Frank Merrill was born in the United States on 4th December, 1903. He joined the US Army and reached the rank of sergeant before attending West Point Military Academy. Merrill graduated in 1929 (147/299) and was commissioned in the cavalry.
Merrill continued to study and obtained a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also spent a year studying weapons and was a language student in Tokyo.
In October 1941 Merrill was promoted to the rank of major and was posted to join the staff of General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Merrill was transferred to Burma where he served under General Joseph Stilwell.
In August 1943 it was decided to form a US military unit that specialized in guerrilla warfare and long-range penetration tactics. Merrill was placed in charge of the group that was based on those formed by Orde Wingate, Evans Carlson and Merritt Edson.
Recruits to Merrill's Marauders were from the United States and the Caribbean. Colonel Charles Hunter was second in command to Merrill and was responsible for jungle training that was held at Deogarth.
Merrill led his men on their first campaign on 24th February 1944 when they attacked the 18th Japanese Division in Burma. This action enabled General Joseph Stilwell to gain control of the Hakawing Valley.
On the unit's second campaign in March 1944, Merrill had a severe heart-attack at Hsamshingyang and had to be evacuated to Ledo.
Merrill returned to duty on 17th May and took part in the advance to Myitkyina. By this time the Marauders had lost 700 men and had to be reinforced with Chinese troops.
On the way to Myitkyina the Marauders marched for 750 miles and fought in 5 major engagements and 32 skirmishes with the Japanese Army. Casualties were high and only 1,300 Marauders reached their objective and of these, 679 had to be hospitalized. This included Merrill who had suffered a second-heart attack before going down with malaria. The rest of the Marauders had to wait for reinforcements before Myitkyina was taken on 3rd August 1944.
Merrill was promoted to major general on 5th September 1944 and placed in charge of the Allied Liaison Group. The following year Merrill became deputy US Commander in Burma and went with General Joseph Stilwell and the 10th Army to Okinawa.
After retiring from the US Army in 1948 Merrill was appointed Commissioner of Public Works in New Hampshire. Frank Merrill continued to suffer from poor health and died aged fifty-two on 11th December 1955. The movie Merrill's Marauders was released in 1962.
World War II Database
ww2dbase Frank Dow Merrill was born in Woodville, Massachusetts, United States, descendent of British settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s. In his teenage years, he worked for United Fruit Company on a freighter as a radio operator, and then enlisted in the US Army while still underage. He held every enlisted rank as well as the officer rank of lieutenant and had experience in Haiti and Panama before gaining entrance into the United States Military Academy at West Point, but until he took the academy entrance exam six times before he was able to convince the faculty that his willpower would overcome his astigmatism. He graduated from West Point in 1929 and was assigned to serve in Vermont and Virginia before being commissioned a cavalry officer. In 1931 he received a bachelor's degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then went on to attend the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kansas, United States. He also spent time instructing a course in small arms and then spent three years in Tokyo as a Japanese-language officer. Originally assigned to serve in Japan for four years, he only remained there for three years due to the tension between Japan and the United States.
ww2dbase When the United States was attacked by Japan and entered the war, Merrill was a staff officer under Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines. He was quickly transferred to Burma as a liaison officer with the British forces, and reported to Joseph Stilwell. He later became Stilwell's operations officer in 1942, and traveled to Cairo with him for the Cairo Conference of Nov 1943.
ww2dbase Early 1944, Merrill became the head of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), a unit modeled after British General Orde Wingate's expeditionary force Chindits which penetrated deep into Japanese lines to disrupt communications. Merrill's unit would later gain the name Merrill's Marauders. Colonel Charles Hunter was assigned to the 5307th as the senior officer under Merrill Hunter described his commanding officer as "rather tall, he was by no means a rugged individual, being narrow of chest and rather thin. His features were sharp but his nature ebullient, affable and confident." The first Marauder campaign took place in late Feb 1944 as they attacked the Japanese 18th Division at Walawbum, allowing Stilwell's regular units to take control of the Hakawing Valley.
ww2dbase In Mar 1944, Merrill suffered a heart attack at Hsamshingyang and was evacuated to India. Expected of him, he refused to board the plane for evacuation until all wounded boarded before him, delaying his departure by one day. Hunter took over his responsibilities on 29 Mar, and later wrote of Merrill's health:
"I had no warning of Merrill's approaching illness. He had not undergone any violent exercise in the last few days to have placed a strain on his heart. I knew he was using some kind of thick purplish medicine taken with water which he told me was for dysentery."
ww2dbase Merrill returned to service on 17 May and commanded Marauders near the town of Myitkyina which housed air fields important for local air superiority as well as for the supply lines into China. At Myitkyina his Marauders marched for 750 miles and engaged in 5 battles and 32 skirmishes the casualty rates were high due to fatigue, diseases, and battle injuries and deaths. Merrill was counted among the casualties from a second heart attack followed by malaria. On 5 Sep 1944 Merrill was promoted to the rank of major general, and in 1945 became the second-in-command of all American forces in Burma. When the war ended, he was serving with the American 10th Army at Okinawa.
ww2dbase British soldier Jack Girsham noted Merrill as a "cool, clever, and tough fighting man, the type who would never lose his temper or his nerve." Girsham added that "he cared for his men."
ww2dbase After the war Merrill served as Chief of Staff of the Western Defense Command, Commander of the 6th Army, and Deputy Chief of the American Military Advisory Mission to the Philippines. He retired from the Army in 1948 and became Commissioner of Public Works in New Hampshire, United States. He passed away in 1955. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, and Combat Infantryman's Badge.
ww2dbase Sources: Frank McLynn, The Burma Campaign Nathan Prefer, Vinegar Joe's War
Last Major Revision: Nov 2005
Frank Merrill Interactive Map
Frank Merrill Timeline
4 Dec 1903
Frank Merrill was born.
