Dorothy Elizabeth Kearns


Dorothy Elizabeth Kearns

Image of Dorothy Elizabeth Kearns

“Dot” was born Aug 9 1922 in Mobile and died Nov 19 1968 in Mobile. She married Robert Fitzpatrick October 11 about 1940 (I don’t have a firm date). He was born March 20 1919 and died July 19 1969 in Mobile

Jack Kearns sent along in 2000 some information from Thomas written by Robert:

Daddy was in the Army and returned in 1945. He worked in the Mobile
shipyards until the early 1950’s when he started at the Mobile Post office.
He had several jobs there, sorting mail, window etc. He loved television
and I remember that we were one of the first in our neighborhood to get
one. He liked to go to auctions and buy old run down cars. He would then
work on them, fix them up and then sell them. I remember going through the
Bankhead Tunnel on the way to visit his mother in Foley riding in an old
Mercury we called “Chug Chug”. We never knew if it would make it up the
incline leaving the tunnel! He also liked the Dog Races, country music and
German music (particularly tubas).

Momma worked at Gayfers (Springdale Plaza) from the late 1960’s to 1978.
She did spend some time at the downtown store…her hobbies were gardening, going to
theatre plays, swimming and crabbing (with line and scoop net using chicken
nets and other things for bait). I can still see her wading out to the
platform at Mullet Point with her nets and the tub with the bait and then
returning with the tub fall of crabs. She loved Mardi Gras (guess that is
where we get it from!) and was deadly afraid of dogs. Still she let me and
then later Diane have puppies! Momma spent a lot of time visiting her
family in Mobile, Toulminville and Whistler. Unfortunately I don’t remember
most of them. I do remember Alphonse in Toulminville. She was particularly
fond of him. We ourselves spent a lot of time visiting the grandmothers and
she made sure that we shared our time between Susie and Maw Maw

If you need addresses where we lived here is a short summary (Mobile
addresses except where noted):

1945 -1950 : Duncan Street
1950 – 1960: Center Street (Chickasaw)
1960 – 1961: Springhill Ave and Center St. (Mobile)
1961 – 1967: Donald Street (Toulminville)
1967 – 1970: Bragg Ave
1970 – 1973: Ann St.

Kearns in 1947/48 Polk’s Mobile City Directory

Kearns entries in the 1947/48 Polk’s Mobile City Directory show:

Abbie L. Bernard Kearns, wife of Timothy Miles Kearns (son of John and Catherine McNulty), living at r102 S Dearborn

Claude M. Kearns and Inez (son of Michael “Buddy” Tearence Kearns) a salesman at City Sales living at h rear 135 Margaret

Jack M. Kearns, son of Rhett Goode Kearns, a bookkeeper at Jules L. Brana Co. living at r115 Herndon Avenue

Rhett Goode Kearns and 2nd wife Carmie C. He’s an electrician at Ala SD&T, living at h306 N Jackson

Selden S. Kearns, son of Rhett Goode Kearns, a private secretary for George R. Irvine, living at r115 Herndon Ave (with his brother Jack M. Kearns)

The other Kearns are unknown but it looks like Thomas N, Robert J, Robert J. Jr., Raphael E., Numa F., Charles M. and Charles M. Jr. are related, all of them working for Warley Fruit and Produce at different addresses.

Wedding Photo of Jack and Jean Kearns

Photoshopped. Removed some of the damage. Feel like I took it too dark at the edges but did so to camouflage some of the intense damage that couldn’t be comfortably corrected without altering the photo. Susie’s dress was too damaged for me to comfortably correct without rebuilding it, which I am usually disinclined to do.


Jean Hennesy and Jack Kearns were married 1950 Aug 25 at the First Baptist Church of Mobile, Alabama.

Shown in the photo are Martin Madison “Oscar” Drummond (Jack’s stepfather), Susie Crabtree Kearns Drummond (Jack’s mother), Jack and Jean Kearns, Ethel Hennesy Simmons (Jean’s mother), Esmond Edward Hennesy (Jean’s father).

