Pearls In Our Past - Hartford MI A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan





Postcard to You

Welcome Home



Community Folk
Special Honors
Special Recognitions

Community Services
Fire Department


Famous Folk & Heroes


Historic Events

Historic Homes

Maps - Stats - Aerial Photos

Military-photos, letters &
histories - Rev. War to present

Military Submit Information

Misc. History



Scenic - Prints available

Schools-Hartford & Keeler
Athletics here
Band here
HHS graduate database here
Reunion News here

Class Composites here
Misc. Class Photos here
Memorable Teachers-Staff here


Hartford Floats
Hartford Royalty


Charles A. Spaulding
A History of Hartford
153 pg transcript

Katherine Minshall - Early History of Hartford and Lawrence 12 pgs.
Eli Fayette Ruggles Recollections of A Busy Life - circa 1904

Precious Pearls

Site Credits

Who are they?

Recollections and Jottings

Freq. Asked Questions

Email the Webmaster

Search Our Site

Links of interest

Enter your name and email address below to receive email newsletter and notification of
major changes to the site.
Use TAB key to move to next box. ALL entries are required.
* required fields

Your First AND Last name

Current email address
Show entire email address,
including .com, .net, etc.

Your connection to Hartford?
ex: grad, resident, former resident, summer visitor, etc.

If HHS student-grad, class yr?

Last name during school at Hartford

Where do you currently reside?

Select email newsletter(s):
History of Hartford newsletter
Local Events newsletter

Register Remove
(Left-click your mouse on
the appropriate box to select.)


Military Home Page

Revolutionary War 1773-1783      Civil War 1861-1865      Spanish-Amer War 1898-1902       
WW1 1914-1919           WW11 1939-1945           Korean War 1950-1953  
   Vietnam Era 1964-1974      Desert Storm 1990-1991      Iraq 2001-2011 Afghanistan 2001-       Other


War Memorials

Click on any
blue underlined link to find ou
t more about an individual.
After the new page has opened up, depress the square orange button
that will appear in the lower right hand corner of a photo to enlarge it. 

1964           Vietnam Era          1974

U - Z

A - D        E - J        K - N        O - T       U - Z 

Killed in Action     Wounded in Action      POW/MIA    
Died during active duty     
+ Contracted disease-illness-disability during service

Brief Timeline

May 4, 1964
- Trade embargo imposed on North Vietnam in response to attacks from the North on South Vietnam
August 2 and 4, 1964 - North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. A second attack allegedly occurs on August 4.
March 8, 1965 - The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam.
April 6-8, 1965 - President Johnson authorizes the use of U.S. ground combat troops for offensive operations
January 23, 1973
- United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam sign Paris Peace Accords, ending American combat role in war. U.S. military draft ends. A cease-fire goes into effect 5 days later
March 29, 1973 - Last U.S. combat troops leave Vietnam
April 1, 1973 - Hanoi releases last 591 acknowledged American POWs
April 29-30, 1975
- Saigon falls. U. S. Navy evacuates U.S. personnel and South Vietnamese refugees. The last American combat death in Vietnam occurs. South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders. North Vietnamese forces take over Saigon; South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam, ending the war and reunifying the country under communist control, forming the Independent Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Washington extends embargo to all of Vietnam
November 11, 1982
- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, "The Wall," is dedicated in Washington, D.C.


Ulrath, David
US Army - SP5
Crane Operator
b 6-26-49
Watervliet MI

In service
1-70 to 12-71

Chu Lai & Dan Nan Vietnam,
Ft. Railey KS
Ft. Jackson SC (basic)

+ Contracted disease-illness-disability during service

From Hartford
HHS Class of 1969

Resided in Hartford 1952-1972

3-2006 - Residing in
Heath Springs SC

Urick, Lloyd Jacob  

Lloyd Urich
US Marines - Pvt

 b 4-19-1955          d 5-19-2004
Paw Paw MI         Dexter MO
Age 49y, 1m, 2d
Buried at
Bloomfield Veterans Cemetery
Bloomfield MO

In service
1969 to 1974
+ Contracted disease-illness-disability during service

Served in
Okinawa and California

From HHS Class of 1968
Left school to enter service.

Resident of Hartford 1955 to 1990

Son of
Lloyd S. and Mary Urick Barber

Married to
Melissa Futch Urick

Information submitted by
Diana Urick Cowgill,
sister to Lloyd Urick.

