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Seventy-Five Years Ago

Thursday, January 31, 1946

Our Army and Navy Boys

Sergeant Wilfong says Atrocities Stories True.

“Everything I have read or seen in pictures was not exaggerated one bit,” Sergeant Gray Wilfong, survivor of the Bataan death march said when asked about atrocities attributed to the Japanese.

Sergeant Wilfong is at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Wilfong, formerly of Pocahontas County, on a 90 day furlough. At the expiration of his furlough he expects to be discharged and while his plans are a bit indefinite he will probably return to school.

He was a prisoner of the Japanese for three years and five months. Two years and five months of this time were spent in prisoner of war camps in the Philippines and the final year in camps on Honshu Island in Japan, where he was forced to work in a coal mine. His hands still bear scars suffered while at such work.

Sergeant is back at, or near, his normal weight, although he fell from 147 to 96 pounds at one time. At the time of his liberation he weighed about 110 pounds and his weight now is 151 pounds.

Asked about the food, Sergeant Wilfong said that it was “mostly steamed rice and not enough of it.”

Sergeant Wilfong left Elkins in January of 1941 with a Company of the National Guard… arriving in Manila twenty days before the outbreak of the war.

He was captured on Bataan April 8, 1942, but had been stationed on Corregidor about a week before the fall of the peninsula…

In the years in which he was a prisoner of war, the 23 year old soldier did not receive even one letter from home, although scores had been written to him. His family received occasional cards through Red Cross channels from him, however. He spent four birthdays in the Japanese prison camps.

He was one of five Randolph county men held in prison camps. – Elkins Inter-Mountain

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Manila – Private Roy B. Clarkson, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Clarkson, reside at Cass, West Virginia, is currently serving with the 3828 Quartermaster Truck Company in this area as a truck driver.

Private Clarkson’s duties consist in delivering cargoes to various points in the Manila area and conveying troops from replacement depots to ships in the harbor waiting to take them home…

Private Clarkson recently met his brother, Ivan, who is now discharged, in Manila after not seeing him for 39 months. Another brother, Odie, is a Carpenter’s Mate First Class, with the Navy while his sister, Glenna, a Second Lieutenant, has served in the Nurse Corps…

THE HOSPITAL

This office has received the following copy of a petition to the County Court praying for reconsideration of its decision to close our County Hospital:

We, the undersigned voters of Little Levels do petition the County Court to reconsider its decision to close our County Hospital for the following among many reasons:

1. We think that to close it would be nothing short of a calamity to the people of this county, many of whom could not go to another hospital, and if they could, in a great many cases the element of time spent in reaching one farther away would mean the difference between life and death.

2. As this hospital is a memorial to the men of the county who lost their lives in World War I and those of World War II who died and others who served with courage unselfishly, a closed institution is not much of a memorial. This county has led in fighting men, in farm production and sale of bonds. These in the order of importance, but all essential to the success of the war just closed. There should be some recognition.

3. As the hospital is a substitute for the only institution we formerly had for the care of the aged and sick persons dependent on public funds –– the County Poor House – it seems to us we should make every effort and all cooperation possible to keep it a going concern.

The above petition is signed by over three hundred voters of the Little Levels District.

Naturally, I have concern that the Court can find a way out to keep so necessary an institution open and going. It may not be generally understood that each member of the County Court is held individually responsible for any debt contracted over and above the amount of the receipts of the hospital can meet. So, with the institution facing a deficit each month, there was no other way out for the County Court other than to order the Hospital closed as of January 31…

Of course the easiest and best way out would be a modest tax levy for hospital support. This would be as popular a tax as could be laid. However, such a levy is not permitted, or the Court would have laid it long ago.

DEATHS

Penelopia Edith Hiner, 63, a daughter of Mary Landis and Wellington G. Ruckman, both deceased of Hunters-ville… The body was laid to rest in the Huntersville cemetery.

William J. Beverage, 54, of Princeton; a son of Mrs. A. P. Beverage, of Marlinton, and the late A. P. Beverage. He was laid to rest in the Princeton cemetery beside his wife who preceded him in death 21 years ago.

James Alexander Patterson, age 83; burial in the Arbovale Cemetery.

Alfred Kennedy, age 64, of Boyer. Burial in the Brush Run cemetery.

Mrs. Sarah Alice McComb Wagner, aged 81, of Marlinton, widow of the late George W. Wagner, died at her home on Lower Camden… Her body was laid to rest in the family plot in Mountain View cemetery… The deceased was a daughter of the late Price and Eliza Moore McComb…

Miss Florence M. Sharp, aged 76 years, of Campbelltown… The body was laid to rest in the Mountain Grove cemetery. The deceased was a daughter of the late Marks and Mary Jane Sharp, of Sunrise, Virginia.

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