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                               William Henry Arvin

                                                Three hundred dollars was a year’s wages for a laboring man,
                                                and only the most provident could raise it without borrowing it
                                                or selling all he possessed. Most laboring men could better afford
                                                to go to war than to pay the sum.              —Fred Albert Shannon
                                           The Organization and Administration of the Union Army 1861-1865



     William was born 17 September 1845, on his parents’ small farm in Reeve Township, Daviess County, Indiana. He was the son of Joseph Edward Arvin and Rose Ann (nee Hayden) Arvin. William was probably baptized at Saint Mary’s, Barr Township, Catholic Church, in Daviess County, Indiana (shown here), although there is no documentation from that time. 
     William’s family had migrated to Daviess County, Indiana, from Kentucky about a year prior to his birth. They became members of the Saint Rose Catholic Parish, which was centered around the little hamlet of Mount Pleasant, located just across the county line in Martin County. William was born in the days before St. Rose had a church building. That would not happen until 1848, and even then it had no priest. The pastor of St. Mary’s Parish tended to the religious needs of his scattered “missions” like St. Rose on a weekly basis, riding on horseback to each of his various missions in turn, on a circuit.
     Even without a church building, the Parish of St. Rose had long been in existence. “The history of Catholicism had its birth in Martin County in 1819, when several members of this faith settled at Mount Pleasant. The Parish was known as Saint Rose and Mass was offered in the home of Jeremiah Raney....The congregation became large enough by 1848 to justify the erection of a church.”1

More Land

     William’s father owned 40 acres of land at the time William was born. In June of 1850, he purchased an additional 40 acres from the Trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal. This land, located about a mile to the north of his original farm, was surplus to the construction of the canal. (Its legal description was NE-SE 15-2-5, filed with the county in 1852.)  This gave Joseph two separate tracts, totaling 80 acres. 

1850 – Seventh United States Census

     Most of the Arvin clan in Kentucky migrated to southern Indiana in the mid 1840’s, and had settled close to each other in Daviess and Martin counties. William and his younger sister Elizabeth are shown living in the household of their parents, Joseph and Rose Ann. As stated the Catholic population was growing in the area. Elizabeth was one of three children in the Arvin clan who were baptized on the same day at St. Mary’s, Barr Township, in April 1848. The new pastor, Fr. Patrick Joseph R. Murphy, was a conscientious record keeper, and most, if not all, of his records have survived.2

page 387     page 388

 [*]         [**]                     Age Sex Color       Profession Occupation or Trade             Value of              Place of        Persons over 20

                                                                                                    of each Male Person over 15             Real Estate              Birth               years of age

                                                                                                                years of age                                owned                                  cannot read & write
1515       Thomas Arvin       37    M                               Farmer                         200             Md               1
               Margaret      "        21    F                                                                                         In                1
               Mary            "         3     "        [baptized by Fr. Murphy on Palm Sunday, 1848]      "
               Theresa        "         2     "                                                                                            "
               Mary Fields           11    "                                                                                           "

1516       Henry Arvin          63   M                               Farmer                          200              Md               1
               Theresa      "          62    F                                                                                           "                 1
               William      "          39   M                                   "                                                       "
               Laura         "          15    F                                                                                           Ky
               Mary          "          12    F                                                                                          Ky
               Richard H  "           8    M                                                                                           "

               Thomas Fields       12    "                                                                                            "

1517       Joseph Arvin         35     "                                    "                               300               Md
               Rose            "         27    F                                                                                          Ky
               William        "         6     M                                                                                         In
               Elizabeth      "         3     F        [baptized by Fr. Murphy Palm Sunday, 1848]          "

1518       Joshua  O     "        29    M                                   "                               300              Ky
               Caroline       "         29    F                                                                                        Ky
               John             "         5     M                                                                                        In
               Francis         "         3     "          [baptized by Fr. Murphy Palm Sunday, 1848]         "

               James           "         1    "                                                                                            "

1519       George         "        25    "                                     "                                150              Ky
               Jemima        "         26    F                                                                                          Md
               James          "          2    M                                                                                           In

1520       James          "         22    "                                     "                                 100              Ky            1
               Mary           "         20    "                                                                                            In

*    “Families numbered in the order of visitation.”
**  “The Name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family.”3


      The vitality of the little hamlets in the region began to evaporate in the late 1850’s, after a new town was founded in Martin County. It was located just a few miles north of Mount Pleasant. Thanks to the foresight of its founder, this one would quickly outshine the others.



             Loogootee is the county’s only city and has experienced a steady growth since first
             being platted in 1853….Thomas N. Gootee, a descendant of French ancestors, is the
             founder of Loogootee. He homesteaded the land at the present site in 1818, and was

             one of the few pioneers to appreciate the potentialities of the level prairie and swamp

             land. Gootee added to his original purchase until he owned 600 acres, and gladly

             donated the right-of-way for the railroad….on April 4, 1853…Gootee platted the village.

