Snow Hill, Maryland: Howard Waters

Snow Hill Howard Waters photo onlyMy problem with newspapers is that because of their purpose the issues are fleeting and articles can be easily missed.  Nowadays this is not as much of an issue, with newspapers available online; and back issues can be located.  But even when you find an article, it is easy to have filed it, clipped it, or whatever and place it somewhere nearly forgotten.  And this newspaper clipping fits that category in my household.  Thank you Dick Moore for your article in The Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland.    His 1994 article was about a man who was born in 1896.  According to the internet, Mr. Waters passed away at the age of 107 in 2003, just one day shy of the New Year.  This year marks the 117th anniversary of his birth.  Here is some of what Dick Moore wrote about Mr. Waters, way back in 1994:

When the United States went to war with Germany in the spring of 1917, among the first to enlist on the Eastern Shore was Howard Waters.  He served in the Army for three years.  Now, at the age of 98, he’s among the very few World War I survivors on the Shore.

Age has reduced his physical activity, but his mind is indeed remarkable; “fantastic” perhaps is a more descriptive word.

Born on a farm on the edge of Snow Hill on Aug. 5, 1896, he attended a country school for Negroes, daily walking the three miles there and three miles back home.  …..

He recalled an Army recruiter came to Snow Hill looking for volunteers.  “I enlisted,” he said.  After basic training at Fort George F. Meade, and a brief tour at Fort Holabird in Baltimore, he was sent to Tobyhanna, Pa., as part of the 593rd Motor Transportation Unit.

There he worked on and drove motor vehicles, powered by gasoline and steam.  In time, he became knowledgeable about steam, firing boilers in small mills.  “I could tune them,” he said of steam engines.

One job he said, was the “veneer factor,” an operation which made baskets for the produce which grew around Snow Hill.  He remembers cutting ice on area ponds, working a a chauffeur, a handyman who did landscaping and built driveways, and also peddled fish and oysters.

He once worked for the J. Herman Perdue Ford agency in Snow Hill, which sold the popular Model T. Ford.  Perdue had started his agency by selling wagons.

Waters kept a garden for Perdue and himself.  It was so successful that “we couldn’t eat it all.”  He remembers how Mabel, Perdue’s daughter, sold the delicious butter beans in the neighborhood.  Today, Mabel Davis is now confined to a Wilmington nursing home. …

Waters came from a large family and had a large one of his own.  He ticked off on his fingers the names of seven girls and four boys who survive.

One of them, Sherwood Waters, dropped by during the interview at Waters’ tiny house on the Public Landing Road.  He and his wife, Elinore, bring him food and see that he gets to places he wants to go.  His father sings in the Mens’ Choir at Mt. Wesley United Methodist Church and attends church regularly. …

He’s a member of the Spirit of Democracy Post, American Legion No. 145, and for years he managed to attend events for war veterans, dressing up proudly in his Army uniform with medals and insignia he had earned, up to private first class.

During the first World War, Waters handled munitions which were later shipped for the use during the war.  And apparently, Mr. Waters could play the harmonica.  The internet website  indicates that he is buried at Ebenezer Cemetery.

–Linda Duyer

Snow Hill Howard Waters

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