04 January 2010

Grandpa, We Hardly Knew Ye - James Herschell Garrett

From the Jonesboro Sun, September 17, 1970 - 2:

As the story goes, my grandmother, Katie (Johnson) Garrett left my grandfather, James Herschell Garrett, the day after my parents were married. Grandma Katie moved to Houston, Texas, where her eldest daughter, Bonnie and Bonnie's husband, GMI graduate Bill Round, were living. Visits with Grandma Katie were few and visits with James Herschell Garrett were non-existent. What do you say to a man who sends his daughter and her family a Girlie Pinup Calendar as a present? Only had one chance to find out. He was terminally ill when I drove with my mother to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and joined my Aunt Bonnie for a reluctant bedside vigil.

What is remembered from that visit is a very frail man who was ravaged by cancer. It was difficult to reconcile his reputation as a handsome, h---raising ladies man with the person who was lying in the hospital bed. For someone such as I who rarely left Michigan (actually who rarely left the Flint area) the trip to southern Missouri was an exotic adventure. We also visited the family of Joe Garrett, my grandfather's brother, and wish now that I had a better memory of who they were.

James Herschell Garrett was born in Lake City, Craighead Co., Arkansas. His father, Dr. John Joseph (J. J.) Garrett was also born in northeast Arkansas (Aug 1868), as was J.J.'s father, George Washington (Wash) Garrett (abt. 1843). Wash Garrett's father, Joseph C. (Cas) Garrett, was born ca 1814 in South Carolina. Wash Garrett's siblings were born in Alabama and Arkansas and even possibly Tennessee.

James H. & Katie (Johnson) Garrett moved to Flint, Michigan, sometime between 1925 and 1930. Katie's sisters Pearl, Marie, Blanche and Ruth also moved to Michigan (primarily Flint; Ruth went to Pontiac) as did Mabel for a short time. Katie's brother James moved to the "downriver" area in Wayne County, south of Detroit. Where James went to live in 1951 after his wife left him and they divorced I do not know.


Joan said...

O my, girl,
what a treasure trove of stories you have to mine. Good hunting.

Palmsrv said...


Thanks for the nice response. Needless to say, he had an effect on our family.