space space home space Main Surnames space About us space Our Geny Queries space Family Stories
space spaceyour link to discovering where our family roots connect space home space| space Family Stories space| spacePass The Ammunition!
white space white space white space
Charles Swegle
space space space
Sophia Swegle
space space space

Pass The Ammunition! from our Family Stories
The following article featured the Swegle’s “contribution to Victory” in the February 5,1944 issue of The Prairie Farmer. One of the editors, Gladys Blair, came from Chicago to interview and photograph the family. She entitled their story: Pass the Ammunition!

"When Mr. and Mrs. C. G. Swegle, Lee Co., Ill., were raising their children on a farm, they looked forward to the day when they might retire. Well, the children are grown, but Papa and Mama have not retired. Instead, they are passing the ammunition in an ordnance plant.

"Several years ago the Swegle family moved to a small place outside Dixon, Ill. That was when Mr. Swegle’s health gave out, and he had to give up farming. They were getting alone [sic] fine there with a garden, enjoying life.

"The the [sic] war came. Four sons went into uniform. Ivan, 28, is an air corps mechanic in the Southwest Pacific. Stanley, 27, is an infantryman in North Africa—as far as the family knows. Ellwyn, 20, is about to become a pilot, and Sidney, 25 is a tail gunner—or was until his plane screamed earthward over enemy territory.

"A mighty ordnance plant grew on Dixon's farm land. It later became the home of the bazooka, famous anti-tank weapon. It also became the workshop of Mary Ellen Swegle, and Mary Olive [Thrasher] Swegle, a daughter-in-law, and finally, Mother and Dad. The four of them work a swing shift at the Green River Ordnance Plant in Dixon. Mildred and Howard, too young for ordnance work, keep the home fires burning.

"Mary Ellen, Mary Olive and Mrs. Swegle work on the same production line in adjoining bays. They measure powder, load shells, test them for size, crimp and stencil them. From their bay, shells go to the packing room where they are shipped with love and kisses to the fellows who are going to drop them on you—know—who.

"The Swegles like the swing shift. They swing every two weeks—from the 8 to 4:30 shift to the midnight to 8 shift. Everybody swings with his own shift—because they know each other; because they work for production records. This base made a record recently—80 truckloads of shells were loaded in one day.

"Nearly all on the line where the Swegles work are women. Nearly all have someone in service. They look like happy gnomes in their beige coveralls. They work like mad—but it's a controlled, safe speed. They whistle like mad when a man visitor is shown through.

"They have clean shower rooms, clean rooms to change clothing, good food. They celebrate birthdays with cake and gifts, have dances. They have fun, but they never forget their job is to speed ammunition to battle fronts.

"In the Swegle home, daughter Mildred shops, plans and gets meals. Howard, 13, hurries home from school to do chores. He may have to take over meal planning—Mildred plans on entering nurses training.

"The munition-packing part of the family comes home with a rush in the evening, demanding mail. They are energetic and noisy. They help Mildred get the meal on the table, and talk shop.

"Mrs. Swegle likes loading shells better than farm work. Mr. Swegle says he’ d rather farm. Mary Ellen would rather stay home and cook. She loves to cook. Mary Olive dreams of a home of her own. Howard says he's going back to help brother Donald farm. Last summer he helped make hay, feed pigs, and other chores.

"Retire? Well, not now, thank you. Especially not since they received such good news. You know, they found 45 cards and letters in their mail box one day—all from people living in Pennsylvania and New York. The cards said that Sidney Swegle had been permitted to broadcast from a German prison camp, asking anyone listening to notify his parents in Dixon, Ill., that he was alive and well."


Read Another Family Story
Swegle Story space Thrasher Story space Ruth Knable Householder Obituary space Double Wedding of Carney Sisters


Copyright © 2002-2004. Content for personal use only. All rights reserved.
Home space Main Surnames space About us space Our Geny Queries space Family Stories
Please any information we may find helpful (geny information, questions, comments, suggestions, etc.). space


left of col. space
side column
4 Swegle Brothers fighting in WW2

Clockwise from top left: Pvt. Stanley C. Swegle, Staff Sgt. William "Sid" Swegle, Student Cadet Ellwyn Swegle, and Sgt. Ivan C. Swegle.

side column
Swegle family members on home front during WW2

The Swegle Family. Back Row: Mary Ellen, Mary Olive, and Mildred. Front Row: Mrs. Swegle, Mr. Swegle, and Howard.

right of col. space
space space space space space space space space space space space space space