Earlier this year I wrote about David Brooks of Cherry Valley, New York regarding the fire that destroyed the family’s home and belongings in July of 1866. I ended with the hope that this was the extent of the family’s trials. Unfortunately that hope was squashed when I found this newspaper article:
David Brooks, aged 70, a tinner of Cherry Valley, committed suicide a while ago by hanging himself to his bedpost during a temporary fit of insanity.1
I tried to find more about this sad event, and a couple more articles showed up, each with a slightly different account in them 2, 3:
David Brooks was John Brooks’ brother. I do not know if they kept in touch when they both left Albany, with John moving to Vermont, and David heading to Cherry Valley, NY. There was no family history passed down in our family regarding either of the brothers.
David was survived by his wife Margaret, who died about 1891 and five children Sarah, Jennie, Andrew, Benjamin, and Charles.
Source: 1. 1882-10-1 Utica Weekly Herald, Utica, New York, page 5, column 2 [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
2. 1882-10-12 The Radii, Canajoharie, New York, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
3. 1882-10-10 The Canajoarie Courier, Tuesday, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
This is Thanksgiving week, so there will only be one entry this week as I have every intention of totally vegging out and enjoying my 4 days off. Lord of the Rings marathon here I come! Have an excellent Thanksgiving.
Officers Mail Section
Scott Field, Ill.
September 12, 1947
Dear Dick & Dad,
There just isnt enough time in the day any more. We seem to be going all the time.
Hunting season is in Nov. Im going out tomorrow after dove & squirrel. Fishing is OK here. We have a mess in the ice box & Im going again Sunday.
I suppose that you folks are catching whoppers. Mine are all little fellows.
K.W. is all happy, he got an erector set (big one) and is busy building most the time. Sue got a rubber doll,
she likes it too.
We all like it here. My work is OK, takes about 6 hours a day. We have every week end off & thats OK.
The car is running fine and it sure is a blessing. I dont know what we would have done without it. It needs a tuneup now & I think Ill have it done soon.
As soon as you folks get back let us know and Ill ship you a bundle of money. We owe you some, remember? We got the check from Hilliards bank but you were on your way to Canada.
One major disadvantage to growing up as a military brat, is that you don’t get a chance to become attached to ‘place’ or know your relatives, because you aren’t around, or around long enough, to do so. But I am glad that in my case I do have a some great memories of extended family.
Because my dad was stationed at McCoy AFB in Orlando in the late 60s, we were able to visit with my great grandparents, Dick and Dad, several times over the few years that we lived there because they weren’t too far away. My fist real connection to family other than mom and dad.
Although their earlier years were spent in West Virginia, Rachel ‘Dick’ and William Shepard, Sr. ‘Dad’ lived mostly in Ohio raising their family of two boys, until Dad retired from his supervisory job at the post office in the 1950s.
They had had a cottage in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada that they went to often, as early as the 1940s. (I don’t know yet if they bought it or rented it.) Below is a photograph of the cottage in Canada that gramps is always mentioning in his letters to his parents, where the fishing was fine.
When Dad officially retired, they went down to Safety Harbor in late 1956 where they rented a place in the area until they could find the perfect winter retirement home. (We know this because their son Herman wrote a letter to them in Dec of 1956 asking how they were liking their temporary accomodations.)
By December 26, 1956 they had found their spot, and it was at this time they purchased their second vacation/retirement home at 305 7th Ave N in Safety Harbor, Florida, near Tampa. The place that we visited several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
So in this post I thought it would be fun to do a sort of slideshow from past to present on the house I remember visiting in Florida.
In the above second picture you can see the tree is much taller, there are awnings added to the windows, and the front entrance/patio area is now enclosed. Everything else is pretty much the same.
Dick passed away in 1986 and the house was sold sometime later that year by her son Herman.
