Sunday, October 26, 2014

Abortion Has A Face

   I would like to share personal stories that to me illustrates what the abortion issue is all about. It is about real people. The political left, in it's vanity thinks it has the right to decide who lives or dies. It thinks that it can decide, because of the complexity and quality, or lack of quality, in a person's perceived environment, what is best for that person. Only God is truly qualified to make that judgement. I have seen people born into less than desirable circumstances become hardened criminals and I have seen them become one of the top neuro-surgeons in the country. My granddaughter was born on September 4, 1987. My daughter, who I love more than life itself, made a mistake and became pregnant at fourteen years old. We had a talk and I felt obligated to tell her that what she did was wrong but I really didn't have to say that because she knew right from wrong.. I told her at the time that abortion was not an option and she and her mother both agreed. However I also said that I would never mention what she had done ever again and I have lived up to my promise. We had a baby to raise and that was our goal as a family. Our pediatrician was a man that I had the utmost respect for. He had, in my opinion, saved the life of my son by recommending a doctor that was able to treat a bladder condition connected to his brain function that was so rare that it was virtually unheard of. I called him on the phone and told him that I thought my daughter was pregnant. The first words out of his mouth was "bring her in to the office and we will give her a pregnancy test. "If is is positive we will take her to Planned Parenthood and get an abortion". I was struck by the coldness and callousness of his words. Without hesitation I said "there are no abortions in this family". He sounded angry with me and said "just bring her in and we will make the decision then". My wife, daughter and myself went to his office the next day. I was very proud of them because they both stood up to the doctor. I decided to change my pediatrician on my insurance but it took a while before the change went into effect. So I had to take my daughter in for her first follow-up visit. He was so angry with me that he barely spoke. I learned later that his wife was a big wig at Planned Parenthood. 

  When my granddaughter was born I sent him her picture and I wrote on the back, "This is what you wanted to get rid of". I also wrote the verse from Jeremiah 1-5 which says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." There are many other verses in the Bible that highlight the sanctity of life and of the unborn. When Elizabeth met Mary who was carrying John the Baptist the scriptures say that he leapt in the womb. (Luke 1:41 - And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Psalm 139:13-16 Verse 13 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16-Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be). Most women I have talked to, who have had abortions, cannot talk about it without weeping. Feminists try to make the subject of abortion into a male vs. female issue. Because I am male I have no right to even voice an opinion. If abortion was the same as removing a mole I could agree with them. However it has been shown that a baby is a completely separate person. A baby can even have a totally different blood type than the mother. The taking of life is an issue that should be of concern to everyone. Due to life's circumstances I have considered it an honor to raise my granddaughter into a beautiful woman who I had the honor to walk down the aisle on her wedding day. She gave us our first great granddaughter and my greatest honor is that she calls me daddy.

  On February 3, 1996 my grandson Zachary Segroves was born. He was about two months premature and very fortunate to have been born at all. Early in my daughter-in-laws pregnancy an ultrasound revealed that my grandson had a large cyst pressing on his lung. The cyst was endangering the development of his lungs. I am told that on at least four occasions doctors wanted to abort Zach. My son and daughter-in-law, being Christian, and believing in the sanctity of life, refused to give up on him. When Zach's little body had developed sufficiently, doctors operated on him while he was still in the womb, removing a portion of one lung. This was a revolutionary surgery performed at the time at Vanderbilt University hospital. My daughter-in-law spent her last few weeks before his birth in the hospital so his and her vital signs could be monitored. Zach weighed just over three pounds when he was born and spent several weeks in neonatal intensive care before he could go home. Today Zachary is a healthy and handsome twenty year old man. He is about six foot three inches tall and a very talented drummer that plays Christian music with his cousin Connor and brother Zane. 
Zachary Segroves
  My grandson Russell Qualls was born with a hole in his spine on October 27, 2010. He had a condition called Spinabifida. It was discovered when my daughter had her first ultrasound. Her doctor encouraged her to have an abortion but again she and her husband were believers and refused to end the pregnancy. She was on a thyroid medicine before she became pregnant and she asked her doctor if she should stop taking the medicine. He told her that she would be okay. As it turned out one of the side effects of this drug was that it could cause Spinabifida in an unborn baby. Russell was taken to surgery immediately after he was born. He was a miracle baby from the start. Ninety percent of children born with this condition have to have a shunt implanted in their head to drain off water from the brain. Russell did not require one. When most children are at walking age Russell was still crawling because his legs could not support the weight of his body. He could not feel his feet and lower legs. Over time he was fitted with braces that enabled him to walk but he was constantly falling. It was determined that he would have to be catheterized for the rest of his life. Over the years he has had months of therapy. This did not hold Russell back. He loved any kind of sport. Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, you name it. My daughter signed him up in the Smyrna Little League when he was three. All of his coaches and assistants loved Russell and worked hard to help him develop. When Russell first started playing he would have to bat while in his walker. It was coach pitch and he could not hit the ball until the coach put the ball on a tee. When he hit the ball he would run the entire length of the bases with a big grin on his face. It was very difficult for him because sweat would be pouring off of his head and face. I never watched this without choking back tears. During the 2015 season his coach taught him to hit without the walker. He would stand on his own and usually on the first pitch he would knock the stuffing out of the ball. Every time he swung the bat he would fall on his butt but would get right back up. When he ran the bases his coach would hold his hand but he managed to do it even though he fell many times but the smile never left his face. Because of his big heart and winning attitude he was chosen as the Academy Sports Smyrna Athlete of the year for 2015. I am confident that Russell will walk without problems one of these days. He will always need braces but he will walk. I feel convinced that if more people could attach a face to the babies that are being destroyed daily, abortion would be greatly diminished in this country. Before you can justify killing something you must first dehumanize it. The Nazi's dehumanized the Jews by comparing them to subhumans, vermin and rodents. It is easier to kill a fetus than to kill a baby.  Over 50 million people have died since the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This is about the number of people worldwide who died in WW2. Words have power and abortion has a face.

Russell with Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed after winning the Academy Sports Athlete of the Year Award


Sunday, October 19, 2014

1963 - Chapter One - Foundations



  It was a beautiful, clear Wednesday morning, January 16, 1963. Daddy sat at a nearby dresser, watching mother as she slept peacefully on a nearby bed. Granddaddy and my grandmother, who we called mama, and granddaddy's invalid sister, Aunt Arda, were in the kitchen. My mother's younger sister Didi was working at Southern Bell Telephone Company a few blocks away. My brother Mark, myself, and my cousins Roy and Alton, were at school. My newlywed sister Donna was living with her husband Larry, at our home across town in West Nashville. We were staying temporarily with my grandparents, in the forlorn hope that my father might regain his mental health, and we could return to a somewhat normal life. At approximately 10: 05 A.M., daddy pointed a nine shot .22 caliber pistol at the left side of mother's head, just behind the ear, and quickly fired three bullets into her brain. killing her and her unborn baby instantly. Immediately he shot himself in the right temple, falling on to his back with his feet sprawled across a fireplace hearth.

  The murder of my mother and the suicide of my father changed me and the path of my life in an instant. It had the same impact on my brother Mark and my sister Donna and in just a year it would claim the life of my grandmother who simply died of a broken heart. I have no claim to fame but I like to think of myself as an uncommon, common man. For the most part I am self-educated. Like Ross Perot would say I am a "roads scholar", not a Rhodes Scholar. I have learned as much from the roads that I have traveled in life as I have from our public educational system, books, and other sources. Because of my twenty years in the military and my intense interest in history I have had the opportunity to see much of the world and most of the United States, which has been an education in itself. Being an honor graduate from the school of hard knocks I have a pretty balanced education. My life has been pretty normal all and all and I feel fortunate to have been born in the greatest country on earth.

