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                                    John Ambrose Arvin


 

                                                   Every officer and man responded—there were no deserters.

                                                                                   —Missouri Office of the Adjutant General, 1919

                                                The Service of the Missouri National Guard on the Mexican Border

                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     John Ambrose Arvin was born 11 September 1891. He was the ninth of eleven children, the youngest son of William Henry Arvin and Margaret Ellen (nee Yates). He was born in Reeve Township, Daviess County, Indiana, on the family farm which his grandfather, Joseph Edward Arvin, had homesteaded during the Civil War. The family was Catholic, and John was baptized  on 11 October 1891 at St. Martin of Tour’s Catholic Church by Fr. James Stremler, the pastor. The baby’s given names, John Ambrose, were meant to honor Margaret’s uncle, John Ambrose Patterson, who had raised her. However, at the baptism, Fr. Stremler insisted that he have a Christian middle name, so he recorded him as John Albert Arvin in the baptismal records of the church. (Apparently, Fr. Stremler was unaware of the Catholic saint, St. Ambrose.)

     In the year 1900, William and Margaret Arvin and their children moved off the family homestead and into Martin County, Indiana, where they had purchased a home situated on the outskirts of Loogootee. The Census of 1900 finds them living in their recently purchased home.

 

 

1900 – Twelfth United States Census


Image 

 

                                                                         Date of Birth                                                                                             Months    Owned    Free or  Farm 
                                                                                                                                                                                          not worked or rented mortgd or house

Arvin, William H    Head    W  M  Sept  1845    54    M  21              . . .       Farmer                0     . . . O      M      H
_____ Margaret E   Wife     W  F   Jan    1858    42    M 21 * 
_____ Mary A      Daught    W F    Dec  1879    20    S                            Sales Woman DS     0

_____ Louis E         Son       W M   Jan   1881    19    S                              Farm Labor            0
_____ Rose E       Daught    W  F   Mar  1882    18    S                              Dress Maker 
_____ Joseph L      Son        W M    Jan  1884    16    S                               Farm Labor 
_____ William        Son        W M   Sept 1885    14    S                               At School 

_____ Lizzie J     Daught      W  F   June 1888    12    S                               At School         
_____ Michael S     Son        W M   Jan   1890    10    S                               At School        
_____ John A          Son       W M   Sept  1891     8     S                               At School             
_____ Zetta O      Daught     W  F   Apr   1893     7     S                              At School             

_____ Catherine L Daught    W F   Apr   1896     4                              John (right) with mother and father, c. 1903

 


     

     William contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and died in 1907, and his Margaret moved the family to Kansas City, Missouri, in June of that year. John was only fifteen years old. They arrived by train, and, with the help of Louis, the oldest son, they were soon located on the bustling east side of town. They rented a small, one story residence at 1517 Olive. It was only a few blocks from where Louis and his wife Catherine rented. (Neither home is still standing.) 

     With their father deceased, and few if any social safety nets available to them, the family found itself in desperate financial straits. The children had to help provide for their own upkeep in one way or another, and this meant finding employment was the top priority. Further schooling was out of the question. Kansas City was a virtual boom town, and jobs were plentiful for those willing to work. By the following year, all the children except for John’s 11 year-old sister, Loretta, had found employment. The city directory for 1908 lists each one of them and his or her occupation. John was listed as “shoe.”  Presumably, he had found work at the shoe repair shop located at 1504 Montgall, two blocks east of their home.
     The following year Margaret sold the family home back in Loogootee, and the family was able to move to a larger rental house, two blocks to the west of 1517 Olive. The address of their new home was 1409 Garfield (no longer standing). It was a brick, two-story structure, and it had considerably more space for everyone. In fact, it had enough room that Margaret was able to take in borders. 
     John found a better job the following year. In 1909, he is listed in the city directory as a machinist for the Woolf Brothers Laundry Company at 15th and Prospect. It was just around the corner from the shoe shop. Woolf Brothers was described as the “World’s Largest Laundry” when it was built in 1901.1

 

 

1910 – Thirteenth United States Census


     This census lists “every person whose place of abode on April 15, 1910, was in this family.” Margaret and family are living at 1409 Garfield. We see that Margaret has indeed taken in three boarders: a grocer and two “automobilists.”



Image

 

Address                                                                                                               *     #          Occupation                Industry             Rent/Own   Farm/House


1409    Arvin     Margaret E.    Head    F    W    50    W    11 10  . . .    None                                         R            H
            --------  Mary A.        Dau      F    W    28     S                        Stenographer   Lumber Co

            --------  William         Son      M   W    24     S                        Motorman        Street Car

            --------  Jennie           Dau       F    W    22   S                         Cashier           Department Store

            --------  Sanford M   Son       M    W    21    S                        Salesman        Department Store

            --------  John A         Son       M    W    18    S                        Asst Foreman    Laundry

            --------  Zetta            Dau       F     W    16    S                        Clerk                Roofing Co

            --------  Loretta         Dau       F    W     13    S                        None  

         Klepberger, Henry B Boarder M    W     63    D                       Retail Merchant    Groceries

         Johnson, Chris           Boarder  M   W     25    S                        Automobilist     Automobile Business

         Jones, Arnold C         Boarder M    W     28     S                       Automobilist    Automobile Business 

* Number of children born    #  number now living
                               John (left) at Woolf Bros. Same scene today



     For the next five years, the family continued to live on Garfield. John continued to work at Woolf Brothers until 1911, when his occupation is listed in the city directory as “driver.” He delivered train passengers and their baggage from the Union Depot to local hotels and vice versa. He continued as a driver in 1912, then in 1913 he is listed as a “chauffer” in the city directory.


Marriage

 

      In June of 1913, John’s younger sister, Zetta, married a handsome young man of Irish descent. His name was Dennis Simms. The marriage was celebrated at St. Aloysius Church. John and his oldest sister, Mary, were recorded on the church registry as witnesses.  Later that same year, it was John’s turn to get married. Now 22, he had met a lovely young lady named Lillian M. Seeley. Lillie was only 17, born 24 November 1895 to Clarence and Dolly (nee Cox) Seeley of Kansas City. Because of her age, Lillie had to have a parent’s permission, which her mother granted. Marriage License   reverse The wedding took place on 25 September 1913, and was also celebrated at St. Aloysius. Lillie’s mother signed as “Mrs. Martha Hyer,” perhaps indicating that Lillie was adopted. (This picture postcard, made at a downtown department store, shows Lillie on the left, with her sister, whose name is unknown.) The other recent newlyweds, Dennis and Zetta Simms, were their witnesses. From the Latin verbiage on the church registry, it appears that Lillie was not previously baptized.

