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Frank (NMN) Eckard, my father, was born on December 5th, 1914 to William David Eckard (1884-1952) and Delia Jane Biddix Eckard. Family lore has it that he left home when he was about 11 years of age. If the picture shown to the right of Frank and 2 of his brothers is any indication of everyday life, I think it would be fair to say that Frank's family was down right poor.
Frank Eckard Pictured below is Frank
CA 1971 with two of his brothers.
Frank, we believe, is
the smallest one
in the picture.
Reportedly, he was plowing a field using a mule drawn plow when, impulsively, he dropped the reins and walked off. Others say that my grandmother, "Granny Jane" as she was known, ran him off but no one could or would ever confirm this. There were no reports that he had gone to live with another family member and, if that is the case, how he survived on his own at that young age is a matter of speculation. In his early adult years, he worked for the Southern Railroad and eventually was drafted into the Army, working as a carpenter and heavy equipment operator. Frank was a gifted carpenter.
Frank entered the Army on March 18th, 1944 at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. His stint in the military was short. He was Honorably Discharged on December 30th, 1945. As part of his initial training, he was sent to Wyoming to "tank school". His exact work regarding tanks isn't specified on his paperwork, however, I believe he may have been studying them to learn their mechanics. At the moment, though, that's speculation. During his brief time in the Army he was stationed in the Phillippines.
Frank Eckard following
Basic Training US Army 1944.
The picture isn't very clear
due to the fact that we can't get it
out of it's frame. Frank sealed it into
a fram he made himself and
the wooden back can't be removed.
This is Frank while
attending "tank school".
Frank Eckard and his frist wife,
Mary Barber Eckard - Bet 1944-45.
I guess it was cold that year in Wyoming!
Frank while attending "tank school"
As were nearly all of his photos,
this picture wasn't marked
with any information.
I have no idea who the men
are who are standing
on either side of him.
Both before and after his military tour,Frankworked for the Southern Railroad. His primary work was as a carpenter assisting in the building of and repairing of railroad bridges and tresstles. According to what I could find, Frank worked with the railroad until at least 1952. However, I do think he was there a bit longer.
Antique post card, mailed in 1924.
Southern Railroad Station
CA late 1800s - early 1900s
The rear of the post card is pictured right. It's not from Frank but was among some photos of his. He probably kept it for the nostalgia of the railroad more than for any other reason.
Frank attended school through the 5th grade and was only marginally above being a functional illiterate, giving him reading and writing skills were rudimentary, at best. However, despite these limitations, he could pace out and "eyeball" measurements with amazing accuracy. For example, he was able to look at a cabinet and replicate it using spare wood he had laying about his home. Of his handwork, I have only a small book cabinet that he had made. The interior shelves were originally constructed of wood too thin for us to use for storing dishes, so we exchanged the wood for glass. Sadly, many of the things that I recall his having crafted have made the "missing list".