Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

We humans seem to have a fascination with our modes of transportation. At least my family did...they were always having their pictures taken with them. Here are a few of the photos from my coffers of my folks with their traditional, and some not so traditional, rides.

My 2nd-great-grandmother, Juliane Bye, my great-grandmother, Frances Bye, and my cousin Julian Tvedt, c1900

Aunt- and Uncle-in-law, c1910

My great-grandparents, Harry and Frances (Bye) Jackson, with their motorbike in the early 1920s.

I don't know who this is or what year, but he's probably a relative since this photo is in our family files.
Anyone want to hazard a guess as to the date?

I don't know who these children are, either. I'm guessing this is late 1920s or early 1930s based on their clothing.
I wish we could see more of the airplane, though.

Grandpa-in-law Claude Parker in a row boat, probably fishing. He looks about 15 here, I'm guessing this was taken in 1917.

Grandpa-in-law Claude Parker. What do you think, early 1920s?

My mother-in-law and her cousin, c1925

A bunch of Parkers (I can't read the names on the back of the photo). I'm guessing early 1930s. What is your guess?

We're not certain who these people are...far left might be my great-grandmother Frances (Bye) Jackson. Probably 1930s.

My grandfather Vince Heinz, c1935

Mom 1936

Mom c1937

Mom's first train ride 1939 (with Frances (Bye) Jackson)

Great-grandma Frances and her son Lee Jackson c1940

Granduncle Lee Jackson on what looks like a toy tractor c1940

My great-grandfather Harry Jackson with his vacation trailer in Tampa, Florida c1941

My great-grandmother (again) c.1943

Front of a Christmas card Lee Jackson sent to his mother from his tour in WW II in 1944. He was in the 82nd Airborne Division and suffered injuries to his back and leg from a parachute jump in Africa.

Frances (Bye) Jackson racing the family dog on one of her grand-daughters' bikes, probably late 1940s or early 1950s.

Cousin Paule Loring, about 1950-1960

Sis and Me, 1957

Great-grandma Frances Jackson, c1959

Grandparents-in-law Claude and Mildred (Muth) Parker, 1972

Cousins at Cape Canaveral, 1985

Dumbo ride at Disneyland, 1987

Hubby playing with a tractor in the rain, 1988

Whew!!! There's more, but I think you get the drift.

Sepia Saturday is a weekly meme which encourages bloggers to publish and share old images and photographs. Visit their blog for other stories and vintage photos with the theme of the week.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Tribute - Experiences of a WW I Veteran

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated because after four years of bitter war, the Allied powers signed a cease-fire agreement (an armistice) with Germany at Rethondes, France on November 11, 1918. This brought World War I to a close. November 11, 1919 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United Sates, to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace...Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. (quoted from

