Friday, May 23, 2014

A Memorial Day Tribute To My Family And All Who Served

Zachary Taylor
   A few years ago I traced my family history on both my father and mothers side of the family and  I discovered a few military men here and there. Several even gave their lives in the service of their country. On this Memorial Day I would like to pay tribute to them. Since there were more military veterans on my mothers side I will start with them. My grandmother's name was Ella Belle Frogge Brown. Her ancestor was Colonel John Frogge who was a veteran of the French and Indian War fought from 1754 until 1763 between England and France and each of their Indian allies. John was also the sheriff of Prince William County Virginia. His wife Elizabeth Strother was the sister to Alice Strother who was the grandmother of President John Tyler and Sarah Strother who was the mother of President Zachary Taylor who I will get to later. Colonel John Frogge had a son whose name was also John and he was a Captain in the Virginia Militia. He was born on May 26, 1745 and was killed in action  at the battle of Point Pleasant Virginia, which is now in the state of West Virginia on the Ohio River on October 10 1774. It was the only major battle of Lord Dunmores War fought between the Virginia Militia and the Shawnee and Mingo tribes of American Indians. Lord Dunmore was the Royal Governor of Virginia at the time. The battle was a victory for Virginia which ended the war. A treaty was signed in which the Indians agreed to the Ohio River as the boundary between Indian lands and colonial territory.
  Archibald Sherrill was born on May 26, 1786 and died on July 27, 1853. Archibald was my maternal grandfathers relation. My great grandmother Caldonie, aka "Donie" Sherrill Brown was his descendant. My mother was named Donie after her and my granddaughter was named that in honor of my mother.  Archibald was a veteran of the War of 1812 and he originally enlisted in the 17th Regiment of the Tennessee Militia in 1796 as an Ensign. In modern day rank an Ensign would be the equivalent of a 2nd Lieutenant in the Navy. Apparently Ensign was a militia rank back then. Archibald stood six foot four inches tall which was a giant in those days. The period of time that Archibald served in the militia was a very important period in American history. During the War of 1812 Andrew Jackson commanded the militia and led them in battle against the Creek Indians which resulted in their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama. His victory resulted in the acquisition of most of the land that would become the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Jackson also led the militia at the Battle of New Orleans in which his force of militia, pirates, Creoles and free black men destroyed Britain's finest soldiers at the Battle of New Orleans, securing the massive Louisiana territory for the United States. Where Archibald was during all this I don't know because I haven't found those records. All I know is that he served in the Tennessee Militia during this period.. Archibald had 17 children and is buried in a small grave yard near Stewarts Ferry Pike off of state route 840.

Grave of Archibald Sherrill

Frogge Mountain
  The first settler in the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf River was Conrad, or Coonrad Pile, the great, great, grandfather of Alvin York. Among the very first after Coonrad was Arthur Robinson Frogge, who was also a combat veteran of the War of 1812, fighting in the battle of the Thames against Tecumseh.

  As I wrote earlier I am related to Presidents John Tyler and Zachary Taylor through the Strother family who were related to my maternal grandmother. Tyler didn't serve in the military but Zachary Taylor is considered to be one of the greatest generals in American history. His fame as a military leader directly led to his election to the presidency in 1848 as a Whig. He joined the Army on May 3, 1808.  During the War of 1812 he successfully defended Fort Harrison against the Indians led by the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. Taylor had his ups and downs during the war. After the war he temporarily left the army but rejoined a year later.  Eventually he served in a variety of areas from Wisconsin and Minnesota to Louisiana. Taylor participated in the Black Hawk War of 1832. In 1837 he was deployed to Florida to lead the army in the Second Seminole War. He defeated the Seminoles at the battle of Lake Okeechobee on Christmas day and was promoted to Brigadier General. Taylor was appointed to command American forces in the northern campaign of the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848. Many officers who would later become famous in the Civil War fought under Taylor. Among these were Jefferson Davis, George McClellan, Braxton Bragg, Ulysses S. Grant and a host of others. He led American Forces at the battle of Buena Vista, battle of Monterrey, battle of Palo Alto, and the battle of Resaca de la Palma. Grants style of leadership was greatly influenced by Taylor. Taylor's nickname was "Old Rough and Ready". He would die of an apparent heart attack while he was president after attending a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the Washington Monument on July 9, 1850. Taylor ate cherries and drank cold milk that day. For many years it was believed that he had been poisoned. However a few years ago his body was exhumed and tests revealed that he died of natural causes.
Zachary Taylor at the Battle of Buena Vista
President Zachary Taylor and cabinet