      Now Lillie and John were the newlyweds. They moved into their own place, located just a few blocks away, at 1323 Montgall (no longer standing). At first, everything went well for them. They spent their first winter together, and as spring approached, Lillie became pregnant with their first child. But soon her health took a mysterious turn for the worse. She became bedridden. The cause of the illness was unknown, and at first she received no treatment. Her condition grew steadily worse. John tried to care for her, but did not know what to do. She was stricken with hemiplegia, a total paralysis on one side of the body, sometimes caused by a stroke. Her condition continued to deteriorate. It was a dangerous situation.
     On April 30th, John’s younger sister, Loretta, and mother, Margaret, received a desperate phone call from him in the middle of the night. Lillie was extremely sick (perhaps even having convulsions) and he needed help. Loretta and Margaret got up, dressed quickly, and asked Regina, a nurse who lived in their building, to go with them. In the early hours of the morning they hurried through the dimly lit streets of the city to John and Lillie’s place. Regina realized at once what was happening. She knew that Lillie was in immediate danger of death and called an ambulance. They got her to the hospital, but her unborn baby, a little girl, was stillborn.
     Lillie returned home, but her condition grew progressively worse. Four days later, she herself passed away. The official cause of death was listed as eclampsia, a condition in which protein levels in the mother’s blood are too high to sustain life. It has been assocated with high blood pressure occurring during pregnancy.

     Lillie’s funeral was held at St. Aloysius Church on Tuesday, May 5. (There was no notice in the Kansas City Times newspaper. The notice was probably run in one of Kansas City’s other two papers, but no copies of editions for this time period have survived.) Lillie M. Arvin was buried that same sad day, May 5th, at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Kansas City. Cemetary records show that their infant daughter was buried with her mother in the same plot. A single grave fee of $15 was charged.


Jitney Driver

 

     Devastated after Lillie and their daughter’s deaths, John moved out of their little apartment on Montgall and back in with his family at 1425 Prospect Avenue. He was only 23 years old, and now he was a widower. Nevertheless, he slowly began to put his life back together again. He started using his driving skills in a new way. He became a “jitney” driver. 

 

 

          The origin of the name is uncertain, but it is thought to have been based on a slang word for nickel, the

          typical jitney fare.

               A jitney was any independently operated motor vehicle that carried groups of passengers for a fee.
          Typically, a jitney was a standard passenger automobile driven by anyone who could wrangle the right
          to use it. Sometimes jitneys were larger, bus-like vehicles that could carry a dozen or so people. The ranks
          of jitney drivers were filled by unemployed people, car owners moonlighting after their regular jobs, and
          chauffeurs who could cut a deal with their bosses for use of a car. Often, jitneys were on their second or
          third owners, and sometime in poor condition.
               The first jitneys appeared in mid 1914 in Los Angeles. In no time, jitney popped up in cities across
          America. The first showed up in Kansas City in February 1915.

               Jitney drivers patrolled streetcar routes, picking up people waiting at car stops. The jitneys offered
          fares competitive with the streetcars and the chance to reach a destination promptly and in more privacy
          than the streetcar offered.  
               Naturally, the heavily regulated streetcar companies saw jitney drivers as parasites. They had no
          investment except whatever it took them to obtain a vehicle, and could travel any route on any schedule
          they pleased—though jitneys preferred the ready-made customer base along the streetcar lines at rush hour.2   

         



    
Ruth W Spake

     John is listed in the city directory for 1915 as a chauffeur, then in 1916 as a driver. Then one day, his life changed dramatically. He met Ruth W. Spake.
      Ruth’s father, Abijah, was born in 1845 in Ohio, and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Civil War records indicate he enlisted in the Indiana Infantry in January, 1864 and was mustered out in December 1865. He moved west to rural Johnson County, Missouri, where in 1867 he married Elizabeth C. Thompson, born in 1848. Abijah and “Lizzie” had a son, Frederick, born in 1869. What happened next is unclear. They apparently separated, but Abijah and one year-old Frederick are shown in the census of 1870 as living with her parents, Andrew and Elizabeth Thompson. Lizzie C. Spake’s tombstone indicates she did not die until 1874. (Search in FindAGrave.com/) Abijah, meanwhile, married Nancy A. Dixon. (Her family claimed descent from Jeremiah Dixon, surveyor of the Mason-Dixon Line.) To this marriage Charles Dixon Spake was born on 30 January 1873, and Thomas Henry Spake was born on 27 October 1875. There may have been other children; the records are not helpful. Daughter Ruth Spake was born much later, in February of 1892, as shown in the Census of 1900 for Johnson County, Missouri. Nancy died in 1905—when Ruth was only 13—and Abijah died four years later. (FindAGrave.com/) This left the children in a disastrous situation, much like the one John and his family faced when William Arvin died, only this was worse.

     Charles D. Spake married Hattie Craycraft in 1898 in her hometown of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a small town 20 miles southeast of Kansas City. Hattie was the daughter of Jorge (b. 1841) and Harriet Craycraft. By 1900, Charles and Hattie were in Sedalia, Missouri, and were living with her parents. Charles worked in a railroad switch house there. In 1909, they moved to the Kansas City area, and they rented a room at 123 Spruce Avenue, on the bustling northeast side of town. Charles worked as a grain inspector for the Missouri State Grain Inspection & Weighing Dept.
     Thomas H. Spake married Marie Reed in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1899. They lived for a short time in St. Louis, but by 1900 were living with Abijah and Nancy Spake, on their farm. They had a baby daughter, named Alice. In 1910, Tom, Marie and Alice, along 18 year-old Ruth, all moved to Kansas City. They rented this cozy little home at 130 North Denver Avenue, which was less than a mile from Charles and Hattie. Tom began working as a streetcar conductor, Marie cared for Alice and kept house, and Ruth found employment as a clerk for the Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. (Meanwhile, their half-brother, Frederick Spake, had married his wife, Anna. They had a son, Hubert and daughter, Alberta. Hubert moved to Kansas City in 1911, found a job, and lived at 1407 Prospect.)
     Ruth worked for several years at Tel-Cable, as it was known. The company, in competition with Western Union Telegraph and American Telegraph & Telephone, was in the business of sending and receiving messages. An incoming telephone call would be received, and the message was typed onto a paper telegram and hand delivered to the recipient. Tel-Cable’s main office was at 8th & Delaware, in the heart of downtown. They also operated ten branches situated in important business areas throughout the city. In 1912, Ruth was promoted to manager of one of these branches.
     Things began turn sour at home, however. Tom and Marie were having marital problems, and were probably going through a divorce. Everyone moved out of the 130 N. Denver home. Ruth, Marie and Alice moved in with Charlie and Hattie, who had themselves moved two doors south on Spruce, and were now at 129 Spruce Avenue. Hattie was now working as a clerk at the B Adler Millinery Company, a women’s hat maker. In 1913, we find Marie Spake listing herself as the “widow” of Thomas Spake in the city directory. This was a code word for “divorced,” a scandalous status for a woman at this time and a term to be avoided. (This family photo shows Marie, on the right, with Ruth and an unidentified Aunt Lou.) Marie found a job as a saleslady in 1914. Ruth helped Alice (shown on the right with Ruth in this picture postcard) get a job with Tel-Cable. In fact, Ruth may have hired her herself. She was the manager of the Postal Telegraph & Cable Co. branch at 917 Baltimore. Tom’s whereabouts are unknown. He is not even listed in the city directory again until 1917, when he was living at the YMCA.