19 May 1944
Frank Merrill suffered another heart attack.
22 Jun 1944
Frank Merrill radioed Joseph Stilwell to warn him that Louis Mountbatten was intriguing to replace Stilwell with another American commander who was more likely to be subject to Mountbatten's authority.
11 Dec 1955
Frank Merrill passed away.
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Visitor Submitted Comments
1. rob crawford says: 11 Feb 2007 01:14:36 PM
Would not many of us be a hero given the same opportunities and time frame in history?
2. Kerry Johnson says: 1 May 2007 06:55:06 PM
Frank Merrill is related to my mothers family who where Merrills from Hopkinton, MA. He bears a striking resembalance to my grandmothers brothers. I would love to know more about the surviving members of his family. I understand that he had two sons. There is a memorial to the Marauders in Charlotte, NC which was dedicated with the presence of some surviving members. I spoke with one of them who was known as the Fighting Preacher. I think his last name was Weston or something like that. Each member is a total hero and true patriot in my eyes. God Bless all of them forever!
3. John Cressy says: 26 Jun 2009 06:51:47 PM
Frank Merrill was my grandmothers first cousin. He was born in Hopkinton, Ma. and moved with his father Charles to Amesbury Ma. Where he lived on the Merrill Homestead located on route 110. He graduated from Amesbury High School. He is listed on at least one census living in Amesbury.
4. John Paul-Hilliard says: 6 Nov 2011 06:45:53 AM
My father J. Stanton Hilliard, also a WWII veteran, was the driver for General Merrill during his tenure as Commissioner of the NH Department of Public Works and Highways. He always spoke highly of him and his commanding presence. Gold Bless You Sir.
5. ford says: 22 Apr 2012 06:37:40 AM
I didnt know Frank Merrill.. but I chumbed with his son Obie Merrill when they lived in Amesbury Mass.. Obie died very young.
6. Anonymous says: 23 Mar 2015 06:45:16 AM
My great grandpa was in wwII and he would write letters to his cousin, Frank Merrill.
7. Bruce Lewis says: 3 Jan 2020 09:25:16 PM
What this world really needs is more Frank Merrill’s. He ranks the highest in military bravery. Job well done Frank Merrill.
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
Frank Merrill - History
If there is such a thing as “love at first sight” it happened in 1960 when a young man – reading a magazine in Fremont, Michigan – saw the results of the Houston Stock Show and a picture of Miss Jim 45, So…..this young man called Matlock Rose, one of the owners and said “Mr. Rose, I am Frank Merrill from Fremont, Michigan, and I was wondering if Miss Jim 45 was for sale and for how much”. The $25,000 price was a shocker to a 19 year old guy, but Frank went to Gainesville, Texas, and after much negotiation bought the mare with one proviso. The proviso being that he would go to work for Matlock Rose and George Tyler but not in a pay position – just for room and board and the opportunity to learn from two of the best.
The move from Fremont, Michigan, to Gainesville, Texas, was the beginning of the Frank Merrill story – about which volumes could be written. While working for and learning from Matlock and George, he credits Carol Rose with much of his education, particularly the fine details of how to properly take care of a horse.
He met Jerry Wells while in Texas and about 2 years later when he moved to Purcell, OK he and Jerry became good friends and partners on a great number of horses.
Frank formed and operated Windward Stud on his 140 acre ranch in Purcell. Initially the main function was prepping horses for sale. That got off to a rousing start when he and Jim Wells got the job of prepping all of Bud Warren’s horses for the Haymaker sale. But that job exposed Frank and Jim to a lot of traffic because of the reputation of Bid Warren and his horses. More people came to Frank and Jim for prep work , and more stallions came to Windward Stud to stand.
Frank married Robin Severinsen in 1975, who immediately became an integral part of the business. It was a natural, because Robin had already shown to a World Championship at the AQHYA Finals, and she was running her own horse farm in Aubrey, Texas.
Windward Stud continued to grow and prosper leading Frank and Robin more and more into the racing side of the business. In 1978 they partnered with Bob Weik from San Antonio in a mare named Holme Maid who ran third in the All American Futurity, and who earned more than $230,000 on the track. But as their family grew and their children, Megan, McKenzie and Tyler began to show, their attention returned to showing, and their interest gravitated to those events in which a cow was involved. Frank says that it reflects the traditions of the West and the cowboy culture.
Frank and Robin sold the ranch to the Cowan family of Havre, Montana in 2006, but Frank serves as CO-CEO of Cowan Select Horses LLC at Windward Stud LLC. In reflecting on the Merrill operation of Windward Stud, Frank has owned, managed or syndicated over 95 stallions and cared for over 25,000 mares.
