Charlie Lee Clark-WWII veteran

Charlie Lee Clark was the son of George Clark and Blanche Woodard. Charlie was born in Richford, New York, but was raised in Halifax County, Virginia. Charlie married Rosa Drewery Dortch, who was known by her friends and family as Drew Dortch. (Her brother, Robert Leonard Dortch was the previous veteran spotlight on this website.) Relatives told me that Eugene Dortch who was listed in records as the son of Charles Dortch and Rosa Perkinson (Drew’s parents), was really the son of Charlie Clark and Drew Dortch. Drew and Charles were not married when Eugene was born, so he was adopted by Drew’s parents. Eugene and Drew were raised in Mecklenburg, Virginia. I’m not sure if Charlie ever lived in Mecklenburg or how he and Drew knew each other. On the 1930 Census, Charlie is living with his parents in Halifax county, VA, listed as single, and Drew is with her parents in Mecklenburg, VA, listed as single. I first see them together (noted as married) on the 1935 Richmond City directory. On the 1940 Census, Eugene was living with his parents at 3112 Elwood Avenue. I found a 1940 “for rent” ad in the Richmond Times Dispatch Newspaper for this Ellwood Avenue house . Listed as 7 rooms, $40.00 per month. Charlie and Drew rented this home for decades! Between 1935 and 1939 Charles and Drew are listed on city directories at 2 different apartments on South 3rd street. Charlie lived at this Ellwood Ave home from 1940 until his death in 1960. Drew is believed to have stayed in this same home until her death in 1980. This home is in the area of Carytown. It’s near museums and monuments. It’s also not far from Maymont, where I believe this picture of Charlie (above) was taken; near the waterfall and Italian gardens. Link to see Maymont info: https://maymont.org/visit/

The Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 9 Jun 1945

Charlie was in his mid 30’s when he joined the Navy during WWII. Charlie survived his ship being sunk by the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean. He would have been 39 years old at the time of this event! Before and after the war, Charlie worked for Dupont.

Charlie and Drew’s tombstone are the two front tombstones in this picture. This cemetery is the Richmond National Cemetery, in Henrico, Virginia. On Charlie’s military papers (not pictured in this post), under physical descriptions and markings, the record says: tattoo Left tricep, in horseshoe “R. D. D”. (His wife’s initials)

Pictures of Charlie and his family are from Jamie Malagorski and Aggie Reynolds. Virginia Oakley Shutt and Mary Walker (Drew’s cousins & friends) also talked to me about Drew and Charlie back in 2002-2003.

Robert Leonard Dortch-WWII veteran

Robert Leonard Dortch was in the Army during WWII. I’m told he went more by his middle name of Leonard. His registration card says he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 165 pounds, blue eyes, black hair and dark complexion. After the war, Leonard lived in Norfolk for awhile. While married to Virginia Johnson, he ran a restaurant with her in Norfolk.

These pictures (below) are believed to be soon after Leonard married Virginia (Dec 1953). He wanted to introduce his bride to his friends and show her where he grew up. These pictures were most likely taken in Forkesville, where these people who are pictured lived. The first picture is Leonard with his wife Virginia Johnson, and Annie Burton Wright. The second picture is (left to right), Ida Lee White, her sister, Leonard, Grady Clary’s wife, Annie Burton Wright and Grady Clary. Leonard was also married to Patricia Morse. And he had a relationship in high school and later in life with Ida White. Leonard had 4 children. One child with Patricia and 3 children with Virginia.

Leonard was the son of Charles Dortch and Rosa Lee Perkinson. Leonard’s father was an alcoholic, and his brother David died in an accident of a still catching on fire. When WWII started, only his mother and sister Drew were still living. His father and 2 brothers had died. His mother died in 1945. His sister Drew Dortch, (the wife of Charlie Clark ) was on his registration card as next of kin.

Leonard was one of the first people I started asking about on my early visits to Mecklenburg; asking if people knew where he lived or anything about his family. I’m a descendant of Charles’ sister, Theresa India Dortch. Leonard’s parents and brothers were buried in the Perkinson, Smelley, Walker family cemetery off Country Club Rd. Drew was buried by her husband in a veteran cemetery in Richmond. I met Ray Hines who told me he was good friends with Leonard. Ray told me he was at Leonard’s funeral and the burial was at Crestview in 1988. He also helped me ID some of the people in the pictures. I’m told Charles Dortch had a farm off Route 1. (Or highway 1), and that Leonard was raised there.

All of the pictures in this post were shared with me, by Jamie Malagorski.