May 29, 2013
My grandfather, Thad J. Watson, Sr., died the August before my father’s birth in a bombing run over Czechoslovakia during World War II. His plane was shot down. Only one crew member escaped.
My grandmother, Stella (a.k.a. Nanny), remarried two years later to Ned Burrell, or Papa Ned as we kids called him. He was a good man, and a good father to my grandmother’s children by both her husbands. My father has told me many stories about Papa Ned that make me grateful to have known him, if only for a short time.
While I don’t want to wish away Papa Ned and the integral role he played in our family, it would have been nice to know Daddy Thad, too. From all accounts, he was a good man, kind and well-liked. Steady and dependable with a warm sense of humor. But these are all second-hand reports of his character, taken from his siblings and people who knew him, and the few stories of him that have been passed down in our own line. Meeting him, knowing him, would have been grand.
Thad Sr. and Jr.
August 26, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012 marked the 68th anniversary of the crash of the B-24 bomber The Little Lulu. My grandfather, Sgt. Thad J. Watson Sr., was killed in that crash, along with all but one of his crew members. A child of a soldier who served on The Little Lulu, before my grandfather’s crew, has created a blog dedicated to honoring and remembering the members of the 464th Battle Group. Friday’s post contained more information on the crash of The Little Lulu, as well as photographs of the crash site.
Michael Hait recently announced the publication of the second edition of his eBook, Online State Resources for Genealogy. I had the pleasure of hearing Michael speak about this very subject this past June at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that Michael knows his subject well. Anyone interested in making the best use of their at-home research time would do well to have a copy of this eBook.
May 28, 2012
Ned Cohen Burrell
1917 – 1973
US Army, World War II
Edgar Calhoun “Johnny” Ledford
1954 – 2000
Lake Randolph Ledford
1905 – 1980
US Navy, World War II
Thad J. Watson Sr.
1921 – 1944
US Army Air Corps, World War II
April 4, 2012
Me, my brother, and my sister, Easter Sunday, circa 1976. On Duggan Hill, Clayton, Rabun Co., GA.
March 1, 2012
The Internet can be a powerful tool for connecting people. I’ve been trying to post the information I have on my grandfather’s time in the Army Air Corps during World War II, particularly as a crew member of the Little Lulu, a B-24 Liberator assigned to bomb oil refineries in Europe. Daddy Thad (Sgt. Thad J. Watson Sr.) was shot down over then-Czechoslovakia August 24, 1944. One crew member managed to bail out of the airplane, but the remainder, including my grandfather, were killed when the plane crashed.
I knew that my grandmother had corresponded with the residents of the village near where the battle took place. Posting information about the crew of the Little Lulu netted contact with one of those villagers, and now another has created a stunning picture of the battle. The artist is Vit Soukup, son of Jiri Soukup, and the painting is called Thad’s Last Victory. As Jiri said, Vit is a very talented artist.
Please take the time to view this wonderful tribute to my grandfather and the other crew members who died that fateful day.
November 22, 2011
An inherited collection of papers yielded the following original document pertaining to the Alexander family of Pickens Dist., SC, later Oconee Co., SC. The first part of the transcription can be found in yesterday’s post.
November 21, 2011
I have lately inherited a goodly number of papers relating to the Watson family from my grandfather Watson’s youngest sister, Dixie. Part of these were kept and maintained by the eldest brother of the family, Ralph Watson, who is now deceased. Uncle Ralph saved several important family papers, including the complete chain of title for his grandfather Daniel Alexander Watson’s land with a copy of the original land entry.
One of those documents provides clear evidence of the relationships between various members of Dan’s mother’s family, the Alexanders of Pickens District and later Oconee County, South Carolina. This Complaint for Partition of Real Estate is likely a copy sent to Dan and his siblings, James F. and Elizabeth Watson.
November 15, 2011
1833 – 1865
Our loved one
1864 – 1865
Asleep in Jesus
Elizabeth and Lavina were buried in the Alexander Family Cemetery, also known as the Salem Cemetery, in modern Oconee Co., SC.
Elizabeth (Alexander) Watson’s life was, in some ways, tragic. According to family lore, she had just birthed her fourth child, Lavina, when her husband James Watson, his father Moses, and possibly some of James’ brothers were murdered by the Hoopers in the infamous Watson-Hooper feud of Jackson Co., NC. Elizabeth and James’ two eldest children, Daniel and James, watched the lynching from the woods near the home where Elizabeth was lying in, recovering from child birth.
Soon afterwards, Elizabeth took her four children back to then Pickens Dist., SC, to the home of her parents, Daniel and Levina Alexander. Neither Elizabeth nor Lavina survived long after their journey. Elizabeth and James’ remaining three children (Daniel, James, and Elizabeth) were raised by Elizabeth’s family.
November 11, 2011
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.