Discovery: More Details about Dad’s Military Service in World War II

My Dad, James “Gene” Rier, served in the US Army Air Corp from March 7, 1942 until December 30, 1945. I was surprised to find this letter among his papers along with other documents. It is a Statement of Interest in Consideration for Commission in the Regular Army. October 22, 1945.  I had no idea that he submitted this letter of interest for commission in the US Army Air Corp after the war. Perhaps it was a backup plan in the case he did not find a civilian job.

Note: Pertinent parts of this letter are transcribed below for easy reading.

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By October 29, 1945, one week after this letter of interest, Captain James E Rier, separated from the US Army Air Corp with commendation.

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Dad found a job at the mill in Calais where he worked for a year and saved the money to build a home and business in Machias. By January 4th, 1946, Dad, Mom and my brother Jimmy were living in Calais.

What is interesting about Dad’s Statement of Interest for Commission in the Army is the details it contains about Dad’s education, training, and his early work history. I thought I knew about all about it but I did not. He wrote:

I have attended the following schools or colleges for the indicated number of years and hold the indicated degrees:

a. New England Aircraft School – Airplane Mechanics Course, six months.

b. Hemphill Diesel School, Boston Mass, six months.

c. Army Pilot Training, seven months.

d. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft School – Engine Specialist Course, two months.

My professional or business experience is as follows:

a. Aircraft Maintenance Officer – Three years

b. Six years experience as auto mechanic and foreman

c. Two years experience as topographer and surveyor

My military record is as follows:

a. Commissioned at Brooks Field, Texas, 7 March 1942, per paragraph 14 GO 54.

b. Date of entry on active duty 7 March 1942

c. Active duty, commissioned service, three years and eight months

d. Active duty, enlisted service, one year five months

Former immediate commanding officers from whom an officer evaluation report may be obtained:

a. Colonel Benjamin J. Webster, present address, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY, served under from 25 June 1945 to date.

b. Colonel Joe W. Kelly, last known address, AAF Training Command, Fort Worth, Texas, served under from 25 January 1945 to 25 June 1945.

c. Colonel George F. Schlatter, last known address, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY, served under from 3 June 1943 to 25 January 1945.

Permanent home mailing address: Lubec, Maine.

Dad must have been receiving his mail at his mother’s home in Lubec.

Dad’s Separation Qualification Record adds more details of his military career.

Military Occupational Assignments

5 months 2 Lt, Pilot, Two Engined (1051)

4 months 2nd Lt, Pilot, Single Engine (1054)

35 months Capt, Flight Test Maintenance Officer (4821)

Flight Test Maintenance Officer. Supervised the inspection, maintenance and repair of single and two engine training aircraft in the production line maintenance section. Supervised the preparation of reports, forms and correspondence necessary in the administration of the section. Supervised the changing of aircraft engines. Performed all necessary test flights to check safety of aircraft. Totaled 1215 flying hours as First Pilot.

Note: Dad was awarded the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer.

On the second page, Dad lists employment:

Auto mechanic at Diamond Point Garage, Lubec Maine from 1935 to 1937. (This must be his father, Frank Rier’s garage. I did not know the name).

Topographer – 35.725 – for US Engineering Department, Boston, Mass from 1934 to 1935. On survey party, making maps of flooded area, also map of area to be flooded by future dam built.

Dad must have done the surveyor work right after he graduated from Lubec High School in 1934, likely living with his Aunt Mary in Leominster, MA. He truly was a jack of all trades!

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Related posts:

My Dad James Eugene Rier

Quoddy Light (Dad’s 1934 Yearbook)

Dad’s Futuristic Car. 1935.

Dad’s Graduation from US Army Air Corp Advanced Flying School.

Dad Received West Point Assignment as Flight Instructor. 1942.

The Beginning of A Business in Machias Maine. Rier Buick. 1949.

Rier Buick and Machias Auto Parts. Circa 1960s. 

My Dad, James “Gene” Rier: Maine’s Dean of Gas Engines. 1985.

 

 

 

My Paternal Great Great Grandparents. Ingraham and Mary Rier. 1880 Census.

Lubec, Maine. My Paternal Great Grandparents were Burpee and Emma (Batron) Rier. I found Burpee’s family in the Lubec 1880 census. His parents were Ingraham and Mary Rier. In 1880, Ingraham was 40 years old, Mary was 36. Three children lived in the household: Burpee age 18, Bertha E, age 15, and Ida May age 12. Ingraham’s occupation was hotel keeper, Burpee was listed as a hostler. All five family members were born in Nova Scotia.

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Maine birth records show that Ida May was born in 1868 and died October 26, 1883, at age 15.

Another daughter of Ingraham and Mary Rier died before the 1880 census. Alice Rier was born in 1860 and died May 15, 1876 at age 16.

Bertha E Rier married Norman Gavaza in Lubec, September 30, 1889. There is no document available but the marriage record is referenced below.

