Page 1

The Telegram


Saturday, April 14, 2012 • C7

“Our professional hunter rated my lion among the top five taken.” --Don Wortman.

Wellston native finds Rotabins around the world Editor’s Note: The following article was received from Wellston native Don Wortman who now resides in Kerrville, Texas. ••• I recently read in The Telegram the Frick-Gallagher building was finally torn down. I was saddened to read that. Frick furnished a living for many families in Wellston. However, that article brought back many good memories. During the summer of 1944, WWII was raging and most of the young men were in uniform. Frick was working three shifts a day/seven days a week fulfilling defense contracts. There was a manpower shortage. School let out at the end of May and I had turned 15 years old on the 27th of March that year. I was just under 6'2" tall and weighed 168 lbs. I went to Frick's and filled out a work application. Since you had to be 16 in order to work, I set my birthday as 1928 instead of 1929 and reported to work the following Monday. As I recall I was paid $.55 an hour, time and one half for Saturdays, and double time for Sundays. Looking back, it was one of the happiest summers of my life. It was my first full-time job and I enjoyed the work and the people I worked with. I unloaded steel from the trucks, worked in the paint booth, and ended up in packaging and shipping. I made friendships that lasted a long time. Many of the people that I worked with are long gone now. I thought that I was finished with my Frick-Gallagher association, but I was wrong. I was stationed in Turkey in 1963 as an Air Force Captain. I was project officer for installation of a communication system, a duty which took me to very remote locations. Federal Electric Corporation was the prime contractor and as such had many contracts with small companies for supplies and equipment. One day, much to my surprise, trucks were offloading

“Fifty years and fifty pounds ago in a remote location in Turkey.” -Don Wortman.

Rotobins and shelves from Frick-Gallagher. I wrote to Frick and assured them the quality of the packing was just as good as when I was doing it in 1944. It certainly felt good to see something from home at these remote locations. I was stationed at a B-52 base in Thailand in 1967 as a Staff Procurement Officer working around the clock building that huge base when the Rotobins and shelving from Frick-Gallagher started arriving from the states. A good friend from the local Office of Special Investigation said perhaps he should open an investigation on me because every time I went overseas with the "money bags" a little company from my hometown ended up with a nice contract. I again wrote a letter to Frick and they published an article in a national trade magazine. I retired from the Air Force in 1971 and figured that I was

finished with the Frick association but I was wrong! In 2000 my wife and I were fishing at a remote Eskimo village north of Nome, Alaska. There was one general store in the village that sold staples, ammunition, gas and oil for outboard motors, and building supplies. At the rear of the store was a Frick-Gallagher Rotobin. I asked some of the older folks how long it had been there and all said as long as they could remember. Two years later my wife and I were lion hunting in Zimbabwe, Africa. One afternoon we passed through a native village comprised of thatched roof huts with a large hut in the center that looked like a meeting hall. I kept looking at it and when Barb asked what I was looking at I replied "I'll bet there's a rotobin in there someplace, probably storing old bones. By the way, I got my lion and Cape buffalo but that is another story.

HINTS FROM THE HILLS By Robert Maynard Telegram Columnist


I was driving down the road the other day and out of nowhere came this dried out maple seed twirling through the air and smacked right on my wet windshield. It stuck and held on for just a few seconds and then off it flew over my truck and into the ditch beside the road. I started thinking that poor maple seed will most likely wind up drowning or being butchered by some county or township bush hog. Somehow that single seed had managed to stay lodged in its host tree through the entire winter. The odds of it falling off just at the right moment in time to hit my windshield must be astronomically greater than the odds of winning the mega-millions lottery. I started thinking about seed dispersal in general and how God has created so many different methods. Please take notice of how nature is designed to multiply. There are five main methods of seed dispersal: gravity, wind, water, ballistic, and animal. Gravity dispersal is seen everywhere. From nut trees to fruit trees the fruit falls straight to the ground. Depending on the terrain, gravity alone can transport a seed a long way from the parent. I remember a hedge apple tree that I ran into one time and it was on a steep hillside. I noticed most of the hedge apple had hit the ground and rolled about a hundred feet downhill to a fence line where

they were almost piled up. Wind dispersal was working with gravity to bring my maple seed to my windshield. I don’t think science has determined automotive assistance in any of the five main classes of dispersal, but I happen to know of one such occurrence. Dandelions are a find example of wind dispersal; they are almost unlimited to how far they can travel on a windy day. Mangroves are an excellent example of water dispersal. During dry seasons the seed may take root right under the parent. But during the wet seasons they are only limited by the water way in which they are released, possibly traveling the globe. Ballistic dispersal can be clearly seen in the fall by touching a touch-me-not. These are the orange-colored blossoms you see in the fall that trigger the male hummingbird migration. When they are dried out they explode at the touch like a spring loaded cannon and throw the seeds a great distance. Animal dispersal may well be the most effective method. From birds eating and depositing seeds with their own special fertilizer package to squirrels burying nuts and forgetting where they are, animals are very effective. We humans are undoubtedly the masters of seed dispersal as we take our seeds with us wherever we go. From Johnny Appleseed to me going to the garden store and picking up some seeds for my garden, we humans are unmatched in seed dispersal. God bless you all -- RHM

C8 • Saturday, April 14, 2012


The Telegram

Slow, steady approach pays off in Markay Renovation By Barbara Summers Guest Columnist

The renovation of the 1930 Markay Theatre on Jackson’s Main Street has been a long and difficult project undertaken by the Southern Hills Arts Council. A whopping $1.2 million has already been invested with another $300,000 needed to get to the first complete live performance on the Markay’s new stage. The best news is the council has incurred no debt in its slow but steady approach to the renovation. The adventure began in 1996 when then Jackson Mayor Tom Evans outlined a concept to Council President Maxine Plummer and Executive Director Barbara Summers. According to Evans, the city had the opportunity to take ownership of the Markay, but no funds either to tear it down or begin a rehabilitation process. He wondered if the arts council might tackle the job of saving the grand piece of Art Deco architecture, once the focal point of life in Jackson. Southern Hills had been incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1981, but had never established a permanent home. Many avenues were under exploration when Evans presented this opportunity. By the fall, a plan had been forged which called for the city to accept the badly deteriorated, long unoccupied building and for the council to rent the Markay for $1 per year. In return, the council accepted the responsibility to renovate, maintain, and operate the facility. One provision of the lease agreement called for the council to establish ongoing programming within one year. In planning the project, arts council members were clear they would not undertake a restoration to bring the building back to what it had been in 1930 when it first opened under the care of the Jones family of Jackson. The council would not restore it to the look introduced by the Chakeres Chain when it purchased the Markay in 1940. Instead, the goal was to salvage any original items possible and merge the 1930 and 1940 styles. From the beginning, one of the biggest champions of the project has been John Carey. From his position as State Representative, then Senator, and then Representative, Carey worked diligently to assist Southern Hills in securing funding. Carey’s interest remains keen though he has moved from public to private life. At each step, funds were secured before any work was undertaken. The Appalachian Public Facilities Task Force, State Legislature’s Capital bills, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio Arts Council, Downtown Revitalization, and the Yellow Root Foundation are among funders. Memorial contributions, gifts of stock and other assets, donations from service organizations, and the generosity of private donors, both large and small, have had a major impact on the project. The council holds numerous benefits, raffles, and sales to flesh out the coffers. To date, approximately $1.2 million has been spent. There is no debt for the renovation. Seats were sold and those funds wait safely in a special account. About $300,000 must now be raised before the first complete live performance can be slated.

The right side wall of the auditorium as it looks today. (See comparison photos on Page C9.)

Back in 1996, the council’s first priority was to stabilize the building. Considering the horrible conditions inside and out, that was no mean feat. The roof was peeled back to the rafters, some repairs made to them, and new roofing membrane installed. Electrical wiring was so dangerous, everything had to be started anew. The same was true for heating and cooling systems. By June 1, 1997, a portion of the building was opened as the Markay Cultural Arts Center. The former lobby had been transformed into a gallery where nine visual arts and cultural exhibitions are held annually. Card tables and chairs can accommodate up to 40 comfortably for events ranging from private showers, weddings, and reunions to public meetings. The former commercial space on the south side of the Markay, which once served as a third, small movie theater, was divided to provide a meeting/class room with lending arts library, a unisex, handicapped accessible bath room, a small kitchen to host receptions, and an office. Since then all manner of activities have filled the Markay. Currently the D. M. Davis Male Voice Choir rehearses in the gallery weekly. A Writers’ Guild and a Knitting Circle each meet monthly in the meeting room. After a long hiatus, art classes are underway. Since 1997, Council members have focused on the auditorium. This space had been “twinned” allowing two movies to be shown at once. The make-shift center wall, make-shift movie screens, and years of accumulated debris were cleared out using over 200 man hours of volunteer labor. Six dump trucks were neatly stacked with trash and carried away. When the dust cleared, members assessed the situation and developed a step-bystep plan to turn the space into something suitable for live performances in theatre, dance, and music. Another goal was the installation of a retractable projection screen and digital projector to view classic films. In addition, they vowed to create a hospitable venue for training, lectures, seminars, and other public and private meetings to serve the needs of area citizens. A key element in this plan was saving the six life-sized bas-relief sculptures on the walls of the auditorium. It was clear that years of neglect had caused serious damage to these figures. The roof direct-

ly over the woman carrying a basket of apples from an orchard had a huge hole in it. Water poured down the walls and had dissolved her head. She was gone from the knees down. A sodden lump on the floor revealed the toe of one shoe but the rest was a gluey mess. The elements poured through another hole in the roof on the other side of the auditorium but missed hitting the Foundryman. Over the years, the water ran down the sloped floor and into the poured concrete basement which contained a coal fired boiler and coal bins. It was a dark and slimy mess. After a three year search, council members were satisfied that Laurie Booth, of Midwest Conservation Services, could restore the sculptures. Her team carefully removed them from the walls and sped off to Columbus for restoration. When Laurie relocated to Cleveland, the fully restored bas-reliefs went with her to be kept in climate control until the auditorium was ready for them. Meanwhile, work continued in the auditorium. Workers scurried to clear 200 tons of debris from under the concrete stage. The old coal fired boiler and coal bins were removed. Perimeter drains, new floor, new walls, new heating and ventilating system, and such were added to create dressing room space for men and women as well as a complete bathroom and tiny “green room” directly under the poured concrete stage. In the auditorium, everything was stripped back to the bare walls. A new contoured floor was poured, new ceiling, new walls, new electricity, and new heating and ventilating system were installed. A space was created for a Box Office and a Technical Booth. With a bequest from the estate of the late Dr. Lloyd Allen Smith, the Walnut Hills Neighborhood Box Office area was born. A transition from the gallery to the auditorium, is now done in the Art Deco style. John Matz, of Sunflower Glass Studio, in Amesville,

The front of the Markay as it looks today, at 269 E. Main Street, Jackson.

This 1951 photo of the front of the Markay shows the box office out in front. Note the GMC Suburban at right to be given away July 11 at 9 p.m.

worked for months with board members to create spectacular three-layer glass panels that flank the box office window. The panels are reminiscent of the etched glass that filled this space in 1930. At that time, no one was permitted to enter the theatre until seated by an usher. All late-comers waited until a respectable intermission before being seated. They looked through the etched glass to the screen while waiting. Included in this phase were a brand new handicapped accessible men’s room and an extension of nearly 1,000

square feet of playing space to the poured concrete stage. A wheelchair lift makes the stage accessible to all. When word came in from Laurie Booth last December that she was closing her business and the bas-reliefs had to be moved, board members weighed their options. They could find a new storage facility or take the project another giant step forward by finishing the walls and bringing the sculptures home to the Markay. Of course, they chose to move forward as quickly as possible. The auditorium’s concrete floor was ground

down to reveal a bit of aggregate, stained with a “Copper Patina,” and highly polished. Acoustical panels that mirror the rectangle and circle on the Markay’s façade were created and installed. An acoustical chair rail was installed. A striking blue was painted onto the walls where the sculptures would go. Mike Simmonds recreated the original sconces to mask the light source beneath the sculptures. Pilasters to match those on the front of the building were created. Paint colors from outside were used in the interior. See MARKAY RENOVATION, C9


The Telegram

Saturday, April 14, 2012 • C9

MARKAY RENOVATION From C8 This March 20, a crew from Midwest Fine Arts Transport installed the sculptures. The results are startling. Everyone is invited to come view these pieces restored to their original glory. As exciting as this step has been, there is still much to be done. At present, a dance floor has been ordered from Dance Equipment International in California and will be installed. Once in place, Janson Stage Equipment from Canton will measure for black velour curtains that will form a cyclorama effect at the rear of the stage and create entrances and exits for performers. An additional $300,000 needs to be raised to purchase the lighting and sound systems, properly equip the Walnut Hills Neighborhood Box Office, add the final heating and ventilating system, and restore the remaining four original octagonal chandeliers. If you’ve not seen the work done to date, please check out the Markay Cultural Arts Center, 269 East Main Street, Jackson. A website has been created at The Center is open Wednesdays to Fridays from Noon to 5 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Special arrangements can be made by calling Southern Hills at 286-6355. ABOVE/RIGHT: This is the Walnut Hills Neighborhood Box Office area during renovation. BELOW/CENTER: The Woman with Basket of Apples as she was before restoration. BELOW/LEFT: The Woman with Basket of Apples as she looks today. BELOW/FAR RIGHT: The Foundryman as he looks today. (Photos Courtesy of Southern Hills Arts Council and its Executive Director Barbara Summers)

ABOVE & BELOW/RIGHT: The Walnut Hills Neighborhood Box Office area as it looks today.

The arts council mails a free quarterly newsletter. If you would like to be put on this list, make contact by phone or e-mail at or write to Box 149, Jackson, Ohio 45640. • Southern Hills extends a cordial invitation to attend a Welcome Home Party in honor of the six bas-reliefs now painstakingly restored and returned in glorious condition to the Markay. Please join in the celebration Sunday, May 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

SOCIAL SHARINGS Social column intended to provide a hometown touch By Pete Wilson Executive Editor

Since July 2008, this column has had my name on it. But it really belongs to two other people: My late mother, Audrey Henry, and to you, the reader. When The Telegram was re-launched under new ownership in April 2005, the objective was to build and expand on the old Telegram which was outstanding, while retaining the commitment to the publication of local news and information delivered with a hometown flavor. Personal columns was one way to do this and The Telegram still has several, in addition to this one, including Barbara McKinniss and her “Around Wellston,” Nona Lee and her “Daffodils and Dragons” and Bob Maynard’s “Hints From The Hills.” Hopefully, they continue to give our paper a personal touch and a stronger local identity. Although Audrey was suffering from an incurable form of cancer that would take her life a little more than 3 years later, my mother stepped up and offered to write what we have long referred to as a “social column” that would cover the Jackson area. Audrey’s column would continue a local tradition that was established in Jackson

newspapers by such writers as Patty Clark (Patty’s Partyline) and Winnie Blair (Wandering Around With Winnie). Audrey aptly chose to call her column “Social Sharings” because that’s exactly what it was. Audrey took her mission seriously and with a reporter’s zeal worked hard to acquire interesting and accurate information for what began as a weekly column. She often had more material than she could use, which resulted in her spending a lot of time rewriting and fine-tuning the final versions of what she submitted for publication. She loved being a contributor to the newspaper, serving the community and having this link to the many persons she wrote about. Mom had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances and was able to come up with a wide variety of column topics, dropping a lot of local names and local flavor in the process. She contributed to The Telegram living up to its long-standing moniker as “The Old Hometown Paper.” Mom faithfully did the column almost until the very end and even collaborated on one written just several weeks before her death. After she died, I resolved to continue to write “Social Sharings” temporarily until we could find a new columnist. Almost 3 years later, I am still writing the column

and actually am enjoying the experience. A personal column such as “Social Sharings” allows for the inclusion of tidbit information and trivia that might not be appropriate or involve enough material for a full story, but is hopefully still interesting to the local readers. Examples could be the following: The fact that last year’s high school valedictorian is doing well at college and planning on entering medical school down the road....That a new business will be opening up in downtown Jackson in several weeks....That a former county commissioner was back in town to attend his high school reunion....That there was a great turnout for a charity fundraiser benefit last weekend and that $5,000 was raised for the fight against cancer....That the local high school thespians did a great job putting on the spring musical....A personal tribute offered in honor of a community good-deed doer who had just died. You get the idea. “Social Sharings” is normally published on the first and third Saturday of each month with the next column due for the Saturday, April 21 edition. Today’s column simply provides the background and history.

As always, I will try to make you interested and make Audrey proud. --Pete

Sneak-Peek Preview of 2012 Jackson Co. Fair... July 14, Friday - 7 p.m. - Harness Races one night only. July 15, Saturday - Open Class Beef Show, check-in beginning at 8 a.m., show starts at 10 a.m.; *rain date if Harness Races are rained out on Friday. July 16, Sunday - various animal weigh-ins. July 17, Monday - 7:30 p.m. - Opening Ceremony and 4-H Parade. July 18, Tuesday - 8 p.m. - Nashville recording artist Jason Michael Carroll, chainsaw carving. July 19, Wednesday - chainsaw carving, "Ohio's Got Talent" Show, go-cart racing. July 20, Thursday - chainsaw carving, Enduro Cross by Appalachia Dirt Riders, Senior Citizens Day. July 21, Friday - Demolition Derby with an Patrick's truck crusher "Samson." July 22, Saturday - David Johnson's "Diamond J Rodeo" (full rodeo), sponsored by Frazier Farms, Med-Flight and Jackson County Veterans.

