RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman1,2,3,4,5

M, ID# 1, (1 Dec 1901 - 8 Dec 1970)
Father:Wilhelm "Will / William" Friedrich Luther Fresemann (31 Oct 1867 - 7 Jan 1927)
Mother:Irma Hedwig Lousia Guenther (28 Jul 1875 - 23 Nov 1941)
Charts:Virginia Custis Winslett lineage
William Langfitt Freseman lineage
     RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman was born on 1 Dec 1901 at Allegheny Hospital, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Wilhelm "Will / William" Friedrich Luther Fresemann and Irma Hedwig Lousia Guenther. RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman married Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry, daughter of Custis Russell Perry and Ella Virginia Auguste, on 8 Jun 1922 at Saint Anne's Church, Annapolis, Maryland. RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry were divorced c 1945 at Washington, District of Columbia. RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman married Barbara "Bobby" E. Rice, daughter of CPT George T. Rice and Malvina A. Williams, on 8 Aug 1947. RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman died on 8 Dec 1970 at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York, at age 69. He was buried on 11 Dec 1970 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington Co, Virginia.
      Rear Admiral William "Bill" Langfitt Freseman was born in Allegheny, PA which was across the river from and now is part of Pittsburgh, PA. He was christened William Langfitt Friesman on 9 Mar 1902 by Rev J. L. Braun of the First German United Evangelical Protestant Church, Dudeshe Heights, 25th Ward in Pittsburg, PA which was incorporated in 1900. He was christened at his parents' home with Mr. J. C. Walter Roessler and Miss Lulu M. Hart as sponsors. Per his 13 May 1957 letter to his daughter Virginia, William stated his name was spelled incorrectly on his christening certificate and that he had to get an affidavit from his sister Irma stating his name was always spelled Freseman.

William stated he lived in Dresden, Saxony for a time when he was a small boy as his mother took him back and forth between Germany and America. William attended private and public schools in Portland, OR.

William entered active military duty in Portland, OR with an appointment to the US Naval Academy on 18 June 1918. He graduated in June 1922 from the Naval Academy and was commissioned an ensign of the line in the U.S. Navy. As a midshipman at the academy he was on the Soccer Squad his first year and played football, made Class Rifle Numerals in his second year and was a three-year member of the Rifle Squad, and participated in the Mandolin Club his last year.

For his entire naval career, William was a serving officer in the operating forces of the Navy which resulted in his having a series of supervisory and command appointments in various afloat and shore activities. He was promoted to lieutenant junior grade in 1925, lieutenant in 1929, lieutenant commander in 1938, commander in 1942, and captain in 1943.

After graduation and commissioning as an ensign, he remained at the academy assigned to the Rifle Team and attached administratively to the Reina Mercedes, the station ship at the Naval Academy. The Reina Mercedes, designated IX-25, was a Spanish auxiliary vessel captured in Cuba during the Spanish-American war and starting in 1912 was used as a station ship for offices and for housing the Naval Station Commanding Officer and his family, and other Navy and civilian personnel assigned to the station.

In 1922 he served on the USS McFarland, operating with the Scouting Fleet in European waters. The McFarland was assigned to the Turkish Waters Detachment and served in the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean area performing quasi-diplomatic and humanitarian roles necessitated by the aftermath of World War I. The ship cruised regularly to Black Sea and Anatolian ports, distributing relief supplies to Russian, Greek and Turkish refugees and providing transportation, mail and communications facilities.

Next William was ordered to temporary duty with the Office of Naval Communications in Washington, DC for almost a year. In 1924 he was assigned to the USS Chaumont, which provided transportation in the Pacific, transporting military supplies and Marine and Navy forces and dependents. In 1925 he reported to the steel gunboat USS Sacramento (PG-19) for duty at the Asiatic Station in China. At one time during this period, while the USS Sacramento patrolled Shanghai and the Chinese rivers, his family lived in a German compound for foreigners at 12 Pacific Road, Tsingtao (now Qingdao), China. His wife Virginia Perry Freseman frequently spoke fondly of life in China and their older daughter Virginia's running ability in raised wooden Chinese shoes, which are still in the family.

In 1926 William served on the USS Beaver, a tender for Submarine Division 16 based at Cavite, Philippines. In 1927 he began two years of graduate education, first as a student in the postgraduate program at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD and continuing at various institutions including Harvard University at Cambridge, MA where he received his Master of Science degree electrical communications engineering in 1929. That year he was assigned to the USS New Mexico, flagship of Battleship Division 4 of the Battle Fleet of the Pacific. This ship conducted frequent combined maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet both in the Pacific and the Caribbean and had many South American port calls. In 1931 William reported to the Commander of Destroyers in the Scouting Fleet, who may at the time have been Admiral William Daniel Leahy, for staff duty until 1932. He then returned to the Office of Naval Communications in Washington, DC for two years.

During 1934-1935 William commanded the USS Ontario, a fleet tug homeported in American Samoa, and the only coal-burning ship left in the Navy. The Ontario was the station ship for American Samoa and was responsible for naval interests in the area. During the period 1935-1936, William continued sea duty aboard battleships serving as radio officer for Vice Admiral William Leahy, Commander of Battleships of the United States Fleet Battle Force, on the flagship USS West Virginia and later as radio and communication officer for the Commander in Chief of the Battle Force, aboard the USS California, the fleet flagship. He also received a certificate from the Naval War College by correspondence in 1935. Late in 1936 through 1939 he was ordered to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as flag lieutenant and aide to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William Leahy. William was Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Bagley homeported in Coronado, CA from 1939-1941. The Bagley operated in Pacific waters as part of Destroyer Squadron 4 in the Battle Force.

When World War II started William was navigator of the USS Nevada, a battleship homeported at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, during the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. All officers except those on watch or in a duty status were ashore for weekend stays with their families when the ship was attacked on 7 Dec 1942. The Nevada, moored alone off Ford Island, had room to maneuver that the other ships did not. It was struck by one torpedo and two or three bombs but returned fire and was able to get underway in an attempt to escape the harbor. Struck again and fearing she might sink and block the channel, the Nevada was beached at Hospital Point. Gutted forward, the ship lost fifty killed and one hundred nine wounded. William immediately returned to the ship when the attack began. Among the mementos he saved that day were metal pieces of a Japanese chart, still in the family, and some pieces from a Japanese kamikazi plane which was purposefully crashed beside the Nevada in shallow water. He also saved a fragment from a Japanese bomb which exploded on the Nevada. After the Nevada was refloated on 12 Feb 1942, he was also able to recover his Navy dress sword which is still in the family, various uniform pieces, and his 45 caliber pistol. His family was evacuated from Hawaii via ship; it was the only time in her life his wife Virginia ever wore pants which were required for the evacuation.

Next William reported to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, again in Washington, DC, and served as a member of the Joint Radio Board. In July 1942 he reported again as the Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Admiral William Leahy. Admiral Leahy was then serving as the Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt, the Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States. This was a prestigious position with considerable visibility. In this capacity he participated in various presidential events with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, including a much-photographed presidential cruise to the Caribbean. During this and the subsequent assignments it is likely that his position, which was truely an illustrious one indicating a stellar career, went to his head and he likely took actions, including social ones, that sidelined his career. His wife Virginia's only comment on the subject was, "...if it hadn't been for that damn secretary."

From 1944-1945, then Captain Freseman was Commander Destroyer Squadron 60, which participated in the initial assault on Normandy on 6 June 1944 and the bombardment of Cherbourg, France on 25 June 1944. He skillfully directed the destroyers of his command despite severe enemy fire and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for exceptionally meritorious conduct.

After the Normandy invasion, he moved Destroyer Squadron 60 to the Pacific where he served as the commander of the Task Unit during the planning and execution of the amphibious landing at Ormoc, Leyte, Philippines as well as other engagements. During the 7 December 1944 attack at the battle of Leyte Gulf, he directed the ships under his command in the destruction of 14 hostile aircraft and minimized personnel and material casualties. For these actions he was awarded a second Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and a Bronze Star.

William then served as commander of a minesweeping unit and as screen commander of bombardment and fire support during operations against the Japanese at Lingayen Gulf for which he received the Bronze Star. He continued as a Task Unit Commander during the Okinawa operations. During this period he also served as the commander of a joint US-Brazilian task group.

In Jun 1945 William took a month's vacation in San Francisco, CA. On 10 June 1945 William penned a letter to a naval colleague in which he said he was disappointed to be leaving the next day to serve [again] on the Omaha but it did not matter much because he was a "has been," which was reflected in his next assignments. He said his gal, the one the colleague met in Boston, was in California and they hoped to marry at the end of the year; that relationship did not work out but apparently cost William his marriage.

In 1945 he took over command of the USS Omaha which assumed Atlantic Fleet patrol duties through the end of the war under his command. In 1947 he became director of training for the Seventh Naval District in Miami, FL until his retirement from the Navy that year. Upon retirement after just over 25 years service, for his duty in combat in World War II, he was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the retired list.

During his assignment in Miami, William met his future wife Barbara Rice Deegan, whom he married in 1947. Barbara had never been out of Florida before their Hawaii honeymoon. She was described by her daughter as glamorous. After their marriage, William was the closest thing his step-daughter Sandra Ann had to a parent, although much of her time was spent at a convent boarding school. Sandra described William as a cold and stern person who was rigidly fair and had a good and wacky sense of humor. Because he loved animals it made his human.

William's awards included the two Legions of Merit with Combat V one with gold star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Commendation Ribbon with Combat V, USS Barton Navy Unit Commendation, World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star, World War II Victory Medal, and Philippines Liberation ribbon with two bronze stars. He also had the Croix de Guerre with red star from France and the War Service Cross Medal from Brazil. Posthumously he was awarded the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, which his granddaughter Virginia Winslett received on his behalf and gave to his daughter Phyllis.

William was a member of the US Naval Institute, the Naval League, the Institute of Radio Engineers, Radio Club of America, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Humane Society, and the Armed Forces Communication and Electronic Association of which he was the former president of the New York chapter and a regional vice president for the Fort Monmouth and New York area. He had some language capability in French, German and Spanish.

After retirement William worked as manager of the government services division of the Home Insurance Company of Hawaii from 1947 to 1948. From 1948 until 1951 he managed the special products division of a large Ford dealership in San Francisco, CA. He joined the University of Miami faculty in 1951 as professor of electrical engineering and supervised the installation of the University's Radar Meteorology Laboratory after which he served as its first director until 1957.

William handled administration and direction of research and development activities at the university for government and private research contracts involving radar, wave propagation and electrical devices. In 1952 he was in charge of the installation of $500,000 of hurricane tracking equipment on a 107 foot University of Miami tower on the Merrick Building. The equipment was to pinpint the swirling disturbances as far as 250 miles from South Florida's east coast. He also lectured on electronics and radar meteorology. During this period he coauthored Radar Meteorology in 1955 and patented electronic devices including a radar for the government. He resigned from the university in 1957.

William served as director of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation's Projects Group and concurrently as vice president of International Standard Engineering Incorporated, a subsidiary, from 1957 to 1961. He was assistant to the president of the Radio Engineering Laboratory, a division of Dynamics Corporation of America in Long Island City, NY and living in 1600 Boulevard East, West New York, Hudson, New Jersey at the time of his sudden death in 1970. Services were held in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA where he was buried at section 30, grave 398, grid AA41.

Unfortunately the Freseman Bible and papers William preserved were destroyed by mold and insects when stored in his daughter Virginia Freseman Winslett's garage.5,2,1,3

Children of RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry


  1. [S79] William Freseman Obituary.
  2. [S16] Interview, William Langfitt Freseman (1901-1970), 1967.
  3. [S48] "Freseman Military Record."
  4. [S244] United States Navy, Dictionary of US Naval Ships.
  5. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry1

F, ID# 2, (19 Nov 1898 - 2 Apr 1991)
Father:Custis Russell Perry (6 Dec 1868 - 24 Jul 1947)
Mother:Ella Virginia Auguste (11 May 1870 - 19 Oct 1971)
Charts:Virginia Custis Winslett lineage
     Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry was born on 19 Nov 1898 at 201 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia. She was the daughter of Custis Russell Perry and Ella Virginia Auguste. Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry was christened on 26 Dec 1898 at Saint James Church, Richmond, Virginia. She married RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman, son of Wilhelm "Will / William" Friedrich Luther Fresemann and Irma Hedwig Lousia Guenther, on 8 Jun 1922 at Saint Anne's Church, Annapolis, Maryland. Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry and RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman were divorced c 1945 at Washington, District of Columbia. Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry died on 2 Apr 1991 at Fairfax, Virginia, at age 92. She was buried on 19 Nov 1993 at Fairfax City Cemetery, Fairfax, Fairfax Co, Virginia.
      Virginia Custis Perry was born with strawberry blonde hair and christened in Richmond, VA. She was born in the era when black mammies ruled over every well-to-do household with children in Richmond, VA, and thus this custom was used in her Washington DC home. Her mammy was a woman who stayed with the family until her services were no longer required -- an institution long gone, but one which retained fond memories in Virginia's heart as she often spoke of her mammy in the 1960s. Raised in a time when "nice families," had rigid social requirements and constraints, as the matriarch of the family, Virginia set the pattern for what was expected and tolerated. Young ladies were modest, unsports-minded individuals, certainly not expected to work or wear pants. So ingrained was the thought that well-born girls and women did not work in sales that her ideals constrainted employment opportunities for teens through the 1970s in our family.

Virginia attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC in the 1930s. She became engaged to naval officer William Langfitt Freseman in 1922 in Annapolis, MD, the city where the US Naval Academy is located. After elopement with William, she accompanied him to China, the Philippines, Japan, Samoa, Hawaii and throughout the United States. During their first deployment overseas to China and the Philippines, Virginia -- a young and new mother -- wrote lengthy letters at a steady pace to her mother in Washington DC; her correspondence showed this itinerary:
Feb 1925: departed the US west coast via Honolulu to Guam
Mar 1925: Guam
Apr 1925: Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai
May 1925: Kowloon Hotel, Hong Kong
Jun 1925: 176 Bubbling Well Road, Shanghai, China; rented room
Jul - Aug 1925: 22 Weihaiwei Rd, Shanghai, China; rented room
Sep 1925: Kowloon Hotel, Hong Kong
Oct 1925: mentioned her sister Gertrude "Petsie" & Bunny living in Pensacola, FL
Nov 1925: Kakchieh, Swatow, China
Dec 1925: Kowloon Hotel, Hong Kong
Jan 1926: Kakchieh, Swatow, China
Mar 1926: Olongapo, Luzon, PI
Apr 1926: Kowloon Hotel, Hong Kong, noted as 7th trip there in a year
May 1926: Tsingtao (Qingdao), China
Nov 1926: Olongapo, Luzon, PI via Shanghai, Fochow, Hong Kong and Manila
Dec 1926 - Apr 1927: Manila, PI; departed with her daughter Virginia Custis on 6 Jun 1927 from Manilla, PI on board the ship President Lincoln arriving in Seattle, WA; her husband William was on the same ship having boarded in Shanghai, China.

Letters from Virginia's most prolific 1925 - 1926 period of correspondence showed she was often homesick, especially at holidays and birthdays, and missed her mother terribly. Virginia did not prefer mainland China because she was relatively isolated when there and had much less social framework to enjoy herself. During this era Virginia booked her travel on the steamers of vaious nations as she went back and forth trailing her husband Bill's deployments; she mentioned some steamers had Sikhs stand guard on deck to watch for pirates.

Virginia loved Manila, PI; Olongapo, PI and Hong Kong, China, especially the latter because she frequently went on dinner and dance dates with other men, which apparently was accepted by everyone. When in Shanghai, China the family lived in the international compound. Virginia often spoke to her granddaughter Virginia Custis Winslett of riding in rickshaws pulled by coolies and of the deep mud in Shanghai streets that made geta -- raised wooden shoes -- so necessary. Virginia talked about how her young daughter, also named Virginia Custis, learned to run wearing geta which are still in the family. Virginia related how the family had an amah, a domestic servant who would now probably be called a nanny, who took care of her daughter; it is unknown what other domestic work their amah also did, but the amah apparently was not working for the family during the 1925 - 1926 period.

Virginia reported that in Tsingtao naked Chinese children were in the street and hundreds of Russian girls were available for sailors' fun. She mentioned attending an opium party but not participating. During the summer of 1925 she was frustrated by continued Chinese strikes, unrest, power shut offs, boycotts of the British (who supplied the Americans) cut cable lines making it impossible to hear from her husband while he was deployed, stoning of trains, and inability to go out of her rented lodging because of general safety issues. She told her mother her husband William had changed for the better with no further explanation. Virginia said she needed an operation or a second baby to cure her undefined condition.

A continuous thread in her letters was their lack of money, especially because her husband had to support his ill, destitute parents, and her inability to buy anything extra without receiving money from her own mother to do so; she became proud of her bargaining capability for shopping. The lack of funds theme later continued in the few letters she wrote in the 1930s.

There was a ten-year gap in surviving letters. When Virginia's correspondence began again in 1935 it included the following itinerary:
Feb - Jun 1935: Pago Pago, Tutuila Island, American Samoa
May 1935: visited Apia, British Samoa
July 1935: San Francisco, CA
Mar 1936: 250 Prospect Ave., Long Beach, CA; rented a home
Apr 1936; 46 Virgil Walk, Long Beach, California in Naples section near Alamitos Bay; rented a home
1939: Coronado, CA; she departed taking her daughter Phyllis on 27 Mar 1940 on the ship Mariposa from Los Angeles, CA to Honolulu, HI where she arrived on 1 Apr 1940. She again departed 3 Apr 1941 on the ship Lurline from San Francisco, CA for Honolulu, HI arriving on 9 April 1941.

In 1943 Virginia christened the Portsmouth, VA Navy Yard's fourth submarine launched that year as the USS Aspro. Assisting Virginia was her daughter Phyllis Freseman.

In Hawai after Virginia's husband was distracted by his secretary, whom he planned to marry but never did, Virginia was divorced after World War II.

Virginia then lived at 2018 G Street, Washington DC her mother's home, a beautiful, high-ceiling, four-story Victorian townhome until the death of her mother at that residence. The double entry foyer -- an outer outside door and inner outside door -- was particularly interesting to her granddaughter as a child because goods such as milk were regularly delivered inside the outer door over night. Various signs of the South transpired in that home; the changing of the seasons was marked by the addition of white slip covers on the parlor furniture in May and their removal in October.

The family home was sold to pay taxes when Virginia's mother died and was purchased by George Washington University to make a parking lot. When the house was sold the huge second floor corridor secretary, which was outside her mother's front bedroom, and most likely the large hall settee/rack, which sat by the front door, were supposedly donated to the Smithsonian American History Museum's Domestic Furnishings Department; the museum has no record of these donations under Virginia's or her mother's names. Other family furniture was given to her granddaughter, Virginia Custis Winslett, and through her to her sister Marianne Winslett, cousin Nels Benson and son Daniel Schmidt.

Virgnia then moved to a smaller home at 3415 Halcyon Drive, Alexandria next door to her sister Gertrude's family where Virginia resided until her death. She and her sister continued to host and participate in a former military wives' group who croceted, knitted and played cards while enjoying regular luncheons.

Virginia's demise followed the sudden death of her son-in-law and her brother-in-law's death four and two months prior to her death respectively. She contracted pneumonia from which she recovered, but her body had been stressed and she no longer had the will to eat or survive. Taking to one's bed and refusing to eat or drink was once a common way for the sick and elderly to choose to die. Helpless in body, she went without food and only a little liquid for two months. She lasted past expectations and although unconscious for days died within hours of when her daughter Virginia Custis died six years prior. Her desire to have her ashes scattered over Hawaii which she loved during her husband's military tour there was carried out, however a small portion of the ashes was retained by the family and interred two years later in Fairfax, VA.2

Children of Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry and RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman


  1. [S155] Benjamin Tappan August Bible.
  2. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman1

F, ID# 3, (23 Mar 1923 - 2 Apr 1985)
Father:RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman (1 Dec 1901 - 8 Dec 1970)
Mother:Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry (19 Nov 1898 - 2 Apr 1991)
Charts:Virginia Custis Winslett lineage
     Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman was born on 23 Mar 1923 at Columbia Hospital, Washington, District of Columbia. She was the daughter of RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry. Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman was christened on 27 Jul 1923 at Church of the Epiphany, Washington, District of Columbia. She married Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett, son of Henry Dillard Winslett and Amanda 'Mandy' Ola Weathers, on 6 May 1950 at Walter Reed Chapel, Washington, District of Columbia. Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman and Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett were divorced on 21 Jan 1975 at Birmingham, Alabama; Although John Winslett filed for and was granted a divorce decree, his decree was later set aside because Virginia Winslett was not informed of his court action. Virginia was granted a 21 Jan 1975 divorce in AL, with legal action continuing until 1978, to be simultaneously instated as a CA decree. Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman died on 2 Apr 1985 at Fairfax Hospital, Fairfax, Virginia, at age 62. She was buried on 15 May 1985 at Ivy Hill Cemetery, Alexandria, Virginia.
      Virginia Custis Freseman was born at Columbia Hospital in Washington, DC. Virginia was christened by Rev Raymond Lee Wohen on 27 Jul 1923 at Epiphany Episcopal Church, Washington DC, her family's church. Her godparents were John Edwards, Henry Morrow, Eva McSherryher and her aunt Gertrude Perry. She had strawberry-blonde-red hair for life.

Virginia lived in Long Beach, Ca; Annapolis, MD; Cambridge, MA; Pago Pago, Samoa; and from 1925 until 1927 in China, Japan and the Philippines where her father held military assignments. Some remote tours with no schools enabled her to skip several elementary school grades. She attended Jefferson Junior High School, Long Beach, CA where she was a feature writer for the school newspaper; attended Roosevelt High School, Washington, DC; graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington DC in 1940; attended the Washington Institute of Music to study singing for a year; attended University of Missouri where she joined Alpha Gamma Delta sorority; and graduated from George Washington University, Washington DC 30 May 1945 in the upper third of her class with a scholarship from Daughters of Cincinatti. She enjoyed writing poetry and stories.

From 1946 through 1947 Virginia worked with the federal government as an editor in the Standards and Curriculum Division, Naval Bureau of Personnel for $2500 per year; and as correspondence analyst for the Naval Congressional Liaison Office as the editor and publisher of the Training Bulletin at the Navy Training Activity.

Growing up overseas in Asia created a close bond for life with the Orient, which was passed on to her daughters. In the late 1940s Virginia worked for the Navy Department as editor of a military training magazine on Guam where she met her future husband John Winslett. During this period on Guam she kept two diaries which are now in the possession of her daughter Marianne Southall Winslett. Virginia became engaged to John on Guam and then returned home to Washington DC, arriving in San Francisco, CA on 6 Oct 1949 on the ship General Hugh J Gaffey from Guam.

For her wedding Virginia wore an ivory satin gown with tight bodice, full flowing skirt and a very long train, which was later worn by her daughter Marianne for her wedding. Virginia's long veil fell from a cap of pearls and orange blossoms, and she carried white roses and lilies of the valley. Virginia and John were married at a 4 pm ceremony at the Walter Reed Chapel in Washington DC by Rev James Terry. Virginia was given in marriage by her uncle CAPT William Benson and was attended by her sister Phyllis Langfitt Freseman as maid of honor and by Mary Eleanor Richards, Mrs. Benjamin Cole, and by her second cousins Margaret and Nancy Maginnis. Following the ceremony, a reception was held at her family's home. The couple honeymooned at Sea Island, GA and in Florida before renting a flat in "Wildwood" -- the elegant 1884 antebellum Ellsworth mansion at 808 Park Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas where John was receiving continued military medical care for chronic arthritis.

In 1950 Virginia and John moved to Marion, Alabama, and after two years they bought a farm outside Uniontown, AL with a loan from her maternal grandmother. Life changed when John was backing the winter's hay into the barn as it was struck by lightening and the hay and barn burned as well as some of their livestock dying; they did not have suffiecient funds so had to sell the farm and move. They moved from the farm about 1956 and lived in a farm house in Browns, AL. Life changed about 1966 when the owner of their farm home died and they had to move to a deteriorated anti-bellum home in Marion, AL.

Virginia spent her time keeping house and cooking. Farm life involved growing and preparing their own beef and pork, supplemented by squirrel, rabbit and deer; long, long trips to the closest military market; and even churning her own butter. Clothes washing required lengthy trips to the clothes line and trash required trips out to a barrel to burn the residue, often having to remove an oppossum first. She had little sense of geographical direction or for the details of organizing. There were no near neighbors or close friends during her marriage. This was certainly not the environment or life she had grown up with. Virginia loved to listen to classical music and sing. She heralded family traditions of much celebrated birthdays, always rejoicing about the birth. Virginia spent considerable time preparing for the Christmas holidays with food, greens, decorating and music. Her Christmas tree was carefully and symmetrically arranged, just as in her childhood home where two trees graced the fireplace and a lighted castle reigned below. She spent considerable time making eggnog from scratch for New Year's.

In 1968 John got a civil service position in Korea. Virginia believed everything they had planned for in eighteen years of marriage was about to come true as she moved to Japan to join him in the Orient. Unfortunately their marriage quickly unraveled and John grew away from the confines of their marriage.

The era of women being taken care of by their man died in the 1950s but some people just did not snap out of it. Virginia only saw her value as the wife of the man she married and never grasped she had to create her own resilience because if her stability came from anyone else that person could also take her security away.

Virginia spent until 1970 in Japan, serving in the volunteer capacity of Director of Publicity for the American Red Cross. In 1970 she moved briefly to Korea to try to reignite the marriage and then moved to Okinawa because of the American military presence. She was happier in Okinawa than any other place she lived during or after her marriage; "I go to the window and look at the Pacific all day long. This is the best place I have lived in twenty years." In 1973 when the Japanese retook possession of the island, she had to return to the US and moved to Montgomery, AL. When her savings ran out, she moved to her mother's home in Alexandria, VA. Her divorce meant many changes for her, and she was unable to rise above the stress and poverty that it inflicted upon her. She was a private person and like her mother kept her counsel and soldiered on in good times and in bad.

In 1979 Virginia began her career with the Alexandria, VA government as a public relations officer for the Commission of the Status on Women where she published the 1979 annual report. She then moved to the Alexandria Mental Health Center where she was responsible for developing the annual reports for 1981 through 1984. Virginia was employed there at the time of her death.

Family traditions persevere through the generations over and over and they clearly impacted Virgina; these following memories are adapted from her sister Phyllis' 2010 eulogy. 'Our mother, as did her mother before her, taught us about morals, ethics, fairness, good manners and politeness. She helped us with our school work and pushed us to expand our minds. She had a very practical side - depression era child - always had things in the freezer. Setting up the tree did not happen before Christmas Eve -- what a stressor-- and baking surrounded that season. She loved to cook. There were wonderful anecdotes about her childhood in China and Samoa. As a mother and wife, she had a long career. In terms of today, she would be described as the model worker: agile, flexible, working unpaid overtime, never a sick day, good humoured, good with the public, willing to do anything and cheap labor. She was the teacher, chauffer, cook , cleaner, washer, laundress, nurse, comforter, religious educator, protector and so much more. She helped the most important people in her life become everything they could be. She did it quietly, with utmost dignity, and never asked for anything in return.'

At age 61 Virginia wrote a letter indicating that, after smoking all of her life, she was determined to give it up at age 65. At age 62 Virginia died at Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax Co, VA of complications from pancreatic cancer which was linked to cigarette smoking. She also suffered for much of her life from serious migraines with visions, for which she used a stereoscopic viewer to ease the severity.

A memorial service was held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Russell Road, Alexandria, VA and attended by her two daughters. Virginia was buried in section 2, lot 104, site 4 next to a huge oak tree in Ivy Hill Cemetery, Alexandria, VA. Ivy Hill Cemetery was established as a public cememtery in 1856 and his family burials dated back to 1811. Her will went through probate in Alexandria, VA in 1985.2


  1. [S12] "Ella Virginia Auguste Perry (1870-1971) Research: Collection of hand-written Lanphier, Martin, Perry, Russell and Other Family Documents."
  2. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett1,2,3,4

M, ID# 4, (6 Dec 1919 - 30 Jun 2001)
Father:Henry Dillard Winslett (20 Feb 1889 - 16 Jan 1978)
Mother:Amanda 'Mandy' Ola Weathers (7 Aug 1888 - 22 May 1982)
Charts:Virginia Custis Winslett lineage
     Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett was born on 6 Dec 1919 at Jenifer, Talladega Co, Alabama. He was the son of Henry Dillard Winslett and Amanda 'Mandy' Ola Weathers. Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett married Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman, daughter of RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry, on 6 May 1950 at Walter Reed Chapel, Washington, District of Columbia. Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett married Lisa Yang Cha Yim, daughter of Ki Tae Yim and Su Sun Kim, on 31 Oct 1973 at Seoul, South Korea. Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett and Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman were divorced on 21 Jan 1975 at Birmingham, Alabama; Although John Winslett filed for and was granted a divorce decree, his decree was later set aside because Virginia Winslett was not informed of his court action. Virginia was granted a 21 Jan 1975 divorce in AL, with legal action continuing until 1978, to be simultaneously instated as a CA decree. Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett died on 30 Jun 2001 at Calera, Chilton Co, Alabama, at age 81. He was buried on 3 Jul 2001 at Montevallo Cemetery, Montevallo, Shelby Co, Alabama.
      John "Johnnie / Johnny" Dixon Winslett was most influenced in his life by his parents' standards of hard work, honesty and being oneself, but unlike them he was not very religious. John's parents celebrated holidays with large family meals. His childhood was filled with fishing, baseball, football, swimming, playing with his numerous siblings and neighbors and reading the Sears Roebuck catalog. His favorite possessions in his youth were baseballs, baseball gloves and spiked shoes. As a boy he had no house chores to do like his sisters did. According to his eldest sister Willie, when their father lost his job in 1925, Willie at age thirteen made all the clothes for the four girls from that point forward and the boys began to caddy golf to afford their clothes. In 1982 he wrote of thinking often "... of all those clothes that Mama used to wash all day for us down on the creek bank in Aldrich, AL and one of the boys would have to stay home from school just to fill the tubs with water." John was named after a Doctor Dixon in his town. When his father Henry Dillard Winslett wrote to John in the 1940s, he addressed his son in the European style "Jno." From his youth through thirties he used Johnnie as his formal name, however his birth certificate states John.

John wrote of regularly being beaten as a child. He wrote of the older siblings being tightly watched and the younger three being allowed more leniency after World War II broke out and the older siblings left home to serve in the military or marry. He resented all the money he lent his parents that was never repaid, including his oldest brother's hospital bills after his fatal automobile wreck. His dysfunctional home life partially explained his close attachment and years of voluminous correspondence with his oldest sister Willie, and also why he only visited his parents and other family members for the annual family reunion, although they lived within two hours drive after he married and settled in Uniontown, AL.

John was just over six feet tall with blue eyes and black hair, which he began to lose in his mid twenties; he had type O blood. He was a member of the football team but his real forte was baseball. As described by one of his WWII bomber crew members when they were stationed in England, "... I recall being amazed at how far you could hit, whether lefty or righty. I always thought you could have gone on to big league ball ...."

At age 17 John graduated from Montevallo High School in Montevallo, AL where he played drums and alto horn and was an accomplished baseball player who hit his first home run in high school at his first time at bat. For twelfth grade John was ashamed he had to borrow school books and that he was never able to earn enough to pay his senior year tuition, which almost kept him from graduating. John graduated from Montevallo High School, Oak Street, Montevallo, AL on 1 Jun 1937. After graduation he worked for his father as a brick molding machinery operator and also fired the boiler at the brickyard from 1937 until 1942 when he volunteered to join the Army Air Forces during World War II.

John was inducted into the Army at Camp McClellan, AL on 18 Apr 1942. His initial military training in 1942 included Power Turret training at Lowry Field, CO. John was a private in 1942 and was honorably discharged on 29 Aug 1943 at Turner Field, Albany, GA to accept an officer's commission in the Army Air Forces as a second lieutenant and the family has details on John's training, assignments and promotions.

Going into the military service in 1942 changed John's life because of travel and learning to pilot planes. Flying four-engine airplanes was the highlight of his life. In Apr 1943 John said his little brother Steve needed to attend college "...because you can see how dumb you really are when you travel around like I have." The following year John lamented he wished he had gone to college. In 1946 he said traveling had broadened his mind but he was "dumb as hell compared to the people I associate with. Sometimes it's embarrassing as hell." He wanted his brother Clyde to go to college and his brother Steve to finish high school and go on to college; neither did. In 1950 John offered to pay a portion of his little sister Clara's college costs.

When John was in the military he treated his sister Willie like a personal assistant, relying on her to manage his checking, savings and stock purchases -- one of the latter for which he blamed her for a loss -- among all his other demands for clothes mending; clothes, camera film, pen, paper and small appliance purchases; and research on car sales and potential future job opportunities. He considered Montevallo, where he grew up, a knowledge center because of its college.

John was appointed second lieutenant on 4 Feb 1943. First he attended aviation cadet training which included strenuous physical and mental training to ensure he had the basic characteristics needed and to determine if he should become a navigator, bombardier or pilot; only the top-rated personnel became pilots. Next John attended Pre-Flight Pilot Training at Maxwell Field, AL with more strenuous drills, tough academic work and regimented inspections. Next John moved to Primary Training at Bennettsville, SC which is where on 4 Mar 1943 he began flying and started maintaining his daily pilot log showing date, where flown from and to, aircraft type, engine and horsepower, which US military service he was flying on behalf of, the flight duration, instruction vs instrument time, night hours, and any applicable notes including flight certifications. His first solo flight was 20 Mar 1943. Next he moved to moved to Basic Pilot Training at Shaw Field, SC. John was rated as a pilot and commissioned as a second lieutenant on 21 Aug 1943 by the Army Air Forces Southeast Training Center, Maxwell Field, AL. John graduated with Class 43H, Army Air Forces Advanced Engine Pilot School, Turner Field in Albany, GA on 30 Aug 1943 and received orders to report to the 4th Engine Transition School at Hendricks Field, Sebring, FL. He completed the Combat Crew Training at the 33rd Combat Crew Training School at Army Air Field, Dalhart, TX on 28 Mar 1944.

During the war years, John was a prolific letter writer, sending hundreds of colorful, newsy letters to his older sister Willie and her husband, whom he addressed as Galloway, including twelve letters during Jun 1944 when he was flying Germany-bound missions and writing his diary. His correspondence keyed on the importance to him of having sturdy clothing and shoes; enjoyment of movies, stage shows, women, correspondence, radio, music, record collecting (Miiler & Crosby), photography and family pictures; the importance of a good education, especially having good manners and good English; and the difficulty getting picture film and rationed gas to visit home or have his family visit him when stationed close. John was transfixed by the many beautiful women he saw in the numerous towns and cities in which he was stationed but remained primarily interested in women from his home town.

Simultaneously with some of this ongoing correspondence, John maintained a extensive World War II diary while he was piloting bombers and later wrote an Australian war era diary; copies of both diaries are in the family. With the end of World War II, John focused on writing about future job opportunities, wanting to buy a car and trying to make money in the stock market. Keen on the importance of a good education, he was distraught about his parents taking his youngest brother Steve out of high school to start to work. John did not enjoy home leave when it centered on family gossip. In 1943 he wrote his sister Willie about wanting to purchase farm land near Selma, AL. By Feb 1949 when John was dating Virginia Freseman, his letters became shorter and less newsy. During this decade in total he sent over 325 letters between the fall of 1942 and 1953, with the most in a single year being 63 in 1944 and in 1948, another high year, sending 58 letters; these letters are preserved by the family.

Basic military training provided John a quick education in the military system, doctrine and methods. Pilot training provided a year at least of concentrated eduction and training on how to wage a technological war The bomber pilot, supported by his crew, could destroy an entire factory, hundreds of planes and thousands of men on the ground, thus removing a cog from the enemy's wheel. John was trained to use heavy bombers with steady and precise calculation, remaining cool and using precision under situations of great tension and appalling personal danger. A rule of war, a pilot had to use his giant weapon without emotion, considering only the accuracy of his task completion. Survival was secondary. John noted, " the more you learn about combat, the better you will be able to cope with the situation when it arrives. You have to be ready. You can't put anything off until tomorrow."

John studied the B-17 Flying Fortress extensively so he knew everything about the bomber aircraft he was going to fly in combat under conditions he would not be able to control well. He reported in training it was hard to manage the stick with two engines turned off and when banking low it seemed the wing would clip tree tops. John said from the cockpit the wing looked like a long porch that you could just walk right out on. He also knew how to navigate well by the stars, but his European boming missions required daylight flying to hit the target.

The standard B-17G which began arriving in Europe in late 1943 had an equipped weight of 38,000 pounds, a normal loaded weight of 55,000 pounds and a maximum weight of 72,000 pounds. Under maximum combat weight it had a maximum speed of 300 miles per hours at 30,000 feet. For long-range, formation combat missions the cruising speed was less than 200 miles per hour. With a 4,000 pound bomb load, the B-17G could range 1,850 miles in 8.7 hours with a 63,000 weight at 25,000 feet altitude. Historians have asserted the B-17 more that any other single weapon decided the war's outcome.

John was assigned to lead B-17 crew Twenty-Six, 332nd Squadron, 94th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force in Bury Saint Edmunds, England, about 70 miles from London near the south central coast. On 3 Apr 1944 John and his crew received orders overseas and in Apr 1944 John flew to England via Newfoundland, Ireland and Scotland. John influenced the selection and evaluation of his crew members; he believed he had an excellent crew whose members respected each other's abilities. Other 8th Air Force personnel always wanted to fly with his crew because crew Twenty-Six had an excellent, skillful reputation. John's heavy bombardment 10-person crew FF-400-CJ-19 consisted of himself the pilot, copilot 2nd LT Robert McGrath, navigator 2nd LT Robert Coogan, bombardier 2nd LT Dwight Wait, engineer and gunner Staff Sgt Vernon Caldwell, radio operator, Staff Sgt Donald Lindamood, ball turret gunner Sgt Milton Wughalter, waist gunner and alternate engineer Sgt Melvin Sellen, top turret gunner Sgt Harrison Conley and tail gunner Sgt William Peters. The crew nicknamed their bomber Flak Palace. Evasion and escape training was provided in England, and the family has preserved John's silk European escape map printed on both sides.

John was promoted to first lieutenant on 15 Jun 1944. During a Jun 1944 furlough, John was very impressed with London, especially Westminster Abbey, and with how cosmopolitan London had become with nationalities from all over Europe. His brother Thomas was also an 8th Air Force pilot on duty in England fifty miles away at the same time as John, thus they were able to spend some off-duty time together.

In the 94th Bomb Group, John and his crew regularly flew B-17 #791 on every mission if the plane was ready. Enough new parts were installed while John was assigned there to essentially make it into a new plane. Rebuilt, pictures of B17 # 791 were featured in an article in Flying Safety magazine (Headquarters US Air Force, Jul 1948, p. 14-15.)

Although the B-17 was large, it provided no comforts. It was poorly insulated and noisy with a plethora of sharp-edged, rattling equipment. The thunder of B-17 engines shook the ground when formations overflew. At high altitude the inside temperature was forty to sixty below zero degrees and winds shrieked in gun and bomb bays and hatches. Unable to touch any surface with bare skin, the crew was totally bundled in electrically-heated flying suits, boots, gloves, goggles and helmets; parachutes were strapped over their attire and life-critical oxygen, electric and communications leads fastened to them. Buffeting came from air currents, turbulence from formation flying and flak; John was lucky in that regard because he often led his formation, so he had less air currents buffeting the bomber. As the pilot, in front of John was a fantastic array of more than 150 controls, essential to show how the B-17 was functioning, to warn of incipient danger and to enable him to take corrective action as required. He dared not be distracted from the ever-demanding, precise job of close formation flying. The Fortress was the most rugged bomber ever built, but with an easy push a screwdriver could be jammed through the thin metal of the exterior skin; the strength in the B-17 came from the outstanding design.

The men flying missions were often numb with fatigue and the mental strain of facing death from shrapnel, projectiles, bombs, bullets, fire, oxygen deprivation, or diving from 35,000 feet (6.6 miles) in a B-17G to nearly-assured destruction on the ground; warfare had no place to hide or run. The men were constantly reminded of the war toll by the almost daily loss of bombers, the empty seats and beds at their base; and the war-wounded -- a constant reminder that cut deep in their soul. World War II was a far different warfare than man had heretofore faced, and the 8th Air Force was forced to operate on unproven doctrine and set arbitrary limits on crew capacity. During and after the missions, the men discussed which planes had crashed and which if any crew members were saved; that topic had to be difficult for men headed back into the same foray the next day. Details on John's 35 combat missions are summarized in a spreadsheet based on his pilot log, which is still in the family, and his World War II diary, the original of which was donated in 1986 to the Air Force Historical Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, and copies were kept by the family. His typed verion of the diary provided greater background information.

One of John's missions which became of historical note was flown on 19 May 1944. One of the other bombers in the lead group called "Miss Donna Mae" piloted by Lt. Reed strayed way out of formation on a bombing run over Berlin, Germany, turning right and passing under John's plane as a bomb from John's plane took off the lower plane's stabilizer. Why no one bailed out as the plane peeled off from the formation and decreased altitude and as of 1984, where the plane crashed, were unknown because German research indicated that B-17 did not crash in Berlin. (photos of hit, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/435934438903699759/)

Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe, was set for May - June 1944. Before the operation could be safely attempted the Allied strategic air forces had to gain air superiority over well-provisioned land forces in western Europe. Thus began the first steps in the final phase of the air bombardment of Germany. Out of the organization that already existed came the United States Strategic Air Forces, capable of heavy aerial bombardment with massive air attacks simultaneously carried out across the length and breadth of Germany. The approach used was to destroy the German aircraft industry and then the petroleum resources to stop the Germans in the air and on the ground.

By 4 Jun 1944 John could see wall to wall ships in the English Channel as he returned from his German missions, and he knew the invasion of the continent would begin soon. On 6 Jun, invasion day, John's first mission was to bomb the French beach -- hitting the barbed wire and the gun emplacements -- a few minutes before the troops went ashore. He did his bombing by radar as the activity below was concealed by clouds. There were so many ships in the channel that his radar could hardly discriminate between the water and the land. Later that day in his second mission, John hit transportation nodes. The 12,000 American planes in the air flying 20,000 sorties made the flying particularly hazardous. In Jul 1944 he first mentioned enemy mobile air defense equipment mounted on a rail car, German fighter jets and American airborne electronic countermeasures being used.

On 20 Jun 1944 the 8th Air Force alone sent out a record armada of 1,361 bombers, one of which was John's, and 729 fighter escorts to pound oil production centers; John said he received little enemy fire and all of Germany had pillars of smoke up to 20,000 feet. The next day the 8th Air Force attacked Berlin with 20 combat wings of heavy bombers; John said it was a rough day with approximately 1,350 bombers flying, and he received some holes in his aircraft.

John's worst mission was on 22 Jun 1944, when just after releasing his bombs over a vital German oil storage facility near Paris, one of his four engines took a direct hit which cut the fuel and oil lines. Only one bolt held the damaged engine to the plane. When the engine caught fire John left the formation and headed for the French coast with the plane pitching and bucking terribly. He slid the plane through the air, keeping the burning engine on top away from the wing and fuselage and almost had to land at an American airstrip on a French beachhead. John managed to land the plane in England amid great interest after others in the formation had reported the plane doomed. As reported in the news John said, "It certainly was a comforting thought to know that we had friendly territory in Europe to land in for a change. We were all ready to crash land or bail out, but by the time we got over Normandy all the oil had dropped out of the engine and the fire had blown itself out -- so we decided to try to make it home."

On 29 Jun 1944 the 8th Air Force sent a thousand bombers to hit oil and aircraft targets. Something went wrong on John's formation's run over the primary target so they hit their secondary target, an aircraft factory. On 7 Jul 1944 1,103 heavy bombers ripped into oil plants with John hitting his target at Leipzig, a hundred miles east of where our direct line ancestoral John and Guenther families then resided in Dresden. On 11 Jul 1944 more than 1,000 bombers pounded Munich and Augsburg with John hitting Munich factories, and the next day 1,117 bombers pounded Munich and Saarbrucken with John unfortunately taking the exact same route at the same hour as the previous day into Munich and receiving a lot of fire.

John's second worst mission was on 13 Jul 1944. Another massive raid occurred that day with John taking the same route to Munich but going 3 hours earlier and hitting his target. On the return flight from Germany he was attacked continuously from Stuttgart, Germany until reaching the English Channel. His navigator crewman Lt. Robert Coogan was wounded but survived, one of the engines and the tail control were destroyed, and considerable small hits were taken inside and outside the fuselage. Faltering on the return trip to England because of a smashed compass and rapidly losing altitude, the crippled bomber was spotted by four US Mustang fighters. Lt. Robert Callahan piloting a fighter flew in close to give John directions and then purposefully pirouetted above a German flack battery to divert the German fire from the crippled bomber. To avoid continued fire after he passed the French coast, John corkscrewed the B17 in all directions for miles out over the English Channel. The fighter pilots guided John to a Royal Air Force base, and he successfully landed at Dover, England with a plane that looked like screen wire; the ground crew had only seen one worse returning plane. During June and July John apparently took part in almost every massive campaign launched.

The US military strategy shifted on 23-25 Jul 1944 to trying to destroy German forces in France to enable an Allied break through. On 25 Jul 1944 John participated in a massive mission of at least 1,486 bombers, flying short range to increase bomb loads; John hit the German line near Saint Lo, France.

Generally John bombed in France, Germany, and Belgium hitting transportation nodes, factories, and refineries with the exception of his first invasion day mission and one mission he considered quite significant when he dropped arms to underground forces in the southern French Alps. Although the numbers of required missions for each pilot were raised as the war progressed, pilots were assigned a finite number of missions to fly in the European theater before they were rotated back to the United States. It was hard to accumulate missions steadily because of inclimate weather, damaged aircraft and distance to the target areas. The 8th Air Force was impressed with John's record for quickly accomplishing his required number of bombing missions; by the day the European continent was to be invaded he had accumulated eighteen missions and by 29 Jul 1944 his required thirty-five B17 missions were completed. John greatly respected his crew and corresponded with them after they departed Europe and went their separate ways; he was especially concerned about his navigator who was wounded near the end of their European missions.

The best day of John's life was when he landed his B-17 bomber after his last European combat mission on 29 Jul 1944. His radio operator Vernon Caldwell presented John with a lengthy poem Vernon had written titled Winslett's Crew at plane-side when John landed. His brother Tom who had finished his missions about 20 Jun had waited for John to finish so they could go home together. John next wanted to fly B-29s.

By 11 Apr 1945 John was on his way to deliver a B-24 bomber to the Australian Air Force, a trip chronicled in his diary starting that date. The first leg of the trip took 14 hours to get to John Rogers Field, built beside Hickham Field since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The crew stayed in Hawaii until the 17th, perhaps because of the gasoline leak and communications issues the B-24 had on the way to there. From Hawaii John flew to Canton, then part of the British-controlled Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony and used as an alternate air ferry route skirting Japanese-controlled islands and capable of handling large planes such as B-17s; now the island is called Kanton, the largest of the Phoenix Islands, Republic of Kiribati. John described the scene as a gravel runway on an island consisting of a circle 200 yards wide with a central lagoon located 2 degrees south of the equator with a single palm tree and surrounded by a ten foot sea wall. There were no natives. Due to engine problems on the way there, the crew remained on the island an extra day. The next leg took 7 hours to Nandi, Fiji Islands where they enjoyed a native show for the benefit of the departing flight surgeon; the boys' choir particularly impressed John. The crew left the next day flying 9.5 hours over New Caladonia and landing at Royal Australian Air Force Amberley Field outside Brisbane, Australia. The return flight on C-47s landed at Townsville, Australia, then they overnighted in Finschhaven, New Guinea in the midst of the jungle before moving to Los Negros, Admiralty Group where they stayed two days in a grass hut by the rocky ocean; the latter island group still had Japanese soldier holdouts of which about one a day was killed. The next day they departed on a C-54 for Tarawa, Kiribati Islands where large numbers of US marines and 5,000 Japanese are buried and move on that day back to Hickham Field in Hawai. The original of his Australian trip diary was donated in 1986 to the Air Force Historical Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL; the family retains the typed verion of the diary.

After his European tour was completed, in Aug 1945 John began thinking about getting out of the military and buying a small business in Montevallo with family or friends. However, he stayed in the service. On 22 Jun 1945 John complete Advanced Four Engine Air Transport Training at Homestead, FL and received his Instrument Pilot Certificate. This qualified him to act as the first pilot on C-54 and C-87 aircraft. On 2 Jul 1945 he received his Civil Aeronautics Administration commercial multi-engine airplane rating and associated pilot certification. On 14 Jul 1945 he piloted a B24J bomber from the United States through Canton Island, Fiji Island to Brisbane, Australia, where the bomber was delivered to the Australian Air Force; John then returned through New Guinea, Los Negros Island, and Tarawa to the United States.

After three years in the military, John was torn by wanting to establish a business when the war was over, feeling he was wasting his time in the military and that he would have done much better in life if he could have attended college instead. At that time he thought about various business opportunities and was particularly interested in getting a coca cola franchise, buying a gas station, starting a plumbing business, buying a farm and starting a chicken growing business, or going to dental school for three years. Just after the war ended in Aug 1945 when John was anxious to get out of the military and start a business, he was hospitalized from 21 Sep 1945 until 12 Feb 1948 for alkylosing spondilitis / rheumatoid spondylitis, a spine joint inflamation causing severe fatigue, pain and stiffness in the back, and neuralgia and for which there was no cure. Much of his hospitalization time was spent unable to sit up in bed.

With John's illness and extensive hospitalization he became isolated from meeting women, one of his continuous favorite pastimes. In mid-Nov 1947 he met Janet Marshall to whom he proposed marriage on his birthday 6 Dec 1947 after only a few dates. This fast track was out of character for him. John greatly admired her and believed she was smart with a great personality and of course very good looking. He thought he "would never get a woman like her to love" him and planned on a 1948 wedding, but by the next month he was losing interest and began dating other women as soon as he arrived on Guam in Jul 1948.

On 1 Sep 1948 John met the woman he described as the second-best-looking woman on Guam with light red hair, tall and a good body named "Virginia or Ginny" Freseman. He had seen her ten days before, researched her specifics and got introduced. He took her dancing for their first date and said he was the only person on Guam she had danced with who was tall enough to lay her head on his shoulder. On the date she noted to him that he talked like a confirmed bachelor. He continued to date other women whenever Virginia is not available. By Apr 1949 John was discussing possible marriage to Virginia Freseman, noting there was no finer woman in the world.

During his military service career John designed and built an addition to an aircraft engine to save maintenance time. He flew C-54s, C-87s, C-47s, P-38s, PT-17s, AT-9s, AT-10s, B-24s, BT-13s and B-17s and traveled to England, Australia, Hawaii, Guam and Japan. John received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf clusters, American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the European Theater of Operations ribbon with three battle stars.

John was promoted to captain effective 31 Oct 1950 and was retired with eighty percent disability for rheumatoid arthritis on 30 Nov 1950 at Sheppard Air Force Base, TX after 8 years 7.5 months of service, including 2 years and 22 days of foreign service. If there was one thing he could have changed about his life, John would have elected not to have had this disease. In later years he also fought alcohol addiction after his civilian government retirement.

After leaving the service in 1950, John bought and enjoyed his first farm -- a crop and cattle farm -- outside Uniontown, AL with funds from his grandmother-in-law Ella Virginia August Perry. John jacked up, moved and restored an old farm house for the family to live in. John plowed, planted, seeded and fertilized and left the working of the crops without direct supervision to tenant farmer Letha Williams and her sons, resulting in only 4 bales of cotton from 8 acres of land and leaving John highly indignant. On 1 Apr 1953 someone from Marion, AL reported to the US Attorney in Mobile, AL that John was holding the tenant, who had already moved away, in involuntary servitude and slavery. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the allegations and found them unfounded. The actual issue, according to the FBI report, appeared to be a neighbor, possibly the adjacent Williams family, wanted public access through John's farm and was stirring up trouble. John had constructed a cattle gap to keep his cattle in and terminated public access on the road through his property; it was clearly stated someone wanted the disputed right of way investigated. The allegations noted John "was a stranger in the area and not getting along with his neighbors" as rationale. Although John's daughter Ginny only lived at the farm until age six, she well remembers whenever it rained it was impossible to get in or out of the property because of the deep mud on that road -- hence the name her parents conveyed to the farm: Mud Lark. Unfortunately about 1956 or 1957 lightening struck John's barn while he was backing his year's supply of hay into the barn, destroying the crop, barn and part of his livestock and subsequently forcing the farm's sale. The home itself was being used as a hunting lodge in 2005.

The Winslett family next moved to a large rambler with out buildings on the John Boozer farm in Marion Junction, AL, as isolated in the country as Mud Lark had been, and surrounded by a large acreage of pasture land, cattle and a stream. The family lived there rent free with no written agreement from about 1957 until 1966 when John Boozer suddenly died and his heirs required the Winsletts to move; the home was burned down after they moved away. The family next linved in an aging antibellum home in Marion, AL for two years; there was no central heat so other than the kitchen, adjoining family room and the upstairs bedrooms where John installed gas heat, the family had to scurry through the rest of the house in the winter.

John was employed selling farm real estate and insurance until 1957. He then purchased a Ford dealership in Marion, AL which he managed until 1963. After that he had an electric motor rewinding shop at home in the country in Marion Junction, AL and did bee keeping until 1968. With his meager resources, the family survived mainly on his military disability payments. During these years in Alabama John never traveled far from home, participating only in several family vacations to visit his wife's Washington DC family during the summer.

A lover of pop and classical music, John particularly enjoyed Ray Anthony II's music including Your Other Love, This Love of Mine, Dream Dancing, I'll Never Smile Again, Out of Nowhere, I Only Have Eyes for You, Street of Dreams, Stars Fell on Alabama, I Don't Know Why I Just Do, Laura, Moonlight in Vermont, September Song, Wayne King's Blue Danube and Viennese Waltz, Bing Crosby's You Belong to My Heart, Glenn Miller's Elmer's Tune and Star Dust, Sentimental Journey, Rose Mary, Will Bradley's A City Called Heaven, and Tom Dorsey's I'll Never Smile Again with Frank Sinatra.

After years of John and Virginia writing up his military and civilian experiences in maintenance engineering and management and in sales and general management to attain federal government civil service ratings, John evenually received a job offer as an automotive equipment specialist for the US Army in Taegu, Korea. In about Apr1968 John joined the US Army as a civiliam in South Korea; no authorization was provided for his family to accompany him so they moved as close as they could in Japan. By this point, however, John and Virginia had grown apart. John met his second wife Lisa upon arrival in Korea.

John received Outstanding Performance Ratings in 1969, 1971 and 1972 and on 20 Feb 1970 as a GS11 became the Transportation Officer, 19th General Support Group, US Army where he was responsible for all transportation functions. On 11 Oct 1970 John hit and killed a Korean man who ran in front of his car on a highway; his passenger supported John's statement that the accident was unavoidable. In 1973 John submitted a suggestion for a tire destroying machine; it is unknown if it was implemented.

On 1 Nov 1973 when his sequential assignments in Korea ended, John and Lisa moved to San Ramon, CA. Self-inflicted controversy flared before, during and after this move. John started his new job in the US. Lisa was supervising the packing of their household goods, when the US and Korean Army Criminal Investigation Division, Korean Police, Korean Customs and Korean military personnel searched their home and confiscated without receipting for them some of John's hand tools, stating the tools were US government property. Because John absolutely loved and regularly collected tools it was logical that he had many. John filed a Nov 1973 grievance to recoup tool costs; a vise and grinder were apparently returned but there was no indication he was paid for his claimed tools. Furthermore, at the same time the CID confiscated and did receipt some office supplies, household goods, and clothing items they claimed as US government property. Racial bias allegations were also made between John and the CID chief. Of note, John's oldest daughter also lived in Korea and about this time and most anything available to US government workers was also available on the Korean black market, including items rationed to US purchasers. Although the government claim was apparently eventually dropped, the impact of this negative situation was long-lasting.

In Mar 1976 John was working as a GS11 General Equipment and Transportation specialist at US Army Readiness Region IX, Maintenance Facility, Alameda Island, Oakland, CA. In Apr 1976 he was offered and accepted a GS11 position as an Administrative Officer in Taegu, Korea and readied his family and household to move to Korea again. However, the position offer was rescinded as a result of his grievance three years before regarding his tools, and in May 1976 John filed a grievance to recoup his abortive move costs followed by a grievance to disallow the rescinding of the new assignment. John filed a reprisal case which he won on 30 Nov 1976 and thus was given priority consideration for the next position he was qualified for overseas as Transportation Officer, Camp Carroll Depot, Korea. Because he did not receive priority consideration, he filed a grievance against the official who ignored the priority placement decision. Ultimately, John decided it was best not to return to Korea because of the negative aftermath of the CID claim.

Some explanation is required regarding John's multiple divorce dates. John secured a divorce, probably in 1973 before his Oct 1973 marriage to Lisa, claiming he did not know where Virginia lived -- although he did know and corresponded with their daughters. Virginia had the divorce set aside as fraudulent and pursued her own divorce action in Alabama court. In the 21 Jan 1975 Alabama final judgment of divorce Virginia was granted $1 alimony, $7,600 moving costs for her return to the US, $500 lawyer's fees and $500 monthly child support. Virginia then filed legal action in California to establish a sister state divorce decree; on 7 Oct 1981 her 1975 monetary awards, other than child support, were dismissed and Virginia received $12,000 spousal support for 1981-1983, a gain of almost $4000 which likely covered her lawyer's fees, and not much more given the six years she pursued this effort. The mental stress was tremedous in her endeavor.

In Sep 1978 John was still working in Oakland CA as a GG11 Equipment Specialist and was recommended for a quality step increase for outstanding performance over the past 12 months. In 1979 he became a Universal Life Church minister for tax purposed but did not use it for taxes because he did not qualify. His work papers after 1978 are non-existent except he also received a sustainted superior performance rating in 1985. John retired from from civil service in San Francisco, CA in 1987 at age 68.

As John got older he moved from drinking moderately to heavily, especially at 8th Army Air Force reunions after he moved to the Alabama farm when he exhibited the signs of strong addiction. He was unable to keep the promises he made to his wife Lisa and daughter Ginny to stop.

John resided in San Ramon, CA from the time he moved to California in Oct 1973 until in 1998 when he and Lisa sold their California real estate and purchased his second farm -- a hundred acres with multiple springs and ponds in the Calera, AL hills. He enjoyed rising with the birds and working hard on his farm daily. John was often using his tractor to haul dirt, pull downed trees from the woods for firewood or garden until the day he died -- long after the age when he had said his own father should not have been piloting a tractor. Other times he was working in his massive four-stall workshop where he truly had at least four of every tool known to man, including a number of antique tools that had belonged to his father, at least twenty large hand-carried tool boxes and several full-size rolling tool chests. With this awesome collection of all types of tools John could make or repair anything, his specialties being carpentry, electric wiring and plumbing. John and his wife Lisa contracted to have the rambler farm house doubled in size. Then they expanded and deepened the original spring-fed pond and added two other ponds closer to the house, literally giving them a country home on the water. Lisa planted a huge garden at the entrance to the property and surrounded the pond banks with wildflowers.

John was an elegant writer though he never wrote much after the war; his European war diary is a fine example. He always wanted to stay home and preferred not to sightsee or travel. His Irish blood ensured he was always hard at work. Among John's hobbies were photography, fishing and hunting, especially with his brothers during the holidays. He especially enjoyed all aspects of nature and knew much about them; on his farm this included the wild turkeys, huge springs, fish, coyotes, plants, rocks and soil. He had a strong love for his family and grandchildren.

John could be stunningly critical of people and was a consummate racist throughout his life. When John's parents died, he believed he and his siblings lined up according to two camps. There were those who wanted to profit by their parents' deaths, even trying to introduce a new "will." On the other side he believed were those siblings able to cite exacting details of how they had sacrificed for their parents. In particular his sister Willie noted she faithfully devoted time and attention to her parents at the expense of her own family, especially when her brother Craddock was tragically killed, her father was ill and her mother was too deeply depressed to cope with the children still at home and house work. After high school Willie also had to forego her college scholarship to stay home and help her mother.

John enjoyed an extensive correspondence with his daughter Virginia focused on the vagaries of Alabama life they had together known -- weather, nature, illness, repairs of all kinds, family and genealogy.

On 29 Jun 2001 John came down with slight pneumonia and was prescribed by a doctor Tequin, a then-known medication causing heart issues and death. During the night he suddenly asked to be taken to the hospital because of shortness of breath and then said instead emergency support should be called. Although two emergency teams arrived quickly, while six technicians were stablizing him, John had a massive heart attack and died at home on the farm that he so loved. He had a military funeral with a twenty-one gun salute and was buried in the Winslett family plot in Montevallo, AL beside his parents.

Detailed sources:

--Combat Squadrons of the Air Force: World War II, US Air Force, 2 Dec 2010, https://media.defense.gov/2010/Dec/02/2001329899/-1/-1/0/AFD-101202-002.pdf.5,6,3,7

Child of Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett and Lisa Yang Cha Yim


  1. [S365] Marin Caidin, B-17s in WW II.
  2. [S81] Joel Winslett and Oma Strong Bible.
  3. [S259] John Winslett WW II Diary.
  4. [S258] Interview, John Dixon Winslett, 1998.
  5. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."
  6. [S123] Willie Lee Winslett (1912-2007) Interview, Sep 1992, Feb 1994, 1995, 1998.
  7. [S82] Interviews, Henry and Amanda Winslett, 1965-1968.

Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett1

F, ID# 5
Father:Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett (6 Dec 1919 - 30 Jun 2001)
Mother:Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman (23 Mar 1923 - 2 Apr 1985)
Charts:Virginia Custis Winslett lineage
     Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett is the daughter of Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett and Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman. Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett married COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt, son of Frederick Lamar Schmidt and Juanita 'Jan' Bessie Counts, on 13 Jun 1981 at Virginia Episcopal Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia. Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett and COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt were divorced on 20 May 1988 at Alexandria, Virginia. Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett married Lt Col James "Jim" Franklin Guzzi on 17 Mar 1990 at Alexandria, Virginia. Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett married Richard Carl Murphy, son of SGT Richard Patrick Murphy and Dorothea 'Dotti' Marie McCabe, on 27 Jun 2009 at Immanuel on the Hill Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Virginia.

Child of Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett and COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt

Child of Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett and Lt Col James "Jim" Franklin Guzzi


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt1

M, ID# 6, (7 Apr 1940 - 7 Apr 2017)
Father:Frederick Lamar Schmidt (3 Aug 1912 - 1 Jun 1967)
Mother:Juanita 'Jan' Bessie Counts (29 Apr 1913 - 21 Oct 2000)
     COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt was born on 7 Apr 1940 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was the son of Frederick Lamar Schmidt and Juanita 'Jan' Bessie Counts. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt married Shirley Anna Hilty, daughter of Glenn Wingate Hilty and Itha Jane Allgire, on 27 Feb 1965 at Shelbyville, Indiana. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt married Leanne Madeline Daggett, daughter of Marvin Francis Daggett and Marjorie Pauline Finkle, in Aug 1969 at Upper Marlboro, Maryland. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt and Leanne Madeline Daggett were divorced on 2 May 1977 at Wyandotte Co, Kansas. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt married Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett, daughter of Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett and Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman, on 13 Jun 1981 at Virginia Episcopal Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt and Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett were divorced on 20 May 1988 at Alexandria, Virginia. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt married Robyn Adair Warren, daughter of Alvin Clifford Warren and Barbara Barnes, on 14 Jul 2000 at Fort Ward Park, Alexandria, Virginia. COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt died on 7 Apr 2017 at Alexandria, Fairfax Co, Virginia, at age 77. He was buried on 6 Oct 2017 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington Co, Virginia.
      Gerald "Jerry" Lamar Schmidt graduated from Bristow High School in Bristow, OK on 23 May 1958 where he was in the National Honor Society, Student Council, Debate Team, yearbook staff, chorus and played on the golf and basketball teams.

Jerry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Letters at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK on 27 May 1962 and completed his master of arts degree in English at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH on 16 Mar 1967. After teaching English at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS from Sep 1967 to May 1971, he returned to the University of Oklahoma, where he completed all course work for his doctorate in American Literature in 1977, but he elected to change career fields and join the Department of Defense and thus did not complete his dissertation.

Jerry served as an active duty officer in the United States Army beginning 7 Jul 1962 as a 2nd lieutenant, was promoted to 1st lieutenant on 5 May 1964, achieved a sharp shooter weapons qualification badge, and retired as a 1st lieutenant on 15 Dec 1964. He then joined the Army Reserves on 16 Dec 1964 as a 1st lieutenant. In 1976 Jerry completed the US Army Command and General Staff College, a graduate school at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Specializing in Military Intelligence as a Russian expert, Jerry rose to the rank of Colonel on 15 Nov 1982 and commanded the army's intelligence research unit, the 439th Military Intelligence Detachment, US Army Reserves at Fort George Meade in MD. He received the National Defense Service Medal.

Simultaneously with his military reserve career, Jerry worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon, Washington DC where he was on the research publication staff before moving to the Chief Financial Office staff from where he retired in 2003.

An avid golf player, Jerry played from his early years in middle school through his 70s and tried mightily to spend as much time as possible playing.

Jerry and his wife Ginny enjoyed going to antique stores and auctions, such as Wilson's country auction in Delaware, and even started Victorian Antiques furniture business together -- buying, restoring and selling antiques. In his later years, he spent considerable time with his son Daniel whom he loved with all his heart.

At the University of Oklahoma his friends noted Jerry's droll, laconic attitude toward almost everything and his quirky cynicism, wit and much more. His colleagues said Jerry seemed a man of few words, but his dry sense of humor made people laugh. Despite being a senior military officer, Jerry also had a very gentle side. Jerry was a role model for some, an example of excellence for others and a mentor to friends. He was a scholar and instructive to young students in the family. Jerry did not believe criticism was the best way to teach. Jerry was highly devoted to his son and connected in the last year of his life with a grand baby, showing the greatest devotion and love, and enriching him and the baby beyond words.

Jerry died at home surrounded by family after being ill for months, culminating in congestive heart failure and multiple pneumonias. He was buried in plot 62, grave 1136 at Arlington National Cemetery. Jerry's eulogy was presented by Nels Randolph Benson on 6 Oct 2017 at Arlington National Cemetery:

"I could share a lot of information about Jerry that you all probably already know and may have read in his obituary. Where he went to school, I would be remiss if I did not mention his Oklahoma Sooners, the fact that he was a scholar and an athlete, his career in the U.S. Army and at the DIA, his personal life and his love of is family and the game of golf.

All of that has been said, and all of that will remain long after we have gone our separate ways after today. By all accounts Jerry led an exemplary life, a good life, and one that was filled with what he enjoyed, but all of the information in his obituary does not really account for who Jerry really was as a person, it is a mere portion of the hyphen between the date of his birth April 7, 1940 and the day of his death, April 7, 2017. I hope that the events today, will make you think of that, your time with Jerry, and moving on, how will you fill that hyphen?

I can just hear Jerry’s quick laugh or chuckle, the cynicism and wit, at the thought and the irony that he died on his birthday.

To me, I will always remember Jerry for really two things; his kind and gentle nature, and his acute intelligence. There are nice people in this world, there are good people I this world, and there are the others…you know the not so nice, and the less than good, but Jerry was a really good guy. The people in his orbit, those close to him and their family, they were what was important to him, many of you are here today and this is good, that you are here to say farewell to man whom you all meant so much.

As for me, Jerry was one of those rare people who you might not see for awhile and in an instant you were caught-up and it was like you never missed a beat or any of the time apart – that hyphen. He literally bailed me out of jam, when I was young and not so smart. He taught me, while I taught him, relative to keeping his properties upkept, it put change in my pocket, I learned from his and his perspective, and put his faith in young man who was trying to find his way. Jerry was a very smart man, but he didn’t beat you over the head with his intelligence or his experience, he hoped to provide some information and let you find your own way. I thought that was really cool.

I miss Jerry; I miss knowing that Jerry is not around and it makes me take stock of the time (that pesky hyphen) and how I spend my time with the people around me. So you see, Jerry has provided a little information, and I am figuring it out. He was a really good guy. I hope you all will raise a glass to Jerry at lunch, I will raise one this evening. Thanks."1

Child of COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt and Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Daniel Lamar Winslett Schmidt1,2

M, ID# 7
Father:COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt (7 Apr 1940 - 7 Apr 2017)
Mother:Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett
     Daniel Lamar Winslett Schmidt is the son of COL Gerald 'Jerry' Lamar Schmidt and Virginia "Ginny" Custis Winslett.


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."
  2. [S324] Daniel Schmidt Confirmation, 10 Jan 1999.

Marianne Southall Winslett1

F, ID# 8
Father:Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett (6 Dec 1919 - 30 Jun 2001)
Mother:Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman (23 Mar 1923 - 2 Apr 1985)
     Marianne Southall Winslett is the daughter of Capt John 'Johnnie' Dixon Winslett and Virginia "Gingy" Custis Freseman. Marianne Southall Winslett married David Chester Wilkins, son of Joseph Wilkins and Clare Theobald, on 11 Nov 1983 at Immanuel on the Hill Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Virginia. Marianne Southall Winslett and David Chester Wilkins were divorced in Dec 1989 at Urbana, Illinois. Marianne Southall Winslett and Eric Jon Bina were engaged on 5 Dec 1992 at Champaign, Illinois.

Child of Marianne Southall Winslett and Eric Jon Bina


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Phyllis Langfitt Freseman

F, ID# 9, (3 Aug 1927 - 8 May 2010)
Father:RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman (1 Dec 1901 - 8 Dec 1970)
Mother:Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry (19 Nov 1898 - 2 Apr 1991)
     Phyllis Langfitt Freseman was born on 3 Aug 1927 at Annapolis, Maryland. She was the daughter of RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry. Phyllis Langfitt Freseman was christened on 8 Jul 1928 at Church of the Epiphany, Washington, District of Columbia. She married Carl A. Kramer on 8 Sep 1952 at Baltimore, Maryland. Phyllis Langfitt Freseman died on 8 May 2010 at Fairfax, Virginia, at age 82.
      Phyllis Langfitt Freseman had an idyllic childhood, traveling around the world and living in places such as Samoa and Hawaii. In college she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and graduated from George Washington University in 1950.

Phyllis married against the odds going against very strong social views including those of her mother and grandmother. She eloped because she came from an old line Protestant southern style upbringing and her husband from a working class Jewish immigrant family.

Phyllis worked in Washington DC and Chicago, IL until 1958 and then continued her life as a homemaker, loving wife and mother, community volunteer and life long member of the Episcopal Church. Throughout her life Phyllis was an avid reader, helping children and adults to learn to read, and was a generous patron of many worthy causes. She stressed tolerance -- to treat people fairly and to never prejudge a person based on anything. Phyllis assisted at the county schools, tutoring students and adults who could not read; she loved reading and learning and believed everyone needed to be able to read. Being a depression era child, Phyllis had a very practical side and always had extra food in the freezer for visitors, making certain everyone had extra food and love when there was little money. What little extra money she had, she made sure was shared with charities and her church to help those less fortunate.

Phyllis loved classical music, the symphony, ballet and opera. She taught her children life was not fair but to look for the joy and happiness in your life. Phyllis resided on Park Hill Place in Fairfax, VA until her death.


Carl A. Kramer

M, ID# 10, (1927 - 12 Dec 1990)
     Carl A. Kramer was born in 1927 at Washington, District of Columbia. He married Phyllis Langfitt Freseman, daughter of RADM William 'Bill' Langfitt Freseman and Virginia 'Ginia' Custis Perry, on 8 Sep 1952 at Baltimore, Maryland. Carl A. Kramer died on 12 Dec 1990 at Fairfax, Virginia. He was buried at Fairfax, Virginia.
      Carl A. Kramer was an award winning photograher for the Washington Post, a major newspaper in Washington, DC. He spent much of his career as a photo editor. In 1963 he spent hours at the Lincoln Memorial working on a panoramic shot for the civil rights demonstration of 28 August at which Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. In 1965 he received the White House News Photgraphers' Associateion grand prize and its top prize for spot news for a shot he took at Cape Canaveral, FL during a space launch. His picture was a juxtaposition of a seagull taking flight at dawn as a massive rocket was launched.

Alan Custis Kramer

M, ID# 11
Father:Carl A. Kramer (1927 - 12 Dec 1990)
Mother:Phyllis Langfitt Freseman (3 Aug 1927 - 8 May 2010)
     Alan Custis Kramer is the son of Carl A. Kramer and Phyllis Langfitt Freseman. Alan Custis Kramer married Shirley Scott on 16 Jun 1979 at Burke, Virginia.

Phyllis 'Deedee' Southall Kramer

F, ID# 12
Father:Carl A. Kramer (1927 - 12 Dec 1990)
Mother:Phyllis Langfitt Freseman (3 Aug 1927 - 8 May 2010)
     Phyllis 'Deedee' Southall Kramer is the daughter of Carl A. Kramer and Phyllis Langfitt Freseman. Phyllis 'Deedee' Southall Kramer married Mark Thomas Nussmeier on 25 Sep 1993 at Hope Valley, California.

Virginia 'Ginna' Perry Kramer

F, ID# 13
Father:Carl A. Kramer (1927 - 12 Dec 1990)
Mother:Phyllis Langfitt Freseman (3 Aug 1927 - 8 May 2010)
     Virginia 'Ginna' Perry Kramer is the daughter of Carl A. Kramer and Phyllis Langfitt Freseman. Virginia 'Ginna' Perry Kramer married Michael Connor on 22 Oct 1988.

Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry1,2

F, ID# 14, (2 Oct 1901 - 17 Feb 1998)
Father:Custis Russell Perry (6 Dec 1868 - 24 Jul 1947)
Mother:Ella Virginia Auguste (11 May 1870 - 19 Oct 1971)
     Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry was born on 2 Oct 1901 at Washington, District of Columbia. She was the daughter of Custis Russell Perry and Ella Virginia Auguste. Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry married LT Wilson Burns Trundle on 15 Jul 1924 at Epiphany Church, Washington, District of Columbia. Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry and LT Wilson Burns Trundle were divorced c 1929 at Washington, District of Columbia. Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry married RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson, son of Nels August Bengtson and Pauline Buehler, on 28 Apr 1934 at Washington, District of Columbia. Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry died on 17 Feb 1998 at Huntsville, Madison Co, Alabama, at age 96. She was buried on 6 Mar 1998 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington Co, Virginia.
      Gertrude "Petsie" Douglas Perry was born at 610 21st St NW, Washington, DC. Originally a blonde, her hair turned dark while she was still a child. She attended the prestigous Western High School in Washington, DC.

In 1931 Petsie was writing from 128 Tradd Street in Charleston, SC. She was introduced to her future second husband William "Toon" Benson by her brother-in-law, William Freseman. Petsie traveled with her husband ADM William Benson on many military assignments and lived in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor. She and her sister Virginia accompanied their husbands to naval assignments in China, Samoa and Honolulu, Hawaii at the same time.

When her husband retired from the military Petsie and Toon settled at 3417 Halcyon Dr, Alexandria, VA where she spent many successful hours tending to her indoor and outdoor gardens. Infected with a green thumb at an early age, she was able to coax plants into remarkable performances. She was a member of the China Tiffin Club and a ladies sewing circle along with her sister Virgina. She kept a home of museum-like quality with many artifacts from the Orient prominently displayed.

Children of Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry and RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson


  1. [S12] "Ella Virginia Auguste Perry (1870-1971) Research: Collection of hand-written Lanphier, Martin, Perry, Russell and Other Family Documents."
  2. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

LT Wilson Burns Trundle1

M, ID# 15, (a 1899 - )
     LT Wilson Burns Trundle was born a 1899. He married Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry, daughter of Custis Russell Perry and Ella Virginia Auguste, on 15 Jul 1924 at Epiphany Church, Washington, District of Columbia. LT Wilson Burns Trundle and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry were divorced c 1929 at Washington, District of Columbia. LT Wilson Burns Trundle was buried at Danville, Virginia.
      Lt Wilson Burns Trundle was in the Marine Corps.


  1. [S12] "Ella Virginia Auguste Perry (1870-1971) Research: Collection of hand-written Lanphier, Martin, Perry, Russell and Other Family Documents."

RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson1

M, ID# 16, (28 Jun 1902 - 23 Jan 1991)
Father:Nels August Bengtson (a 1876 - )
Mother:Pauline Buehler (a 1881 - )
     RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson was born on 28 Jun 1902 at Markhut, Vittsjo, Sweden. He was the son of Nels August Bengtson and Pauline Buehler. RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson immigrated in 1902. He married Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry, daughter of Custis Russell Perry and Ella Virginia Auguste, on 28 Apr 1934 at Washington, District of Columbia. RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson died on 23 Jan 1991 at Alexandria, Virginia, at age 88. He was buried on 29 Jan 1991 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington Co, Virginia.
      Rear Admiral William Lewis Benson was born in Sweden to American parents and grew up in New York state. He was a 1925 US Naval Academy graduate, received a master's degree in education from George Washington University, and graduated from the Naval War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. During the 1930s he taught English at the Naval Academy and served in naval war plans.

William was an engineering officer on the battleship Oklahoma when the ship was attacked and destroyed at Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941 and he helped direct the rescue of sailors trapped below decks. Later during the war while serving aboard the cruiser Brooklyn in the Pacific, William rescued troops from a sinking transport. He commanded a destroyer division that provided shore bombardment of Normandy during the D-Day invasion of northern France and a destroyer unit that acted as a carrier screen during the invasion of southern France. He served on Atlantic convoy duty and commanded a destroyer squadron in the Pacific during the war.

William's postwar assignments included command of the cruiser Fresno and service as a Pacific Fleet assistant chief of staff. His last post was at Green Cove Springs, FL before he retired from active duty in 1955 and settled in Alexandria, VA. His decorations included two Legions of Merit.

William taught mathematics and science at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA from 1956 to 1967 and then at the Congressional School of Virginia in Falls Church, VA in 1967 and 1968. He taught mechanical engineering and drawing at the Bullis School in Potomac, MD from 1968 to 1970.

Cared for by his grandson Nels Benson, he died at home from complications of prostate cancer and pneumonia.


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

MAJ William Lewis Benson II1

M, ID# 17
Father:RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson (28 Jun 1902 - 23 Jan 1991)
Mother:Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry (2 Oct 1901 - 17 Feb 1998)
     MAJ William Lewis Benson II is the son of RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry. MAJ William Lewis Benson II married Anne Flournoy Hayes, daughter of James Washington Hayes and Sydnor Walker, on 14 Jul 1962 at Bedford, Virginia. MAJ William Lewis Benson II and Anne Flournoy Hayes were divorced on 6 Jan 1969 at Alexandria, Virginia. MAJ William Lewis Benson II married Sigrid Harriet Weeks, daughter of RADM Robert Harper Weeks and Reina Alvord, on 29 Aug 1969 at Arlington, Virginia. MAJ William Lewis Benson II married Lila Katherine Holmes on 9 Mar 2002 at McDonough, Georgia.

Child of MAJ William Lewis Benson II and Anne Flournoy Hayes


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

CAPT Perry Southall Benson

M, ID# 18
Father:RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson (28 Jun 1902 - 23 Jan 1991)
Mother:Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry (2 Oct 1901 - 17 Feb 1998)
     CAPT Perry Southall Benson is the son of RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry. CAPT Perry Southall Benson married Marie-Louise Hayden, daughter of Robert Evans Hayden, on 1 Oct 1963 at Honolulu, Hawaii. CAPT Perry Southall Benson and Marie-Louise Hayden were divorced on 20 Dec 1987 at Panama City, Florida. CAPT Perry Southall Benson married Celeste Marie Katherine Graves, daughter of Joseph A. Graves, on 5 May 1990 at Chapel One, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Child of CAPT Perry Southall Benson and Marie-Louise Hayden

Child of CAPT Perry Southall Benson and Celeste Marie Katherine Graves

Anne Flournoy Hayes

F, ID# 19
Father:James Washington Hayes (a 1917 - )
Mother:Sydnor Walker (a 1922 - )
     Anne Flournoy Hayes is the daughter of James Washington Hayes and Sydnor Walker. Anne Flournoy Hayes married MAJ William Lewis Benson II, son of RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry, on 14 Jul 1962 at Bedford, Virginia. Anne Flournoy Hayes and MAJ William Lewis Benson II were divorced on 6 Jan 1969 at Alexandria, Virginia. Anne Flournoy Hayes married Nikita "Nick" Soukahnov on 15 Feb 1969 at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, District of Columbia.

Child of Anne Flournoy Hayes and MAJ William Lewis Benson II

Child of Anne Flournoy Hayes and Nikita "Nick" Soukahnov

Nels Randolph Benson

M, ID# 20
Father:MAJ William Lewis Benson II
Mother:Anne Flournoy Hayes
     Nels Randolph Benson is the son of MAJ William Lewis Benson II and Anne Flournoy Hayes. Nels Randolph Benson married Ellen Elizabeth Feehan on 9 May 1998 at Saint Mary's Church, Fredericksburg, Virginia.1

Children of Nels Randolph Benson and Ellen Elizabeth Feehan


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Sigrid Harriet Weeks1

F, ID# 21, (30 Jan 1935 - 10 Feb 2020)
Father:RADM Robert Harper Weeks (a 1910 - )
Mother:Reina Alvord (a 1914 - )
     Sigrid Harriet Weeks was born on 30 Jan 1935 at Honolulu, Hawaii. She was the daughter of RADM Robert Harper Weeks and Reina Alvord. Sigrid Harriet Weeks married Rev Theodore Mayo Atkinson II c 1959 at Newport, Rhode Island. Sigrid Harriet Weeks and Rev Theodore Mayo Atkinson II were divorced in 1969. Sigrid Harriet Weeks married MAJ William Lewis Benson II, son of RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry, on 29 Aug 1969 at Arlington, Virginia. Sigrid Harriet Weeks died on 10 Feb 2020 at Woodbridge, Virginia, at age 85.
      Sigrid Harriet Weeks graduated in 1957 from George Washington University in Washington DC.


  1. [S1] "Virginia Winslett Research."

Marie-Louise Hayden

F, ID# 22
Father:Robert Evans Hayden (a 1915 - )
     Marie-Louise Hayden is the daughter of Robert Evans Hayden. Marie-Louise Hayden married CAPT Perry Southall Benson, son of RADM William 'Toon' Lewis Benson and Gertrude 'Petsie' 'Pet' Douglas Perry, on 1 Oct 1963 at Honolulu, Hawaii. Marie-Louise Hayden and CAPT Perry Southall Benson were divorced on 20 Dec 1987 at Panama City, Florida.

Child of Marie-Louise Hayden and CAPT Perry Southall Benson

William 'Bill' Robert Benson

M, ID# 23
Father:CAPT Perry Southall Benson
Mother:Marie-Louise Hayden
     William 'Bill' Robert Benson is the son of CAPT Perry Southall Benson and Marie-Louise Hayden. William 'Bill' Robert Benson married Patricia 'Patty' Yvette Carpenter on 24 Oct 1986.

Robert Evans Hayden

M, ID# 24, (a 1915 - )
     Robert Evans Hayden was born a 1915.

Child of Robert Evans Hayden

Isaac Perry1,2,3

M, ID# 25, (1761 - 1821)
     Isaac Perry was born in 1761 at Belfast, Co Antrim, Ireland. He married Mary Smith a 1796. Isaac Perry died in 1821 at Ballymacarrett, Co Down, Ireland.
      Issac Perry worked as a linen weaver. Ballymacarrett, where he died, was a village on the outskirts of Belfast during the nineteenth century and became part of Belfast during the twentieth century; Knockbreda formed part of Ballymacarrett. In 1821 Isaac and Mary Perry were living in Knockbreda with their youngest four children, a daughter-in-law, and an apprentice to the weaving trade.

Perry families in Ireland tended to call their homes "Perrymount" in counties Down, Tyrone, and Wexford.

Many Irish records that could have been used to support genealogical research were destroyed by insurrectionists in 1922. Some research indicated that Isaac Perry was born circa 1761 and died circa 1821; Julia Perry Knight's research indicated he was born 1746 and died 1806. Census data from 1821 was used to establish the above dates.

The Perry family is one with several divergent and yet well-founded origins. Perry-Peerys were Huguenots who fled France after the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve in 1572 via Wales or perhaps Lombardia, Italy to England, Ireland and Scotland. Huguenots characteristically changed the name spelling to protect family members who stayed behind with each move or each new generation. The name appeared on English records in 1176. The Welsh Perrys evolved as a surname in the sixteenth century along the coast from the contraction of the two words ap Harry meaning son of Harry. The Perie-Pirrie spelling which is common in Aberdeen and Banff, Scotland could have derived from Pierre in France. There are both Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Perrys residing in Ireland. Whereas the Welsh and English Perrys show no direct relationship, they share the same crest with different mottos. The male christian family names were usually John, Thomas, William and David.

There is a tremendous amount of data on the Perry-Peery family written by Thomas L. Peery, 3952 West 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043 from 1967 to 1973 when he faced increasingly ill health in his mid seventies. I have not been able to connect any of the data to our Perry line, but connections may materialize in the future. Mr. Peery was possessed by the genealogical craze but slowed by his rambling mind which produced incredibly speculative and redundant letters written to Elizabeth Harriet Perry, my ancestor. In the evening he would often go into a long trance trying spiritually to get intimate with the ancients. At the same time he was very concerned about authenticating all his research. His response to her Elizabeth Perry's letters shows he was often confused by others' research as well. Nevertheless, Mr. Peery spent considerable funds having professional genealogists research his lines in England, Wales, Scotland, and especially Ireland. The following are some of the people in America with whom he corresponded on genealogy: John M. Peery of Milton, DE and then of 1403 Stein Hwy, Seaford, DE 19973; James O. Perry of Winchester, VA; Dr. Thomas Martin Peery (deceased) of 2115 Belle Haven Road, Alexandria, VA 22307 whose mother was a Martin and his brothers Rev John Peery (family genealogist) in St. Petersburg, FL and Dr. Jack Peery of Fresno, CA; Virginia Peery Moss (also related to the Russells of Accomac Co, VA) of 5715 Main Street, Elkridge, MD; Walter Saunder, Route 2, Box 40, Bluefield, VA 24605; Helen (Charles) L. Blake, Faucette Mill Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278; Elizabeth Peery Kitson of 1105 Pollack Street, Kinston, NC 28501.

Children of Isaac Perry and Mary Smith


  1. [S3] "Elizabeth Harriet Perry Research."
  2. [S41] Julia Perry Lawrence Research.
  3. [S42] 1821 Ballymacarrett (Belfast), Ireland Census Extract: Genealogical Research Prepared for Elizabeth Harriet Perry (1897 - 1904).

Mary Smith1

F, ID# 26, (c 1772 - c 1835)
     Mary Smith was born c 1772 at Ireland ? She married Isaac Perry a 1796. Mary Smith died c 1835.
      Mary Smith had two brothers who came to America during the American Revolution.

Children of Mary Smith and Isaac Perry


  1. [S42] 1821 Ballymacarrett (Belfast), Ireland Census Extract: Genealogical Research Prepared for Elizabeth Harriet Perry (1897 - 1904).

Martin Perry1

M, ID# 27, (a 1813 - )
Father:Isaac Perry (1761 - 1821)
Mother:Mary Smith (c 1772 - c 1835)
     Martin Perry was born a 1813 at Ireland. He was the son of Isaac Perry and Mary Smith.
      Martin Perry was a good scholar. He became a Belfast dry goods manufacturing clerk, then started a grocery business and farmed. He was young, fresh and robust when he became ill and died suddenly.

Children of Martin Perry


  1. [S3] "Elizabeth Harriet Perry Research."

Jane Perry1

F, ID# 28, (a 1808 - )
Father:Isaac Perry (1761 - 1821)
Mother:Mary Smith (c 1772 - c 1835)
     Jane Perry was born a 1808. She was the daughter of Isaac Perry and Mary Smith. Jane Perry married (Unknown) Armstrong a 1828.
      Some of Jane Perry's descendants are in Canada.


  1. [S3] "Elizabeth Harriet Perry Research."

Margaret Perry1

F, ID# 29, (a 1810 - )
Father:Isaac Perry (1761 - 1821)
Mother:Mary Smith (c 1772 - c 1835)
     Margaret Perry was born a 1810. She was the daughter of Isaac Perry and Mary Smith. Margaret Perry married (Unknown) Morton a 1830.
      Margaret Perry was about seventeen when she married, in opposition to her family, a Mr. Morton, a linen weaver who worked with her father, Isaac Perry, and who persuaded her to run away. Pursued by her father, Margaret was overtaken where she was waiting for Morton to return from getting a marriage license. Margaret consented to go home and did so before her intended returned. Subsequently she disappeared while the family was at supper and married. Her new husband had nothing; he enlisted in the county militia and was sent to southern Ireland where he made money in garrison by his ingenuity as a mechanic. Morton was a smart man and was a class leader in the church. Their large family scattered; two sons went to Philadelphia, PA where one was a moulder and the other a cabinet maker. Margaret Perry lost her sight through bad practices of oculists.

Child of Margaret Perry and (Unknown) Morton


  1. [S3] "Elizabeth Harriet Perry Research."

James Perry1

M, ID# 30, (a 1799 - c 1816)
Father:Isaac Perry (1761 - 1821)
Mother:Mary Smith (c 1772 - c 1835)
     James Perry was born a 1799. He was the son of Isaac Perry and Mary Smith. James Perry died c 1816.
      James Perry died unmarried about age twenty-one of typhoid fever.


  1. [S3] "Elizabeth Harriet Perry Research."