Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Thomas Philip Kerse Captains the Lady Jane! 52 ancestors in 52 weeks


Lady Jane, boat belonging to Thomas P.Kerse

Lady Jane

For years now I have been begging my family to find old pictures they might have of the Lady Jane! This was a boat, at 50 feet long, a small yacht,  belonging to my maternal grandfather, Thomas Philip Kerse whom you may have read about in the post I just finished, or in the post regarding his first boat the Evelyn, apparently co-owned by him and his father James H. Kerse. My mother talked often and lovingly of the Lady Jane and her family’s adventures traveling on her– picnicking on the Chesapeake Bay– diving off her –swimming and playing with their large family and friends. My older sister and brother had at least both seen the boat of the many stories, but I never had, because the family had sold the boat when my grandfather died, long before I came along.  So  you can imagine my surprise and delight when I came across a word press blog post about the Lady Jane! The post was written about 5 years ago by  Preston Larus and I found it through a google search! I had been searching for photographs through newspaper archives for a long while, perhaps I had never just googled her, regardless, I was thrilled to find this picture and story! In fact, I was so thrilled, that I contacted the author Preston who could not have been more solicitous and friendly! We talked about Richmond and specifically the area where we had both lived as children! He was not aware of the “back story” of the Lady Jane–who had owned it before his grandfather, and that it had been as beloved by that family as by his own! Can you imagine the stories that boat could tell if it could talk! 

My mother was one of six sisters and one brother who traveled with their police officer father Tom and nurse mother Katherine aboard the Lady Jane! In fact the Lady Jane was named after their youngest child, Janey Bell, b. 1923; as the Evelyn, their first boat had been named after their first child Evelyn, b. 1912 (or Katherine’s mother, Evelyn Langhorne). Mom often spoke of the friends they invited to travel with them on this remarkable boat! What I didn’t know was that my grandfather often captained the boat for chartered trips–to Albany, New York, Philadelphia, Pa., Washington, DC, Maryland, the Eastern Shore, Islands. He took day trips as well up and down the James River.  He also held fundraisers for various groups especially for Sheltering Arms Hospital where my grandmother had graduated in the first class of nursing students! I can find all this in newspaper articles at genealogybank.  It all seemed so romantic and adventurous–and it colored the dreams of this author as a child! Below, I am going to share with you a newspaper clipping I found about the Lady Jane, but more importantly, I am going to share part of the blog post by Preston Larus, with his permission! 

Kerse, Thomas, Lady jane, fundraiser for Sheltering Arms


Boats We Love

by Preston Larus

I welcome your comments, suggestions, and referrals.

Preston Larus


(941) 232-3574          FAX (941) 296-7336

Keller Williams Realty – Lakewood Ranch

6710 Professional Parkway, Suite 301

Sarasota FL 34240



The Lady Jane

Lady Jane, different view

My grandfather was a Chancery Court judge in Richmond, Virginia in the ’40s and ’50s, but every summer he took a month off and sailed the Chesapeake Bay. When he got too old to handle sail, he bought the Lady Jane, a 50-foot Chesapeake deadrise workboat hull fitted with a cruising boat cabin structure. By the time I was a boy, my uncle Brockenbrough Lamb Jr. owned the boat and visited us every summer for a weekend or so. In the eyes of a 10 year-old, there was nothing more grand, from her pilothouse trimmed in green leather, to the helsman’s seat (a huge green stool with a steel tractor seat atop it, to her massive Yachtsman-style anchor. Long and skinny, she got by with just around 80 horsepower, and tooled along at about 9 knots. She went to the wreckers a decade or so ago, but not before logging thousands of miles up and down the Bay and down the intercoastal to Florida.

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

4 thoughts on “Thomas Philip Kerse Captains the Lady Jane! 52 ancestors in 52 weeks

  1. It’s amazing how you found another blogger whose family also had a connection to the Lady Jane. It sounds like both your family and his had some wonderful adventures on the boat.


  2. Isn’t it! It feels like a miracle! Thanks for coming by Sheryl and sharing with me! I appreciate it! As it turns out, I had the opportunity to talk about your blog with some neighbors earlier today. We were talking about an old train station , and I was telling them your recent story about flagging down the train with the lantern! It is so amazing! Thanks again, helen


  3. Pingback: Marie Botto Kerse Maher- the Magnificent Musician–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #39 | Heart of a Southern Woman

  4. Pingback: The James River of Virginia, Flows Through My Family’s Life–from Jamestown to Present Day | Heart of a Southern Woman

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