FAMILY TIES

Michigan lieutenant left his mark on Maine

Posted Nov. 10, 2013, at 12:42 p.m.

The enumeration of Hank Stevens’ family in the 1930 Census of Saginaw, Mich., is a great example of how much information may be gleaned from such listings. Because the censuses for 1880-1930 ask not only the birthplace of each person named in the census, but also both parents of the person, we have four separate geographic locations to look for more information on his family.

Hank’s dad, Charles Stevens, 38, was born in Michigan, but both his parents came from English Canada. Hank’s mom, Irene Stella, 28, was born in Michigan, as was her mom, but her dad came from Ohio.

Their four children were Michigan-born: Henry Charles, 10, “Hank;” John, 8; James, 4; and Catherine, 1. We have another generation included as well: Julia Stevens, 70, Charles’ mother, born in Canada. Both her parents were born in Ireland.

The obituary for Hank Stevens, who died on Oct. 22 in Michigan just days before his 94th birthday, has but one sentence regarding his military service: “Hank was a veteran of World War II serving in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945.” Let me add to that:

Hank Stevens also was the man still referred to as “my lieutenant” by Galen L. Cole, founder of the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor. During the Battle of the Rhineland in 1945, they lost five members of their squadron when a German shell hit a halftrack outside Albersloh, Germany. In their travels in both the United States and Europe after the war, they have preserved the legacy of comrades Staff Sgt. Claude Newton, William Golladay, George Blackard, Simon Brewer and Alfred Southard.

All five are listed in the Honor Roll of nearly 1,000 members of the 5th Armored Division killed in World War II, names which fill the upper part of one wall in the 5th Armored Division Room at Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor.

Hank Stevens’ visits to Bangor included a 2000 trip to participate in the 55th anniversary of the end of World War II, when he was asked to dedicate the World War II Jeep, trailer and freedom bell seen regularly in patriotic parades in Bangor and Brewer.

We also should credit Hank Stevens for his input into the planning for the Cole Museum, which admits hundreds of schoolchildren and other young visitors free each year. Before its construction and opening nearly a quarter-century ago, Hank and Mary Lou Stevens joined Galen and Sue Cole in a tour of 22 vehicle museums across the country to gather ideas for the new facility.

Stevens also donated several of his personal items from World War II for display in the 5th Armored Division Room. His talent as a woodworker can be seen in the 15 walking stick holders that will be passed out to World War II veterans who show up early to participate in Monday’s Veterans Day Parade, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on Wilson Street in Brewer.

Barbara Law Jewell, who died at 90 on Nov. 1, was one proud owner of the World War II walking stick. Barbara, who served two years as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy, marched in parades with her late husband, Frank Jewell, as one of the beloved World War II couples who used to lead off that unit.

Most of the “couples” are gone now, but we still rejoice every time we see Guy and Nancy Ellms of Dexter show up for the parades. The name Ellms goes back in Dexter and Sangerville many decades.

Walking sticks for Maine veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terror are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today to veterans who bring their DD 214 or military ID to the Cole Museum at 405 Perry Road, Bangor. After today, the museum will be closed until May 1, 2014.

The public is invited to attend Veterans Day activities at 1 p.m. today at the museum, including the presentation of awards to student winners in the annual Veterans Interview Program Essay Contest. Afterward, the Bangor Band will once again give its popular concert of patriotic music. Both events are free.

Monuments on the grounds of the museum are a historical resource unto themselves. The Maine Vietnam Memorial lists all those killed in that war. And, new since last Veterans Day, the Bangor World War II Memorial lists 114 people who died from this city in World War II.

At Mount Hope Cemetery on Mount Hope Avenue in Bangor, the Maine Korean War Memorial lists 245 Mainers killed in the Korean War.

On Veterans Day, let us remember those who have gone to their rest, and give our thanks to the veterans who are among us, regardless of their age.

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The Wassebec Genealogical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Sebec Room at Mayo Regional Hospital, Main Street, Dover-Foxcroft. The program will be given by Jack and Nancy Battick, two of my favorite speakers, on “Why Genealogists Need History.” All are welcome to attend and refreshments will be served. For directions or information, contact the Batticks at 564-3576.

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The Washington County Historical and Genealogical Society will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in the Emergency Management Room at 28 Center St., Machias.

Members receive a quarterly newsletter, Weirs & Woods, which features free queries, information and the exchange of genealogical material, in addition to news from the affiliating Washington County historical societies.

Membership is open to those interested in learning more about genealogy and/or history of Washington County and neighboring Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Officers are President Betsy Fitzgerald of Bucks Harbor; Vice President Celeste Sherman of Machiasport; Secretary Valdine Atwood of Machias; and Treasurer Carole Sprague of Marshfield. Dues are $10 per calendar year, payable to WCHGS and sent c/o Carole Sprague, 301 Ridge Road, Marshfield, ME 04654.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family- ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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