Township, Darke County, Ohio with their children Lee 11, Lizzie 9, and Lillie 7.  All the family had been born in Ohio.  A servant, Mary Baker (32), from Pennsylvania, also was in the household.

In the 1880 census, Jane Reeder was living with her son, Perry, and his family in Washington Township, Montgomery County, Ohio.

In the 1880 census, Gardner Condon (age 59) and his wife Alma (age 62) were farming in Allen Township, Darke County, Ohio. This is 120 miles north of their previous farm and situated close to the Indiana border between Richmond and Fort Wayne. Their daughter Aadalisa (age 38) was living with them.

On August 10, 1881, John F Reeder was born to Joseph (age 35) and Christina (age 31).

On September 7, 1883, Adeline ‘Addie’ Reeder was born to Joseph (age 37) and Christina (age 33). Throughout her life, Addie went by various names: Malinda Adeliza, Addie Merea, and Addie.

Otto Reeder was born to Nettie (age 18) on June 3, 1884. The father is unknown. On his marriage license, Otto listed James (Lee) Reeder as his father, but that was probably his adopted father. At one point John had a child named Otto Davis living with him, but reportedly not his son.

On August 18, 1884 Joseph (age 38) died of a heart disease which was thought to have been a complication from his military service.

The Greenville Democratic Advocate, Greenville, Ohio, Thursday, August 21, 1884.

Joseph Reeder, aged about forty years, one of Reed’s brickyard employees, died very suddenly last Monday morning of heart disease. He was in town Saturday, and seemed to be in his usual health.

His death left a widow (age 34) and seven minor children: Lee 16, Lizzie 11, Lillie 9, William 7, James Gardner 5, John F 3, and Addie ~1. In Lizzie’s 1896 application to the pension department, she mentions that there were 6 minor children, so Lee must have left home by this time.

Nettie (age 20) married John P. Davis (age 25) on November 1, 1886 in Jay County, Indiana (Book C-F, p176). John’s parents, Isaac and Mahala Davis had 8 children, with John being the second oldest. They were living in Salem, in Jay County, IN. Isaac was a blacksmith, and John’s older brother Henry was a school teacher. John was a laborer.

John (age 26) and Nettie (21) had a child Novie ‘Nova’ born in Jay County on November 18, 1887.

On 2/20/1890, Jane Casky, the wife of Levi C. Reeder, died.

On January 3, 1891, Lee (age 22) married Martha “Mattie” Parks (age over 18) in Paulding County, Ohio. Paulding County is just across the state border from Fort Wayne, IN. It is directly north of Darke County, Ohio (with Mercer and Van Wert counties in between).

The Dependent and Disability Act of 1890 granted pensions to all Union veterans suffering from a disability, regardless of the origin of the disability. It awarded between $6 and $12 monthly to recipients, depending on the level of disability. On August 28, 1891 in accordance with the Act, Christina (age 41) applied for widow’s pension from the Department of the Interior and was pensioned on October 2, 1891. An affidavit by Adie Condon and George Aurenbaugh stated that Christina was destitute – she had no property and no source of income. Her request was apparently approved and she was pensioned from October 2, 1891 until her death. Note: $6 in 1891 is equivalent to about $161 in 2014.

On March 13, 1892, Lizzie (age 19) married Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 26) in Darke County, OH.

In 1894, Lillie (age 19) married her husband Earl Franklin Cox (age 21) and moved to Hudson, IL where he began farming.

Lee Reeder made public notice of his petition to divorce Mattie Parks on grounds of desertion.


June 29, 1895 (and for 6 weeks thereafter)


Martha Reeder, whose place of residence is unknown, will take notice that on the 26th day of June A.D. 1895, Levi Reeder filed his petition in the Court of Common Pleas, Darke County, Ohio, being cause No. —, praying a divorce from said Martha Reeder, on the ground of willful absence for more than three years, and that said cause will be for hearing on and after Aug. 8, 1895.

E.C. Wright, Atty.

June 29, 1895

Lee was not granted a divorce as he must not have appeared for the court hearing.

Thursday, July 4, 1895

15096 — Levi Reeder vs. Martha Reeder; divorce. E.C. Wright


The state of Ohio, Darke County

Levi Reeder, Plaintiff vs. Martha Reeder, Defendant

Common Pleas Court

No 15,096


Plaintiff has been a resident of the State of Ohio for the year last past and has a bonafide residence in the County of Darke.

On or about the (blank) day of January, 1890 (actually January 3, 1891), at Paulding Center, Ohio, he was married to the defendant, and that no children were born of such marriage. Plaintiff has always conducted himself toward said defendant as a good, obedient, and faithful husband. But that the defendant has in disregard of her marital duties for more than three years past been willfully absent from plaintiff.

Wherefore plaintiff prays that he may be divorced from the defendant and for such other relief as is proper.

Lee Reeder


The state of Ohio, Darke County

Levi Reeder vs. Martha Reeder

Common Pleas Court

No 15,096


The plaintiff Levi Reeder being duly sworn according to law says that service of a summons cannot be made within the state on said defendant, that the place of residence is unknown to plaintiff, and that the case is one of those mentioned in Section 5048 R.S. of Ohio.

