Sunny Ancestry

~ My Adventures in Genealogy Research

John Rogers ~ Soldier’s Record

Rogers John Robert Soldiers Record 5It is always a good thing to have a birthday party, even better when it is for your 90 year old Grandmother.  You know you will have lots of family there to bug about the family tree.  ;)  The bonus is when everyone at the party knows you like to see old things that belong to the family.  My uncle brought with him a Soldier’s Record poster with a photo of my Great Grandfather, neither of which I had ever seen.

John Robert Rogers was born 31 August 1897 in Preston County, West Virginia to Thomas Milton Rogers and Minnie Jane Hartsell.   He was the eldest of six children.  John served in the U.S. Army during World War I between 6 January 1917 and 16 May 1919.  We know he was stationed in France for part of the war.  In January of 1920 he married Ollie Laymire and they had four children before divorcing.  John had various jobs, but the most consistent was the running of a gas station in Rochester, New York and later on one in West Virginia.  John passed way 20 November 1978 in Core, Monongalia County, West Virginia.

Rogers John Robert Soldiers Record 1

 

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Rose May Stine Hopkins

‘The Exhorter’ ~ Church of Christ Newsletter, Vol. XXIV, No. 15, 11 April 1979
“Did You Know?
Rose Hopkins was born Feb. 21, 1901 in Sardis, Ohio in Monroe County.  She was married March 11, 1919. She and her husband spent their first six years in Akron where he was employed at Goodyear (he made $600 a month) and where he worked for 40 years. He also was a part-time preacher of the gospel for many years. They had ten children; nine of them still living.
One of Mrs. Hopkins’ hobbies is making quilts — and does she ever!  Rose makes up to two quilts a month, and can quilt one in a week!
She has also done a lot of traveling. In 1972 she went to the Bible lands.  There she crossed the Sea of Galilee, saw the presumed place where Jesus had fed 5,000, and all the other wonderful sights.
In 1974 she even went around the world! She has lived in Arizona and New Mexico, where she and her husban lived in Albuquerque until two years ago when they moved back for their children and grandchildren.  Her husband passed away a year ago. Rose is an inspiring woman and good example to the younger ladies of the church. We encourage everyone to get to know Rose, as we have, to learn what a wonderful person she is. — The Teens”Rose Stine Hopkins 1988Rose Stine Hopkins age 17

She looks so serious…but don’t let that fool you :)

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Army Medals World War II

According to Cpl. John S. Hopkins’ Army Separation Qualification Record, the courses he took were Radio at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, Parachute at Fort Benning, Georgia and Photography at the Wakeman Convalescent Hospital at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  His military specialties were 4 months as a Private, Basic Training and 1 year as a Corporal, Heavy Weapons, Non-commissioned Officer.  John was a “member of the 81 millimeter crew (mortar).  Used fire control instruments such as aiming circle, range finder, and aerial photographs for directing of fire from maps. Served with 513th Parachute Infantry, 17th Division in European Theatre of Operations.”[1]

The following badges are on his blouse:Cpl. John S. Hopkins Uniform Jacket

Combat Infantry Badge

Basic Parachutist Badge

Expert Weapons Qualification Badge

Carbine Bar

Rifle Bar

Mortar Bar

Sharpshooter Weapons Qualification Badge

Machine Gun Bar

Infantry Enlisted

U.S. Letters Enlisted

Bronze Star

Bronze Arrowhead

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster

U.S. Army Overseas Service 1-Stripe

Purple Heart

Prisoner of War Medal

Army Good Conduct Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal

To aid us in recreating John’s uniform we used this website: http://www.usamilitarymedals.com/

Kelly


[1]Army of the United States Enlisted Record & Report of Separation Honorable Discharge, 2 October 1945, privately held by Mrs. Kelly L. Coghan Holderbaum, [address for private use], Norton, Ohio, 2013. Cpl. John S. Hopkins Discharge Papers. John S. Hopkins to Ruby E. Rogers Hopkins to Kelly L. Coghan Holderbaum.

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Army Records ~ Remember to evaluate all sources!

As many of you are aware, there was a fire in 1973 that destroyed “approximately 18 million service members’ records at the National Personnel Records Center”[1].  Among those records were those of my Grandfather, John S. Hopkins.  There is always more than one side to the story, though, I remember my Grandpa saying that when they were flying home, one plane had men and the other plan had war records. The plane with the war records went down and they made it home.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide which story you like better.

