Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

God Bless the United States of America.  Lord, today more than ever our country needs your blessing as we fight to promote your name even at home.  You inspired our founding fathers and many generations that followed but our leaders have lost their way in the name of political correctness and godless teachings.  Please help them to see the truth through your name.  Amen

As we honor those who have served our great nation, let us not forget that we must continue the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.

Previously I posted two men from our family who represented the "greatest generation" to us.  Now I post photos of others that fought the fight for freedom.

 This Marine is my Dad's oldest brother, Cecil Kerr.  Picture taken around 1923.
 My Uncle-in-law Carroll Reish who enlisted in the Army on September 28, 1942.

This picture was taken in September 1944 and represents the Hamilton military family at the time. L to R is my maternal grandfather and WWI Navy veteran, William Hamilton.  The tall fellow in the back is Richard Kimball, US Army and husband to my mother's sister Irene.  The Navy got both of the Hamilton boys.  Pictured is William Hamilton, Jr. and still in training was his brother Harold.  The other Army pfc is my dad Joe Kerr married to Dorothy Hamilton. 

This is Van Reish, my brother-in-law.  Photo taken in 1964.  He served most of his time guarding our gold at Fort Knox.

My thoughts and prayers are given out to those now serving and the difficult task they endure everyday.  God bless every one of them.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Indy 500 and Coke a Cola 600 Auto races - The day before Memorial Day

This weekend we honor those who have served in our countries military.  Those serving today, those that served yesterday, and those that gave a part or all of themselves so I can become a couch potato on Sunday while watching cars run around on my TV screen.  
So today I wish to say thank you to those of you who have served and to your families for the sacrifices they endured while you served. 

1943 - Joe Kerr, Camp Hahn, California
I am fortunate to have two men in my family who served in WWII and continue to amaze me with their stories.  1st a call to my father, Joe Kerr (94 yrs old) who served in the Army and was based at Camp Hahn in Riverside County California.  It is gone today, but was located to the west of what is the remains of March Air Force Base.  Dad spent most of his time driving trucks and taking various Generals out into the desert training grounds and camps.  Obviously this influenced his love of the desert and joy in exploring it's depths.  The base was one of several POW camps for Germans.  He has told me about my mother bringing me to the base for a visit when I was just a few weeks old and that the prisoners were very pleased to see a woman and infant that gave them some memories of their loved ones.  Thanks Dad for serving and for your life teachings to your four boys.

31 year old - Major Dave Lower
Next may I present  Major Dave Lower who served in both WWII and the Korean War.  Dave is my uncle-in-law and at 94 continues to provide many stories about his service.  He is very active with many of his fellow servicemen an enjoys keeping his friends and family up to date on their activities.
This is part of his story about his arrival at radio operator school.  "When I arrived at Scott Field, Illinois radio operator school, a S/Sgt. and a Corporal had charge of Barracks #248 where I lived (stayed is a more proper term.). They had a soft job since after they got us up in the morning and got us off to school, they loafed all day in the service Club playing ping pong and shooting pool, With a shortage of manpower in the Air Corps right after Pearl Harbor these experienced men were sent to more important assignments and students governed themselves."  

Thank you Dave for your many years of service and for your friendship over the past 45 plus years.  No doubt you could still beat me at ping pong too!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lets go back to 1794 and the Samuel Lamb household

My 4th maternal great grandfather is Enoch Lamb.  Born in Groton Connecticut on July 17, 1794 to Samuel Lamb and Tabitha Wightman Lamb.  Our country is less than 20 years old and Enoch is born to grow with it.  The Louisiana Purchase and Louis and Clark explorations would soon open a whole new world for young Enoch.  As a young boy he worked in his father's business as an Apprentice Cooper.  He would continue this work for the remainder of his life.  What is a 'Cooper'?   I had to Google "Cooper" and I copied this from Wikipedia: "Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels of a conical form, of greater length than breadth, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. Examples of a cooper's work include but are not limited to casks, tubs, buckets, barrels, butter churns, and hogsheads."

In 1818 he married Priscilla Avery.  20 years later they and their 6 children are in Circleville Ohio.  In 1838 Enoch and Priscilla were among the hand full of residents who established the First Baptist Church in Circleville.  Like Enoch, his sons continued the family business as Coopers.  Enoch died in Jun 1851 and was laid to rest in the First Baptist Church cemetery.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Avery's of New London and Groton, Connecticut

My research has connected my great grandmother Lura Nye to Christopher Avery of Devon, England.  It was Christopher and his wife Johanna (or Joanna) who bore their son Christopher Avery who immigrated to the colonies some time around 1631. His son James was 11 years old at the time.  In 1643 James married Joanna Greenslade in Massachusetts. Their son James was the first to settle in Groton, Connecticut where the Avery name would remain for generations.

