Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Military Man: Willie J. Payne, Jr. of Saluda, Middlesex, Virginia


Willie J. Payne, Jr. was my maternal grandmother’s grandfather, born September 3, 1874 to William Payne, Sr. and Martha Foster; they were all born in Virginia.  Willie, Jr.’s union with my great-great-grandmother Rosa Davis produced one daughter Mazoura Payne.

When I started searching for my maternal grandmother’s paternal side back in 2008, I found bits and pieces for the Griffin family.  I came across the Payne name when I was going through my mother’s papers after her passing.  I found her mother’s (Lillian Griffin) birth certificate.   In talking with an older cousin, I asked her what Mazoura’s mother’s name was and she remembered them calling her momma Rose; no last name was given, she did not know.  I came across Rosa Davis here in Baltimore in our 1930 census in the same household as my grandmother, Lillian Griffin and her siblings; this is how I got Rose’s maiden name.  She is listed as head of the household; where was her husband?

Armed with some info, but not knowing exactly where in Virginia the Payne family was from, I did some serious searching.  Finally, I hit pay-dirt.  I found Willie Payne, Jr. and Rosa Davis Payne in Middlesex, Virginia.  I found them on two censuses.  For two years I was on and off looking for Willie; I could not find a death record on him.  Then I stumbled across a military record for him in 2012.  He was stationed in Annapolis, Maryland as a navy man.  Then I hit another brick wall for a year.

Early in 2013, I began to look for Willie J. Payne, again.  I took another look at the 1930 census for Baltimore.  I missed it the first time, but the record for Rosa read “divorced”.  I found that Willie had remarried.  

I was led to a record stating that Willie died in Los Angeles, California and born in Virginia.  The last names of both his parents were on the death announcement.  Once I found this info, I sent out a request on Find-A-Grave to request a photo of Willie’s headstone.  In two days a nice gentleman filled my request!   After finding this document, I was able to find another military record showing that my great-great-grandfather was on the ship the USS Charleston, stationed in Kobe, Japan; Military and Naval Forces.

I am proud to know my relative served our country!

4 comments:

  1. Wow, good sleuthing really paid off here. Glad you kept at it, and were able to learn so much.

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    1. Yes Dawn...circling back paid off! I wish I could do this full-time!

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  2. Great job Delores. Your research really paid off. I am proud that your ancestor served our country. Really interesting story, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Bernita...thanks for your kind words.

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