Carrie V. McKnew Day Cramblitt Letter

It is a mystery to me that a small bunch of documents remain together through who-knows-what-all turbulence and upheaval to be found by me in an antique store. I mean, I know how it happens, technically: someone dies; someone wants to dispose of unwanted possessions; someone performs the service of removing that stuff; someone tries to make a buck buy selling it to me. The mystery is that of all the documents associated with a life, these few somehow come through. Whatever fates made it possible, I’m glad to have spent a few hours looking back at Carrie’s world 83 years ago.

When Mrs. Carrie V. McKnew Day Cramblitt (1866-1937) wrote her step-daughter, Mrs Hilda May Cramblitt Klages (1896-1970) on 25 August 1933 it was a little over three months after the death of her husband and Hilda’s father, Arthur T. Cramblitt (1861-1933) and two days after a horrific hurricane struck the Maryland and Virginia coasts.

Letter 1

Leonard Walton Cramblitt (1884-1942) and Walter Dewitt Cramblitt (1888-1948) were Hilda’s brothers. Another brother, here unmentioned, was Robert Moore Cramblitt (1888-1865). Carrie was not the biological mother of these Cramblitt children, having married Arthur T. Cramblitt in 1918. The children’s mother, Molly/Mollie Moore, died in 1899. Arthur, Mollie, and Carrie are buried together in Mount Olivet Cemetery, memorials 34413134, 34413140, and 34413135.

Letter 2

Arthur T. Cramblitt was a carpenter. It is easy to imagine that their house in Cedarhurst on the Bay was filled with “the work of his hands.”

Letter 3

Carrie’s description of the storm might seem exaggerated but contemporary descriptions in the Baltimore Sun prove it was quite severe. An editorial on 24 August said, “A wind of violence unequaled in recent memory tore into the beach resorts of Maryland and Virginia and immobilized all water traffic inside the Capes.” A 4 September story reported that MD Governor Ritchie had tasked State Conservation Commissioner Swepson Earle (his obit) to assess the damage. Earle reported hundreds of Chincoteague Island ponies had drowned, leaving only three, and that erosion caused by the storm resulted in the loss of about 1200 acres of land.

I don’t know who Pauline is, probably a neighbor. Shady Side would have been the location of the nearest post office.

Carrie listed her address on the back of the envelope. In the 1930 Census she and Arthur were listed as residents there and her biological son, Milton R. Day, was the head of household.

The other documents in this small batch were associated with Hilda:

  1. A certificate of the marriage of Hilda May Cramblitt to Vernon Charles Klages (1894-1945) on 6 June 1918.
  2. A certificate attesting to Hilda’s confirmation by John G. Murray, Bishop of Maryland.
  3. A couple of letters and documents pertaining to Vernon’s death and burial. Vernon died on 16 August 1945 after the E.H. Koester Baking Company truck he was driving struck a streetcar on Hanover Street in south Baltimore. Hilda tried to sue the E. H. Koester Bakery and the Baltimore Transit Authority for damages. Hilda’s lawyer dropped her case after George Pollar, a passenger on the streetcar, lost his own suit on appeal in 1947 because the court found that Vernon was responsible for the crash.
Carrie V. McKnew Day Cramblitt Letter

Consul General Dhahran George Dailey Henderson in 1948

Also in the batch of photographs belonging to Victor Joseph Crepeau were several dozen associated with a visit to Dhahran by Saudi Crown Prince Saud Ibn Abdul Aziz.

George Dailey Henderson

George Dailey Henderson back

The inscription on the back of this photograph says, “The man in the black suit on the prince’s right is the American Consul George Henderson who was killed in the crash of PAA at Shannon four days later.” That crash occurred on 15 April 1948, so according to the inscription this photograph was taken on 11 April 1948. Also pictured are ARAMCO vice presidents Fred Davies and Floyd Ohliger.

George Dailey Henderson had recently been appointed Consul General in Dhahran. He graduated from Stanford in 1938 with a BA in political science and joined the foreign service the next year. Before Dhahran he served in Mexico, Paraguay, Albania, and Italy.

Henderson, his wife Agnes Lengyel Henderson, and their 13-month-old son Bruce Kirk Henderson all perished when their Pan American Airlines “Empress of the Skies” crashed and burned while making a second attempt to land at Shannon Airport in Ireland. The Hendersons were making their way to the U.S. for four months of home leave; they had not had leave in their nine years abroad as a diplomatic family. Altogether 30 people died, including 19 Americans and Sir Homi Metha, an Indian industrialist. Marc Worst, a Lockheed employee from California who was posted at Shannon Airport, was the only survivor.

Here is a piece about the crash by Lorcan Clancy which was broadcast on The History Show on RTÉ Radio 1. Below is a report on the accident from the American Consulate, Limerick.

Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad George Dailey Henderson

The article below causes me to doubt Vic’s recollection of the date the photograph was taken because it describes the prince’s trip has having occurred a little earlier. [The photograph accompanying the article is obviously not the prince, but what reader in 1948 would have known the difference?]


Among the dozens of photographs associated with the prince’s visit were the following four. Two show the prince’s arrival and the fourth shows the cars with huge tires described in the above article.



The writing in the above photograph is the end of the Arabic spelling of ARAMCO.



Consul General Dhahran George Dailey Henderson in 1948