Sunday, August 17, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #27 Earl Moore

Earl Moore

My dad, Earl Mackin Moore was born on November 24, 1913 at home, 1209 Locust St., Camden, NJ to Charles Shoemaker Moore and Margaretta Virginia Mackin Moore. He was their seventh and last child. Although all six of his brothers’ and sisters’ births were registered the doctor forgot to register his. Fortunately his oldest sister was twenty-one and present for his birth. When WWII came around she swore a document to record his birth. He was baptized on February 14, 1914. He was a healthy child. Several of his siblings were not and a brother and sister died as infants. In 1919 his father died. Then in 1921 his mother and then his oldest brother died. His sister was unmarried at the time and unable to care for my father and his youngest sister. It was decided that they would go to the Pennsylvania Masonic Children’s Home in Elizabethtown to live. Unlike many orphanages in the 1920s this was a good place to live. The facilities were new and beautiful. The food was grown right on the grounds. There were sports and music. Education was in the Elizabethtown schools. When they reached high school they could choose
to continue in the public schools or go to the Patton Trade School. Patton was where my dad chose although he only remained one year. At sixteen he left the home and went to live with his sister Caroline in Gloucester City, NJ.
The 1940 census lists him as a laborer in a paper factory. When war broke out he was working in the New York Ship Yard, Camden, NJ. He applied for a commission in the Navy, was accepted but he had already received a draft notice for the Army. The Army refused to release him to the Navy. He entered the Army on May 8, 1942. He was assigned to the 1263d Combat Engineers and rose to First SGT of B Company.  He and his men accomplished such jobs and tearing down part of the Maginot line and repairing the autobahn so troops could move up. His men called him “Daddy” Moore since he was older and looked after the men. Reading an autograph book he had his men really seemed to like and admire
him. Stories my dad spoke of were more of the lighter moments in war. He was never a hunter but shot a deer and the company enjoyed venison for dinner that night. Another story was how he slept on top or a ¾ ton truck but nearly floated away in a heavy rain. Another story was crossing the Elbe to meet the Russians. He always said
“Oh, those Russian women!” They also came across a several concentration camps that had only been recently liberated.  Dad never spoke of this except to say that it was terrible things that the Nazis had done and that he could swear to the truth of those camps. After my mom died I found pictures of a concentration camp that had been hidden away. He also saw one of Hitler’s residences. He was discharged on January 29, 1946 and returned to Gloucester City.
He met my mom, Millicent who was a waitress after the war. They were married on November 16, 1948, the same month and day that his parents had been married on. Around that same time he became a patrolman on the Gloucester City Police Department. A few years later I was born. During those first years they lived in many houses that renting as apartments.  Actually it was at least seven different residences in eight years. My brother was born during those years. Then in 1956 they bought their first and only house. He was promoted first to Sergeant and then to Chief of Police about 1960.
He loved sports and “adopted” Gloucester City High School as his own. He rarely missed a football or basketball game whether home or away. That is some of my best memories since I usually went with him. He also was security for school dances and the proms. He also became very involved in Little
League baseball. He coached the Lions team for years, was LL president and later District 14 Administrator. Most nights during the season we would all pile in the car after dark to check on the field, turn off sprinklers or just make sure all was quiet. Then we would drive on to Shorty’s newsstand in Fairview to get the late evening paper. A real plus for the field was when the Philadelphia Phillies moved to Veterans’ Stadium they gave lights from old Connie Mack Stadium to the Little League. All they had to do was go over and retrieve them.  He remained active with District 14 LL right up to his death.

He was a terrific dad. He loved us so much and did things with us all the time. He wasn’t a very good disciplinarian. He never hit us and when he would holler at us he would say he was sorry afterwards. I was so lucky to have such loving parents who were people I could be proud of. 

