Maplewood History: The Hero from Hazel

When first I visited Larry and Jean Wiss McDaniels (whose historic family photographs we saw in my last post) they had laid out on their table in addition to their impressive collection of family photos many other interesting items. Larry had books about Bataan and Corregidor, two islands where important battles took place during WWII for control of Manila Bay in the Philippines. He also showed me newspaper clippings about a hero named Arthur E. Huff.

It was on the island of Corregidor in 1942 where Captain Huff made news when he and several other men restored the flag of the United States to the top of a flagpole after Japanese artillery had shot it down. For their bravery they were awarded the silver star. All well and good.  Though I’ll have to confess I was missing the Maplewood connection.

The connection was revealed in a couple of the photographs in my last post but it was the research done by reader Dave P. that caught my attention.  I’ll rerun these photos and research below so you don’t have to dial up my last post.

What follows are parts of a story of a true war hero born in Maplewood.  Thanks to Larry and Jean for sharing this with us.

This image from Larry and Jean’s collection appeared in my last post. The names written on the back are in the next image.

My guess is that Josephine Huff is the woman on the left and Arthur Elwood ” is the baby on her lap.  Reader Dave P. added the following information in the comments section.  “The photo of the 4 ladies with 4 kids shows a “Josephine W. Huff”. The 1920 US Census has Josephine Huff living with her husband Arthur L. and three kids (Virginia, Arthur, and Chas) in the duplex (now single family) house at 7423 Hazel Ave. They owned the house with a mortgage. Arthur was an accountant for the Pullman Co. which was the same company a number of the Wiss family members also worked at.”

This is a newspaper clipping from Larry and Jean’s collection with a photograph of the now grown Arthur E. (Elwood) Huff and his wife and child that ran in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on May 4, 1942.

Here is the article that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the same day, May 4, 1942.

The above articles ran on May 4, 1942. By May the 6th, Corregidor had fallen to the Japanese.  Wikipedia has a very good account of this most brutal and horrible battle.  If you’re not familiar with it I’d recommend you read it. It would be quite awhile before Arthur’s wife and daughter would get the news contained in the following article.

This is an excerpt from an article that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 12 1943. Over a year later.

This article by General Wainwright appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on October 24, 1945. It is excerpted below.

Captain Arthur E. Huff, born in Maplewood, was never to see his wife and child again.  He had been a prisoner aboard the Japanese hellship, the Oryoku Maru.  The ship was sunk in Subic Bay in Manila by Allied planes on December 15, 1944.  I haven’t found if he survived the bombing.  Some POW’s did and were allowed to swim to shore.  Very many if not most did not survive the tortuous captivity that followed.

This man is a true hero.  I take my hat off to him and to all of the others like him who suffered the unimaginable horrors of war.  Let us study war no more.  RIP Captain Huff.

8 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The Hero from Hazel

  1. Hero Huffs body was never recovered. The torpedo hit the portion of the ship where 350 officers were quartered, and Capt. Huff is presumed lost in Subic Bay. His name is on a monument at a military base there.

    Thank you Doug and David P. for following up on our Maplewood history.

    • Larry, Thanks for providing that information. I along with many of the readers out there appreciate you and your wife Jean letting us have a look at your historic family documents and photos.

  2. Off Edmundson Avenue south of the airport are two streets, Bataan and Corregidor. One might think that they were post-war memorials to those great battles, but in fact they were officially platted on April 22, 1942 as part of the Woodson Terrace Subivision. That was at the climax of the fighting; the surrender took place on May 6, 1942. So the names were really a statement of solidarity with the men and women who were giving their all for this country at that very moment. I get emotional every time I think about it, and I wonder if the people who live in those ranch houses realize that they, too, are part of history.

    • It would be interesting to know. I wonder how many of them are aware that their street names commemorate two of the most horrendous battles of WWII? I also wonder what it would be like to see those two names every day. They would definitely lose the punch that they have for the rest of us. That is an interesting comment, Esley. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. neat article and I enjoyed it. I am wondering if there are more stories like that out there that we don’t know about. It seems that so often I hear about families who never heard the stories about the war experiences from their dads and uncles and other family members. Just wasn’t talked about by so many for so long that once they are gone we have lost a lot of information.

    Doug you have mentioned a war memorial that used to stand where White Castle is now located. Has anyone that you know of done any looking into the names on that memorial to see if there are still family that might have some history about them and what they did both before and during the war? Do we even know the names that are on that memorial? Or where it is located? Seems like a very important piece of Maplewood history.

    • Hi Mark, There is another war memorial planned to honor Maplewood folks who served in the Armed Forces. It is in the development stages. I’ll try and find out what’s happening with that.
      Also you wonder if there are more stories out there like this one. I’d say there are many. I hope they will gradually come to light. News of a similar story without a Maplewood connection came by email from the historically reliable Johnny Rabbitt. It follows.

      Doug:
      There’s a touching parallel to your moving story of Arthur Huff that relates to the person for whom the Frank Hardt Memorial Medical Bldg. at Chippewa & Brannon is dedicated. You’ll find an article by Bill McClellan about Frank Hardt on the Internet. And, in the lobby of that building is a plaque that also documents what happened to Hardt in WWII; though Bill’s piece goes into more detail.
      These two local American heroes deserve our remembrance on the coming Independence Day. Johnny Rabbitt

      Indeed they do, Johnny. Thank you for this story.

  4. Hi Doug, Amazing article about a great man. Another important bit to connect this all together is Josephine W. Huff, Arthur Elwood Huff’s mom, I believe is the second child of Frank and Jennie Wiss. They had three children: Floyd ~Sept. 1885 to 1914, Josephine born ~Jan. 1887, and Charles F. born ~ 1892 to 1959. In 1910 Charles was living with his parents at 7489 Hazel Ave, while Floyd lived at 7485 Hazel Ave. In 1920 Josephine and the Huff family lived in 7423 Hazel Ave and in 1910 the Huff family was living at 3260 Big Bend (both houses still exist).

    There is another nice photo and short write-up about Arthur Elwood Huff here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56779393/arthur-e-huff

    • Dave, I truly appreciate the research you’ve done and connections you’ve made. You’ve added a great deal of interest to this story. I’ve copied the Find-A-Grave site you linked to and added it to this file. Keep up the good work. Have I mentioned the very interesting Bartold family about whom I don’t have much info?