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

Posts tagged “Irene Kerby Marks

Pretty ribbons, pretty paper…

of blue; wrap your presents to your darling from you were lyrics to one of her favorite songs. Her favorite color was blue. Her favorite people were her grandchildren. She lived a lonely life alone for most of her adult years. But when

My Darling Kim 1964

My Darling Kim 1964

she died she left a hole in the hearts of four grandchildren: Kim, Gary, Mark and Julie. She left them behind with only her memories; she left little of monetary value but that mattered little to them. 

What she left was mostly pictures that were valued beyond gold that were left to be treasured. And every card that her granddaughter had sent to her or given her was stacked and tied together. That was a tender moment watching her as she held that stack. The biggest treasure for her granddaughter was the little photo of her when she was born that Mammy had written “Darling Kim” on it.

Mammy was Marie Kerby Wright. The photo with the three adults leaves us to wonder, just who is that handsome man dressed to the nines and who is so suave and debonaire in the photo? On the left is Marie Kerby’s brother-in-law Jimmy Marks. In the middle is Marie Kerby all petite and young. And her sister Irene Kerby Marks took the photo as her shadow can be seen in the photo as she held the camera.  But the gentleman on the right is not identified. Could it be a Butler who lived nearby? Perhaps, a Butler descendant can answer that question and solve that puzzle for us. The  photograph is vintage 1944 or 1945 and the photo was taken at Seven Points in Florence, Alabama.


What is the difference between a wooden pencil and a nice fountain pen?

The difference is huge to the child receiving the gift of the wooden pencils while their sister receives the nice fountain pens. Huge. The same is true with broken dolls for the twin of the favored grandchild.

Catherine E Ruth Jones Kerby has been so elusive, but finally we found a photo of her. The story of the  pens and

Grandmother Ruth Kerby

pencils and porcelain dolls follows as great-great-grandchild, Kimberly Ricketts recounts the story told of Grandmother Ruth Kerby:

My Great-Aunts (twins Irene and Pauline) told a story about “Grandmother Kerby” and the Christmas dolls. Andrew, Ruth’s son, (my G-Grandfather) had a stroke when he was still a young man which made it hard for him to make a living for his family.

He was a painter by trade (Wagon Works in Florence had him listed as an employee – even though the girls never remembered him working there) and did some gardening and painting, but after his stroke around 1909 (in TX) he was forced to relocate back to his “home” near his family.

Andrew’s wife, Minnie, was pregnant with the twins during their journey back home. Apparently, Richard Marshall Kerby and his wife Ruth gave Andrew’s family their previous home (they had lived there on Trade Street since about 1883.) Back then families took care of each other the best they could.

Grandmother Ruth, according to the twins and my grandmother, was snobby and thought she was better than Minnie’s family. She would get on to Pauline for playing and eating turnips in the garden with “little negro” neighbors. She told them they were “blue – blood” and should keep themselves neat and proper at all times.

She would make a difference between the twins and Minnie didn’t appreciate it. She would mail the kids gifts and would always send Irene the nicest gift. Irene was her favorite (Pauline explained to me when she was in her nineties, that Irene was a “suck up” when it came to Grandmother Kerby.)

When their grandfather died Grandmother Ruth left Florence, AL to live with a daughter in Warrior, AL. She would continue to send Irene nice fountain pens, while sending Pauline wooden pencils. One Christmas Grandmother sent all of the children gifts that were wrapped and tagged neatly.

Pauline decided that even though she couldn’t see the gifts she knew Irene’s was the nicest. So, she switched the name tags on their gifts. Much to Irene’s chagrin on Christmas she opened a doll that had a flat head and crooked eyes. Pauline of course opened a beautiful doll with eyes that opened and closed. Pauline’s doll had a beautifully shaped head and was much superior to the doll Irene had received.

Later that year Grandmother Kerby came to visit. The twins would imitate the “blue-blood” attitude that Grandmother exuded when telling this story. Irene remembered her coming into town in a wagon. After Grandmother got settled, she asked all of the girls to get out the dolls she had sent them. She was going to inspect them to see if they had taken good care of them. If they were in perfect shape, Grandmother told them, “she had brought some beautiful cloth to make their dolls a dress.”

Grandmother was mortified when Irene ran to bring her doll to her. Grandmother says, “Irene this is not YOUR doll, this is Pauline’s.” Pauline and Irene’s mother,Minnie, stepped in and told her that if she couldn’t get them the same gifts, then she should get them nothing at all.

All my life I will never forget the twins different versions of this story. Each Christmas I asked the twins to tell us all the story of Grandmother Kerby and the Christmas dolls.

 Pauline and Irene Kerby were born in 1910, so they would have no memory of their father’s work at the Wagon Factory if the date of his stroke is correct at 1909.


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.


Hettie Ann Thrasher Marks’…

family traces back to London England to John Thrasher. His son Peter Thrasher was the progenitor of the Thrasher family in America. He arrived in 1666. Peter died in 1700 in Prince George, Maryland. Peter has one known son, Benjamin Thrasher,  born 1690 and died 1741 in Prince George,  Maryland. Benjamin Thrasher was married to Mary Beall.  Mary and Benjamin are known to have two children: Margaret Thrasher  1680 – 1738 and Thomas Thrasher  1725 – 1804.

