In Memorium

On this Fifth Friday, we take a moment to remember seagoing cowboys who have passed from this earthly world.

Bard, Samuel L., April 6, 2013, East Petersburg, Pennsylvania. S. S. Park Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), October 26, 1945.

Geiger, Alfred, June 4, 2021, Seattle, Washington. S. S. Virginian to Poland, June 30, 1946.

Graber, Samuel, October 1, 2021, Elkhart, Indiana. S. S. Robert W. Hart to Poland, June 24, 1946.

Hopkins, Ray K., October 5, 2021, Peru Indiana. S. S. Zona Gale to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), June 28, 1945.

Rest in peace, dear seagoing friends.

Hats Off to Archivists!

I just learned recently that October is American Archives Month. I’m interrupting my stories on seagoing cowboys today to take my hat off to the many archivists who have helped me gather my own archives of historical materials from which I write this blog.

Over the past nearly twenty years, I’ve been traveling around the country gathering materials from archives and individuals to document this little-known history of UNRRA’s and Heifer International’s seagoing cowboys. And what a rich history it is! I could not be telling it without access to the gems of primary source materials which I have found in the archives I’ve visited.

Searching through Heifer International historical materials at Vital Records Control, Maumelle, AR, 2011. Photo credit: Rex Miller

Kudos to the many archivists who have assisted me at:

  • The Brethren Historical Library and Archives [BHLA] in Elgin, Illinois – home of the historical materials of Heifer International founder Dan West and the many Brethren leaders and organizations that helped usher in the Heifer Project. A special tip of the hat to the late Ken Shaffer and the recently retired archivist Bill Kostlevy.
  • The United Nations Archives and Record Management Section in New York City – home of the archived materials of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration [UNRRA], a precursor to the UN.
  • The Manchester University Archives – home of alumni seagoing cowboy records and Brethren history. Kudos to archivist Jeanine Wine.
  • The Mennonite Church USA Archives when they were located at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana – home of records of Mennonite seagoing cowboys. My thanks to former archivist Dennis Stoesz.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library – home of the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen records.
  • And last, but not least, the many staff members of Heifer International who have been caretakers of Heifer International’s historical materials while they were located at Vital Records Control in Maumelle, Arkansas, and are now located at Heifer’s headquarters in Little Rock. May these precious materials one day find a dedicated archival home. Many, many thanks to retired staffer Kathy Moore, herself a seagoing cowgirl, for her organization of Heifer’s historical materials before I started my research. You made my search for relevant documents ever so much easier than it would have been.

    Kathy Moore receiving Heifer International’s “Make a Difference Award” during their 70th anniversary celebration, March 2014.

“Archivists bring the past to the present. They’re records collectors and protectors, keepers of memory. They organize unique, historical materials, making them available for current and future research.”
— Lisa Lewis for the Society of American Archivists

Thank you to archivists everywhere who help us navigate the present by understanding the past.

In Memorium

As this Fifth Friday rolls around, it’s time to once again recognize the seagoing cowboys who have recently passed from this earthly world.

Bankston, L. Miller, February 3, 2020, Laurel, Mississippi. S. S. Hattiesburg Victory to Greece, July 22, 1946.

Eldridge, John J., December 15, 2020, Goshen, Indiana. S. S. Queens Victory to Poland, September 4, 1946.

Hollenberg, Edward L., October 19, 2020, Goshen, Indiana. S. S. F. J. Luckenbach to Greece, June 24, 1945.

Kent, Marshall, January, 2021 (day unknown), Napa, California. S. S. Park Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), October 26, 1945; S. S. Park Victory to Poland, December 23, 1945; S. S. Cedar Rapids Victory to Poland, March 30, 1946; S. S. Mount Whitney to Poland, August 31, 1946; S. S. Hattiesburg Victory to Poland, February 4, 1947.

Pellman, William R., October 28, 2020, Lititz, Pennsylvania. S. S. Mexican to Poland, November 8, 1945; S. S. Mount Whitney to Poland, November 30, 1946.

Ringenberg, Ralph, December 19, 2020, Elkhart, Indiana. S. S. Harvard Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), November 22, 1946.

Rink, Fred, Jr., December 9, 2020, Millersburg, Indiana. S. S. Carroll Victory to Poland, February 16, 1946.

Troxell, Richard H., Jr., December 20, 2020, Williamsport, Maryland. S. S. Cyrus W. Fields to Czechoslovakia (docking in Germany), August 22, 1946.

Weaver, David M., January 8, 2021, Lititz, Pennsylvania. S. S. F. J. Luckenbach to Poland, January 15, 1946.

Whitmore, Eugene R., November 14, 2020, Roanoke, Virginia. S. S. Queens Victory to Poland, September 4, 1946.

Rest in peace, dear seagoing friends.

In Memorium

On this 5th Friday, it’s time to once again remember seagoing cowboys who have departed from us.

