Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

September 12, 2012

Smith: A conversation with Bill Beard

Greensburg — Last week, I had a most excellent conversation with Bill Beard.

You may know Bill. His parents were William A. and Pearl McKelvey Beard and the family lived in Sandcreek and Marion townships. His mother taught school at Mapleton, Rodney and Forest Hill schools and was the Letts Postmaster for several years.

Bill went to school at Degenhart in Marion Township and graduated from Sandcreek High School in 1943.

He showed me two bottles made of very thick glass and with an even thicker lip around the top.

Bill and his son found the old bottles when they tore down a house some years ago. I estimate the bottles to be about 132-years-old and they haven't a chip on them. The words ÒW.L. Hasbrouck Chemist Greensburg, IndianaÓ are in raised glass letters on the bottles.

William L. Hasbrouck was Òa dispensing pharmacist and practicing physician.Ó He was born in Utica, N.Y. in 1816 and graduated with high honors from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

He entered the Union Army in 1861 and was an assistant surgeon until Dec. 27, 1865. He then settled in Cincinnati but came to Decatur County in 1873. His store was on the south side of the square was 20 x 90 feet and there he could prepare Òpharmaceutical compounds of every description.Ó He was on the judicial committee of the Presbytery of Whitewater, as an elder, in 1888 the year that the Synod of Indiana met in Rushville.

Although most of us would like every veteran's story recorded, we respect that some just can't talk about their experiences in war. Bill did not tell me of his experiences, possibly, in part, because one of his much loved brothers was killed only a few weeks after Bill graduated from high school and just as he was entering the service.

His brother, Lowell W. Beard, was a Tec 4-Sgt in the U.S. Army, 71st Field Artillery, 45th Infantry Division. He was an artillery spotter when he was killed July 25, 1943 in Sicily, during one of the largest combined operations in the war.

The invasion of Sicily began July 9, 1943 and lasted until Aug. 17. Nearly 24,000 Allied men were casualties, 29,000 enemy casualties plus 140,000 captured during what was called Operation Husky.

Lowell W. Beard wasn't there to see the victory that served as a base for the eventual invasion of Italy. He is one of those Americans who gave everything for the freedom we enjoy today.

Bill did tell about a project that the pastor of the Letts United Methodist Church did during World War II.

There had not been many female pastors before women could even cast their vote at the polls.

Miss Gladys March was an exception. She served the Letts Methodist Church from 1920 through most of 1924 and was asked to return after World War II began. She served from 1942 until the war was over and for a while afterward, leaving in 1946.

While she was pastor of the church, she kept the parishioners up on what the sons and daughters were doing that were serving in the Armed Forces. She printed the role that each person was playing while serving in the war and I've seen a copy of what she printed.

Bill served with the 22nd corps of the 1256 Combat Engineers Battalion, Ninth Army. I saw pictures that friends sent of Bill and the 600 men in his battalion rebuilding a bridge over the Rhine River. That was just south of Wesel, Germany. The rebuilding of the bridge was essential and was quite an achievement even by today's standards.

Wesel had been heavily bombed in Allied air raids and the town was devastated. To make matters worse, the bridges across the Rhine and Lippe rivers were blown up by the Germans to keep the Americans and Allied forces from advancing.

It was essential that the Ninth Army and British 2nd get across and in those days the word impossible didn't work.

The high level bridges were 30 feet above the water, made of wooden piling with steel cross bracing. It was 641 foot long, had two lanes, and 70 ton capacity. The river below plus the current made it dangerous for any man that fell.

The 600 men of the 1256 Combat Engineers worked eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days the bridge was tested and held which made advancement possible.

Next week I look forward to sharing with you a trip made 160 years ago when a relative of Bill's drove an ox team to Oregon from Westport with the Robbins family.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014

  • Shining a light on the Federal Reserve If you are like most Americans, you probably have heard of the Federal Reserve. But, you may not know much about what the Fed actually does or the very real ways its decisions impact your day-to-day life. The Federal Reserve was founded by Congress i

    July 22, 2014

  • Expiring term heightens the urgency of lawmaker's mission INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrant

    July 22, 2014

  • fea-gb072214 Spaulding column jpg Spaulding Outdoors: The inside on Indiana's outside Free beginner waterfowl hunting workshopsTwo free waterfowl hunting workshops for beginners will be offered in August and September by the Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the workshops is on hunting Canada geese, although there will be

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thankful for our veterans' sacrifice On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a new nation. To Great Britain and the rest of the world, the U.S. proclaimed itself the proud home of free people. Since that day, on more than one occasion, this freedom h

    July 17, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 17, 2014

  • Pat Smith: Undiscovered treasures in the home Last week I wrote about finding a certificate showing that my husband had purchased 15 shares of the “Souvenir Stock of Greensburg Community Centennial, Inc held in 1959. What I found nearby was even more intriguing; at least, it was to me. It is a v

    July 16, 2014

  • What's in the attic? Shoes! Shoes reflect our personality, our fashion sense, our role in society and our mood on any given day. Without a word they say, soccer mom, corporate executive, medical technician or going nowhere, doin’ nothing’. Last year in the US more than 350 mill

    July 16, 2014

  • Road to funding Indiana highways jammed INDIANAPOLIS – If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ri

    July 15, 2014