My grandfather, Joseph Kennedy (Ken) Masterson, was in France on that fateful that day. He was inducted in the U.S. Army on June 24, 1918. He was trained at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky until about July 15th at which time he was shipped to Camp Beauregard, Louisiana and then to Camp Stewart, Virginia. He was deployed to Europe on August 6, arriving in Brest, France on the 18th. He was first attached to the 39th Division (Co. H., 154th Reg. Infantry). He was transferred to the 32nd Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (Co. H, 125th Inf.) in September 1918 as one of the replacements.
Joseph Kennedy Masterson, Private,
United States Army. Fought during
World War I in France and Germany
from 24 June 1918 to 21 May 1919.
We are fortunate to have the letters that he wrote to his future wife, our grandmother, Mary Ethel Peake. Ken doesn't write much about the war until his letter of November 25, 1918. This was the first letter he had written since August 26, shortly after arriving in Europe. The letter covered two pages, but the mention of the war was very short:
     Dear Ethel I will take the pleasure to write you a few lines as it has been quite a while since I have written to you. But the reason I haven’t written before now it has been just so I couldn’t. Well, E., I have been on the front lines & have been over the top several times.
     I sure have seen some fighting.
     When I saw my friends falling on both sides of me & I never got a scratch so I began to think I was lucky. I was under shell fire for about 22 days. I was in the support line when the Armustice [sic] was signed. So I was sure a happy fellow then haha.
     But now I am hiking every day. I have hiked all over France & across Belgium & now I am in Luxemburg. So I guess the next move I will land in Germany. haha
     Say I have sure been going some since I came into the service. Just 5 months yesterday.
Private Masterson doesn't mention his experiences in the war again until January 15, 1919. At that time he was in Germany. Unlike his previous letters, most of this one was about the fighting. Grandpa always inserted haha whenever he expressed strong emotions. I have retained the spelling from the original letter...he only had a sixth grade education:
     I was transferred from the 39th Div to the 32nd. I met this Div at Suzan Court the 20th of Sept & left there on the 22nd for the front, we went in the front lines the 1st of Oct. We were on the front for 20 days, & I went over the top several times, the first time I went over the top I thought it was fun but I soon changed my mind haha. When I seen my friends falling all around me, I didn’t think it was so funny.
     When the shells were bursting around me, you just ought to see me hug the ground haha. I thought several times when the bullets were singing around my head that I would never get to see your smile face again.
     We were under shell fire when the Armistice was signed & were going on the front again on the 12th of Nov. so you know how happy I felt when I heard it was signed. Then we started on our long hike to the Rine on the 17th of Nov. We crossed Belgium Luxenbourgh & now in Germany & I guess the next place will be Russia. haha We crossed over the line between Luxenbourg & Germany on the 1st of Dec & crossed the Rine river Dec 13th at Andernach.
The next, and the last, time any mention of the fighting was in a letter of February 18th. He added a map and a schedule of the 32nd Division with the explanation that he had just gotten it and thought he would send with the letter.

Written on the back of the map:
The Bar-Red-Arrow
In November 1918 when instructions were received that each Division in the A. E. F. should choose a distinguishing mark, it was thought that the red circle no longer typfied the character of the 32nd Division. It had shown by the part taken in the actions in the Chateau-Thierry Sections, on the Jewigny-Soissons Front, as well as in its fighting in the Clirgonne Forest and on the Meuse that the soldiers of the 32nd Division did not run in circles but shot through all obstacles. The troops of the Division on many occasions formed a flying wedge launched against the German lines and this fact led to the selection of the arrow as its symbol. The Commanding General of the division, when asked why he had chosen the Bar Red-Arrow as the distinguishing mark of the division, said, “I chose the barred–arrow as the Division symbol because we pierced every line the Roche put before us.”

In addition to the letters, Pvt. J.K. Masterson kept a journal of his movements overseas. The journal suffered water damage when my grandparents' basement flooded which makes it difficult to read. Below is a transcript of his marches as far as they are readable. I tried to correct the spelling, but some of the places may be wrong.

