|Father:||John Daniel Stoll (1875-1950)|
|Mother:||Stella Gertrude Hammond (1879-1959)|
|Sister:||Dorothy Augusta Stoll (1903-1986)|
|Sister:||Elizabeth M. Stoll (1912-2002)|
|Brother:||Robert Leslie Stoll (1920-1998)|
|Wife:||Dorothy Alberta Weidenhoeft (1919-2003) married 1946-06-17.|
|Daughter:||Linda Jeanne Stoll (1947- )|
|Daughter:||Jane Carole Stoll (1952- )|
|Buried:||Cedar Hill Cemetery, Brooklyn, MD, USA|
|Link:||Personnel of the 492nd Bombardment Squadron lists "STOLL, JON"|
|Photograph:||Linthicum Veterans Memorial (date unknown)|
|Record:||Compiled by Stella S. Ivey.|
|Book:||The Shipleys of Maryland 1968, Dorothy Shipley Granger.|
|Find A Grave:||John Merle Stoll (1918-2015)|
Newsline, May 1983 - text provided by his daughter, Jane (Stoll) Meleady.
John M. Stoll was born in his great-grandfathers house, the same spot where the Amoco terminal's tank farm now sits.
"My great-grandfather owned this land since 1830," said John, surveying the section of land now covered with huge storage tanks. "Certain parcels were sold to the B & O railroad around 1917, then it was sold to Amoco and they started building on it in 1922."
John still remembers watching the steam shovels and horse drawn dump wagons build the terminal's fire dikes, and the crews rivet the tanks together when he was a boy. "We were all glad to see industrialization come to this area because it meant jobs." he said.
Stoll admits that looking for a job during the 30's was an effort in futility. But living next to the Amoco terminal definitely helped. "I used to cut through the terminal on my way to some of the odd jobs I managed to find back then," he said. "One day I saw a leaking flange and reported it to the superintendent and assistant terminal manager at the main gate."
Stoll's quick response paid off. To thank him for his efforts, Amoco was able to offer Stoll a job at the terminal a month later. "I was especially glad to come to work with Amoco since it meant steady employment after so many temporary jobs," he noted.
Stoll, 65 years old, attributes his good health and never calling in a day sick in 44 years to working outdoors in all kinds of weather. His retirement plans include keeping active one way or another. "I'm a bus trip enthusiast," he says. "I've always wanted to travel out west and see the Rocky Mountains. My wife, Dorothy, and I will probably do a lot of traveling now."
Retirement and 65th birthday. 44 years of work without one sick day. (1983)
"The Priceless Gift of Life is Love."
A letter written by Louisa Margaret (Radecke) Stoll (Mr. Stoll's grandmother) to Stella S. Ivey, her granddaughter by her first marriage to Albert Schriner, Sr. From the letter's mention of my mother, Jean, in connection with vocal lessons, I would guess that the letter was written in the early 1930s. I would think that Dorothy, Mr. Stoll's oldest sister, would have been too old for Sunday School, so perhaps his going home from Sunday School with her meant that Dorothy was married by then and they were going to her house. Robert was Dorothy's and Mr. Stoll's younger brother. Spelling and punctuation are as in the actual letter, although I couldn't make out the "Miss Jennie" in the first paragraph; the paragraph breaks were inserted by me for readability.
My Dear Little Stella,
I was very sorry to miss you yesterday. I go to Church every Sunday then go somewhere to dinner. Miss Jennie Troll [sp?] and I went to dinner to some old friends of the Church. Then we took a ride out Belair Road. I had not seen Aunt Mary's old Home for so long I felt I would like to have a look. Just as I put the key in the door Ida was talking on the Phone. It was John was talking from the Plant. Guess he went down to feed the dog and the Chickens. Said Merle had gone Home from Sunday School with Dorothy. Robert was around some place. Said the Road was terrible out there could hardly get through. I said I would like to come home. He said I had better stay. I am homesick for my own home.
I hope your face is feeling better. I have felt so sorry for you. Rose called up this morning. Glad you went over their. Ida was sorry she was not able to see you. She had an awfull sick headache. Miss Stevens got breafast and dinner. Had dinner with Bertha Friday night and she brought me home. Things are not going right at the office. Bertha said she would leave. They persuaded her to stay another week until they would get someone.
Miss Stevens has Tickets for Chicken Patti Supper Wednesday night. We all expect to go. Thursday night Ida wants me to go to a musicale. Saturday Mamie Walters wants me to go to Brooklyn with her and stay at Gray's overnight.
We have Willing Worker meeting tonight at 316 E. 21st. Mrs. Peterman and Mrs. Bauer Hostesses. If you ever want Jean to take vocal lessons Margaret Heiler has a Studio on Eutaw st above Franklin. She has sung at the Cathedral. They are members of Rev. Rossiters time. Mrs. Heiler was so glad to see me and treated us splendid.
Well give my love to each one. Hope you will not have to suffer so much again.
From my mother Jean's notes on the back of the letter:
Merle, Dorothy & Robert Stoll - her grandchildren from 2d marriage Bertha Gunther - unmarried sister of Charlie Gunther (whom I met with "Pop" [Herman Henry] Schriner one day) The church referred to was a Lutheran church in ________? Mom [Stella S. Ivey] also knew Mrs. Peterman.
The Capital Gazette, July 29, 2015. (Also at McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home.)
John Merle Stoll (1918 - 2015) Obituary
Stoll, John Merle, March 15, 1918 to July 25, 2015, age 97. Descendent of numerous early Maryland families such as the Linthicums, Shipleys, Howards, and Hammonds, some of whom can trace their lineage to the mid 1600's. He was an 11th generation grandson of Major General John Hammond of the Colonial Militia who first settled at Providence, Md. prior to the founding of Annapolis. A lifetime resident of Anne Arundel County, he grew up on several land grant farms dating to the 1700's in the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay area such as Snow Hill and Jackson's Chance. These were lost to the US Army Depot, completion of I-695 in 1973, and related surrounding commercialization.
After graduating from Glen Burnie HS in 1936 he worked at several local businesses including time as a field hand for his uncle Rezin Hammond's Cedar Farm (now known as the Benson Hammond Farmhouse, headquarters of the A.A. Co. Historical Society). He was the last living of 40 Hammond 1st cousins so was well schooled in local families and history.
In 1942 he enlisted in the US Army Air Force and after some perilous wartime sea voyages arrived in India where he served 2½ years in the India-Burma-China Theater servicing B-24 Bombers who flew "the Hump" over the mountains making bombing runs in the Far-East. During leave hours, rather than partaking of the vices of many typical service men or even sightseeing, he spent his time visiting missionary stations where he made contacts with missionaries whose paths he was to cross on future occasions.
After the war, he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft in 1946 and eventually settled back in the family farm, Jackson's Chance, off Ordnance Rd. The farm had a great view of Curtis Creek and the Amoco Oil Facilities located below where he was employed and retired after 44 years where he never lost a day due to sickness. When the farm was lost to I-695 expansion, he moved into an older house in the historical Linthicum Heights community where he continued his interest in history. He became an early and very active member of the A.A. County Historical Society, serving many years as docent at the Benson-Hammond House, the very farm he had worked on as a young man. His quiet and knowledgeable demeanor enthralled many generations of tourists, friends, and families of the area. His elementary schoolteacher daughter Linda would bring him to class to talk on history and the normally squirmy students didn't want to budge from their seats when class was over. His affable and unpretentious personality always made him a central attraction wherever people would gather, be it church, school, family gatherings, or community events.
He was a lifetime member of Brooklyn United Methodist Church, that his ancestors helped to found, until it merged with another church in 2011. He was very active in the church programs and served as Sunday School Teacher and Asst. Scoutmaster and the family farm served the scouts as a frequent camp ground. But more important was that he was known by all as a sincere and fine Christian gentleman; not just in words but by his attitude and actions. In a recent interview he stated "he gave his life to the Lord as a young man of 11 with no regrets". This was evident in the role model he lived. His favorite lifetime verse is Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me." which was his guiding principle.
He lost his beloved wife Dorothy 12 years ago but persevered with no regrets. He is survived by his two dear daughters Linda Jeanne Stoll, who has been his caregiver for the past several years, and Jane Carole Meleady and her husband Greg of Ocean View, Delaware, and grandson Glenn Garrett Meleady. Also numerous loving nieces, nephews, and their offspring to the 4th generation.
Relatives and friends are invited to call at the family owned and operated MCCULLY-POLYNIAK FUNERAL HOME, P.A. 237 East Patapsco Avenue BROOKLYN on Friday 2:00 TO 7:00 PM. Mr. Stoll will lie-in-state on Saturday at Linthicum United Methodist Church 200 School Lane Linthicum, Maryland 21090 from 10 AM until 11 AM at which time funeral services will be held. Interment Cedar Hill Cemetery. The family suggest en lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to: The Helping Up Mission 1029 E. Baltimore St. Baltimore, Md. 21202 or The Disabled American Veterans.
From McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home obituary. Note that Mr. Stoll's original middle name appears to have been "Wisdom". (A church newsletter? Should it be the Cross and Flame Lifeline?)
John Stoll and his family have had a long association with Brooklyn UMC. His parents were married at the church in 1901. John Wisdom was born on March 15, 1918 to John Daniel Stoll and Stella Gertrude Hammond. John was baptized in the parsonage by Rev. Coe. His father originally was a farmer and he also worked in the industrial plants in Curtis Bay. When he was younger Mr. Stoll went by the name of Merle because he had so many relatives with the name of John Stoll. As a young child his family lived in the tenant house on his Grandfather's farm located on the northern edge of Anne Arundel County (known as Snow Hill Farm, originally called Jackson's Chance). [Hammond Stoll House at Jackson's Chance (PDF); I don't know if Mr. Stoll lived in this particular house.] Where Ordnance Road is now is where the farm was located. His Father stopped farming when Mr. Stoll was four years old and in 1927 the family moved to Brooklyn Park on 7th and 8th Ave. In 1938 the family moved back to the farm to the top of the hill and lived in his Grandfather's house. Mr. Stoll had one younger brother, Robert Leslie Stoll (known as Buck) and two older sisters, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Mr. Stoll attended kindergarten in Curtis Bay at the school located at Fairhaven Ave and Church Street and later attended Brooklyn Park Elementary School located on Morgan Road (both of these schools have since been torn down). Mr. Stoll laughed when he recalled that he failed second grade but his daughter Linda noted that he was so smart when he got to third grade that they put him in 4th Grade. Linda believed that her Dad's incredible memory was fostered by the memory work required when he was in 4th Grade. Every week a new poem was put up on the bulletin board and the students were required to memorize it that week. Mr. Stoll still knew many of these poems. When Mr. Stoll was growing up there were only four High Schools in Anne Arundel Country—Annapolis, Millersville, Southern, and Glen Burnie. He went to Glen Burnie High School and graduated in 1936 with 130 in his graduation class. Mr. Stoll worked at a variety of places after graduation (Southern States, U.S. Industrial, Davidson Chemical, Hutzler Brothers (for $10 per week pay), and the Benson-Hammond House Farm during the Depression.