             The development was rather rapid and a post office was established July 6, 1857….
                  Loogootee had little to recommend it as the site of future flourishing metropolis until

             the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad was constructed in 1857. Leaders at Mount Pleasant
             recognized that the facilities of the railroad would offer shipping and commercial

             advantages and moved to the site. Residences which had been moved from Hindostan,

             after the plague, to Mount Pleasant, were again torn down and relocated at Loogootee....
                  The naming of the town must have been a “headache,” but there are no official records

             pertaining to the origin of the name. The Gootee, no doubt, is in honor of Thomas Gootee,

             the pioneer who platted the original settlement.4

     Theories about the origin of the first part of the name range from the “loo” in Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated, to “Lowe,” the name of the engineer who surveyed the right-of-way for the railroad, to DeLoo, who first surveyed the town tract, to “Lucinda,” Gootee’s wife’s name.
     As the town of Mount Pleasant faded away, the Parish of St. Rose lost many of its parishioners. Eventually it was disbanded. “The Parish was finally dissolved in 1857, and the members north of Mount Pleasant were attached to the new Parish at Loogootee, while those living south were attached to the newly established Parish of St. Martin’s.”5 Thus, William and his family became members of the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Parish, which was centered on the tiny hamlet of Whitfield, Indiana. Whitfield, also in Martin County, was only a few miles northeast of Joseph and Rose Ann’s farm in Daviess County.
     The new parish of St. Martin of Tours, however, had no church building of its own. The existing St. Rose church building was still used for quite some time, and its cemetery was still available for burials. Several Arvin family members, including William’s grandparents, Henry and Theresa Arvin, were buried there during this time. When Saint Martin finally was able to build its own church, in 1875, the old St. Rose church building was dismantled. Most of its stones were used for the foundation of the St. Martin of Tours church.


Saint John’s Church

     Meanwhile, Loogootee gained its own parish, Saint John. Its growth would mirror the growth of the town.



             St. John’s, Loogootee, became the largest Parish in the county after a very humble beginning
             in a small room above the Campbell - Breen Store. Mass was offered there in 1857 by a

             visiting priest from St. Mary’s, Barr Township, Daviess County, and later in a frame building

             belonging to a Mr. Gootee.

                  In 1858, Father John Mougin, who resided at St. Mary’s, undertook the building of a church
             in Loogootee. The work was completed in 1860 and Father Mougin took charge of St. Mary’s      
             as a Mission. A one-room school was added to the Parish in 1862, and a Rectory built for the
             priest in 1866. It was not many years until the rapid growth of the town and the increase in the
             number of Catholics necessitated the needs for larger buildings.6  


             Loogootee has perhaps contributed more stalwart men and women to the Catholic Church for
             services as priests and nuns than any other similar sized city in the United States. Any
             explanation as to why such a large number of persons have entered priesthood and sisterhood
             from the community is only a conjecture. However, part of the motivation is probably due to

             the faithfulness and devotion of the early Irish citizenry who settled the Loogootee area.7    

1860 – Eighth United States Census

William H “Harven”
is shown still living with his parents and working on the family farm. Even at this late date, the family surname is incorrectly spelled by the census taker with an initial H, an unwitting throwback to ancient Irish spelling rules.


[*] Name                                Age Sex                  Profession               Value of              Value of     Place of       Attended        Persons over 20
                                                                                    Occupation            Real Estate           Personal        Birth         School w/i      yrs of age cannot
                                                                                      or Trade                   Estate                                                            the Year         read  and write

653  Joseph E Harven     46    M                 farmer               2500             500     Maryland
         Rosan           "        45     F             Keeping house                                       Kentucky                              1
         William H     "       15    M               Farm laborer                                              Ind             1
         Elizabethan   "       12    F                                                                                   Ind            1
         Edward M    "       10    M                                                                                  Ind            1
         Mary Jane     "        8      F                                                                                  Ind
         Rosan            "        6     F                                                                                   Ind
         Benjamin      "         3    M                                                                                  Ind
         Joseph           "      1/12   M                                                                                  Ind
         Elenor Summers    15     F                                                                                  Ind
         James Summers     10    M                                                                                  Ind


      It is unclear why Eleanor and James Summers are living with the Arvin’s, but there was a Rudolphus Summers, age 39, living nearby. Also living in that household is: Ann Summers, age 25, Mary E. Haulk, 20, and Robert Summers, 2.

     William’s younger brother, Benjamin Francis Arvin, died on 1 August 1861. He was only four years old.

A New Homestead

     When William was 18 years old, in December of 1862, his father purchased an additional tract of land. It consisted of three contiguous properties, totaling 190 acres, and it more than doubled his father’s holdings. The new land was located in Section 16 of Daviess County,  about midway along Reeve Township’s northern border with Barr Township. The family probably moved to this new land the following year, 1863, and Joseph began building a fashionable two-story cabin for his family. It was described as “rather presumptuous.” Joseph would later plank the outside of the cabin and whitewash the planks, making it one of the first “painted houses” in the area. He operated a store on the ground level of this house. One of the items he sold there was his own liquor, which he produced from a still located on the property. Joseph was an enterprising person, and became quite successful. He and his family prospered.   

