Margaret E. Straughan Robinson
2 Lt
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 05/26/1945 - 09/11/1946
Administrative Officer, Womens Army Corps

Margaret was born in Colfax, Louisiana, to Ames McEnery Straughan and Emily Dale Straughan. When she was three the family moved to Shreveport, where her parents worked at a dairy near Red Chute in Bossier Parish. When she was six the Straughans moved to Beaumont, Texas where her father worked for Standard Oil Company. During those years in the Depression, she recalls, Beaumont turned off streetlights to save money. The family raised a garden, and often fed hobos passing through town. Her father lost his job at Standard Oil, she says, "because he was older and a young man could do more work than an older man." He then drove a milk truck while Mrs. Straughan worked as a secretary for the South Texas State Fair, making about fifteen dollars a week. "Then she found she could make more money as a waitress, so she went to work in the Black Cat Cafe in one of the big hotels in Beaumont," Margaret recalls. Entertainment in Beaumont, she says, included attending the motion picture theatre where she saw silent movies. Films were also screened in the park. "Certain nights of the week we had to go to the park and sit on the ground and the movie was up there on the screen to entertain people. That was for free," she remembers. The family returned to Louisiana, and moved in with her grandparents near Colfax. Her father raised chickens and sold eggs in crates to stores in Alexandria. She recalls community fairs in which people were taught how to can. Her family canned vegetables, chicken, and beef. "We always had plenty to eat," she says. "Nothing to wear. People made dresses out of feed sacks." Margaret graduated from Colfax High School in 1938. She attended Louisiana Normal (now Northwestern State University in Natchitoches) for three years, and was there when the Louisiana Maneuvers began. "We were not prepared for a division of soldiers," she says of central Louisiana. "Mother was postmaster by then in Colfax. She was swamped because they'd come in to mail their letters." Margaret quit college to help her mother in the post office. She then went to work as a typist at Livingston Air Field in Alexandria in the constructing quartermaster's office. In May of 1945 she joined the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and was sent to basic training at Fort Oglethorpe near Chattanooga, Tennessee. After three weeks she was selected to participate in a war bond drive in cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago. On the tour she presided over displays about soldier life. "Chicago was a very interesting place for service people, because they're so good to you," she says. "We didn't pay for anything. You'd go to eat out and get ready to pay, and find out somebody already picked up the tab." After the tour she returned to Fort Oglethorpe, finished basic training, and was sent to 8th Service Command Headquarters in Dallas, where she worked in the finance office. She applied for and was accepted into Officers Candidate School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduating, she was assigned as a mess hall officer briefly before she was sent back to the finance office in Dallas. Her WAAC detachment was deactivated there, and she was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where she worked in issuing pay for returning soldiers. She was discharged there on September 11, 1946. While living in New Orleans after the war, she met E.B. Robinson who was attending medical school. They married October 22, 1950. (They would have four children, two living grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.) While her husband entered his residency in Shreveport, she worked for a law firm. Later she worked in her husband's office when he set up his practice in Bossier City.