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1944 Article about “MA”

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles

This article about an older woman named “MA” appeared in the August 08, 1944, issue of the Austin American. I just thought it was a neat story only tangentially related to jeeps.



And, in a big detour here, the author mentions the “Friend’s” ambulance unit, suggesting that most or all of the unit were Quakers. My grandmother grew up a Quaker in Hopewell, Virginia, where the Branson clan (her maiden name) were longtime Quakers, first arriving in Frederick County, Virginia, in 1776 (in NJ before that).

The family attended the Hopewell Friends Meeting House (where my grandmother and non-Quaker grandfather would marry in 1939). Abolitionists, the family’s “Branson House” was part of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, the family found themselves serving food to one side or the other, depending on who had control of the area. Based on the stories, both sides took what they wanted and demanded to be fed.

One family story from the War describes the day a cannon ball blasted through the house unexpectedly.

Another tale tells how a Union spy traveling with the Confederates, as a Confederate Officer, left a gold dollar under a plate after he ate. The family found the dollar when cleaning up after the soldiers had left. They only learned the officer was a spy following the war, because years later he returned and explained what he’d done during the war and that it was he who had left the golden dollar under the plate. As of the late 1980s, according to my great aunt in a letter to my sister, someone in the Branson clan was reported to still have that gold dollar.


One comment on “1944 Article about “MA”

  1. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    There’s an old Quakers’ Friends Meeting house (where they worship) about a quarter mile away from me, and the one that William Penn belonged to is a couple towns away in Fallsington, PA. Both groups have been in existence since the the colonial era. I wonder if any of their members drove ambulances in China.

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