Thomas Thrasher was born in Prince George and died 6 Jun 1804 in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland. Thomas married Martha Lee. Together they had a number of children: Benjamin Thrasher 1735 – 1753; Mary Thrasher 1749 – 1813; Benjamin Thrasher  1753 – 1821; Ruth Thrasher  1755 – 1850;  Keziah Casiah Thrasher  1757 –   ; Benjamin Thrasher  1758 – 1802; John Thrasher  1761 – 1828; Sarah Thrasher  1765 – 1826; Elias Thrasher  1767 – 1823.

Elias Thrasher was born in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland and died  in Lovettsville, Loudon County, Virginia. He married Sarah Lamar  1770 – 1851 and they had a number of children: Malinda Thrasher  1789 – 1859;  Henson Thrasher  1790 – 1860; Matilda Thrasher  1792 – 1834; Elias Thrasher  1792 – 1860; Martha Thrasher  1793 – 1853; William Bishop Lamar Thrasher  1798 – 1883; Thomas Lee Thrasher  1798 – 1850; Thomas Thrasher 1800 – 1893; Archibald Archer Thrasher  1802 – 1883; Sarah Ann Thrasher  1805 –   ; Arretta Thrasher  1806 – 1882; William Franklin Thrasher  1809 – 1855; Luther Alexander Thrasher  1810 – 1881; John Thrasher  1812 – 1854; and Clarissa Amanda Thrasher  1813 – 1889.

The Thrasher family started out in America in Prince George and Frederick Maryland, but the Thrasher line was in the Shoals before Alabama was a state. They arrived when Alabama was still called the Mississippi Territory; while the land was still occupied by the Native Americans. The Trail of Tears was to occur some  forty or more years later.

William Bishop Lamar Thrasher was born  25 May 1798 in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland, United States and died  26 Jan 1883 in Lauderdale, Alabama, United States. He married, at age 24, Rachel Holshausen in Lauderdale County, Alabama on 3 September 1822. Rachel, the daughter of John Holshausen and Anniece Cunningham Holshausen, was born 17 Feb 1805 in Tennessee and died 26 December 1883 in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Rachel’s parents were both born in Rowan County, North Carolina. Rachel’s father died in 1868 in Nelson County, Kentucky. Her mother died in 1843 in Polk County, Texas.

William Bishop Lamar Thrasher and Rachel Holshausen Thrasher maintained their home in Lauderdale County and raised a large family of children. Their children were: Elias Thrasher 1823 – 1876; Thomas Thrasher  1825 – 1876; Emily Thrasher  1827 –   ; Sarah Malissa Elissie Thrasher  1831 – 1904; BG Thrasher  1832 – 1902; William Henson Thrasher  1833 – 1879; Hattie Ann Thrasher  1835 – 1917; James Thrasher  1837 – 1915; John Chapman Thrasher  1840 – 1915; Michael  L Mike Thrasher  1841 –   ; Pugh Houston Thrasher  1843 – 1922 and John Chapman Thrasher  1845 – 1915. There may have been a son named John Hall Thrasher born 1823.

Hettie Ann Thrasher married John Henry Marks who was born 1829 in Virginia and died 19 Apr 1876 in Lauderdale County,  Alabama. Their family of children are in the “Family of Hettie” graphic below. John Henry Marks was buried at Chisholm Cemetery and Hettie Marks was buried at Stoney Point Church of Christ Cemetery, both in Lauderdale County.

Their son, James Wesley Marks married Clora Alice “Cora” Phillips  who lived from 1878  to 1926. Cora Marks was the daughter of  John Wesley Phillips  1838 – 1907 and Josephine Roseann Carr Phillips 1841 – 1912. It is from John Wesley Phillips that the name Wesley becomes a family tradition.

On the 1900 Census, James Marks and wife Cora Marks, were boarders in the household of Martin Phillips. Martin was a widow who had a couple of children and grandchildren living with him. He may have been Cora Phillips’ grandfather. The home was situated on Coffee Road and Wood Avenue in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama. James and Cora Marks had married in January of that year.

On 12 September 1918, James Marks who was living in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama was described as medium height, medium build, with blue eyes and gray hair. His age was 44, and he was married to Cora. His occupation is given as  merchant. Presumably, he was the first owner of Marks Garage near Seven  Points Shopping Center in Florence.

James and Cora Marks’ children were: Owen Marks  1903 –   ; Neal  V Marks  1905 –    ; James Wesley “Jimmy” Marks  1907 – 1969; Robert Marks  1910 –    ; and Lucile Marks  1913 –    . James W Marks and Clora A Phillips Marks are buried at Parsonage Cemetery in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama.

James and Cora’s third son, Jimmy Marks married Irene Harriet Kerby. They built a home on Malone Circle in Florence as a duplex. Jimmy was a very frugal man. He paid for the home with the rent derived from one side while they lived on the other side of the duplex. The two sides shared one bathroom. Jimmy Marks worked with his brother, Neal Marks, in their family garage at Seven Points. After his retirement, Jimmy drove the school bus that took Irene to her job at Hope Haven School in Tuscumbia. Irene was beloved by family, friends, and co-workers.

Irene and her twin sister, Pauline Kerby had wonderful memories of their childhood, their parents, and their escapades. The twins were not given middle names at birth. So, they adopted middle names from their ‘favorite’ relatives. Pauline crowned herself Pauline Barbara Kerby, while Irene was dubbed Irene Harriet Kerby. These two little ladies were wonderful company to be around. They were full of ‘stories’ of their upbringing, school days, and courting days. I miss them both. Jimmy and Irene Marks are buried at Florence City Cemetery.

Hettie Ann Thrasher Marks

Hettie Ann Thrasher Marks' Obituary