Ingraham’s death record states that he died May 12, 1904 at age 64. His estimated date of birth is 1840 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Cause of death, organic heart disease. His occupation noted at death was a carpenter. His father’s name is Ingram (Ingraham?), a carpenter who likely lived and died in Nova Scotia. There is no mother listed.

The findagrave website states that Ingraham was buried in the Lubec cemetery. I will need to visit and perhaps I will find his wife Mary there, and his children, Burpee, Bertha E, Ida May and Alice.

References:

Ida May Rier, death record. Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 Indexing Project (Batch) Number I00666-4 System Origin Maine-EASy GS Film number 11527.

Alice Rier, death record. Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 Indexing Project (Batch) Number I00666-4 System Origin Maine-EASy GS Film number 11527.

Marriage, Bertha E Rier. Maine Marriages, 1771-1907. Indexing Project (Batch) Number. I00601-0System Origin. Maine-ODM. GS Film number. 11527

 

Ingraham Rier, death record.

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Your Preservation Stories

Preservation pays off—read stories of family discoveries people have made due to the preservation efforts of others. Piles of old documents sitting around in the attic. Old family keepsakes gathering dust. Each piece of your family’s past has a story to tell, but unfortunately, these stories can be forgotten or lost if steps aren’t taken…

via Your Preservation Stories — FamilySearch Blog

My Great Great Grandparents’ Family

 

 

Otis Witham Means and Elsie Fuller Berry Means married in Blue Hill, Maine in 1837. They lived in Machiasport and had eight children, five survived beyond infancy. After their daughter Francis died in 1871, Otis and Elsie raised Grace Adele, their granddaughter. Recorded in the “Means Family” notebook written by John H Means of Boston and sent to William G. Means in 1913, their children:

Andrew Fuller born Bluehill May 6, 1838. Married Francis A Sawyer in Machiasport March 17, 1864. He was a physician in Boston. “In War Rebellion.” He died March 3, 1905. She is alive in 1913. They had one son, Harry F, born June 1867, alive in 1913.

Eliphalet Scribner born September 14, 1839. Married Machiasport June 1864 Helen of Robinston.“In War Rebellion.” He died March 10, 1888. They had two daughters, Charlotte K and Carrie A.

Harriet E born September 25, 1841. Married Nathaniel M. Putnam in Boston, August 28, 1864. He died September 5, 1891. She died July 29, 1892. Both buried at Forest Hill Cemetery Boston.

Francis Adele born January 14, 1844. Married J J Drew in Machiasport. She died October 29, 1871. [One daughter, Grace Adele.]

Henry and Henrietta twins died in infancy.

Otis W born August 25, 1853. Died in infancy January 4, 1854.

William Gordon born Machias January 15, 1855. Married Nellie B Getchell July 1, 1880. They had 4 children: Otis, Harriet, William, Elsie. William is my maternal great grandfather. His daughter Harriet is my grandmother.

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Related post:

Portraits of the Ancestors

 

 

 

Google’s New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records

Google has announced a new app today that brings the ease of scanning and preserving old family photos and records to a whole new level. And Anil Sabharwal, vice president of Google Photos, was inspired to create the free app by his own family’s past. According to CNET “His grandparents, who were Hindus living in […]

via Google’s New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records — Family History Daily

A face to the name: How to find photos of your ancestors

Have you ever wondered where your relatives got their upturned noses, turned-out ears or mousy hair that never quite sits flat? Photos are a fantastic way of bringing you a little closer to your ancestors, giving you an insight into the people who made you what you are today. It’s possible that you’re lucky enough…

via A face to the name: How to find photos of your ancestors — Findmypast – Genealogy, Ancestry, History blog from Findmypast

The Lincoln Farm Association

Membership Certificate of my great grandfather William Means who lived in Machias, Maine.

June 17th, 1907

“You have this day been enrolled as an honorary member of the Lincoln Farm Association a patriotic organization formed by American citizens for the purpose of preserving as a National Park the farm on which Abraham Lincoln was born. 

In witness whereof the names of officers and directors and the seal of the Association are hereunto affixed.”

The Lincoln Farm Association was founded in 1906 to preserve the birth site and cabin of Abraham Lincoln. Roughly 100,000 persons contributed money totaling over $350,000. Solicitations were sent out all over the country.

In 1905, Richard Lloyd Jones presented plans for Lincoln Farm Association in the Colliers magazine. Prominent men from all walks of life were appointed to the Board of Trustees. Logs of the symbolic cabin were found in the basement of the old Poppenhusen Mansion at College Point, New York. They were purchased by the Association for $1,000. In June a triumphant tour was scheduled to return the logs back to Sinking Spring Farm. During the trip back the logs were guarded by armed soldiers as stops were made in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Indianapolis. Thousands turned out at each stop to see the “Lincoln Logs.”

Due to the efforts of the Lincoln Farm Association, the Sinking Spring National Park was established.

My Great Great Great Grandfather Robert Means Jr.

Reading the 1913 Means Family Notebook, I discovered that he was the son of Robert Means Sr.

