My Grandmother Ola (most who knew her pronounced her name "Oler") was born 10/28/1882 and, according to the 1920 census, in Georgia.  She married James Owen Braddock September 17, 1899 in Pierce County, Georgia at the age if 16. They probably were married in Hoboken, which was part of Pierce County until it became a part of Brantley County in 1920, because all three of their children were born there, the first in 1901. James Owen was a section foreman for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.  They had three sons, Lewis Owen, Arnold Lee, and Clarence Eddie. Below are two pictures of James Owen and Ola's early years in Hoboken


James Owen and Ola Wood Braddock, 
taken shortly after their marriage.

Lewis in front, Ola and Owen in middle, and Arnold in rear.
Photo taken around 1905.

James Owen Braddock contracted TB in his early forties and had to give up his job. The family moved in with Ola's brother Ed in Dowling Park, Florida. Hoping a dry climate would give him some relief from breathing difficulties, he along with 19 year old son Lewis, took a train to Arizona. He died along the way 10 May 1920. Ola, only 38 at the time, was left with three children, ages 19, 17, and 11.

I first remember Grandma Ola from Danese Street in Jacksonville. She and her sister Will lived directly across the street from where we lived just before my father died. When Daddy went into the hospital, my mother went to her parents in Georgia , leaving us with Ola. Being surrounded by so many playmate cousins eased the disappointment of not being with our parents. Danese was unpaved, but hard-packed, like most streets in the section of the North East Springfield area that ran off East 8th Street where it neared Tallyrand Avenue. Ola lived in the second house from the sandy, rutted road of 7th Street. 

Next door, going toward, 8th Street, Claude Mainor lived with his wife Anna Mae and two daughters Betty Jean and Jeanette—if I remember their names correctly. The Ambrosia Bakery was between Claude's house and 8th Street. Claude worked there as a baker. My father worked there as a baker the few times he was on layoff from the Ford plant. Claude was grandson of Ida Wood Parnell by her daughter Eldridge. Ida was Ola's oldest sister. How did I know she was the oldest? Well, to my young eyes, she looked the oldest. And she was the first of the sisters to die, not long after the one time I remember seeing her.

Claude's seven brothers and sisters, Mae, Mamie, Tom, Clarence, Charles, Jackie, and Ray lived one block over in the middle of the block on Thelma Street with their father, Matt Mainor. Eldridge, their mother, had died soon before.

Ida's son Clio, called Red by everyone, and his young family lived a couple of blocks away on the other side of 8th on 9th, I think. Another son, John K.  and his wife Irene lived about twelve blocks away on   Phoenix Avenue. At the time, they had two sons. I never knew where Ida's oldest son, Rufus, lived.

Ola's youngest sister, Ethel Wood Kinsey, lived across the street at the corner of Danese and 7th. Her husband died sometime before. Four children were still at home, Leona, Bill, Hank (Hazel), and Booster (Laverne). Daughter Mildred Kinsey Harden lived three or four blocks away on 9th St. with husband Marvin, two sons, M. C. and Buddy, and daughter Betty Ruth.

Later, when Ola and Will moved four blocks away to Buckman Street, we went with them. The house was the next to the last one before 7th on the west side of Buckman. The two-room house faced an identical house across the sandy yard on the same lot. Not long after Ola moved in, her brother, Ed, his wife Net, and their six children, Amy, Evelyn, Wanda, Agnes, Boots, and Buddy, moved into the other house.

Ola's youngest son, my uncle Eddie Braddock, and his wife Margie lived one block over at 1915 Lambert—the only house number I can remember from back then. Their daughter JoAnn was born soon after Ola moved to Buckman. Besides Ola and my brother Arnold —Kayo to all our relatives—Eddie's family was the only Braddocks I would know until I grew up and had five of my own. First Cousin Oswald Braddock came over from Waycross once with his mother to visit Ola when I was six.

In recent years, while putting together my Braddock genealogy, I was surprised to learn how young Ola had been at the time we stayed with her—in her mid-fifties. Her look of years was more than how the eyes of a young kid saw her. Even in pictures I've seen of her, she appears much older than she was. Having no teeth—that I can remember—and dipping snuff certainly were not conducive to looking her age.

Not only in her features did she appear older. She suffered from a physical ailment that kept her body bloated and caused her to move around in a slow, shuffling manner, like a much older person moves.