In 1947, Mr. Stoll joined the Army Air Corps and went west to Denver for training. He remembers fondly the people of Trinity Methodist Church there who took the soldiers home with them for Sunday dinner. There was one family that was particularly good to Mr. Stoll and in 1993 his daughter Linda visited the area and Trinity UMC and met some of the family that took Mr. Stoll in. In 1942, World War II was still ongoing and Mr. Stoll left Norfork, Virginia in October 1942 in a ship bound for India. At that time the Germans had submarines off the east coast and were sinking U.S. ships but he was in an unescorted troop ship that held 8,000 men named the "Mauretania". [RMS Mauretania (1938)] Their first stop was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They went around the world by water and did not go through the Suez or Panama Canals. From Brazil they then headed for South Africa where they faced the Cape of Good Hope. Mr. Stoll said it was called Good Hope because you hoped you got around it without sinking. He said the wind blows one way and the water currents go the other way. He said his ship was stopped twice on the journey around the Cape. They then went up to the entrance of the southern end of the Suez Canal. At this point in the journey barbed wire was put around part of the ship and 500 German POWs (who were being sent to the U.S.) from the North African Campaign were put on the ship. In Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) Mr. Stoll and those others to be stationed in India got off the Mauretania (which went 30 MPH) and got onto a freighter named the City of Paris (which went 10-12 MPH) and went up the coast of India and on to Karachi. [SS City of Paris (1920)] He got off the ship on November 30, 1942. They had two destroyers escort them up the Indian coast because at the time Japanese submarines were sinking U.S. ships in the area. Mr. Stoll was assigned to the 10th Air Force and worked on aircraft armaments. However, when Mr. Stoll arrived at Karachi the aircraft were not there yet. Before Mr. Stoll got off the ship they were told that they would have some disease within a year and sure enough he got malaria; he also got what he called Karachi Krud, which is similar to Montezuma's Revenge. His 7th Bomb Group received three Presidential Unit Citations during the war. There were B-24s and B-25s in India and Mr. Stoll worked on the B-24s. In it's a small world department there were four or five other fellows from Brooklyn in India during the war. While in India, Mr. Stoll was only 70 miles away from the Taj Mahal but he never got to visit it because he always wanted to visit the mission field; so instead of using his pass to visit the Taj Mahal he and a buddy of his went to visit the Lutheran Mission field in South India and were among the first American soldiers to do so. The Lutheran missionary there, Dr. Russel Fink, was from Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania and was a classmate of Rev. Brennemen who was the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum. Mr. Stoll's Great-Uncle John Edwards Stoll gave Dr. Fink lodging when he visited Linthicum. Now this same missionary took in Mr. Stoll in India. Back in Brooklyn the members of the Brooklyn church had a Buddies Club and Mr. Meister had a plaque made listing all those who served in the war. The parents there who had sons overseas and different members of the church wrote letters to their church members overseas and Mr. Stoll was very grateful for this. He said he wrote a lot of letters home himself and Linda said those letters are saved out in their garage. After spending 2 years he came home from Bombay in January 1945 by way of Australia. The ship he came home on was named the General Randall. [USS General George M. Randall (AP-115)] It was a 22,000 ton ship and since there were only 2,000 soldiers on the ship it also carried back to the U.S. some U.S. civilians including the missionary who had befriended Mr. Stoll in India. It took them 35 days to get home.
After the army Mr. Stoll went to work with the American Oil company and retired from there after 44 years in 1983. During this time he never took a sick day. He worked on the water front and as a gauger. He also loaded barges, transferred petroleum products, and blended AMOCO gas.
On June 17, 1946 he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft in the Brooklyn church parsonage. Since cars were scarce after the war Mr. Stoll did not have a car and his brother-in-law Dale Oxley drove them to their honeymoon in Frederick, Maryland. [Dale D. Oxley was the husband of Mr. Stoll's oldest sister, Dorothy Augusta Stoll (scroll down to "Children"); obituary of their son and Mr. Stoll's nephew, Dale Donald Oxley (, Jr.?).] They stayed at the Francis Scott Key Hotel which is a senior citizen place now. His brother-in-law stayed and had supper with them too before leaving to go back to his house. There was also a Firemen's convention there at that time—the place was jumping. John and Dorothy had two daughters, Linda (a schoolteacher), and Jane (who was manager of a newspaper for 30 years in Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City and now works on the Coastal Point newspaper in Ocean View, Delaware). Mr. Stoll had one grandson Garrett Meleady who just received his RN degree.
Mr. Stoll had many memories of Brooklyn United Methodist Church over the years. He recalled that at one time there were over 1,000 people in Sunday School. He noted that many mayors, governors and other people of note have visited the church, sometimes by mistake. He recalled on October 24, 1976 then Mayor William Donald Schaefer came in, took his coat off and sat down. Now Mr. Stoll knew that the church on Annabel Ave (now Baybrook UMC) was celebrating its 50th anniversary that day and suspected that the Mayor might be in the wrong church. He told Charlie Rechner who went up to the Mayor and sure enough a few minutes later Mayor Schaefer quietly left the church. At church Mr. Stoll served as a charter member and Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 189. They had a scout camp on their farm called Camp Poison Oak and 40-50 boys in their troop. Stoll was also a Sunday School teacher for the Jr. High for many years. Mr. Stoll was happy that the Baptismal Font that his family gave to Brooklyn UMC in memory of his great-grandfather, Rezin Hammond (who died in 1876) is back at Holly Run (located over in back of the Linthicum Heights UMC) since Brooklyn UMC was an off-shoot of Holly Run. They recently had their final baptism using this font at Holly Run.
As far as hobbies go Mr. Stoll enjoyed being a local historian and had been a docent at the Benson-Hammond House near the airport for many years. [The Hammond part of Benson-Hammond refers to Rezin Howard Hammond (1864-1928), Mr. Stoll's uncle on his mother's side of the family.] He was also a member of the Anne Arundel Historical Society and AARP 3850. As a historian Mr. Stoll had the gift of making history come alive whether he talked about his childhood memories during the Depression when his Mother made extra sandwiches for him to take to school for those without, his World War II experiences, or facts about the church and the local area. Because of his gift of storytelling and his historical knowledge, when his daughter Linda taught school she would have Mr. Stoll come and talk to her classes. She always figured the children could last about 30 minutes but they were so enraptured by what Mr. Stoll was telling them that even after the bell had rung they would come over to him, put their hands on his knee and continued to ask him questions. Mr. Stoll has also been interviewed by several college students about his first-hand knowledge of historical events. Sarah Andrews interviewed him and that tape is on file at Gettysburg. Katie Kosack also interviewed him as part of the WW II Veterans' Project and that interview is held at the Library of Congress. When Mrs. Stoll was alive Mr. Stoll was the one man in the Brooklyn Garden Club. They appreciated his skills as a driver. Also during the 70s and 80s Mr. and Mrs. Stoll took many bus trips. He noted that he has been to Disney World five times. Sometimes Mrs. Stoll did not tell Mr. Stoll about a trip until the morning they were to leave and she packed a bag for them and off they went. He was also a volunteer for the PTA and followed the local Little League teams. He enjoyed reading the Smithsonian Magazine and watching the History Channel on TV.
From McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home obituary.
|Bread (1 pound loaf)...||$.10|
From a 2011 newsletter (?) of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association (McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home obituary).