Vaughn, Susan

In Service 19__ to 19__

HHS Class of 1968
From Hartford MI


Vliek, Ronald

Wagner, Eugene

In service 19__ to 19__
From Keeler MI

HHS Class of 1968

US Army - Sgt E5
1st Calvary Div (AMBL)
  A BTRY, 2nd BN, 19th Artillery,

b 7-5-1948        d 9-5-1969
Age 21y, 2m, 2d
Buried in Keeler Cemetery,
Keeler MI.


In service 12/19/1968, 
Died in hostile action 
September 5, 1969 
Tay Ninh, South Vietnam 
at 21 years old as 

ground casualty and

other causes.

HHS Class of 1967
from Decatur MI,
Lived in Keeler MI.

Vietnam Memorial Wall 
Panel 18W - Line 44

Click here to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall and do a search for Ronald Vliek


Walls, James
James Walls - Vietnam
US Army
Helicopter Door Gunner - Spec E4
560th Military Police Company

In service 1963 to 1964

Instrumental in the establishment of the  Vietnam Memorial in Ely Park.

Medals and Awards
Citation for the Air Medal with
6th and 7th Oak Leaf Cluster
Issued by Headquarters,
US Army Support Command, Vietnam, Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam

The citation reads:
 "During the period 20 February 1964 to 4 April 1964, Specialist Four E-4 James R.  Walls, RA16761760, US Army, 560th Military Police Company, distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while engaged in aerial combat support of ground forces of the Republic of Vietnam.  During the cited period he actively participated as a Crew Member of an Army Aircraft in at least twenty-five combat operational or aerial operations. On various occasions his aircraft was the target of hostile small arms and automatic weapons fire.  At all times he displayed the highest order of air discipline and acted in accordance with the best traditions of the service.  By this outstanding degree of professionalism and strict attention to duty he has brought credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army."

Jim served as Guidance Counselor at Hartford High School until July 2000.

Walton, Steve
Steve Walton
US Navy
Commander Master Chief - Ret.
Naval Aircrewman-Meteorologist
Antarctica-Sp Missions
b 10-6-1947

In service 1966 to 1993

Photo taken just prior
to retirement in 1993

Served in
Guam, Hawii, Antarctica, Alaska, California, Illinois, Nevada,
Washington DC.

Medals and Awards
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
Antarctic Service medal (wintered over)

From HHS Class of 1966
Graduate of Sturgis High School 1966

Resided in Hartford until 1963

2003 Update - Lives in Florida

Steve's father, Joseph Walton, served during WW2 from 1944 - 1946

Webb, Gregory Lynn
US Navy

Airman Apprentice
b 9-21-1947       d 7-29-1967
19y, 10m, 8d

Died in a fire aboard the
USS Forrestal

Served in North Vietnam

From Covert MI

Click here to view Hartford's
Vietnam Memorial

Wessendorf, David Charles
David Charles Wessendorf USN
US Naval Reserve
Air Operations

USS Saratoga, CV60 
Aircraft Carrier 
  15 months overseas 
during Viet Nam War.

HHS Class of 1958

From Hartford MI

David, Jeannie (sister), and Forrest Wessendorf
Photo taken in July, 1964

Photos and information submitted by Jeannie Wessendorf 11-2002

David and Forrest are the sons of Albert Wessendorf Jr
who served during WW11

David is the brother of Forrest Wessendorf who also served in the US Navy

Wessendorf, Forrest Edward

Forrest Edward Wessendorf - US Navy
US Navy
Lt. Commander, Ret.
Chaplain Corps.

Navy Chaplain selected for the 
5 United States ships at the 
beginning of the first Persian Gulf problem.  A helicopter with a rope 
and chair transported Forrest from 
one ship to another.

In service 1964 to Dec. 1994

1981 to 1994

Naval Air Station, Lemore CA

USS White Plains, AFS-4  Yokosuka Japan

Naval Training Center
San Diego CA

USS Ranger CV-61
San Diego CA

US Coast Guard - Pacific Area Chaplain - Alameda CA

Postgraduate student
San Diego State University

3rd Battalion, 1st Marines
Camp Pendleton CA

1964 to 1968

Office of Naval Intelligence at the 
Pentagon in Washington DC

USS Ranger, CV61 Aircraft Carrier

Forrest Edward Wessendorf USN
1-23-1943          d 4/25/2011
St Joseph MI        Eau Claire MI
Age 68y, 3m, 2d
Buried at
Ft. Custer National Cemetery
Section N Site 285
Augusta MI

Photo taken at Great Lakes
Naval Station in 1964

HHS Class of 1961
From Hartford MI

Forrest is the brother of 
David Wessendorf who also 
served during the Vietnam War

West, Larry

In service 19__ to 19__

Served in Vietnam

HHS Class of 1967

From Hartford

Wilcoxson, Ronald
US Navy

In service 19__ to 19__

From HHS Class of 1966
Did not graduate with class,
 left school to enter the Navy.