  God has made up for much of the loss in my life for granting me a loving wife, five wonderful children, I count my oldest granddaughter as my child because I raised her from birth. As of the date of this writing I have a total of 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. So I have been very blessed. Hopefully the reader will come away with a perspective on my life and struggles and will glean something positive. The most important reason that I wrote this book is for my family, grandchildren and descendants. To me there is nothing more frustrating than not knowing the history of your family. Over the years I have found out a lot about the Segroves and Brown's. My father and mother's family, along with the various sub branches of each family. However I feel that I have only scratched the surface. I want my family to know as much about me, and my wife's family, the Phillips and Traughbers, as I can leave to them. They will be vastly more informed about their parents than I was about mine. I want to leave part of myself to my family as a "mental heirloom". Everyone has a story to tell and far too many of these stories are buried with the dead. I would give anything to have another opportunity to interview my loved ones who have passed on. To have another chance to ask questions about our family history but because of youth or procrastination I failed to ask them when I had the chance. Because of this my job is much harder. 

  I have told the truth as I see it. Some things I have written about I have no way to confirm their authenticity because I am simply relaying what I was told from people speaking from memory. As far as my own life I can leave a more extensive recollection. I have tried to be fair in my assessment of both sides of my family. I have listed the good along with the bad. Not everyone is even interested in their family history but I hope that I can leave something to those family members who will be interested. Being naturally curious I did learn much from my Aunts Viola Segroves Baird, Freddie Segroves Davidson, and Goldie Brown Evans, I also have learned much from my sisters Carolyn Segroves Kemper, and Donna Segroves Bass. And my cousins Roy Anderson and Virginia Brown Murphy. The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Metropolitan Nashville Public Library, and have also been good resources. 

  Also I want to thank my cousin Jenny Trotter for the treasure trove of old pictures that she sent me in the mail. Because of her help I now have a picture of my father as a child. The youngest that I had of him previously was about age nineteen. I have never seen a picture of daddy's brother Edward until now. She sent a picture of Ed as a small child. He died very young as the result of being hit in the head by a rock. Thanks to her I not only have these pictures but young and old pictures of Aunts Viola, Lillian and Margaret. My Aunt Freddie, before she passed away, also provided me with pictures of my grandparents Claude and Mary Segroves. 

November 14, 2014

Hattie (Sara) Vandergriff Swann and Samuel B. Swann
  My Great grandfather was Joseph S. Segroves. He was born about 1861 in Bedford County Tennessee and died either on August 28 or 31 1938 in Huntsville Alabama. His father was named John Segroves but that is all I know about him. I don't know the name of my great great grandmother. My great grandmother was Clemenza Anne "Menzy" Jolly Segroves who was born in 1872 in Bedford County Tennessee and died in 1939 in Huntsville. Joseph and Menzy were married on November 5, 1887 in Bedford County Tennessee. My Aunt Freddie said that Joseph and Menzy didn't live together, at least when she knew them. She said that they never got a divorce but they were separated. Menzy's father was Aaron Jolly born in 1852 and died in 1942. Her mother was Nancy Jane Baucum who lived from 1853 until 1943.

  Mary Swann Segroves father was Samuel B. Swann born August 1856 in Knox County Tennessee. The date of his death is unknown. Samuel married Fannie H. Vandergriff on 20 September 1882. Fannie, who also may have been called Sara was born September 1864 in Tennessee. The date of her death is also unknown. The only thing that I know about Fannie was that she was American Indian, probably Cherokee. I am not sure what percentage she was but I believe this is where many on my fathers side got their dark complexions like my Aunt Vera, daddy, and my brother Mark. In the only picture I have of her you can definitely see the high cheekbones and she looks a lot like my Aunts Margaret and Freddie. My Aunt Viola told me that she was committed to Central State hospital at some point. I don't know how long that she was a patient but she would eventually die there. Fannie was buried in the hospital cemetery. During the 1950's the hospital started an agricultural project and the cemetery was plowed under and the markers removed. As a result my great grandmother is buried in an unmarked grave. Dell computer company now sits where the old Central State hospital sat. I know nothing about Samuel Swann. There was an article in the Tennessean about this cemetery. I contacted the state archaeologist who told me the history of it and that Dell was supposed to build a nice iron fence around it with a historical marker but to my knowledge it never happened. He said that the building housing the records was destroyed by a tornado in 1974. The storm destroyed half of the burial records. I gave him the name Sara Vandergriff, which was her maiden name and he couldn't find her. I didn't think to give him her married name of Swann and I have never checked under that name. 

  Joseph and Menzy had at least six children and as far as I can tell Claude was the oldest. Then came Burl Houston Segroves, born on January 11, 1893 in Wartrace Tennessee and died January 1977 in Nashville. James Guy Segroves born on June 23, 1902 in Huntsville and died on July 2, 1951 in Nashville of tuberculosis. There is supposedly a Maude Segroves but I can't find any information about her.
Claude Segroves in Hillsboro Alabama

Jim Seagroves

Marriage Certificate of James and Mary Roberts Seagroves
  Celia L. Segroves was born in Hillsboro Alabama in 1906 and she died in 1998. Celia was the only child of Joseph and Menzy that I ever met and I only saw her twice. The first time was at my Aunt Viola's viewing at the funeral home. She was in her early 80's and a very sweet lady. The second and last time was a few years later when we visited Debbie's brother Ronnie in Montgomery Alabama and we stopped at Celia's home in Huntsville on the way home. I had always wanted to see the Merrimac textile mill that I heard so much about from my dad when I was growing up. My timing was perfect because the city was in the process of demolishing the mill and much of the mill was still intact. I was still able to get some good pictures.. Aunt Celia still lived in what used to be company housing. Celia was suffering from mild dementia on this second visit. Her daughter and grandchild were living with her. Celia gave me a newspaper article about the textile mill and her experiences as a child living next to the mill. The article was entitled: It's Our Turn To Help The Mills by Liz Harvey.

  On November 25th,1991, Resolution No. 91-747 was adopted and approved by Steve Hettinger, mayor of the city of Huntsville. The resolution requested that the city of Huntsville make space available for cotton textile industry archives. The storage space is now available to store donated items for use in a proposed cotton textile museum.

  It's now our turn! Mill Number 1, the original Merrimack Manufacturing Company building, is disappearing fast. The nucleus of West Huntsville is slowly fading into the shadows of yesterday. The great Dallas Mill was gutted by fire just six months ago. The history of the cotton textile industry is so vital to where the city is today, that we must somehow preserve its historical and cultural past. It was a wonderful and fascinating era for Huntsville; a dream come true for folks like 85 year old Celia Bayless. 

   Celia Segroves Bayless was born in Hillsboro, Alabama in the year 1906. Her family and all the "kinfolk" came to Huntsville in 1896 from Wartrace, Tennessee. They traveled here by way of caravan in covered wagons. Each family usually had two wagons, one was filled with the family's furnishings and the second wagon was used by the family. These folks were farmers from Tennessee and they had been struggling along with the rest of America. When they heard about the cotton mills in Huntsville, they knew there would be jobs for them. So to Huntsville they came. Since Celia's father was a farmer, he moved the family on to Decatur where he got a job working on a farm. Celia's parents moved on to Hillsboro, but by the time she was three years old, her parents had moved to Huntsville and settled in the "Merrimack Village". Claude Segroves, Celia's brother, was working at the Merrimack and had persuaded their father to take a job there.

Celia's memories of the Merrimack Village are fond ones. She remembers tales of her active childhood, starting at age three. The yellow house that she and her family had once lived in can be seen from her living room window where she lives now. As she peeks out the window at that yellow wood frame house, she reminisces about the times when she and her mama would carry a hot lunch to her "Papa" who worked across the street from the village at the Merrimac Mill. She remembers a long wooden bench like the benches that you might see at a bus stop. Everyday she and her mother would wait at the bench for her papa to come outside to eat his lunch, which was usually fresh cooked vegetables. 

The cotton textile mills of Huntsville provided dreams and a good future for people like Celia Bayless. Soon there will be no trace of Huntsville's cotton mill past unless we do something about it now. We owe it to these people that worked in the cotton textile industry. It is time to collect and preserve what's left of our cotton textile industry. Your help is needed to establish one of the finest cotton textile industry museums in this country. If we all pitch in, this dream will come true---a reality that all the citizens of Huntsville will be proud of.

Dallas Mill

Dallas Mill

Merrimac Village

Merrimac Village from the air
I don't know where this picture was made but it depicts the miserable conditions of the mills

Claude Eulan Segroves and Mary Swann Segroves

  Daddy's mother and father died before I was born. Claude Eulan Segroves was born on October 15, 1888 in Bedford County Tennessee and died of colon cancer on April 15, 1940 in Nashville at 1306 3rd Avenue North. Claude's middle name has also been listed as Union. Mary Elizabeth Swann Segroves was born on March 2, 1888 in Coffee County Tennessee and died of a stroke on August 9, 1947 in Nashville at 903 Clay Street. Both are buried in Nashville's Spring Hill cemetery. Mary's grave is marked but Claudes grave is unmarked.
Claude Segroves
1306 3rd Avenue North
903 Clay Street - The house is no longer there

Mary Elizabeth Swann Segroves
  My Aunt Freddie described both of them as kind and hard working people, especially Mary. Both were members of the Baptist Church. My father frequently talked about how poor his family was when he was growing up in Alabama. He said that the only thing that he ever got for Christmas was a cap pistol. The family farmed and also worked in the Merrimac textile mill in Huntsville scratching out a meager living.. Claude worked on the railroad for a while. I have heard through my sister Carolyn that Claude was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama but I have not been able to confirm this. Carolyn and my Aunt Didi also told me that he was active as a Union organizer and was basically blackballed from getting a job. I believe this is one reason that daddy's family moved to Nashville in the 1930's. The 1930 census shows that he was living in Huntsville Alabama. Didi told me that my father was very anti-union and she believed that he was this way because he resented his father's union activities. He thought this was the reason that they were so poor and his dad couldn't get a job. Mary went to work to support the family at the Werthan Bag Company in North Nashville. The same Werthan family that was portrayed in the movie "Driving Miss Daisy" It is believed that her job contributed to her death at age fifty-seven because she developed "brown lung" disease from breathing the lint and her difficulty breathing is what led to her fatal stroke. Claude and Mary had six children. Two boys and four girls. 

  Viola, the oldest was born on April 25, 1910 in Alabama and died on June 12, 1997 in Tennessee but I know absolutely nothing about her youth. I remember her house in North Nashville during the 1950's and recently I put her old address into my GPS. A Kroger now sits where her house used to be. Sometime in the late 1950's she moved to an antebellum house on Two Mile Pike across the street from today's Rivergate Mall. It was a beautiful house surrounded by five acres. We visited there frequently and after my parents died I spent many a weekend there. There was Aunt Viola, her husband Delmas Baird, who was one of the nicest, most authentically Christian men I have ever known, Viola's daughter and only child Joyce lived with her along with Joyce's husband Ben Trotter, and their two children Benjy and Susanna. Benjy was about my brother Mark's age and Susanna was a little younger than Benjy. Jenny would come along in 1966 and I would get to know her better in later years. They were good solid Christian people. Ben was a very good man who had experienced combat in Korea as a Marine. They owned horses and this is where I learned to ride. Benjy competed as a barrel racer and won a ton of ribbons and trophies. I loved to sit in their den and talk with the family but I got the feeling many times Aunt Viola was picking my brain to find out gossip about Didi who was our guardian at the time.

Aunt Viola as a baby

Viola Woody Segroves

Aunt Viola on the left- Old Hickory Bridge

Viola and Joyce in North Nashville

Joyce and Aunt Viola in front of Mckendree Methodist Church on Church St.

Uncle Delmas, Joyce and Viola Baird
As I remember Aunt Viola

  Claude and Mary were Baptist but at some point Viola converted to Church of Christ. Primarily because of Aunt Viola I have developed a negative opinion of that church and many Church of Christ members have reinforced my negative opinion even further over the years. In addition my own study of the Bible has enlightened me to errors in their theology. There are many good Christian people that are Church of Christ and there are none finer than Aunt Viola's family or Freddie's family. I don't want to sound judgemental but I considered Aunt Viola to be very narrow-minded. She was definitely the matriarch of her family and seemed to rule the roost. She gave my sisters Carolyn and Faye hell because they were Catholic according to Carolyn. For example Carolyn said that she offered her a balogna sandwich to eat on a Friday knowing that Catholics were only allowed to eat fish on Friday's at that time. I never heard anyone ever speak ill of my mother when she was alive, or since her death, except for Aunt Viola. People only had good things to say about her. My deceased sister-in-law Debbie Segroves told me that Aunt Viola once told her that the only good thing she could say about my mother was that she kept us clean. Needless to say I was unhappy when I heard this. 

  On one particular Sunday we needed something at the grocery for Sunday dinner. Aunt Viola wanted me to ride with her so I could go into the store and buy the groceries on her list. As I was about to get out of the car she grabbed my arm and asked me if I listened to the sermon that morning. in church. Her next question was this. Did I agree with the preachers sermon? I meekly said "I guess so". The sermon was on Matthew 16:18. " And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it". Aunt Viola believed that the Rock was the true church and in her mind the Church of Christ denomination was that church. I have come to believe that Jesus was not referring to the church or to Peter as the Catholics believe. Jesus was referring to himself as the Rock. The church has to be founded on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and not on man. Of course at the age of thirteen I was a long way off from understanding this concept. I wasn't even a Christian. She looked me squarely in the eyes and said " You know that the only way you can go to heaven is if you are converted to the Church of Christ". I didn't know what to say as I got out of the car. Debbie told me that after we were married Aunt Viola told her that she was going to Hell because she was Baptist. 

  The Church of Christ was an outgrowth of the American Restoration movement, aka the Stone-Campbell Movement. It began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening which lasted from 1790 until 1870. Barton Stone, Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander Campbell wanted to restore the church from within and unify all Christians into a single body as it was in the original church of the New Testament. However several denominations evolved from this movement. The Churches of Christ, the Christian churches, the churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). 

