The Beginning of the Autobiography of Francis M. Perry, 1921 -


                                   MY GENEALOGY


Seven Generations of Perrys. (From F.M.’s Journal of 11/6/2007).


Seven generations back, that is how far I have been able to trace my forebears who wore the surname Perry. I had never been interested in genealogies. I knew my Grandfather Perry had been born in Nashville, Tennessee about 1865. So I knew that my grandfather had never been involved in slavery for Slavery had been closed out in the Southern States after the Civil War in 1865. Before that I had heard that my Perry borebears had been famers and may have owned slaves. I really think I didn't want to hear about them if they had owned slaves. But I found a part of my genealogy already on the internet because, you see, a Tennessee lady named Sally has a similar kinship to many of my Perry forebears, and she had done a genealogical search and had placed the results on the internet. One day I ventured to check to see what the internet might yield if I searched the name Perry. There they were, a lot of Tennessee Perry family generations listed on a site called “Sally’s Family Place.” They had been farm and plantation owners owning human beings as slaves. Sally is a cousin I have never met, and for whom I am grateful for the infomation about my ancestry.


Amongst my Perry forebears I found no one labeled “horse thief” or the like. They all seemed to be fairly responsible and well to do people. The history of the Perrys got interesting as I began to imagine, between the lines, the joys of the big families, the daily adventures of life on the frontier, the hard work of the farmers, the sorrows of life when spouses died young, and often babies didn’t live at all. But I also learned about the slaves that they owned. One of them who lived in Tennessee had as many as 57 slaves who were listed by individual name in the county records.


For instance, John Perry, born in Virginia in 1690, went down to newly formed Chowan County of North Carolina to farm in the early 1700's when the area was still occupied by the Tuscarora Indians. John’s first wife died after about 11 years of marriage and John was married again. At the ripe old age of 70 John left equal shares of his estate (including 17 Negro slaves) to eleven of his children. (Apparently a family’s slaves often outnumbered the family.) During his life John served as a member of the vestry of St. Paul’s Parish of the Episcopalian Church, and most of the Negro slaves were devoted Episcopalians. John died in 1760 before the Revolutionary War began.

      

History tells us that the Indians had 15 towns already established and were farming the Chowan County and Bertie District lands of North Carolina themselves. Chief Tom Blount, a Tuscarora Indian who took on an English name, was crowned by the British Government as the King of the Tuscarora Nation. He allied his people with the English settlers and helped protect them from the more warlike Indians. When, in 1717, a part of the Tuscarora Tribe was induced to join the five Iroquois Nations in New York Colony, many were already inter-married with the English settlers and did not leave North Carolina.


As I contemplated the relationship of John Perry, seven generations before my own generation, it occurred to me that the relationship could not be very close. I calculate that there were 264 other persons living at approximately that same time, about the year 1690, who were of equal kinship to me as John Perry. He was but one of my 64 great, great, great, great, great grandfathers. And that means I am not only a descendant of families with the surname Perry, there are 264 different surnames from whom I have kinship up to the 7th generation. Some of the family surnames from which I am descended, just considering connections to the Perry line, are: Walton, Freeman, Hunter, Garrett, Zuccarello, and Morris. These families and many others (up to 264 in this case) serve to make me contemplate God’s knitting together of so much human material into each individual. We are indeed marvelously made. I must exclaim with the lines of a song written by an Englishman, Mr. William Cowper,


“God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.


“Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs

And works His sovereign will.


“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head.


“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace,

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


“His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.


“Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.”


(By William Cowper, 1774).


With Love, F. M. Perry

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THE GENERATIONS OF PERRY FAMILIES LEADING TO THE BIRTH OF MR. FRANCIS MARION PERRY ON 18 MAY 1921.


7 GENERATIONS BACK

JOHN PERRY AND WIFE, SARAH WALTON.


John Perry, Sr., born in 1690 in Virginia - died in 1760 in Bertie County NC, was first married in 1714 to Elizabeth, whose surname is not known. John and Elizabeth had 4 boys named John Jr., Jacob, Joseph, and William.


After Elizabeth’s death, John Perry, Sr., was married in 1725 to Sarah Walton, born 1710 - died 1761. John and Sarah had 11 children named Anne, Nicolas, Grace, Isaac, Benjamin, Sarah, James, Josiah, Rachel, Ruth, and Frusanna.


John Perry Sr. was elected member of vestry of [North East Parish of Chowan County NC ] St. Paul’s Parish 1732, 1734 (Episcopalian). His estate in Bertie County NC (as stated in his will at his death) left equal shares (including 17 negro slaves) to 11 of his children.


6 GENERATIONS BACK

JOSIAH PERRY AND WIFE, AMILICENT FREEMAN.


Josiah Perry, born on 19 November 1741 in Chowan County NC - died in 1821 in Bertie County NC, was first married in December 1761 to Elizabeth Freeman, daughter of William Freeman of Chowan County and his wife Christian [thought to have the surname Outlaw]. Josiah and Elizabeth had 8 children named William, Sally, Christian, John, Josiah Jr., Mary, Elizabeth, and Bersheba. These 8 children were all born in NC, but five of them moved to Tennessee, and one moved to Alabama, later in their lives.


After Elizabeth’s death, Josiah Perry was married to Amilicent Freeman, daughter of John Freeman. Amilicent was the niece of Elizabeth, Josiah’s first wife. Josiah and Amilicent had 7 children named James, Celia, Freeman, Nancy, Penelope, Frusanna, and Amilicent. These 7 children were all born in NC, but one of them, James, moved to Tennessee later in life.


In 1768 and again in 1778, Josiah Perry was selected to serve on Grand Jury. In 1779 Josiah was selected as tax assessor. Later in 1779 Josiah’s wife Elizabeth died.


On 17 April 1781 William Freeman, Josiah’s father-in-law, made a will as follows: Item, I give and bequeath to my well beloved grandsun WILLIAM PERRY one negro boy named Jacob. Item, I give and bequeath to my well beloved Sun in law JOSIAH PERRY one good Feather bed and Furniture and two cows and calves.


In 1782 Josiah Perry married Miss Millicent Freeman, [Josiah’s first wife’s niece] daughter of John Freeman and his first wife Christain Roundtree.


In 1782, 1783, and 1784 Josiah Perry was selected to serve Jury duty.


In November 1793 Melicent Freeman Perry’s father John Freeman died in Bertie County.


In May 1797 Josiah Perry purchased a seine fishery from John Campbell, Jr.


During the spring and summer of 1820 Josiah Perry composed a lengthy will which was witnessed and filed in August of 1820. Josiah died in 1821. The opening words of his will were as follows:


WILL OF JOSIAH PERRY, 3 JUNE 1820.


“In the name of God Amen that I Josiah Perry of Bertie County and state of North Carolina being in good health & of a sound mind & and disposing memmory and knowing how necessary it is for all men once to die and make such disposal of their worldly Estate as will leave no Room for contention hereafter do make and publish this my last will and testament in form and manner as follows. Viz”


There followed in Josiah’s will the parceling of his estate to each of his sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, by name. The first items of estate mentioned were the slaves who were parceled by name. The slaves mentioned by name were Jack, Rachel, Pat, Nelson, Eliza, Buck, Dave, Esther and her child George, Isau, Rose, Ruffin, Lucy, Rosetty, Martiller, Ben, Demcee, Dinnah, Andrew, Tony, Bridget, David, Seller, Carter, Rose V. And all her children, Anthony, Moses, Marty, Jenny, Piney, Redduck, Winey, Slah, Judah and her children, Cloe and her children, Ned, Annis, Eneriah, Arthur, York, Bridget, Pat, Tamar and children, Haywood, Simon, Dick, George, Toby, Cynder and her children, Jack, Sabra, and Silva. (A note calls for Andrew to be sold at a certain point and the money given to Josiah’s wife Amilicent Perry.)


Other items of estate mentioned were: certain sums of money, certain tracts of land, “all my blacksmith and cooper tools,” “my Brandy still,” and fishery.


Josiah Perry appointed his wife Amilicent Perry to be the executrix of the will. Josiah’s signature, affixed on 3 June 1820, was said to be “very shakey.”


Josiah’s wife, Amilicent Perry, signed her name variously, Milisent Pery, Milicent Pery and Millicant Pery. Her will was as follows:


WILL OF MILICENT PERY, 18 OCT. 1822.


“In the name of God Amen, I Millicant Pery being of sound and perfect mind & memory, do this 18 day of October 1822 make and publish this my last will & testament in manner and form following. Viz”


Amilicent parceled her estate to her daughters and her one living son and to all her grandchildren. First to be mentioned were negro slaves who by name were Silas, Ben, Jack, Silvy, and Cindu. Then were mentioned four beds & furniture, half dozen Windsor chairs, two horses, thirteen head of cattle, twenty head of hogs, also two beds & furniture, one large pine chest, one walnut table, one wagon with two bodies, together with its gear, two mules, also another bed & furniture, another pine chest, one walnut desk, one Mahogony table, One Mahogony stand, one yoke of oxen, cart & wheels, “my riding horse & gig,” “my bofat furniture,” “my kitchen furniture,” “my cattle and sheep,” “my hens,” “my spinning wheels,” and “the brandy that may be found.”


Finally her will stated that “all the notes, or bonds, that may be found at my death against Freeman Perry and Nathom Sessoms, may give them up to them to the said Freeman and Nathan gratis.”


This will of Milicent Pery was proved in open court of Bertie County, State of North Carolina, in November 1823.


5 GENERATIONS BACK

WILLIAM PERRY AND WIFE, SARAH HUNTER.


William Perry, born in NC in 1762 - died in Sumner County TN in 1831, was married to Sarah Hunter before 15 July 1792. William was the son of Josiah Perry and Elizabeth Freeman (Perry family of the Mansker Creek area of Sumner County TN.) Sarah Hunter was the daughter of Hardy Hunter and wife Rachel of Bertie County NC. William and Sarah moved from Bertie County NC to Sumner County TN about 1790. Their two sons were Roundtree Perry and Norfleet Perry. Roundtree was born in 1791 in Sumner County TN and moved in later life (about 1830) to Williamson County, Illinois. Norfleet was born on 4 July 1793 in Sumner County TN.


Norfleet and Roundtree were heirs of Hardy Hunter, their grandfather, and Rachel Hunter, their grandmother, presumably because their mother, Elizabeth, died prior to Rachel Hunter’s death in 1808 in Bertie County NC.


4 GENERATIONS BACK

NORFLEET PERRY AND WIFE, ELIZABETH GARRETT.


Norfleet Perry, born 4 July 1793 - died 27 July 1833, was first married in Davidson County TN on 3 December 1816 to Rachel Perry. They were divorced 24 December 1819.


Norfleet Perry’s second marriage was to Elizabeth (Betsy) Garrett, born 2 December 1800 - died 9 November 1839 in Sumner County TN. Norfleet and Elizabeth were married in Sumner County TN on 19 April 1820. They had seven children: Hardy Hunter Perry, Sarah Frances Perry, William M. Perry, James G. Perry, Mary Jenkins Perry, Susan Jane Perry, and Barshby C. Perry. Sarah Frances and William M. Were both born deaf and dumb. Barshby C. lived less than two years, 11 January 1833 - 1 September 1834


Elizabeth, Norfleet’s wife, appears to be the daughter of Jesse and Bathsheba (Barshiba, Barshabe) Perry Garrett. Timothy Garrett was Jesse’s brother. These Garretts were all natives of Bertie County NC who moved to Sumner County TN between 1810 and 1820.


John B. Walton, one of the administrators of Norfleet’s estate, was the son of Sumner citizens Isaac and Catherine (Christian) Perry Walton, who were also natives of Bertie County NC. Catherine was the sister of Bathsheba Perry Garrett. John B. Walton was married to Charity Perry in 1828. Thus, he likely had more than one family connection to Northfleet and Elizabeth.


After Norfleet’s death in 1833, Jesse Garrett and John Walton, as administrators, presented to the court a list of household belongings and farm equipment and animals owned by Norfleet Perry. They also submitted a list of over 50 notes (loans due) belonging to the estate, 25 of which were marked “bad.” Most of the remainder were long overdue. Among those to whom Norfleet had loaned money were John B. Walton and Timothy Garrett. The total value of all the notes was $1050. No slaves were listed by the administrators but a subsequent document shows Norfleet owned fifteen slaves (including mothers and children). In May 1837, Jesse Garrett and John Walton responded to an order of the court to present a statement of the Norfleet Perry estate. This document lists amounts paid to the estate by various persons, presumably on notes that had been issued by the administrators on behalf of the estate. Subtracting expenses, the administrators reported to the court that the balance for the estate was $1265.91. They listed bad notes totaling $219.50.


Elizabeth Perry petitioned the court for her dower share of the estate, and in April, 1834, she was awarded 181 acres, which included the dwelling. The total amount of land in the estate was calculated at 553 acres, all seemingly of a piece, in the Mansker Creek area of Sumner County.


Elizabeth Garrett Perry became ill in 1839 and wrote her will, mentioning only her three young daughters by name: Susan Jane, Mary Jenkins, and Sarah Frances. Elizabeth died on 9 November 1839. She was a few weeks shy of 40 years old.


Norfleet and Elizabeth are buried in the Patton cemetery near Goodlettsville.

  

Norfleet and Elizabeth’s children were all of minor age when their father died in 1833, and when their mother died in 1839. The eldest son, Hardy Hunter Perry, was only 19 or 20 years old when his mother died. Apparently Hardy Hunter Perry began at that early age to act as unofficial guardian for his younger siblings, especially the two who were born deaf, Sarah Frances and William. Hunter (as Hardy Hunter Perry was called) was too young (not of legal age) to be appointed by the court as the guardian of his 5 minor brothers and sisters at the time of his mother or father’s death.


By 1844 Hunter had become of age but still had not been appointed legal guardian of his brothers and sisters. At that time he brought before the court of Sumner County TN a complaint against Jesse Garrett, John B. Walton, Timothy Garrett, and William Walton for improper guardianship and administration of the estate of Norfleet Perry who had died in 1833. Hunter stated before the court as follows:


“The said Norfleet died seized and possessed of considerable real estate consisting of about 610 acres of land divided into some two or three tracts with about 200 acres thereof in a state of cultivation, lying and being situated in the county and state aforesaid on the waters of Mansker Creek, which lands have been taken possession of and rented out and the rents and profits therefore received by the said administrators which ought to have amounted to about the sum of $200 per year, for all of which rents and profits they should be held to account for in a settlement with said estate.”


The statement went on to explain that the estate had included a number of negro slaves (with names given), and that some of these slaves had been sold and new ones hired (or rented) over the years up to the time of the death of their mother, Elizabeth Perry, in 1839, up to which time she had received no dower (income) from the estate. Hunter asked the court to require the four administrators to present a full accounting of the status of the estate at that time (1844) and to award Hardy Hunter Perry $250 for his expense in bringing the matter to court, and that the administrators be required to pay the court costs of the case.


As a result of this action, Hardy Hunter Perry was awarded one sixth part of the estate (including the slaves) while the other five sixths were awarded to (or held for) the five minor siblings of Harvey Hunter Perry. In 1846 the court came through with awards of annual income to the five minor heirs. The adminstrators were held responsible for all the court costs.


In June 1847, Hardy H. Perry, as guardian, swore to having in hand $1500 belonging to the five minor heirs. His report showed each minor credited with $300, against which expenses were listed and new balances for each child given.


Some time later in 1847, James Whitworth became guardian of Sarah Frances (deaf). In February 1849, Mr. Whitworth submitted a report to the court that the balance in Sarah Frances’ account was $655.50. But in 1853 Hardy H. Perry made bond to become guardian for his sister, Sarah Frances. Then followed yearly reports of the balance in her account until 1859, when the balance was $1607.38.


William M. Perry (deaf) and James G. Perry, together had a court appointed guardian until 1849, after which only William M. (deaf) had the guardian. Finally in 1855 the court appointed James G. Perry as guardian for his own brother, William M. Perry (deaf). William’s fund balance in 1859 was $1387.54.


3 GENERATIONS BACK

HARDY HUNTER PERRY AND WIFE, FRANCES (FANNIE) GARRETT.


Hardy Hunter Perry, born 1820 - died _____, first married Sarah (Sallie) Grizzard. They had eight children, Vandelia Perry (born 2 September 1845 - died 30 November 1850), Caldon A. Perry (born March 1849 - died 29 November 1850), William N. Perry, Alexander (Alex) Perry (born 1850), John Malcolm Perry, James Hinton Perry, Robert Perry, and Martha Perry.


Hardy Hunter Perry’s second marriage, on 18 October 1859, was recorded in Sumner County TN as to Mrs. Francis T. Hitt, born 1834. Mrs. Hitt was actually the widow of Mr. Francis T. Hitt. Her maiden name had been Frances (Fannie) Garrett. She brought two or three children of her own to her new family: Thomas Hitt, Samuel Hitt and Rubin S. Hitt may have been a third. Or Rubin S.Hitt may actually be another reference to Samuel Hitt. Other children born to this union were Clarence (Dick) Perry, Francis Elizabeth Perry, Francis Marion Perry, and Walter Lafayette Perry. The two families of Hardy Hunter Perry are known to have functioned as one family.


A study of Hardy Hunter Perry’s life reveals several noteworthy happenings. His father, Norfleet Perry, died when he was only about 13 years of age. His mother, Elizabeth (Betsy) Garrett, died when he was about 19. He was the oldest of seven children, two of whom were born deaf. He tried to be a helpful guardian to them. He married Sarah (Sallie) Grizzard when he was about 24 years of age. About six years later, in 1850, two of the young couple’s children died within a two day period. But they had a son born that same year who lived to be 79 years old. Hardy Hunter Perry’s first wife, Sarah Grizzard, mother of their first eight children, after losing two of them, died herself while six of their children were under 11 years of age. Hardy Hunter Perry got another wife, Frances (Fannie) Garret, who brought two or three children with her to the marriage. The couple then added another set of four children of their own to the family. One of the last four, Francis Marion Perry, became later in life the father of my father, and I, Francis Marion Perry 2nd, was given his name!

  

Hardy Hunter Perry was a farmer before the Civil War and owned a number of Negro slaves whom he knew personally by name. When the War was over and the slaves were freed, he and some of his sons went into the wholesale livestock business in Nashville, a business for which the Perry family became well known.


His son, Alex Perry, born in 1850, became a prominent Nashville business man, having established with Mr. B. Lester the Perry and Lester Coal Company. The firm was also involved in the Livestock business. Alex was for some time the Director of the Nashville Stockyards. He also owned one of the riverboats in Captain Ryman’s Riverboat Company, and was a partner with Captain Ryman in the construction of Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium. His name was at one time listed on a plaque in the lobby of the Auditorium. Alex and his wife were members of the Vine Street Church of Christ in Nashville (now known as the Vine Street Christian Church). In his later years he moved to a country home (Nunewood) on the Lebanon Pike and worshiped with the Donelson Church of Christ. His newspaper death notice in 1929 mentioned that he was a Trustee of the Fanning Orphan’s Home.


The late Dr. Fred Hall, a Nashville Dentist and former member of the Vine Street Church of Christ, knew Alex Perry and once told me an anecdote about him. As “officer” of the church, Alex used to occupy a seat on the podium during the church services. However, he was sometimes prone to nod off to sleep during the preaching service. Once, as Alex was nodding in half sleep, the preacher read the passage from Psalms 50:10 which speaks of “the cattle on a thousand hills.” As the preacher intoned those words and the phrase penetrated his drowsy mind, Alex rose quickly and loudly announced, “I’ll bid on them.”


2 GENERATIONS BACK

FRANCIS MARION PERRY AND HIS WIFE, ISABELLA ZUCCARELLO.


Francis Marion Perry (born 1 November 1864 - died 20 July 1937) was married to Isabella Zuccarello (born 20 January 1865 - died 31 December 1942) on 9 May 1883 in Nashville, TN. They were each 18 years of age. Dr. J. P. Stevens of Nashville performed the marriage ceremony in the presence of their families.


Their eleven children with respective spouses are listed below:


Clarence Edwin Perry (born 22 March 1884 - died 23 March 1884).


Andrew Eugene Perry (born 1 March 1885 - died 28 April 1958) married Myrta Blanche Garrett on 5 March 1913.


Fannie Belle Perry (born 19 January 1888 - died 7 February 1961) married Granville Quintus Lipscomb on 19 January 1910. Granville died 13 November 1967.

  

Walter Cave Perry (born 18 July 1890 - died January 1962) married Louise Harriet Corley on 7 January 1907.

 

Roy Marion Perry (born 17 April 1893 - died 11 January 1977) married Helen McDonald on 17 April 1915.

 

Joe Bert Perry (born 14 December 1895, died 26 June 1976) married Jennie Elmyra Morris on 16 May 1920.


Jennings Bryant Perry (born 25 January 1898 - died 7 July 1899).


Gaston Effa Perry (born 28 April 1900 - died 4 April 1901).

 

Bruce McKinney Perry (born 25 June 1903 - died _____) married ___


Francis (Frank) Hunter Perry (born 15 May 1906 - died 14 November 1975) married ______


Mary Elizabeth Perry (born 13 January 1909 - died 19 January 1909).


FAMILY BACKGROUND OF ISABELLA ZUCCARELLO.


Backtracking in history to about 1795, one of my great great grandfathers. William Francis Zuccarello, was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. As a young man he entered the French military service and became a personal bodyguard to his fellow Corsican, Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, William Francis Zuccarello came to America where he met and was married in 1817 to Frances Sisson of Rappahannock County, Virginia. The couple later established their home in Davidson County, Tennesee.. To this union was born my great grandfather, Eppa Sydnor Zuccarello.


In 1832 William Francis Zuccarello embarked for a visit to France where he planned to claim some sort of legacy for his military service. However, enroute to France he was said to have "died at sea." His wife. my great great grandmother, Frances Sisson. died later in Davidson County. Tennessee.


The marriage records of Davidson County indicate that Eppa Sydnor Zuccarello married Isabella Stevenson on October 5. 1853. (The spelling Stephenson is used in some records.) To this union was born my grandmother, Isabella Zuccarello, on January 20,1865 in Nashville. Tennessee.


Many members of the Zuccarello family lived in Giles County, Tennessee (the city of Pulaski) and Isabella Zuccarello either lived or visited there when she was a young girl. I have seen pictures taken in Pulaski of her among other members of the Zuccarello family.


I do not know how or where the young couple, Francis Marion Perry and Isabella Zucarrello met but their marriage in Nashville. Tennessee on May 9. 1883 was a family affair with Dr. J. P. Stevens performing the ceremony. Francis Marion (sometimes called “Marion,” sometimes "F. M.") and his bride, Isabella (often called “Belle”) were each only 18 years of age when they were married. They made their home in Nashville until about 1898 when they moved to Montgomery, Alabama. At the time of their move their union had produced seven children. Four more children were born after their move to Montgomery. At least four of the eleven children died before reaching maturity.


It seems reasonable to assume that Francis Marion Perry, while living in Nashville after his marriage and before his move to Montgomery, was

engaged in the cattle business with his half brother, Alexander Perry. I remember having heard some members of my family talk about a "cattle drive" of a large number of cattle from Nashville to Montgomery at about the time of the family's move to Montgomery. Apparently, in those days, cattle were moved on foot right down the roads of Tennessee and Alabama. For a number of years in Montgomery, Francis Marion Perry served as the director of the Montgomery Stock Yards. His company affiliation was with the "Perry and Lester Company," the same company previously established by his half brother, Alexander Perry, in Nashville. He was also active in local politics in Montgomery during the early 1900's. The newspaper, The Montgomery Advertizer, in its March 24, 1908 edition, announced thje winners of the city elections. Among them was a picture of F. M. Perry and an account of his re-election as an Alderman of Montgomery’s Ward 1. Some years later he made an unsuccessful run to be elected Sheriff of Montgomery County.


In Montgomery the family first bought and lived in a large old Spanish style house on Wilkerson Street. Around 1902 the family bought and moved into a house at 16 Mildred Street. (The house, originally built about 1883 still stands in good repair today although its number on Mildred Street has been changed. Today the house bears an historical marker mentioning the original builder. The F. M. Perry family. who owned and occupied the house from about 1902 until my grandmother's death in 1942, are not mentioned on the marker.)


Isabella, in the course of the painful bearing of eleven children, was given the accepted painkiller of her day which was the drug, paragoric. During her child bearing years she became addicted to the drug. She eventually broke the addiction but not before her addictive behavior had caused a good deal of emotional upset to her family. Apparently, she used tobacco in the form of snuff to help her conquer her addiction to paragoric. Her victory over paragoric left her addicted to snuff which she "dipped" for the rest of her life. However. she was so discreet in her use of snuff. no one but a few of her very closest friends and relatives knew of her habit.


The sixth child of F. M. and Isabella, Joe Bert Perry, became my father. Joe was born in Nashville on December 14,1895. He was still a small child when the rather large family had picked up and moved to Montgomery.


I have a photo copy of a letter that Papa F. M. wrote to his four year old son Joe on August 14, 1900. It was probably written on the occasion of a trip by little Joe, with his mother, his little baby brother Gaston, his sister, and other brothers, to Nashville or Pulaski, Tennessee. Papa F. M. most likely had to remain at work in Montgomery. The letter is on printed letterhead stationary. The printed heading has the name F. M. Perry in the upper left hand corner and the name F. W. Lester in the upper right hand corner. In between, printed in large flowing letters is the following letterhead. The letter which follows was in Papa F. M.'s own handwriting.


F. M. Perry F. W. Lester


Perry n& Lester

Union Stockyards - Feeders and

Shippers od Cattle

Montgomery, Ala.


                                                              Auig. 14 , 1900


My Dear Joe,


        How are you this morning and how is mother, Sister & your

Brothers getting along. Does my,ikttle Gaston grow much? You must be good to him for me and you must take good care of Mother too. Why did you not go to the Picnic? If your Papa had been there you should have gone. Your little pony is fat as can be.

                                                  Your Papa, FMP



Just below this letter on the same sheet is another letter. Perhaps Papa F. M. did not get to mail the letter immediately and added the additional letter below before it was sent.


    Master Boy Perry


        My Dear Boy


Your letter in hand and I was glad to hear from you and to learn that you are having such a nice time. I told Ellice & Jennie V. Willie that I would take them to the park tonight. I guess if it does not rain we will go. You must be a good boy & have a good time and write to me often. Good bye sweet Boy.

                                         Your Father FMP


One of Joe's experiences as a small boy casts a light on certain of the medical practices of the early 1900's. Joe was sent alone to the doctor's office to have his tonsils removed. The doctor's office was only a few blocks from his house on Wilkerson Street. On the same day, after his tonsils were removed and the effect of the anesthetic was worn off enough to permit, Joe was allowed to walk home alone! Apparently that was a time in medical history when a tonsillectomy was considered to be a much more minor procedure than it is today.


The Perry family, having been members of the Church of Christ in Nashville, identified themselves with the Church of Christ in Montgomery upon their move to Montgomery in 1898. They became members of the Church of Christ on Herron Street and F. M. Perry (my

grandfather) became a deacon of the congregation. In 1901 the congregation bought and occupied a building on Catoma Street, a building which had served the Jewish community of Montgomery (Temple Kahl Montgomery) as a synagogue. Left in this building by the

Jewish community was a large picture painted on glass. It hung just behind and over the pulpit so as to be visible to the entire audience in the church. The picture depicted the tablets of stone containing the ten commandments and the aJl-seeing eye of God. (This picture was still hanging in the building when I began to worship there with my family at the age of five in 1926. It made such an impression I have never forgotten it.)


Some of the members of the congregation whom I remember as being important in the lives of the members of the F. M. Perry family were:

 



Isabella And F. M. Perry 1st, 1935 or 1936.

E. L. Cullom. an officer of the First National Bank of Montgomery, a bachelor who gave his life unselfishly to the congregation and was a trusted advisor to my grandmother, Isabella, especially during the years after the death of her husband, F. M. Perry, in 1936 until her death in 1942. (Brother Cullom died on October 9, 1962, having been a member of the congregation for 57 years. He left much of his considerable estate to Alabama Christian College in Montgomery and the Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama.)

 

J. M. Barnes, formerly a student at Bethany College under Alexander Campbell, elder of the congregation and preacher of the gospel, an educator and founder of several private schools, including The Barnes School for boys in Montgomery where my father, Joe Bert Perry. was educated. (Brother Justus McDuffy Barnes was born on February 10. 1836 and died at 77 years of age on April 23,1913 while Joe was a student at the Barnes School.)

 

E. R. ("Elly") Barnes, son of J. M. Barnes, elder of the congregation and Principal of The Barnes School at the time of my father's attendance from 1912 to 1914.


Under the influence of his family and the Christians of the Catoma Street Church of Christ, young Joe Bert was baptized into Christ sometime during his teen age years.


I assume that young Joe Bert attended the public schools of Montgomery during his elementary school years. I don't remember ever hearing him discuss his elementary schooling. However, he was especially proud of his high school experience and spoke of it often. He entered The Barnes School in 1911 or 1912 and graduated in 1914 at the age of 18. An advertisement for the school stated that it emphasized "character formation, general culture. sound education, college preparation, and physical training," Special features were stated to be: "1. Individual attention to every boy; 2, Discipline firm but merciful; 3, Methods outcome of fifty-seven years' experience; 4. Speaking, debating, singing. spelling. reading. penmanship: 5. School paper edited by boys: 6. Co-operation of its pupils almost universal; 7. Athletics in reason for all: 8. Playground at the school building: 9, Automatically ventilated. well lighted, steam heated building." The advertisement concluded with these words: "Solid growth requires time and work. Begin your boy when he is ten. Let him take the whole course." However, young Joe Bert was a student al the Barnes School only for his later high school years. I am not certain whether he attended for two or three years.


In his senior year at The Barnes School, Joe was the Business Manager of the school yearbook, the "Black and Gold." There were about five issues of the yearbook produced during a single school year. Thus, the yearbook served as a school newspaper as well as a yearbook. Joe was successful in getting paid advertisements placed in the yearbook by the

University of Alabama, the Georgia School of Technology, the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, the First National Bank of Montgomery, and some twenty one other businesses in the city of Montgomery. Joe's fellow student, Pruit Bray, wrote of Joe in the "Who's Who" column of the "Black and Gold":

 

"Anyone seeing our large number of advertisements naturally wonders who is the man whose efforts and labors produce these advertisements.

 

"'The one who should be credited with producing so many advertisements for our paper is a member of the class of 1914. Although most of his time is spent in producing ads for our paper and laboring over physics, he enjoys his spare time in entertaining his hosts of feminine friends out at the Woman's College. He is admired by all the girls and is held in high esteem by his fellow students on account of his affable manner. The man of whom I speak is none other than Mr, Joe Perry of the class of 1914."


Along with all the boys, Joe took part in formalized debates. On one occasion Joe was on the winning debate team, having taken the negative side of the subject, "Resolved: that the United States should intervene in Mexico". The "Black and Gold" announced: "The debaters without exception were well prepared and went in determined to win. Many witty sayings and sarcastic replies were passed by each side." On another occasion. in the annual Barnes School commencement exercises held at the Empire Theatre in Montgomery, Joe was the leader of the winning debate team, having taken the negative side of the subject. "Resolved: that the Monroe Doctrine should be abrogated by our government." Joe's victory in this debate was highlighted in a local Montgomery Advertiser newspaper article.


Joe's best school performance was in mathematics. At the commencement exercises mentioned above at the Empire Theatre, he was awarded the "Hall Mathematics Prize." Other subjects that Joe studied at the Barnes School included English. English History. German. and Physics.


Joe only narrowly missed being elected as President of his senior class at The Barnes School. An article in the "Black and Gold" told of the election as follows:

 

"The annual class election was held by the Upper Classes at the residence of Mr. Barnes on the night of March 27th (1914). All the boys assembled about eight o’clock and the business of the meeting was commenced with the election of Senior Class President. There were two candidates, Eugene Binion and Joe Perry. This election was the most interesting of the evening. Some strenuous campaigning had been done at the school during the two weeks preceeding and till the last moment it was doubtful what the outcome would be. Eidson led the forces of Perry and spoke in his behalf. Stern spoke for Binion. The vote was then taken and a careful count totaled Binion, 22; Perry, 20. Mr, Binion then took the chair and the meeting proceeded with the other elections.”


At the time of the entry of the United States into World War One in 1917. Joe Bert, then 21 years old, single, and filled with patriotism, rushed to enlist. Alas, he was rejected upon his first attempt at enlistment because of a hearing disability. Although Joe could actually hear quite well, he had an eardrum problem. The doctors who conducted the enlistment examination told him that a loud explosive sound like a bomb blast or a field gun report might make him deaf for the rest of his life. Joe waited a while and then sought enlistment again at another enlistment station. This time he was accepted. Possibly the enlistment doctors noticed his ear problem this time also. but the need for manpower was so great he was accepted anyway. Joe was never sent overseas to France but was trained as a cook and became a Mess Sergeant at Army training centers in the U. S. until the end of the war on November 11.1918.


It must have been sometime in the summer of 1919 that Joe decided to accompany his mother on a trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Apparently Joe's father did not go along. The fastest and most dependable method of travel in those days was by railroad train. As I remember the story often told in the Perry family, Joe's mother, Isabella, started the trip from Montgomery by train. Somewhere in the midwest Joe met the train with a Maxwell automobile and he and his mother continued the trip by car. There were few, if any paved roads in those days. At times the going got so rough that they loaded the car onto a train for portions of the trip. After many days on the road, they reached Yellowstone National Park.


In the park they saw Old Faithful geyser and lots of bears. At least, foremost in my memory were the accounts told to me years later of the bears who ate at the garbage dumps behind the tourist's camps in the park. When the garbage was first dumped the smaller black bears scampered out of the forest to scavenge the dump. But soon after., the much larger Grizzly bears came out and the smaller bears scampered away as the larger bears came out. During her stay at a camp in the park, Joe's mother took afternoon naps in her cabin. One afternoon, a bear, smelling the remains of the morning breakfast bacon in the cabin, nuzzled open the cabin door and came into the cabin where she was napping. From her cot she became aware of the bear in the room. The story was never clear as to exactly what happened after that. Everyone understood that the bear came running out of the cabin. But which one was the most scared, Joe's mother or the bear, has always been in dispute.


Upon leaving the park to return home, Joe sold the Maxwell somewhere in the mid-west and the remainder of the journey home to Montgomery was by train.


There were many memories and stories rampant in the Perry family concerning the train travels of various family members during the early 1900's. Undoubtedly there was train travel from Montgomery to places like Nashville and Pulaski, Tennessee where relatives lived, and travel to Mobile and New Orleans where some of the boys of the family worked when they grew up. One story was used by some to "tattle" that mother (Isabella. called "Belle" by her husband) used to "put on airs" when she traveled. On one occasion in the dining car with her small son Roy, she was reported to have said to the colored dining car waiter in a most stilted, citified manner, "May I have a cup of cah-fee?" Upon hearing his mother's pronunciation, young Roy blurted out, "Aw-w, she just means cauw-fee."



1 GENERATION BACK

 JOE BERT PERRY AND HIS WIFE, JENNIE ELMYRA MORRIS.


Joe Bert Perry (born 14 December 1895 - died 26 June 1976) married on 16 May 1920, Jennie Elmyra Morris (born 27 June 1896 - died June 1983).


Thus far I have traced much of my ancestry on my father's side. Now let me turn to what I know concerning my ancestry on my mother's side.


One of my great grandfathers on my mother's side was William (Bill) Morris who married a girl whose last name was Pugh. From their union was born. on April 6, 1853, my maternal grandfather, William James Morris. Another of my great grandfathers on my mother's side was John Howell (believed to have been born in 1830) who married Martha Sweat. From their union was born, on October 10, 1853, my maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Howell. From the union of William James Morris and Mary Jane Howell my mother, Jennie Elmira Morris, was born in Rice, Texas on June 27, 1896.


Most of these maternal ancestors were residents of South Alabama (the area of Ramer, Alabama south of Montgomery) during the 1800's. However, William James and Mary Jane Morris. along with their entire family of seven children, moved to take over a farm near Rice, Texas sometime during the 1890's.


Jennie Elmyra, the eighth and youngest child of the family, was born and grew up to the age of almost six on the farm near Rice, Texas where cotton was probably the major crop.


Her father, William James, died on March 24, 1902 when Jennie was almost six. After her father's death, Jennie moved with her mother and sisters to the city of Fort Worth, Texas. Jennie's brothers had all grown up and had left home at this time.


It was during this period of her young life that Jennie decided to dedicate her life to her Savior, Jesus Christ. She was baptized for the remission of her sins in a Christian Church in Fort Worth. It was about this time that a schism developed among the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches of Texas over the use of instrumental music in the worship services. Jennie and her mother did not fully understand the need for a division over this issue. They attended interchangeably the Christian Church, which used instrumental music to accompany the singing, and the Church of Christ, which sang without the use instrumental music. They felt they had Christian brethren in both churches.


At some point during her teenage years Jennie spent some time in Montgomery, Alabama with her mother's sister, her Aunt Jennie Morris Morris. (Young Jennie's Aunt Jennie, whose maiden name was Morris, was married to a man named Joe Morris.) It was probably then in Montgomery, Alabama that young Joe Bert Perry first met young Jennie Elmyra Morris. Both the Perry family and the Morris family were members of the Catoma Street Church of Christ in Montgomery. It is assumed that young Joe Perry and young Jennie Morris met at church. But a few years were yet to elapse before Joe and Jennie, my parents, became engaged to be married. Many years later Joe, my father, told me that, at his first glimpse of Jennie Morris, he though she was the prettiest girt in Montgomery.


On October 26.1916 when Jennie was 20 year old. she was married to Mr. O. Everett Mothershead of Fort Worth. The newspaper announcement of the marriage read as follows:

 

The marriage of Mss Jennie Morris, daughter of Mrs M. J. Morris of South Adams street, and Mr. O. Everett Mothershead took place Thursady at 8:15 a. m. in Magnolia Avenue Christian Church, Rev. E. M. Watts, president of Texas Christian University officiating in the presence of relatives.

 

A velvet trimmed suit of midnight blue cloth, with hat to harmonize, was worn by the bride. Following the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Mothershead left on a bridal trip to Houston and New Orleans. They will be at home to their friends, after Nov. 1 at 1404 South Jennings avenue.


A few days later another short newspaper article reported a shower given for the bride:

 

Mrs. O. Everett Mothershead, a recent bride, was honored with a shower at the home of Mrs. A. V. Morris of Rio Grande avenue, Friday afternoon. Hearts gave interest, prizes going to Mrs. George Bertrand and Mrs. W.E. Blacklock. The gifts were brought to the guest of honor in a decorated basket by little Eunice Cooles.

 

Those present were Misses Lodeile Stubbs, Bess McKinley, Lillian JacKson, Mabelle Brookshira and Aubrey Tucker; Mmes. W. M. Ready, W. E. Blacklock, Steve Walton, George Bertrand, Miller, M. J. Morris, Y. Z. Morris and Henry Jarratt. Master Ennis Blacklock Jr. and little Virginia Walton.


Of those mentioned at the bridal shower, Mrs. A. V. Morris was (probably the wife of one of Jennie's brothers), Mrs. M. J. Morris was Jennie's mother, Mrs. Y. Z. Morris was Jennie's sister in law (married to her brother Yutas), and Mrs. Henry Jarratt was Jennie's sister Maude.


Some time after her marriage Jennie began to teach piano lessons in her home. She gained pupils by running a display ad in the local Fort Worth newspaper:


Mrs. Jennie Morris Mothershead

Teacher of Piano

Lessons in the Home

Phone R. 4849


This was my mother's first marriage and it did not last very long. Although in later years she almost never spoke of her first marriage, she did inform her children, when she thought they were old enough to know, that she had been previously married and divorced. In her later years she told us that Mr. O. Everett Mothershead was unfaithful to her. She told how that she had become suspicious of his behavior and secretly had followed him to the home of a woman friend where she had caught him acting immorally. She promptly divorced him. This marriage produced no children.


Among Jennie's keepsakes was a little booklet of poems by Robert Lewis Stevenson. A notation on the cover sheet in Jennie's own handwriting indicates that in January 1919 Jennie was in Manhattan, New York City. This was undoubtedly after her divorce from Everett Mothershead. While in Manhattan she lived in a boarding house at Number 29, 84th Street West. To help support her studies she worked as a milliner (maker of women's hats). She told her family in later years about her landlady who, apparently, had been chosen before she went to New York as someone who would look after her as a young girl in the big city. The landlady was somewhat concerned about the ability of young Jennie to get around safely by herself in New York. However, Jennie had no trouble at all and even met. accidentally, on the streets of f'Jew York some of her old acquaintances from Fort Worth. When Jennie spoke of these chance meetings, her landlady could scarcely believe that such meetings could happen.


Jennie's introduction to music came in the study of piano in Fort Worth. She had a beautiful operatic voice which she developed to some extent during her short stay in New York. After her marriage to Joe Perry while she was raising five children, Jennie played the piano often and sang children's songs with her children, but she seldom sang from her repertoire of classical and operatic pieces. One day when I was a small child. I was amazed to hear her "open up" with a show song of World War One days called "The American's Come." I had never before heard her express herself musically with a voice of such volume and clarity. This was but one of many times during my life that my mother amazed me with her abilities.


At another point in her life before her marriage to Joe Perry, Jennie sojourned for a while in Washington, D. C. As a child I often looked at her coliection of picture snapshots some of which showed her in various places among the famous buildings of Washington, D. C. One picture showed her, sheltered from the sun by a parasol, floating in a canoe on the Tidal Basin.


In Fort Worth on April 4, 1919 when Jennie was 23 years oid, her mother died. It is not now clear whether Jennie was in Fort Worth before her mother died or if she returned to Fort Worth for the funeral. After her mother's death she apparently continued to live in Fort Worth until May of 1920 when she left to marry my father, Joe Bert Perry.


The 1st of May, 1920, found Jennie living and working in Fort Worth, Texas. Her mother had died more than a year earlier in 1919. She would have been living alone except, as revealed in one of her letters to Joe, she was caring for her young nephew, Morris Jarratt, a small boy who was probably less than 10 years old. Morris's mother, Mrs. Henry {Maude} Jarratt, was an older sister of Jennie's who had recentiy died Also, Morris's father had remarried and little Morris did not get along well with his new stepmother. Apparently, Jennie had little Morris living with her for she wrote to Joe that she would "have to find Morris a place to stay" when she left Fort Worth.


Also on the 1st of May, 1920, Joe Bert Perry was living and working in the area of Allentown, Pennsylvania for a construction firm building towers and high tension electrical power lines across the Northeastern U. S. His work was that of a manager of supply for the work crews as they travelled across the country. It was a natural extension of his training and work in the U. S. Army as a Mess Suppiy Sergeant. Joe had been keeping in touch with Jennie for some time and had proposed marriage to her more than once. His efforts had paid off for this date found Joe and Jennie engaged to be married and planning for Jennie to meet Joe in Pennsylvania for the wedding.


In a letter to Joe. Jennie revealed that she was "tired and worn out." Undoubtedly her condition was due to the recent sad events in her life, her divorce and the deaths of her mother and one of her sisters. But in the same letter she revealed her love for life and her desire to start a new one with Joe. One of her letters to Joe read as follows:


                                                                        May 5. 1920


          Dearest Joe.

 

I got your letter and the money last night. Well, Little Boy, I have got to do some hurrying to leave here the eleventh. I expected your letter Saturday and I did not know why you did not write. I stopped preparations because I did not know what you might write me.

 

I am going to work today and quit tonight. I don't know that they will say, me giving them such short notice and they are three short of help now. And I am going to have to find Morris a place to stay. Poor kid. I hate like everything to leave him.

 

Joe, where do I buy a ticket to, Philadelphia or Allentown or where? I guess you had better wire me as you will not have time to write.

 

{Later) I have just gone over to the railroad office and found out everything. It will be lovely for you to meet me at Harrisburg. I will buy ticket to Philadelphia. If I leave here Wednesday (12th) at 3:00 P. M. I will be in Harrisburg Friday 10:15 A. M, then in Phil. at 1:50 P. M. Then Joe I would not like to get married until sometime Sunday. I think that will be best. I have a superstition about Friday or Saturday. Sunday and Wednesday are the best days. We will have all day Saturday to make any arrangements whatever they be.

 

Just keep loving me hard Joe ‘cause I need a lot. I am awfully tired and worn out! And I will be more so after I have taken that long trip. I hate to say it but I dread it. It will be so lonesome. After I get rested up a bit then I am going to show you how I can love. I WIll send you a telegram when I leave Wednesday or It may be Tuesday.


                                                             Always love


                                                             Your little girl


                                                             Jennie.


Joe did meet Jennie at the train depot in Harrisburg on Friday, May 14. 1920. They were married by a Justice of the Peace in Harisburg on May 16. Their first home together was in various places in Pennsylvania and then in Michigan, wherever Joe's job took them.


MY EARLY LIFE


Papa and Mama were living in Jackson, Michigan when I was born at Mercy Hospital on May 18, 1921. I was named Francis Marion Perry, II, after my grandfather, but almost from the beginning I was called by my initials, "F. M." For this I became grateful when I grew up enough to go to school. Of course, my teachers always had to ask me, in front of the class, what my initials stood for and I dutifully told them. Invariably, the other children always then made fun of me, saying I had two girl's names. But I can't ever remember wanting to change my name. 1 grew to be quite proud of the fact that I was named for my Grandfather. And years later I learned as much as possible about the Revolutionary War hero of South Carolina, General Francis Marion, refered to by the British as "The Swamp Fox." Almost surely my grandfather's parents must have had General Francis Marion in mind when they named him. (I later learned that several of the young men who received appointments for training at West Point during the early 1900's had the first and second names of Francis Marion.)


