Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mott Ramsey

It's an unusual name, Mott Ramsey (saying it's an "odd" name would seem rude). But, that's what I thought when I first saw it, stamped on a wooden crate I picked up at a garage sale a couple weeks back.

I'd picked up a few items at the sale, nothing of great interest -- a mechanics crawler so I don't have to lay on a piece of cardboard on the ground when I change my oil and a few other items that weren't interesting enough for me to remember at the moment. But as I was leaving, I saw a blue/green wooden crate on the ground marked "Free".

I put the purchased items into my car and headed back up to check it out. I opened it up and inside were odds and ends you might find in a garage collected over a lifetime -- nuts, bolts, switches, light sockets -- all collected in cigar boxes and carefully pieced together vintage wooden Velveeta boxes. As I was looking it over, the elderly lady hosting the sale came over and pasted a much larger sign that said, "FREE!!!" and strongly encouraged me to take it. Not one to turn down free items and being there was enough potential inside to find something, I agreed.

It was heavy and cumbersome, but I wrestled into the back of my car. As I sat it down, I noticed that name -- Mott Ramsey. To be precise, Lt. Mott Ramsey, V.C., U.S. Army; it was an Army footlocker.

How old, I wondered. It looked too old to be WWII, and weren't they steel by then? WWI? Maybe even Civil War? My curiosity was picqued.

When I got home, I hit the internet with not much hope of finding anything. It took nearly an hour of pouring over sites, but I finally came across some information -- a newspaper article detailing his acceptance into the U. S. Army in 1917:
Further digging revealed Mott's enrollment at the Army Veterinary School in Chicago, IL. He joined the Veterinary Corps (aha, V.C.) and was assigned to the Quartermaster division taking care of the horses (when they still used horses in war!)
He remained with the military at least through 1942 as recounted by an unknown commander:

Philippine Islands Campaign
The Army Veterinary Service with the USAFISWPA included that of the original Philippine Department which was lost in the defense of the Philippines, 7 December 1941 to 10 May 1942, against Japanese aggressors, and that which was established in Australia in April 1942. At the onset of the war period, the Philippine Department included the department veterinarian4 who supervised veterinary food inspection activities and professional animal services at six installations (3, 4, 5). There were veterinary hospitals in operation at Manila, Fort William McKinley, and Fort Stotsenberg, and veterinary officers were assigned to duty with four mounted units of the Philippine Scouts organization: 26th Cavalry Regiment, Battery 4.  Department veterinarians included Col. Mott Ramsey, VC, from February 1941 to 3 May 1942, when he was evacuated from Corregidor for return to the United States as a hospital patient, and Lt. Col. J. W. Worthington, VC, who acted as department veterinarian through the last weeks of the fight on Bataan."
He continues in describing Mott's (who had been promoted to Colonel by this point) duties:

"This program was based upon the utilization of Veterinary Personnel of the Philippine Army, together with civilian laborers, since all Regular Army personnel of the Veterinary Service, under Colonel Ramsey, was otherwise assigned. Our organization included 16 veterinarians (officers) and 45 enlisted men (Philippine Army) and approximately 200 civilians. The full program consisted in the procurement, transportation, and slaughter of carabao, the veterinary inspection of the dressed carcasses, and the transportation of the fresh meat to the Quartermaster Dumps and to troop kitchens in the field. All of these functions were performed under my direct supervision, by officers and enlisted men of the Philippine Army Veterinary Service, since no help from Regular Army Veterinary Personnel was available except toward the end of the campaign when certain officers and enlisted then became surplus in their own organizations."
In the book All This Hell: U.S. Nurses Imprisoned by the Japanese By Evelyn M. Monahan, his evacuation just days before the fall of Corregidor to the Japanese is noted:
I found elsewhere that upon arrival back in the U.S., he was received into the hospital. I couldn't find any record of Mott himself after that point, but I did come across a couple birth and death announcements of his children and grandchildren in Bexar County, Texas:

Name Birth Date Sex Mother FatherRamsey, Grove Marshall 8-6-1927 M Evelyn Burger Mott Ramsey

545 Bexar Co. TX - Births, 1947 Surnames Persyn - Ransleben
So Mott married Evelyn Burger, had a son Mott Ramsey, Jr. and Grove Marshall Ramsey. Mott Jr. went on to have Michael Mott Ramsey.

And that's where my trail ends. I found a Michael Ramsey in Texas that is about the right age. He's a realtor. I feel like I've gotten to know Mott just a little bit. I'm hoping to learn the rest of his story.


  1. COL Mott Ramsey passed in 1964. His wife Evelyn passed in 1991. His eldest son has since passed. He has 7 Grandchildren.

  2. Anonymous, thank you so much for the information. Are you a relative? I'd be glad to help get Col. Ramsey's trunk back to the family.

  3. Hello, that was my grandpa! My mom & dad's names are in your article and Michael was my oldest brother, had he lived - died the day after birth. I hope you can read my comment, since it is several years after this post. Granddaddy's mother's name was Jane, my middle name. This is so amazing! Please reply if you see this! : )

    1. Hi, Texichic. I believe you contacted me on Facebook as well. I wrote you back there. I was contacted by Donica Ramsey and she put me in contact with Marshall Ramsey. We're trying to arrange the return of your grandfather's trunk. Great to hear from you!

  4. Hello! I was wondering if you were able to get that trunk to one of the Ramsey’s. My mom (texichic) would love to have it. Just wanted to follow up!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ariel,

      No, I never heard back from Donica or her father. I still have the trunk.




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