The following article by Charles Hartley originally appeared in The Courier-Journal on 4 Dec 2013. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.
Friday, December 5, 1941, was a pleasant day with the temperature approaching 60 degrees. The front page of The Pioneer News, our local paper, contained much of the kind of news that you would expect, including three death reports and one marriage. The deaths included Burks and Mason Williams' aunt, Margaret McClaskey; a former Bullitt Countian, John Gaban; and William Mehne, husband of Anna Mae (Troutwine) Mehne. The marriage up at Little Flock joined together Floyd Tinnell and Mildred Crumbacker.
On the same page, the Mt. Washington correspondent reported that friends helped to surprise T. H. Parrish with a party on his 80th birthday. The same reporter shared that Mr. and Mrs. Herman Rouse announced the engagement of their daughter Mary to George Maddox, son of Mrs. Mamie Maddox. The wedding was to take place on Christmas Day.
The Lebanon Junction reporter shared that their high school football team had lost a game to Burgin on Stoll Field in Lexington, and that about three hundred LJ people had attended the event. This correspondent also mentioned that Ike Durham, one of the town's high school graduates had been sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison for army training.
Nancy Strange, publicity chairman for the local Christmas Seal campaign, shared a message from President Roosevelt encouraging everyone to remember to buy Christmas Seals and place them on their Christmas letters in support of the campaign to fight tuberculosis.
The post office reminded folks to mail packages early as troop movements of furloughed soldiers heading home for Christmas would tax the railroad's ability to deliver the mail on time.
One front page column, and an equal space later in the paper, was devoted to a discussion of whether or not the government would expand Fort Knox eastward, deeper into Bullitt County. This was at a time when, in response to events in Europe, the army was building up its armor capacity.
In the interior of the paper the editor listed the names of people who had joined the Red Cross by making a donation to its efforts. This was in response to the effort to collect blood for the military. There were 993 names listed, grouped together by communities including Lebanon Junction, Oak Grove, Hebron, Bardstown Junction, Harned, Glenn Meadow, Zoneton, Sharps, Beach Grove, Victory, Woodsdale, Belmont, Hays, Nichols, Mt. Olivet, Zion, Pitts Point, Edgewood, Bethel, Cedar Grove, Pleasant Hill, Sunnyside, Mt. Elmira, Whitfield, and Shepherdsville. Apparently the list was incomplete, as the paper indicated that it would be continued in the next issue.
A large advertisement announced that A. F. Brooks had decided to quit farming, and was selling much of his personal property including, among many other things, three snap jack corn planters, a barb wire fence stretcher, a good wood heating stove, two coal heating stoves, and a large ice box.
Another similar ad announced that Elbert Lutes had sold his farm and was moving to Fairdale. He was also selling personal property including seven Jersey milk cows; five giving milk and two dry. He also had a Jersey bull, just 20 months old.
An auction was scheduled for December 13th a mile west of Shepherdsville. The 160 acre Simmons farm was being subdivided into four to forty acre tracts. Also, C. J. Sutton had rented out his farm off Deatsville Road, and employed the Dawson Realty Company to sell off his personal property.
Out Valley View way, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Crenshaw finally named their daughter, who had been with them since Armistice Day. Janice Lois was her name. And Walter Breeden seemed to be suffering less from the pain in his eye.
The Cedar Grove correspondent extended sympathy to the family of Cleve Roby who had been buried on Thanksgiving Day. She also reported that the Clifford Bell family had entertained a number of folks at Thanksgiving including Miss Nettie Bolton and her boy friend, his name not given.
A number of advertisements provide interesting reading. F. E. Patterson, who ran the corner drug store, was offering Evening in Paris perfume for $1.25, two-cell flashlights for 69 cents, and 16 pads of band-aids with Mercurochrome for a dime. Maraman's Dry Goods Store listed women's house slippers for $1.19 and men's pajamas at $1.98. And Hardy's Cash Market would sell you ten pounds of sugar for 59 cents.
In the personal ads, Everett Hackett was selling a six cap cook stove that burned wood or coal; Luke Ryan was looking to rent a farm; Stony Weller had found an unclaimed stray hog on his farm; and Miss Jennie Carpenter had lost her hand bag somewhere between Shepherdsville and Bardstown Junction.
It is likely that the paper's subscribers read about all these things that evening, or perhaps the next morning at the breakfast table. While the war that raged in Europe was never far from folks' minds, what was happening locally was usually of more interest to most.
All that was about to change. Two days later, December 7, 1941, the nation was stunned by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. On Monday President Roosevelt delivered a call to Congress for war against Japan.
Nearly every radio in the nation was tuned in to his declaration of "a date which will live in infamy," and in those days the nation rose nearly as one in its determination to avenge this attack.
As we approach this 72nd annual observance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it is fitting that we should recall these days in which lives were changed forever.
We have added a link below to President Roosevelt's speech which is located on YouTube.
Copyright 2013 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.