Friday, May 23, 2008

grandad’s draft card

There was something on the news about the National Archives releasing U.S. military records as far back as they had ‘em, and that they would be available on Ancestry.com. I know Dad’s father, John Fleming, served in World War I for Scotland before he emigrated to the United States, so I decided to look for Mom’s father, John Dunn, Jr., who served in the Army and went to France with the Orion Division (I think that’s what he said).

And I found his draft card! Here it is—click it to make it bigger:

Draft Card, John Dunn Jr., June 1917

According to the registration, he was a telegraph clerk for Western Union in Lewiston, Montana, in June 1917, when he was 26 years old (b. April 21, 1891). Sure enough, I have a photo of him working at the telegraph office in Lewiston, MT in 1916 (click to enlarge)—he’s the guy standing:

John Dunn Jr., clerk with Western Union in Lewiston, MT, c. 1916

Walter, Alice, Grace, Joan, Anne, and Connie Dunn

I’m not sure where or when he met my grandmother, Katherine. At any rate, they ended up in Wyandotte, Michigan, where he worked for Wyandotte Chemical (which later became BASF) until he retired (in the late 1950s?). They had six kids, though my grandmother had been married before and had two, or maybe three, children. My mother’s stepsisters are Jean and Kit, and she may have an older stepbrother though I’m not sure about this since, as far as I know, this was never established definitively. John and Katherine’s kids are Walt, my mother Alice, Grace, Joan, Anne, and Connie (click to enlarge). Here is a photo I like, showing Grandad and Grandma Dunn and my sisters and brother and me. This was taken in the early sixties, maybe 1964, judging by my baby sister’s age. I’m the oldest, dressed in pink and standing next to Grandad. Maureen is in green. Jamie is in pink, standing between Grandma and me. On the ground, on the left next to Grandma is Kelly and next to her is my brother Scott. At the bottom is Carolyn. I remember this picnic, and I think the photo was snapped by Mom—one of her more successful efforts (we all have our heads in this one.) (Click to enlarge)

John and Katherine Dunn with their Fleming grandchildren, summer 1964?

John Dunn Jr., Age 81, April 1972

My grandfather lived a long life, pretty healthy until a few years before the end despite a lifetime of cheap cigars and Old Grand Dad whiskey. When I smell Old Spice, I think of him, particularly the combination of Old Spice and cigar smoke. He liked to garden and had a gorgeous flower garden in his backyard in Wyandotte. And I remember that he always had a supply of Coke in those little Coke bottles for the grandkids when we came to visit. I was in grad school at Columbia the year he died, in 1978. This is a photo of him on his 81st birthday in 1972 (click to enlarge). I wish I knew how John and Katherine met, where, when—maybe one of my aunts know, I’ll have to ask. I’m a sporadic member of Ancestry.com—it’s a good service, it’s just that I have other things I need to spend the subscription fee on—it’s pretty expensive, especially in terms of time ... I could easily blow through a couple of hours there!

posted by lee on 05/23/08 at 03:44 PM

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