Bomberger, Luke R., August 15, 2020, Lititz, Pennsylvania. S. S. Charles Wooster to Greece, August 15, 1945; S. S. Mexican to Poland, November 8, 1945; S. S. Norwalk Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), February 13, 1946; S. S. Gainesville Victory to Poland, April 17, 1946; S. S. Beloit Victory to Czechoslovakia (docking in Bremen, Germany), June 8, 1946; S. S. Mount Whitney to Poland, July 29, 1946; S. S. Mount Whitney to Poland, August 31, 1946; S. S. Attleboro Victory to Greece, December 5, 1946; S. S. Boulder Victory to China, February 22, 1947.

Buckwalter, Jr., J. Quentin, August 18, 2020, Manheim, Pennsylvania. S. S. Park Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), October 26, 1945.

Horton, Donald C., August 4, 2020, Chickasha, Oklahoma. S. S. Spartanburg Victory to Poland, June 6, 1946; S. S. Boulder Victory to Greece, July 25, 1946.

Karp, Arthur Louis, April 6, 2020, Walnut Creek, California. S. S. John L. McCarley to Poland, July 2, 1946.

Meyer, Albert J., July 31, 2020, Goshen, Indiana. S. S. Stephen R. Mallory to Poland, June 20, 1946.

Oswalt, Dallas Leon, August 14, 2020, Charlotte, North Carolina. S. S. Mexican to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), June 26, 1945.

Rush, Richard G., September 6, 2020, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. S. S. Virginian to Poland, January 4, 1946.

Shenk, Paul Eugene, August 1, 2020, Newport News, Virginia. S. S. Mount Whitney to Poland, August 31, 1946.

Sprout, Richard E., September 16, 2020, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. S. S. Pass Christian Victory to Poland, November 22, 1946.

Stoltzfus, Christian P., October 20, 2020, Goshen, Indiana. Heifer Project shipment to Germany, July 30, 1952.

Struchen, Donald Edward, June 28, 2020, New York, New York. S. S. Carroll Victory to Yugoslavia (docking in Trieste, Italy), July 20, 1946.

Ulrich, Kenneth E., August 21, 2020, Eureka, Illinois. S. S. Norwalk Victory to Poland, January 9, 1947.

Weber, Elvin N., November 13, 2018. S. S. Columbia Heights Victory to Israel, June 1951 (a Levinson Brothers shipment).

Rest in peace, dear seagoing friends.

 

Giving grace

I’m giving myself a bit of grace and foregoing the writing of a post for this week. I had an encounter with the lip of our garage door threshold Sunday eve that threw me forward onto the garage floor and fractured a bone in my left foot when I twisted it sliding off my sandal. So, as much as I want to be in my office working, I’m being kind to myself and resting on the couch this week. I’m in no pain and fortunately didn’t break my wrists or ankle in the fall. I’ll be in a boot for 6 to 8 weeks and anticipate swift healing. I’ll look forward to being back with you for my regular 4th Friday post, which will be about the 75th anniversary of the first UNRRA livestock shipment to Poland in September 1945.

Until then, Peggy

A “flying cowboy” accompanies first Heifer Project shipment to Korea

As early as December 1947, requests started coming to the Heifer Project for animals for Korea, which had lost about half of its cattle in World War II. The need in Korea stayed on HP radar until finally in August 1951, Heifer Project Executive Secretary Thurl Metzger made a trip to Korea during the Korean War to investigate possibilities.

In cooperation with the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA), the first project turned out to be 216,000 hatching eggs. Divided into three air shipments a week apart, the eggs would help reconstruct the decimated Korean poultry industry. So the first cowboy to Korea turned out to be a “flying cowboy” rather than seagoing.

from The Indianapolis Star, May 25, 1942.

On April 1, 1952, Warsaw, Indiana, poultry breeder Hobart Creighton, on whose farm the eggs were produced, took off from Midway Airport in Chicago in a cargo plane carrying 200 boxes of Leghorn hatching eggs. He accompanied the shipment as a consultant for the United Nations to oversee proper transport, incubation, and distribution of the eggs.

L. to R. Thurl Metzger, Bill Reiche of the United Nations, and United Nations Ambassador at Large from South Korea Ben C. Limb at Midway Airport in Chicago, sending the hatching eggs on their way April 1, 1952. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.

After a stop to gas up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the plane hit icy conditions on its leg to Seattle, Washington. “Ice over windshield and on wings,” Creighton notes, “but the pilot said the DC4 could carry a lot of ice, so we let him do the worrying.” The plane made further stops in Anchorage, Alaska; Shemya Island in the Aleutian Islands archipelago; and Tokyo, Japan, before landing safely in Pusan (now Buson), Korea.

This historic Heifer Project shipment made news in the U.S., as Richard “Dick” Simons of The Indianapolis Star traveled with Creighton and a reporter from Life magazine met up with them in Tokyo. “We were met by the ‘Big Brass’,” Creighton says, “General W. E. Crist, a host of Colonels, Lt. Colonels, Majors, the Korean Minister of Agriculture, and Representatives of UNKRA and UNCACK (United Nations Civil Assistance Corps Korea). There were four trucks and a host of Korean laborers who in no time flat had unloaded the plane and had the eggs on the way to hatcheries, to Taegu.”