  I have grown to realize over the years that there is a basic flaw in this theology. If you believe the promise of Matthew 16:18 it says that hell itself would not prevail against it (the church). This tells me that God's true church has always existed and there was no need to restore it. There has always been a remnant that has persevered through the best and worst of times.. They are the Body of Christ, who make up the real Church of Christ that consists of all true believers. I take issue with several Church of Christ doctrines such as it being necessary to be baptized to be saved. In my view it can be established that baptism is necessary for obedience but not salvation. The frequency of taking the Lord's supper and the doctrine against having music in Church. These latter two doctrines are majoring in the minors in my view. It is not a deal breaker if you don't take the Lord's Supper every week or whether you have musical instruments in church. I loved Aunt Viola. For the most part she always treated me well. She was the oldest child from a poor hard working family and it may have impacted her life in such a way that she developed a dominating or bossy personality. I just can't say. 

  Edward was born on December 26, 1912 in Alabama and would die on December 15, 1935 in Tennessee. He would die when he was almost 23 from a injury he sustained when he was about 12 years old. While playing with other boys he was hit in the head with a rock and a blood clot formed on his brain. Mary took care of him the rest of his life. The clot however, eventually expanded too far into his brain and killed him. Freddie said that Mary tried to get an operation for him at Vanderbilt but by the time she sought help it was too late. I was hit in the head with rocks a time or two when I was a child but I never threw rocks at other kids. Mainly because I grew up hearing the story of Ed's death and how dangerous it was to throw rocks.

Edward, Lillian and Viola 

  Aunt Lillian was born in 1915 in Alabama. Lillian married Robert Petty and had three children. Two boys and a girl. They were older than me and I think this is one reason that I never got very close to her. She was a very sweet lady though. Lillian helped daddy at the store on occasion but she suffered a devastating stroke when she was just 43. She was an invalid for the rest of her life. Her speech was impaired and she was usually using a walker or cane.  The only time I ever saw her was at funerals, weddings or family reunions.She would always want me to come and visit her but I never did. Just before she died I looked her up when she was living in an apartment in Old Hickory. I was shocked at her appearance and the bitterness that she showed toward me. Until this day I had never heard her utter one unkind word. She said something like " Now you come to see me". Aunt Lillian was cold and distant, as if I were a stranger. Call it maturity but I wanted to turn over a new leaf and to get closer to her. It was not to be. She died a short time after this visit on August 19, 1997.

Lillian Segroves

A young Lillian possibly on a date

Aunt Lillian and her husband Robert Petty

Aunt Lillian's children- Mary, Don, and Bob Petty
Aunt Lillian

  Aunt Margaret was born on August 5, 1917 in Alabama. I loved Aunt Margaret. She was very good hearted and meant well. My dad was closer to her than he was to any of his other sisters with the possible exception of Freddie. She was a pretty woman and when I knew her she was very well off financially.. She was married to Charlie Williams who was a self made man who rose from poverty to being a multi-millionaire. Charlie worked all the time and sold his business (Williams Optical Company) before he died, for eight million dollars. Every two years they traded for a new Cadillac whether they needed it or not. His brother, whose name escapes me now, owned a chain of local drugstores, that no longer exist, called Wilson-Quick Drugstores. Aunt Margaret and Charlie adopted two children. A girl and a boy,named Brenda and David. I can't remember much about Brenda. In my opinion David was spoiled and Aunt Margaret once told me that he was undergoing counseling. He once got mad at Mark and hit him over the head with a hockey game. Carolyn said that Brenda was actually Charlie's child from an affair that he had with a woman in East Tennessee. Charlie called Aunt Margaret and told her that he was bringing Brenda home to raise. Whether this is true or not I only have her word on it. As an adult Brenda developed a severe drug addiction and would eventually have her hand amputated due to drug abuse. I think that she eventually straightened her life out and she was working at a restaurant in Murfreesboro. I wanted to see her but she died before that could happen. David and I made contact with each other recently and he told me that he had been married a couple of times and lived in Orlando for many years. He has a daughter and is now living in Nashville.
   After our parents died Aunt Margaret stepped up to the plate and tried to do all she could to help us. She would invite us over to their house in West Meade, which was a fairly exclusive neighborhood in West Nashville. The house was a large ranch style and I always felt like a duck out of water there. She had black maids that took care of the house. Aunt Margaret would take us to shop for clothes and out to eat which was a treat back then. There weren't that many chain restaurants but Shoney's was my restaurant of choice because I loved their onion rings. For the few days we were with her she spoiled us. She once told me however that money didn't guarantee happiness. I had the impression that Aunt Margaret wasn't happy in her marriage. Many Sunday's when most people were off we would have to be quiet because Charlie would be working in his office at home. One weekend I told Aunt Margaret that I was interested in the Civil War and I had always wanted to go to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain to tour the battlefields but nobody wanted to take me. She promised me that the next weekend that we came to visit she would take us to spend a whole day in Chattanooga. She picked us up after school on Friday and bright and early the next morning we were up and dressed, ready for a great day in Chattanooga. Aunt Margaret told us to wait in the den while she went into Charlie's office to talk to him, I could hear muffled talk, as if there was an argument going on. We sat there for a very long time and soon early morning turned into late morning. Eventually Aunt Margaret walked out and I could tell she had been crying. She apologized profusely but she said that we couldn't go. I can't remember what her excuse was but I could tell that she was very sorry she had disappointed us and had to go back on her promise to me. I didn't blame her. It was obvious that Charlie didn't want us to go. He was always nice to us but he could be very crude. I remember one time when Aunt Margaret took us to a horse race an attractive girl walked by and he said to me "That girls shorts are so tight if she were to fart it would blow her shoes off".

During the mid 1970's Aunt Margaret began showing signs of mental illness and I remember visiting her at what is now Centennial hospital in Nashville. She was sitting with a group of patients in the lobby and she barely recognized me. I felt like I was talking to a Zombie. There was no life in her eyes or an expression. She died on March 17, 1976, a short time after this visit. Uncle Charlie said that she had suffered at least 13 strokes shortly before she died. Charlie lived quite a while after her death. He remarried and moved to a large house in Brentwood. I would see him at weddings and funerals but other than that I had no contact with him.

Margaret George Segroves
Freddie Segroves Davidson, Me, and Margaret Segroves Davidson - East High Graduation - June 6, 1968

Daddy was born on January 30, 1920 and he died on January 16, 1963. His name was Willard Aaron (Bill) Segroves and he was born in Decatur Alabama. I know very little about him as a child or as a teenager. Carolyn told me that he had attempted suicide at 17 by turning on a gas stove and sticking his head in the oven. Freddie told me that he didn't do it on purpose but did it by accident. I tend to believe it was on purpose. I will talk much more about him later.

Margaret Segroves and daddy - Willard A. (Bill) Segroves

Post Card of the chow line at Ft. McPherson Georgia during WW2 - Daddy pointed out a soldier that looked like him in the chow line.

  Freddie was born on July 3, 1925 in Alabama. Last night my great niece Anna Louise Segroves was born on May 12, 2016. My cousin Rowena Davidson Graham told me today that Freddie was named Anna Louise Segroves on her birth certificate. Freddie was born at home but the doctor named her Anna Louise on her birth certificate for unknown reasons. Claude and Mary had named her Freddie Mae. In the 1940's Freddie was needing her birth certificate. This is when she discovered the doctors mistake and she had to change the name to Freddie Mae. I asked Rowena why my grandparents would give her a boys name. Rowena said that my Aunt Viola's middle name was Woody and my Aunt Margaret's middle name was George. She said that they were named after my grandparents friends or people they respected. As a child, Freddie's house burned down and the Red Cross sent her boy's clothes thinking she was a boy. Freddie was the most fun, and down to earth, than any of daddy's sisters. I felt the most comfortable around her. When I was growing up she was always around. When we lived on Brookside Court and later on Henry Ford Drive she lived in an older subdivision called Croleywood, which was just behind our subdivision. When we lived there I would walk over to play with my cousins, primarily her oldest son Ricky Nolan or he would come over to our house. Freddie was married to Larry Davidson, her second husband. She had three children. Ricky, was her first child with Leo Nolan. Then there was Steve and Rowena Davidson who were Larry's children. Of all my cousins on daddy's side I feel closest to Freddie's children because we spent so much time together while growing up. Daddy's relationship with Freddie was similar to my relationship with my own sister Donna. He loved her but she could get on his nerves. For example daddy hated anyone to hover over him while he was eating. I get that from him because I am the same way. He would get irritated at Freddie because she would stand behind him and pick off of his plate. Even after my parents died and Freddie was living in Goodlettsville I spent a lot of time at her house. I will never forget the time when her septic tank was overflowing and we were playing football in her backyard. I was running for a pass and I slid through the septic tank overflow.Needless to say everyone got a good laugh out of that.

   I loved Freddie's laugh because she was always lighthearted and I cannot remember anything about her I didn't like, except maybe her politics. After I became a conservative we had many good-natured but passionate debates. Bless her heart but she was a product of her generation. She grew up during the depression when most Southerners thought Franklin Roosevelt was a god. Like many people of her generation she couldn't see that the modern Democratic Party no longer represented her real interests and Christian values. Unfortunately I was never able to change her mind. Neither was anybody else, She wasn't a racist however because she voted for Obama. I know many die-hard Democrats of her generation that voted for every white liberal presidential candidate from McGovern to John Kerry but they wouldn't vote for Obama because of his skin color. Didi was like that but not Freddie, She was consistent to the end. Freddie died October 23rd 2012.
A young and sultry Freddie

Freddie and her 1st husband Leo Nolan - The father of my cousin Ricky

Marcellus F. Brown

   Marcellus Fain Brown, my mother's father, was born in Lebanon Tennessee on June 16, 1889. Granddaddy as I called him was called "Celly" by the adults. He was a meek and gentle man in his late 60's when I was old enough to remember him. When I say meek I am not implying weak because he was strong as an ox from his years of hard work as a blacksmith on the Tennessee Central Railroad. Many men on my mother's side of the family were railroad men. One of my favorites sayings I learned from a church sign. If you think meek is weak, try being meek for a week. He was a good carpenter and plumber and was constantly chewing and spitting tobacco. He kept a spit can next to his easy chair in the back room. I credit him for instilling in me an aversion to tattoo's because he had the tattoo of a naked woman on his arm but he always wore long sleeved shirts. He was ashamed of it. I saw the legs of a woman sticking out from under his shirt sleeve and I asked him what it was. He said "Son it's a tattoo and you should never get one, you will live to regret it".

  Granddaddy was very hard of hearing because of the noisy environment of the blacksmith shop.. For that reason he wasn't able to interact with others on a normal basis. In order for him to hear conversation it was necessary to cup your hands and speak loudly into one of his ears. For this reason I was never close to him until the last years of his life. When I was fifteen or sixteen I began to have long conversations with him about our family history and he would tell me stories about his life when he was young.   He died of cancer in July 1968 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville. A few years ago I struck up a conversation with a man in a restaurant in Smyrna. He was sitting at a table next to us. I asked him what he did for a living and he said that he was a blacksmith. "My grandfather was a blacksmith" I told him, "on the Tennessee Central Railroad". He said that his grandfather was also a blacksmith on the Tennessee Central. The man then told me that he had a group picture of men from the blacksmith shop that included his grandfather and uncle. He wanted me to look at the picture and see if I recognized anyone. I had seen this man at a Mexican restaurant where we were singing karaoke at the time and a few weeks later he brought me a copy of the picture to the restaurant. I couldn't believe my eyes. I recognized my great-grandfather John Clayton Frogge and my grandfather Marcellus Brown. His grandfather was standing on the front row and his uncle on the right rear on the back row. I found out later when I showed the picture to Didi that my Uncle Elby was also in the picture in a white hat on the back row. I was simply amazed that our paths would cross and out of the thirteen men in the picture we could identify five of them.
Early picture of my grandfather Marcellus Brown

From left to right my great grandfather  J.C. Frogge, (Foreman) ,1st man front row- Second man on back row Uncle Elby Morse,- 4th man on back row in center my grandfather Marcellus F Brown
   Grandaddy's father was Henry Thompson Brown who was born on June 18, or 29, 1850 in Lebanon Tennessee. He died on December 9, 1918 in Nashville and is supposedly buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. I have never been able to find his grave. Henry's father was William Coleman Brown. He was born on my birthday, February 28, 1816 in Wilson County Tennessee. William married Mary Johnson, better known as Polly, on December 24th 1839. She was born in 1816 in Wilson County. William  died in 1880 and she died on August 28, 1885 in Lebanon Tennessee. William's father was George Brown who died in 1857 and his mother was Mary Polly Thompson, who died in 1870. Polly Johnson's father was Samuel Johnson, born in 1779 and died in 1840. Her mother was Sarah Moss, born in 1784 and died in 1858. My great-grandmother Celana Caldonie (Donie) Sherrill Brown was born on March 6, 1851 in Lebanon and died March 31, 1933 in Nashville. She is buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. My mother and my granddaughter were also named Donie. Henry and Donie were married on May 2, 1869 in Lebanon. As far as I can tell they had 13 children of which only 9 survived to adulthood. There were a set of twins that died in infancy.
Granddaddy, Tom Morse, Mr. Gray at the Blacksmith shop

  Granddaddy had a brother named Milford Brown who was married with thee children. Milford and his wife died within a couple of months of each other from tuberculosis. Milford was born July 15, 1874 and died September 12, 1914 at the age of forty. He died a couple of months after his wife Virginia Sullivan Brown. This was a sad story because it is similar to my situation. The couple had three boys Edward, Milford Jr. and Tim. Virginia Brown was Catholic and Milford Sr. converted to Catholicism after they were married. After the three boys were orphaned two of them, Edward and Tim, were sent to a Catholic orphanage in Nashville and Milford Jr. was sent to a Catholic orphanage in Memphis. A few years ago I met Milford's granddaughter Virginia Brown Murphy. She is as interested in genealogy as I am and I have learned a lot from her. Recently I helped her find Milford Sr's grave in Nashville's Catholic Calvary Cemetery.. Virginia lives in Memphis and visits her Nashville cousins, descendants of Tim Brown from time to time. Edward became the black sheep of the family and got in trouble with the law. He moved away and the family lost track of him.

Caption on the picture is wrong. Hattie Lee is Virginia Sullivan Brown, wife of Milford

I am 2nd from left and my cousin Virginia Brown Murphy 3rd from left.  Her sister and son are also in the picture.

Milford Brown Sr
  This is the grave of a great uncle William G. Brown. Born 1841 and died in 1913. He fought with the 4th Tennessee Cavalry (Murrays). He is buried in Browns cemetery in Wilson County. The regiment fought in many battles, including Stones River and it also fought under Forrest. 


  My grandmother Ella Belle Frogge Brown was born on June 17, 1894 near Paducah Kentucky. At the age of three she contracted German measles and lost an eye. She had a glass eye and I remember her putting it in her eye socket in the morning and removing it at bedtime. People called her Belle but the kids called her mama She dipped snuff and the sides of her mouth were frequently stained with tobacco. Many Southern women of her generation dipped snuff. She was a great example of Christian kindness for me. I remember homeless men coming to her back door and asking for food. She would tell them to have a seat on the back steps while she would fix them a plate of food. I will have much more to say about her later.

