William Everett Lane

William Everett Lane was born in Crockett County, Tennessee in 1895 to Edgar Lane and Minnie Mae Perry Lane. I have never found a document that shows his middle name but I know my brother Bill is named after him. Hopefully someday I’ll find a document that proves his middle name is Everett.

Edgar Lane died about 1898 leaving a widow and orphan. Since women did not have a means of support when their husbands died they were often left at the mercy of family for help. There probably was no question that Minnie’s family would take her in. The 1900 US census shows her living with her brother John Perry, mother Irena, younger sister Mary, also a widow, and Loyd, Mary’s son. The family lived in Gayoso Township in Pemiscot County, Missouri.

Until Grandpa Lane ventured out on his own he lived with his mother and extended family. In 1901 Minnie Mae married Sam Cosey. By 1910 Sam and Minnie added two children to their family, Gladys and Raymond. And Uncle John and Grandma Irena still lived with the family. Down the street lived their Uncle Robert Whitaker and his wife Laura Perry Whitaker. This blending of families was normal for my family and families throughout the United States.

Grandpa was a handsome boy. I recently discovered my cousin Carolyn has a picture of him hanging in a room in her home in Caruthersville. Grandpa is surrounded by a room full of dolls. I wonder what he would say. The picture, more than a hundred years old, is slightly tattered but in a beautiful frame. As an adult he was tall, of medium build, had brown eyes, and dark brown hair. During World War I men had to register for the draft. Fortunate for us genealogists these forms tell us a lot about our ancestors including their physical attributes.

Will Lane

Will Lane

On March 12, 1913, Grandpa married Ruberta Hood in Lake County, Tennessee. Lake County is east of Pemiscot County, Missouri with the Mississippi River dividing the two counties and states. The couple moved to Little Prairie township in Pemiscot County around 1919. Their first three children, Talmadge, Rosa Bell, and Vernon were born in Lake County. Pauline, Helen, and Margaret were born in Pemiscot County.

Will Lane, Date Unknown

Will Lane, Date Unknown

I don’t know much about Grandpa, only what I have gleaned from census records and what my half-sisters and cousins have told me. In fact when I inherited pictures from my parents there was a picture of a man with no name written on the back. I had never seen the picture before and it turned out to be Grandpa Lane.

School was a luxury for poor families. Grandpa didn’t attend school but he could read and write. He worked in a box factory as a laborer when he was twenty-four. By the time he was thirty-four he was a farmer on rented property. I understand he was a good father. He was also a carpenter; he helped to build the grandstand at the Caruthersville fairground. His Uncle John Perry was also carpenter. Perhaps this occupation was inherent to this family.

Grandpa Lane’s life abruptly came to an end on Sunday, June 4, 1939, around noon, when the car he was driving collided with a Greyhound bus just north of Caruthersville at the intersection of Highway 84 and Ferry Road. Much of what I know about the accident came from articles that appeared in The Republican and Democrat Argus, both newspapers in Caruthersville at the time.

Picture of Collision that took Will Lane's Life

Picture of Collision that took Will Lane’s Life

According to witnesses at the scene of the wreck, Grandpa drove onto the highway in the path of the bus apparently unaware of the approaching bus until too late. Joe Wagner, a witness and owner of the filling station who witnessed the accident, said that he was told Grandpa had driven from town to test out a leaky tire and circled around his filling station onto Ferry Road to come back into the highway. It was then the accident happened. I find it interesting the bus driver was charged with reckless driving when it appears to me, in hindsight, that the accident was caused by my grandfather. Funeral services were held the next day at H. S. Funeral Home. He is buried in Maple Cemetery in Caruthersville.

My dad Talmadge was twenty-four when his father died. His siblings ranged in age from fourteen to twenty-two. Despite the fact that these children were older at the time of their father’s death, I’m sure they were left with a great hole in their heart. I know my dad was.

Vernon Everett Lane, the Uncle I Never Met

Lane, Vernon

Vernon Lane

Vernon Lane gave the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. I had several uncles who served in World War II, but he was the only one who never came home. He was killed before I was born and I never had the chance to meet him. So it is on this Memorial Day that I write in memory of him and all those who gave their lives in the service of our country.

Vernon Everett Lane was born to William Everett Lane and Ruberta Hood Lane on January 26, 1919 in Lake County, Tennessee. He was one of six children and the couple’s second son. The 1940 census showed he was married to Evelyn Mae Medlin and had one son, Billy who was seven months old. A second son Richard was born in 1942.

In March of 1945, Vernon was aboard the destroyer U. S. S. Kimberly (DD 521). The destroyer left San Pedro Bay in the Philippines on March 21st for radar picket duty. Destroyers were positioned around Okinawa Island working as radar stations that monitored air activity. Out of 101 destroyers assigned to picket duty, 32 were damaged by kamikaze attacks and 10 were sunk. On the fateful day of March 26, two kamikaze pilots attacked the ship. One plane was hit by fire from the destroyer and, falling from the sky, crashed into the aft gun mounts of the ship. Vernon Everett Lane was one of four men injured or killed that day. Vernon was severely burned and died on 1 April 1945. Shortly after the ship was sent to be mended, but a hole was left in the family ever after.

Billy Lane at Age 3

Billy Lane at Age 3

Vernon’s name appears on a memorial in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Closer to home is his headstone in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis County. He is remembered with memorials of stone and flags put upon his grave every Memorial Day. But I remember the uncle I never met with sadness; the uncle who never saw his wife or his little sons Billy and Dicky again.

You can read more about the U. S. S. Kimberly