Dot, Selden, Mae and Jack Kearns, WWII Years

Dot, Selden and Mae Kearns

Middlin’ success photoshopping this one. Could have gone darker. Did a thoroughly annoying job on Dot’s skirt. Just wasn’t getting it right today.

Dorothy Elizabeth “Dot” Kearns Fitzpatrick, Selden Stephen Kearns, and Mary Alice “Mae” Kearns, WWII years

Selden and Jack Kearns

Selden and Jack Kearns orig

Selden served in Okinawa. I don’t know the date he entered the service. The photos would have been taken in Mobile, Alabama.

Selden Stephen Kearns

Selden in his Naval uniform, WWII years

Selden Kearns retouched

Ron Summer wrote the following memorial for Selden which appeared in Mobile, Alabama’s “Harbinger”.

Dear Editor,

My wife and I were saddened to learn last week of the death of Mr. Selden Kearns. While working in Mobile for Dravo Corporation during the mid-1980s, I had many enjoyable and interesting experiences, but none as memorable as coming to know Selden Kearns. As you may know, Selden’s daughter Emily is a member of the USA staff; if you know Emily, you probably know about Selden, Emily being so much her father’s daughter. I submitted the following letter to the Mobile Register in the hope that it would serve as a small memorial to Mr. Kearns’ memory, but apparently the Register has no space for letters from foreign correspondents. I’m hoping that a publication like yours might be more sympathetic to the memory of a prominent Mobile businessman who labored as diligently as Selden did to enlist corporate support for local cultural and charitable organizations…. Thank you for considering my request, and best of luck with your most interesting publication. As someone who can remember shopping in the downtown Gayfers (is there any spot in Mobile more pleasant than Bienville Square in the early springtime?), I especially enjoyed the “then-and-now” photo essays on your web site.

Ron Sommer
Pittsburgh, PA

“In his account of Union spy James Andrews’s attempt to sabotage the railroad connection between Chattanooga and Atlanta, Civil War historian Shelby Foote notes that the Ohio soldiers who accompanied Andrews on his mission all received Congressional Medals of Honor. The Confederate troopers who foiled the plot received a vote of thanks from the Georgia legislature. But no medals. “The Confederacy never had any,” Foote explains, “then or later.” I would have never understood this Confederate approach to service recognition if I hadn’t met Selden Kearns. Selden was one of those rare individuals who by their very person define the artfulness of living a life fully and well. Brilliantly far sighted in his advocacy of business support for the arts, he harbored a withering contempt for aggrandizers and artistic poseurs. Master gardener and gourmet chef, discriminating New Orleans antique shops habituĂ© and perennial Broadway theater patron, Selden was at one and the same time the host of an extraordinarily gracious home and an avid collector of clowns. He was all that, and so much more. A talented musician unmatched in his ability to turn bawdy piano tunes into an instant party, he was also a doting father who delighted in the accomplishments of two talented daughters. A loving son and husband, his ceaseless attention to his mother and beloved wife Elizabeth during their prolonged illnesses bespoke the true meaning of fidelity. An officer of our company many years and several corporate levels superior to me, Selden took time to write a personal letter of congratulation to my son when his work was displayed in a children’s art show at the Fine Arts Museum of the South. The soul of hospitality in welcoming visitors to the Gulf Coast, he imposed only one house rule on guests staying at his company’s apartment in New Orleans: that they extend an appropriate level of respect and consideration to the building’s doormen and maids. Playing the prince to my six-year-old Cinderella, Selden encouraged my daughter to put on her prettiest dress and join the grownups for a jazz night downtown at John Word’s. Samantha learned to love live music that night, but she had long since fallen in love with Mr. Kearns. As had her dad, her mother, and her older brother. Our hearts were broken when we learned of his death this week. Knowing how much good he did in the city where we named our cat Moonpie, we pray that the memory of Selden Kearns will live on in Mobile’s heart.