Meet Linthicum Honorary Mayor John Stoll & Honorary Deputy Mayor Bernie Simon
John Merle Stoll has been chosen as the 2012 Honorary Mayor of Linthicum. This is a unique opportunity to honor a nonagenarian who has an amazing family history with Linthicum and who has shared his love and knowledge of the local history with literally thousands of people.
John was bom on March 15, 1918. He is the 11th generational descendent of Major General John Hammond, a lineage that goes back to the 1600s. He is the great-grandson of Sarah Linthicum Shipley, and his great-uncle, John Edward Stoll [brother of George Stoll], lived in the farmhouse now owned by the Daliks. This house was featured on the 2008 Linthicum Historic House Tour where John spent the day as the docent sharing Linthicum history with the many visitors. Medora Road is named for his great-aunt Medora Radecke Stoll [wife of John Edward Stoll]. His great-grandfather was Rezin Hammond whose house, Sunnyfields, still stands on Hammonds Lane. John grew up on Snow Hill Farm, originally called Jackson's Chance, built by Colonel Charles Hammond on Old Ordnance Road where his father was a farmer. The 100-year-old farmhouse where John had lived since childhood was demolished in 1969 to make way for a state road to extend the Baltimore Beltway to the Key Bridge. John reluctantly accepted the state's monetary offer rather than lose the property to eminent domain. Wanting to stay close to the Linthicum communtty: John and his family moved to a 1910 house on Arundel Road.
John graduated from Glen Burnie High School in 1934. This was during the Depression and he worked odd jobs at local businesses such as Hutzler's and Davidson Chemical. He worked for a time at the Benson-Hammond House farm as a farmhand. His pay was $10 a week plus room and board. John served his country in World War II in the Army Air Corps. He spent [2½] years in the China, Burma and India Campaign. His 7th bomb group received three Presidential Unit Citations during the war. John worked for the American Oil Company (AMOCO) for 44 years until his retirement.
John Stoll is a member of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association, AARP #3850 and the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society. What makes John Stoll, age 93, so unique is thai he has verbally shared his wealth of knowledge of this community, farming in Anne Arundel County, and his memories of a bygone era with countless people. John attributes his remarkable memory to having to learn poetry every week during the 4th grade. He can still recite those poems! Until very recently John was a docent at the Benson-Hammond House and it was in this venue, during tours and special events, that he was able to share and make this history come alive for those visitors. John's taped interviews by college students are at Gettysburg College, and his interviews regarding the World War II Veterans Project are stored in the Library of Congress.
John has dedicated much of his time to sharing Linthicum history and we are pleased to have such a remarkable honorary mayor as Linthicum Patriarch, John M. Stoll.
Bernadette (Bemie) Simon will be serving as Deputy Mayor. Bernie has lived in Linthicum for over 25 years. She was the Linthicum Community columnist in The Maryland Gazette for seven years. She has served two terms as the president of the GFWC Woman' s Club of Linthicum Heights, Inc. and is the current president of the Southern District of the Maryland Federation of Women's Clubs. Her work with the woman's club includes volunteering with the Education Committee where she assists with the student writing contests and volunteers for student events at the schools. She is presently Publicity Chairman of the club and is a member of the North County Business Advisory Board. Bemie is a former organist at St Philip Neri Church. She is a long-standing member of the Community Fair Planning Committee. She serves as assistant to the fair chairman, doing whatever job needs to be done. She chairs the Publicity Committee, sending notices to committee members and press releases to the newspapers. She chairs the Honorary Mayor and the Pastor Gilroy Award Committees, receiving nominations, organizing the selection committee, notifying the selected candidates, and announcing their selection at the fair. It was necessary to have a secret meeting without her this year due to her being placed in nomination! She handles getting medallions and trophies for the honorees, as well as having their names added to the plaques hanging at the Linthicum Luncheteria and St. John Lutheran Church. Bernie has served as chair of the entertainment for the fair. Two years ago she added the children's entertainment area that featured children's performances. In 2007-2008 she served on the Linthicum Centennial Committee and was the recording secretary. Bemie is a devoted community volunteer, helping those in need and supporting various groups in the community.
A school essay by Valerie D'Ambrosio written in 2013 or 2014 when Mr. Stoll was 95 years of age. Valerie is Mr. Stoll's daughter Jane's niece. (McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home obituary)
For my Family History Report I interviewed Mr. John Stoll, who is my Uncle Greg's [Greg Meleady, Jane's husband] father-in-law. I chose him because he was born in 1918 and because of old age. Mr. Stoll has seen a lot of historical changes in the world during his ninety-five years. In this essay I am going to talk about his childhood, his adult life, and how he would like to be remembered.
Mr. John was born in Ann Arundel Co. in his childhood home. The house he lived in was a farm-house. The house had a parlor, living room, kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs and an outhouse in the yard. The Stoll family used a wood-stove for heat and cooking. They did not have any plumbing or electricity until 1927. His farm was on the property where BWI airport is now located. Mr. John's earliest memories were going to school at Brooklyn Park Elementary school and going to church. For fun, Mr. John played Hide and Seek and Catchers (which is like tag). He also listened to Jazz and Gospel music on a wind-up Victrola, like "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In the Garden".
Mr. John was twenty-seven years old when he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft from Pimlico (which is outside of Baltimore, MD.) and soon after started their family. They had two daughters, Linda and Jane and lived in Linthicum Heights, MD. He worked for the American Oil company and blended gasoline into Hi-Test oil. He also worked on his farm which was a "Truck Farm." A "Truck Farm" was a farm that trucked produce into the city. Mr. John said that the most valuable lesson he learned from his parents were, "tremendous love and care and that he did not get anything he did not need." Mr. John went to church every Sunday with his family. Mr. Stoll was also in the army air corps in World War II, where he was stationed in India. He was a plane mechanic. Mr. John's adult years were filled with starting and raising his own family and working hard in whatever job he was doing.
Mr. Stoll wants to be remembered by his Christian life. Mr. John said, "Life today is too fast and people don't take time to smell the roses, enjoy sunsets or the fresh air or nature." Mr. John hopes to be remembered by his family and friends as someone who loved their neighbor as thy self and lived by the ten-commandments. His neighbors already feel this way because he was made the honorary Mayor of Linthicum Heights when he was ninety-three because of his good works for the town.
