Purple Heart returns, finds its place in Glasgow family history

Couple finds WWII private's purple heart certificate, awarded after his death. They hope to return it to its rightful owner (WDTN, Beairshelle Edmé)

OXFORD, Ohio (WDTN) – A Purple Heart, lost for an unknown number of years, has made its way home.

It’s been 1 month since the Dour family of Miamisburg came to 2 NEWS with a mission.

They wanted the Purple Heart of Private First Class William “Will” W. Glasgow Jr. to make it home to Oxford.

Now, their mission is complete; however, Glasgow’s may have been cut short by his death.

Yet, his honor remains immortalized and stories of his heroism now archived for generations to come.

“This We’ll Defend,” it’s the motto Private First Class Glasgow Jr. stood for when fighting in World War II.

It’s the motto that earned him a Purple Heart award following his death in 1944.

His legacy is etched in history, and it’s cemented in Oxford, his hometown where a local library will now house his award.

At the Smith Library of Regional History, archivist Valerie Elliott walked 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé through centuries worth of Glasgow family history.

The award joins the family’s donated collection at the library.

“Grace Glasgow was an Oxford resident and she was the last of her family and she was very interested in family history, her genealogy and collected a lot of the family papers,” Elliot explained.

The private’s sister, Grace retired in Miamisburg, where the Purple Heart was ultimately found.

Elliott, who’s managed the Smith Library’s archives since the late 90s, says Glasgow’s sibling was invested in preserving her family’s memories.

The collection contains ledgers dating back to the mid 19th century and letters sent in 1807 from friends of the Glasgows’.

She believes the military honor is in good company, and upon further inspection she can confirm it is also in good condition.

“It’s sort of like the missing piece of the family history that’s come back here to the library,” she exclaimed! “And we’re grateful to the donors for making it possible.”

Elliott is talking about Jeff and Jackie Dour, the donors.

They found the award in January, and immediately notified 2 NEWS to see if we could help them find a home for the Purple Heart.

Friday, nearly a month after they called in, Edmé went back to the Dour’s, who say they’re still optimistic the private’s distant family may pop up.

“I’m just hoping that somewhere along the way somebody comes across that (the Purple Heart),” wished Mrs.Dour. “Maybe they’ll say that was a great-uncle, maybe somebody will find it and be able to make a connection.”

Elliott says her door is always open for that option if a distant relative does turn up, though our searches for one found no living family, and neither sibling had children.

Despite all the setbacks getting the award to Oxford, the librarian is confident Grace Glasgow would have welcomed the Purple Heart finding its final resting place with the family’s archives.

“The fact that– that stayed with her when all the papers came here, seems to me it was something she wasn’t ready to part with,” Elliott guessed. “And the fact that it ended up in an auction is surprising to me.I don’t think that’s what she would have wanted to happen, so fortunately the Dour’s found it and brought it back to wear I think she would have intended it to be.”

The Purple Heart will now be archived along with the remaining Glasgow Family Collection.

The public is welcomed to view the award at the Smith Library of Regional History by making an appointment.

 

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