However, I am sure that grief was chief contributor to her premature aging. She certainly had cause to grieve. Her husband, my Grandfather James Owen Braddock, died after a long bout with TB when she was a mere 38. Lewis, her oldest son, was tragically killed five years later in a railroad accident. Her first granddaughter, June, my sister, died nine years after that at the age of 10 months. And her middle son, my father Arnold, died a year after that after being hospitalized because of a nervous breakdown over the death of June. Within that time, others dear to her died: sister Ida and her husband, Ethel’s husband, brother John Henry, and niece Eldridge. Within months of our leaving, sister Will and daughter-in-law Margie died.

Because of our circumstance and our being all she had left of our father, we could do no wrong in Ola’s eyes. She lavished on us her love and what meager material things came her way. We lived in the tail end of the Depression. Along with a lot of others, we received weekly handouts from the WPA. On a certain day of each week, she sent my brother and me up to Mann’s Grocery at the corner of Buckman and 8th to await the WPA truck to drop off a box of staples. Each needy family in our neighborhood picked up their weekly handout there. We had a lot of company waiting with us.

Each box usually contained a bag of regular or graham flour, a bag of potatoes, a slab of white-side (unsliced bacon), a box of dried apricots or apples, a can or two of evaporated milk, a bag of sugar, and some condiments including vanilla extract. Within two days she cooked up all the potatoes in delectable round, thin-sliced French fries; baked the flour into doughnuts or turnovers filled with the dried fruit; transformed the whiteside into stacks of crisp bacon and cracklings; and mixed the evaporated milk and vanilla extract into “milk shakes” that were cooled by ice cracked from the block that Eddie regularly brought by for the ice box. Most of it went into the bellies of my brother and me.

During blackberry season she transformed the round oatmeal boxes full of the berries we picked from along the railroad tracks into cobblers worth killing for.

Seldom did she get mad at the antics of two rambunctious young bucks who much too often took advantage of the knowledge that we could about get away with murder with her. However, there were times when we pushed her to the breaking point. If we were close enough to her on these rare occasions, she would pinch the living fire out of us. If  we weren’t, she threw whatever was handy at the moment—spool, snuff can, table knife—at us and usually hit us even though we were moving targets.

Ola and all her siblings I knew dipped snuff—big time. I don’t remember ever seeing one of them without their lower lip full and some dribbling out of one or both corners of their mouths. I think the main reason people have always had difficulty in understanding what I say is because I learned to talk from people that always talked around a mouthful of Tube Rose, Railroad Mills, Scotch Sweet, or some of the other brands of the day that Ola and Will would send us up to Mann’s to get another tin of.

When it comes to spitting, tobacco-chewing baseball players I’ve seen on TV are pikers compared to my snuff-dipping relatives of yesteryear. Almost any time of day and year, Ola and Will could be found sitting in their giant “grandpa” rockers calling each other ugly names and spitting globs of snuff from which all its “goody” had been sucked as it passed through their teeth going from inside their lower lip to their mouths. The soft dry sand under the edge of their un-underpinned porch was one of our favorite places for playing “cars”  with blocks of wood. Sitting back from the edge of the porch, they could not see the landing places to which the trajectory of a discharged mouthful would take it. Need I give more of the dirty details? The one consolation to us snuff-splattered kids was that the empty cans and lids made great toys. Nowadays, they tell me, snuff cans are made of cardboard. 

It would be superfluous to say it gets hot in Florida —even North Florida —in the summer. Back then, air conditioning was an almost unheard of luxury. A luxury to most folks I knew was to have screens on the windows so they could be kept open without varmints coming in. A rare luxury was screens on the door. Ola’s house had neither. Each of the two rooms had a door opening to the porch. The room that served as kitchen/dining room/parlor/den also had a door opening to the back. In spring and summer all three doors were kept wide open during daylight hours, and fly swatters lay in readily handy places about the house. The house had no insulation. It had no inner walls and ceiling to hold any. On extremely hot days heat from the roof would radiate through the open rafters down into the rooms.

On days when no breeze stirred to ventilate the house, Ola and Will sat all day on the porch in their rocking chairs, rocking back and forth to create a little breeze to cool their faces—and their tempers. Invariably, they would have a disagreement, always a vehement disagreement. My brother and I have been afflicted with acute hearing problems most of our lives. I’ve often wondered if the names we heard Ola and Will throwing at each other burned the ends off most of our ear nerves.

