Emmet Newell

by Jody Newell from Idaho

 ( (Jody Newell))
( (Jody Newell))

My heroes have always been cowboys! And my father was one. He was raised on the back of a horse in Ola, Eyedeehoe (Id.) spent his 21st birthday in POW camp in Japan. When he got home he began his well planned goal of continuing the Good Life. Raising cows, riding the range and the stock cars. By the time I got to know him he was a 40 year old man and a pure joy to be around. He allowed me to cut my own path as a youngster, he continued his unstructured lessons as I turned young adult. I guess four years in prison camp had taught him to appreciate and enjoy life each day, the fresh air, the taste of homemade ice cream, the smell of baking bread, the sound of rain on a tin roof. He was one of those rare people who are truly generous of heart and nature. Passing along his knowledge the best way he knew how, usually unbeknownst to you. When I was fourteen I wrote this poem for him on Father's Day, ten years ago we printed it again for his eulogy. 


I hear a man who teaches without words
and the sound of the absent words 
helps me find the way. 
I feel a man who touches without hands 
and I've learned that love is always there.
I've walked by a man who loves without chains 
and I know that love is honesty and letting go. 
I see a man who accepts without question 
and I've learned that love does not stop 
when dreams are not the same. 
December 9th, 1996 brings his 77th birthday; January 27, 1997 brings with it the tenth year since his death. An Accident, an Act of God, one day I hope to speak with him again, I don't think the question will be very important then. What is important is that he know how much he has meant, and continues to mean, to me and so many others...
A FATHERS DAY STORY A Three Generation Tribute To The Greatest Of Fathers
A biography of Emmett L. Newell, 
born: Dec. 9, 1919 
died: January 27, 1987
On a snowy December night in 1919... a call was made to the midwife, who traveled over ten miles by horse and slay to deliver the baby. A strapping baby boy was born on December 9th, they named him Emmett Lewis Newell. Emmett was one of seven children and often recalled the days growing up when he never remembered fewer than sixteen people sitting at the dinner table. This included his parents, siblings, grandparents, and more often than not, several of the ranch hands, numerous travelers, as well as the local school teacher who boarded in the high country home. His childhood was spent on the back of a horse, working the cattle on a ranch that encompassed thousands of acres. A handful of people living isolated from a civilization that we, a mere generation away, could not well survive without.
In 1941 Emmett, now 20 and his younger brother Glenn went to work for Mr. H.W. Morrison, President and General Manager of the Morrison-Knudson Company of Boise, Idaho, who was the contractor for the defense projects on Midway and Wake Island.
One of Emmett's last letters home just days prior to the beginning of World War II read in part: 

The last time I wrote home I said that the new was wearing off. Well, now its gone entirely. I'd give my best eye to be home, but I know when I'm well off. A fellow really gets sick just to see something that resembles home. A mountain, pine tree, horse, cow or just anything would sure look swell. All day long we see just brush, sand and water. The camp is still fine & weather nice, but somehow I just sorta like home. I have no doubt that I can stay my contract through, and considering all I'm not sorry I came. I don't think Glenn is either!

At 11:55 o'clock a.m. on Dec. 8th, life was to take a drastic turn for the 1200 civilians and 400 Marines temporarily residing on Wake Island. For at that time 27 Japanese planes bombed and machine gunned Wake Island.
On Dec. 23 the Marines surrendered the Island to the Japanese. The captured men, stripped of clothing, were left to kneel on an airstrip for four days, while the Japanese awaited word from superiors. The Japanese were not in the habit of taking prisoners alive. One day a sign in English was hung. It read if you follow all of the rules, all of the time, we may not kill all of you. Those who were to be taken as POW's were crammed in the hold of a ship, which was to be their home for almost 30 days. Destination: China. The next four years were spent deprived of adequate food, clothing, warmth, human dignity, open space, nor any of the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Emmett managed to keep a diary hidden for many of his captured years. A small, home made, canvas diary, which, if brought to the attention of the captors surely would have meant death, or worse, for Emmett. Brief entries were made daily, a link to a normal, saner world, perhaps.
1942 Shanghai POW camp
Jan. 24 - Landed in Shanghai, China and were put in internment camp.
Feb. 16 - Mark Stanton died of Malnutrition, he was taken to town and cremated....
May 7 - Radio announces fall of Corregidor, Killed viper. Bought two bowls of burned rice ten Cigarettes per bowl. 
June 12 - The Doctor has started operating on shrapnel wounds etc. Starting today we get bread twice per day. One fight today.
June 18 - Lonie Riddle was shot and killed.
June 19 - The body was taken to town for cremation. The adjutant of barracks seven went to the brig for six months. Joe Walters went hay wire and is being held in brig.
June 24 - Five cases of malaria in camp.
July 7 - Sick as hell - stomach.
July 26 - 6 fellows from #4 in brig for stealing canned goods. Barracks confined.
July 27 - Two men from #3, some from #5, caught for stealing canned goods.
#4 stood attention for forenoon. All stand until confession is made.
July 28 - Took seven men to town to be tried in military court.
Aug. 2 - Malaria getting bad... Jan. 1 - I'm sick as hell with diarrhea. Got one doughnut apiece. Five new prisoners came in. Aviators. Clear, cold & windy.
Jan. 7 - Chow cut again. I'm so hungry can hardly go on. 
Yet it would be nearly 2 more years of captivity. Somehow Emmett and Glen managed to survive. Emmett had spent four years of his life in prison camp, celebrated his 21st birthday in a place impossible to comprehend. It would be many years, before the United States and the Military recognized any of the 1200 civilians who served four longs years as prisoners of war.
A bomb had stopped the war, the prisoners were released in August 1945, yet it would be two long months in Guam before Emmett was to see home again.
I guess four years in prison camp had taught him to appreciate and enjoy life each day, the fresh air, the taste of homemade ice cream, the smell of baking bread, the sound of rain on a tin roof. He was one of those rare people who are truly generous of heart and nature. Passing along his knowledge the best way he knew how, usually unbeknownst to you. 


Page created on 7/31/2015 7:23:02 PM

Last edited 4/20/2019 7:23:07 PM

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