Ron Sommer”

Son of Rhett Goode Kearns and Susan “Susie” Elizabeth Crabtree Kearns, Selden Stephen KEARNS was born 29 Jan 1926 at Mobile AL and died 28 March 2000, age 74, at Mobile, AL. On 10 Nov. 1951, at Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, AL, he married Elizabeth POOLE, born 15 Dec 1927, died 26 June 1997 at 70 in Mobile, AL. Selden was described by Jean Kearns as a “successful businessman.” He remained in Mobile all his life. In Susie’s later years, he managed her affairs. Jack, a brother, writes, “Selden graduated Murphy High School in 1943 where he took business courses. Went into the navy during WWII. Stationed in Okinawa during the closing days of the war.” Selden wrote that he served as a yeoman and was discharged as Yeoman I class. He was employed by a real estate and insurance firm and had employment at Waterman Steamship Corp. as a secretary. He rose to the position of secretary to the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He later became corporate secretary and vice president of Southern Industries Corp. Selden and Elizabeth had two daughters.

Haynes Crabtree, son of Littleton Crabtree and Rebecca Cox

Marriage certificate of Haynes Crabtree and Elizabeth Evans.

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Haynes Crabtree, b. 1829 in , Jones, Mississippi, died March 5 1865 at the Camp Chase POW camp in Ohio. He married on 1853 Sep 7 in , Mobile, Alabama, Elizabeth Evans who was born 1836 Oct 11 in Alabama, died 1906 Feb 4, and is buried at Gulf Crest Cemetery at Gulf Crest, Mobile, Alabama.

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Photo of Alfred Crabtree, son of Littleton Crabtree and Rebecca Cox

Alfred Crabtree, original

Alfred Crabtree, retouched

Alfred Crabtree, retouched and toned

Alfred R. Crabtree, son of Littleton and Rebecca Cox, was born 1822 March 11 in North Carolina. He died 1895 Feb 3 , Lee, Mississippi and is buried at Priceville Church.

Ann Storer sent me this image of her ancestor Alfred, brother of Ervin Crabtree. She says it was originally a tinotype. I don’t have a studio, photographer name or a date.

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Samuel Crabtree, son of Irvin Crabtree and Sarah Faggard

Samuel Thomas CRABTREE was born 30 Dec. 1838 at 28 Mile Bluff, AL. He died 17 June 1923 at about 85 and is buried at Indian Springs Cemetery at Eight Mile, AL, where his tombstone reads that he was born 1838 and died in 1923. Amie Akerman notes that both Phelan B. Crabtree, son of Sam Sr., gave Samuel T. as being born in 1838.

On 10 March 1859, at Mobile, AL., Samuel, 21, married Margaret OVERSTREET, daughter of Jacob OVERSTREET and Elizabeth DAVIS. Margaret (perhaps Margaret Mary) was born 14 March 1840 in GA and died 1872 at 32. She is buried at Indian Springs Cem., at Eight Mile, AL.

Amie Akerman notes:

“Her (Margaret’s) parents WERE Jacob and Elizabeth Davis Overstreet, this is from the 1840 Census of Wayne Co Ms…Jacob and Elizabeth’s names were given to me by James Ervin Crabtree (still living in Moss Point, Ms,) grandson of Samuel T. Jr., son of Sam and Margaret, also, Harry Keenan (still living), grandson of Vina E. Crabtree Stringfellow daughter of Sam T. Jr., son of Sam T. Sr. and Margaret Overstreet Crabtree.”

Amie continues,

“John Overstreet son of Henry, father of Jacob is on Page 2, #4. John’s son James is on Page #13. b.15 Feb 1807 d.18 Mar 1883. Jacob is on Page 5 #14 b. 1810 d 1845.