Mama as a small child

Ella Belle Brown probably as a teenager

  Granddaddy and Mama had five children. There was Douglas born on July 30, 1911 in Kentucky and died March 1982 in Nashville. For whatever reason everyone of their kids were given nicknames. Douglas or Doug was known as (Big Brother) and he was a wild one. For much of his life he had a drinking problem. He was a big man that stood about six foot four. There were twelve years between Doug and my mother who was the second child. Apparently these were lean years financially for my grandparents. It was during the years between Doug and my mother that granddaddy traveled to Detroit to look for work and became a streetcar conductor. When my mother was born Mama was unable to nurse her for some reason and Doug would scour the neighborhood looking for a wet nurse for mother or some lady who was nursing her own baby. I was told that mother even nursed black women. As Seinfield might say"not that there is anything wrong with that".  

Left to right- Goldie, Mattie, Douglas, Donie and Alton Brown

  During the Second World War Doug was inducted into the Army and at some point was stationed in Southern California. My Aunt Didi lived with Doug and his second wife Catherine while they were there. His first wife was said to be a hellcat. Didi was traumatized by an incident when Doug got drunk and chased her all around the house with a gun while threatening to kill her. After the war Doug went off the deep end with his drinking The following is from an article written about him by the Nashville Tennessean during the 1950's. The article said that for fifteen years he traveled a dark and lonely road and a two fisted belligerent man looking for a place to hide. In his words "I ran along the very brink of Hell. I had no friends. I wanted none. I have been stabbed and stomped. I Have been knocked in the head. I have been kicked in the face. I knew no physical fear. I looked for trouble and found it".
  Doug straightened his life up after being saved and even became a Methodist preacher. He was Pastor of the Anne Morrison Smith Methodist Church at 216 Main Street. My mother took me there to church on many a Sunday and I have fond memories of Christmastime when Santa Claus would pass out bags of candy and fruit. The church sat below the Victory Memorial Bridge after the bridge was built. At the time his work with the underprivileged and alcoholics was widely heralded. "God meant for me to do this kind of work " he said. "Had he not, I don't believe I would be alive today"

  After he became a preacher he and Catherine adopted two girls from broken homes. The oldest was my cousin Judy who would survive a near fatal car wreck in 1969 in which doctors gave her no hope of survival. A drunk driver hit her and her husband head-on and the hood of the car came through the windshield hitting her in the head. She suffered severe brain trauma that left her in a deep coma. Judy made a slow but miraculous recovery and today there are no visible signs of her injury. Other than the inability to smell and a few minor things she is completely normal. The youngest was Virginia (Ginny) Brown. Ginny would later be strangled by her boyfriend in March 1989 and her body was discovered by a mailman on the side of the road in Mt. Juliet. Her body lay unidentified in the morgue for days and she was finally identified when her daughter saw a composite drawing of her in the Tennessean.. The man was later caught and claimed to have had a Vietnam flashback as his excuse for killing her. For several years my Aunt Catherine and cousin Judy had to appear at parole hearings once each year in order to keep this man in prison. He was finally released after only serving about five years.
Ella Belle and Doug about 1912
Catherine and Doug
Anne Morrison Smith Methodist Church

Anne Morrison Smith Methodist Church

Virginia (Ginny) Brown 
  As happens far too often Doug was unable to conquer his dark side. He had an affair with a lady in the Church that had come to him for counseling and was forced to leave the ministry. Unfortunately Doug returned to the bottle. He worked for the State of Tennessee for the rest of his life as an engineer. His drinking however ruined his health and he had a series of heart attacks and strokes over a period of years until finally he suffered a devastating stroke that left him totally bedridden and unable to talk. His loyal and loving wife Catherine stuck with him through everything. She waited on him hand and foot for years and very seldom was she able to even leave the house. Uncle Doug finally passed away in March 1982 from a lethal stroke.

  Aunt Catherine lived eleven years after Doug's death but was killed in a freak accident. One rainy night in March 1993 while I was with my Guard Unit in Hawaii she was riding with her oldest daughter Judy on Old Hickory Boulevard when they stopped at a railroad crossing waiting for the Broadway Dinner train to pass. A man was driving too fast and rear-ended Judy's car pushing it into the path of the train. The train was so close Judy barely had time to unfasten her own seat belt. She shouted for Aunt Catherine to unfasten her belt but in her panic was unable to do it herself. Judy reached over and unfastened her belt and told her mother to get away from the car as fast as she could. Judy was barely able to get clear when the train smashed into the car causing it to spin violently on the track. She said that the car missed her stomach by inches. Aunt Catherine being elderly was not able to move so fast and the car door hit her. Aunt Catherine was thrown through the air about 100 feet and landed in the middle of Old Hickory Boulevard in the rain. An off duty paramedic tried to save her life but she was dead when she reached the hospital.

  My mother was a Yankee Doodle Dandy and was born on July 4th, 1923. Everybody had a nickname but mother, or at least I thought so. A few years ago I asked Didi why mother didn't have a nickname and she said that she did. It was "stinky britches" I can now understand why it didn't stick, no pun intended. I really don't know much about mother's childhood or her life before she met John Phillips. Relatives would tell me how shy and sweet she was as a child. Her best friend was Dorothy McMillan and they seemed to be inseparable. I don't know how long they were friends or when they met each other. At some point mother learned how to play the guitar and I have a 1946 model Gibson guitar that belonged to her. Dorothy and mother sang and played together in church. Both had beautiful voices and had great harmony. Didi told me that they auditioned for the Opry once but were rejected because they were too good. Their voices weren't country enough. She said that they were good friends with Kitty Well's who grew up near them on Hermitage Avenue and they could hear her singing on her back porch. Didi said that Kitty must have been ashamed of her humble roots. In retirement Didi worked as an usher at the Opry House. She said that Kitty would virtually ignore her whenever they passed each other as if she was too good to speak to her.

  Mother at some point dated Allen Smith. Allen aka (Frog) was from (Flat Rock) as the Woodbine section of Nashville was called. He was a soldier in World War II and I was told by Didi that he at one time or another dated all three of the Brown daughters. My mother, Aunt Tincy and Didi. Mother dated several soldiers in World War II. One had the last name of Sego and they were pretty serious about each other. Didi said that she thinks mother and this guy broke up because he was seriously wounded and for that reason ended the relationship. Apparently he lost a limb or was disfigured in some way. He didn't want my mother to see him in that condition. Sego was in a California military hospital when she received the Dear John letter.