Around the world with the U. S. Army.
     Left Bardstown June 24 for Camp Taylor KY, and arrived there the same day, was placed there in the 10th Co. 3 tr. Bn. 153. Depo brigade.
     Was transferred from there to Camp Beauregard, LA July 15th for replacements to 39 Div. Co. H 154th inf. Arrived there July 18th.
     Left there for Camp Stewart July 31st. Port of embarkation Camp Stewart at Newport News, VA.
     Embarked Aug 6th for France. Arrived in the harbor at Brest Aug 18th, got off the ship the 19th. Hiked out past Napoleon barracks and struck a field camp the same day, the dirtiest place on earth.
     The 21st went to the harbor and helped unload supplies. The 22nd hiked back to the Napoleon barracks and had a two Minute cold water bath, and spent the night on guard.
     Aug 23rd hiked back to Brest, and loaded in two by four box cars for Quincy France. Thirty six in each car. Unloaded at Mehun, the 27th and hiked four Km. the same day to Quincy. Left Quincy the 12th of Sept, hiked 15 Km, to St. Florence, to a transportation camp.
     Left on the night of Sept 17th for replacements of the 32nd Div, some more nice riding in a side door pullman. Arrived at St. Dizier Sept 20th, hiked 17 Km to Suzanne Court, where I joined the 32nd Div, and was assigned to Co H 125th Inf.
     Left there the 22nd for the front, in trucks. 24 hour ride. We stopped in the woods at noon 23rd 24th and 25th, hiked at night and the morning of the 26th we camped in the woods in front of the --- Artillery.
     The 29th was Sunday and we hiked that Morning, and then worked the rest, Till 7 Pm and at 8 Pm we hiked in the support lines.
     And the night of the 30th we went in on the front. That was the Argonne sector, of the Verdun front in the Argonne forest.
     Went Over the top the first time.
     Oct 7th, our Captain got killed that evening, Francis A. Barlow, and then about all we did, was go over the top and we sure was shot all to pieces on that front.
     The night of the 19th, the 89th Div relieved us. On the 20th hiked back 12 Km. to the rear for rest. We struck a field camp in the Malfalkin Woods.
     Started back to the front the 31st. Camped in the woods left of Romance. Hiked up to big concrete dugout on the 2nd of Nov, stayed there 4 days. Went back on the support lines on the 7th. We crossed the --- River the night of the ---th then we camped at Suchrey in the woods until the Armistice was signed on the 11th month 11th day and 11th hour. The last shot was fired at 10:45 am.
     Then we moved into some German barracks until the Glorious hike to the Rheine was started. The night of the 12th was the first time I slept in a building since the 12th of Sept.
     Nov 16th, started the hike to the Rheine, hiked 10 Km to some German barracks. Nov 17th hiked 14 Km to ---
     Nov 18th hiked 30 Km to Longwy.
     Nov 20th hiked 15 Km and crossed one corner of Belgium and crossed at Aubang Luxembourg.
     Nov 21st hiked 28 Km to Holndenger Luxembourg.
     Nov 22nd hiked 12 Km to Godbrange.
     Nov 23rd hiked 28 Kilometers to Siegen farm, rested there 7 days.
     Dec 1st hiked 23 Km to Elgendorf Germany. Crossed the line in to Germany Dec 1st.
     Dec 2nd hiked 18 Km to Erdorf.
     Dec 3rd hiked 10 Km to Oberkail.
     Dec 5th hiked 35 Km to Daun.
     Dec 6th hiked 22 Km to Boos.
     Dec 7 hiked 21 Km to Marpie.
     Dec 9th hiked 5 Km to Thur.
     Dec 10th hiked 15 Km to Andernach on the Rhine River.
     Dec 13th hiked 18 Km to Oberbieber. Crossed the Rhine at 11 am, in a drizzling rain, and fell out and rested on the last end of the bridge.
     Dec 14th hiked 18 Km to Willroth and established a line of defense for the bridge head on the Rhine.
     Jan 1st 1919 hiked 1 Km to Gierend Germany where I am stationed for quite a while. On the night of April the 7th I went to Oberbieber with a wagon train to turn them in.

The United States Army published a brief history of the 32nd Division in response to the desire of the Army Commander that all "individuals...receive a written or printed brief of their history as soldiers of the A.E.F." This history has been digitized by Google and can be viewed here. According to that history, the division suffered the loss of 6,637 officers and men due to death, wounds, gas, and missing in action during the time my grandfather was attached to the division. Miraculously, he came through unscathed.

On March 24, 1919 John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief, wrote a letter to Major General William Lassiter, Commander of the 32nd Division, extending his compliments to the men. In that letter, he states: "...During the Meuse-Argonne offensive the 32d Division entered the line on September 30th and by its persistence in that sector it penetrated the Kreimhilde Stellung, taking Romagne and following the enemy to the northeastern edge of the Bois de Bantheville. On November 8th, the division took up the pursuit of the enemy east of the Meuse until the time when hostilities were suspended.
    "Since the signing of the Armistice the 32d Division has had the honor to act as a part of the Army of Occupation. For the way in which all ranks have performed their duties in this capacity, I have only the warmest praise and approval. The pride of your officers and men, justified by such a record, will insure the same high morale which has been present in the division during its stay in France. I want each man to know my appreciation of the work he has done and of the admiration in which he is held by the rest of his comrades in the American Expeditionary Forces."