     The year 1916 brought big changes for everyone. Charlie took a new job and became a salesman for the Unity Oil Company. He and Hattie moved to an apartment building at 2826 Prospect Avenue (no longer standing. This is next door to the north.) Marie and Ruth moved there to live with them. In March, Charlie sold Ruth a contract for an interest in an Oklahoma oil field. inside  outside It probably cost a month’s wages. Marie became a clerk for A Morrison Jr Farm Co., and Ruth became a “tel opr” for the Chicago Great Western Railroad at 809 Walnut, downtown. As for Alice, she disappeared from the city directory forever under this name. Did she marry?
     It was at this time that John and Ruth met and started seeing each other. In due course, things got serious between them, and they made some big plans for the future. Then, their lives changed, and all their plans were interrupted by events which were far beyond their control. War with Mexico was becoming a real possibility. The Mexican Revolution was at a full boil in that country, and it was spilling over along its border with the United States.


Revolution

    
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that began in 1910 with an uprising against long time autocratic President, Porfirio Diaz. The military staged a coup, declared themselves in control, then held an election. But within a week the new president was assassinated, and the country was plunged back into turmoil. In 1914, another army general, Venustiano Carranza, assumed power. But things were still unstable, and soon warlords such as Francisco “Pancho” Villa, Emiliano Zapata and others renewed the uprising. Their actions brought Mexico to the brink of a civil war. The tipping point came when the United States, under President Woodrow Wilson, officially recognized the Carranza administration as Mexicos legitimate government. The warlords were dismayed.        

     “Villa, angered by his fading fortunes, by Wilson’s recognition of the Carranza government, and by the fact that the Americans had given his enemy a decided advantage, began to look for an opportunity to strike a blow at the United States. The revolutionary was motivated by revenge, a desire to regain his prestige, a need to capture arms and equipment with little loss, and perhaps even a belief that another foreign invasion would unite his countrymen. His chance came on March 9, 1916, with an attack on the military garrison and civilian population of Columbus, New Mexico….”
     The United States,  although it had only a small standing army at this time, reacted in turn. “The American response was immediate and impressive. Ultimately, more than ten thousand U.S. regulars under Brigadier General John J. Pershing drove deep into northern Mexico in pursuit of Villa, in what became known as the Punitive Expedition.”3   
     “Practically the entire small regular army in the United States was now on the Mexican border or with the punitive expedition….but due to the enormous length of the Mexican border, it was so thinly distributed that the border county was open to raids anywhere.”4

 

 

The National Guard

     The United States Army simply did not have the manpower to get the job done. “Not merely were the forces on the border inadequate for proper defense, but it would be impossible to undertake the offensive that would be necessary to bring the Mexican war lords to their senses. And the only reserve that the United States had was the National Guard. On June 18, 1916…less than three weeks after the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916, President Wilson ordered the National Guard of all the states into the national service.”
     Just like all the other states, the Missouri National Guard got its call. “The telegram from the Secretary of War calling the National Guard into federal service was received by the Governor about 11 o’clock P.M. on Sunday, June 18, 1916. He at once called the commanding general at Nevada [Missouri] over the long distance telephone and gave the order to mobilize the Missouri National Guard. The order for mobilization was issued from Nevada that night and early next morning the entire National Guard was under orders and assembling at its home stations….”5

 

 



Text Box:                                                      
                                                  


                                
                                                                 HEADQUARTERS
                                                    NATIONAL GUARD MISSOURI
       
                                                                                                Nevada, June 18, 1916.

      General Orders}
              No. 18     }
              1.    In accordance with the orders of the Governor issued in pursuance
      of the telegraphic orders from the Secretary of War calling out the Organized
      Militia and the National Guard, the entire National Guard will assemble at
      home stations immediately, equipped for field service, preparatory to mobil-
      ization at the State Rifle Range near Nevada, Missouri, for the purposes men-
      tioned in the President’s order.
              2.  All organizations will be recruited to the strength prescribed in Sec-
       tion 2, Tables of Organization, United States Army. When an organization
       has the required minimum peace strength prescribed for the Organized Militia
       in the Tables of Organization present, such unit will proceed to Nevada, the
       recruits above such minimum to follow as fast as enlisted. When a unit has
       assembled with the prescribed minimum, the commanding officer will notify
       these headquarters so that the necessary transportation can be provided.
       …
       …
       …
              10.   Three separate companies of infantry will be organized at Kansas
       City for the purpose of completing the reorganization of the Third Infantry.
       When such companies are recruited to the prescribed minimum strength they
       will report at Nevada for the purpose of inspection with a view to Federal  
       recognition.  Major E.W. Slusher, Medical Corps, is charged with the exe-
       cution of this paragraph.
              By command of Brigadier General Clark:
                                                                           CLAUDE C. EARP,
                                                                    Captain:  Quartermaster Corps
                                                                                  Adjutant
6

 

     “Tuesday morning, June 20, twenty-four hours after the order had been received, they were arriving in camp on special trains….The force so called into federal service...consisted of 5,030 officers and men…every officer and man responded—there were no deserters.”7

 

 

Enlistment

 

    The call up of the nation’s entire National Guard created a wave of patriotism. It swept through the United States like a shot of adrenaline, and John Ambrose Arvin was one of the many young men who felt it. “The war in Europe and the imminent danger of war with Mexico had combined to make the American people more aware of national defense problems than ever before in American history.”8
     Enlistments skyrocketed. On 23 June 1916, as thousands of young men his age (like these in New Jersey) were doing, John enlisted in the Missouri National Guard. With mind-numbing speed, he was ordered to active duty the same day.