Their “grandpa” rocking chairs had wide, flared arms. Ola continuously drew pictures on the arm of hers with her finger with snuff spittle she dipped from the corner of her mouth. The crude pictures revealed she had an artistic talent. On hot days, she would strip the paper off wax crayons and fashion them into various objects. Once she made a rose using red crayon wax for the petals and green for the leaves. It could have passed for the real thing. One of the funniest occurrences I remember of Ola is the time she made a lizard from a green crayon. After she finished it, she turned to talk to Will. When she turned back and saw the lizard out of the corner of her eye, she screamed and jumped almost out of the chair, forgetting that she had made the lizard.

I was almost thrown out a high school class in Charleston, SC for disputing a teacher’s comment that it didn’t get cold in Florida. After I explained that I had to break the ice in my grandmother’s commode on more than one occasion to use it, the teacher relented. The bathroom on the back end of Ola’s house appeared to have been added as an afterthought and was only large enough to accommodate the commode and a Sears-Roebuck catalog.

The only means of heating the house was a fireplace at the back end of the kitchen/dining room/parlor/den. I can remember seeing Ola many cold nights backed up to the hearth with the back of her long nightgown held up to fill it with heat before heading for the cold bedroom at the opposite end of the house. Many a winter's night my brother and I lay in bed watching the frightening shadows the fireplace's flickering flames caused to dance among the open rafters.

Ola’s bed was on the back side of the bedroom. Will’s was on the front side near where the door opened onto the porch. My brother and I slept with Ola. He slept on one side. I slept on the other. To this day, I sleep on the same side of the bed as I did then, holding on to the edge of the mattress. I developed the habit hanging on to Ola’s mattress to keep from rolling down into the deep valley her weight made in the fluffy feather mattress. Some cold winter nights, I would let go and roll down into the warm valley next to her body.

When my brother and I weren't playing under the edge of the porch or with some of Ed and Net's six kids in the yard between the two houses or we weren’t in a gang of kids along the nearby railroad track yelling, "Throw me a piece of chalk,” at a passing steam locomotive, we were over on Thelma playing with some of the Mainor kids. And when we weren't at the Mainor's, we were at the Harden's playing with Buddy. If we weren't at the Harden's, we were at Aunt Ethel’s getting into some mischief concocted by Booster. A railroad track ran for several blocks along 7th Street, ending at a fuel company with large storage tanks at Tallyrand. Beyond the railroad tracks lay a large wooded area several square miles in size. The woods had a cleared field opposite the end of Danese St . When we weren't at anyone's house, we usually could be found with kids of the several related families playing, baseball, football, half-rubber, red rover, pop-the-whip, or some other like-game on the field. However, we spent most of the time in varying groups of aforesaid cousins climbing in and on boxcars parked along the track or roving through the vast wooded area, sometimes with BB guns or slingshots in hand. Some days, we swam in the St. Johns off the Wilson and Toomer Fertilizer docks at the foot of Tallyrand or the end of a nearby active sewer pipe or rowed up and down the river in “borrowed” boats. 

Nearly every  Saturday several of us roller-skated 16 blocks to the Capitol Theater, primarily to keep from missing the latest installment of the currently playing chapter picture. The theater was on Main near 8th. A several storied apartment building with porches along its side on each floor stood next to the Capitol. One of us would buy an eleven cent ticket and go into the men's restroom on the second floor, climb up a ladder to the skylight, and unlatch it. The rest of us, who, by this time had gone up to the apartment building's second floor porch, climbed over onto the roof of the theater, and entered through the skylight. For eleven cent, we saw a chapter picture, a cartoon or two, the news, and a western in addition to the chapter picture. When it all ended, everyone in the theater received a free soda and a candy bar as they exited through the back door into the alleyway. Some few times, when our Union Hardware No. 5 skates were worn out, we hitched on the rear ends of slow-moving trains going up the track by 7th St. The track went only halfway to Main St. before it curved off to the south, but getting a ride only half the way beat walking all the way.

Ola was a trusting soul when it came to my brother and me. When we came home from the river, from shooting out streetlights, stealing our way into the movies, having a brick war with the kids on the other block, hitching rides on trains, playing on the elevator of a boarded up building on 8th street, she would say, “Where have you been?” we would say to the Mainor’s or the Harden’s, or the Kinsey’s. “You behaved yourself?”  “Yes ma’am.” We could tell her anything and she would believe it.

My brother and I went to an orphanage in Loretto, FL when I was nine. A year and a half later we went to live with our mother and step-father in Charleston , SC , far, far away from all our relatives. However, I took with me a lot of childhood memories, especially of Ola’s goodness to my brother and me. Unquestionably, my favorite memory of our time with her was the ritual she went through every so often of reverently pulling from a buffet drawer our daddy’s harmonica, tweed cap, and a rolled  up picture he had painted and letting us handle them. My head got to wear a cap my father wore. My lips got to touch the same harmonica his lips touched. And I had the pleasure of not only seeing, but actually having in my possession for many years the picture he painted.

I kept these childhood memories fresh in my mind over the years by frequently recalling them and by telling them to my children. Many a night my children would say, “Daddy, tell us another story about being a kid in Jacksonville and playing with Charlie Mainor, Buddy Harden, Booster Kinsey, and Uncle Arnold.”

Children of James Owen Braddock and Mattie Ola Wood

Lewis Owen
He was born on 19 Feb 1901 in Hoboken, Georgia.
He married Emma Mae Womble.  They had Lewis Oswald.  Lewis Owen was a brakeman for the old Atlantic Coastline Railroad. He died 16 Jan 1925 after his foot slipped on a railroad car ladder and his legs were cut off. The accident occurred seventeen days after his son Oswald's birth.



Mae and Lewis


Child of Lewis Owen Braddock and Emma Mae Womble

.Lewis Oswald Braddock was born on 30 Dec 1924 in Waycross , GA.   He married Susie Virginia Lee 13 Oct 1946 in Hebardville Baptist Church . They had James Lewis, Bobby Lee, Rebecca Virginia, Jerome Oswald, and Barry Owen. Oswald was self-employed with B & S Sales Company. He served in the U. S. Navy during the Korean War.

Oswald is one of only two first cousins I have of Braddock blood. Until the 1990’s, I saw him only five times as he spent his entire life, except when he was in service, in Waycross, Georgia. The first time I saw him is when his mother, Mae, brought him to visit Ola when I was no more than 6 years old. The next time was in the 1950’s when I visited him briefly while he was stationed at the Navy Yard here in Charleston, SC. Our third encounter took place at the funeral of Mary Braddock, Uncle Eddie’s wife in 1980. Oswald said he would send me a Braddock genealogy he had recently acquired and numerous newspaper articles he had collected about our Braddocks. The items became the spark that ignited my interest in the history of my Braddock family, which eventually led to my publishing a book about them. Oswald is also the one who placed in my hand the late Anne Wood Taylor’s Wood genealogy that prompted my putting all this together. 

The fourth time I saw Oswald was at Uncle Eddie’s funeral in Jacksonville in March, 1981. 

I didn’t really get to know Oswald until our fifth encounter, which was surprising and totally unexpected.  Valerie and I had decided on the spur of the moment early one Saturday morning, probably in 1982, to drive down to Brunswick, have breakfast, and visit an uncle on my mother’s side on St. Simons.. We stopped for breakfast at the Shoney’s near I-95 in Brunswick, where we found ourselves in a long line waiting to be seated. Moment’s after our arrival, someone several booths back began calling out a name and motioning with his hand. Valerie finally realized he was calling my name. Not until he got up from the booth and approached us did I recognized Oswald. It seems he and Virginia had the same idea about coming over to the Brunswick and having breakfast.  It was an enjoyable encounter. I left the restaurant feeling as if I really knew my first cousin now. Since then, we were in constant touch and saw each other almost every year at the reunion. 

Oswald, who did the Braddock name proud, died 18 Mar 2007 at the age of 82.

One of my cherished memories is of Oswald—after the 1996 Braddock reunion in which I was the guest speaker presenting my book about our Braddock ancestors—telling me how proud he was sitting there listening to one of the members of his limb of the Braddock tree, a skinny limb compared to all the others, tell about the many heretofore untold exploits of our ancestors.








