"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

12 November 2012

Noah & Gloria Dotson

We met, I really don't know where, I guess it's all the same 
Love grows in a village green as well as in a lane
I gently took her by the hand, and a glance at me she shot
She dropped a flower, I picked it up, it was a sweet forget-me-not
-- "Graceful & Charming" (Traditional)

Sixty-five years ago today, my grandparents Noah & Gloria Dotson were married in the Pastor's Study of the Eutaw Place Baptist Church by Reverend William Clyde Atkins.

Construction of the Eutaw Place Baptist Church was completed in 1871, located on the corner of Dolphin Street and North Eutaw Street.  In 1969, its name was changed to Woodbrook Baptist Church and moved to Stevenson Lane.  The building itself was purchased by the City Temple of Baltimore, and today is on the list of Baltimore landmarks.

But here's a little known fact:  Pop Pop and Mom Mom were married twice!  After Pop Pop was baptized in the Catholic Church, they remarried on January 15, 1950 at Saint Rose of Lima Church in Brooklyn, Maryland.

I posted these photos on Facebook last year, but thought I would share again.  They're from Pop Pop & Mom Mom's 35th anniversary party in 1982 at Captain Harvey's in Owings Mills.

11 November 2012

Veterans Day

Wae be tae the orders that marched my love awa'
And wae be tae the cruel cause that gars my tears doon fa'
Wae be tae the bluidy wars in High Germany
For they hae ta'en my love and left a broken heart tae me

-- "The Wars O' Germany" (Traditional)
Today, November 11th, is Veterans Day, though tomorrow is the observed federal holiday.  Originally proclaimed as Armistice Day by Woodrow Wilson to commemorate the end of World War I, it became a federal holiday with an act of Congress in 1938.

Because of a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973, many records relating to World War I soldiers were lost, making it hard to research.  I do know of at least three men in the family tree who served during World War I - all connected to my great-grandmother, Grace Siegel Campen:  her husband, Clarence Campen, and two of her cousins, Lawrence Meyns and Baker Sears.


My great-grandfather Clarence Campen has just passed his 26th birthday when he enlisted in the Army on July 20, 1918.  As this was near the end of the war, he served for just a few months, and was discharged on December 10, 1918.  Clarence hadn't yet met my great-grandmother;  at the time, he had just married his first wife, Mary Dallam.  The only record that I have of his service is a copy of his discharge papers, passed down to my father:

In early 1919, the Governor of Virginia created the War History Commission to document Virginia's participation in World War I.  Among their records are questionnaires completed by returning soldiers and their families, including those of Grace's cousins, Baker Sears and Lawrence Meyns.

While Grace and Baker probably knew each other quite well growing up (they're mentioned together in newspaper accounts, and their mothers were close), I'm not sure how well Grace and Lawrence knew one another.  He was born in Colorado and raised in Virginia, but then moved around a lot afterwards, following a career in the military.

Lawrence Meyns' questionnaire was filled out by his father, Charles.  Charles was born in Germany and had immigrated to the U.S. in his late teens.  His pro-German sentiments during the war got him into some trouble;  he was investigated by the FBI, and fired from his job at the British-American Tobacco Company.  He was proud of his son's service in the military, according to one of his coworkers, "not from the fact that he was serving his country, but that he was making good money."  On the War History questionnaire, however, Charles left several questions blank, saying that Lawrence "would undoubtedly prefer to reply to them himself."  Whatever his father's opinions, Lawrence, who was 22 years old when he enlisted in 1917, continued his career in the Army through World War II, rising to the rank of Colonel.

Baker Sears, on the other hand, filled out the questionnaire himself.  He enlisted on July 11, 1917 at the age of 21, and was discharged shortly after the end of the war on January 10, 1919.  His answers clearly show his pride in his military experience, saying that he "would'nt take a million for it" and that it had made him "broader in my ideas in every way."

Clarence Campen is buried with his wife Grace at Meadowridge Memorial Park in Elkridge, Maryland.  Lawrence Meyns and his wife Victoria were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  Baker & Margaret Sears' graves
are at Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.

(Photo courtesy of Star Kline) (Photo courtesy of Anonymous)