     John’s younger sister Loretta remembered the scene at the Union Station in Kansas City as John said goodbye to her, then to his mother Margaret and lastly to his teary-eyed sweetheart, Ruth. Then he boarded the troop train, and his unit shipped out to the National Guard State Rifle Range at Camp Clark, in Nevada, Missouri. And just like that, he was gone.

 

The Missouri National Guard


     The entire Missouri National Guard consisted of just one brigade, the First Brigade. “It was on duty during a period of more than six months, during which time it patrolled 145 miles of the Border in the Laredo District. Although this district was regarded as the worst along the Rio Grande and the troops of the regular army on duty there prior to the arrival of the National Guard had experienced difficulty in preserving order, and one of their camps had been raided with the loss of four men, not a single act of disorder occurred during the tour of the Missouri Brigade. No better troops ever served.”9


     John was in the Third Regiment of The First Brigade. “Under the President’s order of June 18, 1916, the companies of the regiment were mobilized at Nevada on June 23, 1916….it was mustered into federal service on July 7, 1916. It departed for the Border on July 8, 1916, and arrived at Laredo July 10, 1916.”10




                                                     July 1916 muster in   muster roll 1916   statement


     “The troops were mobilized with remarkable promptness and moved to the Border without friction, confusion or delay. Their whole conduct throughout their service was one of which the State might well be proud. They expected to see service in Mexico and after the crisis passed they were anxious, of course, to return to their homes and to their civil avocations….These men were all volunteers who served because of their love of the service, and in the fulfillment of their patriotic duty to the State and the Nation they made many sacrifices. Many of the lost their positions and the business of all of them suffered greatly in their absence.”11

 

 

 

 

                                  From the Missouri Office of the Adjutant General  
     

Text Box:       
     While the troops were in camp a telegram was received from the War Department to the effect that there was grave necessity for ten thousand troops at Laredo and Nogales, and my orders were to proceed to Laredo with the troops under my command….The 3rd Missouri Infantry and Field Hospital No. 1 departed on July 8th and reached Laredo on July 10th. 

     The Laredo District, comprising 145 miles of the Border, was commanded by Brigadier General William A. Mann, U.S.A., with headquarters at Laredo. The town, situated on the American side of the Rio Grande, has a population of some 30,000 inhabitants, of which not more than two or three thousand are Americans….The country outside of Laredo is sparsely settled and the few inhabitants are Mexicans. There are a number of little hamlets up and down the river in which the entire population is Mexican. The country is rough with no timber except small patches of mesquite and is generally desolate and uninviting. There is little rainfall and such few crops as are grown depend upon irrigation.
     The water supply at Laredo is obtained from the Rio Grande river, and during the time our troops were there it was polluted and all water used for drinking purposes had to be boiled. It seldom rains and the character of the soil is such that the dust becomes very bad and practically every afternoon there was a dust storm which made life in camp somewhat unpleasant….

     The camp site assigned to the Missouri troops was in the Mexican quarter and was poorly suited for the purpose. Part of it had been used as a public dumping ground and in the midst of the camp were the public pest houses of Laredo from which typhus, typhoid and small-pox patients had been discharged about a month prior to our arrival. The amount of ground available for camping purposes was so limited that the camp was very much crowded and the dry soil made it so dusty that the strong winds and the unsanitary surroundings due to the squalid Mexican population all about the camp, made the sanitation a very difficult problem. The water supply was inadequate and the delivery of lumber to construct latrines was so slow that conditions were very bad for the first two weeks….the explanation given for the selection of the one upon which we were required to camp was that it was expected that the troops would very shortly cross the river into Mexico and the site was more convenient for a movement of this kind….
12

 



     A fellow Missouri national guardsman, Ward L. Schrantz, worked for the Carthage Evening Press. He had previous experience in the military, and had gone to the border once before, in 1913. He wrote an extensive memoir of his two tours of duty in Texas, Guarding the Border. He describes the trip from Nevada south to Laredo.

 


     

          It was pleasant to be on a troop train and border-bound again, equipment swinging back and forth on
          hooks in an atmosphere of cigarette smoke as the train jolted along, and with volunteer quartets caroling
          for the their joy at being alive and going places. Carranzista troops had shot up two troops of the 10th U.S.
          Cavalry at Carrizal, Chihuahua, a short time previously and the war fever was running high. There was a
          cheering reception at many of the towns through which we passed and I recall particularly that at Enid,
          Okla., where groups of women served ice cream to all personnel, there being a delay there which permitted
          the troops to be detrained in front of their cars for that purpose….
               South of San Antonio the country took on a warlike aspect, quite different from what it had appeared

          when I traveled that road a few months before. Bridges and culverts were guarded by squads of troops
          with red hat-cords—coast artillerymen with bulging cartridge belts temporarily serving as infantry—
          standing beside sand-bagged trenches. In the small towns a number of citizens were seen wearing
          revolvers—picturesque old frontier models many of them. Near Webb was pointed out a wooden cross
          marking the grave of a Carranza colonel, killed some time before in a raid meant to cut the railway.
          Moving northward on the roads were groups of Mexican men, women and children in burro-drawn vehicles

          or trudging along on foot, presumably seeking safety from the storm they imagined about to break over the

          border country.

 

 

 

On the Border

     “To the guardsmen of the border states the scenery of the border country was familiar, but to the men from the green Middle West and the Atlantic Coast, the scene was one of desolation and horror. Many of them knew so little of what to expect, knew so little about the southwest of their own country, that when a train was delayed because of a broken rail, the officers immediately formed a defensive perimeter to repel the expected Mexican attack.
     “Since there was no time to prepare camps and campsites in advance, the Guardsmen had to make shift with constructing their own living places. The 1st Kansas Infantry, for example, detrained at Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 2, 1916, and marched several miles to the regiment’s assigned area. There the soldiers ‘laid out the camp from the primeval desert…grubbing out mesquite, cactus, and other undesirable features of the terrain, including rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions, in 100-degree heat—it hadn’t rained in nine months.”13

 

 


     Ward Schrantz: “We arrived at Laredo the night of July 7 and established camp north of the town the following day….Within a few days there was the entire Missouri National Guard….Perhaps there was a total of 9,000 or 10,000 men.”  John’s service record credits him with Mexican Border Service beginning July 10, 1916.
     “The troops at Laredo, I have since learned,
were to move on Monterey, unitizing with those coming from Brownsville. But the concentration of the national guard on the border brought a prompt return of peaceful conditions. To the Mexicans it must have appeared a considerable army. Raids ceased….    
     “Our camp of pyramidal tents which we had pitched at the north edge of Laredo gradually began to take on a more permanent air. Some frame tables were built in the company street near the kitchen tent and fly, and we ate sitting at these instead of on the ground. Next cots arrived, replacing hollows we had scooped in the sand for sleeping. Finally a mess hall was built and screened.
     “The weather varied the monotony of drill, hike and minor maneuvers a little. Dust storms occasionally filled the air so that it was difficult to see across the company streets. The tail of a hurricane caught us one night, flattening three fourths of our regimental camp and submerging with rain water those tent sites on low ground or in gullies.”14

