Kersten History

Much of what I know about the Kersten side of the family (my father’s mother side) is from my Aunt Annette.  Annette’s research and her connection with Agnes Perings (my second cousin 1x removed).

I am hoping Annette will add her knowledge as we explore this side, as I have not done as extensive of research.

Below is a type of transcript from Agnes.  Since English was not her first language, I have changed the wording to flow better but not the content.

He was born 24 March 1843 in Manderfield.  He died 13 January 1905 at Hergersberg.  His wife was Anna Maria Reiter, she was born 24 August in Hergersberg and died 31 January 1917 at Hergersberg.  Mathias’s father was called Daniel Kirsthen.  His wife was Margaretha Gierten.  Daniel’s father was named Mathias and his wife was Magdalena Hoffman.

Daniel Kersten (Kirsthen) was born 16 October 1792 at Kleinlangenfeld by Prum.  Due to the change of name from Kirsten to Kersten I think, that there is a connection between his desertion from the army of Napoleon.  At that time Daniel Kirstehn was a soldier with the Napoleon Army during the Napoleon Wars.  Daniel escaped from that country, he came to Belgium by way of Austria and Switzerland.  There he (Daniel) learned the trade dyer and cutter.  He stayed at Manderfeld, married and called himself Kersten.

Napoleonic War Map

Napoleonic War Map


What I have heard about where my ancestors lived was a piece of land that moved into various countries during the wars.

Map of Central Europe from 1814-1923

Map of Central Europe from 1814-1923

Hergersberg is a hamlet in the district Manderfeld located in the Belgian province of Liège So, does this make us German or Belgium?  I am not sure as the history of this area went through a series of transformations.


Carrie Lou a Gibson Girl?

My mother recently came down for a visit.  It was great having her here.  We spent some time going through my family photos that I have collected.  We came across a few of her grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks Moss.  I wrote about her previously, but after finding these pictures, I think there is more to tell.

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

According to her birth certificate, her name was Caroline.  When Carrie Lou Hicks was born on March 21, 1888, in Amherst, Virginia, her father, Lemuel, was 38 and her mother, Emma, was 27.

As she came of age in the early twentieth century, historically there was a shift taking place in America.  Consumerism was growing in terms of magazines and fashion.  Gibson Girls were the rage.  These women were displayed in magazines like Harpers, Scribners.  These women displayed self-confidence.  “The envy of all who knew her, the Gibson Girl remained aloof of her surroundings but not to the extent of haughtiness(Source:

Most women during this time still lived and work on the farm.  However, Carrie Lou and her family moved from the farm in Amherst to the city (Lynchburg) sometime between the 1900 and the 1910 census.  The 1910 Census shows that Carrie and two sisters (Allie and Elizabeth) worked as stitchers at a shoe factory(Craddock & Terry Shoes).  Carrie’s father, Lemuel, also worked at the factory as a Night Watchman.

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

On August 30, 1913, Carrie married Thomas Irving Moss.  It appears that she stayed home while raising their three children.   In the 1930 Census, she is listed as not working.   However, at some point, Carrie went back to work as a she is found to be working as an Operator Room Repair for the public schools in the 1940 census.  While she is listed as employed for the census, the census also indicates that she had been unemployed for 50 weeks that year.  Carrie only had a 5th grade education (source: US Census, 1940).  As you recall there was a depression going on.  In April, 1935, “FDR signs legislation creating the Works Progress Administration. (Its name would be changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration.) The program employs more than 8.5 million individuals in 3,000 counties across the nation” (Source:

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

At some point she started working in the cafeteria at John Wyatt School.  Carol Sublett Johnson recalls lacing up her corset for work since her arm was in a sling.  Betty Sublett Whitehead recalls Carrie bringing home cookies from work.

Carrie died in 1956, according to her death certificate, she died from pulmonary insufficiency and anoxia.  She was 67 years old.


Veteran’s Day

With Veteran’s Day coming upon us, I wanted to reflect on my brave family members that fought for this great country whether they saw combat or not.  My father’s line goes at least 4 generations

Lawrence Walter Whitehead, US Marines (Korean War); Fred Augustus Whitehead, US Army (WWII), Walter Everett Whitehead, US Army (WWI), and George Wiley Whitehead, Georgia (Civil War).

I have always told people, my father was lucky that he did not have to fight in a war that he was able to get in, get out, get his GI Bill, and go to college.  Well, that is still mostly true.  He recently told me though that he is considered a Veteran of a Foreign War because during the final days of the Korean War, when it was all about over, there was some type of delay with peace treaties.  His squad was activated and they boarded a Naval Ship and were deployed.  However, an armistice agreement was signed, and his ship returned.

My grandfather, Fred Augustus and his brothers, Walter Joe and George Stevens were all in the military.  Fred was fortunate because by the time he entered the service, WWII was ending.  It was practically a requirement from what I understand as their father, my great-grandfather Walter Everett Whitehead was a true Patriot.  He even tried to re-enlist for the Second World War, but they told him he was too old.  During his enlistment, he rose to the rank of Major.  According to Vivian Whitehead,

“Papa was a very patriotic man.  In WWI (1918) he enlisted and eventually

became a part of the Calvary unit.  He continued in the reserves and was

designated as a major.  In WWII he tried to enlist again and was refused

due to his age.  He served on the Madison County draft board and after

the war he was the person selected by the state of Georgia to be honored

by President Truman (1947).”


George Wiley Whitehead, fought with the following Units in the Civil War

Georgia in 1st Regiment, Company E, Georgia Partisan Rangers,

13th Georgia Calvary, Company E.

16th Battalion Georgia Calvary, Company H.

You can learn a bit more about the civil war if you do an internet search about “Partisan Rangers”


George Wiley Whitehead was wounded in one of the battles of the Civil War.  He was wounded on 17 September 1864 when he was shot on the top of the head with a bullet of some sort.  Go back to my previous post about his amazing love story that followed.


Lawrence Walter Whitehead, USMC

Lawrence Walter Whitehead, USMC

Walter Everette Whitehead, US Army

Walter Everett Whitehead, US Army

Fred Augustus Whitehead, US Army

Fred Augustus Whitehead, US Army

George Wiley Whitehead Civil War Veteran

George Wiley Whitehead
Civil War Veteran