Now for the shocker, here is a 2014 image of the property from Google street view:
These are images posted in 2002 when it was for sale and the outdoor shots look pretty close to the 2014 images:
Quite a difference from the 50s though! That kitchen sure doesn’t look the same. The property sold for $74,000 in 2002, and it is currently valued at about $185,000, for 916 sq. ft. of living space. I like the improvements, although the carport/garage doesn’t look like it has been worked on at all. (It looks like someone tried to sell it in 2015 for $225,000, but it was only on the market for a couple of months before they unlisted it.)
Because the city used crushed shells, instead of gravel, in the driveway, when we visited I would go looking for cool shells when I got bored with all the adult talk. I still have some great finds in my shell collection.
Interesting fun fact: According to the 1959 directory for Safety Harbor, Lois and William Shepard, jr. were also living at this address. My grandparents. (Hey Mom, I don’t remember you mentioning this.)
This letter is in regards to William and Lois Shepard move to Puerto Rico.
January 12, 1947
Hello Dick & Dad:
We are settled down now. At least we are settled as much as we can be until the trunks arrive.
Lois & the children like it here very much and it is nice. I work when I want to, report in the morning 8 to 9. Off at 11 until 1, quit about 4.
It has been raining some the last two days, rather cool, about 70°! It will undoubtedly warm up the next few days.
Sunday we went to the beach for a while after lunch. The kids had a swell time. Played in the sand. Found coconuts. I opened one for them. They found about a bushel of shells.
I think they are going to send some home. Havent sent your Xmas present yet. So it is still pending. What I have in mind is in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. My next trip there, Ill pick them up.
Prices on food are about the same as the U.S. a lot of frozen foods. The milk is also frozen. Vegtables are fresh grown & frozen both. We get the sweetest tasting cabbage here. No lettuce though. Oranges, big ones, are 1¢ a piece. Lemons grow all over the place.
The farmers grow coffee, sugar cane & vegetables. Some pinneapple too, I think.
Sue is going to school here. She goes about two hours a day. KW & Sue both seem to like the school here.
We went to the show friday. Saw Spencer Tracy in “Cass Timberlaine.” Only about 2 blocks away as Ive told you.
The only thing that you folks can do for us or rather me is to have my gun fitted with a poly-choke and shipped down. Pack it well & ship it to me at the below address.
Lt. William A. Shepard Jr 0-48155
24th Composite Wing*
What ever it costs let me know. By the way we will send you the $100 we owe you next month. And while we are on debts. Thank you very very much Dick, for helping Lois to New Orleans she really appreciated it. And Lois tells me that dad helped a lot in Trenton. It made the trip a lot easier.
I expect the car down the 25th of January. We can use it here. The post is large and we want to travel over Puerto Rico.
Well, Ill close for now. Xcuse the paper.
Havent found film to take pictures yet.
*From August 1946 until replaced by the Antilles Air Division in July 1948 the wing supervised large numbers of major and minor bases and Air Force units in the Caribbean area from Puerto Rico to British Guiana. [https://www.revolvy.com/topic/24th%20Composite%20Wing&item_type=topic] and
Constituted as 24th Composite Wing on 19 Nov 1942. Activated in Iceland on 25 Dec 1942. Served in the defense of Iceland. Disbanded on 15 Jun 1944. Reconstituted on 5 Aug 1946 and activated in Puerto Rico on 25 Aug. Assigned to Caribbean Air Command. No tactical groups were assigned, but the wing supervised various air force units and bases in the Antilles. Inactivated in Puerto Rico on 28 Jul 1948. [http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/24th_Composite_Wing.cfm]
**Borinquen Field was an American military airfield built in northwestern Puerto Rico in 1940. During WW2, it served as a base for US Army Air Corps (later US Army Air Forces) reconnaissance flights over the approaches to the Caribbean Sea. In 1947, it was turned over to the newly formed US Air Force, which renamed the field Ramey Air Force Base the following year. [https://ww2db.com/facility/Borinquen_Field/]
It was pure chance that I was preparing this post for this week, and Veteran’s Day is Saturday. Brilliant. To all the veterans in my family, past and present, thank you for your service.
