Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 10, 2019, pg. 3

Let us all remember our veterans on Monday, November 11, Veterans Day. Recently the History.com website featured an article entitled "How the G.I. Bill's Promise was Denied to A Million Black World War II Veterans," published on June 21, 2019, and revised September 30. You can read about this sad story on their internet site at www.history.com. Reading through the article, I immediately recognized a photograph that was sent to the Albion Evening Recorder during the War as a press release. The photo showed a soldier explaining the G.I. Bill to his fellow soldiers. The article didn't identify anyone in the photo except for Herbert Ellison of Albion, Michigan on the far right, who was making the presentation.

Fortunately, I have this same photograph in my archives with the full caption on the back. It states: "A Better Way of Life is what the G.I. Bill of Rights means. Here, staff Sgt. Herbert Ellison [standing, far right] of Albion, Michigan, explains why. Left to right, PFC Robert T. Walton, of 815 W. Livingston St., Orlando, FL; Private Tonil Carter, of 351 NW 17th St. Miami, FL; PFC Lawrence Keys, of 304 W. 149th St. NYC, NY; Corporal Sam Anderson of Groveland, FL; Private James Millhouse of 2955 Eastern St., Cincinnati, OH; PFC James West, of 327 State St., Bowling Green, KY. These men are with a Quartermaster trucking company attached to an Air Depot Group of the 15th Air Force service command in Italy. Photo PFC Johnnie Filecia."

Who was Herbert Ellison? I looked in the Albion City directories and found Herbert's name listed in the 1939 directory as a student, living with his mother Claudia (Heath Ellison)(1900-1996) Todd at 113 Culver St. in Albion, and his step-father Etheridge Todd who worked at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. Herbert was born in Lafayette, Alabama in 1921; his father was Robert Ellison. While growing up, Herbert attended the Albion Public Schools and was a 1941 graduate of Washington Gardner High School (Albion High School). His photograph appears with the other Seniors in the 1941 yearbook.

After serving in the military, Herbert settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and married Estella Ann Hill on September 6, 1946. The couple had two children, Patricia and Lynn. Herbert passed away in Pennsylvania on June 15, 2000, and is interred in Allegheny Cemetery there in Pittsburgh. From our Historical Notebook this week we present that historic photograph, which shows Herbert on the far right. I encourage our readers to read the history.com article.

Sgt. Herbert Ellison [standing, far right], [left to right] PFC Robert T. Walton, Private Tonil Carter, PFC Lawrence Keys, Corporal Sam Anderson, Private James Millhouse, PFC James West.

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - NOVEMBER 1919

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