The Persons Family:Information about Wilton Burton Persons
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Wilton Burton Persons (b. January 19, 1896, d. 1977)Wilton Burton Persons (son of Frank Stanford Persons and Kate Minnis Abrams) was born January 19, 1896, and died 1977.He married Alice Minnick.
Notes for Wilton Burton Persons:
A native of Montgomery, AL, Burt Persons graduated with top honors from Auburn University in electrical engineering.He rushed to the recruiting office when America entered World War I to volunteer, but found that his weight of 129 pounds was four pounds below the minimum requirement.He went to a nearby drugstore and ask for help.He was given a dozen bananas and lots of water.He then joined the army at 133 pounds.
During WWI, he served as a coast artilleryman in the U.S. and France.In the Army, he ws nicknamed "Slick," partly because of his charming quiet way of manipulating people into doing things they didn't want to do.In 1931, he was assigned to the office of the secretary of war, where he became friends with another young officer, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower.During much of his time in the Army, Wilton Burton worked as a liason between the Army and Congress.General George C. Marshall, who headed America's WWII effort, once called him "the best public relations man alive."During World War II, he was in charge of steering some two billion dollars in Army appropriations through Congress.When Eisenhower assumed top command of the Allied forces in Europe, he asked that Persons be assigned to his staff.General Marshall turned him down on the grounds that Persons was irreplaceable in the Capitol.In 1948, he retired from teh Army and became superintendentof Staunton (VA) Military Academy.In 1951, Eisenhower persuaded him to return to active duty and join him in Paris where Eisenhower was commander of NATO.In Europe, Persons was Eisenhower's chief go-between in dealing with foreign diplomats and visiting congressmen.Persons was one of those close to Eisenhower to encourage him to run for President.In 1958, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Wilton Burton to succeed Sherman Adams as his Chief Presidential Aide.
Persons once permitted a photograph of himself with a sign reading "While in this office speak in a low, soothing tone and do not diasagree with me in any manner...I become most unpleasant."
[source:The Commerical Appeal, Memphis, Oct 19, 1958]
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