McCune & Cousins: Southern Roots & Front Porch Stories Posts

Corporal Willie H. McCune arrived in France as an 18-year-old tenderfoot soldier from Alabama in November 1917. To better understand his experience while there, I researched several books and websites that recreated the movements of the 167th Infantry, part of the 42nd Rainbow Division stationed on the Western Front in World War I. I had no idea that the 42nd Rainbow Division played a significant role in the outcome of the war until I began reading more about it. For a broad look at the…

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I never knew. I don’t think most of us did during Granddaddy’s lifetime. Many years after his death, I learned that Granddaddy had fought in France in World War I when my Dad showed me some of his WWI memorabilia. I’ve begun piecing together more of his service over the past few years but have recently had my eyes truly opened. I never knew or appreciated what Granddaddy experienced. I wish I could have told him thank you. Granddaddy Bill was allegedly only 17 when…

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The rumor that’s circulated for many years in the family is that Granddaddy Bill fudged his birth date in order to join the Army during World War I because he was under age. His Social Security Death Index, State of Georgia death certificate 1 and cemetery headstone all state 13 Jan 1898 as his birth date. His WWI service card shows that he joined the Alabama National Guard 3 Jul 1916 and stated his age as 18. 2  Proof enough that he was indeed 18…

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In the 1920-30s in the Southeast, textile mills ruled the manufacturing industry. Close on its heels were the burgeoning electric power companies lighting up the cities and rural towns. Both industries sought ways to lure workers, and one of the most popular was sponsoring commercial ball teams. In fact, according to Daddy, Granddaddy Bill McCune moved his family from Columbus to Manchester, GA, when he was recruited by the local textile mill based on his baseball skills. A bit strange to us nowadays, but they…

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On a hot, humid evening in a small, west-central Georgia city skirted by the murky Chattahoochee waters, a batter approaches home plate, knocking the red dust from his scruffy shoes with the tip of his wooden bat. Bottom of the ninth, and it’s now or never. Removing his cap to wipe the sweat from his brow, he grounds his feet into the dirt at home plate setting up for his left-handed batter’s stance.  After warming up with a few practice swings, he faces the pitcher,…

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Carrie Tillman McCune Baker wasn’t a victim of the raging 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic. On November 30, 1918, she died of pellagra, according to the attending physician who signed her death certificate . [1] What is pellagra, you’re asking? I’d never heard of it either so I ‘googled’ it. Wikipedia describes it as malnutrition from a vitamin deficiency resulting in the “three Ds: diarrhea, dermatitis, and dementia” and states that pellagra was once common in the poorer sections of the South . [2] I found…

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Since today’s post was a short one, I thought this would be a good time to share an additional post about our family tree. I recently sent those of you on my email list the password to access the Roots Magic public tree I’ve published for you. It’s password protected and living people are not identified on the site for identity theft protection reasons. That’s just a good practice for online trees even though mine is for family members only. The link to the Roots…

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Carrie Tillman McCune Baker was about 45 in 1918. Her two husbands had died, and her two sons were fighting in a world war. She was probably very anxious to see them alive and well again. But that wasn’t to be. Suddenly, our Great-Grandmother Carrie died. The Columbus Daily Enquirer dated 1 Dec 1918 contains her obituary notice, stating that she died Saturday afternoon [30 Nov 1918] at the city hospital, and was survived by a daughter, Rossie, and two sons, Frank and Will McCune,…

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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…

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I became intrigued by the life of William (March 1875 – 1 Oct 1911) and Carrie McCune, Granddaddy Bill’s parents, when I found out that our great-grandfather, Will, was murdered in Griffin, GA, in October 1911. You may have first heard of this shocking, sad event at our family reunion in Thomaston several years ago; and I’ll share many more details with you soon in a future post. Yes, it’s a sensitive subject for any family to discuss, but the elephant  in the room can…

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