this is a 1933 photo of the Sheffield, Alabama downtown area.
is in order. News in the most recent of days send me back into time. Back to a time growing up in Sheffield, Alabama was like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. Good days. Good times. Big family.
My cousin Betty Bassham Porter was found lying on the floor in a coma in her apartment. She was not responding. So right this minute her family is sitting with her waiting for the transfer to hospice. It has been determined that she had a stroke and will not survive. Betty was born in Sheffield, lived in Tuscumbia and Sheffield. In the 1950s her mother remarried and they moved to Dallas, Texas. The family moved to Arkansas, with some of them migrating to Missouri, mostly in the Springfield area.
The photo montage below is my tribute to a beloved cousin. Family.
from Montgomery, Alabama.
Amos D. Brenneman served in Company C, 167th U.S. Infantry, served overseas and was severely injured in combat at Croix Rouge Farm in France on July 26, 1918. The last letter in the library collection written by Amos is dated 17 January 1919. Amos Brenneman remained in the military after the war, eventually achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.
Amos Brenneman served in the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, one of the first U.S. divisions to engage in fighting in Europe. The division participated in six major battle campaigns and served in occupation duty in Germany after the armistice was signed.
Amos Brenneman had a brother who also served in World War I. William Roy Brenneman probably spent the entire war at Fort Dade, Florida. He served in the Coastal Artillery Corps, Company 1. The last letter in the collection written by Roy Brenneman is dated 2 September 1918. Roy Brenneman was born 12 December 1894, and he died 8 October 1961, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is buried in the Crawfordsville Masonic Cemetery.
well, not really postcards, but letters from the past. And the Shoals area has a past very saturated with historic people, happenings, places, and events. Take, for instance, one Amos Brenneman.
as the photograph clearly shows.
Most of the time a doll for my mother and her sisters were sticks from a tree that had a fork to them. There would be no head or arms, just two legs. But that was enough to spark Mother’s and Ellen’s and Preston’s imaginations. Since their dresses and drawers were made of the hard to come by flour sack material that Mama would fashion into pretty little things for the girls from pictures in the Sears & Roebuck catalogs (that served a dual purpose), there were no scraps of materials to use to clothe the dolls. So, they improvised with whatever was available to ‘dress’ their dolls. I wish I had asked if they were pretend baby dolls or pretend fashion dolls, but I think I know the answer to that for they always lived out in the boonies and likely never saw fashion in anything. I do recall that mother said once that when Mama told her it was her fourth birthday and Mother asked if her birthday could walk because she equated birthdays with the calendar on the wall. The calendar always had a picture of a pretty girl on it. So she figured birthdays could walk, unlike her stick doll.
Mother and her siblings grew up during the first great depression. Times were hard. Very hard. When the girls were lucky enough to come across a passion-flower they would create the most beautiful colorful doll in the world. Mother always loved purple, so I am quite sure this was very pleasing for her. The siblings would pluck the flower with as long a stem as possible as those were the doll’s legs. Then they would pluck off certain parts until there was a head and two arms. The purple fluffy and flowy part was the skirt. They pretended the doll was a dancing doll. I always called them a ballerina, but I did not remember to ask them if they thought that – likely not as Mother never had a hamburger until she was grown and they had moved to town so it is just as likely that they never saw a ballerina until grown either.
To this day, I have never witnessed anyone who could play a game of Jacks as well as mother. My jaw dropped to the floor at her skill level and dexterity when she played with us when we were little. No doubt they played this game when they were little, too. But not with store-bought Jacks, just rocks and whatever they could use for a bouncy ball.
Didn’t we have it good when we were growing up compared to most of them in that generation?
are featured in this photo taken in 2009. Hillard Murray was born in Sheffield and lives in Colbert County. Hillard has two children: Tim and Patty. The photograph shows Hillard with son, grandson and great-grandson. Hillard is one of the subjects of a prior story published on Remembering the Shoals.
Hello Soldier, I am your brother Hillard and this is our little sister Alice. <Remembering the Shoals>
Another Father’s Day Without Daddy <Remembering the Shoals>
Gregory and Sparks Family <Remembering the Shoals>
Sarah Ann Elizabeth Lucas <Rememberng the Shoals>
The Lucas Family <Remembering the Shoals>
should be the norm now since he died in November of 1979. The one thing most lacking after losing my father is that my children will never know the meaning of what a ‘Gran’ or a “PaPaw” can be. For as my first cousins can attest; it is the gatherings of family on special occasions that jolts our memories of good times and family, especially extended family. Sadly, my children really have never known much extended family. So, I must tell them my firsthand accounts and stories that will give them a sense of what ‘family’ could be and should be. So, dedicated to my children, my grandson, and my great-grandchildren, I proffer this about my soldier father:
James A Murray — a member of THE GREATEST GENERATION
“The Victory Division”
24th Infantry Division, US Army 1941 to 1996*
There are some histories of the battles of the 24th Inf. Div. and its men and women over its 55 years of service to country, especially for the Victory Division who fought so valiantly in the Pacific in WWII. They were truly the greatest generation. And we are free because of them.