  I know that mother went to Howard School and Hume-Fogg High school but she never graduated. Didi told me about an incident when mother was asked to go on a blind double date with a friend. The friend drove her to the Cathedral of the Incarnation on West End where to her horror her date turned out to be a Priest. Didi said that mother came home crying and nearly hysterical because she had fought this guy off all night and she said booze was flowing freely.
Donie Belle Brown


Donie, Goldie and Mattie louise Brown
Left to right- Didi, Tincy, Mary Morse, Mother, Bud on the ground
Mother about 10

Mother and my grandmother

This picture was taken at a pool in Illinois and not at Cascade


Mother and her best friend Dorothy
  Mattie Louise Brown or as everybody called her (Tincy) was born in Nashville on February 16, 1925 and died on March 14, 1992. Like mother I know little about her life when she was young. She was another wild one. Didi told me that she was always causing problems for granddaddy and mama growing up. She married a preacher named Samuel Shelby at a young age who was quite a bit older than her. Didi said that he was abusive to her and they would divorce. She was a pretty woman but a life of cigarettes and heavy drinking took it's toll on her and she died a haggard bitter old woman at the relatively young age of 67. I will have more to say about her later.  
Pastor Samuel Shelby and Mattie Louise (Tincy) Brown Shelby
Mattie Louise is in the dark dress with flowers in her hair

Mattie Louise Brown

Aunt Tincy & Uncle Jim's Wedding

Uncle Jim & Aunt Tincy

Aunt Tincy's maid

  Goldie Elizabeth (Didi) Brown was born on August 3, 1927 and died in May 2012 at the age of 84. Again I don't know much about her early life. I do know that she was very attractive and had a ton of boyfriends especially during the war years. When I knew her she was so straight laced and rigid I can't imagine her in that way. She had a ton of pictures of all of her boyfriends mostly while in uniform. She worked at Ligget's Drugstore which was on Church Street. She met my Aunt Freddie , who also worked there before she ever met my mother. Probably during the war she met Lee Roy Anderson who was a Navy combat veteran in World War II. Didi and Lee Roy married,after the war and she gave birth to my cousins Roy and Alton. In the early 1950's, after the birth of Alton, she would divorce Lee Roy. Didi once told me that he was always threatening suicide. He would scare her by threatening to jump off of high places. Lee Roy actually tried to kill himself by rigging a deer rifle where it would go off when a door was opened. He shot himself in the chest but survived this near fatal suicide attempt. When he would come to visit Roy and Alton after the divorce he would brag about how fast he would drive through small towns. This was the era before seat belts.  However he would die an old man. My sister Carolyn told me that Didi fell in the floor and had a tantrum when she found out she was pregnant with Alton. She went to work as an operator for what was then Southern Bell Telephone Company and retired in the 1980's after marrying her third husband Bob Evans, He died about a year after their wedding of brain cancer. Didi would die after a massive stroke in May of 2012.

Didi in front of the capital

Didi in California

Didi and Lee Roy

   The youngest of the children was Alton M. "Bud" Brown. He was born on April 3, 1929 and died on August 20, 1995. Like the others I don't know much about him as a child. Of all of the Brown children he was the only one that finished high school and graduated from college. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Being a preacher he probably went to a religious seminary. Everybody loved Uncle Buddy and we were crazy about him. Like Uncle Doug he was a tall man and stood six foot four inches tall. He was skinny and nerdy looking in his teenage pictures. I reached the conclusion that he was a homosexual. My brother-in-law, Larry Sircy, made that allegation when I was about fifteen. I didn't believe it at the time. As an adult I began to put two and two together. He was never interested in women and never married. By itself that doesn't mean that a person is a homosexual. My sister Carolyn didn't believe it. She told me that the reason he never married was because a girl broke his heart when he was young. He was deeply in love with her and she dumped him. In later years I heard allegations that he was also a pedophile. I had a flashback to the time when I was about fourteen years old. One morning he sat down beside me on my bed and I was lying there in my underpants. He talked to me for a while and with the back of his hand he tapped me on my privates as he stood up to leave. I remember thinking how odd that was at the time but I never thought any more about it. After he died I heard that he molested a male member of the family who I will not name. He was always very loving toward the male children in our family.Uncle Bud never failed to hug me when he saw me. He was never as affectionate toward the female children in the family. When my children came along he was crazy about my sons but he virtually ignored my daughter's. Uncle Bud frequently asked us to let Robbie come and live with him. At the time we didn't think that he was a pedophile but we had no intention of letting Robbie live with him. As a single preacher he was in an excellent position to come in contact with male children. He fit the profile of a pedophile. On a regular basis he would take troubled or unwanted male children into his home as a foster parent. He would call them his children and several stayed with him for years. I believe Uncle Bud was a pedophile but he was somewhat selective about who he molested. There was one boy that he raised from a broken home,that seemed to be crazy about him. Uncle Bud had a positive impact on his life. He grew up to be a very successful preacher who married and had a family. I don't believe that Uncle Bud molested him. There were others though that left as soon as they were able and they broke all contact with him.

Alton M. Brown


Bud with his mom

   I know much more about my grandmothers ancestry than I do my grandfather Marcellus. Through her family I am related to Presidents John Tyler and Zachary Taylor and the William Wallace clan of the movie (Braveheart) fame in Scotland. The name Frogge originated as Froedge in Scotland. Her father was John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge born on July 19, 1858 in Fentress County Tennessee and he died  January 20, 1943 in Nashville. A few years ago I read a book about Alvin C. York, the most decorated soldier of World War I and he was from Pall Mall. Many Frogge's are buried only a few feet from York. The book named several  Frogge's that were some of York's best friends and his worst enemies. This prompted me to do some research and I found that my great great great great grandfather Arthur Robinson Frogge, born on April 13, 1776 was a tough frontiersman born in Virginia. During the War of 1812 the state of Kentucky raised the 7th Mounted Volunteer Regiment to fight in the Thames Campaign against the British and the Indian Confederation of Tecumseh. William Wood was named Captain and my grandfather was named a Lieutenant and second in command. The battle was fought in present day Canada and was a great victory for American forces in which the mighty Tecumseh was killed. Arthur survived with only an ankle injury. After the war Arthur, his brothers and their families moved to the Three Forks of the Wolf River, and settled on what today is called Frogge Mountain in Pall Mall Tennessee. The first settler of Pall Mall was Conrad Pile, or (Coonrad Pile) the great great grandfather of Alvin C. York. Arthur Frogge and his family were the second group to settle the Three Forks of the Wolf River. This would account for the close relationship of the Frogge and York family over the years. Arthur Robinson Frogge died on May 13th 1855.
Frogge Mountain / Pall Mall Tennessee

   At some point my great grandfather John Frogge  moved to Kentucky and was married to Mattie Mayfield on August 6, 1876, and they had at least six children. They were Evan Donald Frogge, born in 1877 and died in 1929. James Arthur Garfield Frogge, born October 28, 1880 and died May 28, 1932. If his date of birth is right he was born a few days before President James A. Garfield was elected in November 1880. Apparently John, Mattie, or both admired Garfield. It might have had more to do with Garfield being a Union General during the Civil War than anything else. Mattie's father died fighting for the Union. Then there was Isaac Bradford Frogge who was either born on December 4, 1884 or June 24, 1885 and died January 28, 1917. Odell Jacob R. Frogge, born in 1890 and died in 1960. Uncle Jake was chief engineer at the Maxwell House hotel when he retired at the age of 66.  He had also been employed at the Tulane and Hermitage hotels. Uncle Jake was an electrician for Tom Ryman's steamship line on the Cumberland River as a young man. The ships steamed up the Cumberland River from Nashville to Burksville Kentucky with stops along the way at Lebanon, Hartsville, Gainsboro, and Celina. The boats shipped general merchandise and foodstuff. They returned with cattle, lumber and heavy freight. He survived two sinkings on the same steamboat named the Bob Dudley. It sank once at Celina Tennessee and later under the Woodland Street Bridge in Nashville.  I barely remember Uncle Jake but I do remember very well going to Cosmopolitan Funeral home with my mother to the viewing when he died. My mother brought along her guitar and sat by the casket playing and singing gospel songs to comfort the family. This was my first experience with death. My mother sheltered me from the subject and I was terrified at the thought of dying. I had never seen a dead person and I asked her if I could sit outside in the hallway where I wouldn't be able see Uncle Jake's body. By accident I caught a glimpse of him for just a split second and that was the first time I ever saw a dead body. Uncle Jake was named after Mattie's older brother, Jacob "Jake" Mayfield who was also a Union soldier that survived the war and moved out to Oklahoma after he was discharged. Uncle Jake apparently died of complications from gall bladder surgery at the old General hospital. He was 69 years old. Curiously, uncle Jake spelled his last name Frodge. This is similar to the original spelling of Froedge that originated in Scotland. Uncle Jake was married to my Aunt Lillie whose maiden name was Dennison. She was born on September 21, 1888 and died on July 3, 1981. I came across an interesting article on her in the paper. In 1946 she was reunited with a son that for whatever reason was taken away from her when he was 5 years old. I am assuming that she was married before Uncle Jake and this separation was due to a divorce. She and her son were reunited 35 years later.