Resided in Hartford 
1960 -1964


Wilkens, Patrick

Willer, Kenneth
US Army Reserve

In service 19__ to 19__

HHS Class of 1966
From Hartford MI



Patrick Wilkens
US Navy

In service 19__ to 19__

Patrick's sons, Jamie Wilkens,
Joseph Wilkens, and John Wilkens
also served in the military. 

Williams, Bill

Wise, Richard Murl

Wise, Ronald George

Bill & Jerrie Williams - US Navy
US Navy
US Naval and Marine Corps Reserves
Hospital Corpsman
Master Chief E9 (Ret)
b 12-11-1948
Marshall AR

In service
1-30-1968 to 1-1-1999
Vietnam through Persian Gulf

Served at
Naval Hospital, Great Lakes IL
Naval Hospital, Beaufort SC
Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort SC
Jacksonville FL, Quantico VA, Charleston SC, Groton CT, Portsmouth VA, Norfolk VA, San Diego CA, Camp Pendleton CA, Camp Lejeune NC, New Orleans LA, San Antonio TX, Nashville TN, Selfridge Naval Air Station MI, Glenview Naval Air Stat. IL

Medals and Awards
Navy Good Conduct Medal
Naval Meritorious Unit Commendation Awd
Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal
National Defense Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal

HHS Class of 1967

Resided in Hartford MI 1965-1972
Currently resides in Paw Paw MI

Photograph above is of Bill and wife, Jerrie (Hurt) Williams at the Navy Ball in 2007.  Jerrie's father, James Hurt, served in US Army during WW11.

Richard Murl Wise, US Army
US Army
Medical Corp.

In service 1966-1968
Served in Germany

HHS Class of 1959

From Hartford MI

Son of
George & Gladys Wise

Richard's father, George Nathan Wise, served in the US Navy during WW11.
 His brother, Ronald George Wise, served in the US Army during the Vietnam Era.

Ronald George Wise - US Army
US Army

In service 19__ to 19__
Served in Germany

Attended Hartford High school,
from Class of 1967

From Hartford MI

Son of
George & Gladys Wise

Ron's father, George Nathan Wise, serviced in the US Navy during WW11.
 His brother, Richard Murl Wise, served in the US Army during the Vietnam Era.

Wolfe, Clarence Edwin (Ed)

Yates, Lloyd Francis

Yates, Raymond

From Hartford
HHS Class of 1967

  Wounded in action
Front-line foot soldier
Served 2 tours of
service in Vietnam

In service
1967 to 1970 (?)

Raymond's brother, Lloyd,
also served during Vietnam.


US Navy
b 4-13-1948                 d 1-2-2009
Benton Harbor MI         Lenexa, Kansas
Age 60y, 8m, 22d

In service from
approx. 1967 to 1971

Stationed in Norfolk VA
Served on the USS Enterprise

From Keeler MI
HHS Class of 1966

Resided in Keeler 1954-1966

Son of
Carl and Elaine Wolfe

Married to
Anita Wolfe

Lloyd Yates
US Air Force

b 12-28-1939     d 12-27-2009
Englewood IL     Lawrence MI
Age 70y, 1d

In service
19__ to 19__

From Hartford
HHS Class of 1958

Son of
Clarence & Nellie (Skaggs) Yates

Last residence was
Luther MI

Lloyd's brother, Raymond,
also served during Vietnam.


  Zirk, Carl E.
US Army Sp-4
Computer Machine Operator
with training in Ordinance Supply &
Stock Computer Schools

In service
September, 1966 to __

Served in
Ft. Knox KY, Ft. Lee VA, Vietnam

from Hartford
HHS Class of 1960

Son of
Emil & DeVerne Zirk


This site will change as names and photos become available.  Check back often for updates.  Please use the on-line submission form OR email the webmaster  if you have a photo or any information on anyone who served in the military and lived in Hartford or Keeler at any time during their life.  I would appreciate knowing of any incorrect or incomplete  information displayed on the site so it can be corrected. 

Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

Pass the word on to your friends and family about this site
It's easy...right click on this icon,
COPY and PASTE it into an email to them.

Click on the icon to go directly to the website.

A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: September 06, 2014