Nick named the “victory division” and the ” pineapple army” because it was formed in Hawaii in early 1941. It also carried other nick names and mottos; “First to Fight” and ” Taro Leaf “, which is now the name of its association’s news letter.
World War II: Campaign Participation Credit
1. Central Pacific;
2. New Guinea (with arrowhead);
3. Leyte (with arrowhead);
5. Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)
The Victory website welcomes us to the official Web site of the 24th Infantry Division Association, the Pride of the Pacific Theater. Our motto is, “First to Fight.” An Act of Congress confirms this. We were first to take arms against Imperial Japanese forces, and we were first to engage the North Korean aggressor in 1950. We are the division Japanese Army General Yamashita said broke the back of the Japanese Army at Breakneck Ridge on Leyte, and we are the division the liberated people of the Philippines called, “Victory”. Taromen have always stood ready to defend freedom and the democratic way of life, anytime, anywhere, against all aggressors . . . in the jungles, through the snow, or on the sands in far off lands. We are fiercely Proud of our heritage, and when our nation calls upon us once again . . . we will be, First to Fight!!! The 24th Infantry Division (Mech) inactivated on August 1, 2006 at Fort Riley. Its most recent operations included preparing Fort Riley for the return of the 1st Infantry Division, previously stationed in Germany.
World War II
The 24th Infantry Division was among the first to see combat in World War II and among the last to stop fighting. The Division was on Oahu, with Headquarters at Schofield Barracks, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, and suffered minor casualties. Charged with the defense of northern Oahu, it built an elaborate system of coastal defenses. Pvt. James Murray arrived in Hawaii on May 17,1942. In May 1943 it was alerted for movement to Australia and by 19 September 1943 had completed the move to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton, on the eastern coast of Australia. After a period of intensive training, the Division moved to Goodenough Island, 31 January 1944, to stage for the Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura)–Tanahmerah campaign. The 24th landed on Dutch New Guinea, 22 April 1944, and smashed its way to and seized the important Hollandia Airdrome despite torrential rains and marshy terrain. Shortly after the Hollandia landing, the 34th Infantry Regiment moved to Biak, 18 June, to reinforce the 41st Infantry Division, and captured Sorido and Borokoe airdromes before returning to the Division on Hollandia in July. After occupation duty in the Hollandia area, the 24th Division landed on Red Beach on Leyte, 20 October 1944, as part of the X Corps, Sixth Army, and driving up Leyte Valley advanced to Jaro and took Breakneck Ridge, 12 November 1944, in heavy fighting. While mopping up continued on Leyte, the 19th RCT moved to Mindoro Island as part of the Western Visayan Task Force, landing in the San Jose area, 15 December 1944. Airfields and a PT base were secured for operations on Luzon. Divisional elements effected a landing on Marinduque Island. Other elements supported the 11th Airborne Division drive from Nasugbu to Manila. The 34th RCT, landing at San Antonio, Luzon, 29 January 1945, ran into a furious battle on Zig Zag Pass and suffered heavy casualties. On 16 February 1945 the 3d Bn. of the 34th Infantry took part in the amphibious landing on Corregidor and fought Japanese under a hot sun on the well-defended Rock. After numerous mopping up actions in March, the Division landed on Mindanao, 17 April 1945, cut across the island to Digos, 27 April, stormed into Davao, 3 May, and cleared Libby airdrome, 13 May. Although the campaign closed officially on 30 June, the Division continued to mop up Japanese resistance during July and August 1945. Patrolling continued after the official surrender of Japan. On 15 October 1945, the Division left Mindanao for Japan.
United States Army
U. S. 6th Army
24th Infantry Division
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
General Douglas MacArthur
Gen Walter Krueger
Major General Roscoe B. Woodruff, Commander of the
24th Infantry Division and
503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team
All the little ones, at least those not experienced enough to escape, would get the perfunctory pinch and twist of the jaws by this man, my Daddy. I am here to tell you, it would be something that you would not soon forget. Daddy had a sense of humor. That humor is attested to in the following postcard that he sent home while in the service during World War II:
that did not get attached when the article published: