Photo Friday—William Spratlin

William Martin Spratlin.

William was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, and lived there through his childhood. He attended the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1876.

He married Daisy Eugenia Hance on 26 Oct 1882 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. They had 8 children, and lived in Atlanta, Georgia, after 1893.

William practiced medicine in Wilkes County, and in Atlanta, but later gave up his practice to devote his entire time to a hardware business he also operated.

William is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.


William Martin Spratlin (1854-1928) is 2nd cousin 5x removed of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Source: Ancestry.com user gototea (photograph).

Say Anything …

For there is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man: also, it may be said, there is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed.

Sir Walker Scott

Photo Friday—William Phillips Log Cabin

William Phillips log cabin, Meriwether County, Georgia, built 1830’s.

William Phillips built this log cabin in the 1830’s. It was located on land lot no. 123 of the 11th land district in Meriwether County, Georgia, north of the Hogansville-Lone Oak Road (Highway 54).

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on 28 Jun 1982. The nomination statement of significance reads:

The William D. Phillips Log Cabin is significant in architecture and exploration and settlement. Architecturally, it is significant as an example of a rare surviving log cabin with intact materials and details of craftsmanship that exemplify the type of building that was often built on the frontier by pioneers. In exploration and settlement the cabin is significant as an expression of the last westward migration within the current boundaries of Georgia following the Land Lottery of 1827.

National Register of Historic Places [1]

Five additional photos, including one of the inside, were included in the nomination.

Unfortunately, the log cabin is no longer surviving.


William D. Phillips (1763-1849) is husband of 6th great-aunt Mary Spratling.

Mary Spratling (1776-1834) is 6th great-aunt of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Reference:
[1] National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form, Phillips, William D., Log Cabin, Reference Number 82002454.

Source: findagrave.com user Calvin Kyle Bobbitt (photograph).

Photo Friday—Grover O’Kelley Still Lives

Grover O’Kelley in France (middle), 1918.

Grover O’Kelley, son of Benjamin Franklin O’Kelley and Mary Anderson Hix O’Kelley, was born in 1890 in Planter, Madison County, Georgia. Both of his parents died in 1903, and he was raised by a half-uncle.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1917, trained at Port Royal, South Carolina, and Quantico, Virginia, and served in the Eightieth Company, Sixth Regiment, 2d Division, American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.

In Jun 1918, for extraordinary heroism in action at the Battle of Belleau (Bois-de-Belleau), he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross [2], Distinguished Service Cross, and Silver Star. The Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Cross are the second highest military decorations that can be awarded to a member of the United States Marine Corps and United States Army respectively, and are awarded for extraordinary heroism. The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in action, is the third highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces.

While leading his platoon of riflemen, bayonets fixed, against German machine gun emplacements that day, his company lost 24 killed, 86 wounded, 1 missing and 1 captured, a loss of 50% of its strength. [3]

His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Grover Cleveland O’Kelley (MCSN: 88441), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the Eightieth Company, Sixth Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F., in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, on June 6 – 8, 1918. Sergeant O’Kelley displayed the greatest qualities of courage and leadership in assaults against strong enemy machine-gun positions, and was killed in the performance of this splendid duty. Action Date: June 6 – 8, 1918

Distinguished Service Cross Citation, 29 Jun 1918

His family was informed of his death, and the Department of War announced his death on 9 Jul 1918.

And yet he lived to tell about it.

In late Nov 1918, after the signing of the Armistice on 11 Nov, his half-uncle John Zachariah Segars received a prisoner-of-war postal card from Grover [4], shown below.

During the attack on Belleau Wood by the 80th Company on 8 June, Sgt O’Kelley was wounded in the head only yards from reaching a German machine gun, rendering him unconscious. When he revived, he still had the presence of mind to know the only thing he could do was play dead. Due to the murderous fire and high casualties, his company was forced to retreat, leaving the (supposed) dead Sgt O’Kelley in front of the gun, with the dead body of one of the Marines of his platoon laying across his back.

After dark, O’Kelley tried to remove his dead comrade to make his escape back to his lines, but his movement was observed by the nearby Germans and he was captured. His wound was treated by the Germans and he was held as a POW until the end of the war. When the ground where he fell was retaken, no trace of him was found, and he was presumed dead and buried by the Germans.

Remembrance Military Service Page for Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley [1]

An article on the front page of the 28 Nov 1918 edition of The Cullman Tribune said: “Sgt. Grover O’Kelley Still Lives—He Was Taken A Prisoner.”

After World War I, Grover finished his education, became a lawyer, and later worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He married Ruth Augusta Davis, and they had one son, Grover O’Kelley Jr.


Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley (1890-1969) is 1st cousin 4x removed of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

References:
[1] Remembrance Military Service Page for Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley, created by Sgt Dave Stutesman, togetherweserved.com. Photos there are courtesy of Joanne O’Kelley Kline.
[2] U.S. Marine Corps Navy Cross Recipients, World War I, 1917-1918.
[3] To the Limit of Endurance: A Battalion of Marines in the Great War (C. A. Brannen Series), by Peter F. Owen, 2014.
[4] Prisoner-of-War postal card photos are courtesy of Ancestry.com user rkline0462.

Photo Friday—Thelma Blount

Thelma Spratlin Blount (right), and unknown boy.

Thelma was born on 29 Jan 1921, probably in Barnett Shoals, Oconee County, Georgia, and is the daughter of John Franklin Spratlin and Lucy O’Kelley Spratlin.

She married Wilson Ohlkers Blount on 19 Jul 1940, and they resided in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. Wilson worked at the Athens Boiler and Machine Works. They had no children.

Thelma and Wilson are interred at Evergreen Memorial Park in Athens.


Thelma Spratlin (1921-2012) is 2nd great-aunt of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Source: KMS Family Genealogy Digital Archive, Jacqueline Anne Knight Spratlin collection (photograph).

2019 Resolutions

In 2019, we have resolved to:

  • Write more family stories.
  • Make it easier to find photos on the site.
  • Find Alpheus Adams’ maternal line.
  • Actually work on the Norwegian lines in the tree—our patience dealing with the Norwegian name thing is unfortunately very low.
  • Take at least one trip to research a brick wall in the tree—Ireland and Virginia are on the short list.

Photo Galleries are now live on the site. Look under the menu Our Genealogy > Photos. There, you will find:

  • Galleries—photos sorted by family branch and various other themes
  • Tag Cloud—click on a word and a gallery is created with the associated photos

One down, four to go!