Personal belongings of Burlington WWI soldier returned to American Legion Post 273
By Rob Fucci
via the Burlington Union (VT) newspaper web site
When Claire Lohr was in her 30s and helping her grandmother, Mildred Parker McAleer, clean out her Washington, D.C., home, she rummaged through many items that had familiar names of family members she knew.
But there was one item, a leather Bible that caught her eye. She opened it and saw a name scribbled inside.
“Who’s Leonard Millican?’,” she asked her grandmother. McAleer gave her granddaughter an honest answer: He was her first husband.
“She just didn’t talk about it,” Lohr said to about a dozen locals on Monday, May 6, at the Burlington American Legion hall which is named after Millican and fellow WWI hero Kenneth McKenzie. “All I have are little tidbits that came out sideways. This was very old-fashioned. She was a very conservative person. She would never do anything that would weaken what I thought of my grandfather or thought of them together. She kept it very private.”
Lohr was in Burlington on Monday, May 6, to donate the Millican family Bible, which included an embroidered tissue, to the American Legion Post 273.
A secret no more
The secret of her grandmother’s first husband came out rather matter-of-factly.
“They were living in their house in (Washington) D.C. and didn’t have storage for everything,” Lohr said. “I said I would take care of the Bible. They knew they could trust me with it.”
Lohr said she was 33 years old on that day the Millican name was first uttered.
“It’s a very checkered history,” she said. “I didn’t know about Leonard until I was in my 30s, because my grandmother didn’t want her children and her grandchildren to know there had been a man before my grandfather.”
Read the entire article on the Burlington Union web site here:
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