Amy (Merrill) Horey published hundreds of articles on herself, her husband and her nine children–Kathryn Clara (b. 1908), Leota Jean (b. 1909), Vera Ethel (b. 1911), George Merrill (b. 1914), Kenneth Arthur (b. 1915), Elmer Nelson (b. 1917), Clarence Herbert (b. 1919), Barbara Ann (b. 1925) and Millicent Marie (b. 1927)–in the community’s newspapers, and she was an expert on all of the local gossip and happenings. She shared every aspect of their lives: from births, marriages and deaths to Elmer’s letters from a German prisoner-of-war camp, Barbara’s trip around the country to visit relatives and Kenneth’s promotions at work. After George, Kenneth and Elmer enlisted in the military during World War II, Amy constantly submitted updates regarding their service and whereabouts abroad; over time, the three brothers were known collectively in the local news as “Amy’s Boys.”
George Merrill Horey
George Merrill Horey was born on October 21, 1914 in Fredonia, New York, the fourth of Leon and Amy (Merrill) Horey’s nine children. George was one of the first three Fredonians to be sent by the local selective service board for military training on November 25, 1940, over a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor: “The departure was marked by no wartime fanfare and tears were not in evidence…Relatives and friends gathered at the bus terminal where the final farewells were said as the bus was awaited. The group went directly to Buffalo, where they joined other similar groups from Western New York. During the past few days the young men have been unable to spend anything, their friends entertaining them at meals and at numerous small private farewells.”
George was not accepted in the Seabees immediately after training at Fort Dix, but he later enlisted on April 15, 1943 and served in Iwo Jima, the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands as a Ship Fitter 3/c. In 1944, George wrote a letter to his mother that was subsequently published in The Fredonia Censor: “New Year’s Day during noon chow I ran into Leon Merrill. He landed here the 28th of November, the same day we did. For the past three weeks we have been living within 100 yards of each other and didn’t know it. He is an anti-aircraft battery and their gun positions are right behind our tent. That evening he came over and we sat on my bunk and talked until 10:30. He looks swell.” Leon Merrill was George’s cousin, and he married my great-grandfather‘s cousin, Angeline Kuznicki.
George received his honorable discharge from the Seabees on October 22, 1945; after the war, he moved to Los Angeles, California and worked in the automotive business as an Automobile Parts Manager at Thatcher and Alexander Studebaker’s car dealership in Glendale. He married Claudia Gibbs on June 23, 1946 in La Jolla, California; two years later, on February 20, 1948 George and Loretta Regina Gray were wed. George and Loretta made their home at 8200 Andasol Avenue in the suburbs of Northridge and had two sons: Michael Dennis (b. 1951) and Christopher John (b. 1953).
Kenneth Arthur Horey
Kenneth Arthur Horey, the fifth of Leon’s and Amy’s nine children, was born on December 2, 1914 in Fredonia, New York. He managed the Meat Department at the Market Basket store in Dunkirk, and his World War II Army Enlistment record lists him as a “skilled meatcutter, except in slaughtering and packing houses.” Kenneth married Mildred Loretta Kunesky, the daughter of George and Barbara (Cryeske) Kunesky, on September 8, 1941 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fredonia; a year later, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at the age of 26, serving as a Private First Class until being discharged in September 1943.
Kenneth and Mildred had two daughters–Wendy Ann (b. 1944) and Jane Kay (b. 1949)–and made their home in Elmira, New York after the war. Kenneth started working as the manager of Loblaw’s Meat Department in Elmira, and the family lived in one of the suburban neighborhoods that popped up in the post-war period. Of all of Amy’s children, Kenneth and his family submitted announcements to the local newspapers–The Dunkirk Evening Observer and The Fredonia Censor–the least often, instead choosing to lead a quiet life out of the spotlight of community gossip and news. Wendy Ann attended Fredonia Central School and was vice president of the Future Homemakers of America Club, and Kenneth and Mildred spent their retirement years living in Fredonia.
Elmer Nelson Horey
I’ve shared Elmer’s story on the blog before; Elmer Nelson Horey was born on May 10, 1917 in Fredonia, the sixth of Leon’s and Amy’s nine children. At the age of 24, Elmer enlisted in the Army Coast Artillery Corps, and he officially became an Air Cadet trained in aerial gunnery in July 1943. By April 1944, Elmer had engaged in five missions over “enemy territory” and had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Elmer’s plane was forced down over Germany on April 11 of that year, and he was officially recorded as “missing-in-action.” Months went by without any news of his whereabouts; to comfort his mother, the Air Corps awarded her an Air Medal on his behalf: “For exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in five separate bomber combat missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe. The courage, coolness and skill displayed by this enlisted man on these occassions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”
Elmer spent the remainder of the war in a German prisoner-of-war camp, Stalag Luft III, 17-B, near Krems, Austria. He was liberated by the 13th Armored Division on May 3, 1935 and was reunited with his family in June. Elmer married Bertha Mae Fiebelkorn, the daughter of Arthur and Genevieve (Seybold) Fiebelkorn, on September 2, 1946, and the pair made their home in Fredonia and, later, in Syracuse. He continued to teach elementary school and junior high in the area, and they raised their son, Brian (b. 1947), there. In addition to the Air Medal, Elmer was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal for his service. All of Amy’s Boys survived the war, and mom was able to submit one final wartime article, reporting that all was well and her sons were home.