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                                DISCOVERING THE FUTU​RE BY REVEALING THE PAST



         INTRO: Olde New Castle Delaware


A while back, I was snoopin' around in the attic of my Aunt Daisy (Hile) Hill's house. Located in Old New Castle, Delaware, this house’s tall and narrow silhouette was carved on the Delaware riverbank in 1679. The whispered tales of visits to this New Castle neighborhood of Masonic Generals George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, and John Sullivan, paint a fine patina upon this century's old neighborhood. What I remember most about this house when growing-up, was the 3rd story attic bedroom that would stir to life after the sun went down. The walls hollered out commands in feint voices as flutters of light licked the whale’s teeth upon the shelves that made for a ghostly-looking dance. When I found that the feint voices and fluttering lights were from the ships sailing by on the Delaware River, well, I was relieved that I didn‘t need counseling after all. Anyway, stored away in old steamer trunks, colonial and revolutionary family history appeared upon handmade vellum paper and candlewax seals, old photographs, and family relics. Within the following pages on this site are some of the stories that made America before, and after the United States was born. 


History records Sir Knight (Count) Johann von Kemmerer (Kammer Herr) bearing his official Coat-of-Arms in 1096 in the first crusade. The Lion in the crest symbolizes Royalty crowned. The Keys signify the Treasurer, and the Helmet the insignia of the Crusader. The colors are Sable, Gold, and Red.

With his arrival in New York in 1730, Johan Nicholas Kemmerer sighted a piece of land across Hudson's River and built a home in "Hobocan Hackingh" or "land of the tobacco pipe", known today as Hoboken, New Jersey. By the mid-1850s, over 1500 of the inhabitants of Hoboken were of German descent. A network of German beer gardens, restaurants, and social clubs in and around Hoboken, played host to the many entertainment acts of this area during the 20th century. After many years there, Nicholas moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania and built his home on Monocacy Creek, in Northampton County. Through the years and into the 20th century, the Kemmerer family and descendants often returned to the area of Hoboken, NJ, where our Kemmerer pioneer had first settled.

Lieutenant Jacob Kemmerer was born in 1742, to Frederick and Rosina Kemmerer, in Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County. During the American Revolutionary war, Jacob is found serving as a Lieutenant in the Army Rangers on the northeastern frontiers of Pennsylvania in Heidelberg, Weisenberg, and Lynn Townships in Lehigh County. Jacob married Elizabeth Maurer on November 22, 1768. They had three children. He removed from there to Hamilton Twp., in Monroe County with his 2nd wife Eva Schleppy in 1788 and purchased a tract of land in Hamilton. Jacob and Eva had 9 children together. Following Eva's death, he married Magdalena Yetter and they had four children together. Jacob and Magdalena's son Joseph Kemmerer was Baptized on 13 Sept. 1800. Joseph married Elizabeth Hohensheld. Their daughter Catharine Ann Kemmerer married Henry Houser. Their daughter Catherine (Katy) Elizabeth Houser, was born in Cherry Valley, Monroe County, PA. Katy and Theodore Hile, of Martin's Creek, PA, were married 17 Jan. 1891.


In 1897, Theodore Hile and wife Katy, moved east across the Delaware River and settled in Newark, New Jersey where their son and daughter Howard Edmond and Daisy Kate were born. A couple of miles east of Newark and across Newark Bay sits Jersey City and the city of Hoboken where singing sensation Frank Sinatra was introduced early on at the gardens and clubs 200 years following Nicholas Kemmerer's arrival there. Hoboken is also where the first officially recorded game of baseball was played in 1847 between the Knickerbocker Club and the New York Nine at Elysian Fields and where the Academy Award-winning film On the Waterfront, was filmed. Landing in the Hudson River, just across from Hoboken, in 2009, is where US Airways Flight 1549, with 155 passengers aboard crash landed without a single fatality. 

Mother was born during the Roaring Twenties to H. Edmond Hile and Birdie Dolores Blair. When mom would think back to her growing up in Newark, she would recall how the breeze carried the sounds of the music wafting across the river from the Broadway shows and clubs playing in New York City. She remembered the New York Yankee baseball games her father would take her to at Yankee Stadium and seeing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. She said to me once that when Babe Ruth smacked a home run you could feel the "swoosh" on your face from the swing of the bat! Later on, I would take my kids to Yankee Stadium, and although Ruth and Gehrig weren't playing, players like Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and Mariano Rivera, along with other Yankee greats, were playing. The greatest play I ever saw at Yankee Stadium, was when my eight-year-old daughter Nikki Danelle was trying to salvage a bite of her cotton candy spin from the rain that was rapidly dissolving it and she did! And the surrounding crowd went crazy!


