Monday, March 25, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Frank W. Lee's Travel Journal, Part 2

(To catch up on this series, "Frank W. Lee's Great Adventure," click HERE.)

Today let me share with you three more entries from Dad's 1932 travel journal.  After leaving his grandmother's home in La Grange, Kentucky, and going to Louisville, Kentucky, Dad traveled by train from Louisville to Williams, Arizona--a trip which took three days. The images below are of the scanned pages of Dad's actual travel journal.

Wed--July 20--32

Left Louisville at 8:15 A. M. on Monon  for Chicago--Heat was terrible, over 100 degrees.  Arrived in Chicago at 5:20, bought Pulman & Canyon ticket & then walked around until time to leave, 10:45 P. M. on the Grand Canyon Limited.

Indiana & Illinois


On train all day although did get off for several minutes in Kansas City, Newton, & Dodge City.  Met 2 boys from Virginia & 1 from Penn.

Missouri & Kansas
Country is nothing but vast plains, no hills & but very few trees.  Large fields of corn, wheat, & potatoes.

July 22--32, Fri

On train all day.  The scenery was very pretty, plateaus(?), wastelands, & mountains.  Saw many Indians & Spaniards.  Arrived  in Williams at 9:30.  Several of us walked around & saw many  ?  sites.  
Also saw many mud or clay villages in N. Mex. where the Indians still live.
Colorado, N. Mex., & Ariz.
Very little farming.  Cattle raising as land (covered?) with sand and sage.

Though Dad was certainly a man of few words, these brief entries contain some interesting tidbits about railroad history.  In the first entry, for example, Dad writes that he went from Louisville to Chicago on the "Monon."  I had never heard of the Monon, and I really thought I was just misreading my dad's handwriting.  When I asked my husband to take a look, he suggested I google "Monon" to see what came up.  (Thank you, dear!)  Well, I discovered that Monon refers to the Monon Railway, also known as the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Louisville Railroad.  Operating as the Monon from 1853-1971, the 300 miles of this railway criss-crossed Indiana. According to, in addition to transporting countless passengers, the Monon also transported Union soldiers and supplies during the Civil War. It also pulled President Lincoln's funeral train for 90 miles.  In 1971, the Monon merged into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and part of the old Monon line is still operated today by CSX.

Dad also writes that he traveled from Chicago to Williams, Arizona, on the Grand Canyon Limited.  Established in 1929, only three years before Dad's great adventure, the Grand Canyon Limited was part of the Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.  It quickly became one of the country's most popular vacation trains, providing access not only to the Grand Canyon but also many other destinations across the United States.  Evidently, Dad traveled in a Pullman Car on his trip.  Since the trip took three days, passengers could purchase tickets to ride in Pullman Cars which provided them with sleeping berths.

What a great way to see America!  Next stop, the Grand Canyon!

Sources:  Monon Railroad Historical Technical Society, Inc., 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Frank Welch Lee's Great Adventure

Frank Welch Lee, age 19, on his Great Adventure
In yesterday's post, I introduced you to a new series I'll be writing for FrankLee, My Dear.  This new series of posts, which will appear here on Mondays and Tuesdays, will focus on my dad's "great adventure" during the summer of 1932.  Yesterday you saw the first entry in his travel journal.

F.W. Lee's
Travel Journal

Today, let me give you a brief preview of the album containing the photos of Dad's trip.  His photo album is just a simple one with a black cover and black paper pages inside.  The front cover has an embossed center that surrounds it's gold-colored title:  Photographs.  The album is in good shape even after spending years in my mom and dad's musty storage room and later my basement.

Frank Welch Lee's 1930's Photo Album

Inside the album are photos of Dad's high school days in Middlesboro, Kentucky, plus photos of his "great adventure."  Dad took the time to create a title or introductory page to the section of the album about his 1932 trip.  He used a white marker or pen for the title page as well as for the labels under some of the photos. The white print shows up well against the black background, but in some places the ink or marker is beginning to smudge.  (Note To Self:  place some archival tissue between the pages of this album soon!)

