Wednesday's Child - Jerry Hollister Kephart

For this week's Wednesday's Child, I am featuring the ancestor that my maternal grandmother, Della Maxine Kephart, considered to be her guardian angel. It was her brother, Jerry Hollister Kephart, who was nicknamed Hollis.

Jerry Hollister Kephart Wednesday's Child

Jerry was born to John Arthur and Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart on October 23, 1925 in Wellston, Oklahoma. His middle name, Hollister, was likely given to him after his great grandfather, Isaac Hollister Templeton (his paternal grandmother's father). I'm not sure if the name Jerry was after someone else, or just a name that my great grandparents liked.

Sadly, Hollis would live only 2 years, passing away on December 19, 1927. Family history says that he died as a result of multiple bee stings. He is buried in Wellston Cemetery in Wellston, OK. I imagine that the above photo was likely taken not long before he died, because he looks to be about two years old here. My grandmother always had that photo of him in her home, and she treasured it.

Jerry Hollister Kephart Grave Wellston OK
Rest in Peace

The Marlboro Playing Cards

Tuesday Treasures Marlboro Playing Cards

It might seem like a strange thing to have a set of Marlboro Playing Cards featured as one of my Tuesday Treasures. But this is no ordinary set of cards. This is the set of cards that belonged to my maternal grandfather, William Hammersmith, whom I affectionately called, Pappy--or Paps, for short. 

Pappy - William Robert Hammersmith

Often when I'd visit my grandparents, Nana and Pappy, I'd play with those Marlboro Playing Cards that belonged to Pappy. I might play Solitaire, or sometimes sometimes we'd play Go Fish or Crazy Eights. You know, back in the day when you couldn't play card games on your phone. He had lots of playing cards, but I always liked these and I'm not even sure why. After Pappy died in 1994, I got to keep these playing cards. So as silly as it might seem, they are indeed something that I treasure. 

The photo of him above is one he sent to me a year or two before he passed away. It's the last photo that he ever sent to me. Incidentally, I also have the shirt that he is wearing in this photo, and I treasure it as well. 

I sure miss Pappy. He was the best grandfather, always smiling and always cracking a joke and making me laugh. Nana showed me how to give him a "Wet Willie" when I was quite young. I did that for years and he never got upset--he'd just laugh. Oh how I miss that laugh. But if I try really, really hard...I can almost hear it.

Love you, Paps. 

Forget Me Not Friday - Leonard Freemont Testorff

For this week's Forget Me Not Friday post, I'm featuring a man that I am proud to call my grandfather: Leonard Freemont Testorff.

Leonard Freemont - Testorff Forget Me Not Friday

Leonard was my paternal grandfather, born October 29, 1915 in Oswego, Labette County, Kansas. His parents were August Henry Testorff and Neta Jane (Eads) Testorff, and he had one brother, Kenneth Paul; and also two sisters, Nina Geraldine, and Betty Jane.

Grandpa married my grandmother, Mable Louise Bigham on February 1, 1941 in Columbus, Kansas. They would live in Oswego, Kansas and have two sons, including my father, Kenneth Harold, and my uncle, Russell Leonard.

It seems fitting, since it's Veterans Day, to honor my grandfather's military service. He enlisted in the Army on November 14, 1943 and would serve his country until December 30, 1945. He achieved the rank of TEC 5--Technician 5th Grade. He is the tall one in the photo, below.

Leonard Testorff World War II

Grandpa Testorff lived to the ripe old age of 88, passing away on January 9, 2004, in Oswego, Kansas. He was a kind, religious, family man, who was a carpenter, drove an old school bus, loved to fish, and played the fiddle. He was quite the musician, in fact, performing with more than one band.

Marvin Blackburn and the Saddle Pals - Leonard Testorff

I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my Grandpa T, because we always lived in opposite parts of the country. But we always corresponded and he always had some loving words of wisdom and faith to share with me. I miss his letters, and I miss him and my grandma more than I can say. I loved them very much.

Check out a sampling of my Grandpa and his Over the Hill Gang band from my SoundCloud gadget below!

This one's for you, Grandpa T. Love you always!
Grandpa Leonard Testorff and His Fiddle

Surname Saturday - Testorff

Surname Saturday Ancestry Chick

My maiden name is Testorff, so this is the perfect name to feature for this week's Surname Saturday. The downside is that I can't really share any cool tidbits about that particular surname's meaning, because I am having trouble finding anything! But here's what I do know about my Testorff roots...

My 3rd great grandfather, Christian Tesdorf, was born on November 2, 1819 in Germany. He married his wife, Sophia in 1852. In October of 1872, Christian, Sophia, and 3 of their children, Carl, Ludwig. and Emilie, departed from Hamburg, Germany (via Le Havre, France) aboard the Holsatia and arrived in New York on November 7, 1872. They would settle in Leroy, Bremer County, Iowa and are enumerated there in the 1880 Census.

Tesdorf Arrives America 1872

Louis August Ludwig Testorff was my 2nd great grandfather. Though he and his parents and siblings are listed in the Hamburg Passenger Lists with 'Tesdorf' as their surname, their surname was also seen at various times as Tessdorff, Tessdorf, and also Testorff. 

Christian and Sophia both died in Bremer County, Iowa (in 1900 and 1894, respectively). My 2nd great grandfather, Louis (aka Ludwig) would marry his wife, Anna Meyer in Bremer County, and eight children there. Later, they moved to Labette County, Kansas, and then finally settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where they would live until their deaths.

Surname Saturday - Testorff

So all I really know so far about my Testorff surname is that I have traced it back to my 3rd great grandfather, Christian, in Germany. I haven't gotten farther back than him in my Testorff line since German ancestry is a bit confusing. But hopefully one day I'll find even more Testorff/Tesdorf/Tessdorff origins in Germany, because I'd sure love to find out more about that part of my heritage.