Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sgt. Tilney's WWII Heroism

Tilney mysteriously disappears from the store’s employment registry in 1941 due to his enlistment into the US Army on August 1 of that year.  The fact that Tilney enlisted into the military months before the Pearl Harbor attack is an interesting and noble aspect of his story’s timing.  As Tilney was serving his nation as a paratrooper, he kept a strong friendship with the Garners and consistently corresponded with the family.  The Garners received many letters from Tilney during the war, many in the form of V-Mail, or miniature letters for easier military organization and logistics.  One such letter to the high school age Robert Garner was emblazoned with personal artwork of the North African landscape Tilney was fighting in.
Tilney was deployed to North Africa in 1942 where he participated in the United States first combat parachute jump of World War II.  After initial military combat success in North Africa, Tilney was promoted to sergeant of his platoon.  However, Sgt. Tilney was tragically shot and killed in Nice, France after he intentionally drew enemy sniper fire in order to locate German and Italian strongholds on August 25, 1944.  Sgt. Tilney’s heroism would ultimately not be in vein, and due to his efforts these enemy positions were quickly eliminated by his platoon.  Nice was completely liberated from Axis occupation shortly after Tilney’s death.  Sgt. Tilney’s courage in combat and military service was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the French Croix de Guerre, the Expert Infantry Badge with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Service Bar, the Good Conduct Medal, Paratrooper Wings, and the before Pearl Harbor ribbon bar.

Monday, January 11, 2016

192 Year Old Letter

This letter was written to Martha McClure by Eliza Ann Ristine. ~ January 6, 1824 ~ Not only was Montgomery County newly established, from the description in the letter it is understood that Ms. Ristine was new to the area. Interestingly, 1824 was also the year John Remley arrived in Montgomery County.

The letter reads: Dear School Mate, I take this opportunity of corresponding with you by letter as that is the only medium by which we can converse together for a long time. I should feel very well satisfied here but some of my companions here from that country but feel somewhat lonesome notwithstanding now live in town there is a great forest of timber all around us but the situation of the place is pleasant to be no more improved than what it is at this time. I should be very glad to hear from you and I want you to write to me by Father as he will be in that country for sometime. We have no school here of any description and not much prospect of one for some time there has been about seven families settled in this place since we got here we had a very pleasant journey all the way out and nothing happened to us that was very difficult we camped out every night after we left I want you to remember me to all my companions that thinks proper to inquire after me I remain your loving companion. (Transcribed as written.)

The letter was discovered in a safe at the Madison Presbyterian Church in 2015, and was given to the Montgomery County Historical Society. 

The envelope reads: Miss Martha McClure, Madison Indiana. The name May or Mary Elizabeth Bird is also written on it.