Frank has bred, owned and raised champion American Quarter Horses that have won honors in racing, cutting, reining, reined cowhorse, roping, halter and other events. He also owned and exhibited two. AQHA Hall of Fame horses, Miss Jim 45 and Royal Santana. Frank, Robin and all three of their children have won World and/or Reserve World Championships in a variety of events at all three AQHA World Championship shows. Frank is active in non-pro cutting competition with over $440,000 in lifetime earnings in NCHA cutting events.
Frank is a Past President of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, a Past President of the American Quarter Horse Association, a National Director of the National Cutting Horse Association, a Trustee of United States Equine Foundation, and a Director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. In addition, he writes a monthly column entitled “Frankly Speaking” for the Quarter Horse News.
There have been many great horsemen in Oklahoma’s history, but probably none more intensely involved, more dedicated to the welfare and future of the industry, or none who has conducted his personal and business affairs with more dignity, integrity, honesty and character than Frank Merrill. It is an honor to welcome him into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Since Camp Frank D. Merrill is more like a school or a training camp than an actual base, it is relatively small compared to other bases. The housing possibilities here are almost null. If you relocate here for a longterm assignment, you will most likely have to get a home off site. Besides, the privatized system represents the best option here. If you are about to get here for a short term assignment, a hotel might be the best option you have.
On the other hand, the students are more fortunate. Most of them are hosted in on site camps, but there are also less luckier individuals who have to find a home on their own.
We apologize but we are in the process of moving the website merrillhistory.org to a new provider. It is not going as smoothly as we thought it would. - If you need to reach the historical society right now use - www.merrillhistory2021.org
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Merrill Historical Society - Merrill Historical Society History & Culture Center
Pat Burg Merrill History & Culture Center
Thanks to everyone who made it to the Merrill Historical Society sale at the American Legion building. We were able to pass on most of our items to people who were very happy to get them, it makes you feel good when people appreciate history. We also learned a lot from some of the folks who were able to enlighten us on what some of our more interesting artifacts were used for. There is some free stuff in the tent outside the building - probably coming down on Tuesday. Feel free to stop and take whatever you can use.
Beverly Dahm Malooley Merrill History & Culture Center
Scott Mansion Timeline / History
Sharon Karow Merrill History & Culture Center
Pat Burg Merrill History & Culture Center
Sale - Merrill Historical Society - Saturday, May 22nd from 7:30 to 4 PM. At the old American Legion Building across from the Library. We are in the process of moving to our new storage space - lots of bargains on the excess, duplicates, and overflow of books, a few toys, tools, grinding wheels, sewing machines, furniture, clothing, shelving, etc. Please wear a mask if you are going inside the building. No early sales.
Ryan Schwartzman Merrill History & Culture Center
Thank you to everyone who has joined the Merrill History & Culture Center Group. Please consider joining the Merrill Historical Society and help preserve our heritage. Mission Statement: "The Merrill Historical Society's mission is to educate the public about our heritage using the unique historical and cultural resources we collect and preserve. … Ещё "
If you have any questions or concerns about membership, please call the office: 715-536-5652
Merrill’s Marauders Fought Through 1000 Miles of Burmese Jungle – Now Only 13 Remain
Merrill’s Marauders were three thousand men who volunteered to go on a secret mission in World War II. The mission was so secret, the men weren’t even allowed to know where they were going.
They ended up pushing through almost 1,000 miles of jungle in Myanmar, known as Burma at the time, and fighting in five major battles and 30 minor clashes against the Japanese.
There are only thirteen of the original Marauders still alive. Five of them met in New Orleans this week for the last reunion of the group. Three other men, who joined the Marauders as replacements or joined for the final battle of the group, also were present for the reunion.
Frank Dow Merrill is best remembered for his command of Merrill’s Marauders, officially the 5307th Composite Unit (provisional), in the Burma Campaign.
Also at the reunion were more than 90 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. All gathered in a room at a hotel in New Orleans to reflect on the past, look at photos and articles, and share memories. Those in attendance collected autographs and listened intently to the stories told by the veterans.
Rick Lowe attended for the first time along with his grandson, 15 year old Ethan Glen Byrne, of Hamilton, Alabama. Rick’s father was one of the Marauders, and Rick was a teenager when his father died. He started researching the Marauders years ago and learned about the reunions. He came to this last one in order to honor his father.
General Stilwell marches out of Burma, May 1942
For their service, in the past the group received a Presidential Unit Citation, six Distinguished Service Crosses, four Legions of Merit, 44 Silver Stars, and each man in the regiment received a Bronze Star. Their families are pushing Congress to issue the Marauders a Congressional Gold Medal.
The 5307 th Composite Unit (Provisional) was nicknamed Merrill’s Marauders when a war correspondent found the official name to be cumbersome. Led by Brigadier General Frank Merrill, the group was a mix of men: some were experienced at fighting in the jungle, others had only recently come over from their city homes, and some were convicted criminals who volunteered in exchange for being pardoned.
