Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mystery Photo Identfied: Sharon Craft

I got an email from Gordon Hart. He identified the Craft Mystery picture 1621 as his niece, Sharon Faye Craft. Sharon was the daughter of Ira Comb Craft and Ruby Helen Hart. Ira was the son of Archelous Columbus “A. C.” Craft and Pricy Adkins. A C is the brother of my great grandmother, Lettie Craft Hall. A. C. and Lettie were the children of Enoch Arden “Chunk” Craft and Mary Ann “Polly Ann” Caudill.
A. C . and Pricy had 17 children:
Polly Ann married Maylon Brown. Polly had eight children. She died young. Maylon married a second time, Susie. All three of them are in the Chunk Craft Cemetery at Millstone.
Lily Mae Craft married Moses Webb.
Rachel Virginia “Virgie” Craft married Arlie Brown. They moved to Owensboro, Kentucky.
Enoch Arden Craft died at age 3. He is in the Chunk Craft Cemetery.
Mattie E. Craft married Johnny Hall. They raised their family in Kite, Knott County, Kentucky.
Ranie May Craft died the day after she was born. She is in the Chunk Craft Cemetery.
Sarah J. Craft married Lee Hall, a brother of Johnny Hall, sons of Thomas Hall and Martha Fouts. They also moved to Kite, Knott County, Kentucky to raise their family.
Benjamin J. “Bennie” Craft married Pebble Taylor.
Druscilla V. Craft married Ace Davidson. She is living in a nursing home in northern Kentucky.
Lewis Frank Craft married Hennie Ritter Hall, daughter of Joe Hall & Dianah Webb. They divorced and he married Myrtle Combs. Lewis and Hennie Ritter were the parents of Bill, Joella and Frankie Craft. Bill wrote the music about the Millstones at Millstone and has several CD’s out of music he has written and performs. Joella Craft Collier just passed away earlier this year. She wrote a history of the Craft family.
Daniel Morgan Craft married Louisa Matilda Baker. They made their home in Millstone.
Archelaus C. Craft, Jr. married Florence Meade.
Oma Sabrina Craft married Warren McClintock.
Ibby Victoria Craft was born in 1920 and only lived seven months.
Ira Comb Craft married Ruby Helen Hart.
John David Craft was born in 1923 and only lived seven months.
Watson Garrett Craft married Minerva Back. He lives in northern Kentucky.

Gordon wrote me the following:
I first met Ira when I was about 4 years old. He then, was a private in the Army, stationed at Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia. Ira was dating my sister, Ruby Helen Hart.

At the time, we were living in the small town of Junction City, located about 35 miles east of Columbus. How the two ever met is unknown to me, however, during this same time, Ira's double-first cousin John Wilburn Franklin, son of Ben and Sarah Craft Franklin, also of the Millstone, Kentucky area, was dating another of my sisters, Carolyn Frances Hart. I think that perhaps, they were all drawn together by yet another sister of mine, who was dating, and ultimately married another Ft. Benning soldier. This one was from our area and probably introduced his buddies to the rest of my sibling sisters. This was during the wartime era, most likely around 1941. Just remember that I was only about 4 years old at the time, so a lot of this is early memory, but I do know that they all three married my sisters in this time frame and left them in Junction City, to go to fight in Europe.

I also know that both Ira and John took part in the D-day invasion, John was in the Ranger battalion, and was wounded early in the war and I think, not too long later, Ira, who was an army medic, was also wounded. John was wounded with a bullet through his head, leaving him color blind, Ira had shrapnel wounds and carried a lot of shrapnel in his back and legs for the rest of his life. Both men were highly decorated for their action.

After the war, both men moved their families to Kentucky for a time, trying their hand at cold mining, which proved to be a failing proposition at that time. They finally moved back to Georgia. Ira worked as a machinist in the cotton mill in Manchester, I think John went to work as a fireman at Fort Benning.
Ira and Ruby had three children. Their only son is still living and working in the Talbot County area. They had two daughters, Sharon Faye Craft, who became ill in her late teens, which made her almost an invalid until her death in 1978 at the age of 31. She had just married and was on her honeymoon when the illness occurred, the illness and subsequent invalid status of Sharon, evidently was too much for the young couple to take, so the marriage was annulled. Ruby and Ira's other daughter, Deborah Kaye Craft, married, had two children of her own and passed away in 2009.

Ira was one of my favorite, of my many brothers-in-law. Being much younger than he, and without my father. who had died in my early childhood, Ira seemed to take me under his wing and helped me through some of the bad spots. Of course, one thing that I remember so well was his teaching me how to drive. My family had no cars, so he was always there to lend me one. I remember an old strip-down 36 Ford he had, which had no body attached, and only a seat and hood over the engine. This vehicle, he would let me use to ride the back-county roads around Junction City, I think even before I was old enough to have a license. I do remember that he fibbed to the license issuers about my age so that I was able to obtain my license at 15. Ira and Ruby were always there to help my mother, me and my older siblings whenever we needed. Every Sunday night we would all load up in his big 48 Chrysler and go to the movies in Butler, about 15 miles away, the nearest entertainment around. I will always be grateful to Ira, and also John, two of the finest men I have ever known, for always being there when we were growing up.
Sadly, in their later years, Ira and Ruby seemed to grow apart, which ended in divorce. A few years later, Ruby was killed in a fire which destroyed her home. Ira lived a few years longer and died in 1996 in Taylor County. Georgia.

Ruby and Sharon share a plot in Pine Level Cemetery in Taylor County, GA. Ira is buried a few miles away in Moore's Chapel Cemetery.

John and Carolyn had four children, the first two being twins who were born while John was overseas. Sadly, one of the twins died before his 2nd birthday. His twin sister, and two younger siblings, survive today. Carolyn died of leukemia in 1955 at the young age of 32. She was interred in Pine Level Cemetery.

John subsequently went on to remarry, living a long successful life as a fireman at Fort Benning before retiring. He died in 2008 and is buried with his second wife, Odessa Foster Franklin, in Junction City Cemetery.

I am sorry that I learned little from both men, of their families living in Kentucky. I just remember as a child, John and Carolyn once took me on a vacation trip there to visit with his parents, Ben and Sarah Franklin. This was perhaps one of the first times I had ever been away from home and I treasure the memory of the trip with them. I recall how wonderful the folks were there, how they welcomed me so. And those mountains around Millstone, to a young lad from the flatlands of Georgia, wow!

Here is the picture of Sharon: