GORDON – There was a book put together in the 1940s called “Gordon Home Front, a Sentimental Journey Into the Past.” It was published by Henegar-Boyd Post No. 544 and Auxiliary of the American Legion-Gordon, Texas, with special appreciation to Weldon Hardman for his interest and assistance.
Miss Hazel Wilbar, vice president of the First National Bank of Gordon, was concerned about servicemen getting news from home. So she took it upon herself to type a monthly paper, which was sent to all known men from Gordon.
In writing this article, I consulted Rudene Elkins, who took Miss. Wilbar’s job at the bank. She suggested that I contact Robert “Skeeter” Pierce, who now lives in Stephenville. After a stimulating one-hour visit over the phone with Mr. Pierce he told me some interesting “tidbits.”
For instance, off the “top of his head,” he spilled out this information: Out of a high school numbering 60, it produced four pilots and one navigator for the war efforts of World War II. From the class of ‘38-Robert Biggs, a pilot; from the class of ‘39-Elwin Johnson, a pilot; from the class of ‘40- Wayne Adams, a navigator; from the class of ‘41, Robert Pierce, a pilot; and from the class of ‘43, Doyle Adams, a pilot. This speaks volumes for a school the size of Gordon.
The following are excerpts from the book:
Gordon, Texas April 15, 1942
TO THE SOLDIERS!
This is your paper. The people of Gordon want to make it something you will be proud of. We’re proud of you in the service and we are using this opportunity to tell you so by publishing this paper.
You can help make it more interesting to the boys (notice she calls them boys!) if you’ll suggest to us the items you would like to see published. We hope to run an exchange column for boys in the service, so anything you can contribute will be appreciated.
TO YOU- GORDON PEOPLE!
As the first issue of “The Gordon Home Front” goes to “press,” we are wondering if very many of you realize our purpose.
We hope to publish, as often as possible, a paper containing Gordon news, news from our boys, etc., which will be sent to each serviceman. Every bit of news from home looks good to that boy in camp, so help make it a worthwhile effort by contributing your suggestions to some member of the publishing staff.
March 29, (1942) at 8:30 PM, in the Christian Church, a program was presented by Gordonites in honor of former boys who are not in service. … Local Red Cross Chapter of Gordon has recently been organized. … Billie Barrnett was at home from training camp in Georgia for a few day visit. He looks well and says he is ready to give the Japs “Hail Columbia” when he gets the chance. … Stephen Rogers writes: “We are putting in from 5:30 until 10:00 at night flying. I am doing my dead level best to stay in the Air Corps. … Billie Joe Jones is a patriotic young man. He has a shoe shining box in Hitt’s Barber Shop and every dime he takes in he buys a ten cent defense stamp. He bought five dollars worth last Saturday.
May 15, 1942 – from Sgt. Judson Joyce, “I am a crew chief on a BT-9 twin engine plane. The big hangers are nice to work in during bad weather. I will never forget my happy school days. … Gordon’s latest contribution to the Army is James Lejeune Dickson. His first day on the drill field Lejeune says he got way out ahead of everybody else. The trouble seemed to be that he was gaining about 10 inches with each step. Anyone knowing Lejeune could easily understand that!. … Kirby V. Rutherford received his commission as a Second Lieuteant after completing Officer’s Candidate Course at Ft. Belvoir, Va. … Gordon celebrated War Heroes Day the 17th of July by buying War Saving Bonds on that day alone!. … Grady Blue had the Champion Cutting Horse, Snoops, at the Stamford Cowboy Reunion. … We don’t want to divulge any military secret about weather, but the local ice man passed out 3,300 lbs. of ice last Saturday. … The latest figures available on state returns in the Senatorial race shows 474,949 for O’Daniel and Allred 315,797. … Miss Ruth Rexroat is on the honor roll at John Tarleton College. … Maurice Black writes: “I am second Class Petty Officer now and the $96 sure is a far cry from the $21 I started on! … From Pvt. James G. Swanner, “I am sending a nickel so please send another paper. I have been in the hospital with the measles and news from home is a lot of company. … from Maurice Black: “I have a swell time arguing with the Yankees. They think the Southerners are lazy and I have worked myself down to do more than they!” … From Red DeFord: “Gordon people should be proud of their standard of living, for it is higher than that of some other places that I have seen.”. … Barbecue Supper Given Draftees. … Navy Relief Fund Raised $570 for Pao Pinto County. … Sugar Is Rashioned. Homemakers Present Style Show.
June 13, 1942: Bill Lawson writes from Camp Shelby, Ms.: “You peope keep the home fires burning and we’ll try to do you a good job abroad when the time comes.” … Billy Barrett at Ft. Benning Ga., writes: “I have learned to eat everything, even carrots!” … Bruce Finch from Parker, Ariz., says: “It is so hot here – 105 degrees in the barracks and 138 out in the sun! Our biggest job is trying to keep cool.” … After a dry winter, we are now experiencing some beneficial rains and “Victory Gardens” are springing up in places that heretofore have not been cultivated.”
July 7, 1942: Kitting for Navy … First Aid Course Completed … Drive for Scrap Rubber … Robert Biggs has received his wings and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Force.
Aug 8, 1942: W.C. Bridges writes, “We all appreciate news from Gordon. There is nothing I can say as to where I am and what the country is like. The censors wouldn’t let it pass.” … Hubert Rexroat writes from Hawaii: “This sure is a nice place to be. The flowers and trees are beautiful here – wish Mother has some of these flowers. I just got back from a stage show – some good looking Hula dancers.” … Farmer Jones writes: “We arrived here at the Hawaiian Islands safe and sound. I enjoyed my first boat trip on the Pacific Ocean. … Gene Henegar writes: “I am in Amphibian Engineers now. This is a new branch in the Army – better than Field Artillery!” … Paul Wright Jr. has been promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. … Pvt. Nalan L. DeFord spent the weekend in the home of Kay Kyser’s brother in Thomasville, N.C. … Late Bulletin: A prominent doctor and a woman were locked up in Harlin’s Store all night – Yes sir, Dr. Pepper and Mrs. Tucker (shortening).
June, 1944: Lt. Herbert W. Chapman almost wrote a book about the terrible fighting conditions in Europe somewhere. … Paul Wright writes about a new location in the South Pacific: “The Japs have been cleaned off of this island and we are getting fairly well settled.” … Cpl. Tommy Spear is thoroughly enjoying Walla Walla, Wash., after all the months spent in Puerto Rico. … Billie Barrett is enjoying being in England. … Edward Rogers is recovering from pneumonia in the Naval Hospital in Idaho. … Lonnie C. Stephens is now a Major. … Pvt. James DeFord is recovering from recent battle wounds. Capt. Robert Biggs returned home from England on a two weeks furlough. … German POWs get fat In Florida, writes Cpl. Neal Pierce who is a Guard There.
D Day Observe by Prayer. … Capt. Robert W. DeFord writes: “The people in the U.S. are very fortunate, as the people here have been hard hit!”
“With that true statement-I must close this article. If by chance you enjoy reading about events and people from this era, let the editor know- there is much more where this came from!”