Chloe Williams was born in the King's Daughters Hospital of Perry, Dallas
County, Iowa on April 3, 1915, the only child of Arthur and Minnie (Hiney)
Williams. Her ancestors include 8 of the Quaker families who founded
Nantucket Island, and Roger Ludlow, the first assistant governor of
CT whose ancestry has been proven back to European royalty. Her great,
great grandfather, George Hiney, fought in the War of 1812 , her great
grandfather, Elias Hiney, served in the Mexican-American war, and another great grandfather, George Bell fought for the Union in the Civil War.
she was two years old, the family moved to Colorado where they homesteaded
on the Great Divide before settling in the town of Craig in the remote
northwest corner of the State. She graduated from Craig High School
May 26, 1933. Though not Mormon, she attended Brigham Young University
in Utah for one year until a bout with Scarlet Fever forced her to quit.
1936 to early 1941, Mom worked as a Stenographer at the Work Projects
Administration in Grand Junction, Colorado. For a brief time thereafter,
she was the Chief Clerk for the National Youth Administration in Denver.
For the rest of 1941 through May, 1942 she was the Senior Stenographer
with the National Youth Administration in Denver, and then with the
U.S. involvement in World War II, a Clerk for the Board of Economic
Warfare in Washington, D.C.
the United States entered World War II, Congress enacted a law allowing
women to serve in the military for the first time. Only 400,000 women
signed onsociety still thought women belonged at home and regarded
most of the women who joined the services as "abnormal." But from 1943
through the end of WWII, Mom served in the Marine Corps Reserves as
a Corporal, working as an air control tower operator at Bogue's Field
and Cherry Point, North Carolina.
the war, she joined the first organization created by the United Nations
called United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, or UNRRA,
whose specific purpose was to help the war-torn countries and displaced
persons. She was stationed in Shanghai, China from November 1945 to
April 1948 and worked as a Cable Operator in the Communications Dept.
This was absolutely the best time in my mother's life, and her joy and
enthusiasm of this experience are reflected in the letters she wrote
from China to my grandparents over a period of 3 years, now in my possession.
(Jim) Barton Behling, the third and youngest child of George and Laura
(Delaney) Behling, was born on December 21, 1924 in Amery, Wisconsin.
His ancestors include Mayflower passengers, Richard Warren and
Francis Cooke; the Quaker martyr, Mary Dyer; Roger Williams, the founder
of Providence, RI; and Anne Hutchinson, religious leader and founder
of Portsmouth, RI whose ancestry has been proven back to European royalty.
His 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Matthews, fought in the Revolutionary
War, his great grandfather, Julius Porter Waite fought on the Union
side during the Civil War, and his father, George Behling, served in WWI.
after Dad was born, his parents divorced and the Great Depression hit
America, all of which forced the family to move in with my great grandparents.
Everyone in the family worked. My great grandfather, though of retirement
age, continued to work as a clerk in a feed store. My grandmother tended
the sick and elderly (eventually going to work as a private duty nurse).
Dad's two sisters babysat, cleaned houses, took in mending - whatever
they could find. Dad, though very young, sold newspapers and helped
graduated from Amery High School in 1942. From September 1942 to May
1943 he attended River Falls State Teachers College, in River Falls,
Wisconsin. He joined the Navy and was sent to Lawrence College in Appleton,
Wisconsin for USNTU (V-12) training, to Midshipmen's School in New York,
and USNTS (Communications) at Harvard University. By the time he saw
active duty, WWII was nearly over.
July 1945 though August 1946, Dad served on board the destroyer, USS
Harwood in the Pacific Fleet as the Communications Officer in the
rank of Lieutenant JG.
into the China Sea, Dad took his discharge from active duty there and
for a month (August - September 1946) worked for the Chinese version
of UNRRA (CNRRA), in their Waterways Transport division, performing
the duties of a 3rd Officer on board a merchant ship called Wan Shen.
the end of September, Dad joined UNRRA itself and remained with them
until April, 1948 as the Cable Editor & Chief of Telephone Section,
routing incoming and outgoing cable messages, planning and supervising
provisions of telephone service for office of 1400 employees. It was
in China that he met my mother, whom he married on August 1, 1948.