Remembering Alverna “Vernie” Kerley, Born 1886

This morning on the way to work I thought of Vernie [Alverna, b. 1887 to William Thomas Kerley and Amanda Roberson] Kerley. She lived with her sister Mamie Marshall [and Mamie’s husband Charlie] south of Pitt and Mildred Johnson’s farm and near the cemetery [Antiock] that was east of Curley and Lorene Roger’s farm (2 different roads.) [in Comanche County] Uncle Billy was her father, and she was quite unique. Her saga is very different and weird to me.

Vernie and Mamie

Vernie and Mamie

When I was younger, I was scared of her because I thought she was a witch, which is ridiculous now. My mother said people came from far away because Uncle Billy cured goiter and other ailments? He never accepted money, but my Mother said money came to him in the mail. Supposedly some scripture or something from the Bible?

He passed his “gift” to his daughter. Vernie tied a string on my warts (lots of them) when I was about 8, and they left for a time, but returned. Anyway, she was a little old maid, and Mamie and Charlie Marshall had a car and Vernie rode everywhere with them. The road to their house went through Uncle Pitt’s farm, and they stopped by often and visited mostly in the yard.

They all dressed similar to Granny on the series The Clampets. Their house [Mamie and Charlie Marshall’s] was similar to a cabin in the Ozarks – not joking on that one. I was young, so my memory is cloudy on a lot of the details and might not be accurate. My middle brother Harold and cousin (Eltos) Don Johnson were always joking with me and pulling tricks – so some my information could be things that they made up to scare me because I was always so gullible.

My sister said that rumor had Uncle Billy* as a male Warlock? If the adults knew anything like that, it would never have been discussed especially in front of us. I am not sure if he was my Mother’s uncle or great-uncle or what? [Mary’s mother was Herman “Mutt” Johnson Wright. “Uncle Billy” was Mutt’s great-uncle.]

–Mary Doan, San Angelo, Texas

*Billie Kerley was a bit of a veterinarian for the day. He even “cooked” a salve that was good for anything. He did not charge for it, and the money that came in the mail had to do with that.

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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One Response to Remembering Alverna “Vernie” Kerley, Born 1886

  1. Missy Jones says:

    Mary, thanks for this great story. Another that we wouldn’t have without someone interested to write it down and report it. Missy Cox Jones

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