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· George T. Allison (1883-1951)
It’s 1:30 Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, in Eureka, California, in St. Bernard’s Cathedral rectory. Georgiann Allison, 19, daughter of George and Charline Allison, Hutchinson, Kansas, is marrying Richard Harmon, 21, son of J. Clair and Florence Harmon, also from Hutchinson.
It’s Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, near Langdon, Kansas. Daisy May Sherow Jones folds and unfolds a newspaper clipping from the society page, then returns it to her family bible.
As Georgiann dressed for her wedding day, she remembered a high school Homemaking class assignment from her senior year. Miss Marian Brookover, known as “Brookie,” was her teacher. The purpose of the class was to develop homemakers of tomorrow.
Well, Georgiann thought, tomorrow is today.
For the assignment, Georgiann had made drawings of her completely decorated future home. She even described her future husband and three children. Richard Harmon, who Georgiann was dating, was her first choice for matrimony.
Two years later, in July 1942, Richard enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, along with his buddy, Dave Betz. By the spring of 1943, storekeeper (SK) Harmon, and yeoman (YN) Betz, stationed at Samoa, north of Eureka, California, were missing their sweethearts in Hutchinson. They proposed a west coast wedding.
Click to learn about the “Sand Pounders”: US Coast Guard Beach Patrol
Charline Frances Graves was born and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas. In 1904, when George Allison came to town to help C. H. McBurney open his new dry goods store, Charline noticed.
George, 24, and Charline, 19, were married May 21, 1907, in a double-ring wedding in the home of her parents.
Charline closed her eyes and heard the piano music that had played during her marriage ceremony, Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”
She and George stood under an arbor of green foliage and ferns. Charline’s dress was white Swiss, beautifully trimmed in Mechlin lace. She carried bride’s roses.
As a boy in knee pants and barefoot, George started working for C. H. McBurney’s Dry Goods store in Burlingame, Kansas. Gradually, over the years, George learned the mercantile business. In 1904 he got an offer he couldn’t refuse. McBurney promised him steady work if he would move to Hutchinson with the owner-manager.
Charles McBurney opened “The New Dry Goods Store” in 1905. George Allison became the window trimmer and then the floor manager.
In April 1908, George got another offer. Hostutler & Hipple Clothing and Gents’ Furnishings, lured him away from McBurney’s. The timing couldn’t have been better. Charline gave birth to a baby boy the next month. They named him Burkson Willard.
In 1909, Charline and George were counting their blessings when tragedy struck. Burkson, fourteen months old, became ill and died after a short illness of spinal meningitis.
A small miracle occurred in 1923 when George was superintendent of the Hutchinson-Wiley Dry Goods Company. It had been fourteen years since their baby Burkson had died. Many people were surprised when George and Charline welcomed a homeless baby into their home.
In December 1923, the Allison’s introduced three-month-old Georgiann to their friends at a baby garment shower. Two months later, on February 8, 1924, they officially adopted her from the Kansas Children’s Home Society.
George Allison took a four-year detour from the clothing business when he successfully ran for Reno County sheriff in 1934, and took office in 1935. He was reelected in 1936 and served until 1939. In his two terms as sheriff there were plenty of arrests yet no escapes from the county jail.
After an unsuccessful campaign running for Reno County commissioner, George opened up George Allison Cleaners.
The day of Georgiann’s wedding, she told her close friend, Velma Owen: “Sometimes, I wonder if my biological mother or father are still alive and if I have siblings. Can you imagine them ever thinking about me?”
“You may never know your birth parents,” said Velma. “Have you asked Charline or George for help?”
As the Eureka, California, wedding ceremony ended, Georgiann shed a tear of happiness. She considered her life, about learning she’d been homeless as a baby, about being wanted and loved by new parents, about a future with Richard, including her expectations of raising three children. This was the life she had dreamed and the one she had planned in her high school Homemaking class. Georgiann still had the notebook to prove it.
It’s Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, near Langdon, Kansas. Daisy May Sherow Jones is shaking and crying. She picks up her bible and opens it. She unfolds a newspaper clipping.
As Daisy rereads the article about Georgiann Allison getting married in Eureka, California, Daisy’s grateful. She says: “Thank you god. My baby’s getting married today.”
Click to see a WANTED Poster: 1938 WANTED Poster WANTED Earl Young
Until next time, happy writing and reading.