Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
You can go from here to there in seconds.
Here is the computer that you are sitting in front of and there is Graffigny-Chemin, where Marguerite Chevallierwas raised and where she met James Madison Pearson.
Google takes you to the church across the street from where she lived. Observe the carriage house and gardens of her house. In my view, the number 52150 appears on top of the house. A path to the left of the image leads to the hill where I took the view of the village. (See wikipedia entry on Graffigny-Chemin.) The path leading out of the village to the top of the picture goes to Bourmont where during World War I, the Second Infantry Division was originally headquartered. The path leading to the right is the ancient Roman Way from Langres to Toul near the birthplace of Joan of Arc.
Time travels. The past is the compression of all that has happened, waiting to be revealed.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Julius Caesar in The Conquest of Gaul, writes that, "[t]he Meuse rises in the Vosges Mountains, in the country of the Lingones." Geographically, he is a bit off, for the Meuse rises on a plateau to the west of the Vosges Mountains, but there is no denying that Graffigny-Chemin is in the area he describes. In 52 BC, at Alesia (Alise-Sainte-Reine) near Graffigny, the Romans fought the Gauls in a life or death struggle. Julius Caesar beat the Gauls under Vercingetorix, bringing France into the Roman world. Had it gone differently, France might have ended up speaking German.
The Lingones like most Gallic tribes were farmers, but possessed at least two cities, Langres and Dijon, and possibly a third at Toul. If one draws a straight line between the ancient Roman cities of Toul and Langres, then midway on the route is the village of Graffigny-Chemin.
Heading north out of the village towards Toul and away from Langres is the route which is still called by its original name "Voie Romaine" or Roman way.
Michelin map of Graffign-Chemin.
Picture - The ancient Roman way which passes by my grandmother's house in Graffigny and through the neighboring village of Chemin.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
|La maison de Graffigny de ma grandmere|
One sees in the left corner of the old image, my grandmother's house in Graffigny-Chemin. Standing in front of the carriage house is Laura Chevallier Meine, my great grandmother.The house stands in the main square across from the church seen in the image below.
The picture was taken circa 1909.
On voit de l'avant gauche de la maison de ma grand-mère à Graffigny-Chemin. Debout à gauche de la maison est la mère de ma grand-mère de Marguerite Laura Chevallier Meine. Elle est debout en face de la maison de transport.
La photo a probablement été prise en 1909.
C'est mardi. C'est un belle jour.
Un peu de moi - Je habitue in Wichita, Kansas. Je suis marié a Robin et j'ai deux enfants, Hannah et Gillame.
Mon grandmere etait francais. Elle vivait dans le village de Graffigny-Chemin, France. Le village c'est entre Toul et Langres en Lorraine. Le village est petit, avec une centaine de familles.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Ca va. Je m'appelle Artur.
Je ne parle pas le français. Ainsi, je suis étudiant français a la universite Wichita State.
En premiere classe, la classe répète l'alphabet. Je ne comprends pas, "g" c'est "j", et vis a vis, "e" c'est ou, "i" c'est e, et "u" c'est uh. "Y" est prononcée ecrek.
Nous avons répété les numéros de zéro à cent. Pourquoi est 70 "soixante-dix"? 15 c'est "quinze" et 16 c'est "seize".
Listen to the nombres in francais.
Il suffit de faire un fou.
A bientot, au revoir.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
George introduced me today to a new line of our family - the Whites.
"[Art,] I added a file here on some documents that I had received from a distant cousin in California awhile back on the White Family. This would be Daddy Mat's G-grandmother's line Mary White b1790- d 1883."George included a link to a pdf file so that all of the correspondence and documentation on the Whites would be available. Thanks George.
So, who are these people?
The original White was William White, a minister from Wiltshire, England. He and his family were granted land in the colonies by Robert Beverly because, "they were hard workers and because they oposed the Colony's old ruling clique and fundalistic economy." (Comment of Stanley Williams, dated 1985). The use of the term fundalistic is a bit obscure at this point, but it may be that Beverly and White both opposed the idea of slavery as the basis for a new world economy.
