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Two Logan sisters became ‘Rosie the Riveters’

Photo from Logan Banner Lillian Parsons McDonald and Margaret Parsons Short. They were 18 and 20 years old when this photo was taken. They worked together at the Sylvania Defense Plant in Huntington during World War II.
Photo from Logan Banner
Lillian Parsons McDonald and Margaret Parsons Short. They were 18 and 20 years old when this photo was taken. They worked together at the Sylvania Defense Plant in Huntington during World War II.

LOGAN, W.Va. — Sisters Lillian and Margaret were 20 and 18 years old when they worked at the Sylvania Defense Plant at Huntington, W.Va., during World War II.

Margaret Elizabeth Parsons Short passed away in 2005. Margaret’s daughter, Brenda Thomas, interviewed her aunt about the experiences the sisters shared during World War II. Thomas shared the sisters’ story, as well as a photo of the two at the time, with The Logan Banner.

Margaret’s sister, Lillian Gertrude Parsons McDonald, was born April 19, 1923, at Midkiff, W.Va. She graduated from Logan High School in 1942.

Lillian married Ralph Woodrow McDonald, June 7, 1946, and the couple had two children, Sherlie McDonald Ellis and Delbert Rex McDonald.

Lillian and her sister learned about the jobs at the Sylvania Defense Plant from their cousin. They packed up and headed to Huntington, where they worked at the plant one and a half years.

Like many people in Logan County, Lillian had a connection to men who were fighting in the war. Her boyfriend, Ralph McDonald was a Staff Sgt. in the Army Air Corps and his brother, Virgil McDonald, was a prisoner of war.

Her sister Margaret, who worked with her at the plant, was married to Denver Elmo Short, who was serving with the 101st Airborne unit stationed at Ft. Benning, Ga. Short was wounded four times during his deployment and was awarded a Purple Heart with three Oak leaf clusters.

Lillian said the young women weren’t homesick during their time way from home. They had each other every day and their parents, Delbert and Nellie Baker Parsons, lived in West Hamlin at the time and visited them on weekends occasionally.

Lillian said working at the defense plant made her more aware of things going on in the world…

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