 My maternal great grandmother's mother was Mattie Mayfield Frogge. Her father, my great-great grandfather, was Isaac M. Mayfield. Isaac and my great-great grandmother, Susannah Martin Mayfield had ten children together. My great grandmother was a identical twin and she and her sister were the youngest of the ten born on February 18, 1859. Isaac joined the Union Army as a private early in the Civil War. He was in Co. K of the 13th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. It was organized at Camp Hobson in Greensburg Kentucky on December 10, 1861. This unit was attached to the Army of the Ohio which later became the Army of the Cumberland. It was involved in the occupation of Nashville after the fall of Ft. Donelson and was also involved in the battles of Shiloh, the battle of Corinth,  the Perryville campaign along with other campaigns during the time Isaac was alive. Isaac survived the 2nd day at Shiloh and was involved in the siege of Corinth where he contracted pneumonia. Tragically Isaac died on December 13, 1862 in a military hospital in Louisville Kentucky at the age of 42, leaving my great great grandmother a widow with a lot of kids to raise. Considering the fact that he was married with ten kids, and probably wouldn't have been drafted, he must have been very patriotic. The regiment lost 245 men during the war. Eight officers and fifty enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded in battle. Six officers and 181 enlisted men died of disease. Soldiers died from dysentery, measles, typhoid, typhus, cholera, and pneumonia among other things. I have a copy of his pension awarded to Susannah. She received 8.00 dollars a month for the rest of her life. A Union soldier's pay was thirteen dollars a month. His next to the oldest son was Jacob or "Jake" Mayfield who also served as a Union soldier in Company K 13th Kentucky regiment. He was 16 when the war started but I am not sure what year he enlisted. Jake survived and after the war he moved out west. I am fortunate to have a picture of him. He was born in 1845 and died January 18, 1918.

Grave of Isaac Mayfield / Cave Hill National Cemetery/ Louisville Kentucky

Section that Isaac is buried in
One room school house where Isaac attended school in Pulaski County Ky.

Isaac's pension awarded to Susanna for eight dollars a month 
Jake Mayfield in uniform

Jake Mayfield
Jake and his first wife of Whitesboro, Tx. Joanna Duggins Mayfield. She died after being thrown from a horse and wagon.

  James McKinley Frogge was born on April 9, 1831 in Jamestown Tennessee and died on January 11, 1920 in Edmonton Kentucky. He had 15 children. Thirteen by his first wife and two by his second. James also enlisted as a private in the 13th Kentucky (Union) Cavalry Regiment, Company M, on December 1, 1863 in Columbia Kentucky. He mustered out at Camp Nelson Kentucky on 10 January 1865. His occupation in the army was a farrier or blacksmith. The 13th was mustered in for one year on December 22, 1863 under the command of Colonel James W. Weatherford. The regiment was attached to District of South Central Kentucky, 1st Division, XXIII Corps, Department of the Ohio, to January 1864. District of Southwest Kentucky, Department of the Ohio, to April 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of Kentucky, Department of the Ohio, to July 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, District of Kentucky, to January 1865.

Detailed service
Duty at Lebanon and protecting country south of Lebanon until June 1864. Cumberland River, Ky., November 26, 1863. Creelsborough and Celina December 7. Cumberland River March 19, 1864. Obey's River March 28 (detachment). Expedition to Obey's River April 18–20. Wolf River May 18. Operations against Morgan May 31-June 30. Cynthiana June 12. Liberty June 17. Canton and Roaring Springs August 22. At Camp Burnside August 26-September 16. Ordered to Mt. Sterling September 16. Burbridge's Expedition into southwest Virginia September 20-October 17. Saltville, Va., October 2. At Mt. Sterling, Lexington and Crab Orchard, Ky., until December 17. At Camp Nelson, Ky., until January 10, 1865. 

  Isaac Bradford Frogge was my great uncle and was named after Isaac Mayfield. He was my grandmothers brother. She frequently told me the sad story about how Uncle Isaac died. Ike was shot in the back by accident. He was riding on a troop train when a fellow soldier was cleaning his rifle and it accidentally discharged. She nursed him for 8 days until he passed away. Ike was paralyzed because the bullet clipped his spine. I have a Western Union telegram sent to my great grandfather John C. Frogge from Rome Georgia dated December 27, 1916 at 8:58 A.M. It says "Seriously shot through spinal cord". Signed W.P. Harbin. I never questioned my grandmothers story until my grandfather told me a totally different version. He said that Isaac was shot trying to desert. As I got older this story made no sense because I found out that Ike was in a National Guard Unit. He belonged to Co. D, 27th Tennessee Cavalry. We were not at war on December 27, 1916. America would not declare war on Germany in World War I until April 4, 1917. So the desertion story wasn't feasible. I sent off for Isaac's death certificate and it called his death a homicide. Ike, like many of the men in my family may have had a drinking problem. His brother James Garfield Frogge, who also had a problem with alcohol, would also die under mysterious circumstances in 1932. One account said that Garfield was drunk and had drowned after falling in the Cumberland River. Some believe that he was murdered. I found a newspaper article from the Paducah Sun Times that said that Isaac had been assaulted and hit in the head with a wrench when he was 20. Isaac was about 32 when he died and his death remains a mystery that I hope to solve before I die. I can only conclude that maybe he was the type of drunk that liked to fight and couldn't stay out of trouble. My great grandfather John Frogge, supposedly killed several men who were trying to take over his saloon near Paducah Kentucky. I wonder sometimes if Garfield and Ike weren't the victims of some kind of vendetta related to the incident involving my grandfather and his saloon. One way or the other Ike died while serving in the armed forces. My Uncle Douglas Brown, who was my mothers oldest brother, served stateside in the Army during World War II but I know very little about his service. He was born in 1910 and died of a stroke in the early 1980's.