Lee Reeder

Sworn to before me and submitted in my presence this June 25, 1895.

D P Irwin, Notary Public for Drake Co, Ohio


Levi Reeder vs. Martha Reeder

No 15.096


This cause is dismissed for want of prosecution at costs of plaintiff. No record.

On 11/26/1895, Gardner Condon’s wife, Alma Young, died.

When Nettie’s half sister Winona married in December 1895, she and her new husband traveled to Greenville, Ohio to visit Nettie (~30) and her husband John Davis (34).

On March 26, 1896, Roscoe Patchett was born to Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 30) and Lizzie (age 23).

Sometime between 1895 and 1897, probably early in 1896, Nettie and John Davis divorced.

On July 11, 1896, Christina died (age ~46). At this time Lizzie (age 23) submitted an application for guardianship of the two minor children: John F (age 14) and Addie (age 12). Lillie was 21, William was 19, and James Gardner was 17. The application included a deposit of a $50 bond (equivalent to about $1,340 in 2014). The application said the children were presently living with Gardner Condon, Christina’s father and the children’s grandfather. Lizzie became the legal guardian.

Later that year, on September 7, 1896, Lizzie submitted a request for pension for the two minor children to the Department of the Interior, Pension Department. She was denied.

On Dec 4, 1896, Lizzie (married name Patchett) filed an affidavit with the US Soldiers pension department clarifying that she was officially the daughter ‘Elizabeth’ and the legal guardian of the two minor children of Joseph: Malinda (Addie) and John. She was again denied.

Lizzie (age 22) must have divorced Isaac ‘Elmer’ Patchett (age 31) about this time.

Story continued on Lee Reeder and Nettie Turner post.


Newman Hamlin Matthews

Newman Matthews was born on May 22, 1853, reportedly in Mackinaw, Illinois.  He is thought to have been raised in Mackinaw.  He entered the University of Illinois in Champaign on February 1, 1873, and left after three years without a degree.  He was listed on the university records as Newman Hamlin Mathews.

Newman met and married Anna Swanson in 1887, reportedly in Chicago.  She was born in Sweden on December 26, 1865, and her parents were Carl Magnus and Anna Sophia (Bentgson) Swanson.  Anna reportedly spoke seven or eight languages fluently, and was a good seamstress.

Mable was born Oct. 19, 1887 in Chicago.

Herbert was born on August 7, 1889 in Sheffield, Indiana during a visit Anna (Swanson) Matthews, made to her parents, Carl and Anna Swanson.  Sheffield was a community on the Indiana side of 106th Street in Chicago.

Ralph was born in 1891.

A daughter, Iva Lenore, was born on Oct. 2, 1896.

Iva (Matthews) Denton, Anna (Swanson) Matthews (mother of Iva)

Newman and his family were living at 10214 Ewing Avenue on the south side of Chicago.

They lived in Chicago until about 1898 when Newman moved the family to Clinton, Illinois and engaged in business there as a tinner.  In the 1899 Clinton City Directory he was listed as a plumber on West Washington Street.

Nellie Ruth was born May 14, 1899.

In the 1900 census, Newman (46) was a tinner in Clinton City, Clintonia Co., Illinois, living on North Maple Street with wife Anna (34), and children Mable (12), Herbert (10), Ralph (8), Ivy (3), and Nellie (1).  Newman and all the children were listed as born in Illinois, Anna in Sweden.  Newman and Anna were married 13 years and had 5 children, all living.  Mable, Herbert, and Ralph were in school.  The birth dates were listed as Newman, May 1854; Anna, 1865; Mable, Oct. 1887; Herbert, Aug. 1889; Ralph, Mar. 1892; Ivy, Oct. 1896; and Nellie, May 1899.

Newman’s brother, Charles Holmes Matthews (61), was a house carpenter in Clinton, living with his wife Mary (50), and son Solomon (18).  Newman’s sister, Hannah Belle (42), was living out in the county in Harp Twp., with her husband, Benjamin F. Spencer (49), and their two children, Lizzie E. (8), and Ruby O. (2).

Carl was born Jan. 2, 1901 in Clinton, IL.

In 1903, Herbert was taken out of school when he was 13.  His father wanted him to work and help support the family, but his father squandered the money on inventions.  Because of this, Herbert left home off and on.

Bernice Elizabeth was born Aug. 25, 1904 in Clinton, IL Newman moved the family back to Chicago in 1904.

In the 1904 Clinton City Directory, Newman was listed as a tinner living at the corner of West Clay and North Maple streets.  His brother, G. L. (George Leslie) Matthews was a grocer at 204 East main and resided at 308 East Adams with his wife Sarah, and Pearl.  Another brother, C. H. (Charles Holmes) Matthews was a weaver living at 403 East Main with wife Mary, and Charles.

Newman Matthews

In March 1904, while working on a tin roof, Newman fell 20 feet and was injured.

Newman was injured in fall, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), March 1, 1904.

The same month, he sold his tin shop.

Newman sold his tin business. The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), March 31, 1904.

