Oral History Interview: Edward Layden of Hoopeston
Ed Layden went into the Army before World War II, but suffered an injury and was discharged before the U.S. went to war. He returned home, and worked on the family farm. Once the war started, it was very hard to find workers to help with farm work, and many farmers worried that it wouldn’t be possible to get their crops harvested before they spoiled in the fields. The program in which German POWs helped out as laborers on their farms proved to be very helpful. Layden worked with 20 German prisoners from the German POW camp in Hoopeston harvesting sweet corn. The prisoners were picked up at the canning factory in his dad’s truck and brought to his farm. They enjoyed being out in the country, where his mother would make them sandwiches, cookies and chocolate milk.