Robert Means Jr….born in Saco. Married Blue Hill Dec 1, 1809 to Charlotte Kimball Witham daughter of Andrew Witham [from] Bradford Mass Sept 7, 1790. She died Hampden Me Apl 29 1870. He was a sea captain and died Blue Hill Nov 2, 1842 both buried in Sea Side Cemetery at Blue Hill and two large stones mark their graves. 

Capt Robert Means built the first three masted schooner with a few others….He was a Master Mason of St John’s Lodge #1 Wilmington N. C.

The 1913 Means notebook contains a drawing of Capt Robert Means gravestone and records that the stone stands 4 foot 6 inches high, white marble. His gravestone is side by side with his wife’s gravestone, also drawn in the notebook.

“Dear is the spot where mother sleeps and sweet strains which angels pour O! Why should we in anguish weep…she is not lost but gone before God…they live on earth in thought and deed as truly as in heaven.”

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Related posts:

My Great Great Great Grandparents. Bible Record of Births and Deaths.

My Great Great Grandfather Otis Witham Means.

My Great Great Grandmother Elsie Fuller Berry Means.

My Great Grandparents William and Nellie Means.

Read more about the Robert Means family 1718 – 1950 here.

 

 

My Great Great Great Grandparents. Bible Record of Births and Deaths.

The parents and siblings of my great great grandfather Otis Witham Means.

Robert Means. Born in Saco, Me

July 25th 1783

Charlotte K Witham. Born in Bradford MA??

September 7th 1790

Robert Means and Charlotte K Witham were married in Bluehill, Me, December 1st, 1809. By the Rev. Jonathan Fishev

Mehitable Kimball Means. Born Sept 11th 1810

John Witham Means. Born Oct 6th, 1812

Alexander Hamilton Means. Born Oct 23d 1814

Otis Witham Means. Born June 6th 1817

Robert Parker Means. Born Sept 24th 1819

Charlotte Kimball Means. Born Sept 16th 1820

Mary Susan Ray Means. Born March 30th 1823

Elvina Stevens Means. Born Nov 8th 1825

Robert Henry Byron Greensough Means. Born Jan 30 1831

 

Deaths

Robert Means died Nov 2nd 1842. Aged 59

Robert Parker Means died Oct 26th 1819. 2 days 1 month

Mehitable Kimball Means died May 4th 1857.  Aged 46

John Gordon, C.K. Means Husband died Sept 16th, 1855. Aged 38 years 4 months 2 days

This Bible record is part of the 1924 Grace Means collection of ancestor records and portraits. Grace wrote on the back:

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1913. The Means Family

This post has been updated with a full scanned copy of the Means Family notebook found here1913.Means

When I was in sixth grade, Mrs. Luce gave the class an assignment: write a story about our ancestors. When I got home that day, I told Mom about my homework project. I hoped to write about my grandparents and great grandparents. She retrieved a small brown notebook from a closet draw entitled 1913. Means Family. Compliments of John H. Means Boston to William G Means. William Means was my great grandfather. I knew the book existed for no one could grow up in my home and not hear stories about my mother’s ancestors but I had never read it, nor glanced at the pages.

I opened the little book and read the first page:

Our Ancestors

Our great-great-great Grandfather and family.

Robert Means born 1689 married Jeane Armstrong, daughter of James or John Armstrong. Robert Means died Saco Dec 29, 1769 aged 80 years. Jeane died aged 102 years.

They had six children.

“In the autumn of 1718, vessels came from Ireland via Boston to Portland (then Falmouth) Maine (from Drakes History of Boston). They were descendants of a colony [from] Argyllshire in Scotland and settled in the North of Ireland about the middle of the 17th century. They were rigid Presbyterians and fled from Scotland to North of Ireland (Ulster) to avoid persecution of Charles I. Among them was James Armstrong with his sons John, Simon and Thomas and Robert Means who married his daughter. This colony with Rev Wm Mc Gregor at its head left Ireland in 5 vessels containing 120 families and arrived in Boston August 4, 1718 part settled in Maine and part in New Hampshire. “This company of immigrants among other important services rendered to the land of their adoption, introduced the Potatoe plant which had not before been cultivated in the country: Also the Linen spinning wheel, and the manufacture of Linen.

The spinning wheel had not appeared [on] our shores until the advent of these strange people, and it produced quite a sensation in Boston.

Societies were formed and Schools established to teach the art of spinning flax and the manufacture of its thread. At the first Anniversary of its introduction  ladies with their wheels paraded on the Boston Common for a trial of skill in spinning and prizes were awarded. During four years this novelty held its attraction and then gave way to some new excitement.”

Robert and Jeane Armstrong Means.

They had

Thomas

John born 1722 our ancestor

Sarah

Mary

Dorcas

Jane

The little notebook went on and on. I was hooked. I had two weeks to complete the assignment. I began to transcribe the whole notebook for my own copy – or at least most of it – and wrote an essay about my ancestors. I remember counting how many people descended from Robert and Jeane Armstrong in the ensuing two hundred years. Hundreds. I was one of them.

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Related post:

My Great Great Grandparents’ Family. Otis and Elsie (Berry) Means.