How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Gretna's Local Defense Council

Last night I was relaxing in my recliner watching TV with opened windows providing a comfortable breeze blowing off the cool river water in my backyard. I was thinking to myself how blessed Jackie and I are to live in such a quiet, tranquil environment when, much to my chagrin, the raucous noise from multiple jets flying low over my house shattered the peace and quiet and rattled the glassware in our oak antique china cabinet. The Air National Guard, flying sorties over the Warren Grove Bombing Range, was at it, again. Unfortunately, my house is below their flight pattern.

Those jets got me to thinking about the early 1940's when New Gretna's Local Defense Council was charged with protecting the local citizenry from enemy air attacks. They didn't have noisy jet air planes filling the sky with noise pollution back then. Rather, they had to resort to the use of an emergency fire siren on a tower adjacent to the Fire House on North Maple Avenue to warn the residents to take cover in the event of an enemy air attack. It was purely a defensive strategy.

The following 1941 Local Defense Council Regulations, which were to be posted in each township home, outlined the various defense signals and procedures to be followed and listed the Special Police and Air Raid Wardens entrusted with the community's safety and well being. I wonder if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere remembers those times or are familiar with or are related to any of the Defense Council personnel listed at the bottom of the regulations?

Pete S


  1. I assume the Eugene Mathis listed as a warden is my grandfather.
    I remember blackouts, too. The wardens came around to make sure all lights were out. It seems funny, though, that the specific blackout I remember had to have been in 1946 or so. We were living in Cedar Run at that time.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  2. Would the Stanley Bozarth mentioned have had a daughter named Clara E. Bozarth? Her husband was Howard Cramer. She is (get this) the mother-in-law of the half-aunt of my mother.

  3. Pete,

    In reply to a question about Stanley Bozarth being the father to Clara Bozarth. Stanley never had any children. Besides, he was about 30 yrs younger than Clara whom I remember well. Clara was originally from Leektown where most of the Bozarths originated from. Her father was an old civil war vet, and her brother was James Howard Bozarth from Leektown. She married Howard Cramer of New Gretna, and they had one son, Earl Cramer, who was Norman Cramer's father, and a daughter, Jewel, who married John Herman of Egg Harbor. They were the last civilian caretakers of the old Batsto mansion. Our letter writer's connection is that Norman Cramer's mother, Elizabeth, was a half sister to Eugene (Booter) Mathis. Clara Bozarth was no relation to the letter writer.

    Don Maxwell