This William White died in 1658, appointing his brother Reverend Jeremiah White as guardian to his children. Another brother, John White, vicar of Cheriton, Wilshire, England left a bequest to his brother William's children in a will dated 1668.
William married twice in his lifetime. By his first marriage, he had six children: John, William, Edward,Deborah, Mary, and Jeremiah. His wife's name is lost to time, or someone else will discover it. William's second wife was named Martha, widow of Major Thomas Brice. These two, William and Martha married in 1657, a year before both William and Martha died.
One of William's sons, who it is not clear, fathered John White who married Mary Elliot sometime before 1705. Mary Elliot was the daughter of Thomas Elliot (Ellet) of King William County, Virginia. John and Mary had at least six children: Daniel, Jeremiah, Henry, Thomas, James, and another John. (The birth order is uncertain as is the number of children.) John, Senior died by 1743.
Daniel, the son of John and Mary, died in 1790 in Culpepper, Virginia, but not before producing at least one offspring Henry White.
Henry married Celia Page(?) (whose father was John Page of Buckingham County, Virginia?) Henry and Celia had six or more children: Jacob (Cpt.), William, Thomas, James, Stephen, Obadiah, and possibly, Henry.
And who is Captain Jacob White? Jacob is a great great grandfather of our family and our connection to the American Revolution. Jacob was born in 1765 and married Hannah Spiers (between 1781 and 1786). Jacob and Hannah had a girl child, Mary White, who married a Pearson. The state of Virginia years ago started a project to preserve the history of the American Revolution and from them this photograph of the gravestone of our ancestor's gravestone is possible.
I will leave it to George or Kathy to tidy up the direct connection to James Madison Pearson.
Friday, August 14, 2009
World War I ended officially in an armistice that took effect at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 11, 1918.
It was at this hour on this day that a telegram was received at headquarters 1st Army requesting transfer of Major James Madison Pearson, "Madison F. Pierson" to headquarters Third Division.
The war was over.
The choice of words was significant - the war ended in an "armistice" and not a "surrender". The German Army, as a result, remained intact and the rumor ran throughout the German Army and population that the German Army was not defeated, but "stabbed in the back".
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When my grandfather retired from the Army, he and his wife settled down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Their house in Chapel Hill was the only house that I knew them in. And even though I only visited twice that I can remember, the memories are still strong.
It was my sister Kathy who observed that Marguerite, our grandmother, brought with her to Chapel Hill her childhood garden in Graffigny-Chemin. The remants of the garden in Grafigny are still there - the walls that enclose the gardens, an old fig tree, the flower beds lined by paths of crushed stone, the places where the arbors once stood with grape vines, and a basin to catch the rain.
Although I was just fifteen the last time I visited my grandparents' home in Chapel Hill, I still vividly remember my grandmother's garden and the stone wall that she and my grandfather built to give the house and gardens a sense of privacy. The wall was too tall for a child to see over, and even years later going back, I am struck by its size and the work that must have gone into building it. There is a shorter wall as one drives into the yard toward the house. Lining the wall are Granny's irises; in spring their stately blooms announce the season and guests alike.
In Graffigny-Chemin the wall is the first thing one notices about the house. The wall surrounds the house and its gardens. Tall and protective, it is designed to shield the people within from the prying eyes of a small village where everyone knows your business.
Granny's garden in Chapel Hill lay in the back of my grandparents' home. Behind the garden was a gravel and dirt road, which served as the hill we took turns riding down in the wagon. But, for the most part, the garden was big enough to keep or attention. A tall fig tree grew; its succulent fruit reminded me of the fig newton cookie I loved then as now. There was an arbor on which grape vines stretched. A deserted chicken coup served as the grandchildren's play house. The paths between the flower beds like the driveway were of crushed stone. Running along the path gave almost the same sound and feel of a rocky beach. There were certainly many flowers, but the only ones I remember were the irises and the tall and stately hollyhocks so common to France.