A couple days after their arrival in Korea, Creighton was guest of honor at a dinner where he was well entertained by “Kieson gals”, with one assigned to each guest. “One fed me with the chopsticks and saw that I had plenty of sushi,” Creighton says. “They were good singers and dancers and very interesting companions.” Moderately dressed in velvet skirts, they exhibited “nothing bordering on vulgarity or sex that one finds in American performances.”

Creighton stayed in the area a good three weeks, meeting the next egg plane, walking the back roads to visit Korean poultry farms, and visiting the hatcheries. He was present at the hatchery in Kumhae when the last of 14,400 eggs delivered there were placed in the incubator.

The last of 14,400 eggs being placed in the incubator at Kumhae. Source: The Indianapolis Star, May 25, 1952.

At one hatchery, there was one egg case that Creighton hadn’t gotten instructions about in time, however. “It was an egg case full of cookies made by [my daughter] Jo,” Creighton says. “Dick reported later, the incubator workers said one case of eggs was especially tasty!”

Creighton had the opportunity to be taken to the front lines of fighting while there. “Shortly we were passing ruins of all kinds,” he says. “Seoul was shot up pretty badly. Bridges out. Some repaired, others still dangling, locomotives and trains burned out and left lying. In the country five miles south of the 38th parallel there has been, and still is, complete evacuation of civilian population. The rice paddies are idle for the third consecutive year.”

They drove on another 65 miles to the battle front. A Scotch 2nd Lieutenant took them up Hill 238. “Below were the red panels, marking the points of furthermost advance of UN line,” Creighton says, “and there was no man’s land about one mile in front of us. [The Lieutenant] had his crew fire two or three shots from the 82 mm guns mounted on top of the Centurian tank. We watched the projectile and saw the exploding 100 feet or less from the target. We wondered if our fire might bring a reply, but not this time.” Creighton’s party returned to their billet in Seoul in time to watch the American movie “Too Young to Kiss.” A day in contrasts.

Before leaving for his roundabout trip home with stops throughout southern Asia, Creighton had the opportunity to see some of the Creighton Brothers’ chicks at hatcheries and be present at their distribution. UNKRA’s agricultural reconstruction of Korea had begun.

 

Special Post: 75th Anniversary of Heifer Project’s first collection farm

Seventy-five years ago today, the Heifer Project accepted the offer of Roger and Olive Roop of Union Bridge, Maryland, to use their farm for the collection of cattle to be shipped to Europe after World War II hostilities ceased there. Another milestone in the history of an extraordinary organization. Read the story here.

From an article in the Southeastern Herald of the Southeastern Region Church of the Brethren, 1946.

S. S. Park Victory story continues in Finland

The story of the S. S. Park Victory, including its years after World War II as the transporter of livestock and seagoing cowboys to Europe, is now on display in Kotka, Finland. The Maritime Museum of Finland, located in the Maritime Centre Vellamo, opened a Park Victory exhibition on November 7, 2018. Posters and artifacts of diver, historian, and author Jouko Moisala hold a prominent place as one approaches the ultramodern building completed in 2008.

The S. S. Park Victory exhibit is prominently displayed to pedestrians and drivers alike. Photo: Jouko Moisala.

The Maritime Centre Vellamo sheds light on S. S. Park Victory history. Photo: Jouko Moisala.

The Centre is named after the Finnish mythological goddess of water, lakes, and the seas. The massive structure shimmers like the sea and evokes the power of the ocean with its wave-like shape. The exhibition runs through January 25, 2019.

S. S. Park Victory exhibit, Kotka, Finland, November 2018. Photo courtesy of Jouko Moisala.

Jouko Moisala at his S. S. Park Victory exhibit, November 2018. The painting in the upper left is the one I delivered to Jouko this past July. Photo courtesy of Jouko Moisala.

From the seagoing cowboy perspective, Kotka is a fitting place for this exhibition. It was the last port visited by the ill-fated S. S. Occidental Victory before it encountered a rock in the Gulf of Finland on its way home, preventing the cowboys from being with their families that Thanksgiving of 1946. This ship, however, unlike the Park Victory, did make its way back to the USA.

As for the rescued Park Victory lifeboat, Jouko Moisala informs me that it “is at last safe inside a place to clean it with sand. I can get an old ‘Champion’ to do it and I am only an assistant.” Kudos to Jouko for preserving and sharing all of this Park Victory history!

Book Signing for THE SEAGOING COWBOY

For any of my readers who live near Dayton, Ohio, I will be doing a book signing for my children’s picture book The Seagoing Cowboy on Saturday, November 17, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Location: New & Olde Pages Book Shoppe, 856 Union Blvd. (across from Kroger) in Englewood, Ohio. At least six other local authors will be participating in the store’s annual Holiday Open House. Hope to see some of you there!