     “The largest number of National Guard members on duty occurred on July 31, 1916, when more than 110,000 were on the border and more than 40,000 were in state mobilization camps. The largest number actually to be on the border (112,000) was during the following month.”15    




 



     “It goes without saying that most of the guardsmen expected and hoped to fight the Mexicans soon after arriving, but such was not to be. Instead, they found themselves in a daily grind of drill, drill, shoot, shoot and fatigue, fatigue and more fatigue. There were long marches, designed to harden the men and instill march discipline so that they could be maneuvered if war should come. The marches were, at first, hard on men who were not accustomed to the summer temperatures of the Border, or to the dust and the complete absence of amenities that they took for granted in their homes.”16   

     “A morale factor developed in the national guard troops on the border. While it is known now that relations with the Mexican de facto government remained unsatisfactory and were several times near the point of war, there was no outward evidence of this and the true situation was unknown to the troops or to the public. It all looked peaceful enough and homesick guardsmen and their families wondered why they were kept there. Some had left families, and could not support them on the $15.00 a month pay of the private soldier. Congress soon took care of this by making allowances or authorizing discharges for men with dependents.”17


     “Many observers, newspaper reporters and other writers, unaccustomed to soldier ways, took the men’s griping and grumbling seriously: “Never again!” “I’m through. They’ll never get me in a uniform again as long as I live!” “I wanna go home!” And yet these same National Guard organizations, with many (probably most) of the same men, within the next two years, plunged ahead into flaming sheets of German machine gun fire and barrages to carry out their objectives.
     “There was, however, a serious side to some National Guardsman’s complaints that posed a problem that has not been wholly solved as yet and possibly cannot be solved. Actually it is a problem as old as war itself—the problem of the soldier who leaves dependents behind….
     “To take care of worthy cases, on July 18, 1916, the Secretary of War authorized the discharge of any National Guardsmen who had dependent relatives and who applied for his discharge.”18            

 

 

Homeward Bound

     The Missouri National Guard “remained on duty on the Laredo District until September 2, 1916, when it returned to Camp Clark, near Nevada, and was finally released from federal service September 26, 1916.”19  John’s service record indicates his Mexican Border Service ended on 1 September 1916.
     Ward Schrantz tells us, “...my own regiment marched east of Laredo some distance for target practice….Back in the Laredo camp on Sept. 3, we found the camps of the 1st and 3d Missouri regiments empty. They had started back to Missouri on September 2, presumably in order to be available in the event of disorders in connection with the impending [national railway] strike. Many other regiments were sent home about the same time. The strike not developing, they were mustered out of the service several weeks later. A Presidential election campaign was in progress at that time and it is perhaps possible that a return of a part of the national guard might have had some political aspects since President Wilson’s supporters were stressing the ‘he-kept-us-out-of-war’ slogan....”20 “Back at home, state politicians pushed to have their men released from service.”21 For his part, John just wanted to get home to his sweetheart, Ruth.      

 


                                                             final muster  page 1  page 2  page 3  

 


These records were published in book form in 1919. Here is an abstract of some of that book:

 

___________________________________________________________________


                                        COMPANY G, THIRD INFANTRY.

                                                        KANSAS CITY.

     Called into Federal service by proclamation of the President June 18, 1916.
     Arrived at Camp Clark, Nevada, Missouri, June 23, 1916.
     Arrived at Laredo, Texas, July 10, 1916.

     Relieved from Federal service, September 26, 1916, at Camp Clark, Nevada, Mo.
_____________________________________________________________________________
              
     Name and rank.                                  In National Guard of Missouri. _____________________________________________________________________________

 

Captain,
    
HENRY  E.  LEWIS . . . . . . .       Pvt. Co. G, 3d  Mo. Inf., June 19, 1916. Capt. Co. G, 3d
                                                              Inf., June 28, 1916.
                                                                                 Mexican Border Service.
                                                          Capt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.

1st Lieutenant,
     G
EORGE  E. LONGAN . . . .        Pvt. Co. I, 3d Mo. Inf., Nov 11, 1901.  Cpl.  Hon. Dsch.
                                                              ETS.  Enl. Co. C, 3d Inf., June 23, 1916. 1st Lt. Co. G,
                                                              3d Mo. Inf., June 28, 1916.

                                                                                     Mexican Border Service.
                                                           1st Lt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.

2d  Lieutenant,
     F
RED  C. WILHELM . . . . .        Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., June 19, 1916   Sgt. June 28, 1916.
                                                            1st Sgt. June 28, 1916.  2d Lt. Co. G, 3d Inf., July 3, 1916.
                                                                             Mexican Border Service.
                                                         2d Lt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.

1st Sergeant,
      H
ARRY A. P ILCHER . . . .       Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., June 19, 1916. Ck. June 28, 1916.
                                                           Sgt. July 4, 1916.    1st Sgt. July 4, 1916.

                                                                             
Mexican Border Service.
                                                         
1st Sgt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.

         
Mess  Sergeant,
. . . (1 total)

Sergeants:

. . . (4 total)

. . .

Corporals:

. . . (7 total)

. . .
Cooks:

. . . (2)

. . .

Buglers:

. . . (2)

Mechanic:

. . . (1)

Privates:

       ARVIN,  JOHN  A. . . . .           Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., June 23, 1916.

                                                                          Mexican Border Service
                                                         Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.
 

       BINZ,   FRED  H. . . . .              Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., June 23, 1916.

                                                                          Mexican Border Service
                                                          Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.

       BROCKMAN,  GILBERT  G. .      Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., June 23, 1916.

                                                                         Mexican Border Service
                                                          Pvt. Co. G, 3d Mo. Inf., July 7, 1916—Sept. 26, 1916.
. . .
. . .

. . .

. . .
. . . (50)
____________________________________________________________________________      

22

 

 

      
Marriage and the Great War

 

      Less than three weeks after he was mustered out, on 19 October 1916, John and Ruth were married at St. Aloysius Church in Kansas City. Rall Grumman(?) was best man, and John’s sister, Jennie, was maid of honor. The pastor, Fr. Aloysius Breen, a Jesuit priest, performed the ceremony, recording it in the registry and issuing a marriage certificate. Also, the Marriage License  reverse was recorded by the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds. The newlyweds lived with Margaret and the rest of the family at 1323 Prospect temporarily, probably because their incomes were not large enough for them to afford a place of their own. John remained in the Missouri National Guard, as required by the terms of his enlistment. He was promoted to First Class Private effective 25 March 1917.
       Despite the president’s “He kept us out of war” campaign slogan, the United States of America was inexorably drawn into an enormous, all-encompassing European conflict. In the event of an attack on a given country, tangling alliances of all sorts bound allies together in the name of mutual defense. This drew other countries into the conflict, until all of Europe was on one side or the other. On 13 April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. John’s unit was called up.
His service record indicates he held the position of clerk at this time.

                                                                         U.S. Army muster  page 1

      He reported to the mobilization point as required, but immediately requested release from his enlistment because he had a dependent—his wife Ruth. John’s older sister, Mary, a Notary Public, helped him with an affidavit and supporting statements from Frank Jackson and I W Fry to that effect. His request was granted, and he was granted an Honorable Discharge  reverse at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 30 April 1917, and a Final Statement was prepared.

                                                                               statement  reverse


     He was still required to stay registered with Selective Service, and he complied in June, 1917. A Registration Certificate was issued to him.

     John and Ruth moved to Clinton, Missouri, about 60 miles southeast of Kansas City. John was probably pursuing a job opportunity for work as an auto mechanic there. They lived at 707 E. Franklin Street. His Draft Classification Card  back was sent there in February of 1918. The card shows him classified as IV-A, meaning he was still subject to the draft, but placed in a lower priority than I-A registrants.

    The young couple returned to Kansas City after a stay of only a few months. Ruth’s brother, Tom Spake (almost twenty years her senior) had contacted them with very good news. He was now working as an auto mechanic at Buxton-Phillips Motors Corporation, a prestigous distributor of the Chalmers and the Maxwell cars, located at 3340 Main Street in Kansas City. He said they were looking for another mechanic, and he could help John apply for the job. More good news: Tom was living at 2840 Michigan Avenue,a small wood-frame rental house, and he told them the home next door, 2842 Michigan, was for rent. (Neither still standing.) It didn’t take them long to decide to return to Kansas City. And in a matter of days, John was working at Buxton-Phillips and he and Ruth were living at 2842 Michigan Avenue, next door to Tom.
     This all happened at a very good time, for Ruth was now expecting. And, as the so-called Great War—a War to End All Wars, a World War—raged out of control in Europe, Ruth gave birth to their first child, a son. They named him Robert Joseph Arvin. He was born on 23 April 1918. (Loretta told me she thought they gave him the middle name of Joseph after the patron saint of the hospital where he was born: Saint Joseph Hospital in Kansas City.)
     Tom and John did well at Buxton-Phillips. Tom became the foreman of the mechanics and moved to an apartment closer to work, at 112 West 36th Street. (Tom’s ex-wife, “Mrs. Marie Spake,” still lived with Charlie and Hattie at 2826 Prospect and still worked for the A Morrison Jr Farm Co.) John was also doing well. So well that on the 26th of November, 1919, John and Ruth purchased a home. It was, and still is, on lot 30 of the Hill Top Addition. The address is 2315 Myrtle Avenue. It is directly south of Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery, where John’s first wife, Lillie, and their stillborn daughter were so painfully laid to rest a few years before. The home purchase was subject to a lease, held by a tenant, who was paying $25.00 per month in rent. The lease was set to expire on March 31st, 1920. Then they would be able to move in. 

 

 

1920 –  Fourteenth United States Census    

     John and his family are still renting, waiting for the lease to expire on the home they bought at 2315 Myrtle. John is an auto mechanic with Buxton-Phillips Motors, a car dealer, over on Main Street. He works for wages.



Image

 

 2842     Arvin,    John         Head       R                M     W     28   M                   .  .  .       Auto Mech     In Shop    W

               ------- ,  Ruth       Wife                          F      W    27    M                                 none
               ------- ,  Robert      Son                          M     W            S                                  none


    

 

 

Run for Your Life

     Soon after the census was taken, John and Ruth were able to move into their home. Now they had everything they ever wanted, everything promised to them by the American Dream. John already had life insurance, and now they took out a policy reverse on Ruth. But within weeks, their dream had turned into a nightmare. Ruth’s health began to deteriorate. She had to undergo an operation for the removal of a kidney. But even after the operation, her health remained poor and seemed to be getting worse. Then, terrifying, unbearable news. She was diagnosed with consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis.) John knew what this meant: his father had died of the disease. “The classic symptoms are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (the last giving rise to the formerly prevalent colloquial term ‘consumption.’)”23 In these days before the discovery of the antibiotic Streptomycin, there was no medical treatment for the disease. The conventional wisdom held that a “consumptive” should travel to places where the air was considered cleaner, to give their system a chance to rest and rebuild itself. Based on what they knew about the disease, John and Ruth made a big decision.
    
They ran for their lives. They liquidated their assets to get the cash they needed. In July, older sister Mary Ann and her husband Charlie McClung stepped in and purchased their home. John and Ruth then made a trip to Denver, Colorado. The experts said what they needed was, “plentiful amounts of high altitude, fresh air, and good nutrition.” But when they returned to Kansas City, Ruth’s condition had not improved. In fact, it was worse. Hoping against hope, they left little Bobby with John’s younger sister, Loretta and her husband, Frank Jackson. In August, they took the train to Los Angeles. They visited John’s brother, Louis, and his wife Catherine, who lived in the downtown area. They also visited John’s sister, Emma, and her husband Henry Phibbs, who lived about a mile away, at The Rutland residential hotel, 1839 South Main Street. While there, Ruth went to another doctor. She paid him using a counter check from the Los Angeles Trust & Savings Bank, which had an office next door to the Rutland.  
 
