Ancestors, Legends & Time

Remember lives sacrificed for our country

Jeanne Newby

As Memorial Day approaches, we are often told stories of soldiers and their sacrifices. Some folks remember the big sign that was located in Memorial Park where names of deceased soldiers were added regularly. Mothers would send their children down to Memorial Park to have them read the new names, praying their son’s name would not be listed.

One of the local stories that always touched my heart was the Stone Family. William and Mary Stone had a grocery store in the 900 block of W. Daugherty St. They only lived a few blocks away at 1412 W. Daugherty St. William was born in England in 1890, and he moved to the United States in 1910. He opened a grocery store in the West End of town, and William and Mary both worked the store. As their children got older, it was great to have their help in the store.

Elliott E. Stone was born in 1918 and William T. Stone was born in 1916. They also had a little sister, Mary Stone. The family was happy living in Webb City and working the family business. Then World War II came along, and both of the Stone boys joined the war to fight for their country.

Tragedy struck in August 1942 when Lt. William T. Stone died in a plane crash at the age of 26. As William and Mary mourned the loss of their oldest son, they prayed for the safety of their youngest son stationed in Europe.

But just five months later, Lt. Elliott E. Stone was killed in action. The Stones had made the most valuable contribution to the war that any person could give… their sons. Mary never quite got over the loss of the boys. She died in 1948, with William passing away in 1951.

Mary D. Stone Osborn died at age 87 on April 17, 2002, and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

So many young men gave their lives to defend our freedom, and it just takes a moment to give them the respect they deserve.

It was often the practice during the war to place a red star in your window for each son who was fighting in the war. I was told of a small unpainted house that stood just close to Dover Hill on North Main Street in Joplin displayed seven red stars during World War I. This mother and father had all their boys fighting for the freedom of our country.

A lady named Rose Powell shared with me many years ago the story of her brother Robert A. Powell, the first Webb City citizen killed in the Vietnam War. He had been in Vietnam for three months when he was killed by a mine on June 10, 1966. He only had 228 days left on his tour of duty. And he had only been married five months.

Robert received the honor of being buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Since his mother was unable to drive to Washington D.C., she decorated the grave of the unknown soldier in Webb City Cemetery. It is a family tradition that they have continued over the years.

Broadway Road that spurred off Broadway Street south to MacArthur Road was named Powell Drive in memory of Robert A. Powell.

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at the Webb City Chamber Office.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.