  My father Willard Aaron Segroves served stateside during World War II after being drafted at 24 in 1944. He was married with two small daughters, my half sisters Carolyn and Faye. He would be discharged in 1947. Many people believe that most men after Pearl Harbor flocked to the recruitment centers in a surge of patriotism and enlisted. There was a surge of patriotism and many men did enlist. The reality was that the majority of men were drafted however. There were 16 million men under arms during World War II but only 3 million actually saw combat. Daddy was inducted at Camp Forrest in Tullahoma and for part of his service he was in supply and the other part he was in the Military Police. During the war he worked at various POW Camps across the South, especially in Florida where he helped guard thousands of Italian and German troops captured in North Africa. He was always proud of the fact that many of these men had fought under the "Desert Fox", Irwin Rommel.
Willard Aaron Segroves
Post card from Ft. McPherson Georgia where my father went through basic training in 1944.

  I especially want to pay tribute to my wife Debbie's father Johnny Phillips, whose story is similar to my father except that he went into combat during the last months of the war in Europe. Johnny was severely wounded in January 1945. He was nearly five years older than my father. Born on October 2, 1915 and about 28 when he was drafted in 1944. He also had two small daughters, my sisters-in-law Sylvia and Judy.  Once when I was dating Debbie in the late 60's he told me the story of how he was wounded. He was an Army cook and was preparing a meal in a bombed out building near the Saar River. The Germans were shelling the American position from across the river. Johnny said he was with a group of other soldiers when a German 88 shell landed right in the middle of his group. If I am not mistaken I believe he said that he was the only survivor. The next thing that he remembered was waking up in a military hospital in England days later. Doctors removed a piece of shrapnel the size of a dime from his brain. He was eventually shipped back to the states after he was stabilized. Johnny spent many months recuperating in a Memphis military hospital. He qualified for 100% disability but he was one of the proudest men I ever knew. He averaged working twelve hours a day six days a week for most of his life and as a result only received partial disability. Johnny would be on anti-seizure medicine until his death at the age of 80 in July 1996. After he told me this story Debbie told me that I was the first person that had ever been able to get him to talk about his war experiences in her presence. Debbie's brother Ronald aka Ronnie Phillips served in the army from 1965 until about 1971. He was stationed in Germany for the length of his service                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Private Johnny Phillips

  In conclusion there are many families out there with a greater record of military service than mine. On this Memorial Day I just wanted to pay tribute to my family's contribution. Growing up I always expected that I would serve one day. In my mind it was a foregone conclusion. I joined the Air Force on August 5, 1968 and was discharged May 4, 1972. I returned to service in the Tennessee Air Guard in 1977, the U.S. Army Reserve in 1982 and I finished my career in the Tennessee Air Guard, retiring in 1994. I was an Air Force Security Policeman the entire time. I served at Kingsley Field Oregon, ErhacTurkey, N.O.R.A.D in Colorado Springs, Rhein Main Germany, Koksijde Belgium, Mildenhall England, Hickam A.F.B. Hawaii, and numerous stateside bases. My son Robert served nearly four years in the U.S. Navy from 1989 until 1993. He served on a guided missile cruiser named the U.S.S. Wainwright and went out on two Mediterranean cruises. What we must remember is that everyone that serves swears an oath to protect and defend our country. A person that serves in the military, regardless of the branch, is writing a blank check to his country, to be spent in whatever way is needed. Whether we actually make it into combat or not is irrelevant because we all train for that possibility and are willing to do our part to fulfill our duty. When we put on the uniform we are a target for our country's enemies and dying or being injured in a training accident can affect our lives as drastically as dying or being injured in combat. So the purpose of this article is not only to honor my family on Memorial Day but all the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.        

Greg Segroves at Lake Elazig Turkey
Greg Segroves at NORAD/ Cheyenne Mountain/ Colorado Springs Colorado

Debbie,Rob,and Greg Segroves - Great Lakes Naval Base Illinois

Rob Segroves on the USS Wainwright in the Med


  1. Thanks for the information on the Frogge family! My Grandma was Georgia Frogge Davidson and my mother never knew much about that side of the family because Georgia died when my mother was very young.

    1. Where was Georgia born? Do you know much about her?

    2. Where was Georgia born? Do you know much about her?