Marauders rest during a break along a jungle trail near Nhpum Ga.The 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) code name GALAHAD became famous as Merrill’s Marauders
Robert Passanisi, 94, said he volunteered out of a sense of patriotism and solidarity to his family. Two of his brothers were already serving in Europe. Gilbert Howland, 95, joined in order to stick with his buddies. Marcos Barelas, 96, volunteered because he felt as if he were meant to die in the war, then he might as well get it over with.
The Marauders used mules to haul their 70-pound radios and supplies. Muleskinners took care of the pack animals. Lester Hollenbeck, 70, from Deltona, Florida, worked at putting shoes on the mules. He recalled their stubbornness and how the men had to make them lie on their sides in order to shoe them.
General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell
When the group marched through Burma in 1944, 93 were killed by bullets and shrapnel and 293 were wounded. But malaria, amoebic dysentery, and other diseases wiped out five times as many of their men. By the time they reached the airfield at Myitkyina, less then 500 men were able to fight.
Howland and Passanisi were both in the hospital when the troops took the airfield from the Japanese. Howland had been wounded, and Passanisi was battling malaria. They were both shipped back to the airfield later in order to help defend it.
Stilwell awarding medals at Myitkyina, 1944
Even though they will no longer be holding reunions, the close bond among the families of these veterans will remain. Linda Rose Burchett from Hampton, Virginia, said that her father had attended every reunion from 1949 until his death in 2003. She and her daughter have also attended regularly.
She said that the Marauders watched her grow up and she considered them her family, and that they will be able to keep in touch through social media.
Frank Dow Merrill
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Frank Dow Merrill, (born Dec. 4, 1903, Hopkinton, Mass., U.S.—died Dec. 11, 1955, Fernandina Beach, Fla.), U.S. Army officer during World War II who led specially trained jungle fighters called “ Merrill’s Marauders” in successful operations against Japanese positions in Burma (1944).
Graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1929, Merrill was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo (1938) and came to be acknowledged as an outstanding authority on the Japanese military mind and system. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was sent (1941) to the China-Burma-India theatre, eventually becoming operations officer under Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. To retake northern Burma from Japanese forces, Merrill organized and led a regimental-sized group of U.S. volunteers brought to India for training in guerrilla tactics. The “Marauders” left Ledo, in Assam (February 1944), and marched several hundred miles through mountainous Burmese jungles to outflank the enemy, harass his lines of communication, and defeat him in a series of sharp engagements. Undernourished, fever-ridden, and near exhaustion, the “Marauders” climaxed their campaign in May by capturing, with the aid of Chinese reinforcements, the Myitkyina airfield. The city fell in August, making possible the extension of the Stilwell (formerly Ledo) road from India to a juncture with the Burma Road into China, thereby providing an overland supply route to supplement the air route over the Himalayas known as the “Hump.”
After duty as deputy commander of U.S. forces in the India-Burma theatre, Merrill served (1945) as chief of staff of the 10th Army, Okinawa. Two years later he was with the U.S. military adviser group to the Republic of the Philippines. He retired in 1948 with the rank of major general.
This article was most recently revised and updated by William L. Hosch, Associate Editor.
Family History & Photos - Packer/McKinlay
I mention all these houses because every move is a big chore, especially for a woman. However, Dora liked to plan houses and to decorate them. And I must say every house we lived in was made to be a real home. They were kept immaculately clean and decorated to make them a bit of heaven. Dora said many times if she were a boy she would like to be an architect or an engineer.
Another version of the Philemon Merrill story:
Here is a true story that relates a simple experience of a nineteen-year-old who became a remarkable one. He was magnified and had great powers beyond his natural abilities as the Lord acted through him. There was a young nineteen-year-old admirer of Joseph Smith, Philemon Merrill, who had come with other loyal followers to rescue their prophet from the hands of sheriffs Reynolds and Wilson. While returning to Nauvoo, the company rested “in a little grove of timber.” One of the lawyers for the sheriff and the kidnappers boasted of his wrestling powers. He offered a wager that he could throw any man in Illinois. Stephen Markham, a bodyguard of Joseph’s and a huge man, also an experienced wrestler, took up the challenge. The boaster threw Stephen, and a taunting shout went up from the Prophet’s enemies.
As the taunts continued, Joseph Smith turned to young Philemon Merrill and said: “ ‘Get up and throw that man.’ ”
The boy was about to refuse, to excuse himself by saying he was not a wrestler, but the look in the Prophet’s eye silenced his tongue. “He arose to his feet filled with the strength of a Samson.” Philemon “lifted his arms” and told the lawyer to take his choice of sides. “The man took the left side with his right hand under,” which gave him a decided advantage. Philemon Merrill’s friends protested, but young Philemon felt such confidence in the words of the Prophet that it made little difference to him what advantage his antagonist took. As they began to grapple, Joseph instructed him, “ ‘Philemon, when I count three, throw him!’
“On the instant after the word of three dropped from Joseph’s lips,” Philemon Merrill, “with the strength of a giant, threw the lawyer over his left shoulder, and he fell striking his head upon the earth.” Little wonder it is reported that “awe fell upon the opponents of the Prophet when they saw this, and there were no more challenges to wrestle during the journey” (George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, Classics in Mormon Literature, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986, pp. 450).