But, as an infant, my parents later told me I was actually called playfully and affectionately, "Shanky Boo." My earliest perceptions were of sunbeams filtering through a cloth thrown over my crib, and later of the tent like cover of the trees (undoubtedly magnolia and mulberry trees in Montgomery) when I was taken for a stroll in the yard. I have no memory of any fears as an infant. I must have felt completely secure. How blessed and loved I was.


At the time of my birth in Jackson. Michigan. Papa's (Joe's) salary was quite good for he bought a new Willys Knight seven passenger sedan automobile, considered to be a luxury car of its day. In later years I saw "Kodak" snapshots of Mama (Jennie) standing by the Willys Knight with me as a baby in her arms. It later became a famiiy joke that when there was only one small child in the family, Papa provided the biggest car available. But when the family grew to five children, Papa provided only a small two seated roadster. But in all fairness, there were only a few short periods in the history of Papa's family that we did not have one or more cars capable of transporting the entire family at once.


The exact schedule of our family moves during my first 18 months of my life are not clear to me. When I was still an infant we moved to Washington, D. C. for a while. I was told later that we lived in an apartment in the old residential area of Southwest D. C. near the older buildings of the Smithsonian Institution. (This old residential area has now been taken over entirely by government buildings.) But we were back in Jackson, Michigan on November 21, 1922 when my brother. Bert Morris was born, also at Mercy Hospital. The Michigan winter was just beginning in earnest when Mama went to the hospital. She used to say that Bert was born "with a little snow on his nose."


May 9. 1924 - the date of my sister Betty Jo’s birth, found us living in the little town of Tallulah in northeastern Louisiana where Papa worked for a contractor building roads. After his brief work in Louisiana, we moved again to Washington, D. C. for awhile.


About this time Papa conceived the idea of going into business for himself. His idea was to purchase a passenger bus, take it to Miami. Florida, and start fulfilling the daily transportation needs of people in Miami who wanted to visit the dog racing track in nearby Hialeah, Florida. He acquired the bus in Washington, D. C. It was built like a long, stretched out passenger car with a separate door for each seat. He began to prepare to move the family to Miami via the bus which he had just purchased.


To gain some money to offset the expense of the trip, Papa decided that we must take some paying passengers with us on the trip. Somehow he found several people who wanted to go to Miami and who were willing to throw in their lot with us. I was only four years old but I have some memories of that trip.


There were few if any paved roads down the east coast of the U. S. Several times we had to cross rivers on ferry boats. I remember times when we got stuck in mud, and several times when we had flat tires. Once we had a collision with a Model T Ford car. A portion of the front axel of the bus was broken, but the Model T chugged away without noticeable damage. We all camped out on the bus until someone was found who could weld the axel back together. I remember one stretch of road along the east coast of Florida where the Atlantic Ocean could be viewed out the left window of the bus while there was a river to be viewed out the right window. Along this stretch of road we had a flat tire. As soon as we stopped, great clouds of mosquitos began to attack us. The men jumped out to fix the tire as quickly as possible while the rest of us tried to ward off the mosquitos. Someone in a nearby house along the road saw my mother with three small children trying to fight off the mosquitos. This person came out and invited us into the house until the tire was repaired.


Our first home in Florida was in a tent, an army surplus pyramid type. Papa went away daily to get his bus transportation business started. Money was quite scarce at this time and, at times, there was very little food in the tent with which Mama could prepare meals. One day Mama surprised us three children by announcing that we would have a picnic that day. And for the picnic outdoors, we would have sugar sandwiches. We children thought that a fine idea. We had never had sugar sandwiches before but we assumed that they must be a wonderful kind of sandwich. We took our sandwiches and went into the yard to eat them. Often after that we asked Mama to give us sugar sandwiches again. It was many years later before Mama told us about that day when she had no food at hand but a little sugar and part of a loaf of bread. She invented sugar sandwiches and sent us outside to eat them in order to take our minds off of any hunger we might have had.


While we were living in the tent, Grandpa (Francis Marion Perry) paid us a rare visit. He took the train down to Miami from Montgomery just to see how we were doing. We used to have a "Kodak" picture of him sitting beside a Palmetto bush just outside our tent home. Papa was not doing very well in the bus transportation business. Very likely Grandpa contributed some cash to him to help us get along. For shortly after that Papa bought a lot in a Hialeah development and proceeded to build, with his own hands, a little one room house on it.


Many years later I learned that Mama had felt her relatlonship to Joe's father, my grandfather, to be rather strained at that time. Apparently, Grandpa had never really accepted the thought of his son's marriage to a divorcee. Before his departure to return to Montgomery, he came into the tent and asked Mama if she needed money. She did need money desparately for food. She reluctantly said yes. But Grandpa could not bring himself to come to her and put money into her hand. He threw some money on the floor and left the tent. As a child I was blissfully unaware of any friction between my mother and Grandpa. I loved him dearly and I am certain that Mama did too. She never mentioned this problem to any of her children until many years later after all wounds were healed.


Papa had never built a house before. So it was only a one room cabin with the frame exposed on the inside. Mama cooked on a kerosene stove and our water supply was from a driven well with a pump just outside the door. We passed the winter of 1925/1926 in that little cabin. Although we were in tropical Florida, we had to sleep under several blankets " and at least one morning we found a thin layer of ice on the water bucket left under the pump overnight.


But Papa had built the little cabin only as temporary housing. Early in 1926 he hired professional carpenters to build another three room house on the lot. This house had real windows and was sealed on the inside with "beaver board." I'm sure that Mama was much relieved to get into a real house for she was pregnant. On April 2, 1926 my sister, Mary Isabella, was born and brought home from the hospital to live with the growing family in the little three room house in Hialeah.


The dog racing sport in Hialeah was seasonal and during the off-season some dog owners needed a place to board their dogs. Papa, ever ready to take advantage of a money making idea, decided to board some greyhound dogs. He built a fence around the old cabin and used it to house twelve greyhounds. We children soon got acquainted with the dogs and called them by their names. They were very gentle dogs around children and could have made very nice pets. Actually they were quite lazy dogs and spent most of their time asleep in depressions they dug in the ground under the old cabin. It was quite difficult to keep the dogs inside the fence at all times for they could easily dig under the fence and get out.


At the same time we had a little white kitten which we kept in the house. Every time someone opened the front door of the house we jumped to catch and hold the kitten so it could not get out. We were afraid that the dogs, trained to catch white furry mechanical rabbits running around the track, would catch and kill it. Alas, one day it happened. The kitten ran out the front door. Some of the dogs outside the fence saw it and were upon it before it got ten feet from the door. The dogs dropped the kitten when scolded. But the kitten was too badly hurt to save.


(Go on to read the next portion, “The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926.”)


A portion of the Autobiography of Francis M. Perry, 1921 -