The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Posts tagged “Andrew Ethelbert Kerby

Look at that fox!

When a photographer came around in the early 1900s, people gathered themselves together and got their picture made quickly while the opportunity presented itself. My grandmother told me about the day a photographer made this photo of her parents, Minnie Viola Russell and Andrew Ethelbert Kerby. They saw the photographer coming up the road while out in their yard on Trade Street in Florence, Alabama around 1923. Not dressed up for pictures they hurriedly put on a jacket and a fox stole. My grandmother, Marie, was particularly fond of this picture. She would laugh every time she looked at it.It was a little perplexing to me to see that around my great-grandmother‘s neck. I wasn’t used to seeing animals fur with the head still on it.

I remember seeing the fox stole, I think my Aunt Irene had it. I thought it was pretty morbid — head and all! I wonder if anyone else has a picture of their ancestors with a fox stole? Well, needless to say the picture  is a keepsake to me!

Minnie Viola Russell Kerby and Andrew Ethelbert Kerby 1923

Minnie Viola Russell Kerby and Andrew Ethelbert Kerby 1923

Hey Kerby cousins out there… do you have any more info on the fox stole?


Picture perfect…

was the day this photograph ca 1930 was made. Minnie Viola Russell who was married to Andrew Ethelbert Kerby and her family lived in Florence; and on this day all but one daughter would be pictured with their mother. Those little twins lived into their nineties. Irene was the soft voiced one and seemed be the mother figure to others though childless; studied and down-to-earth is how she might be described. Pauline, on the other hand, well, was Pauline. She was talkative and never met a stranger. Much to her dismay as she aged her hearing became less acute and that must have been frustrating for her.

The twins and their younger sister, Marie, would sing on the radio in their youth. And, oh how you would love to hear these two little petite dynamos talk of their childhood, of their courting years, and about the close knit family life they lived at home with their Mama and Papa. One story Pauline could tell in her adulthood for then there was no fear of getting in to trouble, had to do with dolls that she and Irene received from a relative that Pauline thought favored Irene juuussst a little bit. Pauline unwrapped Irene’s doll enough to see that the porcelain face was cracked. So, little miss priss went about re-wrapping the doll and…

exchanging the gift tag with the one on her package. So on Christmas, when presents were unwrapped, Pauline was happy with her perfect doll.

Pauline was the contest winning queen back in her day. She won lots of prizes and really nice things like a boat, a car, and washer and dryers. She had a method to the contests and she was good at her hobby. It was Irene who was the keeper of the memories and treasures of the family. At Irene’s death she still had the original trundle bed that all her mother’s children were born on over a span of a hundred years even at that point in time, a pump organ, and an antique view finder with all the scenes on cards still with it. And, that is not even to mention all the treasures of family photos over the years.

By the way, you don’t believe that Harriet and Barbara middle name stuff, do you? The twins felt left out because they had no middle names, so they adopted the names of their favorite Kerby relatives for their middle names. Thus, Irene Harriet Kerby and Pauline Barbara Kerby were born. These little ladies were a delight to be around. The last time they attended the Sweetwater event was when their great grand-niece took them. They were the hit of the event that year. They grew up near Sweetwater, so it was always special to them.

Minnie Viola Russell Kerby and Daughters


Brunette “Nettie” Kerby

was beloved by her family and was a friend and colleague of Maud Lindsay.

Brunette "Nettie" Kerby Walters

Fondly referred to as “Aunt Nettie” by my grandmother is my great-grandfather (Andrew Ethelbert Kerby’s) sister. She and her siblings were reared in Dixon Springs, TN. Her parents were married shortly after the Civil War. Her father, Richard Marshall Kerby, was in the 8th TN Infantry Co. A during the war.  His unit saw action in most of the big battles of the Tennessee arena. In a book entitled the History of  Trousdale County, (Tennessee) a letter was published which was written the morning after the Battle at Chickamauga which mentioned “Marshall”. It was a letter written from a son (Daniel Burford) to his mother (Ms. Ward) which were neighbors of R.M. Kerby’s family. One of the Kerbys had been killed during the battle (I believe he was a cousin of R.M.’s ) and Daniel asked his mother to reassure “Mr. Kerby” (Francis Kerby, R.M.’s father) that Marshall was alright.

Shortly after returning home Richard Marshall married Catherine (Caron) Ruth Jones and they raised a large family there in Dixon Springs. A letter was written from R.M. to his sister, Medora Kerby Fergusson, in 1883 telling about his move from Dixon Springs to Florence, Alabama. R.M. and his children had intended to move to Texas but were wearied by their trip. They found a desirable place just “north of South Pittsburgh” (Sheffield)”along the Tennessee River.”  His family settled into Florence, Alabama during its boom in the 1880s.

Several of Richard Marshall Kerby’s relatives were school teachers, some were of the most prominent in the earliest schools in Florence.One of these teachers was R.M.’s daughter, Brunette, who taught at the famous Maud Lindsay’s Free-Kindergarten in Florence. She lived on N. Walnut Street, near the parking lot of the new Florence Public Library. I can just imagine her immaculate, warm, cozy home full of the best southern hospitality. I discovered an article that my Aunt Irene Kerby Marks had clipped and placed in her scrapbook. I thought you might enjoy it. It was from the Florence Times but I do not know the date on which it appeared.