Ensign » 1986 » November My Son and Yours—Each a Remarkable One Elder Ted E. Brewerton - Of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847
Philemon C. Merrill Company (1856)
Departure: 5-6 June 1856 Arrival: 13-18 August 1856
Company Information: 200 individuals and 50 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska (now Omaha) http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompany/1,15797,4017-1-204,00.html.
Dora's Father - Samuel Adam Merrill 1846-1922
Mother - Elvira Tidwell 1846-1939
Samuel Adam Merrill by a daughter
Frequently we live as children in the home having daily contact with our parents without ever coming to realize that they are among the great spirits of the earth. Perhaps living so close to them we see only little frailties of human nature and miss the grandeur and greatness of their characters and noble lives.
I know that our Father was among the noble ones in the spirit world, chosen to come to earth through noble parentage to bear the priesthood and assume the responsibility of acting as our guardian, provider, instructor and exemplar. As I grow older, I realize the sacrifices he made for the truth and his unselfish and loving service for us.
I think he followed the advice of Paul to Timothy "follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." He was a good man.
The first of his ancestors to come to America was Nathaniel Merrill, who came before 1635 because his son was born in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635. His grandfather was Samuel Merrill who was born September 28, 1778. He spent his early life in the state of New York share he married Phoebe Odell and had a family of 12 children. His son and fifth child — Samuel Bemus Merrill is my father's father. He was born at Smithfield, New York on January 4, 1812.
Father's Mother, Elizabeth Runyon, was born at Greenwich, New Jersey. Father, Samuel Adam Merrill, was the third child and oldest son. He was born April 12, 1846 in Springfield, Illinois. His parents were in Nauvoo when the body of the prophet was brought back from Carthage. Both looked upon the martyred prophet, in the beautiful city which had grown up under his guiding hand.
He often said, in a joking way, that he could remember when he crossed the Mississippi River. He was only two weeks old. He had heart it talked of so much in his childhood that it seemed that he actually remembered it. These ancestors joined the church in its infancy. They knew the voice of the shepherd when they hear it. I think not one of them was ever disloyal. They accepted Joseph as the Prophet of the Lord and did what they could to build of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Great Grandfather was one of those "forgotten pioneers," the Mormon Battalion coming into the valley on July 29, 1847.
He must have been quite an old man, nearing seventy, when they began the trip across the plains, because they had had all their family. In fact, most of them were married. One of his sons, Philemon Merrill, was captain of a company of the saints. Great grandfather spent the remainder of his life in Salt Lake City dying at the old homestead on September 28, 1878 two days after Father and Mother were married and had visited him. He wasn't well at the time but got up out of bed to visit with them. He was bright and keen in his mind even at one hundred years of age. He had always called my Father Sammie, which he did at this time and asked him about his plans for the future.
Samuel Adam had two brothers and four sisters: Cynthia Ann, Elthura Elizabeth, Sarah, and Princetta. The two brothers were Teancum and Orrin Jackson.
The family of Grandfather Samuel Bemus Merrill came to the valley in 1850. They lived for ten years on the banks of the Mill Creek. The family of Grandfather Samuel B. Merrill moved in 1860 to Smithfield in Cache Valley where my father was a minuteman when he was only 16 years old. He often told us about being called as reinforcements at the Battle of Battle Creek. When they got there from Smithfield the battle was over but he saw all the horror of a battlefield. The hillsides were strewn with the dead and the dying. The Indians had used their women as bulwarks thinking that white men wouldn't kill the women but when the commander saw what they were doing, shooting from behind the squaws, he ordered that they shoot them all. A number of papooses were left without mother or father. Some of them were taken into the homes of the settlers and kept all their lives. There were even papooses lying dead on the battlefield. The loss of white men was heavy too.
Father also spent some time in the service during the Black Hawk War. Father came to the Valley when he was about six years old. What schooling he had, he got in the valley schools. He was a good penman and an incessant reader. He encouraged us all to read. Whenever he bad a chance he bought us a book and the long winter evenings on the farm were spent reading. I remember one book called Easy Steps for Little Feet which was the Bible told in simple language. It was about 2 1/2 or 3 inches thick. We went through it many times. Also he read to us from the Bible.
In my childhood there was a traveling library. The books were left at the store for a few weeks or a month to be loaned out, and I read a lot of those. I remember A Tale of Two Cities, East Lynn, Fred's Dark Days, and many more. I was the baby girl, he would take me on his lap and read to us all while mother knitted or sewed. I can still hear the click of the knitting needles as they simply flew around the stocking or cap or mitten that she was doing. She knit all our stockings for winter and for a family of us that was quite a task. How they did make our legs itch when we had to put them on in the fall.
I remember one winter evening when father was reading to us and a loud knock came on the door. Father called, "Come in," never thinking that there would be anyone other than a neighbor coming out that kind of night. The door opened and a great big bearded man stepped into the room. It was snowing and the snow and wind came in with him. Mother jumped to her feet and I remember how glad I was for the protecting arms of my father around me. He was what we called a tramp, and was wanting a place to sleep. Mother gave him a quilt and Father told him to go out to the barn and sleep in the hay, which he did. The next morning he was fed and went on his way.
