Raymond Edward Wegley

My grandfather, Raymond Edward Wegley was born on December 15, 1925 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He died on December 4, 1992, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, just before his 67th birthday.

Raymond Wegley Birth Certificate

My grandfather fought in World War II in the US Navy. He served on the USS Earl K. Olsen.

Grandpa Wegley NAVY WWIIUSS Earl K. Olsen

He joined the war on November 29, 1943, at the age of 17 and was officially discharged on April 28, 1946.

His brother John W. Wegley entered service the month before on February 19, 1943. But he went into the army. Why my grandfather chose the Navy instead of the army like his brother, I don’t know.

PA1-0418

He was a Sergeant First Class and was awarded several medals for his service to his country.

Navy Medals

Penn Veteran Compensation Application WWII Raymond Wegley

Two years after he got out of the military he married my grandmother, Elsie Jane Hoag on June 5, 1948, in Pennsylvania. Together they would have 4 children, three boys and only one girl (my mother).

elsie and ray

  • Thomas Eugene (June 13, 1949)
  • Karen Marie (January 26, 1951)
  • Raymond Junior (December 11, 1952)
  • Robert Thomas (September 27, 1954)

My grandfather Raymond retired from Bartlett Collins glass factory in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and this photo was taken on his last day of work in April of 1989.

ray retirement

Just 3 years later he would die in his sleep of a heart attack on December 4, 1992.

Raymond Wegley Death Certificate

He was buried in Sapulpa, Oklahoma at the Green Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Wegley Family History

Frederick Wegley

Frederick Wegley is my great-grandfather. He was born on August 20, 1887, in Kane, Pennsylvania and died on November 28, 1950, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

Frederick Wegley married Tillie Blanch Edwards on February 4, 1920 when he was 32 years old. They married in Huntington, West Virginia. Together they had at least 6 children, including my grandfather,  Raymond Wegley.

  • John Wesley (1923-1982)
  • Betty A (1924-2010)
  • Raymond Edward (1925-1992)
  • Ruth Minerva (1928-?)
  • Dora Mae (1930-1970)
  • Gretta L (1935-?)

Frederick Wegley served in both World War I and in World War II as did his sons John Wesley and Raymond Edward.

Here is his a blurry copy of his WW1 draft registration card which tells us that he is medium height, slender build with light brown hair and light grey eyes.

fred wegley - draft registration card

It also says he was employed as a laborer doing woodworking for a manufacturing company. It also reveals he was in the national guard in the infantry division for 1 year prior to this form being filled out (June 5, 1917) at which time he was 29 years old.

At 54 years old he filled out another draft card to join the fight during WWII. Notice on the document he lied and say he was 52, born in 1889, not his actual year of birth of 1887.

 fred wegley - draft registration card wwII -1 fred wegley - draft registration card wwII -2

These two documents tell us a little more about the man. He was 5 foot 7 1/2. Again we learn he has brown hair and grey eyes and his complexion is described as “ruddy”, as compared to sallow, light, dark, light brown, etc.

This was signed on April 27, 1942. Fred’s eldest son John Wesley would join the war on February 19, 1943, so almost a year later.  Then his youngest son Raymond would join on November 29, 1943 when he was only 17.

So the father lied and said he was younger so he could join the war and fight for his country and his son would lie sand say he was older to do the same.

Fred died in 1950 and was buried in a grave in Okmulgee, Oklahoma where his youngest son was living at the time.

fred wegley grave

His wife Tillie would die in 1984 and would be buried nearby.

tillie wegley

Now here is something interesting … notice his gravestone said his year of birth was 1889. But we know from countless census records he was actually born two years earlier. Well actually now that I examine the records more closely, I don’t know for sure.

  • In the 1900 census it tells us that he was 12 years old at the time and he was born in August of 1887. 1900-12 actually puts him born in about 1888
  • In the 1910 census however he was 21 at the time and it says he was born “about 1889”.
  • In the 1920 census it tells us he was 30 at the time and that means he was born about 1890. During this census he was still living with his parents and was a box maker and a window and glass factory.
  • In the 1930 census it tells us he was 39 years old and that he was born in about 1881.
  • In the 1940 census it tells us he was 50 years old and that he was born about 1890.

