By Sally Wagner, Church Historian
We left our church family at the end of September, 1940, getting acquainted with their new pastor, Arthur Maly and his family, while worrying about the world war that had engulfed Europe and Asia. As always, we are indebted to the Girard News, our town’s weekly newspaper, available on microfilm at the Girard Free Library, for much of our information. This is supplemented by minutes of meetings, and our financial reports, from our archives.
The first Sunday in October fell on the 6th. The News in the “Church Notes” column stated that: “Rev. Arthur S. Maly, who comes from Ridgewood Methodist Church, Cleveland, will assume charge of his new pastorate.” However, on the Saturday before that, Oct. 5th, Rev. Maly presided over his first wedding in our church. The October 11th edition of the Girard News, in the Society section, reported that: “Miss Margaret Jane McCorkle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. F. McCorkle of Broadway Avenue and Samuel Walker McCune, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. W. McCune, Jr. of Wilmington, Delaware, were married Saturday morning at 10:45 in the Methodist Church, Rev. Arthur Maly officiating.” So, we know that Rev. Maly got off to a busy start in his new pastorate.
The October 11th edition of the News announced that Registration for Selective Military Service would be held on Wednesday, October 16th, at the voting precincts in Girard, from the hours of 7 AM to 9 PM. Approximately 1,000 men were expected to register from the city of Girard. Some of these men would have been from our own church family. This was the first ever peacetime draft in our country’s history. It had been signed into law, just one month before, on September 16th. Now it began with the registration which would sign up approximately 16 million men in the U.S. This was bringing that war over in Europe and Asia up close and personal if you were one of the men who had to go and register. When you read the headline that Friday afternoon, it would have affected you deeply.
The News generally came out on Friday morning and was delivered by schoolboys immediately after school. Thus, the men who were affected by the draft would had read it then and begun to wonder how their lives would be changed. What would happen later that same evening after the football game at Niles, however, would strike immediate fear into parents of Girard high school students. The game itself was apparently uneventful. Niles, the home team, had won the contest 13-0. All the Girard players got on the bus and went home peacefully. However, the two band buses were stoned by a group of Niles boys, resulting in ten broken windows on the buses, and injuries to two band members. Many of our Girard band youth were frightened, rightfully so. Eventually the Niles police scattered the offending youths, and escorted the Girard buses as far as McKinley Heights where they were met by Girard Police, who escorted the buses back to the high school. Apparently the injuries suffered by the two band members were not serious enough to require hospitalization, as there is no mention of that, or even of the members’ names in the Girard News.
The following Tuesday, at their regular monthly meeting, the Girard Board of Education adopted a resolution “that all athletic relations be severed between Niles and Girard”. I know the relationship between the two schools has often been contentious. I do not know how long the severance lasted from October of 1940. If anyone knows the answer, I would be happy to include that information in next month’s blog.
We will conclude our look back at October of 1940 on a happier note. The last Sunday of the month, October 25th, was Homecoming Sunday at our church. After the church service, at about 12:15, there was a covered dish dinner downstairs where everyone could visit and enjoy the fellowship. After the dinner there was some “peppy” singing and a talk by Dr. Schuyler Garth of Trinity Methodist Church in Youngstown.
That was our church family in the month of October, 1940, seventy-five years ago.
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