Sourced history:
Earl Mackin Moore
Earl was the last of seven children born to Margaretta and Charles Moore. He was born at 1209 Locust St., Camden, Camden County, NJ on 26 November 1913. (Source 4,6,7) He was their seventh and last child. Although all six of his brothers’ and sisters’ births were registered the doctor forgot to register his. Fortunately his oldest sister was twenty-one and present for his birth. When WWII came around she swore a document to record his birth. He was baptized on February 14, 1914. He was a healthy child. Several of his siblings were not and a sister Marie and a brother Franklin died as babies. His brother Charles was not a well young man. Tuberculosis would eventually claim Charles at 22-yrs-old. Tragedy would strike on 16 April 1919 when Earl’s father died of pneumonia. Although this was a few months after the 1918 influenza it is possible that is what he died from. Less than two years later his mother would die of cancer followed by his brother Charles in the same month. Although his sister Caroline was twenty-one years older than Earl, as a single woman she would have barely been able to fend for herself let alone for Earl and his sister Margaretta. At first they thought Earl would go to Girard College (a school for orphan boys) but they decide that both 6-yrs-old Earl and 9-yrs-old Margaretta would go to the Pennsylvania Masonic Home for Children in Elizabethtown, PA. Margaretta only stayed a few years but Earl remained until he was 16-yrs-old and then left to live with his sister Caroline. He attended Elizabethtown elementary school and then two years at  Patton Trade School before he left. The orphanage was directed by a retired army officer who ruled like the children were army recruits. Except for that the orphanage was a good place funded by the Masons. The facilities had nice buildings with only a couple of children to a room, music rooms, indoor basketball court and more. Earl was mischievous including skinny dipping in a pond. That activity would cause the home to construct an in ground pool. Years later Earl and family would go to the annual picnic in early summer and the home day in the fall. (Source 10, 14)
After leaving the children’s home he went to live with his sister, Caroline and her husband, Ed Ludlam. (Source 2) Earl would attend some classes at the county vocational school. He worked at semi-skilled jobs, a paper factory, lumber yard and then the New York Shipyard in South Camden. He worked there for three years as a chipper and caulker. (Source 11) He applied to the Navy for a commission and was accepted but was drafted for the Army in the meantime. The Army wouldn’t release him so it was the Army for him. (Source 14)
After basic training at Camp Dix, Earl went to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin to train for the engineers. A number of the solders came from southern states like Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas. Some were not able to read or write. One member couldn’t speak or understand English. He had 14 children and went AWOL never to return. Earl became known as “Daddy” Moore. In an autograph book his men had signed his men really seemed to like and admire him. At Camp McCoy he was president of the NCO club. He had his picture taken with a WAC and put in the camp paper, The Real McCoy. Ironically there was a real McCoy in the company, Morris McCoy. The Red Cross director at Camp McCoy was a Hatfield from the feuding other side. Coincidentally Earl’s daughter Arlene was in Air Force tech school with a Hatfield from that clan. After training they went to Camp Shanks in NY for boarding ships to England on 10 October 1944. The journey took ten days aboard the Excelsior. This was part of a convoy. They arrived in South Hampton on 10 November 1944. They were billeted in Yeovil. As 1SGT of Company B, 1263rd Engineer Combat Battalion he supervised the construction of bridges and roads and laying mine fields. In December they went to Wallingford to practice putting up and taking down Baily Bridges on the Thames. They set records for putting up the Baileys. Later they went to Syon Abbey for more bridge building training in freezing January weather. His company also deconstructed part of the Siegfried Line. They arrived in LeHavre on 26 February after a rough crossing of the Channel on LSTs. According to Donald Stone a member of the 1263rd their battalion was assigned to the British Second Armor Division and went through Holland and into Germany crossing the Rhine River near Wesel. The 1263rd was to keep the supply route for the British open as they moved across northern Europe. After crossing they were on the edge of the Ruhr Pocket where 300,000 German troops were making a stand. Allied troops surrounded this pocket. Hitler declared this area a fortress and ordered his troops there was to be no surrender.  While some of the men dug deep foxholes because of machine gun fire and shelling in the area, Earl slept on top of a ¾ ton truck until heavy rains started to wash the truck away. Two of the men were captured by the Germans. German General Moedel defied Hitler and let his men surrender or go home. So the two missing men from Co. B came back with German prisoners. 1263rd had changes of attachment many times as they went across northern Germany. They also moved every day or two as they repaired roads and bridges. Several times they were strafed by the Luftwaffe. Near Bielefeld Earl supervised his company repairing the largest single assignment the battalion tackled. A bridge had been knocked out and it took 12 days of moving thousands of tons of rock to put the four lane highway back in action allowing the Ninth army to move forward. On April 20th the Battalion was transferred to XIII Corp and moved to the Elbe River. There they found some of the fiercest fighting they would encounter. German troops with Panzers roamed the woods. Several times they were surrounded but made it out with no casualties. Supplies were scarce and so some deer were shot for food. Earl was never a hunter but this is the only time Earl ever hunted and shot a deer. The Battalion worked under the barrage of the German 88s as they readied bridge access for XIII Airborne Corp who would move at the Elbe. Here the British stopped on the west side of the Elbe and allowed the Russians the east side. The battalion was able to exchange greetings with the Russians as some of them spoke some English. Earl mentioned that there were women soldiers in the Russian troops and would always say “Oh, those Russian women!”