     With Ruth’s health was still in decline, with their options running out, they were getting desperate. They left Los Angeles and made another trip, this time to a sanatorium in Phoenix. This “new word...would emphasize the need for scientific healing or treatment....they took the Latin verb root sano, meaning to heal, and adopted the new word sanatorium....The rationale for sanatoria was that before antibiotic treatments existed, a regimen of rest and good nutrition offered the best chance that the sufferers immune system would ‘wall off’ pockets of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) infection....24 Although they were running low on funds, John arranged for Ruth to check in to the well-known Phoenix Sanatorium, located in the downtown area. (It was on the second floor of the Stroud Building, the building with the “Temme Springs” sign in this photo. Today, Durant’s Restaurant stands on this site.) Many “lung patients looking for a rest cure were attracted to Phoenix because of its low humidity, mild winters and clean air. Into the 1920s, such institutions as the Phoenix Sanatorium promoted themselves nationally.”25Wealthier people chose to recuperate in exclusive TB resorts, while others used their savings to make the journey to Arizona and arrived penniless....26
     John and Ruth arrived on January 16th. John knew the outlook was grim. Ruth would have to stay there indefinitely. Her condition was now quite serious, probably terminal. She grew weaker by the day. He decided to quickly return to Kansas City, fetch their son and bring him to his mother. While he was on his way back to Kansas City, Ruth lost her battle with tuberculosis and passed away. She died at 9:00 AM on Monday, the 31st day of January, 1921.





                                           Ruth Spake Arvin






A Widower Again


     John remained with Frank and Loretta Jackson in Kansas City and arranged for Ruth’s body to be returned for burial. Mr. Dick Smith, a railroad agent, wrote him a letter   page 2   page 3.   John was in great need of money, and wrote a letter to Ruth’s attending physician, Doctor Woodall. Dr. Woodall had already filled out the death certificate, and now completed the insurance form, returning it to John. Ruth’s funeral was held at St. Aloysius Church on Thursday, February 3, and she was buried that same day. Since he had almost no funds left, John had to have Ruth interred in the same plot which contained the remains of his first wife, Lillie, and their stillborn infant. John had not even paid the premium on his own life insurance policy for over a year, but he knew how critical it could be. So he made a back payment now to keep it from lapsing. The Spake brothers may have purchased the stone for their little sister. One can only imagine the grief and the terrible sadness he must have felt that day. And every day thereafter.

     Loretta and her husband Frank Jackson were still caring for Bobby, now two years old, at the apartment (2733 Gillham Road). They asked John to continue staying with them. It was fortunate that the Jacksons had a three bedroom apartment, because John and Loretta’s mother, Margaret, and their sister, Jennie, were also living there. These were tough times for the Arvin family. Their brother William, divorced and penniless, also needed shelter at this time, so Frank and Loretta took him in, too. So unselfish were the Jacksons that they even moved to a larger apartment, located at 3041 Wabash (no longer standing), in order to provide shelter for everyone. In addition, Frank employed John and William at his printing company.
     Loretta simply continued to care for Bobby. She was now his de facto mother. Frank wanted to adopt Bobby, but Loretta insisted he keep his father’s surname. Margaret pointed out that John might remarry again someday. And so it was that Robert Joseph Arvin remained Robert Joseph Arvin.


The Roaring Twenties

     John, not yet thirty years old, was a widower for the second time. But he did not give up. All through the 1920’s, he carried on. Though it was always a struggle, he succeeded. The Roaring Twenties were times of constant change for John and the Arvin family. Jennie married William Strasburg in September of 1921. She moved out to live with him in a place of their own. The following year, Frank and Loretta purchased a home in a fresh new suburb on Kansas City’s south side. The address: 5430 Forest. Margaret, William, John and Robert all moved there with them. The City Directory lists John as a mechanic for the Globe Laundry in 1922. Another sister, Zetta, and her husband, Dennis Simms, purchased a home at 5439 Tracy, located one block to the east. Now the Arvin family had once again reinvented itself. And they took care of each other, each person doing what they could to help everyone else. John started to make a living working as a driver again.
      In 1925, William remarried and moved downtown to begin a new life with his second wife. The following year, in sharp contrast, Dennis Simms abandoned his wife, Zetta, and their three sons, and left town without a trace. Margaret and John moved in with her, and thus helped her hold on to her home.
     The oldest child of the family, Mary McClung, worked at an insurance company downtown. She was the personal secretary of the president of the company, Arthur Hyde, who was a former governor of the State of Missouri. When Herbert Hoover was elected president in 1928, Hoover selected Hyde to become the new Secretary of Agriculture. And Hyde invited Mary to go to Washington as his personal secretary at the Department of Agriculture. Amid much publicity, Mary left to live a life of glamour and prestige in the nation’s capitol. She paid an unbearable price, though. Her husband, Charlie, committed suicide.

     Back in Kansas City, John became acquainted with a young man named Maitland, whose father had money. Maitland had a dump truck, and he and John used it to launch a contract hauling business. They called it Arvin Brothers. They landed contracts with both the Kansas City Journal-Post newspaper and the Packer Publishing Company, delivering rolls of paper to their pressrooms, and delivering the printed products to their customers. (He is shown here, at “The Packer,” second from the right.) They also made deliveries for Frank Jackson Printing and subcontracted work with the Belger Cartage Company, the premier moving and hauling company in town. These were great accomplishments in those tough years. John’s company provided employment not only for himself but also for his young nephews, the three sons of Leo Arvin (Joe Bemil, Louis and Dellis) and the Zetta’s two oldest (Dennis Jr and Emmett). He became a role model for them at an important, formative time in their lives.   


1930 – Fifteenth United States Census


     In 1930, John’s residence was listed in the City Business Directory as 5439 Tracy, Zetta’s home. But later in the year, he and Maitland (with financial help from Maitland’s father) took over the operation of a downtown restaurant, the Yellow Inn Cafe. It was located in the Drake Building, at 1334 Broadway. (No longer standing, but shown here on this vintage map as a three story brick building with a large 10 foot high chimney on the roof.) They operated Arvin Brothers from the same location, and John ran the restaurant. He took a furnished room in the apartments above the restaurant, 1334½ Broadway. There we find John in the 1930 census, listed as a Roomer, living alone.
      This census asked about ownership of a new technological device, the radio set, which was becoming a standard feature in many homes across the county. John does not own one.



Image


1334½
     Arvin, John A      Roomer   M   W   36   Wd                     . . .                            Proprietor Restaurant


    This working arrangement must have involved long hours and been exhausting for John, for in 1931, we find the restaurant listed in the City Directory as being operated by someone else. John’s mother, Margaret, died in the summer of 1931, and he moved back in at Zetta’s home.

     The tough times in the 1920’s were followed by the even tougher times of the Great Depression. Through the 1930’s, the City Directory shows John, living alone, in different residential hotels and boarding houses downtown. Some years he is not listed at all, probably because he was not steadily employed. He was one of the many millions of Americans who struggled to get by day by day in those Depression years. He lived in a dwelling at 1309 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1935. (The City Directory shows the Ever Ready Transfer Company at this address in 1930.) In 1937 he was listed at 414 W. 12th St. Ter. (No such address, but my father told me he lived here, the Cardova Hotel, on the southeast corner of 12th and Pennsylvania.) His occupation: laborer. These must have been lonely years for him. He did the best he could. In 1938, he moved to 1229 Washington and listed himself as a driver. In 1939, he listed himself as a trucker at the same address. He had now become the proprietor of his own company: Arvin Trucking.



