Sunday, November 11, 2018, marked both Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. In that spirit, I thought I would share with you the story of Albin Ohman, a longtime Ephraim resident who served in the Army during World War I.
Albin was born in 1894 to Thure and Elise Ohman. The Ohmans lived on a farm, later named “Grandview,” located between Fish Creek and Ephraim. Albin left home and worked as a laborer for a time before he returned to Door County around 1913 and started work in the construction business.
In April 1917, the United States entered World War I, and Albin was drafted in August of that year. He was first sent to Camp Custer in Michigan and worked as a cook for a short time. Later, he was a member of the 59th Spruce Squadron, part of the Spruce Production Division (SPD). The SPD was established to provide lumber for the production of military aircraft and was based out of the Pacific Northwest. The SPD was also responsible for constructing and equipping railroad tracks for the lumber’s transportation. In a 1974 Door County Advocate article commemorating his 80th birthday, Albin’s World War I service was discussed: “…Albin spent the rest of his service career inserting piston rings in locomotives. Not an exceptionally glamorous undertaking, he admits, but better than being in France, where one irate lieutenant threatened to send him, saying “you’ll be pushing up daisies in three weeks.””
Albin returned to Door County after the war ended in 1919, married Hazel Johnson, and had four daughters. He continued his construction work in and around Ephraim and built Motel Enchanteau near Peninsula State Park. In that same Door County Advocate article, reporter Keta Steebs commented that Albin’s daughters “have learned that a man who can cook, clean, can, garden, stonemason, carpenter, wire, plumb, paint, write, lay bricks, and do cabinet work doesn’t need much more than the time of day from anybody.” Albin passed away on November 21, 1986, at the age of 92 and is buried in the Bethany Lutheran Cemetery in Ephraim.
The EHF has a collection of family photographs and genealogical information about the Ohman family. Contact us to learn more.
-Guest Blogger Emily Irwin