Father would never let anyone be turned away without food. Sometimes the tramps would chop a little wood or hoe a few rows of garden for their meals, but most often they were given some thick sandwiches and sent on their way. Mother often said that the tramps had a mark on our gatepost because it seemed like every one of them stopped.
Father often sang to us in the evening. He had a good voice. Over and over he sang the ballads of pioneer days: "I Wandered to the Village Tom," "Sweet Betsy," "Up in a Balloon Boys," and many others. His boyhood days were spent as the days of most pioneer boys, working hard and having amusement that they arranged for themselves. Father played baseball and often told us how he liked to play. I can remember seeing him play. He had two fingers that were bent at the first joint. He said playing baseball had made them that way. They caught the ball without any mitts or gloves in those days. I was among the last of his children so he must have been nearing 60 years of age when I last saw him play.
He was a large man, about six feet two inches tall with black wavy hair and the kindest brown eyes. He was truly a gentleman. His youth and early manhood were spent in the rough pioneer times but he always had a dignity and culture about him. When he was 19 years old he was called to go to Winter Quarters to get some English emigrants. There was a captain over the company and a captain over each ten wagons. I don't know how many but there was a large company of them. Each one furnished their own outfit. They picked up their train of immigrants amongst them was an English family by the name of Noble. One member of the family was a lovely young girl about his age called Leanora. A courtship began which resulted in their marriage, on the 3rd of February in 1865.
After they had reached the valley, the Nobel family moved to Smithfield, Utah where. Samuel's family already lived. Six children were born to Samuel and Leanora: Mary Elizabeth, Samuel Teancum, Adelbert Owen, Acquilla and Prescilla, who were twins, and Laura Matilda. The mother, Leanora, passed away when the last little girls was born. The little motherless children were sent to live with relatives and the young husband bore his grief as best he could. The baby lived only about a year.
In two years he had found my mother, Alvira Elizabeth Tidwell, to mother his children and to be his companion and helpmate for the rest of his life, and she never failed him. They were married September 26, 1878.
He was such a kind and gentle man. Lizzie, as we always called Mary Elizabeth, has told me about father coming from his work to carry her to a children's party when her ankle was sprained and she couldn't walk.
They had a home in Smithfield. It was a pioneer home, but before their first baby, Peter Ernest, was born, a large sunny room was built onto it. Mother has often said how she appreciated it. She has often told us about the trundle beds they had that they pushed back under the big beds in the daytime. It was quite a family for a bride to take care of. The day they came back from Salt Lake where they were married in the Endowment House, the children came home. The twins were carrying their high chairs upside down on their heads. The boys Sam and Dell were there, too. Mary Elizabeth who was living in Ogden with Aunt Laura Fishburn came a while later.
I can never remember father slapping or spanking on of us in his life. He switched me around the legs one day with a wheat grass when I wouldn't mind him. I don't believe we ever disobeyed him. Father did freighting for a few years from Corinne, Utah to Helena and Butte, Montana. He had often told us of some of those experiences.
Once he was asked to take some Chinamen and their belongings to Butte. Everyone told him not to go and that he would never return alive, but he said he figured that if he treated them right, they would not hurt him. When they finally got everything together that they were to take, there were 20 wagons and about 50 Chinamen. The wagons were attached together in a chain and he drove several, I think, ten teams of mules. He said the last wagon came loose on one of the hills and went and went rolling back down the hill.
There was such a chattering and confusion by the time he got back to them. He thought now they would probably mob him but they didn't and he soon had it up to the top of the hill and attached to the other again, and they went cheerfully on their way. He said they used to fight among themselves with knives but no one ever molested him, and they never did kill each other. They often invited him to eat with them but when he saw what they cooked he made some excuse to eat his own food. He finally returned to his family safe and sound and with his pockets bulging with money. They had been real generous in paying him.
Father went to Oxford, Idaho and had a farm for a few years. Ruby was born there and also Mabel. Then he went to Cub River Canyon where his Brother Orrin already lived. He had an interest in a sawmill there and worked with Calyboum Moorhead. He built a nice little sort of a cape cod cottage for his family and here I was born, also Demar and Orrin. Leslie was born in a house near the sawmill.
His life was one of hard work always hewing timber, building the homes and roads and bridges and canals, doing the work of pioneering in different areas of the west. His life is really a story of the west. Some members of the family, his father's brothers, went to Arizona where their descendants still live. His sons Sam and Dell were married. They married sisters Hannah and Mary Baird.
Sam was married on January 9, 1895 and Dell on March 18, 1901. Acquilla or Quill as we always called him had been married on September 9, 1898 to Nellie Nibley and Mary Elizabeth was married to Joseph Kay on February 2, 1898 and Priscilla to Frank Taylor on January 9, 1891. Sam and Dell had taken up some farms near Swan Lake, Idaho. Mary Elizabeth lived on a farm there too. It was not long until Father decided to buy a farm a few miles from them. How well I remember the move from Cub River to Swan Lake. I was real young, but I still remember it so vividly. We moved in covered sleighs. It was early in March so we would be settled before time for the farm work to begin.