. This occurred on May 9, VE Day. The celebration was not too wild since they were in a rural area. They were the northern most allied troops in Europe at the end of the war. One of the wonders they observed were the large number of German soldiers fleeing westward away from the Russians. After this the Battalion went back westward across Germany to Cologne. In two weeks-time they gathered over three and a half million board feet of lumber to send to France to be used by troops in the American occupation area. They moved up the Rhine through Koblenz and Mainz. Here they repaired roads. On July 14 they moved to Etterzhausen. Then they moved south of Munich to repair and maintain roads and bridges there. While in this area they saw a USO show with Bob Hope and Gerry Colona. They also went through several concentration camps. Dad never spoke of this except to say that it was terrible things that the Nazis had done and that he could swear to the truth of those camps. After my mom died I found pictures of a concentration camp that had been hidden away. One of those was Gardelegen where over one thousand people were put in a straw filled barn and burned alive. These were Polish and Russian prisoners. One Russian soldier identified his brother by his dog tag but the others could not be recognized. They then saw Ludwigslust, a camp had just been liberated with the women’s bodies buried just the day before. The men’s bodies were still there. Some of them were thought to be dead but a blink of the eyes still showed life. Unfortunately most of those still alive were beyond help. The bodies were brought to the town center where a chaplain gave the funeral service. The town's people were forced to attend and each person had to dig a grave, lift a body from the blanket, wrap it in a clean sheet and bury it. Earl brought home pictures of those camps. He also saw one of Hitler’s residences which I believe was the Eagles Nest. After spending time in Europe as part of the occupation and waiting to see if they would be sent to the Pacific, Earl finally had enough points to go home. He left England on 3 January 1946 and arrived back in the US on 26 January 1946, He made the trip across the Atlantic in a ship that started to crack part way across. The Coast Guard sent out several small boats that would not have been able to rescue the large number of  on the ship if it did go down. They pulled in to Newfoundland and then traveled possibly by train to Fort Monmouth, NJ. There he was discharged 29 January 1946. (Source 8, 9, 12, 13,14)
Sometime in the next two years Earl met Millicent “Midge” Wiedrich. They were married on November 16, 1948, the same month and day that his parents had been married on. Earl was thirty-five and Midge twenty. This is also about the time he became a temporary police officer. Earl would become a permanent officer in the next year or two. Two years later Arlene was born. During those first years they lived in many houses that were divided and rented as apartments.  Actually it was at least seven different residences in eight years. Terry was born five years after Arlene. Then in 1956 they bought their first and only house. He was promoted first to Sergeant and then to Chief of Police about 1960. (Source 14)
His first partner was Bud Lane. Bud would suffer a fatal heart attack as they patrolled the city. Steve Farrell would later become his partner. He would serve until 1975. He then went to work at Holt in the South Camden Shipyard. He would receive and inspect vehicles that Holt was shipping to the Middle East. (Source 14)
He loved sports and “adopted” Gloucester City High School as his own. He rarely missed a football or basketball game whether home or away. He also was security for school dances and the proms. He also became very involved in Little League baseball. He coached the Lions team for years, was LL president and later District 14 Administrator. Most nights during the season he would pile the family in the car after dark to check on the field, turn off sprinklers or just make sure all was quiet. Then he would drive on to Shorty’s newsstand in Fairview to get the late evening paper. A real plus for the field was when the Philadelphia Phillies moved to Veterans’ Stadium they gave lights from old Connie Mack Stadium to the Little League. All they had to do was go over and retrieve them.  He remained active with District 14 LL right up to his death.
In July of 1985 he went into the hospital for test as he was feeling like he had gall problems even though he had it removed a decade or so before. It turned out he had liver cancer and was given just two years to live. But things progressed quickly and he died in just ten days on 13 July 1985. He is buried in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, NJ. (Source 14)

Source 1: Year: 1920; Census Place: Camden Ward 13, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1022; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 92; Image: 1054
Source 2: Year: 1930; Census Place: Gloucester City, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: 1323; Page: 8B; Enumeration District:0117; Image: 766.0; FHL microfilm: 2341058
Source 3: Year: 1940; Census Place: Gloucester City, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2321; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 4-51
Source 4: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 10
Source 5: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Source 6: Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Source 7: Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.
Source 8: Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society Oral History Project Interview with Donald Stone Conducted on December 3, 2009, by Kenneth Durr http://3197d6d14b5f19f2f440-5e13d29c4c016cf96cbbfd197c579b45.r81.cf1.rackcdn.com/collection/oral-histories/20091203_Stone_DonaldT.pdf
Source 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb9TqTBbGGA Interview with Everett Harry McCarty, 16 Jan 2016 by the New York State Military Museum
Source 10: Alumni list from the Masonic Homes.
Source 11: Army Separation Record
Source 12: RG-16.12.103, Calumet, history of 1263rd engineer combat battalion
Source 13: WD AGO Form 53-55

Source 14: Arlene Baker (daughter), July 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment