Location: Preston Cemetery, Highway 34 and about 800 East, Preston
CITATION OF PFC LEONARD C. BROSTROM
He was a rifleman with an assault platoon which ran into powerful resistance near Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 28 October, 1944.
From pillboxes, trenches, and spider holes, so well camouflaged that they could not be detected at no more than 20 yards, the enemy poured machine gun and rifle fire, causing severe casualties in the platoon. Realizing that a pillbox in the center of the strong point would have to be knocked out if the company were to advance, Private Brostrom, without orders and completely ignoring his own safety, ran forward to attack the pillbox with grenades. He immediately became the prime target for all the riflemen in the area, as he rushed to the rear of the pillbox and tossed grenades through the entrance. Six enemy soldiers left a trench in a bayonet charge against the heroic American, but he killed one and drove the others off with rifle fire. As he threw more grenades from his completely exposed position he was wounded several times in the abdomen and knocked to the ground.
Although suffering intense pain and rapidly weakening from loss of blood, he slowly rose to his feet and once more hurled his deadly missiles at the pillbox. As he collapsed the enemy began fleeing from the fortification and were killed by riflemen of his platoon.
Private Brostrom died while being carried from the battlefield, but his intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice himself in a one man attack against overwhelming odds enabled his company to reorganize, again attack, and annihilate the enemy position.
THE HEROIC DEATH OF PRIVATE VAN NOY
By Mark Hart
They figured that he was a mama's boy.
That tow-headed youth who recently came.
They were thinking of course of Private Van Noy.
The lad who could speak without being profane.
But he wasn't a soldier - that is - you see ---
Well, he had no stripes or medals or bars;
But when he fought by the Coral Sea,
He fought like a true son of Mars.
He had just joined the outfit a few days before,
That quiet young blade of nineteen;
Perhaps they thought he was green to the core
Because of his juvenile mien;
Fact is, they took little note of the boy,
Just called him "Whitey" or "Junior" by name;
But little they knew that Nathan Van Noy,
Like Nathan Hale, was slated for fame.
But Junior Van Noy, in spite of his youth,
Got a Zero at Red Beach the very next day;
And that to his comrades was plenty of proof
That you can't judge a man till he's been in the fray;
But Whitey's luck changed when the bombers came back:
To strafe the barges at Scarlet Beach landing;
For after they'd beaten off the attack,
Van Noy had five wounds and was hardly left standing.
The medics agreed there was only one place
For the wounded soldier to be
And that was back at a hospital base,
But the Private didn't agree;
He knew that the fighting was soon to begin;
So he'd take special treatments each day,
And stay at his post and help them dig in;
They needed his help and he'd stay.
In his hammock that night he gave glory and praise
To his God in a downpour of rain;
He dreamed no doubt of his high school days,
And slept in spite of his pain;
But when the rain ceased in the blackness ere dawn,
Three smudges were seen off the shore;
And Junior was ready when word came along
That the Japs were at it once more.
He rolled from his hammock and crawled to his pit;
His loader was soon by his side:
One barge was hit by the first gun to spit,
And the Japs were dumped in the tide;
An Aussie two-pounder gun landed the blow,
Which was followed by two armor shells;
And as she sank to the coral below,
The dawn was ringing with Japanese yells.
The other two barges hove straight within reach,
From their peaked prows they vomited ire,
Then scores of grenades peppered down on the beach,
But Private Van Noy held his fire;
It was not till the ramps were down all the way,
And the Japs heard the bugle to charge,
That Private Van Noy gave the trigger full play
And began pouring lead at the barge.
His loader was soon crawling back from the field,
His shattered leg trailing behind;
He thought that Van Noy had no choice by to yield,
But Van Noy was not of that mind:
An Aussie Bren gunners so thorough and cool
Were shouting for Whitey to run:
"Get the hell out of there, you bloody fool!"
But he was reloading his gun.
It was just about then that a hand grenade fell
In the spot where his loader had been;
He staggered a little and gave a sharp yell,
But still was determined to win;
Two officers charged him with flame throwers on,
To scorch Van Noy from his nest;
But Junior held on though his left leg was gone,
And the flame throwers died with the rest.
Then other guns flashed from the hulls of the ships
And were answered by guns from the hill;
The Yanks and the Aussies fired hundreds of clips,
But Nathan Van Noy's gun was still;
Then the infantry came in a mopping deploy,
But when they got there they knew
That the lad who they figured was mama's boy
Had refused to let the Japs through.
Twas a sad lot of victors when they learned the truth,
When they saw that his bullets were gone;
For they knew that Van Noy, the tow-headed youth,
With only one leg carried on;
Of the thirty-nine Japs that attempted to land
From the boats of the Rising Sun,
More than twenty of them lay dead in the sand
In front of Van Noy's Browning gun.
And when the sun climbed from the Bismark Sea,
And the mists were beginning to rise,
His comrades buried young Private Van Noy,
Who was shot between the eyes;
Van Noy was a Yank and he wouldn't run;
He was the only soldier to fall;
When he died, Van Noy was a mother's son,
But now he belongs to us all.
Erected in Honor of and Appreciation for all War Veterans of Franklin County Past-Present-Future, 1967.
Back face: "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam listed"
North face: Veterans listed; American Legion Post 34, organized by Dr. Curtis Bland
(At this writing, a memorial is being planned for SPC Cody Moosman, killed in Afghanistan, July 12, 2012.)
Location: 39 West Oneida
In 2006, veterans Bernice Mecham and Vern Rogers approached the Franklin County Commission about erecting a veteran's memorial, pointing out that a number of other counties have monuments. The county commissioners, Paul Campbell, Mick Atkinson, and Craig Thomas, all agreed that something needed to be done. County officials visited other memorial sites to determine what had been done and what the costs would be. Val Lewis of Tremonton was hired as designer, and a site was selected on the court house property. Various organizations and private donors, both inside and outside the county, helped with fund-raising and sizeable donations, including money from the county.
To qualify for inclusion on the memorial, the veteran had to leave for the service while living in Franklin County, whether serving full-time or with the National Guard. A star is inscribed by the names of those who dies while serving. Names were supplied by the Veteran's organization, the National Guard, and by private citizens who responded to ads placed in the newspaper about the memorial. The first inscription included 2400 names.
Subsequent county commissioners involved with the project are Dirk Bowles, Richard Westerberg, and Scott Workman. Val Lewis, the designer, also created the statue of the soldier. Walker Monument, Darrel Geddes representative, did the engraving. Creed and Carl Wheeler contributed the rock and concrete work. The initial cost was $71,693.
Following the first inscription, people continued to contribute names of servicemen and women, and another 1600 names were later added to the memorial. Additional names that have not been included may be submitted to the county clerk's office.
The Elks Club holds a flag ceremony each June at the monument, and continues to supply flags along State and Oneida Streets on appropriate holidays to honor veterans.
Location: Inside Preston Post Office, 55 East Oneida
The mural painting "Battle of Bear River", designed for the Preston, Idaho Post Office building lobby, was part of a program of the Section of Fine Arts of the Public Buildings Administration to embellish with mural and sculptural decorations all new Federal Buildings.
This program was designed to distribute works of art throughout the country to give a wider group of Americans the opportunity to enjoy and take part in American culture.
The artist, Edmond James Fitzgerald of Seattle, Washington, felt that the subject of the mural should be a vital part of the background of the community in which it is placed. He stated, "This mural is not intended to show the actual scene of the 'Battle of Bear River', but it is designed as a symbol of the event." The mural was installed in 1941 when H.M. Hurt was the Postmaster.
-Post Office Records
PRESTON POST OFFICE MURAL OF BATTLE OF BEAR RIVER
ONEIDA STAKE ACADEMY INTERPRETIVE SIGN
Location: Corner of 100 East and Oneida streets
The Oneida Stake Academy was built 1890-1894. Cost reports very from $20,000-$40,000 with much donated labor. Stone was obtained from a quarry between Cub River and Worm Creek. Fred Nuffler, brother of architect John Nuffler, had a quarry near the confluence of Cub River and Sheep Creek and furnished stone for the corners, sills, and water table. Stone from this quarry went for the finest buildings in every town in Cache Valley. In mid-1922, the LDS church sold the buildings and grounds to the school district for $50,000. That fall Oneida Academy became the Preston High School.
Schoolmates wrote their names in the bell tower. Included are those of Ezra Taft Benson and Harold B. Lee.