I remember how very ill it made Mother to ride inside the covered sleigh. She would ride with the driver until she was too cold then come back with us. We lived about three miles north of Swan Lake near Red Rock. Sam and Hannah had had most of their family, six sons, while living on the farm at Swan Lake.
The two last sons, twins, were born in Preston after they had moved there where Sam and Dell had a produce business. One little twin died at birth but Fred lived and was strong and healthy. Hannah's health was broken after the twins were born. She passed away when Fred was six months old. Mother and Father took the little baby bringing him home after the funeral. How thrilled we were as children to have a baby again. Mother had lost her youngest child who was also named Fred. I'm sure the little fellow filled a spot in her heart that had been so empty and the family all adored him. Fred always lived with us as a regular member of the family.
Although Father didn't go to church very often himself, he made sure everything was done up and the team hitched to the buggy in time for every one else to go. We attended the Grant Ward. Sacrament meeting was at 2:30. We went early to Sunday School and stayed till after Sacrament meeting and then the members of the family that were in the surrounding area came to our home for dinner.
Here we learned the lesson of life: To work, to meet disappointment, to also honor our word. My father's motto was "A man’s word should be as good as his bond." He had a standard of honesty that one doesn't often see. I think he could have born the nickname "Honest Sam" as Abraham Lincoln did "Honest Abe."
Our parents made our lives in those childhood days so good that everyone of us have loved farm life. We look back on those days with respect and honor for our parents. Father saw to it that "Old Pal" was always hitched to the one horse buggy in time to get us to school, three miles distant, on time. When we rode Pal and Topsy, he saw that the saddles were on them and we were off on time.
He served as a trustee on the school board for a number of years. The bishop of the ward was our nearest neighbor. Father was always loyal and true to him
His love for his wives and children was boundless. I'm sure he always prayed and worked that his children would be true to the Father in Heaven, true to their fellowmen, true to each other, and true to the honesty and integrity for which he stood. I'm sure he never betrayed a trust that was placed in him. His neighbors not only respected him, they loved him.
One tragedy in our family that aged my parents especially was the death of my brother Acquilla. He was in the prime of his life. He and his family were living at Pocatello where he was a mechanic in the Round House, where the trains came for service and repairs. His leg was so badly injured in an accident in the yards that it had to be amputated. In fact, it was nearly amputated at the time of the accident. He was taken to Salt Lake City to the hospital, St. Marks, where he was operated on two or three times to try to stop the spread of gangrene as infection was then called but his life couldn't be saved. In those days they didn't give blood transfusions or antibiotics as they do now. He had lost so much blood at the time of the accident that he couldn't recover. He passed away on October 18, 1902. He left a wife and two children.
We lived near Swan Lake in Grant Ward until 1908. Father had "taken up" a dry farm a few miles from the irrigated farm which he farmed for a number of years. He then decided to move to Preston where there was an academy, the Oneida Stake Academy. There were still the younger members of the family to go to high school and college if possible. So the farm was traded for a home in town on West Oneida Street. It was a nice three-bedroom home with a nice yard and a barn and garden. We all enjoyed it. It was the nicest home my mother had had for many years.
Father spent a lot of time back at Swan Lake on the farm he still had there. Mother went back and forth with him. All the traveling was done in a white top buggy. He had a chance to sell the farm, which he did, to a neighbor who was apparently a successful young man. He however had plunged too much and took bankruptcy right afterwards so the savings of a lifetime were gone.
The children were grown except Fred and Helen so we managed. I taught school, Bertha worked in the bank, which she had done since moving to Preston. Leslie went on a mission. Demar and Orrin went to Oneida Academy and worked at first one thing and then another. Fred and Helen were still in grade school. We always had a cow or two on the pasture behind the barn. Those were happy times even if there were hard times. Father was getting old. One of the sad things of life is to see ones parents get old. He never did seem old to me, though. He always moved quickly and kept his interest in what was going on in all of us.
Gradually we were all married. He would spend part of each day with Sam and Dell at their place of business. One day a car of coal came in and there was no one to unload it. Father said he would do it. The boys protested but he insisted so they let him start. He didn't get it finished when he was struck by a sever pain in his chest. The doctors said it was an enlargement of the aorta. He was never well again. This happened in the fall, in October. He passed away at noon on new Years Day 1922, being nearly 76 years old.
His love was like a shelter around us A guardian there to bless The children and the hearth of home In strength of tenderness.
We can never fully pay our debt of gratitude to our father. I can truly say that I never heard him speak ill of anyone. We were never allowed to talk and gossip about anyone. He could not bear to hear a story that was in the least shady. I have seen him leave the room rather than to listen to any such thing. He lived in pioneer times when men were rough and many were uncouth, but he never profaned nor shouted. He was dignified and kind and gentle. In my whole life, I never heard him say a swear word. Such were the lessons he tried to teach us. Hardly ever by preaching, but always by example. I have spoken of his honesty. As I have grown older, I have found that few men have his high standard of honesty.
Surely his posterity down through the generations should emulate these wonderful traits of character. He had a gentle and loving heart. He was kind to everything, even the creatures of the earth and to his wives and family. In his youth he fought as a patriot. He had deep religious convictions. His parents had the courage to join an unpopular faith and endured the bitter persecution. He had a testimony of the gospel and wanted his family to understand it and live it and serve it.
