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WWII Soldier’s Letter Resurfaces, Delivery Stymied By Vacant Address

A letter postmarked in 1945 was saved from the dead-letter pile after a carrier, a war veteran himself, recognized its significance. Now, a Michigan postmaster is trying to find out where it belongs.

Postal authorities tried to deliver a soldier's World War II-era letter to a Muskegon address, but the house was vacant. (Patch file photo)
Postal authorities tried to deliver a soldier's World War II-era letter to a Muskegon address, but the house was vacant. (Patch file photo)

More than 60 years after Army Sgt. Myron C. Cook mailed it, his letter to a Muskegon couple identified only on the yellowing, World War II-era envelope as “Mr. and Mrs. Sensabaugh” has turned up.

Whoever Mr. and Mrs. Sensabaugh are, they don’t live at 313 Washington Ave. in Muskegon. The address was vacant when carriers tried to deliver it, Muskegon Postmaster William Rowe told MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle.

Along with the vanishing soldiers from that era, the letter might have simply faded away in a dead letter pile. But it struck a chord with a carrier who had served in the Persian Gulf War, and he figured there was an interesting story behind it, the newspaper said.

The letter was originally postmarked in 1945 at the Army Post Office in New York, and a recent postmark traces it to Minneapolis in 2013. Rowe suspects someone may have recently returned the letter to the mail stream.

A still-intact vintage sealant on the envelope, addressed in the strong, cursive hand typical of the era, suggests the letter was never opened.

Rowe and other postal authorities don't plan to open it either. Instead, they want to solve the mystery, and get the letter in the hands of members of the Sensabaugh family, whoever and wherever they may be. Rowe is asking anyone with information that might help him do that to email him at william.j.rowe@usps.gov.

Richard Mullally, a World War II history buff who is documenting the war service records of Muskegon veterans, is also helping Rowe find relatives.


Radical Centrist May 15, 2014 at 12:13 AM
I hope recipients can be found to where this bit of history can come to life!
David French May 15, 2014 at 09:11 AM
This family should be easy to find. I did a quick check of the 1940 Census and found a family in Muskegon with the last name Sensabaugh and they had a son Edward who in the 1946 city directory was listed as USN for his occupation. Edward's parents died in 1973-74 and he died in Dec 31 2010 in Florida but his obituary listed four children, four grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. If this is the Sensabaugh family from the letter I believe that you could start looking for the family in Winter Haven, FLA. Good Luck!
David French May 15, 2014 at 09:27 AM
I also found that the Sensabaugh family of R (Reeve) Lee Sensabaugh and his wife Bernice, lived at 313 Washington Ave. according to city directories from 1944 again in 1947.

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