I am told that it wasn’t uncommon to estimate things back then when you were for sure. But every time it has something different so I’m not sure what to say about it.

The 1900 census and the WW1 draft registration card says August 1887. So for now we’ll keep it at that.

John Durk Richardson

John Durk Richardson was born on April 22, 1847, in Moore County, North Carolina. He died on January 17, 1926, in Balsora, Texas when he was 78 years old.

In the 1880 United States census (he was 33) we know that he moved his family to Parker County, Texas which Google Maps tells us is just west of the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Prior to that, he lived in North Carolina working on his father’s farm. While in Parker County, Texas the census shows us that he was still a farmer and Mary was a housewife.

  • Born: April 22, 1847
  • Died: January 17, 1926
  • Father: Thomas Richardson
  • Mother: Nancy (maiden name unknown)

In 1865 when he was 18 years old, he served in the American Civil War in the Tennessee Calvary Company E, United 9. The American Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1865 so that means when he turned 18 he immediately joined the war which was just as it was ending. Being from Tennessee, that means he fought on the side of the Union during the war. He may have entered the war as early as 1863 which would have made him 16 at the time.

This information is somewhat confusing and I’ve been unable to verify the actual date he entered the war, only the date he got out. One document shows Enlisted: Sept. 28 and Mustered: Oct. 13 but it does not indicate which year. So he either served a few months in 1865 or from 1863 to 1865.

Here is what I can say for sure – he served in the 9th regiment of the Tennessee cavalry, company E. The 9th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry Regiment served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was a private when he both entered and left service.

At 19 (September 1866) he married Mary Elizabeth Mckensie and together they had at least six children.

At 72, (in 1919) he and his wife were living in Balsora, Texas and that is when she died. He went on to live another 7 years. He died on January 19, 1926.

John Durk Richardson and Mary had 6 children.

  • Sarah Caroline Richardson (1867-1953)
  • Kendrick Thomas Richardson (1869-1951)
  • Margaret Jane Richardson (1871-1945)
  • William Alexander Richardson (1874-1971)
  • John Henry Richardson (1878-1924)
  • Julie Richardson (1879-1894)

He died in a county (Wise, Texas) that has a lot of their records available to the public online, but I’ve been unable to get my hands on his actual death certificate. I have placed an order with the state of Texas but I didn’t have any luck.

We know exactly where he is buried and his date of death and birth is on his headstone, but sadly the state of Texas for some reason has no record of his death.

John Durk Richardson - Death Certificate

John Durk Richardson is buried in Balsora, Texas next to his beloved wife Mary (view entry here).

John Durk Richardson had a brother, Isham Thomas (two years younger than John Durk) who followed his brother to Wise County Texas, in the Wilson Prairie area, prior to moving to Oklahoma. His brother Isham Thomas is buried in the area of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Here is a photo of the two brothers. The photo was provided by Anne Richardson, who got it form her father’s first cousin, Karen Richardson.

She says that the one on the far left is John Durk Richardson (1891-1947), We are guessing that the young man second from the left could be his brother James Richardson. Next, we have no idea who the little girl could be. Lastly, we are also assuming that the older woman and man are Elizabeth J and Isham T Richardson since it really looks like a family picture and John was his son.

john durk richardson - with his brother

I don’t know that she is correct in naming who is who in this photo simply because John Durk is two years older than Isham. The man on the far left is clearly way younger than the man on the far right. But if you look at the picture of John Durk with his wife, taken years later, you’ll see the man on the far right looks very much like John Durk, making the woman at his side his wife.

John Durk Richardson

 

John Durk Richardson is my 3rd Great Grandfather

In 1850 John Durk was 3 years old. He was living in Moore, North Carolina with his father Thomas and his mother Nancy as well as his sister Lydia who at the time was 5 and his little brother Isham who was 1.

What’s interesting is that just 10 years later, during the 1860 census, he was still living with his siblings but not either of his parents. During the 1860 census, they were living with their grandparents Thomas and Nancy.

We catch up with him against in the 1880 census where John Durk is now 34 years old and is married to Mary Elizabeth. He’s a farmer living in Parker, Texas and is working as a farmer.

During the 1880 census, he listed children are Sarah Caroline, Kendrick Thomas, Margaret Jane, and John Henry.

What about William Alexander and Julie? Julie was born in 1879 so it’s possible she wasn’t born during the time of this census but what about William Alexander? Where was he in 1880?

S.C. Richardson – Sarah Caroline
K.T. Richardson – Kendrick Thomas
M.J. Richardson – Margaret Jane
A.R. Richardson ??? William Alexander?
J.H. Richardson – John Henry

We know that John Durk is the father of William Alexander because we have William’s death certificate. It tells us that his father was John Durk Richardson and his mother was Mary McKinsey (aka Mary Elizabeth Mckensie).

It is possible the AR Richardson is William Alexander. I’m not sure what the initials AR would stand for though. During the course of his life, William Alexander did go by “Alex” so it’s possible A.R. stands for Alex Richardson.

 

 

Reuben Namon Richardson

Reuben Namon Richardson is my grandfather. He’s a man I never got to meet but so wanted to. I know he wasn’t a perfect man, by all accounts he was a horrible husband and deadbeat dad. But still he was my grandfather and I wished I would have gotten the chance to meet him at least once before he died.

He was known to most of his friends as RN but was also known as Reuben Namon Richardson Jr, RN Richardson, R.N. Richardson, Reuben Neiman, or Rubin. Like his father before him, there are so many variations of his name, it really does make it hard to find documents regarding his life.

  • Born on 23 Mar 1929 in Waurika, Oklahoma
  • Died on 28 Sep 2002 in Bowie, Texas

* Please note that some sources say RN’s birthday is March 23, 1929 but as you can see by his gravestone, it clearly says March 21, 1929.  However later evidence has come up to show his actual birthday was March 23, despite what the Navy may say.

His father is Rubin Nemon Richardson and and his mother is Mary Vivian Phillips.

On March 12, 1946 he enlisted in the United States Navy. This was just after the end of World War II – well sort of. The actual peace treaty between Japan and most of the Allies (the Treaty of San Francisco) was not signed until 1951 and did not take effect until 1952. However if you want to get technical, for the purposes of computing veterans’ benefits, the US Government views World War II as having ended on December 31, 1946.

In 1947 he served on the USS Southerland. The ship number or designation was DD-743 or 0441-0743. His last listing on a WW II Navy Muster Roll for the USS Southerland was on Feb 17, 1947.

By April 25, 1948 he was serving on the USS Piedmont. The ship number or designation was AD-17.

Recently I happened upon his record of Naval Discharge. It shows he was a World War II Victory Medal and a China Service Medal. It was filed on March 29, 1950.

RN Record of Naval Discharge

This document shows us again that his birthday is March 23, 1929 in Waurika, OK and he entered the service on March 12, 1946. His service # which is 986 8226.

While in the Navy he served on the …

  • USS Penner
  • USS Southerland
  • USS Piedmont
  • USS Rupertus

After faithfully serving our country and fighting for our freedom he was honorably discharged in San Deigo, California on December 27, 1949.  His service number was 986 82 26.

Some other sources list his release date as December 27, 1953 however as you can see by the official document below the real date is December 27, 1949 and not December 27, 1953.

You will notice on the certificate below he was a Fireman, which according to the Navy’s official website is a part of the Engineering and Hull specialties.

RN Navy Discharge

Married: Alice Joann Price

  • Date of Marriage: August 26, 1950 in Henrietta, Texas
  • Date of Divorce:  December, 1957 in Oklahoma City, OK

This marriage produced 3 children.

  • Benjamin Wayne Richardson (July 19, 1951)
  • Joanna Richardson (February 19, 1954)
  • Frankie Richardson (November 22, 1955)

After leaving my grandmother he married a lady named Nancy Lee Stewart and together they had three children. They later divorced but I’m not sure when that was.

  • Reuben N Richardson III (August 11, 1960-2005)
  • Alex Stuart Richardson (June 26, 1961 -)
  • Vivian Gail Richardson (June 26, 1961 -)

Despite what his gravestone may say, RN was born on March 23, 1929.

RN was buried at the Granbury Cemetery in Hood County, Texas which is about 45 minutes to an hour outside of Forth Worth, Texas. Turns out he lived his final years only a few hours away from the grandchildren that wanted to find him for most all of their lives.

Reuben Namon Richardson is my paternal grandfather