Stockton playground location: Dwight, Parkview, Detroit River
~ 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’.
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.
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.
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 on December 20, 1944.
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.
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. The mayoral residence is on the other side of the tall evergreens.
Thanks for reading. Copyright Andrea Gallucci, 2016. Yep.