While doing research for an upcoming book abstracting slave importation affidavit registers for several Georgia counties, I found the following loose affidavits, each found in Oglethorpe County, Georgia’s microfilmed loose papers.
Sgt. Thad J. Watson, Sr., served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was born 15 April 1921 in Hamburg Twp., Jackson Co., NC, to Woodfin and Etha Mae (Roberts) Watson, and died 24 August 1944 during a bombing run in what was then Czechoslovakia. He is buried in a mass grave in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY.
He married Stella Viola Martin (1922 – 1992), daughter of O. W. and Pearl (Hopper) Martin, on 6 October 1941 in Clarkesville, Habersham Co., GA. Thad and Stella had two children, Thad J. Watson, Jr., and Varney Watson.
This is the envelope containing the telegram informing my grandmother that her husband (my grandfather) was missing in action. It is addressed to her (Mrs. Stella V. Watson) care of her father, O. W. Martin, who lived at that time, I believe, on Messer Creek off of Betty’s Creek Road.
The telegram was dated 4 September 1944 and reads:
The secretary of war desires me to express his deep regret that your husband Sergeant Thad J Watson Sr has been reported missing in action since twenty four August over Czechoslavakia if further details or other information are received you will be promptly notified.
It was signed by J. A. Ulio, Adjutant General.
Nanny once told me of a dream she had. In the dream, she and Daddy Thad had gone on a picnic with one of his fellow crew mates on the Little Lulu, and the crew member’s girlfriend. Daddy Thad left, and she awoke to him calling her name. This dream occurred before she knew he had died, and possibly even before she knew he was MIA. In an eerie coincidence, the crew member from her dream was the only one who survived the day the Little Lulu was shot down; all other members died in the crash.
Stella Martin Watson with son, Varney, circa 1945
This picture is a poignant reminder of the loss of my grandfather, Thad J. Watson, Sr. (“Daddy Thad”), who died in August 1944 just a few months before my father’s birth later that year. My grandmother, whom we called Nanny, is wearing Daddy Thad’s wings on her left shirt pocket, and I believe the insignia on her left sleeve was also once part of my grandfather’s uniform.
Note: This post created in response to GeneaBloggers’ Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #35: Share a photo that conjures mixed emotions in you. Explain why this is the case as you detail the who/what/when/where/why of the subject matter.
From left to right, starting in the front: Eunice, Daisy, Stella, and Catherine, the daughters of O. W. and Pearl Hopper Martin. Taken in 1958, likely near the family home on Messer Creek in the Betty’s Creek area of Rabun Co., GA. Photo courtesy of Catherine Martin Spencer.
I recently bought several back issues of the NGS NewsMagazine from a fellow researcher, and have been diligently combing through them for research and record tips. I’ve run across some really good finds, too, but the topic of today’s post comes from the article “Charting Your Priorities” by Susan Zacharias (January/February/March 2007, pp. 54 – 56). In short, Zacharias offers a method of prioritizing research by listing end-of-lines (that is, the earliest known generation in every direct line) in various fonts according to their place on the pedigree chart. Your largest font size (Zacharias recommends 18 point) would correspond to your most recent (chronologically) dead end, with each step down in fonts corresponding to one generation further back in time.