 My grandmother came along next in 1894 and died in 1964. Last but not least was Mattie Elizabeth Frogge, or as we called her, Aunt Lizzie, born in 1900. I remember her well and she was the last to die of my grandmother's siblings in the 1970's or 80's. She was a very sweet lady and always lived in the Nashville housing projects. Her husband Elby Morse never said much but he worked with my grandaddy, and my great grandfather John Frogge in the blacksmith shop. John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge died in 1943. His obituary reads: John Clayton Frogge - Funeral services for John Clayton Frogge 84, who died at his home, 239 Hermitage Avenue, Wednesday night of a heart attack, will be held at 3 o'clock this afternoon at the residence. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery where Masonic rites will be held. A blacksmith foreman for the Tennessee Central Railroad, Mr. Frogge had apparently been in good health, having worked the day before his death. He was born in Jamestown Tenn. and had been a Tennessee Central employee for 37 years. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Mattie Frogge; two daughters, Mrs. M.F. Brown, and Mrs. E.R. Morse, of Nashville; one son, Jake Frogge of Nashville, and two brothers, Elick Frogge of New Town Indiana and E.D. Frogge of Waterview Ky.
John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge

Aunt Lizzie, my grandmother, Susanna Mayfield, Mattie & John Frogge
John Clayton Frogge

John C. Frogge's graveside service at Woodlawn Cemetery 

Buried in Woodlawn's Masonic section
Woodlawn's Masonic section
Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville

The son of Garfield Frogge and founder of Frogge  HVAC  Company

The son of James Hamilton Frogge & grandson of Garfield Frogge

James G. (Buddy Frogge)

Ella Belle Frogge
Aunt Lizzie on right with her daughter Mary

Recently I talked to a cousin named James G. ( Buddy) Frogge who at the time of this writing is eighty one years old. He owns Frogge HVAC service in Old Hickory. (Update October 15, 2017.: Buddy died on January 8, 2017). James said that the reason that John Frogge moved his family from Kentucky to Nashville was that he owned a saloon there and several men were trying to take it over. I don't know if they were thugs trying to muscle him out, or they were doing it legally, but supposedly John killed them and had to leave the state. I have heard that he killed three men. This may or may not explain the mysterious deaths of Garfield and Isaac Frogge. Their deaths might have been retribution killings. Then again maybe not. James Garfield Frogge had a drinking problem and was found dead on the the bank of the Cumberland River. He was lying as if someone had placed him there. He was face down and his hat was placed on his back. It was not known if he accidentally fell in the river or if he had been pushed. The official cause of death was a heart attack. I found the following article recently. It read James G. Frogge, 53, blacksmith at the Tennessee Central Railway shops, was found dead early Saturday night in " brickyard bottom" by Charles Kincaid, of 4 Washington Street, who was returning from a fishing trip. An inquest later in the night by a coroners jury decided that Frogge has died as the result of a heart attack. He lived at 273 Hermitage Avenue.  Her other brother Isaac was a member of Company D 27th Tennessee Calvary. She said that he was riding on a troop train and another soldier was cleaning his rifle when it accidentally discharged striking Isaac in the back severing his spine. This was in the latter part of December 1916 and he lingered for eight days before dying in early January 1917. She told me that she nursed him until he died. Sometime after my grandmother's death in 1964 I was talking to my grandfather about Isaac and he said that his death wasn't an accident. Isaac was trying to desert from the train when he was shot. I didn't realize it at the time but in later years when I thought about what he said it didn't make sense. America didn't enter World War I until April 1917 and Isaac was in a National Guard Unit. A few years ago I saw his death certificate which added to the mystery of his death even more. It said the cause of death was homicide. That makes more sense to me than anything but I have not been able to learn the the true circumstances of how he died. The first picture is of Uncle Isaac and his wife. The second is the telegram notification of his being shot. The third is his grave at the National Cemetery on Gallatin Road in Nashville.


Isaac Frogge grave

Sussannah's pension from Isaac
One room school house where Isaac Mayfield attended school in Pulaski County Ky.

 .  Mama's mother was Martha Mattie "Patsy" Mayfield, born on February 18, 1859 in McCrackin County Kentucky and died on February 18, 1945 in Nashville. Mattie's father was Isaac M. Mayfield, born November 1823 in Barren Co, Ky. County Kentucky and died on December 13, 1862. Her mother was Susannah (Susan) Martin Mayfield, born in 1824 in Pulaski County Ky and died February 15, 1911 in Nashville Tennessee. She was the daughter of John Martin and Rachel Dobbs Martin. They were married in November 18, 1842 in Pulaski County Kentucky. Isaac had a twin brother named Phillip or Philey Mayfield. Both brothers married Martin sisters on the same day. Isaac married Susannah Martin and Phillip married Mary Martin. Isaac and Susannah had ten children born between 1843 and 1859. Mattie was the youngest along with her identical twin sister Elizabeth. Susannah chewed Red Man tobacco and smoked a pipe. Susannah had a daughter named Rachel that also lived in Nashville and was married to a John Nance. Isaac Mayfield joined the Union army on October 22, 1861 as a forty one year old Private. Isaac survived the 2nd day at Shiloh but contracted pneumonia during the Corinth campaign and died in a military hospital on December 13,1862 in Louisville Kentucky. This was the same day that the Union army suffered one of it's worst defeats of the Civil War at Fredricksburg Virginia. Isaac belonged to what was then the Army of the Ohio which later became the Army of the Cumberland. Susannah received eight dollars a month for the rest of her life. At that time soldiers were receiving thirteen dollars a month. Their next to the oldest son Jacob (Jake) Mayfield was born in 1845 and died on January 18, 1918. He was also a Union soldier but survived the war. Isaac and Jake both belonged to Company K, 13th Kentucky Infantry. The 13th Kentucky not only fought at Shiloh and Corinth but in the Perryville campaign, Burnsides East Tennessee campaign and the Atlanta campaign. It mustered out at Bowling Green Kentucky January 12th 1865. Recently I found Isaac's grave in the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.
Rachel Mayfield Nance

Rachel Mayfield Nance

Rachel's family at their home on felicia Street

A modern picture of the Felicia Street home

Rachel And John Nance
John Nance


Elizabeth and Mattie

My Great Great Grandfather Private Isaac Mayfield
Cave  Hill cemetery
Jake Mayfield and his first wife of Whitesboro, Tx. Joanna Duggins Mayfield. She was accidentally killed after being thrown from a horse and wagon.
Jake Mayfield in older years

Jake as a Union soldier