September 7, 2019 10:03:49 PM
A Starkville native whose father was a World War II prisoner of war will present research about his service at the monthly American Legion Post 13 meeting on Tuesday.
Ellen Weaver Hartman, a University of Mississippi graduate and a public relations professional living in Atlanta, has spent three years researching her father, Joseph D. Weaver's, service. Weaver was an airman in the 554th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force and 9th Air Force. He was shot down and captured on Aug. 6, 1944 in Normandy, France.
"Ellen is like most of us children of WWII servicemen, in that her dad spoke very little about (his) experiences during the war," American Legion Post 13 Vice Commander Gary Chesser said in an email to The Dispatch. "Her journey to discovery of this part of our history involving her dad is very interesting and should be available to those who knew and loved the Weaver family."
Weaver was one of thousands of POWs kept in a camp in Poland and forced to march 600 miles for 86 days in an event called The Death March, The Black March or The Forgotten March. Hartman and Laura Edge, a Michigan resident, traveled to Europe in 2016 to retrace their fathers' steps in Poland and Germany.
After his return from the war, Weaver attended Mississippi State University and later owned an Amoco gas station on Highway 12. The station was bombed, most likely by the Ku Klux Klan, after Weaver allowed a group of Freedom Riders to use a white restroom in the 1950s, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution profile of Hartman and a fellow daughter of a WWII POW researching their fathers' imprisonment overseas.
Hartman's grandfather, Joseph F. Weaver, fought in World War I and attended the first meeting of the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans service organization, in Paris in 1919. He founded the Choctaw County American Legion post after he returned home to Ackerman.
Hartman has previously shared her research at the posts in Ackerman and Savannah, Georgia.
She will give her presentation Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at 3441 Old West Point Road, northeast of Starkville.