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1st Lieutenant Robert C Lemley

While on a recent walking tour of the Old Wheelersburg Cemetery with the Local History Department of the Portsmouth Public Library I came upon the stone of 1st Lieutenant Robert C. Lemley. Aside from the simple grave marker unadorned with the trappings typical seen with the headstones of service members there was the last line that read, “Killed in Action Hannover, Germany.” This young officer, several years younger than myself, had crossed the Rhine into Germany. I quickly thought to myself “when was VE Day?” A quick internet search later I learned that Victory in Europe was May 8, 1945. This young man had died on April 9, 1945; less than a month of hostilities remained when he perished.

My knowledge of the Second World War is limited to the broad view of how the war unfolded. I understood about large armies and divisions moving across multiple continents and even some of the smaller groups and their various battles, but to learn about a man who died over 70 years ago and a world away made me feel as though my reach to understand was beyond my grasp to research.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, any branch of government is a paperwork machine. The actions of not only armies and divisions are well documented, but the actions of battalions, companies, and platoons were also well documented during the Second World War. Through resources such as the National Archives and Military Associations who work to preserve unit histories, we can come to understand in minute detail the actions of these units. After deciphering Lieutenant Lemley’s unit from his marker (C Company, 771st Tank Destroyed Battalion) I thought that a quick search of the National Archives would unlock who he was, how he had served, and how he had died on the foreign field. However, my search was much too broad; four years of war had generated mountains of paperwork, right down to the ammo expenditures of individual tanks. At that point I decided to go simple, and a simple Google search yielded the information I needed.  is a historical military enthusiast site that is an unofficial repository of official documents, personal documents and stories. Here the 771st has it’s own unit history and access to offical documents such as Department of Army After Action Reports and Casualty Lists.

Once seeing that After Action Reports (AARs)were available for the period in which 1 LT Lemley died I carefully read them from beginning to end. These documents record the actions of the battalion and its companies. Information such as when and where they conducted their operations, actions against the enemy and the results of those actions, as well as casualties sustained. Below is excerpt from one of these AARs and the original can be found here.

Bracketed is the information that details the demise of Lieutenant Lemley. From it’s reading it appears that while in the A Co Command Post, Lt. Lemley and his Company Commander came under indirect artillery fire which resulted in the death of Lt. Lemley and the wounding of Captain Beaver. This excerpt does not name Lt. Lemley by name so further verification is required.

The website also provided documents from the Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library which included the official 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion History. Below is an excerpt from that document, and the full document can be found here.

As we can see from this document, 1st Lieutenant Robert C. Lemley was the only member of the 771st TD Bn Killed In Action on April 9, 1945.

The point of this post wasn’t to inform the reader of Robert C. Lemley’s genealogy, to whom he was related, or where and whence he came; it was to reconcile the story only partially written in stone. At the heart of our work in genealogy, outside the excitement of how expansive our family trees grow, is a much deeper purpose. That purpose is to gain an understanding of the people who were before us, and to better understand the “dash” between the dates of birth and death.

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PO Box 812
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662

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Miss Moore’s 6th Grade Class Lucasville Ohio Early 1930’s

“This photo that has a notation on the back “Miss Moore’s 6th Grade Class”. I am guessing that it may be of a group of students in the Valley School District (Lucasville). I would guess from the dress that it was taken in the early 1930s. I am hoping that someone will be able to identify persons in this photo.”
Donald H. Caudill
Morgantown, WV.

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Miss Rawley’s 6th Grade Class Valley School District 1930’s

This photo has been identified as Miss Rawley’s 6th grade class. I am guessing that the class is in the Valley School district in the 1930s. If anyone can give a clue, I would appreciate hearing from them. Donald H. Caudill
Morgantown, WV.

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Ohio Civil War Veterans 1915 Portsmouth Ohio

“I would guess that the church (in the background) might be the Old Methodist Church in West Portsmouth. The third from the right is Abraham Doll, and I think the second from the right is his brother, my great-great-grandfather, Peter G. Doll.” If you know any of the people in this photo, please email
Richard Doll

WebAdmin Note: “Mrs. Rosemary Crabtree recognized the photo (above), posted in the last edition of SCCOGS News. She said it was taken at the Bethany Baptist Church in Rushtown – which is still standing.It is a photo of the members of the Robinson Post GAR. She said she knew that Abraham Doll was in that Post but had info that Peter was in the Bailey Post at Portsmouth, but he could have transferred maybe.” The below Google Streetview image displays that unique stained-glass window and door that is exhibited in the above photograph.

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Family of William T. and Christina Miller Mackey

“This family photo was taken in Portsmouth in early January 1950 after the funeral of my grandmother, Chrisina Miller Mackey. I have long wondered about the location and names of the buildings in the background. Is anyone able to identify the buildings for me?”
Chester L. Sheffer
8611 Arran Road
Richmond, VA 23235

WebAdmin Note: This photograph was taken approximately near 1818 8th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio. The location in the background is the former Excelsior Shoe Factory / Mitchellace building that is now occupied by Sole Choice. The below Google Sreetview helps identify the location. Requestor has NOT been notified of this information and follow-up is necessary to complete this request.

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Searching for Crain Relatives

This is a photo of my great-grandfather, William Edward Crain, b. 1865, Portsmouth, Ohio, to A. J. or J. A. and Mary Ann Paden Crain. It is a copy of a tin-type.
I have been trying to find my Crain relatives for over 40 years to no avail. Also would like to know what happened to siblings of Mary Ann Paden.
Her parents were Henry and Ann Wiley Paden. Sibs; William, Maggie, John, Sarah and Ellie of Portsmouth, Ohio, later Green Twp. I can find no records of these people except census with Henry and Ann.
Barb Crain-Caldwell

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Photograph of Unknown School Children

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