Nikki Sinatra at Yankees Baseball

John Sinatra was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Michael Sinatra and Francis Malia (Sinatra). Grandfather Michael was born in Palermo, Italy. He immigrated to America, New York, in 1898 and settled in Hoboken, N.J. before later moving to Pittsburgh, PA, and working in the steel mills. Dad enlisted in the United States Navy shortly following his seventeenth birthday. By the Summer of 1941, he had served with the Asiatic Fleet on both the Submarine S-37 and the destroyer USS Barker DD-213 before transferring aboard the USS Pyro AE-1. While serving aboard the ammunition ship Pyro, his ship was attacked by Japanese military forces during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. By the Fall of 1942, he was stationed aboard the baby flat top carriers and attached to the composite attack squadrons and later at the air landing bases from Madang, New Guinea to Manila, Philippines. After battling 3 bouts of Malaria during that time, he was glad to put the war behind him and was discharged home to Pennsylvania following Japan's surrender on August 14, 1945. By 1948, dad decided that selling insurance was not for him and he re-enlisted in General Curtis LeMay's newly organized branch of the United States Air Force. It was there that he met my mother at a military ball at Muroc Air Base, later Edwards Air Force Base, in San Diego, California. 

Following the end of World War II, mom was traveling and attending the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year's Day 1950. She met my father at an evening dance gala in San Diego and they both fell head-over-heels for each other and were married a year later. Cupid's arrow had struck, and as her visit to California ended, she penned a letter to my father during her return trip back home to New Jersey.

Dearest Johnny,

I can never say that when I do a thing, I don't do it eventfully! We took off from International Airport at 10: PM last night and after about an hour in the air we were told to fasten our seat belts "Just a little engine trouble, that's all." About an hour and a half later we landed in Phoenix which was completely off our route. Here we were told that we would have to wait for another plane to be flown in from L.A. Five long, hot hours later we boarded the Constellation which is now carrying us along nicely at 19,000 feet. This amazes me - I look out the window and I feel that I can almost touch the ground. Of course, those little, tiny hills down there are probably the Rocky Mnts! 

          Elmer "Boots"               Johnny Sinatra           George "Flint"

Aside from the fact that I shall be hours late getting into New York, the delay was almost worth it. This plane is not a Sky Coach, but a regular Constellation Flight - it seats fewer people and is much more comfortable. It also has kitchen facilities and I'm cherishing a fond hope that they will take pity upon us and feed us. I'm starved!

And then the delay makes the entire flight from Phoenix daylight flying. I've gotten no sleep at all - my inquisitive nose has been practically glued to the window. The sunrise this morning was one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. One moment it was all cold and dark beneath us and there was nothing beyond us. And, then, there were clear, sharp mountains beneath us and we were flying into a sky that was all pinkness and light. The clouds seem to float on the wings of the plane and the sky turned a lovely indescribable blue. I had the sensation of just being suspended in the midst of it all and I shall never forget the feeling of awe and the sense of being apart from the rest of the world.

We have passed over the mountains and are flying over farmland now. I haven't the slightest idea where we are - a rough guess would put us someplace in Kansas. At any rate, wherever we are, the view is intriguing. The clouds have suddenly become freshly shoveled snowbanks beneath us and the scene is just constantly changing - I wish you were here with me, to be able to share all this with you, Johnny.   Lois Ann 

                                                         CHASING GREATNESS

                                                                             Jon Sinatra

Meanwhile, in the 1970s we were out there chasing greatness. Don’t know who that is in the photo but “We Salute You!” It was a summer weekend and Evel Knievel had just made a spectacular jump on Wide World of Sports. My friends, Johnny Cattell, Tommy McGovern, Jeff Adams, Bobby Suggs, and others, and I, decided to copycat Evel’s spectacular jump! Our long driveway had a decent grade to it and we set up a long back, vinal-covered, kitchen chair as the ramp. The fire department had opened the hydrants and a river gushed past the ramp. My Sting Ray bike was polished and performing like a well-oiled machine. As I picked up speed and flew down the driveway my hair was blowing back like the guy’s hair is blowing back from the powerful speakers on the Maxell Cassette Advertisement, right? I hit the ramp and for ½ a second, I could see stardom across the raging river in front of me! When my 

