Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Hi, thank you for checking out our new blog, Folsom Unveiled. My name is Kaitlyn Scott and I’m Folsom Historical Society’s historian. Each week I will be highlighting a different topic related to Folsom’s history that not everyone knows about by diving deeper into a place, event, person or piece in our collection.
In the past while driving around any town, familiar or unfamiliar, I typically did not pay attention to street names and their meanings. However, when I started working in Folsom, I began to notice them more because I would recognize names of different Folsom families I was researching, or streets named after long gone mining towns. Then I noticed some of those signs had stars next to them with the words “fallen veteran” and my curiosity brought me to our archive to find out more.
I quickly found that the gold stars indicate streets that have been named after Folsom men who died in service during World War II. Since this discovery, I have received inquiries from many people who are just as curious as myself, so I think it is time to put this information out there and reveal some background on these men, especially as Veteran's Day arrives!
The streets were mapped out in 1948 in the Perazzo subdivision and signs went up soon after. Originally, there were six signs which included Duchow Way, Rumsey Way, Needles Way, Dean Way, Wales Drive and Price Way and they matched the rest of the signs in the city. In later years, Henderson Way, Glenn Drive and McKiernan Drive were added and the signs were updated to the red, white, and blue ones we know today.
Arthur “Duke” Darwin Duchow was born in Folsom on October 12th, 1920 to Marteen and Alida Duchow. He grew up along with his older siblings Marteen Caspar and Ruth on Sibley Street. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1941 where his civil job is listed as an actor. He was selected for officer’s school and then was assigned to the 24th corps seventh division serving as a Lieutenant under General Douglas McArthur. On November 27th, 1944 on the Isle of Leyte in the Philippines, Duchow’s platoon was surprised by an attack. It was soon obvious that they were overpowered and Lt. Duchow was able to bring the majority of his platoon to safety by directing them to a safe area of retreat while physically blocking oncoming soldiers armed with a rifle. He was mortally wounded and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest military award.
If you have viewed our new digital exhibit (found on our website’s main page) you are already familiar with the Rumsey name. William Rumsey III was born August 2nd, 1921 to parents William and Ethel Rumsey, three years after older brother Clem. His family was known for running the local hardware store on Sutter Street and William grew up helping his father and brother in the store before enlisting and leaving his childhood home on Figueroa Street. When he joined the United States Army Air Corps, Rumsey was selected for the air cadets and officer training. He arrived in England in 1943 as a Captain and was in the 615-bomb squadron and 401st bomb group. Rumsey was the Captain for a B-17 Fortress and was tasked along with a crew of 10 men on operation “crossbow”. Their mission on March 26th was to bomb a Nazi rocket site in Watten, France. A shell from an anti-air gun on the ground hit them before the bomb run and the plane lost control, two men were able to bail out but Rumsey and the others most likely died before the plane began to fall apart as their chutes had not been open. Their bodies were found by a French man named J. Yaequemelle and he helped take them to Bouquemaison to bury them in the town’s cemetery. William Rumsey’s family decided to let his body stay in France where he had fallen, and it was later exhumed and laid to rest at the Normandy American Cemetery. Rumsey was awarded an air medal and purple heart.
Charles “Buddy” Needles was born in Stockton on February 18th, 1923 to parents Dr. Cyrus and Herma Needles. The family, including older sister Marjorie, later moved to Folsom where Dr. Needles set up his dentistry practice on Sutter Street and began working as the prison’s dentist. Buddy worked for the Bell Telephone Company right out of high school and then was drafted in June of 1942. He was a Lieutenant and pilot in the United States Army Air Corps, first stationed in Nebraska in 1943 and then later worked in the Pacific battle area in the Mariana Islands. In the Summer of 1945, the Folsom Telegraph announced that the Needles family had received news that Buddy had been killed in Guam after his plane exploded on a runway. His body was returned, and his family had him cremated at Cyprus Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.
As I could not include every man in this blog, I highly suggest taking a drive around Folsom to visit the signs or maybe even submitting a research request with our archive to learn more! Below are pictures of some of the other men honored on the street signs.