I was a bit confused about this certificate that was amongst my grandpa’s military papers. It wasn’t very “official” looking and I didn’t know what to make of it.  I scanned it, but pretty much forgot about it for a number of years.

2016-03-15_0001I knew that my grandpa, Alphonso Thornton, Jr., served in the Marine Corps during WWII on the USS Cabot, that he earned a Purple Heart when his ship was hit by a kamikaze, and that he had 18 battle stars.  I wanted to fill in his time in service with some historical background on his ship, the places it had been and the battles it was involved in.


While I was searching for information on the USS Cabot, I came across a similar certificate from someone who had served on the USS Cowpens, and realized that this was something given out to those who had participated in this action.

Here is a little background on the action, which took place off of Formosa: (you can find much more information on the Cabot here and here.

Admiral Halsey had the idea to use a convoy of torpedoed ships and those escorting them, (which included the USS Cabot and USS Cowpens), as bait to draw out the Japanese forces. The exepdition was code-named “Streamlined Bait”

The Japanese took the bait with 60-70 aircraft headed their direction, but the Americans were prepared.  The aircraft on the Cabot and the Cowpens were launched and met the enemy. In less than 15 minutes, 27 Japanese aircraft had been shot down and the rest turned and flew away.

Those who had participated received these certificates.

And now the mystery is solved.


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Loinel Murphy
Funeral services for Loinel Floyd Murphy, 82, were held June 24 in Caldwell’s Chapel of the Valley, with Rev. Doug Hepting of the First Baptist Church officiating, He died June 18, 1991, in Safford Care Center.
Marian Rogge was at the organ with soloist Scott Goodwin singing the opening song “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”. David Player offered the invocation and presented the eulogy. Goodwin sang “There is a Paradise of Rest”, with Rev. Hepting presenting the scripture, the 23rd Psalm. The closing hymn was “Sometime We’ll Understand”. Hepting offered the benediction.
Conducting services and interment followed in the Rest Haven Cemetery, with Hepting giving the dedicatory prayer. Serving as casket bearers were Christopher Murphy, Patrick Murphy, Lavern Hennings, Jay Murphy, George Johnson, and Lawrence Martin.
Murphy was born Sept. 24, 1908, in Rexford, Kans., the son of Mattie Bell Wilmoth and Coleman E. Murphy. As a small boy, he moved with his family to Seibert, Colo., and grew up there. In 1938, he married Julia May Weeks and they resided in Hugo, Colo., where he farmed. In 1949 they moved to Arizona, residing in Safford.
Surviving are his wife, Julia of Safford; a son, Dave of Safford; three brothers, Troy and Lloyd, both of Flagler, Colo., and Dale of Goodland, Kans.; two sisters, Twila Gordon of Seibert, Colo. and Anita Rose Randall of Talihina, Okla.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Complete arrangements were under the direction of the Caldwell Funeral Home of SaffordThis

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Julia (Snider) Weeks was my husband’s great-great grandmother. She was born on 18 May 1845 in Utica, Clark Co., Indiana, and died 3 Oct 1903 in Kansas.

I haven’t been able to find an obituary or even a notice of her death, but I did find this newspaper article, from a few days before she died.  The couple that found her were William Homer Weeks and Florence Marion Baker, who married on November 11th, a short month after her death, and are my husband’s great-grandparents. It’s sad to know that she didn’t recover from this paralysis and that she wasn’t able to see their wedding day.

30 Sep 1903, Jeffersonian Gazette, (Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas)2016-03-19_0001

We regret to report that Mrs. Peter Weeks was stricken with paralysis on last Saturday night, and is in a sad and critical condition.  The daughters of Charles Johnson gave a party on last Saturday night, and the Weeks young people were there.  Mr. Weeks was attending a meeting at Baldwin, and Mrs. Weeks was at home and alone.  Homer took to his home Miss May Baker, and they were the first to arrive, and where they found Mrs. Weeks lying on the floor unconscious.  The young man got in his buggy and went for Dr. Miller, and took him home with him.  The rest of the family were soon there, and all was done for her that could be done. She seems to be rallying some, but cannot speak.  The doctor thinks she is better, as she knows the family and some friends who have called.  She sleeps most of the time.

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I recently learned that I have a couple of ancestors who were a part of the Second Germanna Colony, that arrived in Virginia in 1717 – my 8th great-grandparents, John Nicholas Blankenbaker and Appelonia Käfer.

We were visiting the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefields this past weekend and decided to drive a bit further to stop by the Germanna Visitor Center.

It’s located next to the Germanna Community College campus, which is built on land donated by the Germanna Foundation.


Inside the building is the memorial library, along with some informational panels, describing the history of the Germanna Colonies. They also have a beautiful spiral staircase that leads up to a beautiful view.

Behind the building is a memorial:

2016-03-13_0017There are memorial plaques to both of the colonies, and a stone obelisk where Colonel Spotswood is buried.

2016-03-13_0016It was so nice to see my ancestor’s name on the memorial marker.

2016-03-13_00132016-03-13_00142016-03-13_0015They have a series of books for sale about the colony itself and specific families.  I bought the one about the Blankenbaker family on this trip.

2016-03-13_0012I now have a few more places I want to visit which were connected with this line of my family.  One of them is the Hebron Luthern Church, where my family attended. It will be celebrating it’s 300th anniversary in 2017. It was built in 1740, and is the oldest building that has been in continuous use as a Luthern church in the U.S.

I have to admit that I’m really loving living in Virginia!!

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