Arnold Lee Sr.
He was born in 1903 in Hoboken, Georgia. He married Susan Blanche Sessions in Live Oak, Florida 22 Jul 1928. They had three children: Arnold Lee Jr., Julian Gerrard "Jerry," and Alice June. He worked for the Ford Assembly plant in Jacksonville and part-time as a baker for Ambrosia Bakery. He later transferred to Norfolk, with Ford, then back to Jacksonville before his death in 1935.

I have few memories of my Daddy, but every one is precious to me. All of them, except one, are pleasant. My earliest is of waiting to hear the sound of his harmonica nearing the door to announce his arrival from work. We lived for a while in a small house in Jacksonville along the St. Johns. Daddy worked a short walk away at the Ford Plant at Commodore Point—near where now stands the Gator Bowl.

In my second memory of him, we lived on 8th, around the corner from Ambrosia Bakery, where he worked as a baker during a layoff from the Ford Plant. Ambrosia made specialty type items such as fig bars and raisin cakes. Sometimes he brought home reject items. I especially remember long strips of damaged, uncut fig bars. Once, he brought home a cake and sat it on a shelf high over the kitchen sink. Apparently it tempted my brother and me—he was four and I was three—because we managed to rake it down with a broom. I can recall Mama and Daddy suddenly appearing in the door. They weren’t smiling. Mercifully, my memory of the event ends at that point.

The far and away most cherished page of my memory book of childhood, a page well worn from frequent fondling, is my only intimate recollection of Daddy. It is also my first piece of memory of duration long enough to qualify as more than a fragment. Even after all these years I can close my eyes and, with no effort at all, see him—except his features—pushing a wheelbarrow across the yard as my brother and I scampered about picking up bits and pieces of trash to put in it. We were “helping” Daddy clean up for a yard party that night. Each time he filled the wheelbarrow, he would sit one of us on top of the load and ride us to the edge of the street to dump the trash. In the midst of the cleanup, Uncle Eddie drove up in a new convertible coupe and invited us to go for a spin. Daddy walked to the rear of the car, grasped a chrome handle in the center of the coupe’s sloped back, and opened out a cushioned seat—a rumble seat. To our delight he hoisted my brother and me into it. I remember seeing Daddy and Eddie in front of us as we drove down 8th to Tallyrand, turned right, went one block to 7th and turned right again. 7th was no more than two ruts worn deep into soft, dry sand for the entire six blocks of its length. I find it effortless for me to feel again the cars jiggly motion as it ran along those ruts and to hear the swishing sounds of weeds growing between them brushing against the car’s bottom. 7th Street ended at Lambert back then. We turned right on Lambert and drove past Eddie’s house to 8th, where we made one last right turn and headed back home.

The Ford Company transferred Daddy to their plant in Norfolk, VA. We moved into a two story house at 907 Campostella Road in South Norfolk . One of my more vivid memories of Daddy took place there. My brother accidentally broke the pane of a hall window. Daddy took the sash out and fixed it. As he stood admiring his handiwork, my brother picked up the hammer Daddy had used and smashed the same pane again. Daddy reacted as I probably would have had one of mine done the same thing. He spanked him. Mama rushed out yelling, “Don’t hit my baby!” Daddy yelled something over his shoulder as he continued administering justice. As if by premonition, he turned just in time to throw up his hand and deflect the only flying saucer I ever saw from hitting his face.

My sister June died from colitis not long after we arrived in Norfolk. Daddy too grief stricken to work, we moved back to Jacksonville to the house next door to Aunt Ethel on Danese. Within weeks he suffered a complete nervous breakdown. The last memory I have of him was seeing him forcibly being taken away to the hospital. He died of pneumonia 5 Sep 1935 at the age of 32 in the State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida.

All else I know of Daddy was told to me by others. Several of our family said he wrote fairly good poetry, which got me interested in writing it. His first cousin Franklin Crandall, who grew up with Daddy around Hoboken, said that as a boy, Daddy beat up several bullies for picking on Franklin and his brothers. Franklin said word got around fast that no one better mess with any of Arnold Braddock’s kinfolk. Uncle Wiley, Daddy’s brother-in-law on my mother’s side, who worked with him at the Ford plant, attested of his strength—and of his temper. He said daddy got so mad one day at the Ford plant, where he worked on the assembly-line, that he threw a wrench through the side of the motor on which he was working.







