Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gulf Ordnance Plant

The theme for the mid-September edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is to tell any story about a wartime event or soldier in your family. I've blogged extensively recently about soldiers and the military, so I thought I'd do something a little different. I thought I'd go with the "wartime event" category and discuss what was going on back in the states while the servicemen were in Europe and in the Pacific.

In the little town of Prairie, Monroe County, Mississippi was a plant called the Gulf Ordnance Plant during World War II. Basically, they made bombs which were used in the war. I had several relatives that worked there during the war. It was good employment for the area, and the company transported its employees from all over the area to the plant via bus. My grandfather was among those who rode the bus from Amory to the plant where he maintained the refrigeration. I have a copy of a pay stub of one living person who worked for the plant. The check came from the Proctor & Gamble Corporation.

What really makes my grandfather's service, even in this manner, interesting is that his father, having been a member of the Amish sect, was exempted from Civil War service. His father later married "outside the faith". While my grandfather was certainly old enough to serve during World War I and did in fact register for the draft (at age 32), he was not called upon to serve then. Many of the men who did not go to the war in the Monroe County, Mississippi area served their country by manufacturing the munitions that were used in the war. Many women were also involved in the making of bombs.

Brent Coleman, former police chief of Aberdeen, Mississippi, has written extensively on the Gulf Ordnance Plant. Much of his research was published in a special issue of TomBigbee Country Magazine. (Sorry , I would provide contact information, but their web site's pricing information is outdated, so I'm pretty sure they aren't currently maintaining this site which is full of popups because it is housed on a free site.) [The full citation for this is: Coleman, Brent. The Gulf Ordnance Plant at Prairie (MS), 1942-1945, The Gulf Ordnance Story: A Special edition of TomBigbee Country Magazine. Aberdeen, MS: TomBigbee Country, 2002. ]

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  • Lori,

    My father and mother(Elgin and Bessie Middleton) worked at the Gulf Ordnance Plant during WW II. They commuted from Splunge to the plant.

    Ed Middleton

    By Blogger edmid, at 2:22 PM  

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