Grandfather Samual Bemus Merrill
Samuel Bemis Merrill 1812-1891
Samuel Bemis Merrill was born Jan 4, 1812 in Smithfield, New York. This was about the time that the United States was having trouble with the British over oppression and several other things. After Samuel grew up, he met a woman from New Jersey who later became his wife. Her name was Elizabeth Runyon.
Samuel had a brother living in Michigan who had become interested in the Gospel, and had joined the LDS church. He wrote to Samuel who was living in New York and told him of the wonderful religion which was established by Joseph Smith and was known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Samuel was very much interested in this new religion and decided to learn more about it. He had heard that there were some Mormon Elders in a neighboring town who were preaching the gospel to the people. He decided to go and learn what he could about the gospel.
While he was crossing an open prairie on his way to where the Elders were, he met a man who was traveling on foot. The man was dressed in the purest white from head to foot and his skins was so pure white as to appear almost transparent. The man was very cheerful and in passing Samuel turned to look back at him but there was no man there. As there was no place nearby where he could have hidden, Samuel was puzzled to know what had happened to him. After Mr. Merrill joined the church and studied the Book of Mormon, he decided that the man was one of the three Nephites.
After Samuel and his wife and his father joined the church they moved to Nauvoo where the main body of the church was. While they were living in Nauvoo, the prophet and his brother were killed, leaving the people as flock without a shepherd. After much controversy, it was decided that the apostles should take the responsibility of the church and Brigham young was chosen as their active leader.
Brigham Young directed the people across the plains to the country in the west known as the great Salt Lake Basin. They crossed the Mississippi on the ice in February. One of their oxen fell off of the raft and was drowned. However, Mr. Merrill was in fairly good circumstances and crossed the plains without undue hardships. They crossed the Mississippi safely and camped on the Iowa side of the river that winter then came on to Salt Lake the next summer, arriving in 1849.
Samuel Merrill, father of Samuel Bemis, and his family settled around Salt Lake remaining there the rest of his life. Samuel with his family settled at Mill Creek, Utah. They were close to other members of the church and the people were very neighborly and kind. In 1869 the Samuel Bemis family moved to Smithfield, Utah. As they were leaving Mill Creek, the family remembers a woman coming out and stopping them to give them all a drink of buttermilk.
They arrived in Smithfield in the spring of 1860 and began at once to construct dugouts which they lived in the next summer. The dugouts were made by digging a hole in the ground, preferably on a side hill, covering it with timber, then applying a thick layer of clay for a roof. The dugouts also had dirt floors, and one door and very often no windows. The men built small log houses for the winter usually two room affairs with dirt roofs. They would also fill the cracks in the walls with clay. Some of the better houses were made of logs, flat on one side, but most of them were made of round logs.
The following winter the Indians were very bad. The saints organized a company of men known as minutemen. The men in this company were ready at all times to defend the people against the marauding bands of Indians. They were required to keep a horse and saddle near at hand for instant use. At Smithfield a guard was established which guarded the town every night, but still the Indians continued their attacks.
Along with trouble and wars with Indians the grasshoppers began coming in great hordes so fast that at times the sun was almost black with them. The grasshoppers soon finished the already poor crops of the settlers. By dragging long ropes over the small patches of grain they managed to save enough to survive through the winter and have some little see to plant the next season. They continued to be so bad the next spring they had to dig ditches and grasshoppers driven into them where they were burned by the thousands. In this way many of the fields were saved. During the spring and summer the people had to exist on greens, sego roots, and other herbs that they were able to obtain.
Smithfield was selected as a town to try out the “United Order” and certain families were selected to participate. Samuel Merrill was selected and baptized into it and put in so much money. However, even in a selected group the seeds of discord and discontent were soon sown, so it was abandoned.
3 thoughts on &ldquo The Legacy of the 5307th Merrill’s Marauders: Wisconsin MIAs in Burma &rdquo
The Missing in Action Recovery and Identification Project is an incredibly important initiative. The United States is rare in that it has been national policy to find, identify, and return to the United States the remains of US service members most other nations leave their service members where they fell. America’s MIAs, and the national effort to find and recover them, is a subject that has long fascinated me. My first job, growing up in Colfax, Wisconsin, was mowing the grass at Evergreen Cemetery. I was drawn to a memorial to PFC Dermont Roger Toycen, US Army Air Corps. When the United States entered World War II, he was assigned to the 34th Pursuit Squadron in the Philippines. He was captured when US forces on the Bataan Peninsula surrendered in April 1942 and he died on 25 May 1942 at Camp O’Donnell. His remains remain unaccounted for.
My father, from Milwaukee, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and its law school fought with the Marauders in Burma. He was evacuated because of injuries and illness and experienced compromised health until his sudden death at age 62. I have previously posted a letter he wrote to his parents in June 1944 while he was serving in Burma.
My dad Gregory G. Resch from Menasha Wisconsin was in the First Battalion-Red Combat Team of the 5307th. He was a Staff Sargent in charge of a heavy weapons platoon mm mortars ,BAR’s artillery, etc.
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Watch the video: SJNMA 2018 Commencement Speaker Frank Merrill