My quest is to document their movements and daily lives.  If anyone has research material and documentation on families in New London and Groton, CT I would appreciate the source information or copies of documentation for Avery, Lamb, and Wightman.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day - 2013

The past few days I have tried to share some stories about the women of my family who have in some way influenced my life.  They have all been part of my blood.  But, like many of you, there have been other women (read: Mothers) who participated in our total development over the years.  One of my high school friends mother who provided a Mr. Hyde to my mother's Dr. Jekyll.  Thus increasing my appreciation for my Mother.  My girlfriends grandmother Gertrude who gave me advice on how to interact with her son.  Allowing me to become that beautiful woman's husband.  Then my wife's mother Ann.  What a grand lady and friend to me from day one. Gone now over 14 years, she is missed every day.
Judy, Jason and Ann - 1983

Today I celebrate Mothers Day with my best friend Judy.  Quick with her beautiful smile and the most thoughtful person I have ever known.  She has me under her spell and I love every minute.  I have tested her resolve through the years and she has always been there to encourage and support.

In a single word, she is 'adventurous'. My partner in life for over 47 years - I Love You Babe!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

California Girl - 1920's Version

1943 - Dorothy Faye Hamilton Kerr
My mother, Dorothy Faye Hamilton, was born August 26, 1920 in Santa Monica, California. The first child of Colorado natives William Hamilton and Faye Nye Hamilton. William was a construction worker specializing in concrete and stone masonry while Faye was the typical, for the times, stay at home wife and mother. Dorothy attended the Christian Science Church with her parents and graduated from the Santa Monica High School in 1938. She loved the beach and ocean and was active in Girls Baseball and Volleyball. During these high school years, summers were spent with her family working at various locations in the agriculture fields of California and Oregon picking everything from Oranges to Hops. She worked in the employee cafeteria kitchens of the Douglas Aircraft Company until marrying Joe Lee Kerr on February 25, 1940.  

The story goes that Dorothy would walk past the gas station where Joe worked.  They said hello a few times and then went on a few dates. This lead to their marriage in 1940. They lived in a rental house at 654 1st Street, Hermosa Beach as Dad now managed a service station on Pacific Coast Highway and North Catalina Ave in Redondo Beach. This would come to an end as he entered the Army as a Private on February 1, 1943. 

Mom and me and Sox (her dog)
By the end of WWII I had been born and a home was being established in Redondo Beach California.  Mom quickly became involved in community activities and eventually lead to being a precinct captain.  Every election brought neighbors to our house as their designated polling place.  Then came Little League baseball.  Her love of sports in general and baseball specifically was
instilled in me and my brothers.  She loved being involved in every aspect of the baseball program.  By now she has 4 boys to watch over and with each year her involvement seemed to double.  All of us learned from her the personal joy and fulfillment of service to others. 

She has been gone from this earth 34 years but never from my heart.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Maternal Grandmother - Faye Irene Nye Hamilton

April 1966 - Faye Hamilton and Larry Kerr
Grandma Hamilton was born in Colorado in 1898.  During her formative years, the Nye family was moving around the Weld and Denver counties looking for work and saving money to get their own farm.  She would live on the farm for only a few years before meeting a Navy cook in training.  Based at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, William Hamilton found himself smitten by Faye Nye and the two were wed on May 25, 1918.  This was a double marriage, as Faye's sister Marie took vows with Elbert Lawson at the same ceremony.

With both husbands in the military preparing to serve in WWI, Faye and Marie moved to Greeley and attended Greeley Teachers College.  They remained in Greeley working as substitute teachers until their husbands returned from the war.  Marie and Elbert remained in Colorado, but William and Faye moved to Santa Monica, California.

An active member of the Christian Science Church, Faye was a loving and caring member of every community where she lived.  I was very fortunate to live only a few houses away from her as I grew up in the late 50's and 60's.  She loved baseball and followed the Dodgers every day.  For as many years as I knew her, she drove a 1938 Willys California.  Right up until her death in 1987 just 10 days after her 89th birthday.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Maternal Great Grandmother - Lura Weatherly Nye

I'll start with this photo, taken October 1, 1944 at my great grandmothers home in Santa Monica California,  The baby is me at 17 days old being held by my grandmother Faye Hamilton.  My mother Dorothy Faye Hamilton Kerr is in the middle and our subject for today is on the pictures far left.  She is Lura Weatherly Nye, born in Marshall County Iowa July 26, 1874.

Parents are Iowa farmers James Weatherly and Viola Denbow.  By the time she was 18, she was in Longmont Colorado where she married Oscar Nye in 1893.  Lura was a part time school teacher and housewife.  She and Oscar had 3 girls, Marie, Faye, and Fern.  In 1928 Fern married and family stories have the Nye's loosing the family farm in 1929.  By this time Faye and Fern have settled in the Los Angeles area.  Making a move from Colorado to California a logical choice.  They settled in Santa Monica and Lura took up work as a seamstress plus taking on a few students for home taught piano lessons.

Memories of her are vivid to me as I mentally revisit their modest but tidy home at 1934 22nd Street.  Holidays were spent with her playing carols and the family doing our best to sing along.  I am very happy that I was old enough to know my great grandmother Lura.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My other paternal great grandmother

Yesterday I wrote about grandmother Molly.  Her mother was Elizabeth Nuckols Walters.  Born about 1854 in Kentucky, her father was Bennet Nuckols and mother Ruth Collins .  My Aunt Vivian Lillian Young provided all of the information I have about the Walters and Nuckols families.  Following Elizabeth's marriage to John Walters they had 8 children.  Grandmother Molly was number 7.  Other than the Walters being farmers in the hills of Whitely County Kentucky not much else is documented.  Updates will follow discovery of documentation.