In conclusion, I hope you learned a lot about Mr. John Stoll's childhood, adult life, and how he would like to be remembered. 1 came to realize that Mr. John saw a lot of changes in his life and with each circumstance he had to learn to adapt. Some were good changes like becoming a husband and father, or with the new pleasures of electricity and indoor plumbing. Some changes were hard and difficult like being in a war. Today, Mr. John is ninety-five and living in Anne Arundel County with his oldest daughter Linda and is very happy.
By Valerie D'Ambrosio
Transcription of an October 2007 interview by historian Katie Kosack for the Veterans History Project ("A Project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress"). Ms. Kosack's (or the transcriber's) annotations are in plain-text and square brackets, e.g., "[?]"; mine are in italics, e.g., "[turrets?]". (McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home obituary).
Katie Kosack: My name is Katie Kosack and today is Sunday, October 7, 2007. I'm interviewing Mr. John Stoll of Brooklyn United Methodist Church, Brooklyn, MD. His birthday is March 15, 1918. Can you please state the answers to the following questions for the recorder? Which war did you serve in?
John Stoll: World War II.
Katie Kosack: What branch of service did you serve in?
John Stoll: US Army Air Force.
Katie Kosack: What was your rank?
John Stoll: My... rank was corporal.
Katie Kosack: And where were you stationed?
John Stoll: I was stationed in Chi—in the India-China-Burma-India [China Burma India Theater] Theater.
Katie Kosack: Thank you. And now we'll start. To begin, um, we'll just start with an introduction to your service, were you drafted or did you enlist?
John Stoll: I was drafted, and I entered the service January the 7th 1942.
Katie Kosack: And how did you feel about being enlisted?
John Stoll: I didn't enlist...
Katie Kosack: ... I mean drafted...
John Stoll: ... I was drafted. And... I was supposed to be drafted in April of 1941 before the war started, but I was given a deferment by my draft board, but after December the 7 1941, I received a notice that was to report to my draft board.
Katie Kosack: Do you recall your first days in service?
John Stoll: My first days of the—in the service I entered the service at Ft. George G. Meade. I was inducted there in... January the 7th 1942, and I—after about a week I was shipped off to... Shepherd Field... Wichita Falls, Texas to take my basic training. Which was an air force training facility for airplane mechanics, but during my stay at Shepherd Field I signed up to take the armament course, which was at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado. So after a month or two of basic training I was shipped off to Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado.
Katie Kosack: And what did you learn at that armament school?
John Stoll: I went to armament school which was ordinarily in peace times was a 9 month course, but was condensed into a 3 month course due to the war... and I w—they ran 24 hour technical school training. So I went to school at 2 o'clock in the morning and... and uh was... taught... the armaments of different type of airplanes and small arms maintenance.
Katie Kosack: What type of airplanes did you work on, were they B-24s?
John Stoll: I worked on B-24s during my stay in... China-Burma-India, and when I returned home in February of 1945, I was—assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, which had the new heavy bombers the B-29s.
Katie Kosack: And did you use these airplanes in your stay in Burma?
John Stoll: In—stationed in India I was moved to different air bases and during the monsoon seasons, which start in that area in June, the rains come and it rains almost everyday until October. And during that time when it was unable—the visibility was very low over the targets in Burma, they would uh send some of our planes to haul supplies into China, from Bangladesh, which is near—in the town of Dacca. [Now known as Dhaka]
Katie Kosack: And wasn't this area referred to as "the hump"?
John Stoll: The Himalaya—Himalaya Mountains were very dangerous flying conditions, and they always said you would never get lost going to China because it was called the "aluminum highway." There were so many wrecked planes flying back and forth over the Himalayas that you could just follow the wrecked airplanes and you would walk into China.
Katie Kosack: Did you actually fly on these planes, or was your service on the ground?
John Stoll: I was uh maintenance... of the armament systems on the B-24. I loaded bombs anywhere from one hundred "pounders", to fragmentation bombs, to incendiary bombs, and even we loaded naval mines, which were electric—uh electrically activated by the passing of so many ships over the particular... ordinance.
Katie Kosack: And all these bombs you learned how to work on, or you learned how to deal with at, um, the basic training that you received in Louis—Denver?
John Stoll: I received my training with bombs and the fusing of bombs at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado.
Katie Kosack: And do you—did you see any combat?
John Stoll: I did not see any combat, but I traveled through... the oceans, Atlantic Ocean... the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the I—which were infested with... German submarines and Japanese submarines in the Indian Ocean.
Katie Kosack: And, um, can you tell me about a memorable experience that you had that shows what you—how your experience was in the Burma Theater?
John Stoll: I was told before I got off of the transport ship... in November the 30th of 1942 that I would re—uh acquire some disease that is prevalent in the country of India... before I would be there one year. After nine months... I con... uh—I was infected by the Anopheles mosquito which carries the Malaria germ. And I was hospitalized for at least 3 weeks.
Katie Kosack: And that was in India?
John Stoll: That was in India. 1942.
Katie Kosack: So you stayed at an armal—uh Army hospital in India?
John Stoll: I stayed in an Army hospital in India. That was in 1943 actually, correct myself, 1943.
Katie Kosack: And how—how did, um, did many of you contract this disease?
John Stoll: Not everyone contracted malaria, but being on guard duty out in the swamps area and the jungle area... guarding airplanes for 3 or 4 hours at night... the mosquitoes were very prevalent. They did have malaria control in the barracks. Everyday they were sprayed and we slept under mosquito netting.
Katie Kosack: How um, going off that—and you—you talked about monsoon season; but how was your&mdashl;your stay in that area when you weren't seeing... working?
John Stoll: India was a very—in the area that I was stationed in, the Bengal Province and up in Bangladesh it was a very low sea level, about 25 feet—anywhere from 8 to 25 feet above sea level. It was very hot and humid, especially after the monsoon season.
Katie Kosack: Did you get to travel while you were in the Army?
John Stoll: While I was in India they did give us "R&R" and we did—were able to go up into the Himalayas to the rest camps that had been established many years before World War II for the missionaries and the British soldiers who had been stationed there in the India for many, many years.
Katie Kosack: And how were—what were those camps like?
John Stoll: They were very well... staffed and had well... barracks, good uh permanent barracks and uh stone huts, and it was very cool up there to what the plains were down in Bengal.
Katie Kosack: Did you look forward—to these times?
John Stoll: It was a relief to go up into the Himalayas to be refreshed after spending so many months down in the hot and humid air.
Katie Kosack: Um... you mentioned on your sheet [Biographical Data Sheet] that you were part of the um... Unit—your unit there [referring to what is written on the Biographical Data Sheet]. Can you state that Unit for me?
John Stoll: I was—when I arrived in India... in Karachi, India, I was assigned to the 7th Bomb group, which was stationed over in Panagarh, a small place at an air field which was about one hundred miles west of Calcutta.
Katie Kosack: And what was the specific assignment of your unit?
John Stoll: My unit... was a small unit compared to the units in the other Air Forces that were stationed in England or North Africa. And the targets were very limited in Burma... bombing mostly the railroads from Bangkok, Siam, over to Rangoon in Burma... it was a "death railroad" where all prisoners that had been taken in the... uh... Japanese conquering of Singapore and Hong Kong. These prisoners were put to work on what was known as the "death railroad" because there was very little uh nourishment given to the prisoners, and it was high fatality among the prisoners. And that was built to supply the Japanese troops who were occupying Burma.
Katie Kosack: And so your purpose was to cut off supply to the Japanese?
John Stoll: Our purpose was to—to de—to stunt the advancement of the Japanese forces that had advanced to... Burma like lightning, chasing one of the... army generals... General Stilwell who had been training Chinese troops in Burma. When the war broke out, he had to evacuate to India. So... the Japanese were unable to advance any further than Burma, they did invade the northern part of India, but most of the ground fighting in India and Bur—China and Burma was done by British Colonial troops, most of the infantry fighting, and mostly... American troops were service personnel or engineer groups or supply troops.
Katie Kosack: Um... going back to the—your job in the—the Army Air Corps, being an armorer, can you tell me of any experiences that you had dealing with that? Do you have any interesting experiences that you had with...
John Stoll: Whenever a squadron left the air field we would always try to be back there when they returned from a mission, and we would be out there at least an hour before they returned. One day... a B-24 bomber came in... and we not knowing what was on the plane, the plane had a five hundred pound bomb... hang up on the bomb racks in the bomb bay and when the plane hit the landing field it jolted this five hundred pound loose and it came... trundling down the uh air strip to where we were waiting. Luckily... the bomb crew on the plane had defused the bomb before they landed, so the bomb was unarmed when it came down the air strip. [laughs]
Katie Kosack: But it came rolling down towards you?
John Stoll: Yeah [laughs]. Most bombs would not go off unless they had a fuse, and most bombs carried two fuses to make sure that they would detonate. If one fuse did not work the second fuse would... more than less confirm that it would go off.
Katie Kosack: And, so this bomb was completely defused though, they had defused both...
John Stoll: ... this bomb was completely defused. But the lug came off the bomb and it unable to be used again... in a plane, so the ordinance men, one day unbeknownst to all the men in camp, they detonated this one five hundred pound bomb within a quarter mile of our camp [laughs]. Which shook everybody up.
Katie Kosack: Did you do any—did have any—did your men and you play any more pranks on each other like that? ... Do you recall?
John Stoll: We did very little "horsing around" as you might say over there, although we did have our times of—of relaxation. We could catch a local passenger train to go down to Calcutta, which would take us six hours on a weekend, and where we could buy ice cream and things that we did not have at camp.
Katie Kosack: And um did you get to—did you get to do anymore fun things down in that area, when you would take the train down to Calhutta [Calcutta]?
John Stoll: The trains that went into Calcutta were local trains that stopped at every railroad station in the one hundred mile strip, and so it would take over six hours just to ride one hundred miles.
Katie Kosack: And how were those trains?
John Stoll: The trains in India were steam trains, and... they were always overcrowded. The Indian population would ride on the roofs of the cars, in between the rail cars, underneath on the brake rods on the cars, and sometimes ride on the side of the cars hanging on with their arm through the open window.
Katie Kosack: How were your um—did you have any interactions with the Indian population there?
John Stoll: When we first arrived in India we were doing our own... KP... and minor work details, but the Army saw that it was more necessary to hire local people to perform these task, rather than... use their own personnel, for NP [Night Patrol] duty and for... kitchen police. The Gurkha troops who were from the northern part of India, Nepal—the province of Nepal, were very good guard troops and very good fighters, airplanes on the air strips at night. And they were eventually used to guard our...
Katie Kosack: So they provided a lot of guard services, then?
John Stoll: Yes.
Katie Kosack: Um... do you remember... um anything else about your life in—your life during service? How you were treated in the camps and stuff like that?
John Stoll: The civilian population the in United States were very helpful and congenial and very... concerned with the troops that were stationed in their vicinity. And in Denver, Colorado the air strip was about eight miles from the city... and the people in Denver with—even with gas rationing—would use what little gas they had to ferry and take some of the soldiers or GIs up into the Rocky Mountains to see some of the local sites.
Katie Kosack: Um... did you get to com—how did you communicate with your family during... this time?
John Stoll: I was not given a furlough while I was stationed in the United States before I was shipped overseas. We were all put into a... a unit that was called a "casul [?] outfit" which was more or less replacements for assigned units which were already overseas. So we communicated with our relatives and friends by telephone. With a transportation problem as busy as it was during World War II, the trains were always packed and full, and there was no-not many bus services at that particular time. So most all travel was done by train, in the service.
[On the internet, I found the term "casualty outfit" used in a couple of ways: a combat unit that had experienced many casualties or a combat unit that was expected to receive many casualties.]
Katie Kosack: Did you get to come home at any point during your stay over in—in the Asiatic or were you there for the entire time?
John Stoll: After two years and four months stationed in India, in January of 1945 I was notified that there was replacement for me and that I would be going home. So... being over near Calcutta... we had to travel across India again by train to Bombay and wait for a transport to bring us home... and it took twenty—thirty—unrry—five days to come from Bombay, around Australia stopping at Melbourne and coming back to San Pedro, California.
Katie Kosack: And was that when your service ended?
John Stoll: That was when I was given—sent back to Ft. Meade from... Riverside, California... to Camp Meade to be reassigned here in the United States, because the war was still going on. So I came back after a five day train trip from Riverside to Ft. Meade. I received my furlough papers which were twenty days. I was given a gas coupon for twenty gallons of gas, a coupon for a pair of new shoes, civilian shoes, and various coupons for little odds and ends that were rationed here in the United States.
Katie Kosack: And did you return home at that time?
John Stoll: And from Camp Meade which was about eighteen miles from my draft board in Glen Burnie, Maryland I was sent... home to my Glen Burnie, where I had been inducted in January of 1942.
Katie Kosack: And did you remain in the United States from then on?
John Stoll: From then on... receiving my twenty day furlough, I spent twenty days with my family in Brooklyn, Maryland and then I was sent to Miami Beach, where the government had acquired all the hotels for "R&R" for men that had served overseas. And I spent ten days in Miami Beach where I was reassigned to Shreveport, LA... a B-29 base.
Katie Kosack: And what did you do in Louisiana?
John Stoll: I worked on the B-29s that had been assembled there that were coming off of the production lines and that they were going—being readied for service over in the far east, as the war in Europe was over, at that particular time. So I spent the last of my service days in Shreveport, LA where I was discharged—received my discharge in October of 1945.
Katie Kosack: And then after being discharged to return to a job that you had, had previously?
John Stoll: The company that I worked for, the American Oil Company had gave me my original job back when I returned home.
Katie Kosack: And um just to kind of finish up and sum up, um we can talk about it for a lit—as long as you want, how do you think your experience has affected your life?
John Stoll: I—by traveling completely around the world, without going through the Panama or the Suez Canal, I traveled by water from one side of the east coast of the United States, completely around the world... and I saw uh much suffering... in the countries that I stopped at, South Africa, Egypt, Salon [?] [Ceylon] and especially India where the population was four hundred million at the time that I left in 1945, and which is now over one billion people... in the course of the years that had passed.
Katie Kosack: And um did you enjoy your experience overall, as much as you can I assume?
John Stoll: It opened my eyes to the other parts of the world. To see... native people that were wearing burlap for clothing and very little food to eat... and seeing so much starvation, especially in India which had a famine in 1944, and they considered the famine a failure because only one million people died. So a famine causes people to lose their resistance to various diseases and, certainly in India there were many various diseases over there... which was malaria, typhoid, leprosy... and uh... uh... dysentery... and many dis—various skin diseases so forth, Chinese rot... so there was very many things that were capable of infecting a human being.
Katie Kosack: And back in the United States, um you mentioned a little bit of how the people treated you when you were on base in Denver, how do you think um—how was your homecoming and how were the people around you—how did they respond to you and how did you respond to them?
John Stoll: When I first returned... you mean after the service?
Katie Kosack: ... mm-hmm...
John Stoll: ... The people were very a—uh... thankful for all the servicemen. I lost some classmates in World War II... some of them were uh pilots on P-51s and P-47s and uh my—one of my classmates was shot down by the Germans and killed in Italy in a P-51. One of my classmates who was very close to me, performed over one hundred and forty missions in a P-47, from England into Germany until the end of the war... and he...
Katie Kosack: ... do you recall his name?
John Stoll: ... his name was Howard Gourley, G-O-U-R-L-E-Y... and he came home after each 40 missions—he was given a furlough to come home and he was sent back again back to Germany and he was there when the final shots were fired. He had pulled almost one hundred and some missions.
Katie Kosack: And to bring it closer to home how did the—how did the church respond when you returned?
John Stoll: The church was very... instrumental in keeping our morale up overseas. They had a "Buddies Club" here in Brooklyn United Methodist Church that would write letters to all the servicemen and they would have... uh... an honor roll board put up with all the names of the men who had served from this church during the conflict... and the names of those who had given their utmost, their full life in the service of their country.
Katie Kosack: Okay, well thank you very much for giving—for telling us your story and I will have you sign this release form at the end so that we can um use your information for the Library of Congress...
John Stoll: ... Alright...
Katie Kosack: ... So I thank you very much.
John Stoll: I didn't put on here [referring to the Biographical Data Sheet], I received a Victory... Medal.
Katie Kosack: Okay, is it called a Victory Medal ["Victory Medal" added to Biographical Data Sheet]?
John Stoll: Yeah, see they didn't give medals they gave ribbons...
Katie Kosack: ...mm-hmm...
John Stoll: ... if I wanted these ribbons—these medals I got to write to St. Louis and they'll send 'em to me, but a lot of people don't want 'em, I mean, I don't want these ribbons—I mean these medals... they uh—the ribbons signify the same thing as a medal, you know...
Katie Kosack: ... right...
John Stoll: ... when you get a ribbon up there.
Katie Kosack: Are they different colors?
John Stoll: Yeah, the uh, the South Pacific ribbon, Asiatic... India China Burma, that was a yellow ribbon with red, white, and blue bars... six bars in it and the uh... European ribbon was a different ribbon, a darker ribbon with a red, white, and blue bars and the uh, the American Theater Ribbon... they had a ribbon that was given to all soldiers who uh—who were in the service before Pearl Harbor, that was a yellow ribbon...
Katie Kosack: ... mm-hmm...
John Stoll: ... it's called a National Defense Ribbon, I believe. So, uh... then the Victory Ribbon I saw one, my cousin had one, well he passed away but his brother-in-law or his nephew had one. It's a pretty ribbon. And some—some of the service men, they—they write away for 'em and they make a little plaque out of 'em, you know a little...
Katie Kosack: ... mm-hmm...
John Stoll: ... and put the ribbons in there—or their medals in there, hang 'em on a wall. And that Presidential Unit Citation, this outfit that I was in 7th Bomb Group, that was a World War One outfit. That's why you see se—a low number there, seventh. But the squadron number 492, that was when they made that particular uh—squadron of that group, there was four squadrons in the 7th Bomb Group, ten planes at each one had—each squadron, forty planes, so as they gathered a few more planes from overseas they kept getting bigger and eventually when I left we had like eighteen planes, but you don't put eighteen planes in the air at one time. You got engine trouble in one car, maybe a bomb site don't work on another plane, but I did see fifty airplanes in the air at one time, but over in England there was five or six hundred up there at one time going over there to Germany, and they—the Germans shot—I watched World War II—all that film that they put out on the History Channel, did you see any of that? ...
Katie Kosack: ... mm-hmmm ...
John Stoll: ... they lost sixty planes in one mission. That's six hundred men! There's ten men in the crew, so sixty—for every man that's on the airplane it takes ten men on the ground to keep that one man in the air. Look at all the men that had to load the bombs, all the men that have to work on the engines, they had men that had carburetor work, they had men that did electrical men, they had bomb site men that worked just on the bomb site, they had men that were supply people that called supplies out, they had men that worked uh... on the turts [?] [turrets?], you know the turts [?] [turrets?] that swing around... so for every man in the air it took a hundred men on the ground to keep one airplane in the air—well not one, but—'cause, excuse me, a hundred men could work on two or three planes. So I mean I loaded bombs on couple planes easy, but it was all done with ya' hands... a little winch and you have to crank those bombs up, and we loaded—a B-24 was a long range bomber, a B-17 was a good bomber, but it didn't have the range, you know the distance it could fly, so that's why we had the B-24s. They wo—they could pull a fifteen hour mission from Calcutta to Bangkok, Siam and come back, and...
Katie Kosack: .. was that over the mountains? ...
John Stoll: ... they usually flew over the water, around the south of Burma to keep the Japanese on land from calling back, "There's planes coming! There's planes coming!", but for that plane to make that trip, where they carried bombs—there's four bomb bays, they had to put three more gas tanks in there. They had to put extra gas on the plane, and only carry three bombs to fly from Calcutta to Bangkok, so it was—I guess you scared 'em over in Bangkok 'cause they didn't get many raids over there, but I guess you 'member... a general, uh... what was his name?, not Mitchell, uh the one that flew the B-25s. The B-25s were medium bombers, they were two engine planes. The B-26s they made over here in Essex, they were two engine planes, they were attack bombers because they could fly low and they're fast. The B-25s were the ones that General Doolittle put on the aircraft carrier and they snuck up there around Alaska, and launched the planes and then they're the ones that bombed Japan way back in 1942, before—and Japan was really surprised, they didn't think a plane could reach them, you know, because they had Midway, Sipan [Saipan], Okinawa, they had the Philippines and all the islands around. We didn't have a plane that could reach—reach Japan so Doolittle, he practiced—and that's a hard job to get a bomber off of an airplane carrier. They were built for attack planes, you know fighter planes, and I think the Japanese—some of the planes had enough gas to bomb Japan and then land in China, and the Chinese would re—return 'em to—us, but see some of the planes didn't make it all the way to China and the Japanese, uh... what do I say... they killed our pilots, for bombing Tokyo, They didn't take 'em as prisoners, they—they killed 'em, a couple of 'em... but Doolittle—that was one of the tilings [?] that built the morale of the people 'cause people in Tokyo, you know they're going about their everyday life, you know, their troops are way down there they pro—they got the "Ring of Defense" around Japan. But they had to launch those planes a little bit sooner than they wanted to. The aircraft carrier was up there getting closer and closer to Japan, they wanted to get into closer, but a Japanese fishing boat was out there, with a fisherman and you know fishing, and if he a radio he could report, so they had a—they had to shoot that there poor fisherman, he never got back to Japan, they killed that fisherman who saw the aircraft carrier. Then they said, "We better launch now because maybe he relayed we were coming or something and they would have fighter planes up and shot us down before we do any damage." So they launched a hundred—or two—hundred miles before they got closer, because if they could have got closer they all could have got over into China without being... you know some of 'em shot down, I forget how many planes it was, I think about eight or ten, I think.
Katie Kosack: Well thank you very, very much and this will go into the Library of Congress and I'll have you sign this release form and everyone will be able to use it and hear your stories...
John Stoll: ... see when I left in October—today is my anniversary... in 1942, how many years ago is that? Forty-two from 2007... it's five, sixty-five years... sixty-five years ago, I was pulling out of Norfolk, Virginia, Hampton Roads. We pulled out in daylight, I said, "Where's the escort vessels? Hey! There's German submarines," they were sinking ships along the Carolinas, the Germans were, up along New England coast and all, right here in the Atlantic. I said, "Where's our escort vessels?", but the Martania [?] [see below] is a sister ship of the Lusitania, it was built in 1909 and we had seven or eight thousand men on there. And, I'm looking around, "Hey! I don't like this! We're going out in the Atlantic!" 'Cause they sank one of the American oil ships down there off there of uh Jacksonville, Florida. The Germans would stay outside, at night and they had—didn't have a "blackout" here in the United States yet, and the city lights and all—when the ship went between the submarine and the uh lights from the city, the Germans could see the ships going by going—and they—they could sink those ships, but uh you know there's—there was a sunken German submarine down off of Carolinas and the scuba divers went down in there, you know, and they brought out German skulls, some of the crew members that had died and the Germans didn't want it distributed—they notified, you know—not to take it up—bring it up. But down off Southwest Africa in 1944, a German uh submarine was captured. [see below] The uh Germans had opened the seacock—you know they open the seacock up and let the water in to sink the sub and then they go up and get off and are taken prisoner. So a landing party on the uh Amer—American ship, they went over there real quick, and ran down in the sub and shut the seacock off and they captured that submarine, and they—I think it's out in Chicago now, it might still be out there, they took it up the Mississippi River, sold war bonds you know, as uh—alright let me sign that [referring to the release form]...
[The Lusitania and the first Mauretania, both launched in 1906, were named for two Roman provinces on either side of the Straits of Gibraltar. The Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915 and the Mauretania was withdrawn from service in 1934 and scrapped in 1935. The second Mauretania was launched in 1938 and, within a couple of years, was converted to a troop carrier. Mr. Stoll had the honor of shipping out on a vessel that would travel over half a million miles during the war!]
[The German submarine Mr. Stoll talked of was the U-505, captured by Daniel Gallery's carrier task force. ("Capture of U-505 on 4 June 1944") As Mr. Stoll said, the U-505 is indeed on exhibit in Chicago at The Museum of Science and Industry: "Elusive. Deadly. Captured." (My knowledge of the U-505 comes from reading Admiral Gallery's autobiography back in the 1960s.)]
Katie Kosack: ... okay, thank you very much.