A Few Excerpts From The Book "The Whiteheads"


While travelling in South America Karen and I found some truly unique ways of spelling our name courtesy of those charged to pick us up at airports. This one made me smile.

Henry Hunt Whitehead being my great great grandfather makes his son Richard Emmett Whitehead my great grandfather. As we have begun to see Richard’s known life was shrouded in mystery. Was he really Aliband his alleged brother? Or was he the inexplicable Wallace? One of Richard’s sons (my grandfather) was named Wallace but that only makes things more perplexing.

Wallace was brought to the Berrington on October 2, 1917 with a bomb wound to his left leg. His left leg was amputated above the knee as the tibia and fibula were crushed and damaged beyond repair. He was discharged from Berrington on February 21, 1918 and transferred to the Granville Canadian Special Hospital in Buxton, England for further recovery.

November 20, 1915 Wallace crosses into the USA. There is also a record for Nellie Finkle crossing on the same day but her place of arrival was Cleveland, Ohio. Given that Nellie was not yet divorced from George and travelling using her maiden name, perhaps Nellie and Wallace were having a tryst in Cleveland and Wallace only gave the Tonawanda location as a cover up.

Bill Whitehead, referred to as an elocutionist, had been with the group many years and had been gaining a reputation as a Master of Ceremonies. He was also the drummer in the swing-era band.  I know he was good because anyone who can play Sing Sing Sing on the drums is good, just listen to Gene Krupa.

Eleanor was very popular in the Cheerio Variety Entertainers shows. Her dancing met with applause every time she appeared. Highland dancing was her forte but she also did a sword dance and what at the time might be considered Gypsy dancing. The troupe performed in support of the war effort so themed dances were always part of the show for these versatile performers.

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