The garden in Graffigny is also still there, but without full time care, it appears neglected. Forty years have passed since my grandmother died and her sister Paula sold the house in Graffigny. Still, the house is there and the outlines of the garden they once had remain. Flower beds are now separated by boxwood, but laid out along paths that old photographs revealed once were lined with crushed stone. The outlines of two arbors, one overgrown by a tree, the other has long since fallen down and been removed are visible A fig tree stands silently along the wall. And a basin collect the rain water in the garden. The irises which must have one graced the gardens are all gone.
Listen to Judy Collins, Secret Gardens.
What my grandmother would now think? Both in Graffigny and Chapel Hill, the gardens and houses have fallen into disrepair. Time passing is a subject that I think about often.
Judy Collins said it best in Secret Gardens:
"My grandmother's house is still there, but it isn't the same. ...
I drive by the strangers,
And wish that they could see what I see. ...
I still the ghosts of the people I knew long ago. ...
Secret gardens of the heart,
Where the old stay young forever. ...
But, most of all, it is me that has changed. .."
James Madison Pearson
Organizations and Staff Assignments:
58th Infantry, to October 1917
4th Machine Gun Battalion, to February 4, 1917
Headquarters 2nd Division, to September 20, 1918
Headquarters 1st Army, to November 7, 1918
Headquarters 3rd Division, to November 3, 1919
Attached to 60th Infantry, to February 9, 1920
2nd Lieutenant, Regular Army– May 28, 1917
1st Lieutenant – May 28, 1917
Captain – August 5, 1917
Major – Jul 1, 1918
Lieutenant Colonel - May 6, 1919
Reverted to 1st Lieutenant, Regular Army – February 17, 1920
Defensive Sector – Toulon, Troyen,
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
(Route 38, Pages 302 and 303, first published in 1894 with a second edition in 1909).
Download the pdf. Read the book.
Travel by railroad from Nancy, the historical capital of Lorraine, to Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, a distance of 110 miles or 170 kilometers. This route takes one through the Meuse Valley and near the village of Graffigny-Chemin. The trip by train in 1894 takes only six and one half hours, an average speed of 18 mph, fast considering that automobiles traveled an average of 12mph over the rough dirt roads.
The route heads west from Nancy to the ancient city of Toul, "one of the most ancient towns of the Lorraine, and the seat of a bishop for over 1200 years." (Page 138). The route then swings south to Neufchateau, "a pleasant-looking town ... at the confluence of the Meuse and Mouson." At Neufchateau, "the line ascends the valley of the Meuse, quitting the river for some time beyond Hacourt-Graffigny." In Roman days, the path that connects Graffigny with Chemin was part of the ancient way that connected the Roman cities of Toul and Langres.
Beyond the hills of Graffigny, the train returns to the Meuse Valley, crosses the river and travels on the east bank to Langres, the Roman capital of the Gaullic tribe of Lingones. Graffigny is half way on the trip from Toul to Langres, and Langres is halfway on the trip from Nancy to Dijon.
Julie Laura Emma Chevallier Meine was my great grandmother. Here she is with her two children, my grandmother Marguerite seated on her lap and Paula. (Date circa 1892).
Julie was born in the French village of Graffigny-Chemin on March 16, 1862. She lived in Graffigny thoughout the First World War along with her husband, Charles Guillame Christian Meine. Charles Meine was German, possibly a former colonel, and subsequently a businessman with interests in Hanover, Germany, and Switzerland. He died in 1913 of an unknown cause.
In 1923 Julie departed LeHavre, France for New York. She subsequently returned to Graffigny-Chemin. She was living there at the time of the Second World War.
Their father (pictured) was James Madison Pearson, 1817 -1891. The family history relates that this James Madison Pearson was a Harvard educated lawyer.
Great great grandfather James along with his first wife Elizabeth Ann Brown, 1843 -1861, had eleven children including Benjamin and Charles. James had two additional children by a subsequent marriage. Benjamin was a doctor and Charles a farmer in addition to his military career.
General Charles Lafayette Pearson is buried along with his father, James Madison Pearson in the Pearson family cemetery in Talapoosa County Alabama.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Basic Hotchkiss Machine Gun
By the end of the war, the machine gun company was reduced by casualties. Field promotions resulted in temporary rank increases.
At the end of the war in November, Lt. Col. James Madison Pearson is pictured with his unit, presumably the Fourth Machine Gun Company that he wrote about in April of 1918.
"The machine gun company, commanded by a captain, had an assigned strength of six commissioned officers and 172 enlisted men, and carried 16 guns, four of which were spares. Within the company there were three platoons and a headquarters section. A first lieutenant led the first platoon, while second lieutenants led platoons two and three. Each platoon with four guns was made up of two sections, each having two guns and led by a sergeant. Within each section were two gun squads, each with one gun and nine men, led by corporals. The gun squad had one combat cart, pulled by a mule, to transport its gun and ammunition as close to the firing position as enemy fire allowed. From there the crews moved the guns and ammunition forward by hand."
Contributed By Wilson A. Heefner
4th Machine Gun Battalion
The following is a summary of notes made by my grandfather James Madison Pearson in early 1918 prior to major action:
The 4th Machine Gun Battalion was organized at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, W.R. Mills Commanding. Captain White commanded Company C. Other officers included 1st. Lt. Hilton, 2nd Lt. Edward Hines, Jopsen, Vail, and Everett.
After sailing from the United States, via Liverpool and Winchester, England, arrived in Le Harve, France January 11, 1918. Left the same date and arrived in Bourmont, France January 14, 1918. Marched to Graffigny-Chemin for billeting. The battalion stayed in training until March when the battalion name was changed to 2 Co. (?) and company C was changed to company B. The battalion was placed in reserve at St. Michel at what was called Camp Gibralter. The Battalion remained there about a week. Company B was sent to Troyen (Troyes). Headquarters Company was sent to Bois de Gauffier.
Lt. Hines went to the hospital, Base 15 at Chaumont, and died in April of 1918.
Subsequent to my grandfather’s deployment near Graffigny-Chemin, serious action began in the spring of 1918.
With the advantage of 50 German Divisions released by the collapse of the Russian Empire on Germany’s Eastern Front, the Germans launched a Spring Offensive on the Western Front hoping to defeat the Allies before the mobilization of the American Forces. There were four coordinated German attacks against the British and French Forces in the north, witgh the goal of reaching French ports and end British resupply of material and soldiers. Along the Marne, the Germans achieved success.
“Victory seemed near for the Germans, who had captured just over 50,000 Allied soldiers and well over 800 guns by 30 May 1918. But after having advanced within 56 km of Paris on 3 June, the German armies were beset by numerous problems, including supply shortages, fatigue, lack of reserves and many casualties along with counter-attacks by and stiff resistance from newly arrived American divisions, who engaged them in the Battles of Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood.”
Hoping to capitalize on this success, the Germans launched an offensive further south in what was called the “Second Battle of the Marne”.
“The 2nd Infantry Division drew its first blood in the nightmare landscape of the Battle of Belleau Wood and contributed to shattering the four-year-old stalemate on the battlefield during the Château-Thierry campaign that followed. On July 28, 1918, Major General Lejeune assumed command of the 2nd Infantry Division and remained in that capacity until August 1919, when the unit was demobilized.
The division went on to win hard-fought victories at Soissons and Blanc Mont. Finally the Indianhead Division participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive which spelled the end of any German hope for victory. On November 11, 1918 the Armistice was declared, and the 2nd Infantry Division marched into Germany, where it performed occupation duties until April 1919. 2nd Infantry Division returned to U. S. in July 1919.