Newman returned to Chicago in 1904 and remained there until Anna’s death on March 27, 1907 of tuberculosis, abetted by heart disease.  Her death was probably hastened by the rigors of the birth of a child two months earlier, which died the next day.  She reportedly had a heart attack while washing clothes.  They were living at 1550 Wrightwood Avenue at the time.  Anna was buried without a marker in the common area of the Montrose Cemetery in northern Chicago.

Newman put the children in the Lutheran Home of the Friendless near Lincoln Park in Chicago.  The children hated it.  The food was terrible.  They were constantly fed a nasty tasting pudding which they refused to eat, and were receiving cruel punishment.  When Newman came to visit them in the fall of 1907, he saw that they had lice and other signs of poor care, and he took them out.  Betty was sent to stay with her grandparents, Carl and Anna Swanson, in Charlevoix, Michigan, and Iva and Nellie were taken in by two families.  Mabel said that after he took them out, he had various housekeepers.

Newman Matthews

Needing a wife for himself, and a mother for his children, Newman placed an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune of Oct. 12, 1907, page 4, with a large picture of himself, with pictures of his four children at the time, Nellie, Bernice, Iva, and Carl at each of the four corners of the ad. This was picked up and carried across national newspapers.

Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Sat., October 12, 1907

The newspaper put a small article in the paper about Newman’s plight:

N. H. Matthews, 1305 North Halstead Street, has a problem on his hands, and he has taken the ‘sign in the window’ method of solving it.  His wife died six months ago.  There are four young children at home.  He cannot get a competent housekeeper, so, in his extremity; he had decided to find a wife.  Three applicants ‘called yesterday,’ but the children, the moving cause of his appeal, frightened them away.

Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Sat., October 12, 1907
Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Tue., October 15, 1907
Newman Hamlin Matthews

Newman moved the children to Indianapolis for a short time, then to St. Louis, Missouri where Mable took care of Iva, Nellie, and Betty.  Newman finally moved with the children back to Indianapolis, Indiana in the spring of 1908 and established a radiator repair shop at 142 W. 10th.

Daughter Betty remembers that Newman liked a lady named McComb, and would probably have married her, but she died.  Unsuccessful in attracting a wife, he put the children up for adoption.  In 1909, Ed and Otha Denton were looking for a girl to adopt.  They considered Betty, but as she said, “My sullen disposition turned them off,” and they selected Carl for his sunny disposition, and he lived with them until college age.

On September 18, 1913 Newman married Helen Kilby from Mackinaw, Illinois, believed to have been a childhood sweetheart.

Helen Kilby



Mackinaw last Thursday was thronged with visitors from all parts of the county and many parts of the state. Pekin had an especially large delegation, over 120 tickets being sold from that point. Many former residents of Mackinaw took advantage of this opportunity of visiting when they could meet all their old friends and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all in a social way.

Dr. A. L. Koenecke of Pekin was the principal speaker of the day, his subject being the early history of our state and county with particular stress laid upon the facts pertaining to Mackinaw, showing up the history of our village in a very artistic way. Dr. Koenecke’s talk was both interesting and instructive and many people here hope to have the pleasure of meeting him again.

Gehrig’s Band of Pekin dispensed music throughout the day and evening as only Gerhig’s Band can and that with the P & O Quartet of Canton comprised the musical part of the program. Both were much appreciated. Sports and various amusements had their place and the picnic was a success in every way. Great credit is due to the management and committees for their untiring efforts in bringing this pleasure to us.

But the picnic was not the only important occurrence in Mackinaw on September 18, 1913. At one o’clock P.M. upon that day Miss Helen Kilby became the wife of Mr. Newman Matthews. Rev. Nat Sands of Manito, cousin of the bride, performing the ceremony in the presence of immediate relatives and a very few intimate friends. The bride is a daughter of the late Newman Kilby and has been well and favorably known in Mackinaw and vicinity all her life. Mr. Matthews was a former resident of Mackinaw and is well known here. After the ceremony they departed via the west bound Big Four train for Havana for a short visit at the home of Mrs. Matthew Bolan, a sister of the bride, and from there to Clinton where Mrs. Matthews formerly resided and from there to Champaign and Indianapolis, where they will reside, the groom being in business there.

They hoped to get away quietly and escape the usual shower of rice and old shoes, but the news leaked out, and they were followed to the train by a large delegation of friends who were lavish in their expression of good wishes.

Newman’s daughter Betty thought Helen was a wonderful mother, and loved her dearly, and thought the other children did also, except for Mabel, who seemed angry that Newman had remarried.  Betty had had a chronic cough, which irritated the other children who tired of constantly hearing it.  Helen treated it and cleared it up completely.

Newman Matthews, Glenn Denton (baby grandson), Helen Kilby

They lived in Indianapolis, where Newman had a business called “The Matthews Radiator & Lamp Repair Company.”

Ad for business – The Indianapolis News, March 11, 1915
Ad for laundry, The Indianapolis News, July 17, 1915
Ad for book-keeper, The Indianapolis News, October 19, 1917

The story of Newman Matthews and Helen Kilby is continued in the Herbert and Goldie Matthews post.