  Children of Arnold Lee Braddock and Susan Blanche Sessions
  Arnold Lee Jr. "Kayo"
My brother was born 14 Aug 1929 in Jacksonville, Florida.
 He married Ellen Nora Renick.  They had: Patricia Ann, Mary Ellen, and Alan Lee. He married Ruby Lopez.  She was born in Ibarra, Ecuador .  They had Marlon Robert and Jason Franklin.

Arnold served in the Navy during World War II on a destroyer escort running convoy duty to North Africa until it was found out he was only fifteen. He did not finish the ninth grade, but received a GED diploma. He attended business school.

He was employed as a computer operator for the Census Bureau in 1959 and worked his way up to programmer-supervisor. He was loaned to the USAID (US Aid to International Development) and spent several years setting up computer installations in various third world countries such as Ghana, Pakistan, South Vietnam, Surinam, and Quito , Ecuador. He met his second wife in Ecuador. He received several honors for his work. After retirement he settled in Quito with her and their two young sons.

He died 29 Sep 1998 in Quito, Ecuador. 

After experiencing 68 years of being his brother before he died, I can truthfully say the Lord knew what he was doing when he paired us as brothers. If I had to begin life over again and could pick the brother I wanted, I would pick him without hesitation in spite of being his punching bag our first thirteen years together—by then, he had toughened me up enough that I could hold my on with him. I had been his meat to beat on, but no one else had better mess with me. He would fight for me without hesitation. One evening, when we were teenagers, I got jumped by three older boys. When I came into the drugstore where he worked as a soda jerk and he saw my minor bruises and a torn shirt, he immediately yanked off his apron and started searching the streets for the culprits who bothered his little brother. Lucky for them he didn’t find them.

He also cared for me more than I could have imagined anyone caring. Once, when we were in the orphanage, he took the blame—and the beating—for a terrible thing I had done.

His protectiveness did not end with childhood. Once, when we both had several young children and low paying jobs, he came by my house one evening and asked me to ride to the grocery store with him. As we walked through the aisle and talked, he filled his shopping card until it almost ran over. I didn’t think anything of it when he asked the cashier to put the groceries in two boxes. When he dropped me by my house, he told me one of the boxes was for me. I was surprised, but not too much.

He had always been free-hearted to everyone he knew, much more to me. Our stepfather, Richard, retired on only the meager income of Social Security. By this time, my brother had worked his way up to the position of program supervisor in data processing at the Census Bureau outside Washington, DC. He bought Richard an automobile, had his daughter and son-in-law drive it from Washington to Charleston, and paid their plane fare back. He also gave Richard a credit card for gas and upkeep of the car and instructed them to take an over-night trip out of town once a month using the card, then called them up to fuss at them whenever his credit card bill reflected they hadn’t followed his instruction. I will summarize a lot of remembered acts of his generosity by saying he freely gave to those he loved and never with any thought of what benefit he might derive from the giving.

Little Kayo



Navy Boot Camp - 1944



Receiving an award at the Census Bureau.



  Julian Gerrard "Jerry"
He was born August 3, 1930 in Jacksonville, Florida. He married Marguerite Mauney 22 Feb 1951 in Conway, SC. They had the following children: Deborah Ann "Debbi", Julian Gerrard "Derry", Richard Glenn, Robert Emerson, and Meekie Susan. He married Valerie Humbert 15 Apr 1983.

He was an All-State high school and semi-pro football player; was in a boat explosion on his first outing as a shrimper in 1949; was chief lifeguard of Folly Beach, South Carolina in 1950; and attended North Greenville Junior College (now a university) on a football scholarship.

He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War.

He retired after 35 years as main-frame computer technician and supervisor for Westvaco, a large paper manufacturing company in Charleston, SC.

After retirement, he wrote and published Wooden Shops - Iron Men, a 300 page history of four of his Braddock ancestors who were mariners of note. Because of the book, he assisted internationally famous writer Arthur Hailey in presenting two lectures about one of the heroes of the book.  He has published several historical and genealogical articles.

Arthur Hailey and Jerry

  Alice June
She was born on 6 Oct 1933 in Jacksonville, Florida.  She died on 6 Aug 1934 in Norfolk, VA.  She died of colitis at the age of ten months.

