Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pasadenan Enters Mortuary, Drinks Poison, Falls Dead

May 31, 1947

Mrs. Vida Dell, employed by Ives & Warren Mortuary at 100 N. Hill Ave., is used to dealing with the dead and the bereaved. But she wasn't prepared for today's frugal visitor, Joseph Arthur Rawles, who apparently saw no point in incuring the cost of two rides in a hearse.

The 70-year-old jewelry store worker, despondent over poor health and fading eyesight, entered the mortuary, tapped on the office glass to get Mrs. Dell's attention, then drank from a bottle of poison and collapsed. A note on his body explained Rawles' reasons. The deceased lived at 650. N. Madison Ave.


Larry said...

War Fears
Tinge Tribute
Thousands Solemn
as Memorial Day
Speakers Hit Reds

Somber skies gray
with mourning made a requiem
of Memorial Day in the South-
land yesterday and in the
parks and cemeteries and
stadia the prayers of men
seemed said on beads of un-

In the multiplicity of services
conducted amid the sidewalk
clatter of the city and on the
verdant rolling lawns through-
out the countryside there seeped,
with mist and gentle rain, the
solemn aftermath of doubt.

The speakers in uniform and
out talked not only of the mem-
ory of those who have died
holding high the ideal of liberty
but also of atomic war to come,
of foes with spears of hatred
pointing at America, of the thin
thread of faith that ties us to
our heritage.

+ + +

Memorial Day, 1947, was a spectacle marked with a parade from Westwood to the veterans cemetery, services for Spanish-American veterans in Pershing Square and even a tribute at Hollywood Memorial Park to 21 Times employees killed in the 1910 bombing, as well as those who died in World War II (Tommy Treanor, RIP).

The largest gathering was at the Coliseum, where the multitudes sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” recited the Pledge of Allegiance and listened to Ronald Reagan read the Gettysburg Address.

But one staple of patriotic gatherings in Los Angeles was missing. Col. Robert A. Bringham, manager of the veterans facility, noted sadly that this was the first Memorial Day service in the history of the institution without a single survivor of the Civil War.

The Times reported that with the death of Herbert Mingay, 100, of New York’s Fighting 69th the month before, there were five Grand Army of the Republic members left in Los Angeles:

--Charles L. Chappell, 99, 1117 Stanley Ave., Long Beach., of the 10th New York Infantry.
--William V. Ebersole, 100, 11329 Joffre St.
--Marcus E. Getter, 98, 6535 Olcott, Tujunga., of the 129th Indiana Infantry.
--Douglas T. Story, 102, 3800 Pasadena Ave., of the 136th Illinois Infantry.
--Darwin B. Wolcott, 99, 1320 W. 67th St., of the 171st Ohio Infantry.

As late as the 1930s, the GAR members met twice a week at Patriotic Hall, 1816 S. Figueroa, with annual trips to encampments. There were frequent newspaper stories about the Last Man Club and visiting veterans reminisced about seeing Lincoln or standing guard duty. In 1952, The Times took a picture of Story, in his uniform, examining an early television set.

By 1947, the survivors were growing frail. Of the five, Wolcott and Ebersole died that year, Getter died in 1949 at 100 and Chappell—who remained fairly active late in life—died in 1950 at 102. When Story died in 1952 at the age of 107, he left William Allen Magee, who somehow missed The Times previous tally, as the lone survivor.

But Magee never knew he was the last man; nobody told him. “He’ll simply brood,” said his daughter, Isabel Magee, of 14313½ Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys. “And he isn’t strong enough to attend Mr. Story’s funeral.” Magee, who enlisted as a bugler of the 12th Ohio Cavalry at the age of 13, died in 1953 at 106.

And while information on Confederate veterans in Los Angeles is more elusive, there was at least one, Sampson Sanders Simmons of 6503 Wilcox Ave., in Bell, who died in 1942 and was buried in Inglewood Cemetery, wrapped in a Confederate flag.


Larry said...

Note: many of these stories overlap one another

--Memorial Day, 1947: Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1947; May 23, 1947; May 25, 1947; May 29, 1947, May 31, 1947

--Chappell, Charles L: Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16, 1943; April 30, 1944; Aug. 13, 1944; Aug. 26, 1946; July 8, 1947; May 30, 1948; July 10, 1948; Sept. 23, 1948; April 9, 1949; May 28, 1949; May 29, 1949; July 6, 1949; July 9, 1949; Aug; 28, 1950. I was unable to locate his grave.

--Ebersole, William V. Aug. 13, 1947. Buried at Forest Lawn.

--Getter, Marcus E. Sept. 30, 1946; July 28, 1946; July 30, 1948; Jan. 18, 1949. Services conducted at Sunnyside Mausoleum, Long Beach.

--Magee, William Allen. Aug. 20, 1946; April 24, 1952; May 25, 1952; Jan. 24, 1953. Buried at the veterans cemetery in Westwood.

--Mingay, Henry Mark. Dec. 13, 1931; Feb. 17, 1936; May 31, 1939; May 28, 1941; May 29, 1941; May 31, 1941; May 31, 1943; Dec. 6, 1946; April 30, 1947; May 1, 1947; A May 31, 1969, story mentions Mingay’s widow, Aimee, 92, attending Memorial Day services. Buried at Grandview Memorial Park, Glendale.

--Simmons, Sampson Sanders. Jan. 29, 1942. Buried at Inglewood Cemetery.

--Story, Douglas T. Oct. 16, 1946; June 14, 1947; Oct. 17, 1947; Nov.24, 1947; April 15, 1948; May 18, 1948; Nov. 28, 1948; Oct. 12, 1949; Oct. 26, 1949; Nov. 22, 1949; Nov. 24, 1949; June 24, 1950; Aug. 21, 1950; Nov. 25, 1950; April 17, 1951; May 30, 1951; May 31, 1951; Aug. 31, 1951; Nov. 21, 1951; Nov. 25, 1951; April 23, 1952. April 29, 1952.

--Wolcott, Darwin B. Jan. 6, 1923; Oct. 29, 1928; June 12, 1929; Oct. 27, 1933; May 24, 1936; May 30, 1936; Jan. 3, 1937; April 7, 1937; Dec. 18, 1937; Feb. 10, 1938; Jan. 7, 1939; May 5, 1939; July 1, 1939; Oct. 15, 1939; March 9, 1940; Jan. 11, 1941; April 6, 1941; May 11, 1941; May 30, 1941; Nov. 12, 1941; Nov. 29, 1942; May 16, 1943; Oct. 16, 1943; Jan. 11, 1946; Jan. 12, 1946; Feb. 7, 1946; July 10, 1947. Buried in Rosedale Cemetery.

Among the other veterans profiled is Dr. Overton H. Mennet, a visitor to Los Angeles, who described unloading freight cars at Harper’s Ferry, standing guard duty in the snow and sleeping in a bog. A local veteran, Dr. John W. Dill, 96, said: “I never killed a man. I was glad to get home from the war.” Of the then-impending war in Europe, Dill said: “It’s all too mixed up.” (Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1940) Dill died at 102 and is buried in Inglewood. (Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1945)