When it is difficult for me to find historical information on a fallen hero, as it was in this case, I am motivated even more to tell their story. Most of the individuals featured in this series died young, before they could live active and well documented lives. Nonetheless, their family history, service and sacrifice deserve to be documented.
Abednego Page (1796-1840) moved, along with his wife Elizabeth Shehan (1801-1864), to Ohio from Maryland in the early 1820s. The couple settled down in Tuscarawas County and welcomed a number of children, including William Shane Page (1821-1888). William would live in a couple of different locations in Tuscarawas County, including New Philadelphia and Port Washington. While in Port Washington in the late 1870s and early 1880s, William ran a hotel in town along with his son Marcus A. Page (1854-1937).
Marcus Page married Amanda Beans (1861-1936) in 1886 and the couple raised their family in Warwick and, later, Goshen Township, Tuscarawas County. Marcus worked as a coal miner to support their rather large family. One of their sons, Jasper H. Page (1893-1959) worked as a general laborer and coal miner in Barnhill where he married Emma Davis (1895-1964) around 1913. The couple would have nine children including their son Jerry Jasper Page (1932-1951).
There is not a lot of information available on Jerry Page’s childhood found in the historical record. He attended school in Barnhill as a child, though what high school he attended is unclear. Yearbooks from local high schools for the years that he would have likely attended are either unavailable or incomplete. Following high school, and perhaps even during, he was employed at the Royal Sewer Pipe Plant in Midvale. He chose to enlist in the United States Army in August 1950, the same time as previous fallen hero SP5 James B. Alexander.
Following his enlistment, Jerry was transported to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he underwent basic training. After completing his training he was assigned to the 5th Cavalry Regiment. Later newspaper accounts mistakenly report him as being in the 1st Armored Division, however, that division was not active in late 1950 and early 1951 when Jerry Page served. According to the United States Army, the 1st Armored Division was deactivated in April 1946 and was not reactivated again until March 1951, a month after Jerry’s death. The 5th Cavalry Regiment was actually assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division that had been serving in post-war Japan before being sent to Korea in the summer of 1950.
Private Page was first transported to Japan in late 1950 and, the day after Christmas, was sent to Korea to join his unit. The 5th Cavalry Regiment was, when Jerry arrived, being kept in a reserve location near Sangju in the Naktong River Valley. The American command had ordered a “reconnaissance in force” action against Chinese and North Korean forces southeast of the city of Seoul, and ordered the 1st Cavalry Division forward to support the push. The operation began on January 25, 1951, less than a month after Jerry Page’s arrival in Korea. The 5th Cavalry Regiment saw heavy fighting as it made its way northward and, by early February had established positions south of the Han River.
The Chinese forces opposite the 5th Cavalry Regiment’s positions unleashed a rocket barrage on the regiment on February 8, 1951. One missile exploded near Private Page’s foxhole and he was struck in the head and neck with shrapnel. Private Page was evacuated from the battlefield with wounds serious enough that he was transported to a hospital in Japan. There he was given intravenous drugs and blood transfusions, but his wounds were too serious and he died on February 9, 1951.
Private Jerry J. Page’s remains were transported home for burial and his casket arrived at the Dennison train depot on March 16, 1951. His funeral was held three days later with the New Philadelphia Veterans of Foreign Wars providing the military rites. Jerry is buried at the East Avenue Cemetery.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2021.