Brewster Street in Glen Cove is named after one of...

Brewster Street in Glen Cove is named after one of Long Island's fallen heros. (Feb. 4, 2011) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

They're the kinds of simple street names many drivers don't notice.

But in Glen Cove, Johnson Street, Murray Court and other roadways with prosaic names lead to a wealth of forgotten local history. Dan Russell spent six months researching and compiling the city's first detailed log of roads named for fallen World War I and World War II veterans.

So far, he has identified 35 of the namesakes in an effort that veterans' advocates say may be unique on Long Island.

"We want to make sure the record is preserved," said Frank Colon Jr., Nassau County American Legion Commander.

So to Russell - Glen Cove's volunteer historian - Johnson Street now conjures Harry Johnson, an infantryman whose 1918 death notification was erroneously delivered to a local laundry. Murray Court means Tommy Murray, a paratrooper shot in 1944's Battle of the Bulge but not buried stateside for three years.

And Manning Road triggers the tale of Tiffany Manning, a Navy doctor slain in an unexpected German attack during a D-Day training exercise. Russell's research showed that the military initially told the victim's family that he had died in a suicide squadron.

After reading about death after death in old newspapers and on microfiche, "In the end, it was getting quite depressing," Russell, a 53-year-old former city harbormaster, said matter-of-factly.

Regardless, his work is gaining wide appreciation, and prompting ideas for a regional effort.

"It would be a great idea to start a website with all of these names," said Suffolk County American Legion Commander Bob Bruggemann. "The one thing we're really afraid of is people forgetting."

Both he and Colon said they hadn't heard of any other municipalities or veterans' organizations examining street names for connections to the war dead. Nearby Oyster Bay Town keeps no such record.

Russell's work, complete with biographies and battle accounts, will soon be kept on file at Glen Cove City Hall, the public library and posted online. But he isn't done, and isn't sure if the practice continued during subsequent conflicts.

The lifelong Glen Cove resident wants to find descendants to fill out biographies and provide photographs for the veterans he's already cataloged.

That way, entries with one sentence can be closer to what's been found on Doxey Drive. John Doxey, killed trying to liberate a small German town in 1945, was described in a letter Russell discovered from a company mate as "one of the bravest men I've seen in battle."

Doxey's heroism earned him the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Meanwhile, Russell earned the respect of Doxey's twin sister, still living in Glen Cove.

"It's very, very nice," said Margaret Doxey, 86. "Very thoughtful of them to remember."

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