STEUBENVILLE - A plaque containing the names of men who worked at the Steubenville plant of Wheeling Steel Corp., enlisted to serve during World War II and ended up making the supreme sacrifice will have a new home at the Main Library of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.
But first things first.
Funds are being sought to secure a base to hold the plaque that will sit on library grounds across from the Main Library building on South Fourth Street with the future site for the plaque fittingly overlooking the idle Steubenville plant of RG Steel.
And the plan is to hold a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. May 30 to honor the men and publicly acknowledge the new location for the plaque.
The ceremony will be open to the public as it the effort now to bring the project to fruition.
"We are pleased that the library will be the permanent home for the plaque," Alan Hall, library director, said.
The plaque contains the names of 19 men who were working at the mill when the war broke out and enlisted. One man listed on the plaque, Thomas Roy Moxley Jr., was not a mill worker but his father was employed by the mill.
The other names are:
Gilbert Ray Beynon.
George J. "Gibson" Gabsella Jr.
Claude W. Hinsley.
Richard F. Blair.
Lewis C. "Lew" Shumway.
Donald R. "Dick" Gaffney.
Harry B. Robinson.
Joseph V. "Zabe" Zaboroski.
George E Allen.
Joe "Moon" Enoch.
Willard R. Stone Jr.
Arthur Lee Eddy.
Arvil R. "Buss" Sharp.
John Joseph "Scotsie" Dorosozyz.
George E. Tond.
Richard Earl "Pete" Hughes.
Frank Sylvester Miller Jr.
The plaque was discovered by Raymond-Lynn Boothe, a resident of Jackson, Ohio, and the author of "Fire on the Water: A New History of the Wheeling Steel Corporation."
Booth found the plaque on the grounds of the now idle RG Steel, Steubenville Plant and wanted to see it preserved for historic purposes. He received assistance from Bud Smith from the Steubenville plant to retrieve it and then contacted the library to see if there was any interest in housing it.
Indeed there was.
That was February when Booth talked with Sandy Day, local historian-genealogist at the Schiappa branch, about the find he felt should be preserved for posterity.
Day agreed wholeheartedly.
"What's so special about this plaque is that is contains the names of 19 men who paid the supreme sacrifice during World War II, 1941-45. They had all formerly worked at the Steubenville plant of Wheeling Steel and when the war broke out, they decided to enlist. One man was not a mill employee but his father was. Many other men enlisted in this war, but they were the lucky ones. They came home to work in the mill again," Day said.
Working on this project now is a committee comprised of Hall; Boothe; Smith; Day; Joseph "Slugs" Smarrella, a former plant employee and local history enthusiast; and Ed Mascio, service officer of the Jefferson County Veterans Association.
The committee is open to ideas, for example, regarding monetary donations and suggestions on how to secure the base properly, according to Day.
Individuals who knew any of the 19 men listed or their families and would like to help honor them by making a contribution to purchase a base, can contact Hall at the Main Library at (740) 282-9782 or Day at the Schiappa branch at (740) 264-6166.
Day, who said the plaque was brought to the main library for storage, explained that she has been able to compile a short biography on each man's name on the plaque, drawing from a 2006 project she undertook to compile a four-volume, 2,000-plus-page set of books entitled "Jefferson County Ohio Veterans of World War II."
Boothe's book, "Fire on the Water," is a complete history of Wheeling Steel Corp. and its successors. It covers the nail and iron industry that surrounded the Wheeling-Steubenville areas from the 1840s to present day. It contains more than 300 rare photographs, drawings, maps and other historical information and is available on the Internet from Lulu.com. The cost is $28.
Boothe has had a lifelong interest in the steel industry and also authored "River of Iron: A History of Silvery Pig Iron in Jackson County." He also has written more than 1,500 articles on the Internet on the history of iron and steel manufacturing and is a member of many history and iron and steel organizations.
As for the plaque, it was made just after World War II, about 1945-46, and at one time hung on a wall inside one of the mill offices, according to Day, who said the project is a chance to pay tribute to a group of Steelworkers who gave their all to serve their country.
"If you knew any of these men or their families and would like to help honor them, this is your opportunity."
Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact Hall at the main office. All monetary donations will be accepted there and held in a separate fund for the purpose of erecting the plaque on a suitable base.
Day said checks can be made out to the Public Library of Steubenville with specification of their use for the project. They can be mailed to Hall's attention at Public Library of Steubenville, 407 S. Fourth St., Steubenville, OH 43952.