The World War II Margraten Holland/Netherlands
Everette Carr is a volunteer County Coordinator with MSGenWeb for Attala County, Mississippi. The site provides free genealogy information for researchers seeking to find ancestors that resided in Attala County, Mississippi in the late 19th century and the early 20th century.
On May 1, 2007, Everette received an e-mail message from Bert Eggen of Voerendaal in the Netherlans. Bert Eggen explained that he had adopted the grave of an American soldier that was killed in World War II and buried in Margraten, Netherlands in a military cemetery and he wanted to locate the relatives of this soldier, John Rutherford. He provided the information he had which included the fact that John was originally from Attala County, Mississippi. Bert began a search for resources on the Internet that would aid him in locating John's relatives. Bert posted a message to a Mississippi Message Board which eventually led him to me. I immediately began to use the Internet resources available to me in an attempt to locate a relative of John Rutherford.
The availablility of the Attala County 'mail list' gave me instant access to several hundred amateur genealogist that were conducting research in Attala County, Mississippi. Within a matter of minutes, I had the names of John's parents and simblings and the name of the cemetery where the parents were buried. Then in no time at all, I had the name of a nephew living in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the County Seat for Attala County. With the aid of the Internet, I soon had an address and telephone number. This lead did not pan out however.
I then contacted Ann Breedlove, Genealogy Clerk, at the Attala County Library. Ann is a wonderful woman and a very talented libran who is knowledgeable about all things in Attala County. In no time at all, I heard from an individual that had married into the Rutherford family; she in turn sent my e-mail to Mary Douglas, a great niece of John N. Rutherford. Mary provided additional information about John and promised to make contact with Bert and Thea Eggen.
John Rutherford was born in Attala County in 1907. His parents were Nathaniel Joseph Rutherford, 1875-1965 and Lula Ada Rutherford, 1879-1946. Nathaniel was a farmer whose land was located in the Newport area of Beat 4 in Attala County. Nathaniel and Lula are buried in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in Attala County, Mississippi. John Rutherford had four older siblings; Pearl Rutherford, who married Paul Hutchinson (1915); William "Frank" Rutherford, who married Mary Turner (1918), Hal Rutherford, who married Pearl Chunn (1918), and Curtis, who was born January 16, 1904 and died on May 26, 1929. Curtis married Corrine Wiggly and they had two children. He is buried with his parents in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery. John never married and therefore left no direct descendants.
Below is a photograph of Bert Eggen along side the grave of John Rutherford. He also provided several photos of the grave and marker:
World War II - The Netherlands
Germany invaded the Netherlands in May, 1940 and set up a puppet government and began the process of enslaving the Dutch and the Jews. Jews were persecuted relentlessly. Many were shuttled off to concentration camps. Of 140,000 Jews that lived in the Netherlands in 1940, only 30,000 survived the war. Of the Dutch citizens, all men between the ages of 18-45 were forced to work in German factories.
The Dutch resistance to Nazi occupation developed slowly, but grew by stages as the occupation continued. Through counterintelligence, domestic sabotage, and communications networks, the Dutch provided key support to Allied forces beginning in 1944 and through the liberation of the country.
After the Allied landing in Normandy in June, 1944, the western allies rapidly advanced in in the direction of the Dutch border. However much of the northern and western Netherlands remained in German hands until the crossing of the Rhine in late March, 1945.
The 4th Infantry Division served in Operation Overlord (D-Day), the amphibious invasion of Europe on June 6th, 1944. It then expanded operations well into France where the Division was given the honor of being the first American unit to participate in the liberation of Paris. The Division quickly moved into the Hurtgen Forest and fought what was to be its fiercest battle. The 4th Infantry Division which was a part of the 1st Army, was to become engaged in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U. S. and German forces in the Hurtgen Forest on the Belgian-German border. The 4th Signal Battalion was assigned to the 4th Infantry. In the prolonged battle, there were over 24,000 U. S. Casualties of this battle. The 4th Infantry Division first became engaged in the battle on November 16, 1944 and the battle last into early December. It was during this time that Pvt. John Rutherford died from illness not related to battle. The battle of Hurtgen Forest was soon overshadowed by the "Battle of the Bulge", which began on December 16, 1944. The 4th Infantry Division held its ground during the Battle of the Bulge; crossed the Rhine, then the Danube, and finally ceased its advance at the Isar River in southern Germany.
In 1949, the War Department notified John's father that John's remains had been permanently interred at the Margraten Cemetery in the Netherlands. To read the letter from the War Department, click on this link: War Department.
This Memorial Day, 2007, is significant, particularly to the relatives of John N. Rutherford. This year marks the 100th year of his birth.
Thte two photographs above show Thea and Bert Eggen placing flowers on John Rutherford's grave for the upcoming Memorial Day ceremonies.
HERE WE AND ALL WHO SHALL
HEREAFTER LIVE IN FREEDOM
WILL BE REMINDED THAT
TO THESE MEN AND THEIR CONRADES
WE OWE A DEBT TO BE PAID
WITH GRATEFUL BEMEMBERANCE
OF THEIR SACRIFICE
AND WITH HIGH RESOLVE
THAT THE CAUSE
FOR WHICH THEY DIED SHALL LIVE.
Click Here! Information for John N. Rutherford as shown on other governmental web sites..
Images of the Margraten Cemetery shown above
courtesy of Robert Marys.
View additional cemetery photographs at his web site:
copyright © 2007 by Everette Carr. All rights reserved.
Email Everette Carr - County Coordinator - Attala County, Mississippi
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