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Showing posts from September, 2012

Uncle Tom

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My grand-uncle Thomas Napoleon Dudley was born December 12, 1890 in a one-room cabin in Clark Township, Clinton County, Ohio.   He was the fifth of six sons born to Jesse and Mary Shaper Dudley.  My grandmother, Mary Dudley Donaldson, was the youngest of the Dudley children and the only girl.
The earliest clear photo of Tom shows a sweet-faced teenager with a determined expression.  After working as a laborer for a few years in his hometown of Lynchburg, Ohio, on October 1, 1913 he enlisted in the United States Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio.  The country boy wanted to see the world.  His enlistment papers state that Tom was 5’ 9 ¾” and weighed 145 pounds with hazel eyes, auburn hair, a ruddy complexion, and scars on his left knee and his left index finger.  He had a star tattoo on his left forearm, a common tattoo among sailors symbolizing their hope to find their way home safely.  He reported to the Naval Training Station at Norfolk, Virginia as an apprentice seaman a few days later.
In …