For the ten months June was part of my life I have but three brief memories of her. The first is of her rolling off the bed when we lived on 8th Street in Jacksonville. The second was her sitting on Mama’s lap on the train on the way to Norfolk. And the third is of my brother and I trying to make her laugh by acting silly in front of her highchair in the house in Norfolk. I remember nothing of her death soon afterward. For sixty-five years, the sum total of my knowledge of my sister, besides her name, was that she died in Norfolk, VA at the age of ten months when I was four years old —I know this much from hearing Mama say it numerous times over the years. In recent months, I ran across the Internet web page of Janice Dool of Norfolk who did obituary look ups for free. I sent her a message with the meager facts I knew. Within two days, after much intensive research and leg work, Janice was able to send me June’s obituary, death notice, and her exact burial spot in the cemetery in Norfolk. Janice also gave me the address to write to acquire a copy of the death certificate, which contained June’s birth date and birth place. Because of the kindness of a stranger on the Internet, I now know what I didn’t know for so many years.


Clarence Eddie
He was born 29 Aug 1909 in Hoboken, Georgia. He was given the middle name "Eddie," not "Edward," and was called "Eddie" all his life. He married Margie Taylor Hix 1 Aug 1931. They had Carolyn JoAnn.

He married Mary Margaret Tyson DAVIS.  Mary had a son by her first marriage, Robert Randall DAVIS.  Eddie and Mary had Vickie Lynn.

He spent the better part of his working life with  Jacksonville Gas Company until his retirement. His picture and an article were in the September 6, 1968 issue of the Jacksonville Journal for finding and returning a wallet containing $1,500.00.

Had it not been for the time we spent with Uncle Eddie, my brother and I would have had very little close-up exposure to a decent man during our formative years. If he were graded on the curve of the hardships of life he came through—and how he came through them—the13th chapter of First Corinthians  would describe perfectly the kind of man he was. Of course, this is an analogy fashioned by someone highly prejudiced by a lifetime of being recipient of his, love, his compassion, his caring, his sacrifices, his concern, his deeds, his example, and—I’m sure—his prayers. I know that one recipient does not a saint make. However, I came to my conclusion by multiplying what he did for my brother and me by all the others I saw him doing essentially the same for in the few years we were around him. To the result I factored in an arbitrary number of recipients of his giving-of-self for the many, many years I was not around him to witness it.

He had flaws, but they were not in his intentions, especially in his dealings with others. In the rare times the flaws manifested themselves, it was usually in how he went about carryimg out his good intentions. To be precise, he didn’t come from a background that prepared him for reasoning someone into doing what they ought to be doing for their own good—his father died before he was eleven. Consequently, he could become quite bent out of shape with those he loved who did not completely agree with his definition of the right thing to do. When I think of the performance as decent human beings of those whose lives were influenced most by being in his presence—JoAnn, Bobby, Vickie Lynn, my brother, me—it is easy for me to smile a smile of deep appreciation. When I see so much of his influence cropping up in the generations after us, I smile even more.


After my father died, Eddie and Margie took us in as if we were their own, materially and emotionally. JoAnn had not been born yet. We were, for all practical purposes, their children.  Although we slept mostly at Ola’s because of the comfort it brought her to be ministering to her late son’s children, they supplied most of our real needs. They were already doing the same for Ola and Will, providing them rent, food, transportation, and care. Gentleness and caring must be passed through the genes for I see in JoAnn so much of what I remember her mother being.

I could run on for paragraphs innumerable relating incidents numberless of acts of Uncle Eddie, from the day I first knew him almost to the day he died, that made him a giant of a man in my sight. Instead, I’ll let the aforesaid suffice.

However, there is another characteristic Eddie passed on to most who were close to him that, without its mention, no commentary of him would be complete—his sense of humor. A sense of humor may seem an inconsequential characteristic compared to the noble ones already mentioned; however, I thank God for the degree of it he passed on to my brother and me. Had we not been able to find reason to laugh in some of life’s darkest moments, I honestly think we would not have survived as capable human beings. Like other of his characteristics, I see abundant evidence of a sense of humor making it into ours who follow, but not to the perfection—and extreme—to which he so capably carried it:

He screwed a screw into a front step of his house on Lambert Street, soldered a dime to it, then took delight in sitting at the window watching door-to-door salesmen trying to pick it up.