pedals slammed into the chair legs and instantly froze the bike in its tracks! I did a face plant on the concrete and chipped my tooth. Just then a car went zooming past as none of us checked for traffic prior to the launch. The car was a Banana Yellow in color, Super Bee Road Runner with a very tall tail fin and a black stripe, I remember cause the grim reaper was driving it. Mr. Wilson was our neighbor and a Pearl Harbor Survivor, I used to mow their lawn for a few bucks every weekend during the summers. He came running over and peeled me off the concrete, as my friends all laughed and applauded at the blood and pain pouring from me! He complimented me on my attempt and brushed me off while explaining how when the Japanese attacked Schofield Barracks, at Pearl Harbor, and the planes were strafing the open grounds, a zero came in very low and he began running so fast and while watching the bullet trails approach him he smacked right into a tree! He said had he not hit that tree that he would have crossed the path of bullets. The moral of the story: If you use a chair for a bike ramp remove the legs before the jump! And wear a Cross to avoid the grim reaper, I was wearing one that day during Evel Knievel's spectacular jump, and Mr. Wilson was wearing one during the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Jon Sinatra

I was born a Camelot Kid, at Fitzsimons Army Hospital, in Denver, Colorado, during President John F. Kennedy's 1000 days of Camelot. While stationed there at Lowry Air Force Base, my mother grocery shopped at the commissary at Lowry and we used Fitzsimons for medical. What a beautiful base Fitzsimons was and I remember it well. The base opened in 1918, and General John Pershing would visit his troops there during their treatments from chemical weapons in Europe during World War I.

The main hospital was built in 1941 and cared for many of the casualties from the Pearl Harbor attack later that same year. In addition to American soldiers, Fitzsimons also cared for German and Japanese prisoners of war, and soon it became the largest military hospital in the world. Although many of the out-buildings

Fitzsimons Army Medical Center #21 Main Hospital building.

FAMC #21 marble and steel Post Office.

have since been razed the main hospital building still exists today, as well as the 8th-floor suite where President Eisenhower stayed for seven weeks in 1955, during his term in office. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Many a-ghost stories swirled around Fitzsimons. I remember a large room on the main floor of the hospital filled with vending machines and I would always find change in the returns. I was once laid up there for a couple of weeks but I don't recall any "ghost" activity as had been reported. Although my father passed away at Fitzsimons when I was young; maybe that's why I always found change in the machines. I remember driving through the west entrance gates and getting that "snap" salute from the armed MP to proceed, then winding through beneath the giant hanging shade trees, and how in awe I was when from beneath the cover of the shade that massive stone and granite building would appear it representing such majestic military might. While growing up it seemed that I was always at Fitzsimons for some sports-related injury or another. The timing always seemed to be when the flag was either being raised or lowered with the National

Anthem screaming aloud. When that happened everybody stopped and "saluted". The exterior of the entrance is of white stone with massive polished steel and glass doors. Upon entering there hung a large painting of Lieutenant William Fitzsimons, (the first American officer killed in World War I). Two grand marble staircases with polished art deco steel railings lead to the 2nd floor where some of the lieutenant's military belongings were on display. His canteen with fragment holes and his sword, along with some other effects. The entire main floor is of cream and khaki shades of marble with massive round marble pillars that hold up seven maple wood floors above. Chrome and frosted

glass lighting fixtures dripped from the ceilings and the elevators are of polished chrome and white marble. The waiting rooms all had the old-fashioned wood and steel phone booths and a post office made entirely of polished chrome steel was wrapped with frosted glass lighting. I recall during my stay there sitting high above on the south wing patio where Pikes Peak Mountain was in full view and towering above everything else in between. I was lost in thought and I remember thinking this was exactly where I saw my father for the last time. I had pulled a candy bar from his shirt pocket as we sat and chatted and that was it. He was gone a day later. As I shook off the memory, snow flurries began to fall when two orderlies came busting through the doors out onto the patio laughing and horsing around and handing out candy bars! I suppose maybe there is some truth to those ghost stories that swirled around the old Fitzsimons Army Hospital after all.

3 November 1954. Jazz musician, Duke Ellington poses with his piano at the KFG Radio Studio. KFG was Fitzsimons Army Medical Center's radio station.



Jon Sinatra


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