Sgt. David Stockton – Park #75

Stockton playground location: Dwight, Parkview, Detroit River

David Stockton playground was the starting point for the Gold Cup Races on the Detroit River in the mid 1960’s. Feel the thunder!
David Stockton playground on the right – east of the Mayor’s residence. Map courtesy of Google.

 

~ Thanks to Sandy L. and especially Linda G. who generously opened their digital family photo album. You meet the kindest-hearted, left handed folks through genealogy.  andreag

Local Yokel, Business Man, Soldier

This is a story of a life interrupted. 

David Frederick Stockton [1911-1944] became a Detroiter via the hills of Cookeville, TN.  His story is short and like many men who served in WWII, David’s life ended in an act of courage.  He was the only son of Houston Albert Stockton and Daisy Pearl Kinnaird.  Love those southern names.  The Stockton’s left the family cow in Tennessee and headed to Michigan in the 1920’s. [Sorry I didn’t get the cow picture.. but it exists].  They landed in Gratiot Township which would later become Harper Woods. Both father and son worked at US Rubber in the tire factory; Houston as a rubber former, David as a ‘box man’.

Stockton family courtesy of sandy l.
David with his sisters and uncle in front of their garage in Detroit. I always say that naming a child is the greatest gift.. these kids were super fortunate with gracious southern names. L to R – Minnie Jewel; Uncle John Quincy Kinnaird (visiting from Tennessee); Gladys Estelle (the tiny one), Edna Mae and a barefoot David Frederick. Photo use with kind permission of Sandy Lewis.    

David worked hard, took some risks and according to his family became self made man. “The metamorphosis shown through the family photos from a Tennessee boy into a Detroit businessman is amazing,” conveys his niece Linda.  He was a ‘saver’ and purchased a Detroit apartment building, opened a pool hall and corner store before he set off for WWII.

David Frederick Stockton 1911-1944
Determined and ready. David Frederick Stockton [1911-1944] in his early 30’s.
He had love and a life with his wife Dorothy Scoggins Stockton marrying on December 25, 1935. When David went off to war Dorothy ran their neighborhood store.

Dorothy was the glue keeping all together.
Dorothy was the glue keeping all together.
Two peas in a pod at Fort Blanding, Florida. Photo with kind permission of Linda Groover.
Two peas in a pod at Camp Blanding, Florida. Photo with kind permission of Linda Groover.

Stockton’s relatives tell us he was inducted October 7, 1943 and trained for Army service with the 90th Infantry Division at Camp Blanding, Florida.  The few military records found show us he landed at Normandy in June 1944 making way through the fierce battle.  Six months later, unlucky December 13th and the Battle of the Bulge would be his nemesis.

Sergeant Stockton became wounded on December 13th, while battling Hitler’s Army in Morhange – Lorraine, France near the Saar River.  As one of only two men left in his unit, he fought until severely wounded, remaining in his trench firing his machine gun upon the counter attacking enemy. Per his military citation:  “his actions aided in repelling the counter attack”.  He died of wounds on December 20, 1944.

In Washington D.C. to ship out. The last photo taken before duty. Dorothy looks incredibly perplexed - the way most loved ones felt during WWII. When David didn't return, she lived in the house he built for them until her death.
In Washington D.C. to ship out. The last photo taken before duty. Dorothy looks incredibly perplexed – the way most loved ones felt during WWII. When David didn’t return, she lived in the house he built for them until her death.
memorial plaque
Plaque mentioning David’s WWII service. It’s amazing who you meet when you randomly call the fire department. Thanks to the courageous, life saving and award winning Harper Woods Fire Lt. Kevan Kochan for stepping outside and snapping this photo!

Stockton earned two purple hearts and a unit citation during his military service.  His widow Dorothy received his Silver Star posthumously at the 728th Military Police Battalion Camp within Detroit’s River Rouge Park in July 1945.  After David’s death, veterans of Gratiot Township honored his memory forming the Burger – Stockton VFW Post 6784 in 1946.  The post is now defunct.

 Burger - Stockton VFW program
Last mention of the Burger – Stockton VFW in the press was in the late 1960’s.

David Stockton playground was dedicated in 1951.  During the 1960’s it was the starting point for the Gold Cup Races on the Detroit River. Feel the thunder! It’s renovated and offers wonderful bench river views.

playground

 

 

icy river
The icy and peaceful Detroit River.

 

Thanks for reading. Copyright Andrea Gallucci, 2016. Yep.