The Heritage of Resident of St. Croix from Dawn Johns

Bailee, you are a tapestry of English, German, Irish and Welsh heritage.

On my Father’s maternal side we are direct descendants of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.  The family was well known for it’s statesmen and were instrumental in starting libraries in many small towns in the hills of West Virginia.

On my Father’s paternal side we are the descendants of Senator Willey from West Virginia who cast the deciding vote in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

My Father’s Father worked for the railroad all of his life, as did all of my uncles.  During the Great Depression they lived in a tent along the railroad right-of-way in West Virginia.  My Father’s Mother was very cerebral, was never without her books and named all of her six children after authors – her eldest was Ernest (after Ernest Hemingway) and her youngest was George Bernard (after George Bernard Shaw).

My Father was very well read – he had an IQ of 160.  He was a ‘speed reader’ and would read at least one book a day.

My Mother’s Family were immigrants – her Mother’s family, the Dailys, were farmers from Ireland and settled in Danville Illinois.  Fran was the youngest of nine children was, by all accounts, treated as the ‘baby’.  She never learned to drive.  She was very artistic and her artwork is still treasured by many.  After she married and moved north to the Chicago area, she commuted each day on the train to her job at Carson Pierie Scott department store in downtown Chicago.  This was a time when there were very few “career women”.  She was a very petite woman – not even 5′ tall – with tiny tiny feet but always wore high heels.   She had five children – three boys, Archie, Norman and Ron and two girls Evelyn and the oldest, Wilma Jean who is my Mother.

Her Father’s family, the Packinghams, were shop keepers from Germany and once they came to Illinois they owned a succession of businesses.  Archibald, my Grandfather owned a ice cream shop, a butcher shop (which was the ultimate in marketing per the name) and, by the time I came along, he owned a neighborhood grocery store on Ashland Avenue in Harvey Illinois,  I do remember being there with my Mother when she worked at the store and I remember being bitten by the mailman’s dog on a very hot summer afternoon.  I probably deserved it and I still bear the scar on my left cheek.

My Grandfather later opened Empire Millwork a custom cabinetry shop where he and my uncles built custom kitchen cabinets, door and windows and was very successful as so many homes were built the GI’s came home after WWII.  They built my Mother’s house for her on Winchester Avenue, across the the golf course, in Harvey Illinois in 1955.  Before that my family – my brothers, Richard and Roger, and I and my Mom and Dad lived with my Grandparents in a two flat apartment that my Grandparents owned.  My sister Anita was born in 1956 in the new house.   My Mother and Father worked side by side in the many businesses that they owned but we, as a family, always came together each night to a home cooked dinner.

Your Dad’s Father’s Mother (Dorothy) was the only child of Welsh and German immigrants and was, by all accounts, a strikingly beautiful woman.  She married Earl May, who was the son of German immigrants, at the tender age of 17.  He had just returned to civilian life from service in the Marines and was quite handsome in his uniform – he had an enormous chest and very broad shoulders.  Dorothy and Earl had four children – three sons and one daughter – the oldest Danny, is your Father’s Father.

Danny and I were married in Urbana Illinois, at the University of Illinois, in 1969 and bought a house at 100th and Wood Street in Chicago where he worked as a Detective for the Chicago Police Department.  Your Dad was born in 1971 and your Aunt Mimi was born in 1973.