This is my dad's story
to the best of my knowledge
Daddy & his three older brothers are shown next to him, above with their parents, Roddie Lee & Mattie Blunt Josey above them. Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version, especially the one on the left.
Other than the school pictures below, the only young photo that I have been able to locate of daddy is this one above and a clearer version of it to the immediate left. He must have been in his late teens or early 20's in this picture. Many thanks to Jean Josey Bonneau (our first cousin, daughter of Uncle Bill) for sharing this one photo of daddy.
There is conflicting information on when and where daddy was born. And, then I had four boys, myself, which I find interesting. There was no birth certificate filed for our daddy, at least not that I have been able to track down to this date. To complicate matters even more, all four of the boys in this family were born at home. According to some records and family oral history, daddy was born in Doddridge, or Bright Star, AR. There is also another story that it could have been Nash, TX. In fact, per #271 on the 1930 CADDO PARISH, (VIVIAN) LA CENSUS, it states that all three of his older brothers were born in Louisiana and Arkansas, but that daddy was born in Texas. However, Texas has no record of his birth.
On all of daddy's seven children's birth certificates, they list his birthplace as being in many different localities:
Two birthplaces as Doddridge, AR, two birthplaces as Vivian, LA, (with one of those being on Wanda Ruth's birth certificate) one birthplace as "Arkansas" and two birthplaces as Nash, TX. One of the Nash, TX records was Wanda Ruth's death certificate, and it states that daddy was born in Nash, TX; this after her birth certificate stated he was born in Vivian, LA.
Daddy's military record states he was born in 1912. March 1, 1913 is the birth date on his military headstone. Then, the biggest mystery is the March 2, 1910 Census shows he was one year and five months old. So, we can not explain the huge discrepancy from 1908 to 1913 on all of these records.
If the "View Image" above does not
work, click on image below
Between the census records
and the school records, which are the ones that I
consider to be the most reliable, it appears that the date of March 1,
1908 should be put on a new headstone for him and not 1913 as it is now. The records are listed
below and then the picture of them. Even though it might be
difficult to read, one can see that daddy was not the most studious or
The story is that Roddie had a drinking problem and Mattie called the sheriff and had him put in jail. When he was released, he came home to find that Mattie had put his clothes out on the steps and that was the end of that. From that point on, Mattie raised the four sons by herself. This must have taken place sometime between 1909 and 1919, because Roddie was married a second time in 1919, in New Boston, TX to Eunice Edtis Pulliam Kitchens Wright. The same year, Mattie remarried also, to a Rufus Warner, and Warner is the name on daddy's mother's headstone.
Daddy went to school in Vivian, LA. Several relatives have told the story of daddy's mother putting his "coattail" under the bedstead leg when he was so young, so daddy would not be into everything while she was doing laundry for townsfolk. Times were rough in those days, to say the least. Granny went to Dr. Ray's, the local dentist, and washed his patients' towels. She even had to take in laundry (washing and ironing) to support her four sons. Aunt Lessie tells me that the boy's mother had to go around to the houses to do their laundry, and the boys would all stand around the wash pot to keep warm from the fire. In those days, the early 1900's, they had to wash clothes by hand on a rub board or a wash board, (there were no washing machines) and then doing the ironing with an iron cast iron that they had to heat on the wood stove to get it hot.
According to our family stories, (and, on the 1930 census, listed as a "waiter", in a cafe), daddy worked in Vivian, LA in a "cafe/diner/hamburger joint" known as "Red's Place," as a fry cook, flipping hamburgers, when he met Cleo Sims. The story continues with the fact that daddy was smitten with Cleo's red hair at first glance. That was interesting that he worked in "Red's Place; and fell for a red haired girl. He always called her "Red." They were married June 11, 1932 and had seven/possibly eight children, of which one died, of leukemia - Wanda Ruth Josey. Wanda Ruth was born September 23, 1940, she died July 2, 1943, and she is buried in Mt. Gilead Cemetery, Vivian, LA.
It has just been brought to light that on one of our brother's birth certificate, it states that our mother had four children (we thought he was the third one) and one of them had been born dead. This birth certificate was in 1937, so it was not referring to Wanda Ruth, who did not die until 1943. If that is correct, there were eight children, but we never knew about that. I tend to think it was a clerical error, because there was nothing listed on the three subsequent birth certificates about one born dead. However, there are a lot of stories like that throughout this genealogy research. We have lost people (they have just evaporated) that no one has been able to track down. One of those is a half sister to daddy, Ninnie Lillian Josey. But, that is on Roddie Josey's page.
Daddy was like most men in those depression days, most of them having trouble finding work, and then with World War II, coming right on the heels of the depression, it got even rougher. He was an exceptionally talented mechanic, went frog gigging a lot, was a great fisherman, and an excellent swimmer. I vividly remember one time when our family and some other relatives were out fishing at Monterey Lake and we were having a fish fry on the shore. This all happened in the early 1940's and those were fun days, out fishing and swimming and enjoying the fish fry. Then, one of my sisters and I were wading in the water, and she stepped off into an area that was over our heads. I went after her and neither of us could swim. Daddy swam out and grabbed my sister and practically threw her to the shore and he came back to get me as I was going down for the third time. What a scare that was. But, daddy swam from one side of that lake to the other and back with the greatest of ease.
Bo remembers that, during the 1940's, Daddy worked for Hill Chevrolet in Ringgold, LA.
Daddy went into the Army Air Corps in WWII, serving as a mechanic and flight engineer, and may very well have flown in, and worked on, this type of aircraft during WWII that is in the background of this page. The background music on this page is "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer," which was very popular during World War II.
The Honorable Discharge papers stated that he was in the 563rd AAF Bomber Unit, and his description was 5'5", weight 125 lbs., brown eyes and black hair. His first enlistment began September 2, 1942 and ended November 21, 1945. He started out as a Spec. Vehicle Operator, attended 4 Engine Flight Eng. Schools in Tenn, and was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, and Victory Medal. He reenlisted February 15, 1946 and stayed in until February 5, 1947. During that enlistment, he was in the 2621st AAF Bomber Unit.
According to the records, daddy was awarded the American Theater Ribbon and Victory Medal, both of which are shown below. I have written off for replacement medals, since we do not know of any being awarded prior to this.
October 4, 1954, daddy died at the young age of 45, roughly, leaving a widow and four children at home. We are working on a new headstone, since the one there now is in disrepair. He is buried by his mother (Martha Narcissus (Mattie) Blunt Josey/Warner) and his daughter, Wanda Ruth Josey, in Mt. Gilead Cemetery Vivian, LA .
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