The 2nd Infantry Division was three times awarded the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry under fire at Belleau Wood, Soissons, and Blanc Mont.”
Second, 2nd Division (Regulars and Marines)
Nickname: Indian Head Division
9th, 23rd Infantry (Inf.)
12th, 15th, 17th Artillery (Art.)
4th, 5th, 6th Machine Gun (M. G.)
2nd Engineers (Eng.)
5th, 6th Marines
Generals Commanding: Omar Bundy, J. G. Harbord, J. A. LeJeune.
Engaged: Bouresches, Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, Argonne, Rhine.
"Turn off Hwy 280 onto Slaughter’s Crossing Road. Go .9 mi - turn left,
over RR track, take right at 1.6 ½ miles, R at 2.4
(walk to top of hill, cemetery is on the left.)
N32 degrees 49.788 minutes W 085 degrees 41.344 minutes"
Gen. C. L. Pearson April 10, 1854 Jan. 12, 1940
One or two broken
James Madison Pearson 17th Oct 1817 Died 11th Nov. 1891 Age 74 yrs. 25 days.
Son of Wm. H. & Mary W. Pearson born Jasper Co, Ga.
Edward W. Pearson Nov. 21, 1860 July 31, 1862 Son of James W. and
Elizabeth A. Pearson
Mrs. Elizabeth A. Pearson Wife of James M. Pearson and Daughter of
James N. & Martha Brown
My grandfather James Madison Pearson was born in 1884 in Dadeville,
Tallapoosa County, Alabama. His father Dr.Benjamin Rush Pearson, was
born 1849, also in Dadeville,Tallapoosa, County, Alabama.Dr. Pearson
received his diploma to practice medicine in 1881 from the Medical
College of Alabama in Mobile.Thereafter, he practiced in the city of Montgomery.
There is a connection, but where?
C.L. Pearson had a farm in Tallapoosa County on which
cotton was grown. A picture taken in the 1930's shows workers
on the farm.
is a connection betweem General C. L. Pearson, his father
James Madison Pearson and Benjamin Rush Pearson and his son General James Madison Pearson.
Alabama Department of Archives.
Monday, August 10, 2009
My grandfather saw action at Chateau-Thierry, the Meuse-Argonne, Champagne, Aisne, and Verdun, as well as the Defensive Sector.
I have no other information about the photograph. Perhaps someone out there knows more or recognizes other soldiers. If so, please post a comment.
Friday, August 7, 2009
In French such views are referred to as panoramiques.The technique may involve multiple shots that are then compiled together in photoshop. Older photographs such as these required the use of a wide-angle lens.Panoramas of Paris.
The history of postcards.
The history of photography is less than 170 years old. In 1837 Louis Daguerre developed the Daguerreotype process, creating images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and "developed" with warmed mercury. Plates were wet, slow to develop, and generally, left to the professional. In 1871 Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, simplified the process by the use of an emulsion of gelatin and silver bromide on a glass plate, the "dry plate" process. By 1888 the first Kodak camera was available, and in 1900 the Kodak Brownie box roll-film was introduced.
The first privately made postcard, where postage had to be affixed, was introduced in Austria in 1869 and by 1870, picture postcards were all the rage!
Postcards such as the ones pictured here are collected and sold on the internet.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This view of Graffigny-Chemin was taken the summer of 2009 while Will and I were traveling in Europe.
The picture was taken from the hill to the south on land that previously belonged to my grandmother's family. If one walks up the hill, you will come to an iron gate similar that leads into an enclosure. Sheep are kept on the other side of the wall.
The next picture is the walk up the hill to the enclosure.There are cherry trees along the way.
This is a view of the left front stairs leading up to the main entrance. A man appears to the left of the house, possibly bending over and facing away from the camera.
Guests are received by horse and carriage through a gate to the right (not visible in the picture). The building to the left is the carriage house. The main gardens to the house and a private well are to the left of the image.
