Company F – Poignant Wartime Encounters

A scrapbook of newspaper articles concerning the soldiers of Company F during World War II contains many heartbreaking articles of young men injured, taken prisoner or fatally wounded. There are also some joyous accounts of chance meetings and unexpected encounters. The following are just a few:

MEDINA BOYS MEET IN THE PHILIPPINES, 28 Feb 1945

Pvt. Karl E. Posson was walking down the air strip in Leyte when he met Pfc. Eugene P. Anderson, Jr.

MEETING MEDINA MEN IN NEW GUINEA WAS A WONDERFUL THRILL, 6 Mar 1945

Cpl. Francis Kelly who had been overseas since Nov. 13, 1943 met Cpl. Leo Ranallo who had recently been home to Medina and had visited the Kelly family. Cpl. Ranallo had even seen Cpl. Kelly’s 13-month old baby, Francis Michael Jr. who was born shortly after his departure “No one can ever know how I felt to talk with someone who has seen my baby, it is something I shall never forget” said Cpl. Kelly.

BETTER THAN BETTY SAYS MEDINA SOLDIER IN ITALY MEETING, 4 Apr 1945

“It was a bigger thrill meeting someone from our hometown than seeing Betty Grable” agreed two Medinians who met in Italy. Staff Sgt. William A. Koneski met Pfc. Charles J. Stillwell at a rest area for Fifth Army troops in Monticatina, Italy.

MEDINA BROTHERS MEET IN WAR ZONE, 19 Apr 1945

Merchant Marine Ben Starr on leave in France from his base in Germany hailed a ride with an American jeep. Upon hearing that he was from Medina, the driver told him that there was a Don Starr in his unit. Ben could not locate Don at first, but when Don went to his bunk later, there was his brother Ben sleeping in his bed!

MORIARTY BROTHERS MEET IN PACIFIC AFTER MANY MONTHS

Cpl. James Moriarty met his only brother Lieut. Francis Moriarty in Guam. The brothers had not met for “thirty and one half months”.

CONTINUED SEARCH BY MEDINA BOYS ENDS IN HAPPY REUNION, 1944

After trying to meet for months while in North Africa, Pfc. Richard Dujenski of 100 Laurel St. finally met Tech. Sgt. Walter F. Skomski of 101 Laurel St. while in Italy.

MEDINA BROTHERS MEET BY CHANCE IN HOME OF AUNT, 1944

The first meeting in three years of two brothers took place at the home of their aunt in London. Pfc. Gerald Wheatley had scarcely arrived at his aunt’s when in walked his brother David. Neither knew that the other had been granted furlough.

MEDINA MEN MEET AT CHURCH SERVICES IN EAST INDIES, 17 Jan 1945

Waiting in line to go to confession at a little Chapel in the Netherland East Indies, on the day before Christmas, Tech. Sgt. David V. Wasnock met Sgt. Herbert Whitmore. The two had been school-day friends.

Perhaps this is the most amazing story:

MEDINA MAN FINDS SHELTER IN HOME OF HIS ITALIAN KIN, 12 Feb 1945

“Forced to stop in a small Italian town overnight because the mobile equipment in which he was traveling broke down and finding that the home in which he sought shelter was that of his aunt and uncle, was the experience of Cpl. Andy Coppa of Medina” Needless to say, there was great excitement!

Historic Ridge Road

The Ridge, Ridge Road, 104. This main thoroughfare that we take for granted has an amazing history.

The Ridge was actually the former shore line of Lake Ontario before it receded some 100,000 years ago! It is a natural land formation, a 78 mile-long sand bar that stretches from the Genesee River in Rochester to Lewiston on the Niagara River.

Since it is somewhat more elevated than the surrounding land, it was a natural choice for a trail and was traversed by the Iroquois and Seneca for many hundreds of years. Later, pioneer settlers with their belongings precariously packed in oxen drawn wagons made their way through the thick woods to find the site of their future homes.

