Marine’s uniform comes home to Brady museum

A Marine Corps dress uniform received in Brady several months back has found a home at the Heart of Texas Historical Museum. The uniform, originally received at the Brady/ McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce, had medals and paperwork that went with it, but the most identifying part of the package, was a slip of paper that simply read, ‘Baze-Brady, Texas.’ The ladies at the chamber office turned the uniform over to the museum, and board member Bert Striegler began a hunt to try to find the background of the dress clothes. After what seemed like an un-ending ordeal, Striegler made a last attempt by contacting Lou Ann Hall. According to Striegler, he knew she had been active in the publishing of cemetery records and felt she might know to whom the uniform might have belonged. And know, she did. Striegler said that when he asked, Mrs. Hall’ exclaimed, ‘I’m a Baze!’ She began her own investigation and came up with an interesting background on the Marine in question. Jesse Kendrick Baze came from an early line of pioneers who settled in Tennessee in the late 1700s. The family then dispersed to places in Louisiana and Texas. He was born to J.K., Sr. and Bessie Sharp Baze. They lived in the Camp San Saba area and were both school teachers. The father died when Jesse was four. He also had an older brother, Miles, and a younger sister, Carmelita. Two of his aunts were Ollie Ann Baze Kidd, of Camp San Saba, and Mrs. H.P.C. Evers of Brady. Baze joined the Marine Corps in 1928 and served for over 30 years until his discharge at Quantico, Va. in 1959. He served tours of duty in China, in Cuba for seven years, California, Norfolk, Va., Korea and Florida. In his career, he received a battlefield commission and subsequently rose to the rank of captain. Jesse married Claudia Sellers in 1942. He died in 1989 and is buried in the National Cemetery at San Antonio. She survives, living in an assisted living home in Gilmer. At first, it was thought that perhaps she or her sister had sent the uniform. The mystery heightened when Mrs. Hall said that one of Baze’s closest friend’s son, Woody Woodall, had a museum in Louisiana and that was where the uniform was housed along with medals and sundry items. It is understood that Woodall has recently moved to Brady but is not currently listed in any phone book. In a recent list of gifts to the museum, a Marine Corps uniform shows as being donated by Mary Woodall of Biloxi, Miss. The uniform, which was restored to the proper condition by Brady resident Don Perkins, will be among the many military exhibits housed in the new portion of the museum which is nearing completion. ‘

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