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Carey Grandy Jenkins



Carey Grandy Jenkins was one of my grandmothers.  She was the daughter of Charles A. and Lillie S. Cocke Jenkins.


Carey was born in 1885 in North Carolina, reportedly New Bern.  Charles A., her father, served Baptist churches in North Carolina in the 1880s, around the time of Carey’s birth, and that was what Charles A. was doing when Carey was born.


After living in North Carolina, Carey moves with her parents and siblings around 1895 to New Jersey; then, in 1900, to Bristol, Virginia; and then, apparently, around 1901, back to North Carolina, before Carey marries Melvin Crider Torian in 1903 in North Carolina.  Charles A. and Lillie and their children, including my grandmother Carey, moved much more frequently and over longer distances than any of my other great grandparents.


Carey and Melvin Crider had three sons: Melvin Carter (my father); George E.; and Charles J. 


Carey and Melvin Crider divorced in the early 1920s.  She will marry twice more with her second husband, who died unexpectedly while they were married, named Harry Hobson.   Her third, and last husband, was John D. Watson, who outlived her.  I know little of her last two marriages.


Carey’s second marriage took place by 1927, as she is identified as Mrs. Harry Hobson in her father’s 1927 obituary.  And, by 1946, she is married a third time, as she is identified as Mrs. John Watson in her sister’s, Jessie, obituary.


Carey died in 1958 in Hampton and is buried there at Oakland Cemetery.   Carey lived at 504 Armistead Avenue when she died.  The First Presbyterian Church of Hampton now occupies the land that she lived on.


An obituary for Carey states that funeral services were led by the Rev John H. Garber, pastor of Hampton Baptist Church, assisted by the Rev E.E. Rutledge, Memorial Baptist Church.  Carey was a long-term member of Hampton Baptist Church.  Her brother, Carter Ashton Jenkins, was, in the 1900s, the pastor at Memorial Baptist Church.  It is possible that Carey and her first husband, Melvin Crider Torian, one of my grandfathers, moved to Hampton, from North Carolina, because Carter Ashton was in Hampton.


Cary’s obituary states that pallbearers at the funeral were Everett Whitley, Capt. Lee Scott, Melvin Torian, Jr, Richard Torian, Charles Torian, Jr, John Torian, George Messick, and Charles Martin.


Melvin Carter, my father, and Carey’s first son, was born on August 31, 1904 in apparently Leakesville (becomes Eden), North Carolina and grew up in North Carolina and Hampton.  Melvin’s birthplace is not clear.  He spent his early years in Statesville, and would state this was his birth site.  But a delayed certificate of birth that he had prepared in 1949 indicates his birthplace as Leakesville, in Rockingham, North Carolina.  He had the opportunity to take some courses at the University of Virginia and William & Mary College, but for economic and possibly other reasons, could not continue.  He worked, as a draftsman, in the 1920s and 1930s at the United States Government’s agency that was developing aeronautical technology, located near Hampton in Langley, and during this period also joined and participated in the US Navy Reserve Program. 


In the 1930 census, Melvin, age 25, is still living at his Mother's with two younger brothers on Lee St. in Hampton.  By 1930, Carey, now age 48, had remarried.  Her second husband’s name was Harry L. Hobson, who also is age 48 in 1930, and his occupation was meat packer, perhaps a butcher.  Maybe Harry L. was working at the grocery store that Carey and Melvin Crider had owned.  Perhaps this is how Carey and Harry met.


In 1940, at around age 38, and at the outbreak of World War II, Melvin Carter went into the Navy as a full-time officer and stayed there until his retirement 20 years later in 1961, retiring at the very respectable rank of Captain.  He died in 1984 in Boca Raton, Florida, where he had been living with my mother in retirement since 1967.  He lived 78 years.  To read a Melvin Torian memorial, click here.


George E. Torian, Carey’s second son, was born in New Bern, North Carolina and grew up in North Carolina and Hampton.  He worked most of his career for the Newport News Shipbuilding Company as a skilled craftsman.  He married Evelyn from Georgia, and they had three daughters: Carol, Martha, and Mary (Martha and Mary are twins).  Carol and Martha had children.  George died in 1980.


Charles J. Torian, the final son of Carey and Melvin Crider, was born in Kinston, North Carolina and grew up mostly in Hampton, being less than five when he moved there with his parents.  Charles owned a printing business in Hampton; his primary work activity during his life.  He married Francis Messick and they had three children:  Charles, Jr.; Sondra; and John David.  All his children had children.  Charles J. died in 1977.

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