In 1904 the Wisconsin State Legislature enacted Chapter 434.
“In the event of all or part of the Wisconsin National Guard being called into the service of the United States, the governor is hereby authorized to organize and equip a temporary military force equal in size and organization to that called from the state, provided, that upon the return to the state of the troops called into the service of the United States the temporary military force shall be disbanded.”
Both my grandfather Clarence Fredrick John and his uncle Milton Cain were members of the Wisconsin State Guard (or in Clarence’s case it was the State Guard Reserve). Milton went on to fight in France with the Rainbow Division. My grandfather, on the other hand, never stepped foot in Europe, or Africa for that matter, during this war. He did not turn 21 until October 29, 1919 and the war was over a little more than a week later.
The State Guard was organized after the Wisconsin National Guard went overseas to join in the war effort in July of 1917. The first units of the State Guard that were organized were in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Green Bay. The men recruited were all volunteers who were too old or too young for the draft.
Its first encampment was at Camp Douglas in July of 1918. It was comprised of four regiments of infantry and a State Guard Reserve. In total about 5,500 officers and men.
The Guard was paid an allowance by the state for: armory rent, upkeep of clothing, and the expenses connected with their training. However, the men in the Guard were all volunteers so received no wages or pay. And if you were in the State Guard Reserve, you paid for your own equipment and uniform.
The camp was commanded by BG Charles King, a retired officer of the Wisconsin National Guard. He trained the men as if they were regular army, and their competence after a few days of intensive training, along with their own drills at home, was impressive. In his report to the adjutant general Gen. King complimented them highly.
It was understood that joining the State Guard did not exempt the men from the draft. Those who were too young to join at that time would be eligible for active service when they reached the age of 21. The older men could be called up if they ran out of young blood.
The Wisconsin State Guard was needed 3 times during the World War I:
1. Sept. 16-18, 1918 Clark County; to assist in search for draft dodgers.
2. Aug. 20-24, 1919 As guards during the Cudahy riots.
3. Sept. 9-12, 1919 Troops were assembled in the armory at Manitowoc, for use in strike riots at Two Rivers, but they were not used.
The State Guard was incrementally disbanded starting on May 5, 1920, as the National Guard was slowly reactivated in full, a process which was completed in 1921.
Clarence was with the 26th Separate Company of Crandon.5 He sure does look cute in his duds. He apparently liked to say that his ship was turned around at sea because the war was over, so he never got to fight. It makes for a nice story, but I am doubtful that that was the case, as he wouldn’t have had time to be on a ship heading overseas, less than two weeks after he was of age. He might, however, have had his bags all packed and been raring to go.
Sources: 1. http://www.b-1-105.us/history/wsg.html. 2. Email from: Horton, Russell <Russell.Horton@dva.state.wi.us. 3. “State Guard to Camp Douglas”, The Farmer-Herald, Oconto Falls, Wis., Friday, June 28, 1918. Page 4 Column 2. 4. “Wisconsin in the World War,” by R. B. Pixley. Milwaukee, The Wisconsin War History Company, 1919. Copyright 1919:S.E. Tate Printing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Google Books digitized. p285
5. “…found a Clarence F. John in the State Guard Reserve microfilm. It appears he with the 26th Separate Company, which seems to be based out of Crandon” — email from Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 West Mifflin Street, Madison, WI 53703.
A short note before I turn in to sleep. No news on the discharge that I havent already told you. I will probably fly tomorrow, I hope so as it means $80.00 to me. Nothing else to do, so I had might as well fly.
If I get back too soon before hunting season I will go right to work for Ma Bell. No use loafing around all the rest of the year. Well I doubt very much if I will be able to come up this year, but next year the story
will be different.
give Mr & Mrs Forder my regards and tell them that I shall see them next year. Bring back some fish so I can have some real fish to eat. I’ll always remember that lake trout.
Take care of yourselves and Ill see you when you get back or when I get back.