Despite the tragic losses, we do have my Grandpa John’s Discharge papers, which is more information than the Army had on him.  But, while reading through them, there were some issues.  He always said he was in the 517th PIR Division and we had postcards with that return address. The Discharge papers had 531st PIR & 513th PIR on them.  So after diligent research with my Uncle, we discovered yes, there was a 517th PIR and a 513th PIR but there was no 531st PIR!  With the help of Don Gentry from the 517th  Parachute Regimental Combat Team Association, we petitioned the Department of the Army and the Board for Correction of Military Records for my Grandpa’s record to be corrected and his metals to be awarded.

Because we were able to provide John’s certificate of death, Enlistment Record & Report of Separation, as well as records from the World War II Prisoners of War, Record Group 389, we were granted a review of our case.  The board reviewed our case and made the corrections to John’s record, awarded additional medals that were due and gave us a wonderful historical record of the 17th Airborne Division.

We were then able to re-assemble my Grandpa’s uniform jacket with his medals for the family.

Kelly

Cpl. John S. Hopkins 1945


[1] “Record of Proceedings; Case of Hopkins, John S. (Deceased),'” Docket Number AR20070014427, 6 May 2008, Department of the Army, Board for Correction of Military Records, Arlington, Virginia.

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Why did he move?

Sometime before or during the Tennessee Maneuvers in March of 1944 Hopkins was moved from the 517th to the 513th PIR.  We are not sure exactly why or when he was moved, but one story we have heard from several sources was that Hopkins was in a fight with a guy.  When he swung, he missed and punched a wall which broke his wrist.  He later claimed, and had guys back his story, that he had fallen roller skating so he would not get into trouble over the incident.

One other clue we have for Hopkin’s broken wrist is from a letter that Ruby saved from her brother Guy D. Rogers who was also serving in the war.  He says “…I’m sorry to hear that Johnny, having his wrist broke…”  Guy’s letter was dated 15 June 1944.  Ruby must have written to her brother about what ever happened to Hopkins.

FL083 - Copy

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Where were they?

PC017 a - Copy PC017 b - Copy

John S. Hopkins was assigned as a Private to Headquarters Company 2nd Battalion 517th Paratroopers.  He trained with them we know at Camp Mackall, North Carolina.  We have this postcard from him telling us this info.

Unfortunately, the last two postcards we have from Hopkins are not postmarked so we don’t know the exact time he was at Camp Mackall, they probably were included in a letter or package home.   The paratroopers trained at Camp Tooca, Georgia, Camp Benning, Georgia, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Camp Mackall, North Carolina.  Once they were completed with their training, they were sent to Tennessee for war training called the Tennessee Maneuvers.  In March of 1944 the 517th were pulled from the Maneuvers, received final preparations and were shipped off to the war in Italy.  The 513th was called up a few months later from their Maneuvers and they departed for England in August of 1944.

PC016 b - CopyPC016 a - Copy

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Becoming a Paratrooper ~ not an easy task

17_airborne_div_patch_sm

From my research on the 17th Airborne Division I learned that the 513th PRCT was born 26 December 1942 and the 517th PRCT was born 15 March 1943.  Men that signed up to try to become a paratrooper were sent first to Camp Toccoa, Georgia for screening, interviews and qualifying for infantry, artillery or engineers.  Once the men were assigned they were sent to Camp Mackall, North Carolina for jump training and more.  Once the unit was filled they were sent as a whole to Fort Benning, Georgia for parachute qualification and more training.

To become a paratrooper, you had to be in top physical condition, no broken bones, be an excellent marksman, and a weapons expert.  My Grandpa John S. Hopkins, according to his son, John L. Hopkins, John S. was a “catcher for the Atwater High School Baseball Team.  In fielding a low pitch, he broke the small finger on his right hand. It healed with a crook in it…he was selected as a member of the first true paratrooper unit. He had to hide the broken finger by keeping all his left hand fingers curled during the physicals.”

From an email from the great General Seitz, to John in 2007, “I have, after sixty odd years, and with over 800 men in…my battalion a faint picture of your fine father. I remember that I did interview your dad for admission to my 2nd battalion. I pause here to tell you I interviewed over three thousand potential men and selected only eight hundred. You[r] Dad was one of those eight hundred…one thing I can tell you is that you[r] Dad was a fine young man in tip top physical shape and good appear[ance] or he would not have been one of the 800 I selected.”

John S. also told John L. about some of his training, “his CO…used him as a company clerk since he could type.  This same CO would have my father take new recruits ‘to the dump’. Meaning a five mile run, just to see what they were made of.  One recruiter came back from the run totally undaunted. They went for a second, and a third time.  At his point, my father was a bit “run down”.  Seems the new recruit was a marathon runner!”

