#148: The Kennedys, Part 3

148.1  Today, some genealogical tidbits I came across while researching the Kennedys. For several of these I don’t have nearly the whole story…but as I have mentioned several times over the past 3 years on this blog, that’s OK. That’s the difference between a book and a blog….or any “dead-tree media” for that matter…newspapers, journals, magazines. You’ve pretty much got to get it right the first time…which is not to say that some writers don’t pad their prose with silly  surmises and half-baked speculation. But the beauty of blogging is it can be instantly corrected, revised, expanded…or deep-sixed. So I don’t mind throwing out a few mysteries to see what if anything will turn up…for example…

148.2  The Legend of Ding Dong Jack…This stems from a passage I found in the book “Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded” by Robert Kessler. In 1938, JFK’s father Joe Kennedy was named Ambassador to England…he moved much of the family to London, altho not Jack and his older brother Joe Jr. who were both at Harvard, 2 years apart. And of course, he assembled his posse…

1 ding dong

148.3   Ding Dong Jack Kennedy…that was bound to happen…there were and still are scads of Kennedys around, a healthy portion of them named John. Now Eddie Moore is of course Edward Moore, Joe’s long-time sidekick and factotum…the man after whom Joe’s youngest son Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy was named. In the 1920s, Joe had made a ton of money after purchasing RKO studios in Hollywood, hence these fine gentlemen. Even so, there is very little out there about the elusive Edward Moore…and given that, good luck finding out anything about Ding Dong Jack. 

148.4  The brief description of “rough looking” and the nickname itself might suggest a cigar-chomping Moon Mullins character with bulging forearms…but I think that would be wrong. The Kennedys ran in the highest of high society circles…and after all, these were the men running the U.S. Embassy in London…one would expect a certain amount of polish, at least on the surface. I doubt Ding Dong’s job was moving furniture.

2 book148.5  But there is absolutely nothing to be found about him, at least not on the internet…altho I did stumble across a couple of tantalizing morsels, and one has to do with the nickname itself. An American author named Richard English wrote a series of stories about the world of Big Band music for Collier’s Magazine, and one of them, published in October of 1939, was called “Ding Dong Gives”…about a fictional clarinetist named Ding Dong Williams and his efforts to make a movie. These were published in book form in 1941 as “Strictly Ding-Dong and Other Swing Stories.”

148.6  The first of a projected series of movie musicals came out in 1946, “Ding Dong Williams”…alas, the first and also last…and the studio…well, it was RKO. Meaning what? Who knows? Joe had sold off his Tinseltown holdings by 1931…I’m just passing this along. But more intriguing is this page from a Palm Beach guest book, no date given, part of a recent exhibit on the history of that famed oceanside resort.

3 palm beach

148.7  Joe bought a home in Palm Beach in 1933…it would eventually become the Winter White House in the Camelot years, and above we see both Rose Kennedy and Jack, who, according to the compiler of the exhibit, signed in somewhat whimsically as “Ding Dong” “London” Jack Kennedy.  Or did he? Wasn’t there an actual Ding Dong Jack Kennedy in London at some point? And I know signatures can change over time…this could have been Jack as a very young man…but still, when you compare…I dunno…

4 real thing

148.8  Thank You, Mr. President…Next, this is from a Feb. 2 1961 news conference…

5 news conf148.9  The fact that the Auchinclosses are on Jackie’s side, not Jack’s, calls “second cousin,” step- or otherwise, into question. Fortunately, we know who asked the question…see Comments below. And what Ed Koterba said was “step-second-cousin-in-law”…the “-in-law” is missing from the transcript, likely lost in the laughter. Can we confirm this?

148.10  Indeed we can…and as you can see in Chart 516, this crowd was big on family surnames as middle names, for both boys and girls. Jackie’s mother Janet Lee got Norton from her paternal grandmother…Janet’s mother’s maiden name was Merritt. Both Jackie and her sister Caroline, whom we would come to know as Princess Lee Radziwiłł, had the middle name Lee. Now Janet divorced the hard-drinking, womanizing “Black Jack” when Jackie was 11 years old, and married Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr., resulting eventually in various step-siblings and half-siblings.

148.11  But for our purposes, Jackie’s step-father’s 1st cousin would be her step-1st cousin once removed, and his son, her step-2nd cousin…making Bayard Jack’s step-2nd cousin-in-law…a very slim connection for sure, but the reporter did get it right, which at least shows that in 1961 it wasn’t a completely lost art.

148.12  Who’s Your Grandmama?…You’d better believe this one’s on my to-do list…why does Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy have 2 different paternal grandmothers? Now most, but unfortunately not all, sources say that her father Honey Fitz’ mother was one Rosanna Cox. Why then does Rose in her autobiography (written by whom?) “Times to Remember” say her paternal grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald married Rose Mary Murray? A few other authors also say Murray, but the consensus is Cox…and in at least one instance, they confirm it is Cox, and relegate Murray to “older sources,” presumably since proven erroneous. But erroneous how…and why?

148.13  And in case you’re wondering, the Fitzgerald Family Bible has Thomas marrying “Rosy Fitzgerald”, with “Rosana”  [sic] written over in a different hand…where her death is recorded, she is “Mother Rosanna.” And this from the net gives it both ways on the same page, just for good measure…

6 grandmama

148.14  Here Comes the Bogey-Man!!…Or the bogey-relatives. It’s a guilty pleasure, I know, but I love freaking out the younger generations, many of whom have a super-sensitive aversion to the i-word…or what they perceive as such. 2nd cousins getting hitched? OMG, run for the hills! But it used to be no big deal, in families high born and low…and even JFK’s brother-in-law’s folks were 2nd cousins. True story…and a rare case of a bride and groom with the same surname.

chart 517

148.15  Family Trifecta…At the polls, the Lodges fell 3 times to the Kennedys. Jack earned his Senate seat by defeating the incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge in 1952. 8 years later, Jack headed the Democratic presidential ticket that narrowly beat the Republicans, Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge. Then in 1962, in the race to fill Jack’s Senate seat, it was younger brother Ted Kennedy over Henry Cabot Lodge’s son George Cabot Lodge.

148.16  Still and all, we shouldn’t forget that this same seat was held for 29 years by Henry Cabot Lodge’s grandfather, also named Henry Cabot Lodge…and he won his 5th term in 1916 by defeating JFK’s grandfather John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. And yes, the original Henry Cabot Lodge’s mother was a Cabot, hence the Cabot. But our question today is of a more nitpicky nature: what exactly was the younger Henry Cabot Lodge…was he considered a II or a Jr. ?

chart 518

148.17  Because checking Chart 518, the younger HCL was not the son but the grandson of the elder HCL. Now the usual custom is to reserve “Junior” for a son…what’s more, a son with the exact same names as his father…first, middle, and last. But families can do what they like…as a child Bush 43 was called Junior even tho his father Bush 41 had an “extra” middle name. Here, the press used both Jr. and II at the whim of the editor…but what was the preference of the man himself? Can’t get more definitive than a signature, I’d say…and the winner is…

7 sig

148.18  BTW, you may have noticed that in Chart 518 I included both of his sons…and for the record, the younger George Cabot Lodge is always referred to as “II,” in this case adhering to the unwritten rule, since the older GCL was his grandfather, not his father. I included their wives…and there’s a reason for that…in today’s Wicked Ballsy…next week, we got mail.

148.19   P.S. Related How Again? is a spinoff of another of my blogs, Deep Fried Hoodsie Cups. That one started as a daily blog for North Shore Baby Boomers…that’s the area of Massachusetts north of Boston. After a while, it expanded to cover Baby Boomer topics in general, became weekly, and still exists here, appearing whenever I have something to write about. I called the bonus bit at the end Wicked Ballsy because that’s what we used to say to describe something very cool. “Wicked” is still current slang in the region…”ballsy” not so much, but there you go…

wicked ballsy

8 cath lties

Look at the puss on that nudnik…is he gorgeous or what? I did a little poking around, and turns out “Mel Cooley” there was a pretty prominent journalist in Florida back in the day…even described as “award-winning.” I daresay he didn’t win any awards for this piece, appearing the first week in October, in anticipation of the 1960 election. I can’t believe any fair-minded reader would agree that having a son with a Catholic wife qualifies as “Catholic ties,” at least as it applies to being qualified to serve as Vice President…and sure enough, the rest of the article touches on other topics, never explaining precisely why his daughter-in-law’s religion has any bearing on anything.

But here’s the interesting thing: back several years ago when I was first researching the Kennedys, I made this note…one that sadly I have not been able to confirm or even trace back to its original source: One of Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.’s sons married the cousin of one of JFK’s sisters’ husbands. So that would be either Eunice’s Sargent Shriver, Pat’s Peter Lawford, or Jean’s Stephen Edward Smith. Brick wall so far…a wild guess would be the Shrivers, since they’re German…Ziegler?…Kunhardt?

9 bunnyThe only scraps I’ve got…Shriver was from Maryland, Smith born and raised in Brooklyn, Lawford of course from the UK…and Elenita Ziegler was originally from Utica, Nancy Kunhardt from New Jersey…also, her mother Dorothy was a famous children’s author…Pat the Bunny…so there’s more rainy day fun for lovable old me. But…wait for it…come to find out, Peter Lawford’s mother was named Mary Sommerville Bunny…seriously…you can’t make this stuff up…

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Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

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2 thoughts on “#148: The Kennedys, Part 3

  1. My father, Ed Koterba, was the reporter who asked the question on the sound dollar. He correctly related Bayard Auchincloss as Kennedy’s “step-second-cousin-in-law” but the “in-law” somehow got deleted from the transcription (probably due to the laughter.). In an article dated February 7, 1961, my father wrote that Bayard Auchincloss is “a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, peg-legged mayor of old New York. His uncle is a Republican congressman from New Jersey, and too, Auchincloss is a kin of the First Family. Jack Kennedy is his step-second-cousin-in-law.” The article is included in a book entitled “The Essential Ed Koterba” (page 502).

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