With a cork for a body, cut rubber bands for legs, and match heads for eyes, he would make a jiggily spider, run a piece of black thread through it, and drop it down over the face of some poor unsuspecting soul. Ola was his favorite victim because she would scream louder and jump higher than anyone else, and he could do it again five minutes later and get the exact reaction from her, except her curse words would be uglier and louder.

Often times, when he took Ola somewhere in his Model A Ford, if he came to a railroad track, he would stop with the car straddling the track and tell Ola the car wouldn’t go.

I did not see one elaborate prank he pulled, yet it is my favorite, for obvious reasons. The regular latch on his bathroom door on Lambert Street was broken and a round hole had been drilled in the floor under the old-time four-legged bath tub. I asked him about the hole one day when we were staying with him after Daddy died. When he gained control of his laughter, he told me the story behind the hole and the broken latch, interrupting the telling periodically to again gain control of his laughter. Mama and Daddy and my brother and I stayed with them briefly when Daddy was between jobs. Eddie’s house wasn’t large, but I remember it being cozy. Daddy took a leisurely bath every evening, lounging in the tub and singing at the top of his lungs, unmindful that others experiencing nature’s call were having to wait. One day Eddie crawled under the house and drilled a hole in the floor under the tub. That night, while Daddy scrubbed and sang, Eddie stationed Margie at the breaker box controlling all the house’s electricity. He then went under the house and slipped a firecracker of no small caliber into the hole and lit it. Signaled by the resounding explosion from the bathroom, Margie pulled the main breaker switch, putting the house in immediate darkness. Each time I heard Eddie recite the story, I had to wait at this point until his laughter subsided enough for him to tell that Daddy ended up in the middle of Lambert Street stark naked. In his wake he left a broken bathroom door latch and, with the breaker box being in his path to safety, Margie lying flat on the floor.

He died on 6 Mar 1981 in Jacksonville, FL.

At the age of 16 with Ola.










Eddie and JoAnn and his Model A Ford.




Mary, Eddie, and Jerry



Child of Eddie Braddock and Margie Hix

  Carolyn JoAnn
JoAnn was born on 3 Feb 1936 in Jacksonville , Florida. She married Harold Franklin Hurst 21 Aug 1952 in Jacksonville , Florida. They had
Frank Edward "Chuck" and Harold Richard "Rick."

JoAnn is more than just one of my only two first cousins of Braddock blood, much more. For starters, she is the first person I’ve known all their life from birth. Secondly, her mother and father having treated my brother and I almost as if we were their own, she seems more like a sister than a cousin. Thirdly, having a heart for caring for others every bit as big as her father, she is a constant reminder to me of my favorite relative besides my brother, Uncle Eddie. Fourthly, she had the good taste to pick out a mate who has become like another brother to me. Although she has lived in Jacksonville all her life, and I have lived in Charleston most of mine, my above conclusions were not arrived at from a distance.

Although I lived between Eddie’s house and Ola’s house much of the first few years of her life, I have no adventure stories, like one’s involving other cousins of the east 8th neighborhood, to tell about her from those days. However, I can recite numerous tales of grownup adventures in which I—and my wife, Valerie, and her husband, Harold—have been involved with her. Together, we have ascended the Space Needle in Seattle; gaped at waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge; roller-coastered around the curves of Mt. Rainier; strolled the paths of Victoria’s Buchart Gardens; dined overlooking the panorama of Vancouver; gazed in awe at the Canadian Rockies; took pictures of each other in Glacier National Park; watched a laser light show on the side of Grand Coulee Dam—in the rain; gorged on apple candy in Cashmere; ate Mexican food in San Diego to the sounds of strolling troubadours; peered down into Grand Canyon; drove in snow and ice through Zion National Park, Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone; visited Las Vegas and Reno as spectators only; skirted the banks of Lake Tahoe; imbibed the splendor of Yosemite; walked the streets of San Francisco; dined in Clint Eastwood’s restaurant in Carmel; spotted seals along Big Sur, dared the traffic of L. A.; searched for sparrows at Capistrano; felt the wind in Chicago; prowled the Mall of America in Minneapolis; roamed around Mackinac Island; stared in disbelief in Provincetown; pondered Plymouth Rock; meandered along Maine’s rock-bound coast, shivered atop Mt. Washington; admired Norman Rockwell’s paintings in Stockbridge; and learned all about glass in Corning—not to mention rambling around Disney World.