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McDermott, Raphael, (1913-1988.) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: McDermott, Raphael, (1913-1988.)


Historical Note:

Raphael McDermott was born on January 15, 1913, and grew up on a farm located where the town of Shawneetown, Illinois now stands. After the great floods of 1937, Raphael’s family sold the farm to provide a location for a new Shawneetown, and the town was moved away from the banks of the Ohio river where it originally sat. At this point Raphael, now 25, his older sister Marie, and his mother and father, relocated to Gallatin county farm land directly west of Ridgeway and just east of the Saline county line. He lived here and worked the land along side his family up until his induction into the Army on September 12, 1942.

After training in Texas, Raphael was assigned to the 745th Tank Battalion, and served as a truck driver in an armored infantry unit. His service overseas spanned over 25 months, from August, 1943 to October, 1945. During that time, Raphael was stationed in England (August 1943 - June 1944), France (June 1944 - September 1944 and September 1945 - October 1945), Belguim (September 1944 and December 1944 - February 1945), Germany (October 1944 - December 1944; February 1945 - April 1945; and June 1945 - September 1945), and Czechoslovakia (April 1945 - June 1945). After the war in Europe ended, Raphael guarded a P.O.W. camp, served as part of the army of occupation and awaited his return to the United States.

Raphael returned to his family farm near Ridgeway, and his high school sweetheart, Mabel Brown, following his discharge from the army in October of 1945. Besides his tour of duty in the Army, Raphael never had a job outside of farming. He continued to live and work on the family farm for the remainder of his life. Although he and Mabel never married, never lived together and never had any children, they remained in romantic partnership until Raphael's death on August, 22, 1988.

Sources:

The Raphael McDermott Collection

Social Security Death Index

Oral Interview with Raphael's cousin's wife, Wilma McDermott






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