Tuesday, June 7, 2011

George's grandfather John A. Borgman

George A. Borgman’s grandfather was John Allen Borgman. George visited him in Jonesboro, Arkansas when young. He remembered him as a gregarious fellow who liked to talk to people. Late in life George could still describe the Borgman homestead in Jonesboro.

John was born in Attica, Indiana and was the son of Francis John Borgman and Frances Jane Beauchamp. He was a twin. His brother who was born first, was George M. George died of illness at the age of eighteen.

His father Frank served in the Union Army during the American Civil War, having served in two regiments one in West Virginia the other in Indiana. According to George’s father Herman, Frank was an aide to General Sherman but he did not continue on the Atlanta campaign because he was called away on other duties.

John and his father moved out to Arkansas while endeavoring in the lumber trade. John eventually moved to Jonesboro in 1906. He married a woman from Tennessee, Mary Owen Harris, the daughter of Thomas H. Harris, a Confederate veteran. They had two children Herman Francis and Lola. His wife Mary came down with tuberculosis as did Lola. His wife died of the illness, and a year later he married her younger sister Ida Harris.

His son Herman, for whom Herman, Arkansas is named after, related a story published by The Jonesboro Sun in its Off The Beaten Path column. "The Frisco used to have a water tank at the north end of the trestle across Big Bayou. They pumped their water out of the bayou. The tank fell down across the track and my father... flagged down the northbound fast train (106) and prevented it running into the tank on the track."

John was very active in politics, and it was his being a Republican which led to his appointment as postmaster. Borgman was appointed acting postmaster from July 1, 1922 replacing postmaster Charles B. Gregg and served as postmaster from February 14, 1923 to July 1, 1933. He served under three presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. He was a Republican delegate at the Arkansas Republican State Convention in Little Rock on May 3, 1928 and a delegate at the Republican National Convention in Chicago on June 14, 1932.

It was also said that John served as a U. S. Marshal for a time, but records regarding this have not yet been searched for. His only surviving child Herman Borgman became an employee of the St. Louis Post Office in 1920.

George was not yet five when his grandfather died at the age of seventy at 2:20 PM on January 15, 1937 at his home in Bay, Arkansas. His funeral was held on January 16 at the Gregg Funeral Home and he was buried in Oaklawn Cemetery.

Monday, June 6, 2011

From Disciples of Christ to Roman Catholic

As early as 1992 George started the wheels turning on his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. Here he writes about his conversion to Roman Catholicism from the Disciples of Christ on May 4, 1993.

Father Murray's St. Denis Church
“For some time now, I have wanted to become a Roman Catholic. First of all, Janet has had nothing to do with it. After all, she did marry me, a divorced man, in Kingshighway Christian Church in St Louis. She has never encouraged me to become a Catholic. It’s strictly my own decision.

One reason is that there were Catholics on both sides of my family until about two generations ago. Another is, as long ago as 1951 or 1952, when I took a course in European History at St. Louis University, I was thinking about converting, because the professor gave a completely objective picture of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

I have always been against abortion and euthanasia, and the Catholic Church is actively opposing both of those horrible activities.

Also, since covering high school sports here, I met a prince of a man, a Catholic priest, Father Fred Murray, who is a retired Navy chaplain. We ran into one another at games and took a liking to one another, because we both were retired military. He is a parish priest of a church in Westwood.

Father Murray, who resembles Spencer Tracey, made no effort at all to recruit me, believe me, and, in fact, I approached him at a hockey game about converting. He almost went into a state of shock, because there aren’t any conversions to anything nowadays! So I began instructions with him.

I submitted paperwork, and Janet and I had to go for an interview at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, and we were told that my first marriage can be set aside by the Pope, because Ann was not baptized a Christian, and Janet and I can renew our marriage vows.”

On February 28, 1996 George was taken into the Catholic Church and he and Janet renewed their marriage vows.