The next image shows the front of the house. A woman appears to be standing in the doorway.
The third image shows the house from the church across the street. These images were probably taken May 30, 1909 during the feast of Joane d'Arc.
The last image is the Church of St. Nicholas de Chemin. This is not the church across from grandmother's house. That church is St. Elophe and St. Christophe. Notice the car in front of the church. It appears to be a later date than 1909. Compare vintage cars.
Top row: Distinguished Service Medal, 2nd Infantry Division, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Chateau-Thierry.
Second Row: Unknown, Unknown, Legion of Merit, Victory Medal, Unknown.
Third Row: Various Victory Medals, Verdun Battle Medal.
I will try to identify the unknowns.
The Victory Medal was created after the end of World War I and was awarded to all servicemen. Those servicemen who saw active duty in campaigns had the campaigns listed on the ribbon.
The four campaigns listed are:Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Michel, and Meuse-Argonne, as well as , the defensive sector near Verdun.
General James Madison Pearson received medals from the country of France for the battles of Verdun and Chateau-Thierry, as well as the Croix de Guerre, for bravery in action.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The compilation of names comes from multiple sources. These include:
These websites in turn accessed information from:
1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York.
2. U.S. Census 1910.
3. and other records.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
My family history relates that my grandfather James Madison Pearson saw action in World War I with the 2rd Infantry Division and with the 3nd Infantry Division.
In the spring of 1918, with close to 50 divisions freed by Russia's withdrawal from the war, the German Army launched a series of attacks on the Western Front, hoping to defeat the Allies before United States forces could be fully deployed.
The 2nd Infantry Division was organized in October of 1917 and headquartered at Bourmont, Haute Marne, France. In June of 1918, the 2nd Infantry Division stopped a German advance at Belleau Wood. At Belleau Woods, the 2nd Infantry Division was three times awarded the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry under fire. The 2nd Infantry Division was next committed to the battle at Chateau-Thierry.
The 3rd Infantry Division was posted to a position protecting Paris on the banks of the Marne River. In July of 1918, the 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Chateau-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held back the Germans. While other units retreated, the 3rd Infantry Division remained rock solid and earned its reputation as the "Rock of the Marne".
My grandfather received numerous medals, including the Silver Star, Croix de Guerre, and Purple Heart during his service with the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions. He was wounded in action and treated at a hospital in Graffigny-Chemin, near Bourmont. It was here that he met and wed my grandmother, Marguerite Chevalier (Chevallier) Meine.
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
There is within all of us, I suppose, a desire to wander. The desire is an existential need - thus, not only must we stare into that dark well, but with blind faith jump in and see where it takes us. Were this desire not present, the human species would have remained quite content in the savannahs of Africa where the weather is fair and the food plentiful. But something stirring within all of us has driven us to the most remote corners of the world - to the coldest climes of Tierra del Fuego in South America and the frozen northern polar cap, as well as to the driest sands of the Sahara and the Gobi deserts.
What spurs us on to leave our homes is an existential need to know. Whether it was Alexander the Great marching with his army to the ends of the world, Marco Polo traveling to distant Cathay, or Christopher Columbus sailing west to go east, each of us desires to experience the unknown and unseen.
The need is weaker in some families than others. Were it not so, civilization would not take root and grow. For there is also within the human genetic code a need to take root and possess the land from which we were born. This need is what creates the villages, towns, and nations in which we live. The territorial imperative of mammals is widespread and more so in the human species. While this imperative fosters civilization, it also is the reason for the many wars that the human species has fought over the millenia. Often these wars have been fought over land without any real value, or in conflicts that bear no relationship in the number of lives lost to the value of the territory fought over. The Falkland Islands over which Great Britain and Argentina fought is but one example.
My family like so many others is one that demonstrates this conflict well. I am the product of men and women who left their native countries as well as the product of soldiers who stood and fought for principle and country.