The program of the Historical Society of Frankford for September 13, 2022, will be presented by Alex Palma, Assistant Curator at the Carpenters Company of Philadelphia. The topic is “The History of the Carpenters Company and the Built Environment in Philadelphia.” The Carpenters Company, founded in 1770, is itself one of the most historic sites in the City. It’s members shaped the local built environment, including in Frankford, and also helped to shape the development of skilled trades locally.
The meeting is open to the public at the Society building at 1507 Orthodox Street at 7:30 PM. In addition it will be live streamed on their Facebook page and available on YouTube live.
I am certain there are other Frankford men who died on D Day but these 2 come to mind. Both attended Frankford High School.
Ralph Daniel Fischer, Jr.
Ralph was born on February 25, 1921 in Philadelphia. When he registered for the draft in 1942, he was living with his family at 1701 Kohl Street and working at Max Willi Pfau in Langhorne. He enlisted in the Army on September 14, 1942. Corporal Fischer was one of the HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division who parachuted into France on June 6, 1944. He was killed in action at 22 years old. His body was brought home in 1949 and was interred in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
George Lee Meadows, Jr.
George was born in Macon, George on August 14, 1920. By 1930, his family was living at 4243 Rhawn Street in Philadelphia. He enlisted in the Army on March 1, 1940 and rose to the rank of Tech Sergeant when he shipped out to Europe on January 18, 1944. He was in Company A, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division when he was killed in action on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944. He was 23 years old. His body was brought home and interred in Arlington Nation Cemetery.
Rest in peace.
We have written a book about Frankford Heroes but at the Northeast Philadelphia History Fair a few weeks ago, Dan Cashin told us about a remarkable hero, Leonard LaRue.
At the Spring General Assembly of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) in Washington in June of 2021, the Conference overwhelmingly approved the cause for sainthood of “Servant of God” Benedictine Brother Marinus LaRue.
But who was Brother Marinus? He was born Leonard Panet La Rue on January 14, 1914, in Philadelphia on one of the coldest days of the year. He was the youngest child in a family with 5 children. His parents were Paul Philippe Eugene La Rue, a Canadian Immigrant who worked at the Frankford Arsenal as a machinist and Isabelle Catherine O’Brien LaRue. Paul and Isabelle were married at St. Joachim Roman Catholic Church in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia on April 29, 1904. The family lived at 5028 James Street.
Leonard’s brothers were Maurice and Paul and there were twin sisters Irma and Isabelle. A brother Hubert died at birth in 1912 and is buried in St. Joachim Cemetery.
Leonard was baptized at St. Joachim on Sunday, February 8th with Thomas Hickey and Frances O’Connor as his Godparents. We do not know for sure where he attended Elementary School but the family lived across the street from the Henry Longfellow School (now Closed) so it is most likely he attended Longfellow until moving on the Harding junior High School for 7th through 9th grade. He then entered Frankford High School and graduated in January of 1932.
He entered the Pennsylvania Nautical School in Philadelphia in May of 1932 and graduated in 1934 as a Third Officer and began his life as a mariner. That path took him to Korea in December of 1950 where as Master of the merchant cargo ship Meredith Victory, he took on board over 14,000 Koreans to be evacuated to safety.
He said that experience changed his life and in 1954 he left the sea to join the Benedictine congregation of St. Ottilien at St. Paul’s Abbey in Newton, New Jersey.
The path to sainthood in the Catholic church can be long but there is no doubt that this man was a real Frankford Hero and maybe a saint.
Follow this link to learn more.
Monday, May 30th, is memorial day, which is the day we set aside to remember those who have died in service to our country. We live in a very divided country but I have not heard any dispute that we should remember their sacrifice.
We published “Frankford Heroes” several years ago and now we’re researching 2 new books about the students who attended Frankford and Northeast Catholic High schools who died in service. Can you imagine that the list of names is close to 450 lives sacrificed? Those books will be available in September.
We’ll be posting the details of the Memorial Day ceremony at St. Joachim Cemetery soon. Click HERE for a link to the latest edition of Frankford Heroes” which is now available on Amazon.
What is the Cowden Drum?
This valuable artifact from the Civil War was gifted to the Historical Society of Frankford by the Cowden family. It is the subject of their May 10th meeting.
Historical Society president Jerry Kolankiewicz will discuss the rediscovery of the Cowden family and this Civil War drum’s history. Lara Kaplan, arts conservator at Winterthur Museum will explain her careful restoration of the drum. Andy Waskie, an authority on the historical period, will provide some context.
The meeting is open to the public at the Society building at 1507 Orthodox Street at 7:30 PM on May 10th. In addition it will be live streamed live on their Facebook page and available on YouTube live.