To achieve your jump wings means a lot. You have become an expert with your weapons and an expert marksman. You had to be in excellent physical condition. You had to be the toughest of the tough, if not you weren’t good enough.  They chose their men so carefully they had NO ONE wash out; setting a record that has stood to this day. These men were the best of the best, I am proud to be the Granddaughter of a Paratrooper of the 17th Airborne Division.

Kelly

517 logo

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You Just Need to Look

I am going to deviate from my topic of the month here, because when you find these things by accident, you just need to talk about them.  In researching in Portage County, Ohio you don’t have many choices in the early days, 1800-1820…So imagine my surprise to find in a Surname folder at the Portage County Historical Society original and copies of Court documents that are no longer supposed to exist.  Below is one wonderful tidbit of time.  I am sure you have all heard, you never know what you’ll find when you are researching or as Ancestry.com’s shakey leaves tell you: you don’t need to know what you are looking for :)

Kelly

state of ohio vs wm strong b

Portage County Historical Society, Ravenna, Ohio

Surname Vertical Files

[back]

“State of Ohio

vs

William A []”

[front]

“State of Ohio

Portage County

At a Court of Common Pleas holden at

Ravenna within and for the County of

Portage on the fourth Tuesday of December Anno Domini

one thousand eight hundred and nine – The Grand Jurors

returned to enquin for the body of the County of Portage

on their oaths do present that William A [] of

Deerfield Township in the County aforesaid did at Deerfield

aforesaid on the fifteenth eleventh day of December Anno Domini 1809

one thousand eight hundred and nine commitly wickedly

and with lewdly with foner and ams have carnal knowledge of one Loveey

Jacobs and commit the crime of fornication with her the

said Loveey Jacobs a single and unmarried woman then and there being – And the Jurors affo=

rsaid on the first day of November in the year of our

Lord one thousand eight hundred and nine commitly lewed=

ly and wickedly with force and [illegible word] live and hath continually afterwards at

Deerfield aforesaid until the day of the taking of this

inquisition commitly lewdly and wickedly lived in a State

of fornication with the same Loveey Jacobs a single and unmarried woman in contempt

of this State and its Laws to the evil example of all

others and against the peace and dignity of the State of

Ohio”

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High School ~ Who Wouldn’t Want To Be There?

I am sure that if you graduated from High School you’d remember your Commencement, probably even attended…right?  Well I guess my Grandpa John S. Hopkins really didn’t want to go to his, he joined the Army to avoid it!  Would you have gone to that extreme?  John enlisted April 17, almost one month before commencement on May 21, 1943.  John still received his diploma, which I have, from the Atwater High School in Atwater, Portage County, Ohio.

I am so glad my Grandma liked to keep some things.

Kelly

RP025 b

RP025 a

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The Hopkins Family

Hopkins Family 1942, Atwater, Ohio

This is the Oliver Hopkins Family.   I thought maybe you should meet them all as they will probably end up at some point in the story.  Oliver Hopkins and Rose Stine met and married in Akron, Ohio while working at Goodyear.  Oliver was born in Slate, Wood County, West Virginia and Rose was born in Sardis, Monroe County, Ohio.  Oliver and Rose had ten children: Ova Alberta, Orville Oren aka Bud, John Sheridan, Ruth Inez, Clarence Donald, Paul Eugene, Anna May, Jack Douglas, Harry Lewis and Alice Fay (listed in birth order).  Many of the children were born in different places, Parkersburg, West Virginia, Woodsfield, Ohio, Akron, Ohio, and Atwater, Ohio.  Oliver worked at Goodyear and was a preacher for the Church of Christ in a few different churches through the years.  Bud and John both served in World War II. Bud served in the Navy.

I’ll always be grateful that I knew my Great Grandma Rose and sad I was never able to meet my Great Grandfather Oliver.  I had ten years with Rose and she impacted those few years a lot.   I remember going to visit her and listening to the stories of her growing up.  I still remember one visit when she told us about how when the snow got too deep in Woodsfield they’d hook the horses up to the sleigh and ride around in the winter wonderland all bundled up.  To me it sounded like great fun.  She attended every birthday party and every holiday event as well as every Sunday morning at church.  She couldn’t write well due to her ever increasing Parkinson’s disease, so she would type notes, cards and letters to us.  I love coming across those notes she wrote to us.  Things for us to remember and hold on to.  Rose almost lived to her 91st birthday.  She was a special treasure to our family.

Kelly

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