Eli Granger surveyed the road 1798. The Legislature appointed three Commissioners to lay out the road in 1806. The State Legislature appropriated $5,000 to improve the road in 1814. It was re-surveyed in 1852 and its width was set at six rods wide (approx. 100 ft.). Ridge Road was paved in 1926.

Stage coaches provided public transportation from Canandaigua to Niagara Falls beginning 1816. Of the many taverns which sprang up to accommodate the needs of the travelers, only the Village Inn remains.

Ridge Road can lay claim to more cobblestone houses than any other road, thanks to the skill of carpenter and stone mason, Cyrus Wetherell and the multitude of stones rounded by the waters of Lake Ontario and left in its wake.

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Gym classes at City Hall and Swinging Bridges

Born in 1896, Reevalyn was 83 at the time of her interview in 1979. She attended the Medina Academy. At that time their gym classes were held on the third floor of City Hall. Her graduation ceremony in 1916 was held at the old Cook Theater on Park Ave. The National Guard left for Mexico on the day that she graduated. She went to work at her father’s insurance business on Main St. which was still a dirt road then. She remembered the first paving of Main Street, the commotion on Main Street when the Union Bank closed, the effects of the Depression on her father’s business, and later, feeding passing hobos.

Her father bought her first car in 1916, a Model T Ford, but she often used the train and trolleys. She recalled attending events at Bent’s Opera House, up on the third floor, even though her family never liked her to go there as they feared that nobody would escape if there was a fire. She attended movies at the Scenic Theater, on East Center St. (later Corky’s Bakery), Beth Burchell played the piano for the programs. She described the swinging bridge over the canal at the foot of Eagle Street; it was just a plank with wires to hold on to and it would sway all the way across.

Reevalyn worked in the insurance business until 1945 and then became the tax collector for the Town of Shelby, a position she held until 1974. Her husband, LaVern, was a farmer; they recalled raising pigs and selling them for 6 cents a pound and earning $49 for growing and hauling 4,000 bushels of apples to the Lyndonville Canning Company.

This an excerpt from one of our many historical transcripts. All transcripts are available to you for 2 weeks at a time.

Oral History Interviews

“One progress to another”

The Orleans County Historical Association’s local history interviews are such a wonderful treasure trove for anyone interested in local history or daily life in the not so distant past. The Library Director plans to read all of the interviews this winter; they are housed at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library and are available for check out.

The first interview Catherine read was conducted in 1979 with the then ninety year old Mrs. Minnie Allis. She described daily life on a farm, when straw was placed under the rugs for insulation, and how her mother made mincemeat for her father’s favorite pie by grinding up the heart, tongue and other scraps of meat leftover from butchering.

She married Ray Allis, son of Jay Allis “the Peach King”, they lived on the Allis homestead on Bates Road. She helped her husband on the farm. One year they decided to use the cabbage planter to plant tomatoes. Nobody thought it would work, but it did and soon all of the farmers were planting their tomatoes similarly. As she observed, that has been how times have changed “one progress to another.” A lively lady, Mrs. Allis was also an artist who made cards, dolls, stenciled furniture and loved to paint, especially renditions of their barn.

It was a pleasure to get to know her through the interview. Make sure to stop by and read some of the other interviews today.

1891 Medina

Did you know that Bent’s Opera House held a standing room only Prohibition Meeting? The Prohibition candidate for Governor, Hon. J.W. Bruce, came to Medina to gain support for his party and for himself. As the Prohibition candidate he expounded on the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

Also giving a speech that evening was the Rev. O.H. Mead, a Baptist pastor. The reverend gave his full support for the gubernatorial candidate and the Prohibition party. The reporter at the event stated “Mr. Mead made an earnest appeal for the Prohibition cause, and his speech will long be remembered by all who heard it.”

To find this article and more, visit the Medina Historic Newspapers website, hosted by NYS Historic Newspapers. Each scanned page is available as computer transcribed text, a text searchable pdf, or a png image.

The article referenced above ran in the Medina Register on October 22nd, 1891.

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