Ken finally made it home and was honorably discharged at Camp Zachary Taylor on 21 May 1919. He never talked about his war experiences to his children, but it is clear that he instilled a sense of patriotism to them as both his sons enlisted in the military as soon as they graduated high schoolthe oldest was in the Army Air Corps and was captured by the Germans in World War II, the youngest joined the Air Force and served in Korea and in Vietnam during those wars.

Otho Masterson 1943
Kenneth Masterson 1951

I am honored to have such valiant men in my heritage. 

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Wounded and Alone

Thomas Peake (1843-1915)
Thomas Peake (my 2nd-great grandfather) was born March 24, 1843 near Holy Cross, Marion county, Kentucky. He was five feet, eight inches tall, with dark hair, dark complexion and gray eyes. He enlisted in the United States Army at Camp Graves on November 4, 1861, enrolling in Company G of the Tenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 10th Kentucky, under the command of John M. Harlan, was outfitted at Camp Crittenden, Lebanon, Kentucky, and mustered into service on November 21, 1861.

It is no wonder that so many of the young men of Kentucky flocked to the recruiting offices. One Union meeting at the Springfield fairground opened with a prayer which included an entreaty that the Almighty should "take each erring rebel by the nape of the neck and the seat of his breeches, and shake him over the fires of perdition, which may have ben heated seven times hotter than was prepared for thy servants Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the days of old,...until these rebellious and sacrilegious souls may, like the prodigal son, return to the Union..". This was followed by a speech and exhortations by ex-Governor Charles Wycliffe for the young men to volunteer to "save the country". The 10th Kentucky marched to Springfield to attend a picnic in their honor at the fairgrounds: " thousand men four abreast, came winding itself like some great monster along the road, with Colonel Harlan and his staff at their head."[1]

Between December 31, 1861 and September 19, 1863, Thomas Peake and the 10th Ky. engaged in numerous battles ranging from Kentucky to Tennessee to Mississippi to Alabama to Georgia.[2] The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19 and 20, 1863, was the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and involved the second highest number of casualties in the war following the Battle of Gettysburg. The 10th Kentucky was in the thick of that battle from start to finish. Of the 471 men available  for duty at Chickamauga, the 10th Kentucky suffered 166 casualties, including Thomas Peake. At some point in the two days of fighting, Peake was wounded and, as described by him, was lost in the woods for several days while making his way to the rear. Feverish and alone, he feared that he would die of his wounds before reaching safety and medical attention. His fears were put to rest by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, who assured him that he would be saved.

An assessment of Peake's wounds is contained in the Surgeon General's report, which states that he received gunshot wounds to the right arm, thigh and leg, described as flesh wounds, but serious. There was no exit wound for the shots to the leg indicating that the balls were still there for the rest of his life.[3]  The Oct. 8, 1863 edition of the Cincinnati Daily Commercial listed the Union casualties of Chickamauga, describing Thomas Peake's condition as "severely wounded".
Surgeon's Report illustrating Thomas Peake's injuries.
Thomas returned to his unit on March 22, 1864 and engaged in the Atlanta campaign with the rest of the 10th Ky with the exception of a brief hospitalization due to illness in August 1864.  On December 6, 1864, the surviving members of the regiment were mustered out in Louisville and were allowed to return home. 

Thomas Peake married Theresa Elizabeth Culver on February 6, 1866. They lived in Larue County in 1870 but returned to Nelson County by 1880. The couple had eight children: Robert Damascus Peake (my great-grandfather), born December 11, 1867; John O. Peake, born November 19, 1870; Gabriel T. Peake, born December 7, 1873; Mary R. Peake, born October 22, 1877; Annie L. Peake, born May 11, 1880; Alice V. Peake, born July 25, 1884; Frances N. Peake, born October 18, 1885; and Florence E. Peake, born September 14, 1888.[3]  
First Row (seated on ground): Phillip Peake, John O. Peake holding Bessie Peake, Joseph Carl Peake;
Second Row, standing: Mary Helen (Ella) Peake, Minnie Peake;
Second Row, seated: Teresa Elizabeth Culver Peake, Thomas Peake, Catherine Peake Culver;
Third Row: Martha (Lola) Fogle Peake holding Eddie Peake, Florence Peake Watson, Alice Veronica (Bonnie) Peake Hall, Sid Hall, Frances (Fannie) Peake.
The pain from his wounds increased as Thomas grew older necessitating the use of a cane when walking. By the time he was 47, he had developed a severe case of rheumatism as a direct result of his war wounds. He received a veteran's pension until his death on December 28, 1915 due to influenza.[3]

For a more detailed account of the movements and engagements of the 10th Ky, visit Chapter 7: Thomas Peake - The Civil War of The Peakes of Nelson County, Kentucky by Robert Zwicker and John Stewart.

Thanks for dropping by.

  Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

[1] Washington County, Kentucky Bicentennial History, 1792-1992, Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, Kentucky.
[2] Union Regiments of Kentucky, Thomas Speed et al., 1897. Reprint, Morningside House, Dayton, Ohio (1984).
[3] Pension File for Thomas Peak, National Archives, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D. C.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fishing

Mom and Auntie, Chicago area, c. 1945

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  Wordless Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Talented Tuesday: Dancing with the Angels

Signa, Frances, Dorothy, Lillian c. 1921

My grandmother, Dorothy Jackson, was a dancer. She was given ballet and acrobatic dance lessons as a child. There is one photo where she is on the beach with her mom and two sisters she is posed with her toe pointed like a ballerina.

Dorothy Jackson and
friend in their Russian
dance costumes, c. 1920

Dorothy was particularly proud of being able to do a Russian dance where she would squat as if she were sitting on a chair, fold her arms in front of her chest, and kick her legs out.

Dorothy married Vincent Adam Heinz in the spring of 1933 and they had three beautiful daughters by the fall of 1936. My grandfather left his wife and daughters in 1943. His mother disowned him and invited Dorothy and the girls to live with her in Skokie, Illinois. Great-grandmother was a widow and owner of the Skokie Inn (or Club), situated on a triangular-shaped corner on North Cicero with the house behind the Inn joined by a breezeway. Dorothy helped her ex-mother-in-law in the tavern in return for a home on the second floor of the house.

Dorothy outside the Skokie Club
The jukebox was always playing in the tavern. Dorothy and her young sisters-in-law could often be found jitterbugging with each other and with the gentlemen that came into the tavern. Dorothy’s early childhood dance lessons were an advantage to her when the jitterbug became popular – she was able to perform the acrobatic moves quite easily. It was here that she met and married William Max Mead, a recently returned veteran of World War II.

Galesburg house on Florence Ave.
The family moved to Grampa Bill's hometown of Galesburg, Illinois. Things were difficult for them at this time. The unemployment rate was high and Bill would sometimes get bumped at the railroad where we worked, or would have to work at a lower pay. But the family was happy. They would sing and dance to the tunes on the radio. Dorothy would wax the kitchen floor, then she and the girls would buff it by dancing and sliding on it in their stocking feet. Dorothy taught her daughters to jitter-bug and, when the weather was nice, she would teach them acrobatics in the back yard. They would all do cartwheels, handstands, and back-flips. As the girls grew into their teen years, the neighborhood boys and girls would come to the house and Dorothy would teach them all how to jitter-bug.

Dorothy on her 70th birthday

Even in her later years Dorothy continued to dance every chance she had, as well as do cartwheels. She was often found on the floor with her grandchildren as limber as any 20 year old. I picture her now dancing with the angels. I'm sure she is giving them a run for their money.

Thanks for dropping by.

  Talented Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take Good Care of Your Karma

I am a firm believer in Karma. I know that if I am kind to others and do good deeds, others will be kind to me. I also know that if I do wrong to others, I will incur misfortune three-fold. Karma. How did I learn this lesson, you ask? I thank (blame) my brother.

Bro is just under three years younger than me. He is my parents' third child and first son. I don't know why, but I loved to provoke him when we were very young. Here are a couple of examples...

When I was six, Sis was five, Bro was three, Lil Sis was a baby (no Baby Bro, yet). We lived in a house that had a gas heater in the bathroom. The heater malfunctioned causing it to emit carbon monoxide into the house overnight. I remember waking up groggy with Mom standing in the bedroom doorway. She looked woozy herself and scared. She was calling mine and Sis' names over and over to wake us up. I think she was trying to find out if we were still alive. The next thing I remember is being in the hospital with Bro in the same room. We were the only two in the family that were admitted, everyone else went home. The hospital had put Bro in a crib. He was not too happy about it...he had been sleeping in a "big boy's" bed for quite some time. Of course I couldn't let the opportunity pass to tease him about being a baby and I proceeded to do so. He got more and more upset as I continued to call him a baby. Bro went home the next day and I was still there. After he left, I started to feel very lonely. Mom couldn't visit much because she had the other kids to take care of and, I suspect, she was probably still a little weak from inhaling the carbon monoxide. Daddy was away on Temporary Duty Assignment (TDY) in England; he was flown home, but not for a few days. As I lay in the hospital bed feeling sorry for myself, I stuck my tongue out and it wouldn't go back into my mouth! I tried pushing it in with my hand but it would just pop right back out. I was terrified. I had visions of spending the rest of my life with my tongue hanging out. The nurse called the Doctor who said it was psychological because I was homesick. Then, miraculously, I was able to put my tongue back in my mouth and it stayed put. But it was a close call; I could have been permanently disabled all because I mocked Bro. Karma.

About the time of the carbon monoxide poisoning.
I am on the far right. Bro is, well, the boy.
The next incident occurred when I was seven or eight. Bro caught the mumps. He was miserable and he looked so funny with the puffy cheeks. He would sit out in the back yard and sadly watch us play with our friends, wishing so much that he could play, too. What did I do? I rubbed it in. And what happened to me? I caught the mumps and they lasted twice as long with me as they did with Bro. Karma.

Let this be a lesson to you...take good care of your Karma and your Karma will take good care of you.

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fresh Meat! (Genealogically Speaking)

Baby Bro and his new wife flew into town to surprise Mom for her birthday. This is the first time I've seen Sis-in-law since they were married a little over two years ago.

Mom mentioned during the conversation that she hasn't sent any birthday cards to anyone since she got here because her date book is packed in storage. This got me to thinking about all the birthdays I have stored in my genealogy program and I suddenly remembered that Sis-in-law and I haven't had "The Discussion" yet. So I sat her down with a pedigree chart and a family group record and we got started.

The only info Sis-in-law was able to give me were the names of her parents and grandparents. To her knowledge, no one has ever researched her paternal line. Her father never talked about his family and she didn't know much. My heart started to palpitate--a virgin family tree! This is going to be so much fun!

Baby Bro and Sis-in-law drove up to Phoenix to watch today's Cardinals-Rams game and I stayed behind to research her family tree. So far I have been able to get dates for her father and paternal grandparents AND I have added two more generations to her pedigree. She will be so surprised when I hand it over to her tomorrow along with the supporting documentation (draft cards, obituaries, birth, death, and marriage records and, of course, censuses)!

Sis-in-law's Grandpa's WW I draft card

Pure Bliss! This is waayyy more fun than watching any football game, right?

[Do you think maybe I might be a geek?]

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