- The Hometown Album
The Administration Building (later the Science Building, then the Vo-Ag Building) included three floors and was architecturally similar to the Academy. The third floor hosed single, female school teachers for many years. An earthquakes in the 1960s damaged this floor, and it was consequently removed. Both the Neilson Gym and the Vo-Ag bulidings were demolished to make room for the new Preston High School gym and parking lot.
-Preston High School
FRANKLIN COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL
Newly opened Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum, 115 East Oneida, Preston, Idaho
PRESTON CEMETERY WAR MEMORIAL
DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEER MUSEUM
PACKER BRIDGE AND FERRY DUP MONUMENT
ONEIDA STAKE ACADEMY
Location: 3.4 miles northwest of Preston on Highway 91; pullout on west side of road
PIONEER FERRY AND BRIDGE - Concrete shaft located one-half mile west on Bear River marks the site of the Nathan Williams Packer Toll Ferry and Bridge, one of the first on the river. The ferry operated with rope and carried equivalent of one team and wagon. In 1869, a bridge was built for use of mail and stage coaches en route to Montana mines, but was washed out. Rebuilt of cribs and log piling. Again destroyed by high waters. Across the river is the site of Bridge Port, an overland station consisting of dugouts and log cabins. Franklin Co. Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
Nathan William Packer, bridge builder, was from Nauvoo, Illinois. He came west with the Mormons locating in Franklin in 1860's. Finding a need to cross the Bear River, he first built a ferry which was large enough to carry a team and wagon. It was operated a short distance below where the bridge was later built. The first one was built on cribs, which were miniature log houses about five feet wide and sixteen feet long, and high enough to protect the bridge timbers from the high waters. These cribs were filled with rocks to hold them in place. The bridge was built in 1869 and was the first built to span the Bear River in Cache Valley. This bridge finally washed out and a pile bridge was built by the same man. The pile bridge was built on logs which were driven into the river bed by a huge hammer which was operated in a frame structure which stood 30 to 40 feet high. The hammer was raised by a team of oxen or horses.
The ferry and bridges served the traveling public and the stage coach, which was operating between Logan and points north as far as Montana and was used for ten years. Much farm product was hauled from this valley to Montana where mines were being opened. When the railroad came, the road was changed and the bridge was no longer used. It was located one mile north of two miles west of the center of Preston.
The pile bridge also was washed out by the high waters of the river. The last two people to cross the bridge were Margaret Sant and daughter, Eliza. As the team and wagon reached the opposite bank, the bridge started its long journey to Salt Lake.
The bridge marker site is one-half mile west of the monument on the highway, and when the river is low, the pilings can be seen.
The flint-like rocks used in the marker on the highway were brought from the mountains 20 miles to the east. The monument was dedicated on Friday, June 21, 1957.
-Daughters of Utah Pioneers
Location: North side of the Oneida Stake Academy, corner of 100 East and Oneida Streets
The Oneida Stake Academy was constructed with hand-hewn rock by Mormon pioneers between 1890 and 1895. Its purpose was to provide an inspirational setting for their youth to obtain a first-class education, despite frontier challenges. Of 35 academies built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in the West, Oneida is one of few surviving buildings and the only one in Idaho.
Joseph Don Carlos Young, a son of Brigham Young, designed the building. German immigrant, John Nuffler, was called on a mission to build the academy. He apprenticed his trade on castles in Germany.
Architectural features include a wooden belfry, stone quoins, entry archway, and an imposing staircase. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Many of its alumni, and those of its successor, Preston High School, went on to national fame; Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee, presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1972-73; Samuel Cowley, inducted into the FBI's Hall of Fame for efforts to take out infamous mobster Baby Face Nelson in 1934; and E.G. Peterson, President of Utah State University 1916-1945.
In 2003, the Academy was scheduled to be razed by the Preston School District. A few hours before the contract was awarded, the friends of the academy raised $1.3 million dollars to move it. The 1,659-ton building was moved 2.5 blocks to this site over a 10-day period. To make repairs, rock from the building's original quarry was cut and chiseled to match the work of the academy's pioneer builders.
The building is now a community center-museum of local history, and an information center for travelers along the Pioneer Historic Byway.