S1c Harvey Linville Havins,

Unknown Sailor

S1c Harvey Linville Havins

Wills Point, a Texas town of about 2,000, was the birthplace of Harvey Linville Havins and central to the lives of three other men killed on the U.S.S. Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941.

A fifth man who attended high school in Wills Point survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This history of Mr Havins was researched and written by his nephew Alvin Randy Nations:

The story of Mr. Havins begins with his parents living in Wills Point, Van Zandt County, Texas, a rural farming/ranching community about 45 miles east of Dallas.

Linville (he went by his middle name) was born in Wills Point on May 5, 1914 to Permaelie Ellen (Wright) Havins, age 28, and William Alexander Havins, age 24. By age 15, he helped on the family farm as cited in the 1930 Census as “Farm Laborer, unpaid worker, member of the family”. He had some education and could read and write. As the story was told to me, to survive, the family had to leave their farm and escape the extremely poor farming conditions caused by the Dust Bowl.

In 1935 or early 1936 the family moved from Wills Point to Tahoka, Lynn County, Texas. Sometime between 1936 and 1938, the Havins family moved from Tahoka, Texas to Shafter, Kern County, California, away from the dry, parched land in Texas to a place of promise out west.

The family traveled with all of their possessions in their automobile, very much like the experience described by John Steinbeck’s book “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939). The family  included six children. If they moved in 1938, their approximate ages would have been as follows: William Alexander, 49; Permaelie Ellen, 53; Susan Argen, 31; Albert Dee, 26; Linville, 24; Violet Eldiva, 22; Hattie Lee, 17; and Alton Otha, 15. When they arrived in Shafter, William Alexander, Linville’s father, was listed as a rancher by the “California Voter of Registration for the General Election.”

The family acquired a small house on 527 English Lane on the northern outskirts of Shafter about 1938. The home was next to a raisin grape vineyard and a migrant labor camp. The house consisted of two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. There was an outhouse near the back of the property. Also, there was one small house which consisted of one bedroom and a kitchen with a dining area. There was a chicken coop and a large vegetable garden and various fruit trees. This was where the family settled; however, soon some of the members left the household.

On Jan. 10, 1939, Mr. Havins, age 24, found employment with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Bakersfield, California and was sent to various places requiring his labor. He was described as having blue eyes, red hair, ruddy complexion and was 5’-8” tall. He worked for the CCC, a federal jobs program, until May 14, 1939 at Camp F-102 CA using pick and shovel on a road construction crew. He was then moved to Camp Mammoth, F-100 CA, Mammoth Lakes, California, again working with pick and shovel on a road construction crew until Aug. 14, 1939. He was paid for 7 months, 4 days of service.

Mr. Havins, age 25, enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1939 in San Francisco. He completed basic training on Feb. 7, 1940, at U.S. Naval Training Station in San Diego.  He reported for duty as Seaman Second Class (S2c) on the Arizona on Feb. 24, 1940.  He was aboard when the Arizona crossed the equator on July 24, 1940. He was awarded the Navy Training Course Certificate: Seaman, First Class (S1c) on Sept. 4, 1940, and had that rank when he died.

Note one: There is no evidence that Mr. Havins knew the other men with ties to Wills Point before they went aboard the Arizona. It is possible, however, because Wills Point was so small, and even the whole county had a population of just 31,000. Also, all five men were born in the area between 1914 and 1920. The others killed were Horace Van “Benjy” Wood, Dee Cumpie Ayers “June” Jr., and Allen Brady Fincher. The survivor was Brooxey J. Johnston Jr.

Note two: In Navy records Mr. Havins’ middle name is spelled Linfille. This was a mistake, perhaps made because the “f” and “v” keys are so closed on a keyboard. He was always Linville to everyone in his family. His driver’s license and Social Security card say Linville. After his death, a nephew was given the middle name Linville.

Sources: The primary source for this profile is Alvin Randy Nations — the son of one of  Mr. Havins’ sisters, Hattie Lee Havins Nations. Other sources include Larry Turner of Wills Point, who has spent considerable time researching the other local men on the Arizona; the Census; the Handbook of Texas Online. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
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