What Do I Do Now?

We left Carrie, her sons, Frank and Willie, and little Rossie in Griffin, GA, with little means of livelihood after William’s death. What were they to do?

Not surprisingly, Carrie finds a solution. She remarries. A wedding announcement in the Columbus Ledger of 6 Feb 1912 states that Mr. James Baker and Mrs. Carrie McCune were married in her home at 1013 Patten Avenue, Girard, AL, in the presence of a few friends. [1] The 1912 Columbus city directory shows James and Carrie Baker living at 1028 Patten Avenue in Girard, AL. [2]

Now, six months after their father’s death, Frank, Willie and Rossie have a step-dad. I have to wonder how they reacted. It couldn’t have been easy for them, but at least they had a provider, and Frank no longer carried the full load of supporting the family. Who was James Baker? I haven’t verified any information about him and don’t know what his circumstances were. Was he single, divorced or widowed? Did he have children who needed a mother? Did Granddaddy Bill have step-siblings along with a new step-dad? Did Frank leave the household and strike out on his own at 16?

My dad, James McCune, never knew much about his paternal grandparents and certainly not that his grandmother remarried and his father had a step-dad. James and Carrie aren’t in the 1914 and 1916 Columbus city directories, and I haven’t located them for those years. In the 1918 city directory, Carrie shows up as “McCune, Carrie M (wid James), mill opr, h 2926 2d av.” [3] It appears Carrie is a widow once again and supporting her family as a mill operative. I’m not sure why she’s not listed as Baker. Also listed at this address are Frank McCune (USA) and Wm McCune (USA). Our country had entered World War I in 1917, and Granddaddy Bill was serving overseas in France as shown by the (USA) notation. His brother Frank was also a serviceman, although I haven’t documented yet where he served. I’m waiting on copies of their military records from the National Personnel Records Center. Minor children aren’t named in the city directory, but Rossie should have been living with her mother.

"Fighting Trim," Cyrus Leroy Baldridge [4]
“Fighting Trim,” Cyrus Leroy Baldridge [4]
Carrie had been widowed twice but managed to keep her family together and raise two sons to adulthood. Now those two sons were fighting in a war overseas. The United States lost over 116,000 men in combat or from other causes with another 204,000 wounded before WWI ended on November 11, 1918. I can only imagine that Carrie’s thoughts were never far from her sons during that time. Did she plant a ‘victory garden’ to show her patriotic support, collect money for war bonds, or volunteer with the American Red Cross? Would her McCune ‘doughboys’ return home alive and well?

1. Columbus Ledger, 6 Feb 1912, online image, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 23 Apr 2015), p. 3.

2. Polk, R. L. Compiler, Columbus, Georgia, City Directory, 1912, 87, database image, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Oct 2015).

3. Polk, R. L. Compiler, Columbus, Georgia, City Directory, 1918, 347 , database image, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Oct 2015).

4. Baldridge, Cyrus Leroy (1889-1977), “Fighting Trim,” public domain digital image, Wikimedia Commons (http://www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Image007h.jpg: accessed 7 Feb 2016).

Next — an unexpected ending.

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