“Jacob and his family are listed in the 1849 Wayne Co, Ms census with Elizabeth and his children. Jefferson b. 1832, Sarah b.1835, Ferba b. 1837, *Margaret (my ggrandmother) b. 1839, Brazil b. 6 Aug 1842, and Rosier R. b.1844.

“James Ervin (of Moss Point, Ms) in a conversation with me, claims Elizabeth Davis Overstreet was full blooded Choctaw, making Margaret and her siblings half Choctaw. Jacob is NOT shown in 1850 census, he died in 1845. Elizabeth IS shown with her children in the 1860 census, page 3.”

Amie Akerman supplies the following history and dates for Samuel Thomas CRABTREE:

“I believe GGrandpa Sam was married 4 times.The dates of his children tend to prove this. A story told me, by his son Phelan B. CRABTREE and my Aunt Sarah Beatrice Crabtree PARNELL, is that, and I quote them, ‘By the time he was 17 Grandpa Sam was married had three children and served in the army.’

“Samuel Thomas CRABTREE b.12/30/1838 d. 6/17/1923 Birthplace 28 Mile Bluff, AL. Buried Indian Springs Cem. Eight Mile AL. Son of Ervin and Sarah Ann Faggard CRABTREE.

Samuel m. Wife #1 unknown.
Children of Samuel and wife #1:
(1) Herbert b. d.
(2) Matthew b. d.
(3) Littleton b. d.

“Samuel m Wife #2 Marguerite/Margaret OVERSTREET 3/10/1858 (Mobile Co Bk 17 Pg 51). Marguerite b. unknown, d. 1872. Buried at Indian Springs Cem., Eight Mile AL. Children of Samuel and Marguerite/Margaret:
(4) Jarvis b. d.
(5) Samuel Thomas, Jr b.9/7/1862 d 3/9/1936
(6) Theodore b.1866 d.
(7) Thomas Jefferson b. 7/1/1870 d.5/18/1918. Marguerite died 1872. Thomas was two yrs old.

(8) Eliza Ann b.1876 d.1924 WHO WAS ELIZA’S MOTHER? She would have to be Wife #3.

“Samuel m. Wife #4 Nancy Francis HEVELSTON 3/5/1880 (Mobile Co Bk2 Pg 340). Nancy HEVELSTON was b.4/1/1858 at Semmes; d. 3/1/1944. Buried at Indian Springs Cemetery Eight Mile AL. Children of Samuel and Nancy after 1880:
(9) Mary Francis b.1883 d.1964
(10) Virginia Belle b. d.
(11) Ruth Erette b. d.
(12) Rosa Lee b.7/17/1890 d.
(13) Phelan Britton b.5/30/1895 d.6/22/1990 (Met Him)
(14) Laura b.3/26/1898 d.11/4/1983 (Met Her)
(15) Sarah Ann (Sally) b.8/9/1902 d.
(16) Jane b. d. Died at birth
(17) Amos McMalore b.7/26/1871 d.8/26/1942

“I Was told by Uncle Phelan, Aunt Sarah Beatrice PARNELL and Rena Crabtree BOOTHE (the ggGranddaughter of Theodore) that Amos was the son of Nancy HEVELSTON. He was either adopted by Samuel Sr. or just took the name of CRABTREE. His last name was FOSTER. There is more to this story, told me by Uncle Phelan. There was a murder committed in Mobile Co. area, and shortly after that, Theodore and Amos left the area and, in his words, ‘high tailed it to the Richburg and Hattisburg, MS area’. Theodore was married to an Indian woman (unknown to me). They did meet two sisters Catherine and Hattie HARTFIELD and married them. Theodore married Catherine and Amos married Hattie. They are all buried in Richburg Cem. I met Amos’ children on a visit to Hattisburg in 1984.