1940 – Sixteenth United States Census


     This census gathered a lot of data about people. The column headings indicate that John: lived at 1229 Washington, and his rent was $9.00 per month ($147.28 in today’s money).
     He was a white male, 47 years old, who was single. He had an eighth-grade education, was born in Indiana and lived at the same place in 1935. He was an owner-operator, working in the Truck Services industry. He worked on his Own Account (e.g., was self employed), worked 52 weeks in 1939, earned $0.00 in money, wages or salary in 1939, but did receive $50.00 or more from sources other than money, wages or salary in 1939.



Image

1229  R  9  Arvin, John A.    Head  M W 47 S 8 Indiana  same place  owner operator Truck Services  OA  52  0  yes



     In 1941, the City Directory shows him at 1300 Pennsylvania (no such address, son’s military records list him at the Pennington Hotel, 12th & Penn., and also at “Co. 2, Woods, Wi.” The meaning of this entry is unclear.) His son, Robert, continued to live with Frank and Loretta at 5430 Forest. Robert is listed as a student, then later as a printer with the Frank Jackson Printing Company. Frank and Loretta always treated Robert as their son, and Rosemary (who goes by “Todi”) always considered him her brother, although she admitted that introducing him with a last name of Arvin was always awkward.

 

Health Problems  
  

     John was living at 1309 Pennsylvania in 1945, when he suffered a serious heart attack. Loretta remembered rushing her older brother to St. Joseph’s hospital for treatment. When he was released, she brought him home to stay with her, Frank and Todi. (Robert was off serving in the Army Air Forces in World War II.) Because of John’s service in the Missouri National Guard, he was eligible to stay at the Western Branch National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Leavenworth, Kansas. Its Wadsworth Domiciliary was considered a model facility, providing long term care for disabled veterans in a pleasant, well maintained setting. There was a hospital, chapels (Protestant above grade, Catholic below), library, dining hall, ballroom, theatre, amusement hall with a canteen, a fishing pond with a gazebo for band concerts, and barracks that had bathtubs, hot and cold running water and flushing toilets. Quite a place. It was, and still is, located in Leavenworth, Kansas. Loretta shepherded the application process through the machinery of the Veterans’ Administration, and John was admitted in 1946.

     John stayed at Wadsworth for several years, his health gradually improving. He was able to work at the Jackson Printing Co., off and on for short periods of time. He sometimes visited his son Robert, who had returned from World War II, married and was raising a family of his own. Robert’s home was located just beyond Kansas City’s south border, 85th Street.

     Eventually, John’s health deteriorated, and he later had to be readmitted to the Veterans’ Administration Domiciliary in 1954. Robert would drive to Leavenworth to visit his father from time to time, and took his own son, Robert Jr. (me), along with him. I remember taking pleasant drives with my dad to Wadsworth as a young boy. Sometimes we would stop to pick an ear of corn from a field along the highway. At Wadsworth, John always seemed to be sitting on his bunk in a large open barracks-like building with many other veterans. It was quite intimidating to a young boy like me. The soldiers seemed to have no privacy and no possessions other than what they had laying immediately around their metal cots. The facility is now known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center. The Hospital is active and well run, but the old Domiciliary has been closed for decades, and now stands abandoned. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has neither the funds to restore it nor the heart to tear it down.
 

     John Ambrose Arvin died of a second heart attack, the result of an enlarged heart, on 23 April 1955 at Wadsworth. His only child and descendant, Robert, handled the arrangements for his father’s funeral. He saw to the funeral notice and the death notice continued in the newspaper. The funeral mass, complete with holy card  back, was held at Christ the King Catholic Church, Robert’s parish church.

     The world allowed John happiness only in short, precious spans of time. It gave him a wife, and was about to give him a daughter. But then they were taken away from him. It gave him another wife, then a son. But once again, they were taken away. He was always at a disadvantage, but he never gave up. He always made do with what he had and never complained. He always did more than his share in life. Then, all too soon, the world took him away from us.
     John is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Kansas City Missouri, alongside his mother and father. He was John Ambrose Arvin.












Postscript: Recollections of Dennis Simms Jr.























Researched and written by Robert Joseph Arvin, Jr.   
© Copyright 2012







Footnotes

1.   “World’s Largest Laundry,” Kansas City Architect and Builder, vol. 16 (June 1901), p 185-188
2.    Monroe Dodd, A Splendid Ride, The Streetcars of Kansas City 1870-1957 (2002), p130-131
3.    Jeff Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, the Military Memoirs of Ward Schrantz, 1912-1917 (2009), p 136
4.    Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, p 90
5.    Missouri Office of the Adjutant General, The Service of the Missouri National Guard on the Mexican
       Border Under the President’s Order of June 18, 1916
(1919), p v-ix
6.    Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p xix-xx
7.    Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p v-ix
8.    Clarence C. Clendenen, Blood on the Border, the United States Army and the Mexican Irregulars (1969), p 288
9.    Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p xxvii
10.   Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p xxvii
11.   Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p xvii
12.   Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p ix-xii
13.   Clendenen, Blood on the Border, p 291
14.   Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, p 90-101
15.   Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, note on p 186
16.   Clendenen, Blood on the Border, p 292
17.   Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, p 101
18.   Clendenen, Blood on the Border, p 294
19.   Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p xxvii
20.   Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, p 104
21.   Patrick, ed. Guarding the Border, p 140
22.   Adjutant General, Service of the Missouri National Guard, p 256-258
23.  
Wikipedia
24.   Wikipedia
25.  
Robert A. Melikian, Vanishing Phoenix (2010), p 52
26.  
Wikipedia
  

Images

 

Copy of John’s baptismal record at St. Martin’s Church courtesy of Lavada (Arvin) Scott
Marriage Registry and Interment Records courtesy
archives of Catholic Diocese of Kansas City - Saint Joseph

Photograph of interior of Woolf Brothers Laundry courtesy of Walker Towel and Uniform Service, its successor company.
“Going to the border without training or equipment: raw recruits of the Essex troop of New Jersey.” from Century Magazine, Vol. 42 (October, 1916), p 805

Photographs of Phoenix Sanatorium courtesy of McClintock Collection, Arizona Room, Phoenix Public Library, as presented in “Vanishing Phoenix,” by  Robert A. Melikian (2010) p 52ff
Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1334 Broadway courtesty of Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri. Used with permission.

 

 

Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches