Posted in Green, Hartley, Hollar, Puett

Adventurous spirit takes John Franklin Puett from the Spanish-American War to the Klondike Gold Rush.

John Franklin Puett
John Franklin Puett

Sometimes people don’t understand how I can have a connection to someone who passed away so many years ago.  I think my feeling of being connected stems from what I feel for my own parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  For instance, when I think about my GGgrandfather John Franklin Puett, I think about my Great-Grandmother Carrie Ellen Puett Hollar and how Frank is her father.  He was obviously important to her, so his story is important to me as well.

John Franklin Puett was born in Caldwell County, NC on Apr 13th, 1878 to parents Joseph Pinkney Puett and Mary Jane Hartley.  He was the second youngest of 5 siblings.  His mother passed away when he was just 3 years old and John was moved out of the house by the time his father remarried to Mary Carrie Dula.

In August of 1898, Frank was headed to the Caribbean as part of the Spanish-American

The Puett Siblings
Uncle Gus and Frank are in the middle with their sisters.


“He told me about it so many times”, said his daughter, Carrie Ellen Puett Hollar. “He told me about getting sick and hanging over the rails of the ship, vomitting. They started on the ship but they never did get there because the War ended while they were on their way.”

Frank also traveled with his brother Gus (Robert Augustus Puett) to Alaska in search of

Uncle Gus, Nonnie, Thelma, and Baby Darlene in Oregon
A picture of Uncle Gus, Nonnie, Thelma, and Baby Darlene where they settled in Medford, Oregon.

gold. I’m not sure if they went before the War or not. The major Klondike Gold Rush happened before the Spanish-American War and I think Frank might have been a little too young to do that.  They never found the fortune they were seeking in Alaska and wound up working in the timber industry, but Frank found enough gold to make a ring.

In 1910, Frank was living in Everett, Washington with friends from Caldwell County, NC (William H. Benfield and Horry Austin). His occupation was listed as a “woodsman” at the timber camp.

He came back to Lenoir, NC and married my GGgrandmother, Malissa Etta Green, on Oct 20th, 1913. Frank registered for the WWI draft in Lenoir Sep 9th, 1918 but his employer was listed as Willard Storage Battery Co. in Cleveland, OH. My great-grandmother never once mentioned that they lived in Ohio but they were living in Cleveland in 1920. He was a Sealer at the Willard Storage Battery Company which, at the time,  supplied automobile batteries to 85% of the U.S. automobile market.

In 1930 the Puett family was living back in the Lower Creek area of Caldwell County, NC and Frank was working at Caldwell Furniture. He died of Pneumonia October 10th, 1974 in Lenoir, NC. At the time, he was the oldest surviving veteran of the Spanish-American War in Caldwell County. He is buried at the Blue Ridge Park cemetery.

John Franklin Puett with his chickens.
John Franklin Puett with his chickens.

Frank and Melissa had the following children:

Carrie Ellen Puett 1915 – 2006 m. Albert Pender Hollar
Frankie Lucille Puett 1921 –
Joseph Elbert Puett 1923 – 1983
Pinky May Puett 1925 –
Daisy L Puett 1928 –
Betty Sue Puett 1931 –
June Camella Puett

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