“The rest of Sam’s story: He was father to 17 children, the last fathered at age 72. Just think how many he would have had if Viagra was around then. Hope you can enjoy this story of a grandpa I never met, but wish I had…”
Amie Akerman

I asked Amie how in the world Sam could afford 17 children. What he did for a living. She replied, “It has been said that Sam was a butcher but I would imagine he would have probably worked at job to feed his kids…I know some of the (Crabtree) men worked in saw mills, my grandpa Tom worked in Chickasaw AL setting off dynamite to clear land. Some worked on boats…others in ship yards. Uncle Phelan, drove oxen…”

FamilySearch, Internet Genealogy Service, in an August 21, 1999 site search gives Samuel “Sam” as being born 1850 in Georgia and that there were these other siblings to Samuel Thomas and Adam Bell, but the dates are very far off from what Amie Akerman sites: iii. Littleton “Lit” born 1848, Gainsville, Hall Co. AL. Married Nancy.
iv. Jacob “Jake” born 1852, GA. Married Jane Miller, born 1852.

Amie Akerman writes: “There are six (6) Littleton CRABTREES in Littleton and Rebecca’s line. Also two of the Littletons married Nancy’s, one a BUSBY and one a BROWNING. One month apart 3 Mar 1858 and the other 5 Feb 1858. Think they are trying to confuse us.”

The 1860 census shows Samuel CRABTREE living in the same area as the KEARNS. Irvin CRABTREE, his brother, was father of Adam Bell CRABTREE, father of Susie CRABTREE who married Rhett Goode KEARNS.

1860 ALABAMA MOBILE CENSUS, Mobile Township pg. 98
861/669 Geo F. BOONE and family
862/670 Saml CRABTREE 22 Butcher RE value: 500. personal value: $200 b. AL
Margaret 21 b. MS
Louise V. 3/12 b. AL
Thos. BUSH 28 Labourer b. England
863/670 Rebecca FARRLER 60 RE value: 111,000(?) Personal value 40,000 b. AL
Helen E. BULLOCH 35 b. AL
865/672 John J. MERRMAN and family
867/673 Hourg L. MERRBOLD (?) and family
868/674 Dennis GREEN 28 gardener b. Ireland RE value: 1100 Personal value: 500
Sarah 27 b. Ireland
Mary 1 b. AL
Ellen QUINN 13 b. Ireland
Patrick SWEENY 20 Laborer b. Ireland
869/675 Michael MCDONALD 35 gardener RE value: 2200 Personal value: 500 b. Ireland
Mary 40 b. Ireland
Ann 30 b. Ireland
Michael MCNAIL 20 laborer b. Ireland
Terence OLAUGHLIN 22 b. Ireland
879/676 Jas. STEWART 45 personal value: 300 b. Ireland
Ann 48 RE value: 1500 b. Ireland
Mary J. 13 b. Alabama
James H. 12 b. Alabama
Margaret A. 10 b. AL
870/627 Patrick MCNULTY 30 Gardener RE value: 400 personal value: 500 b. Ireland
Elisa 32 b. Ireland
(pg. 99)
Mary A. 8 b. AL
Daniel KELLY 30 Laborer b. Ireland
871/678 KEARNS John 39 Gardener RE Value: 1400 Personal value: 400 b. Ireland
Catherine 31 b. Ireland
Eliza A. 8 b. AL
Micahel 4 b. AL
Timothy 1 b. AL
Frank ROMAN or RENAN(?) 45 Laborer b. Ireland
872/678 Thomas FINCH 40 gardener b. Ireland
? 35 b. Ireland
Ellen 2 b. AL Mary 1 b. AL Mary (?) 63 b. Ireland
873/680 Peter KEEGAN 50 Laborer b. Ireland
Michael FINCH 24 Gardener b. Ireland
Sarah 60 b. Ireland
Mary 19 b. Ireland
Ellen 17 b. Ireland
874/681 Edward RENE 38 shoemaker b. Saxony…

Death certificate of son Thomas Jefferson gives Samuel’s birth place as AL, Mobile Co.

Following are Samuel’s marriage licenses to Margaret Overstreet and Nancy Francis Helveston.

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