C10 • Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Telegram

The Telegram


Saturday, April 14, 2012 • C11

Medal of Honor winners focus of Veterans Memorial Park By Pete Wilson Executive Editor John Wollam. James M. Compston. Donald Long. Are those names familiar to you? Do you know who those men were and what they did for their claim to local fame? For most Jackson Countians, the answers are probably not. The tie that binds these men, who are all now deceased, is they are true American heroes, based on the valor they displayed during their military service to the nation. They were seemingly ordinary men who did extraordinary and courageous things for America. • During the Civil War, as a member of the famed Andrew’s Raiders, John Wollam participated in a dangerous undercover mission deep in Confederate territory in an attempt to disrupt the enemy’s transportation system. • As a young private in the Union Army during the Civil War, James M. Compston exhibited outstanding bravery while participating in the Shenanoah Valley Campaign of 1864. • In the Vietnam War in June ABOVE: This monument in front of 1966, Sergeant Donald R. the Oak Hill Post Office memorialLong sacrificed his own life to ized Sergeant Donald R. Long of save the lives of other soldiers Blackfork, who lost his life in the by jumping on a grenade durVietnam War when he threw himing an attack by the Viet Cong. self on a live grenade to protect his These three men’s great acts comrades. For his heroism, he was of courage in service to America posthumously conferred the Conearned them the nation’s highest gressional Medal of Honor. military award -- the CongresAT LEFT: Donald Russell Long of sional Medal of Honor. To Blackfork became a hero in the receive it, the recipient must Vietnam War and earned the Conhave exhibited “conspicuous gressional Medal of Honor when gallantry and intrepidity at the he made the “ultimate sacrifice” to risk of his life above and beyond save the lives of his fellow soldiers. the call of duty...” In the long history of the United States, there have been only 3,475 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and three of them were from Jackson County and are buried here. To honor Wollam, Compston, and Long and to insure they receive their proper recognition and respect from present and future generations, their standing as Congressional Medal of Honor winners will be “the focal point” of a new Veterans Memorial Park to be established in downtown Jackson. A coalition of every veterans’ organization in Jackson County has founded a non-profit corporation known as the Jackson County Veterans Organization to plan and develop Veterans Memorial Park on vacant property owned by the City of Jackson at the southwest corner of Main and Portsmouth Streets, which is the former site of the Gibson Hotel. Ron Speakman credits longtime Jackson resident and former Jackson Mayor Tom Evans with coming up with the original idea for such a Veterans Memorial Park. Jackson City Council approved an ordinance October ABOVE: This monument in Coalton Cemetery marks the grave of 24, 2011, granting the Jackson James M. Compston, who earned the Congressional Medal of HonCounty Veterans Organization or for his bravery in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. use of the land for at least a year Jackson VFW Post and the April meeting is to while organizers attempt to launch the project. If be held Tuesday, April 15, at KFC of Oak Hill. the project continues to move forward, the vetOfficers of the Jackson County Veterans erans’ coalition is expected to seek some type of Organization, are: President Ron Speakman, long-term or continuing lease from the city. Vice President Randy Sizemore, Secretary JenVeterans’ groups which are represented in the nifer Long, Treasurer Hayden Oiler, Trustees new corporation are: American Legion Post Philip Howe (1 year), Mike Jeffries (2 year) 261 of Oak Hill, American Legion Post 81 of and Marvin Payne (3 years). Jackson, AMVETS of Wellston, AMVETS In forming its non-profit corporation, the Post 84 of Jackson, DAV Chapter 45 of Jack- Jackson County Veterans Organization has also son, VFW Post 8402 of Jackson, VFW Post gained 501c3 status, which means it can accept 9092 of Wellston, Vietnam Veterans of Ameri- non-taxable donations. ca of Jackson, American Legion Post 371 of Project Update Wellston, AMVETS Post 279 of Oak Hill, and The project is still in its infancy with two of American Legion Post 277 of Coalton. the next major steps to be the determination of Regular meetings are held the third Tuesday a concept and design and a fundraising plan to evening of each month at rotating sites through- finance it. out the county. The March meeting was held at Speakman says the main element in Veterans Memorial Park will be the tribute to the three local Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Other possible features of the memorial park would likely be some type of tribute to

Photos By Pete Wilson ABOVE: Leaders of the recently formed Jackson County Veterans Organization confer during their most recent monthly meeting. Pictured (from the left) are: President Ron Speakman, Wendell Brunton, Treasurer Hayden Oiler and Trustee Philip Howe. AT RIGHT: This is the sign marking the future location of the Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of East Main and Portsmouth streets in Jackson. AT LEFT: John Wollam, a Jackson Countian who served in the Union Army in the Civil War, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor as a member of the famed Andrews’ Raiders.

Jackson County veterans killed in all wars and appropriate murals painted on the walls of adjacent properties which form two sides of the perimeter of the property. “The (amount of) money will drive the design,” Speakman noted, adding though he feels the park will feature a brick walkway. “Right now, we have 10 or 12 people, all with different ideas, on how to bring all this into focus,” Speakman reported. The main fundraising project is expected to be in the form of a commemorative brick sale. Purchasers of bricks can have their names and/or a short message inscribed in the brick, which would then become part of the walkway. Vice President Randy Sizemore has been put in charge of this part of the project and he and others are currently working out the details. Speakman also says another possible project is a reverse raffle, which would be initiated later in the year and end with the drawing at the Veterans Appreciation Day that is to be held in October at Manpower Park in Jackson. Speakman also anticipates the project being boosted by in-kind donations of materials and labor. John Wollam 1840-1890 Wollam served as a Private in Company C of the 33rd Ohio Infantry of the Union Army in the Civil War. He was one of two men, including two civilians, who participated in a dangerous undercover mission behind Confederate lines. Under the command of a civilian, James Andrews, this group would become known as Andrews’Raiders. In April 1862, in an attempt to aid the Union objective of taking the important transportation hub of Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was the mission of the Raiders to penetrate nearly 200 miles behind Confederate lines. Their plan was to capture a a railroad train at Big Shanty, Georgia, then head north on the line, cutting telegraph lines and destroying rail line as they went. If they were successful, Confederate communication and supply lines would be cut and it would take a much longer time to reinforce Chattanooga with more soldiers. The scheme fell just short of success as pursuing Confederates finally overtook the stolen locomotive in Northern Georgia, just 18 miles from Chattanooga. The Raiders fled, but all were captured and Andrews and seven others were hanged as spies. Eight others, including Wollam, escaped before perhaps facing a similar demise. The bravery of the Raiders inspired the idea for a Congressional Medal of Honor and Wollam and 18 of 20 Raiders received the honor. Wollam received his medal July 20, 1864. Only four of the Raiders did not receive a Congressional Medal of Honor. Andrews and the other civilian participant were not eligible since they were not members of the military. The other two not receiving the medal were the two soldiers who did not arrive in time at Big Shanty to be part of the locomotive theft. One of these men was Jackson County resident Samuel Llewellyn. Wollam survived the war and returned to Jackson County where he died in 1890. He is buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Jackson.

James M. Compston 1837-1888 James M. Compston would become the second Private from Jackson County in the Civil War to win the nation’s highest military honor. At the age of 25, he was mustered into Company D of the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 14, 1862. Compston’s military glory would come about two years later as a result of exploits and heroism in action from August to November 1864 in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in Virginia. That campaign was another key strategic breakthrough for the Union Army in its continuing military squeeze against a valiant but undermanned Confederate opponent. While Ulysses Grant was laying siege to Petersburg and Sherman was on his famous “March To The Sea” in Georgia, General Phil Sheridan was applying pressure in the Shenandoah Valley, where his goal was not only to defeat the Rebel Army, but also to carry out a “scorched earth” policy to deprive the Confederates of food and other supplies. The available record does not provide much detail about what Compston did to support the Union effort, but his medal was earned on the basis of “bravery in action.” His citation read “Capture of flag.” Compston served through the end of the war and was honorably mustered out June 24, 1865 at Cumberland, Maryland. His medal was issued under the name of “James Cumpston” and he is still officially listed that way on the roster. Compston died May 24, 1888, and is buried in Coalton Cemetery. Donald R. Long 1939-1966 Long served as a Sergeant, United States Army, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division. He was awarded his medal posthumously for service at the Republic of Vietnam, June 30, 1966. His citation reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Troops B and C, while conducting a reconnaissance mission along a road were suddenly attacked by a Viet Cong regiment, supported by mortars, recoilless rifles and machine guns, from concealed positions astride the road. “Sgt. Long abandoned the relative safety of his armored personnel carrier and braved a withering hail of enemy fire to carry wounded men to evacuation helicopters. As the platoon fought its way forward to resupply advanced elements, Sgt. Long repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire at point blank range to provide the needed supplies. “While assaulting the Viet Cong position, Sgt. Long inspired his comrades by fearlessly standing unprotected to repel the enemy with rifle fire and grenades as they attempted to mount his carrier. When the enemy threatened to overrun a disabled carrier nearby, Sgt. Long again disregarded his own safety to help the severely wounded crew to safety. “As he was handing arms to the less seriously wounded and reorganizing them to press the attack, an enemy grenade was hurled onto the carrier deck. Immediately recognizing the imminent danger, he instinctively shouted a warning to the crew and pushed to safety one man who had not heard his warning over the roar of battle. “Realizing that these actions would not fully protect the exposed crewmen from the deadly explosion, he threw himself over the grenade to absorb the blast and thereby saved the lives of 8 of his comrades at the expense of his life. Throughout the battle, Sgt. Long's extraordinary heroism, courage and supreme devotion to his men were in the finest tradition of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.” Long was buried in Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Blackfork. His service and memory has also been memorialized by a monument placed in front of the Oak Hill Post Office.

C12 • Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Telegram

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you