Fallen Heroes: Seaman 1st Class Jack K. Kellogg

USS Maddox (DD-622) in October 1942

This fallen hero’s family had only resided in Tuscarawas County a short time when the Second World War began and their only son enlisted in the United States Navy. That son, like many sailors before him, met his fate on the seas and his ship serves as his tomb.

The Kellogg family arrived in New Philadelphia in the 1920s when Charles Ransom Kellogg (1884-1964) and his second wife Elizabeth Theobald (1885-1947) moved to a home on West High Street. Charles’ family was originally from Huron County and it was there that he grew up working in his father’s feed and flour mill. Charles met his first wife, Jessie Marie Ryerson (1884-1918), and the two were married in June 1910. A year later the couple welcomed a daughter, Eleanor Pauline (1911-2005), and the family moved to Elyria, Ohio.

Charles found work as an electrical engineer with the Cleveland, Southwestern, and Columbus Railway, an interurban railroad that at one time connected Cleveland with Columbus to the south and Norwalk to the west. He worked in the railroad’s power house that was located on Oberlin Road in Elyira. Jessie Marie Kellogg contracted tuberculosis in the years after Eleanor’s birth and died in November 1918. After the death of his wife, Charles sent Eleanor to live with his parents in the country, while he continued to live in the city of Elyria.

1940-1942 Jack K Kellogg Composite
Photos of Jack K. Kellogg from 1940 (L), 1941 (M), and 1942 (R). (Source: delphianyearbooks.org)

Charles met his second wife, Elizabeth Theobald, while living in Elyria after the death of his first wife. Elizabeth was an English immigrant who had arrived in the United States with her parents in the early 1890s. Elizabeth’s father was a successful bricklayer and building contractor in Elyria. Charles and Elizabeth married in the March 1921 and moved into a house on West Avenue. Eleanor moved back in with her father and his new wife, and a year after the marriage the family welcomed a son, Jack K. Kellogg (1922-1943).

Sometime between 1928 and 1930 Charles moved the family to New Philadelphia, Ohio where he took a job working for the Ohio Power Company. The family rented a house on the 700 block of West High Street, joined the local Lutheran Church, and enrolled Jack in the New Philadelphia schools. Eleanor found work as a stenographer at an insurance office in town and, in the spring of 1935, she married. Jack attended New Philadelphia High School from 1938 to 1941, leaving after his junior year to work at the Westinghouse Naval Ordinance factory in Canton, Ohio.

  • The USS Maddox (DD-622) dockside at the New York Navy Yard, 1943. (Source: navsource.org)
  • A German Junkers Ju-88 fighter-bomber taking off from an airfield in Tunisia, 1942-43. (Source: wikipedia.com)
  • The location of the sinking of the USS Maddox (DD-622) of the southwest coast of Sicily, 10 July 1943. (Source: ww2sunkenships.ca)

Jack enlisted in the United States Navy in August 1942 and was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago, Illinois for his basic training. While Jack was learning to be a sailor, the ship he was eventually assigned to was undergoing sea trials. The USS Maddox (DD-622) was laid down in the spring of 1942, launched in September, and commissioned at the end of October 1942. The ship, now with Seaman 1st Class Kellogg onboard, left New York for Norfolk in January 1943.

During the spring of 1943 the ship escorted oilers along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts until, in June 1943, it was ordered to North Africa. The USS Maddox was assigned to take part in the upcoming invasion of the island of Sicily scheduled for July 10, 1943. While naval vessels bombarded the Sicilian coastal defenses and ferried troops to shore, the USS Maddox was tasked with anti-submarine patrols to protect the invasion force. Seaman 1st Class Kellogg had been on duty all night and had just gone below decks to rest on the morning of July 10, 1942. Just as Kellogg fell into his cot, a German Ju-88 fighter-bomber attacked the Maddox, dropping a bomb that penetrated the ship’s aft magazine. The explosion tore through the ship, causing it roll over and sink within minutes. The USS Maddox had a complement of 276 sailors, of which only 74 survived the attack. Among the men initially listed as missing was Seaman 1st Class Jack K. Kellogg.

A month later the family received confirmation, from both the Navy and a fellow sailor who had survived the attack, that their son was presumed dead. The wreck of the USS Maddox, at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, was Seaman Kellogg’s final resting place. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Italy.

tablets of the missing sicily rome american cemetery
Seaman 1st Class Jack K. Kellogg’s name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Italy. (Source: http://www.gentracer.org)

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.


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