Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Scholl Miracle

On the morning of July 8, 2016 a stranger named Debra A emailed me from Tennessee saying:

Please call me. This is concerning an item of Augustus P. Scholl's I have seen. Debra A.  865-441-xxxx. Trying to find a family member of his. Debra

I called and she informed me she had seen a sterling silver locket and a World War I dog tag owned by Augustus P. Scholl on ebay for $350.  Debra thought it was a lot of money but believed the owner might go down in price if they knew I was related to Augustus.   She encouraged me to see what I could do and let her know what happened. 

She also told me a little about her ancestors who lived in upper Tennessee and how poor they were.  She hoped one day she will find something related to them.  The moment she saw the listing on eBay she knew she had to contact a Scholl relative.  First she searched Ancestry and found a little on Augustus but when she found Augustus on she knew she hit pay dirt. 

Augustus is my mother's uncle, grandfather's brother or my great uncle.  He served in World War I.  Previously I had done some research on Augustus and had a couple of photos of him including two of him wearing his WWI uniform.  In one of these photos he is wearing a wedding ring.

I knew the eBay items were his.  After finding the objects on eBay I called my wife in to ask how much we should offer.  It was listed at $350 but the listing said the seller would also accept offers.  We did some quick research and my wife said offer $150.  I thought we should offer $200 because I was anxious to get the valuable keepsakes.  She insisted so I put an offer in for $150.  She said, "Let's pray he accepts the offer."  So we knelt down and said a prayer.  I moved on to other tasks but a few minutes later I was shocked to see my offer had been accepted.  I teared up and got so emotional I had a hard time telling my wife we actually got it.

I called my new Tennessee friend, paid for the item and contacted the seller:

Bob, This item was owned by my grandfather's brother Augustus Scholl. Thanks so much for listing it and accepting my offer. What a blessing. I'm curious how you came upon it? Augustus grew up in Falls City, Nebraska and of course lived in Portland. Where in the world did you find it? Best regards, Kent Gardiner

Thank you so much for the very cool message! I picked it up at a militaria show in the greater Chicago area a good number of years ago. Would you happen to know anything about his military history? I would really like to know what he did in the Army. Thanks again; highest regards! Bob 

Bob, Here is what I have on Augustus:  How many offers did you get on the items?

You are simply the BEST!!!! I had about a half dozen offers on the piece, and providence pointed me to you for the sale. I am so glad I followed my instincts on this one. My highest regards and I am most grateful for the time you took to make that very quick response. It's a beautiful piece, much nicer than the pics show, and I know you will enjoy it. So happy it went to you. Bob

That all happened on a Saturday. Two days later the mail arrived with the locket and dog tags.

It is interesting to think of Augustus in the trenches wearing these precious momentos around his neck.  I'm sure he occasionally set his rifle down, pulled the locket out of his uniform, clicked it open and thought of Emma waiting for him at home in Portland.

Military document: On June 28, 1919 Corporal Augustus P Scholl Company F 5th Supply Train School Detachment, University of Bristol England sought early discharge on the grounds his wife had a serious illness, signed General Pershing.

He was released from service on July 31, 1919.  He took his locket, his dog tags and returned to the wife whose photo he had carried around his neck for 2 years, 2 months.