Remembering Jack Kirksey this Memorial Day 2020

Jack Kirksey (Andrew Jackson Kirksey) was born in November 1917 in Reynolds, Georgia. His parents were Ira Hill and Mattie George Newsome Kirksey. He was my mother’s cousin. Jack married Kloye Ann Bowen in 1938 in Upson County.

In 1940 he filled out his draft registration card and he did sign his name as Jack Kirksey. He enlisted in the Navy and a few short years later, while serving in the South Pacific aboard the PT-109 commanded by John F. Kennedy, he was killed when a Japanese Destroyer hit the PT-109. Two men were lost. More information can be found on the HistoryNet page. When the movie was made, he was called Andy but he was always known as Jack. Another article about a memorial.

Jacki McFarland wrote a story about her grandfather. It can be found on Ancestry. Ancestry is a paid subscription. I will not copy the story here without her permission. I read an article that his son, Jack, visited a PT boat in 2017.

We remember all those who died in service and all those who served.


#Genealogy, #Kirksey, #WWII, #PT109, #Navy, #Memorial Day

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Happy Birthday, Mom

Helen Kirksey Grassi

We remember Mom today, May 19th,, the 100th anniversary of her birth. Woodrow Wilson was the president of the United States and it was the start of the time known as the “Roaring Twenties.” Barbers were discussing safe-shaving and were promoting safety razors. People were repudiating the League of Nations. The Democrats were offering their resolutions for the Presidential Convention. Then when she was eight years old, did she hear about the first Calaveras County Frog Jumping Contest?

She was born in Taylor County, Georgia to Barney Lee and Ida Philmon Kirksey. She was the youngest of five children. Her oldest brother was born in 1900. Her sister, Nora, was 17 years older than she was and she grew up with her nieces and nephew.

Claude was born in 1905 and Dick was born in 1913. As a young child she grew up on a farm and she told the story of why she did not like to eat eggs. Her job was to candle the eggs to separate the fertilized eggs from the unfertilized. She said that she had her fill of eggs. She lived through the depression and World War II. She Is considered a member of the “Greatest Generation.” I found a newspaper clipping with this poem (no citation available):

During World War II she worked for the War Department. She met my Dad at the beginning of the War at Fort Benning, Georgia. She was transferred to Washington DC and they were married there on the 19th of November 1942 just prior to him going overseas. Their wedding dinner was with friends from New York at a Chinese restaurant in Georgetown. Mom shared a house in Washington with three ladies from various parts of the country who were working in the District of Columbia just as she was. While she was there she attended a styling class. She was quite a seamstress and she had impeccable tastes and style. She wove this ability into food, fashion, home decoration and renovations not to mention she cultivated a green thumb. She loved to garden and canning and freezing were summer occupations. She enjoyed quilting and her Scottish Terriers. She was a collector too – thimbles from around the world and mechanical Christmas toys.

After the War, Dad and Mom settled in New York. They lived at Ft. Tilden, Rego Park, and then Far Rockaway. She worked in the admitting office of the local hospital and then retired. After Dad died in 1978, she moved to Virginia. Yes, Mom, again, happy 100th birthday.

Atlanta Constitution May 1920
On This Day in America, Wagman

#Kirksey, #Grassi, #Birthday, #Genealogy

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Entertainment in the Spring

We have deer, lots of deer, a herd sometimes. As a result, container gardening on the deck is the way to go. Spring is trying its best to entice me to do some gardening. There are a couple of perennials, two tomato plants, dianthus, beets and radishes are germinating. Hanging baskets were at the grocers a few weeks ago and I couldn’t resist adding some color. There is still much to do. Yesterday, a hummingbird was checking out the hanging basket. There are a few cardinals, a pileated woodpecker, doves, downy woodpeckers, crows, wrens, chickadees, titmouse, and squirrels entertaining me as well. This is so much better than listening to the news. Hope springs eternal…

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What Day Is It?

It’s Thursday. To keep an active mind and body, I participated in an online Chair Yoga class yesterday. I tried to catch up on a few podcasts too. The ladies got together via online conference today but not too much more was accomplished. Hopefully, things are improving. It’s hard to tell from the news. I wonder how our culture will be changed in the future as a result of this pandemic. Only time will tell. Continue to stay safe.


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Trying Times

What a strange spring this has been. What a strange Easter season this has been. It is hard to believe that we are still in quarantine. The question we ask is, “When will this end?” Fortunately, there has been enough to dos on our list here at the house to keep us busy. There has been enough genealogy to work on each day. There has been an opportunity to delete old email and read books and articles on the “To Be Read Pile.” There have been some very good online conferences. One bright spot was a Zoom family reunion on Easter Sunday. From California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the family came together to enjoy a visit. Thank goodness for technology. We look for better times tomorrow.

#pandemic, #Easter

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Sarah Kirksey Griffin

Sarah was probably born around 1744. The consensus of the many researchers is that she is the daughter of Edward Kirksey. She married William Griffin around 1767 in Chatham County, NC. She and William had the following children: John, Rebeccah (married Joel Brazeal), Rosanna (Rosey) (married Michael Blocker),  and Haskey (married David Kennon Breazeale), William, and Henry. Who did the sons marry?

On the 19th Day of January 1770, William and Sarah deeded John Griffin 100 acres of property in Orange County (Book a pg 26 and 27). On the 19th Day of January 1772, William and Sarah sold 260 acres to Christopher Kirksey (Book A pg 33 and 34)

Sarah died in Chatham County probably by 1779 as she did not sign the deed transferring property to Joel Brezeale. (Book B pg 153)

He remarried Elizabeth Stroud around 1779-1784 in North Carolina.  They had two children Oswald and Sargent.  Like her brothers, Christopher and Isaac, Sarah’s husband William migrated to Pendleton District SC. Families moved together.

William Griffin signed his will on 5 October 1800 and it was probated on the 14th of October.

In 1800, the heirs of Sarah are listed as legatees in the power of attorney filed in Chatham County. You can read the document in this post about Rebecca Rickman.

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Spring here in Virginia

It’s beginning to look like spring in Virginia. The lawn is green and the trees are blooming. We had six deer in the back yard yesterday. Fills a person with hope.

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Helen Voelkel Wilderman Hall

We will miss her greatly. She was not an ordinary woman and she has left us at a very extraordinary time, during the Covid-19 pandemic on March 13. That was not the cause of her death but it impacted her funeral. Helen was born on June 25, 1925, to Max and Elizabeth Menrath Voelkel. Her sibling, Max, predeceased her. She was a musician in the marching band in Flushing NY High School and pianist who would play the music at events. She was a loving wife to Bob Wilderman Sr. and Forest Hall.

Helen was an active volunteer in the communities where she lived, the Steuben Society of America in NYC, her Florida parish St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Shepherd Center of Chesterfield.

Helen was a volunteer with the Shepherd Center of Chesterfield until she was 90.
She attended a tea in 2017.

She loved to travel and toured Europe and the United States with her husband Bob and later toured the Caribbean and China with Forest. She and Forest loved to fish and travel in their bluebird bus around the country. Forest was a builder by trade and they built several homes. The zest for life and fun was always present.

In North Carolina she purchased a Circus Hall of Cream, more than just an ice cream shop, from her brother-in-law Wayne Hall. There is a photograph but it will be posted when it shows up. Helen loved people and enjoyed having them visit.

She loved her family and her dogs. Arnie the beagle is with us now. She had three grandchildren, Julie, Christine, and Rob and she especially enjoyed her two great grandsons Lukas and Tyler who always made her laugh and feel good.

Here she is with great-grandsons Lukas and Tyler and granddaughter, Julie in 2019.

Because of the pandemic, we were unable to have a public visitation or Mass for her. She was buried in New York at Mt. Hope Cemetery at Hastings on Hudson. We were unable to attend the funeral. What a sad finale for a woman who had a wonderful life of almost 95 years.

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More Celebration

We continued the celebration with a luncheon. Our speaker was Stephen K. Smith, local author. He has written books for young readers: Summer of the Woods, Shadows at Jamestown, and Spies at Mount Vernon, among others. I didn’t take any photos to share except for the program cover.

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Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday

The Old Dominion Chapter NSDAR hosted their 112th Commemoration of the Birthday of General George Washington today at the Rotunda, State Capitol, in Richmond, Virginia.

The Colors were posted by the Cadet Color Guard and Pipe & Drum Platoon from Benedictine College Preparatory and music was provided by St. Christopher’s School, Beaux Ties. A wreath was placed by members of the Children of the American Revolution. The guest speaker was Dr. Eugene W. Hickok.

It was a beautiful day in Richmond. Here are some photos from the event. As in so many cities around the world, there is a lot of scaffolding to be seen.

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