Title Page  Made By F. W. Lee
1930's Photo Album

I hope you'll visit the blog next week to see the beginnings of Dad's trip.  He'll leave Louisville, Kentucky, and travel by train to California making one "grand" stop along the way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Frank Welch Lee's 1932 Travel Journal

Phi Delta Chi Fraternity Composite
Frank Welch Lee (top row, third from left)
University of Louisville, 1934

In the summer of 1932, my dad, Frank Welch Lee, was nineteen years old and had just completed a year of pharmacy school at the University of Louisville.  A member of  Phi Delta Chi, a pharmacy fraternity, Dad was  elected to attend the fraternity's national convention in Los Angeles, California.  Thus, began my dad's Great Adventure.  For the next few weeks, I'll make use of  Amanuensis Mondays and Travel Tuesdays to share with you the travel journal and the photo album Dad kept during this time.  Those who knew my dad will understand how rare and wonderful this piece of family history is.  For Dad to have traveled is surprising enough, but for this very private man to have documented his trip is almost unbelievable.

When I say that Dad kept a travel journal, what I mean is that he wrote down a few details of his trip in a little 3" x 5" notebook he kept in his shirt pocket. Some of the things he saw and experienced, however, are just amazing. Without further ado, here's Dad's first journal entry.

Entry # 1
Frank Welch Lee's 1932 Travel Journal
Tues--July 19, --32

Left home at 1:40, arrive in Louisville at 9: P.M.  Had a very pleasant trip although was very dusty when arrived.  Spent the night with Jim.  I sure did enjoy talking over old times together.


"Home" in this instance was probably his grandmother's home in La Grange, Kentucky, where Dad often stayed during his breaks from college.  He would have traveled from La Grange to Louisville by train.  The railroad tracks ran through Main Street right in front of the Lee house in La Grange.  The depot was only steps away from the house as well.  "Jim," I assume, was a friend, maybe a college buddy.

At the bottom of the page, written in pencil in a different handwriting, are some numbers and the words "Rains" and "gladiola bulbs."  I think these are probably some notes written by Dad's grandmother, Georgia Lee.  More than likely, Dad borrowed her notebook to serve as his "travel journal."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Frank W. Lee's Baby Book

Frank W. Lee's Baby Book
c. 1912
One hundred years ago today I'm sure my grandmother, Elizabeth Rochester Lee, would have spent a big portion of her day taking care of her three-month old son, my dad, Frank Welch Lee.  I'm glad that she also spent some time writing in dad's baby book!  What a sweet keepsake this baby book is!

The cloth cover is faded, dirty, and literally is shreds. The pages are discolored and some have been left blank.  Nevertheless, the book is a treasure.  Scattered with sweet verses about babies and full of charming illustrations by Frances Brundage and May Sandheim, this baby book was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, "Publishers to Their Majesties the King & Queen."

Opening verses & illustrations plus Title Page 

One of my favorite illustrations in Dad's baby book

What I love most about the book, of course, are the details it contains about my dad as an infant.  I love, too, that these details are written in my grandmother's handwriting.

Baby's First Smile: seen by father & nurse at 4 days old
Baby's First Laugh:  heard by mother at about age 1 month
First Gifts included Beauty pins, gold buttons, ball rattle, cap, booties

First Word:  Daddy
at 5 months old

Also, in the baby book is one photo of Dad, age four months.

Written on the back of this photo:
Frank Lee Jr.
at 4 mo.

Thank you for this, Grandmother.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fridays With Frank: Granddad's Cigars

Frank L. Lee chewing his unlit cigar and filling prescriptions
Lee's Drug Store, Middlesboro, Kentucky, 1954
Sometime during his adult life, my granddad took up cigars.  Not smoking cigars--just keeping a cigar in his mouth.  He never lit his cigars, he just liked to keep a short stub of a cigar between his teeth.  He also liked to carry a variety of cigars in his drug store.   Long after my granddad had passed away, cigars remained part of the merchandise sold at of Lee's Drug Store.  I remember going into the drug store when I was a little girl, and the first thing I would notice upon entering the front door was the smell of the cigars.  I loved that smell!  There was a big glass and wood display case at the front of the store that held boxes of different brands of cigars.  Customers could buy one cigar at a time or whole box of cigars. When a box became empty, both my granddad and my dad would use those empty cigar boxes at home to store cards or letters, keys, spare change, any knickknack that would otherwise clutter up a drawer or the top of a desk.  I still have one or two of those old cigar boxes.  Whenever I run across them, I imagine Granddad chewing on his cigar stub and I remember that wonderful old smell of the drug store.

Frank L. Lee and his cigar
The National Bank, Middlesboro, Kentucky,  c. 1955

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Displaying Family Heirlooms

Old Razors Belonging to Frank L. Lee (top) and Price Southworth

A few years ago, I was cleaning out a closet in our basement when I ran across a box of things I packed away when preparing my parents' house for sale.  I opened the box and found a treasury of memories, history, and love.  I had re-discovered the contents of my dad's top dresser drawer, the place where he kept items that were dear to him.  I found photos, cards that I had given him for his birthday and father's day, old watches, and much more--including a box of my granddad's belongings that Dad had saved.  Well, the closet cleaning was put on hold as I sorted through these prizes.  After I had looked through everything, I found it very difficult to close the box and just store it away on the closet shelf.  I made the decision then to let a few of  my favorite treasures come out of the closet, so to speak.

Since then I have found several ways to display family heirlooms throughout our home.  Why keep all of these wonderful treasures hidden away?  Heirlooms personalize and add character and beauty to your home.  They can be great conversation starters with guests.  Most importantly, perhaps, for your children and relatives, these treasures become the storytellers and teachers of family history.

Display of Old Shaving Items

So from time to time on Treasure Chest Thursdays, I'll show you some of the ways I've displayed family heirlooms in my house.  Today, let me share with you what I've done with some old razors and shaving items.  With the help of my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, I decided to put these things in shadow boxes.  (Lucky for me, my talented brother-in-law is a framer!)  The old straight-edged razors and accessories belonged to my husband's grandfather, Price Southworth, and to my granddad, Frank Lewis Lee.  They now decorate the wall beside my husband's sink in our master bathroom.  It's kind of neat to watch my husband as he shaves right beside these old razors and imagine our grandfathers once doing the same.

Do you have heirlooms displayed in your home?  If so, I'd love to hear or see what you've done with your treasures!  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Father & Son, Frank L. Lee & Frank W. Lee

My Dad & My Granddad
Frank Welch Lee & Frank Lewis Lee
In front of Lee's Drug Store after 1929 flood
Middlesboro, Kentucky, March 1929

Lee's Drug Store and the Flood of 1929

Lee's Drug Store
Fountain Square, Middlesboro, Kentucky
Before the March 1929 Flood
In mid March of 1929, a devastating flood swept through Middlesboro, Kentucky. Among the hardest hit were the businesses in downtown Middlesboro, including Lee's Drug Store.  My dad, Frank Welch Lee, who was sixteen at the time of the flood, recalled to me years later that almost the entire contents of the drug store were carried out into the street by the flood waters.

Lee's Drug Store
After the March 1929 Flood
A few days after the flood, The Middlesboro Daily News reported that the town was busy around the clock cleaning up the mess left by the flood waters.

Middlesboro today is recovering slowly from the effects of the most disasterous flood in the history of the city.  Three full days have passed since the waters receded late Saturday afternoon, after the entire business district and a large residential district were flooded, and the effects of the flood are rapidly disappearing.  A deep mud, ranging from three to six inches deep, still covers the city, but extra cleaning crews by the city are rapidly taking this away in the main business districts.  All of the business houses are still cleaning and mopping and drying, in a courageous effort to get back to normal and save whatever merchandise that is possible. Fully five hundred homes suffered terribly from the waters, ranging in depth in the first floors from a few inches to several feet.

My granddad, my dad, and the employees of Lee's were literally up to their ankles in mud for a time as they worked to clean out and rebuild the drug store.

Lee's Drug Store Employees
Cleaning Up After the Flood of 1929
Frank Welch Lee (my dad) is inside the store on the left

Frank Lewis Lee (far left) and Employees of Lee's Drug Store
Taking a Break From Cleaning Up After the Flood of 1929

The drug store, along with other downtown businesses, also took part in a big two-day sale of merchandise salvaged from the flood.

Advertisement for"Lee Has It" and Other Businesses
Middlesboro Daily News, March 28, 1929, p.6


"Middlesboro Is Quickly Recovering From Effects of Most Disastrous Flood," The Middlesboro Daily News, March 22, 1929, p. 1

The Middlesboro Daily News, March 28, 1929, p. 6

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fridays With Frank: Challenges for a Young Pharmacist

Lee's Drug Store in its original location
Middlesboro, Kentucky, c. 1920
Frank Lewis Lee's WWI Draft Registration Card
Only a few years after my grandfather opened his drug store in Middlesboro, he, like the rest of the world, faced some serious challenges.  World War I began in 1914, and, while the United States tried to remain neutral at first, our country entered the fight in 1917.  Like many other American men, my granddad registered for the draft after this.  (By the way, what a great genealogy resource these draft registration cards are!  They contain quite a bit of information:  full name, address, date of birth, race, citizenship, next of kin, occupation, name and place of employment, and physical description.  You can also see your relative's signature here.)  Though Granddad was never called to fight, I can only imagine the anxiety both he and my grandmother must have felt as they wondered if he would have to go to war.

As WWI was coming to a close, however, another even greater challenge was facing my grandfather and the rest of the world.  A few months before the war would end in November 1918, the Spanish Flu began to attack people all around the world. According the National Archives, WWI, in the four years it raged on, was the deadliest war in history and brought about the deaths of  16 million people.  The Spanish Flu, in scarcely over one year, killed at least 50 million people worldwide.  It was the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history.

Middlesboro, Kentucky, was not immune to this epidemic, and, as a druggist, Granddad played a role in the way the community tried to combat this.  According to my grandfather's notes, he kept his drug store open eighteen hours a day, seven days a week when the flu was at its peak in Middlesboro in the fall and early winter of 1918.  He made medicines and delivered them to the hospital and to the homes of people who were too ill to come to drug store themselves.  He and his employees would take naps in the back supply room of the store when they could.

The Pinnacle News, the local newspaper at this time, published several accounts of deaths that occurred in Middlesboro due to the flu.  Several other stories about the local flu outbreak appeared in The Pinnacle News along side headlines about World War I.

The Pinnacle News, Middlesboro, Kentucky
October 25, 1918
Page 1
"Emergency Hospital Opens Today" and "Emergency Call:  Your Help Needed" are two articles that appear on the front page of the above issue of the Middlesboro newspaper.  According to the articles, the local Elks Club donated their meeting house on Cumberland Avenue to serve as the emergency hospital, and local doctors were asking the community to volunteer in helping those stricken with the Spanish Flu.  They asked for "blankets and comforts," volunteer nurses, food and people to prepare food.  The newspaper also praised the community as a whole saying:
The hearts of the people of the entire city are opened to the appeals for assistance from the many suffering and afflicted with the prevailing epidemic, and those having charge of the Emergency Hospital, which opens its doors today, are fairly inundated under the rush of offers of assistance and help.

A few days later, The Pinnacle News published a poem addressing the fear that many had of contacting the Spanish Flu.    The poem (author unknown) reads in part like this:

          We must remember there's a germ
               What's worser than the 'Flu'
          Because it permeates our life an'
               Everything we do.
          Its name is 'Fear'. . .

As the flu epidemic began to subside, the newspaper reflected that life in Middlesboro was getting back to normal.  Earlier in the epidemic, the Kentucky State Board of Health had issued bans on many places and events where large crowds of people would gather--schools, public gatherings, movie theatres, etc.  They hoped this would curb the spread of the flu.  Finally, in the February 12, 1919, edition of The Pinnacle News, the following headline appeared:  "Children Under Fifteen Can Now Attend Picture Show--Flu Ban Lifted."

Perhaps the most sobering detail about the devastation the Spanish Flu brought to Middlesboro and the surrounding communities appeared in the December 17, 1918, edition of the local paper.  On the front page of The Pinnacle News that day was the following notice:
To The People of Bell County:
The Kentucky Council of National Defense is still in existence and it desires the namesof all orphans whose parents have died of Spanish Influenza during the recent epidemic and also the names of those orphans whose parents may hereafter die from this cause.


"The Influenza Pandemic of 1918" from

"1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic" from

"The Deadly Virus:  The Influenza Epidemic of 1918," The National Archives

The Pinnacle News, Middlesboro, Kentucky,  from Newspaper Archives Online

"U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918" from