Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana

House on Fruitvale Avenue, El Monte, near Peck Rd (1946)

Harold and Janet are born in 1941 and 1943. War is still raging around the world. Howard plays war on Lafayette with playmates, digging foxholes and shooting a wooden gun Walter has made. Other than news on the radio and movie newsreels and the limited gasoline and meat, life goes on fairly normal. Howard walks to and from Henry Reis school starting in 1942 about a mile and ¼ each way with his cousin Bob Bollinger.

Walter works at International Steel which is the oldest supplier of revolving doors in the world. When the war starts they build to support the war as well. Walter made bullets and also helped fabricate steel modules for Landing Ship Tanks (LST’s). He measured and marked the large modules for passage ways and windows and the welders cut where he marked with the torches. Any mistake on Walter’s part could waste a lot of steel. The LST’s were ocean going and were designed to slide up on beaches to discharge cargo of tanks, jeeps, trucks and men. Smaller landing craft would be lowered over the side. They were heavily used on D-Day at Normandy and in the islands of the Pacific.

House on Parkway Drive, El Monte near Rio Hondo River (1949)

The end of the war in 1945 sees a transformation of everyone’s lives. The brothers and sisters of Walter and Marie are married and have good jobs. But Marie is restless because raising 3 kids in the snow and soot of Evansville’s coal burning home furnaces is a grimy business. Marie’s cousin Helena Walther “Little Lena” in El Monte, California meanwhile is writing postcards about walking on the beach without a coat in December. That is too much for Marie and both sister and husband agree to go west to El Monte.

By March 1946 Walter has driven the nearly 2000 miles on Route 66 to El Monte and has purchased a home and half interest in Ajax Rug Cleaning and Marie and the kids, with Grandma Lula are on the way courtesy of sister Ruth and her husband Frank Lienenbach’s Ford. Within two years her twin brothers and their families are also in southern California.



Williams photos of the 1940s

Howard, Harold and Janet

Howard, Harold, Janet and Walter

Howard, Harold and Janet

Howard, Janet, Walter and Harold

Bollinger and Williams gang

Williams family at Church in the Barn

Frank Leinenbach, Marie and Janet, Lula, on the Texas border on the way to California (1946)

Marie, Howard and Walter

Howard, Walter holding Harold

Howard, Walter, Harold, Marie holding Janet

Howard, Harold and Janet

Howard, Harold and Janet

Ruth L. and Ruth B. feeding a deer in Yosemite

Janet, Harold and Howard

Rock Haven Motel

Knott's Berry Farm

Copyright 2001 Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana