• One day in February 1961, while serving on the staff of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, I received an urgent summons from Maj. Gen. Phil Berkeley, the Division Commander. I wondered what I had done wrong this time!

    It turned out that the general’s growing dissatisfaction with his chief of staff’s performance had dramatically overcome his tolerance. He had abruptly ordered him to clear out his desk and get out.

    Suddenly the Chief of Staff

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the Friday, Nov. 6, issue I republished the first of my two-part series about Maj. General J. Franklin Bell that appeared in The Sentinel-News in 2008. Winner of the Medal of Honor in the “Philippine Insurrection,” he was Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer. It seems timely on Veterans Day to republish the second part.

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: As Veterans Day approaches it seems timely to publish again my story of Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer, Medal of Honor winner, Major General J. Franklin Bell. This column, the first of a two-part series, appeared in the Sentinel-News on August 6, 2008.

    I embarked aboard the naval transport, “USS J. Franklin Bell,” on 10 December 1942 for participation in amphibious training exercises off the coast of California in preparation for combat in the Pacific.

  • It had been a privilege to serve for two years, 1955-57, in Japan, under the command of a distinguished and capable four-star general, Lyman L. Lemnitzer. As his Headquarters Commandant, I had under my command the all-services Honor Guard, which was turned out to welcome senior officers, American and foreign, who visited my “boss.”

  • In the summer of 1952, having been promoted to Colonel during two years of sea duty, I was ordered to take command of the Marine Barracks of the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. Illinois.  There Susanne and I were assigned spacious government quarters in one of the beautiful old homes on “Brick Row.” 

    Shortly after the birth of our second son, Charles Antoine, in March 1954,I was ordered on an unaccompanied tour (without family) with the Third Marine Division in Gifu, Japan.

  • In late 1948, Susanne and I announced our engagement. Susanne’s mother, the Marquise de Charette, issued a very proper engraved invitations for a wedding on January 7, 1949.

    However, during a Christmas visit with my parents in San Diego, I had developed reservations about a marriage, in which I would suddenly assume the responsibilities not only of husband, but of father, as well. Upon my arrival back in New York, I asked Susanne for more time to consider. Later, she recalled her reaction: “It made me practically ill. Van got cold feet!”

  • Mike Harman grinned as he walked back toward his raptor facility in his backyard.

    “I’m known around Shelbyville as the guy with the bird in the car,” he said.

    Stepping inside his workshop, he withdrew a Cooper’s hawk – somewhat unwillingly – from its cage.

  • After Susanne’s divorce from Chunky Marshall, her mother, the Marquise de Charette, and her great aunt, Lulie Henning, who lived in a large apartment at 400 Park Avenue, accompanied her to Miami Beach for the birth of Michele (Mimi) Solange Marshall on July 23, 1946.

    They then returned with mother and daughter, and Susanne rented an apartment in nearby Mt. Vernon, New York.

    Henri Bendel’s on Fifth Avenue

  • On June 29, 1933, Sue Henning, while visiting a friend in Washington, D. C., suffered an apoplectic stroke, from which she did not regain consciousness. For her daughter Susanne, still in Capri, and her granddaughter Susanne, then 18, still in school in Switzerland, it was a race against time. They arrived at her bedside before she died on July 12, 1933.

  • 30 Ans de Diners en Ville

    An incisive appraisal of Susanne, Marquise de Charette appears in a chapter of Gabriel-Louis Pringué’s, 30 Ans de Diners en Ville [Paris] (30 Years of Dining in the City).

    Pringué, an uncle of a Paris schoolmate of the Marquise’s daughter, Susanne, asked me many years ago if I had ever been to “Maxim’s.” Upon receiving a negative answer, he responded immediately “Quelle Vierge!”

    In 30 Ans, Pringué described the Marquise:

  • In July 1924, having spent over three years in Kentucky, Susanne, now nine, returned to Paris with her mother, the Marquise de Charette. Her schooling, which had begun at Nazareth Academy, near Bardstown, Kentucky, would continue in France and in Switzerland.

    Cours Dupanloup in Paris

  • General Baron de Charette died on October 9, 1911, at the age of 79.  His widow, Tennessee-born Antoinette, Baronne de Charette, continued to live at La Basse Motte in Brittany. Here during World War I she entertained American troops on leave from the Western Front.  After her death on February 3, l9l9, her obituary in a Nashville paper closed with this tribute:

  • On November 10, 1911 James W. (Will) Henning suffered a second and final failure, losing his seat on the New York Stock Exchange. This was a disaster from which he never recovered.

    Despite his estranged wife Sue Henning’s opposition in 1909 to the marriage of their daughter, it must have given her some pride. She started a scrapbook about this time, the first items being newspaper clippings of the prominent New York wedding of her only child, Susanne, and Marquis Antoine de Charette.

  • If there is one thing in the world that I have always thought I could be without in the family and economize was a French Marquis.

    – Sue T. Henning

  • James W. Henning was readmitted to the New York Stock Exchange on December 12, 1907 but, due to his lack of working capital, his prospects for success were not promising. Now, with relations with her husband deteriorating, Sue Henning decided to become directly involved in the Jersey cattle business. Allen Dale Farm in Shelby County, Kentucky ceased to be just a summer home; it became the focus of her personal and professional life.

  • In 1851, James Williamson Henning, Sr. (1813-1886), a surveyor and civil engineer who had made one of the early maps of Louisville, formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Joshua Fry Speed (1814-1882). Speed, who had previously been Abraham Lincoln’s law partner in Springfield, Ill., was Lincoln’s best friend. After he became president, Lincoln asked both Speed and Henning to serve in his cabinet, an honor they both declined.

  • “The defendant (George Baylor Allen) is about to sell, convey, or otherwise dispose of his property with the fraudulent intent to cheat, hinder or delay his creditors...”

    – Bettie Allen Meriwether

  • Allen Dale Farm, established in 1795, is one of the oldest farms in Shelby County. It is perhaps unique, for I am not aware of any other farms in the county, which have been continuously owned by members of the same family for 220 years.

    Shortly after the death of Major John Allen in Frederick County, Virginia, in 1794, his widow Ann Pollock (Polk) Allen, and her ten children moved to Shelby County. Ann, whose parents were born in County Armagh, Ireland, shared common ancestry with President James K. Polk

  • One of the best sources of information about the attack of the 11th Suffolks, is John Garth’s, Tolkien and the Great War. J.R.R. Tolkien, Oxford scholar, later famous for his Lord of the Rings, participated with another unit in the Somme Campaign.

    However, Robert Quilter Gilson, a Cambridge scholar and his close friend, served as a lieutenant in the 11th Suffolks, and Garth’s book contains dozens of references to this battalion, in which my father served. Both my father and Gilson were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

  • Lord Kitchener (1850-1916)

    Lord Kitchener did not live to learn of the disaster that befell “Kitchener’s Volunteer Armies” on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was drowned on June 5, 1916 when HMS Hampshire, an armored cruiser just returned from the Battle of Jutland, which was carrying him to Russia for negotiations with Britain’s ally, struck a German mine near the Orkney Islands. Of its 655 crew and 7 passengers, only 12 crewmen survived.