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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 87 History

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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 87

(By Delegates Howell, Andes, Ashley, Carmichael, Cowles, Evans, Hall, Ireland, Lane, Marshall, Moore, Nelson, Pasdon, R. Phillips, Poore, Rowan, Savilla, Shaver, Sigler, Snuffer, Staggers and Walters)

 

 

 

Requesting the Division of Highways to name the approximate four- mile section of road on West Virginia Route 46 between the city limits of Keyser and the city limits of Piedmont, Mineral County, the “U.S. Army Tech/Sgt. James “Aubrey” Stewart Memorial Highway”.

    Whereas, Technical Sergeant James “Aubrey” Stewart was born to James H. and Emma B. Stewart on September 6, 1906, in Piedmont, Mineral County, West Virginia, the youngest of six siblings; and

    Whereas, Technical Sergeant James “Aubrey” Stewart attended Howard High School as a youth and later, became a renowned left-handed pitcher for his hometown baseball team, the Piedmont Giants Negro baseball team; and

    Whereas, By the time Aubrey Stewart volunteered for service in World War II, at the age of thirty-six, he was already eighteen years into his career with the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company in Luke, Maryland; and

    Whereas, Aubrey Stewart was inducted into the U.S. Army at Clarksburg, West Virginia, on December 7, 1942, trained at Camp Gruber and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and sent overseas, to Belgium, in January, 1944, as part of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, an all-black unit sent to Europe following the invasion of Normandy; and

    Whereas, While stationed in Belgium, Staff Sergeant Aubrey Stewart’s unit performed in an exemplary manner but when Hitler sprang his surprise counterattack on December 16, 1944, in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, Stewart and his unit found themselves 11 miles behind enemy lines; and

    Whereas, Outnumbered and overrun, Stewart and ten of his fellow artillerymen made their way to a Belgian village, Wereth, where a sympathetic farmer named Mathias Langer hid them in a barn on the outskirts of town along with several German deserters; and

    Whereas, After a German unit was advised of the unit’s whereabouts by a local resident, Staff Sergeant Aubrey Stewart and his comrades surrendered rather than jeopardize the lives of Mathias Langer and his family; and

    Whereas, The day following the surrender of Stewart’s unit, Staff Sergeant Stewart and the remaining men of his unit were found

slaughtered in a field behind Mathias Langer’s farmhouse and, despite the obvious torture, had not divulged the name of the Allies sympathizer, Mathias Langer, who, along with his family, would have assuredly been killed for hiding the army unit; and

    Whereas, Staff Sergeant Aubrey Stewart was a recipient of the Purple Heart for his heroism and sacrifice; and

    Whereas, Fifty years after the torture and mass murder of Aubrey Stewart’s unit, the Langer’s daughter told an American television reporter that the soldiers’ silence saved the lives of the family and possibly the rest of the town; and

    Whereas, While the parents of Staff Sergeant Aubrey Stewart were notified in January 1945, that their son was missing in action and later, that he had been killed, it was not until 1996 that Aubrey Stewart’s family learned of his fate, the circumstances of his death and his heroism; and

    Whereas, The Belgiums have been honoring Staff Sergeant Stewart and the remaining ten forgotten men of his unit for over sixty years and it is proper and fitting that Aubrey Stewart be honored in his home State of West Virginia for giving his life to save the world; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to name the approximate four-mile stretch of road in Mineral County on West Virginia Route 46 between the city limits of Keyser and the city limits of Piedmont, the “U.S. Army Tech/Sgt. James “Aubrey” Stewart Memorial Highway”; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to cause to have made two signs that state, in bold and prominent lettering, the “U.S. Army Tech/Sgt. James “Aubrey” Stewart Memorial Highway”, and to erect these signs on either end of the approximate four-mile stretch of road on West Virginia Route 46, between the city limits of Keyser and the city limits of Piedmont; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this Resolution to the Commissioner of the Division of Highways, to TJ Coleman of The Aubrey Stewart Project and to Aubrey Stewart’s surviving next of kin, Patricia A. Stewart Bartlett of Cumberland, Maryland; Sonya Kay Corbett of Columbus, Ohio; Mary Eleanor Freeman of Cincinnati, Ohio; Margie Gail Green of Charleston, West Virginia; Ellen Crawford of Charleston, West Virginia; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Norman Stewart of Charleston, West Virginia; Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Green of Cincinnati, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Ken Green of Arlington, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Green of Huber Heights, Ohio; Norma Peck of Charleston, West Virginia; Dr. and Mrs. Richard Rhodes of Cincinnati, Ohio; James M. Stewart of Greenbelt, Maryland; Jeff Stewart of Alpharetta, Georgia; Paul Stewart Walker of Columbus, Ohio; William D. Walker of Martinsburg, West Virginia; Waynetta Holloway of Fairmont, West Virginia; and Jacquelyn Washington of Keyser, West Virginia.

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