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.

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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Last of a Coterie of Pioneer Settlers

Patrick McNulty (also given as born 1825, died 1911 at the age of 86) may have been a cousin of Catherine. A newspaper article, titled “Last of a Coterie of Pioneer Settlers”, read:

With the burial of Mr. P. McNulty passed away the last one of a class of hardy Irishmen that settled beyond the Three Mile creek many years previous to the Civil War. All north of Owen’s Lane to LaFargue’s Bul Head and west from St. Stephen’s road to Burden’s creek was the territory settled. These hardy pioneers brought to the highest state of perfection the production of early vegetables and laid the foundation of knowledge that the present day truck farmer enjoys in that vicinity. Among the first settlers were the three brothers, Thomas, Patrick and Martin McAndrew; James Stewart, Michael McDonald, John Tuite, M. McGuire, M. McHale, Mr. Doody, M. Devine, Charles Rooney, Thomas Finch, P. Kearns and Mr. Green, father of county commissioner Green, and P. McNulty. Martin Costello, who laid the foundation of his fortune by truck farming; Peter Reynolds, John Clashy and the late P. Sweeny were truck growers for many years, but their advent was after the Civil war; so that with the death of Mr. McNulty all of the original settlers have passed to the great beyond. The descendants of this sturdy race are very numerous, and with few exceptions all of them made honorable and useful citizens. It will be a long time, if ever, that this part of the country will ever see their likes again.

Patrick McNulty died June 29, 1911 in Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama.

Thomas Jefferson Crabtree and Minerva Mae Hudgens

Thomas Jefferson Crabtree, b. 1870 July 1 in Mobile County Alabama, died 1918 May 18 in Mobile County, Alabama, was buried at Indian Springs Cemetery in Eight Mile, Alabama. In 1898 he married, in Mobile County, Alabama, Minerva Mae Hudgens, b. 1881 May 1, died 1938 Jan 1 in Louisiana. She was buried at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church Cemetery, Old Section, Westwego, Louisiana.

Minerva Mae Hudgens Crabtree

Thomas and Hilda had William Crabtree who married Hilda Savoy.

After Thomas’ death, Minerva married Ollie Melton Felts who died 1932 Sep 12. They divorced and he next married Lillie Belle Beckham.

Thomas was a son of Samuel Thomas Crabtree Sr. and Margaret Overstreet. Adam Bell Crabtree was his uncle.

The source of this information was Amie Akerman, a granddaughter of the couple.