Town Talk Features

Student Standouts: 9.9.20

carter cashen of thomas jefferson school

On Christmas day 1944, a B-24 called the King Size crashed in the meadows of La Fosse, Belgium. Decades later, researchers are still working to learn more about its crew. This year, Carter Cashen, a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson School, joined the efforts through Legacy: Lost & Found. The organization identifies and returns military relics to veterans’ families and is part of Footsteps Researchers, a global research company co-founded by a Thomas Jefferson faculty member, Dr. Myra Miller. Through dedicated research, Carter was able to shine a light on the plane’s tail gunner, Henry G. Maxham.

How did you get involved with Legacy: Lost & Found?
Dr. Miller knew I was interested in World War II and reached out about the B-24 King Size project. I jumped at the opportunity. It seemed like a perfect fit for me. I’ve been doing my own family genealogy, so I already had experience looking people up and building family trees.

What was the research process like finding out about Maxham?
I was given two objectives: find Maxham’s living relatives and a photo of him. It wasn’t an easy task. His relatives were all over the place, and there were a lot of dead ends on his family tree. I contacted some of his first cousins once removed, including Betsy Miriam in Massachusetts, who was very willing to help us. She didn’t have a picture, but I was able to find one by going through some yearbooks from Maxham’s high school. He didn’t have a senior portrait, but he was pictured with the football team in 1922. We’re hoping that the yearbook photo will help us find a better picture of him from his army days.

What did you find most rewarding?
It was definitely the Zoom call with Betsy Miriam and the Footsteps researchers who worked on the project in the U.S. and Belgium. It was the culmination of months of work and dead ends. It was pretty amazing, and I felt like I had really helped.

What are you looking forward to about the school year?
We’re going to be in-person with social distancing, and it will be great getting back to everything I have missed since March. This spring and summer, I was able to keep in contact with friends using FaceTime and texting, and the Legacy project also kept me busy. But it will be nice to see everyone in person again. I also will be taking a leadership role in our Student Ambassadors club, which works with prospective students and families.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I definitely want to continue working with Legacy: Lost & Found and Dr. Miller. There’s one more person who died in the plane crash who we don’t know much about. I’ve been looking into him. I’m continuing to research my own family history and genealogy, too. I’ve also been in the St. Louis Children’s Choirs since first grade. We’ll be going back to in-person singing soon. It will be a challenge doing so with a mask