The Civil War

     In the North, it was called the War of The Rebellion. It took not only enormous amounts of money but enormous manpower to sustain. As it raged, President Lincoln began making a series of calls for more troops. Ultimately, he would ask for almost a million men. To satisfy these calls, quotas were set across the country to supply the numbers needed. If, in any given voting district, the number of volunteers did not satisfy the quota (or the district’s bounty offers were not lucrative enough to induce the needed number of volunteers) the balance had to be made up by drafting recruits into the ranks. This was usually accomplished by means of a lottery. Joseph and Rose Ann knew that Will, their oldest son, would become subject to the draft when he turned 20 years of age, in September of 1865. Family tradition, told to me by Will’s youngest daughter Loretta, holds that “We bought our way out of the Civil War. Will’s number came up, and the family paid to get him out. His father and his uncles all pitched in.”

     Commutation was available to all, but only the rich could afford to pay the $300 price. Wikipedia tells us that


    drafted could provide substitutes or, until mid-1864, avoid service by paying
             commutation money. Many eligibles pooled their money to cover the cost of anyone
             drafted. Families used the substitute provision to select which man should go into the
             army and which should stay home. There was much evasion and overt resistance to the
             draft, especially in Catholic areas. The great draft riot in New York City in July 1863
             involved Irish men who had been signed up as citizens to swell the machine vote, not
             realizing it made them liable for the draft.

     The family tradition of Wills commutation may be slightly flawed, however, since only those young men who had attained age 20 were subject to the draft, and for Will this would not happen until September of 1865. He, therefore, would never have needed to pay for commutation.
     However, it is quite possible that Joseph and Rose Ann purchased what was known as “draft insurance” to protect Will. This possibility is more likely.

             ...two companies, organized specifically for draft insurance, appeared late in the war,
             one in Indiana and one in Illinois. The Indiana Mutual Draft Insurance Company,
             located in Indianapolis, offered to insure draftees from any area of the state. The
             membership fee is unknown, but the money was deposited in the First National Bank
             of Indianapolis and the enrolled person was given a deposit receipt. If a man were
             drafted, he apparently got no money, but the funds in the bank were used to procure
             a substitute for him. Only when all the drafted members were relieved was the company
             free to draw the remaining money out for its own purposes.8

     We know that Joseph’s brother, “Long George,” and his cousin, John L. Arvin, were both drafted, and this may have convinced Joseph and Rose Ann that insurance was a good investment. At any rate, the war ended, and Will never served in it.

     Historical Note: Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House. In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant’s respect and anticipation of peacefully folding the Confederacy back into the Union, Lee was permitted to keep his officer’s saber and his horse, Traveler.

     On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington. He died early the next morning, and Andrew Johnson became President.

1870 – Ninth United States Census

William H. Arvin, who became known as “Big Bill” (perhaps to distinguish him from his cousin living nearby, also named William Henry Arvin), is living at home with his sisters and brothers, working on the family farm.


Name                    Age  Sex  Color      Profession              Value of        Value of            Place of         Cannot   Cannot         Male citz
Occupation            Real Estate      Personal              Birth             Read     Write              of U.S.
                                                                                   or Trade                                        Estate                                                                          21 up
Arvin, Joseph E.    54     M      W        Farmer             6,000        4,000       Maryland                                 
          Rosan          45      F       W   Keeping house                                      Kentucky
          William H.   24     M      W    Farm laborer                           200          Indiana                                  
          Elizabeth     22      F       W                                                                   Indiana
          Martin C.    19      M      W                                                                   Indiana
          Moses I.      18      M      W                                                                   Indiana   [This must be Mary Jane.]
          Joseph P.      9       M      W                                                                   Indiana
          Susan C.       3       F       W                                                                   Indiana

Text Box:      The Other William Henry Arvin’s   [Image]

         In contrast to the days of ancient Ireland, when only one name was needed to designate a 
      person, by the nineteenth century in America, even three names were sometimes not enough to 
      distinguish different people. Case in point: the William Henry Arvin’s. There were three William 
      Henry Arvin’s, all cousins, all living in Indiana, all contemporaries. The first is the subject of this
      sketch. He was the son of Joseph and Rose Ann Arvin, and he was born in 1845. He was known
      as Big Bill.
           The second William Henry Arvin was born in 1861. He and his brother, John Leonard Arvin,
       were the sons of Thomas Elias (“Little Tom”) Arvin. Little Tom was born in 1836 and baptized
       at St. Rose back in Washington County, Kentucky. Little Tom was the son of Elias Arvin 
       (Henry’s younger brother) and Catherine Arvin. This other William Henry Arvin married Nancy
       Ellen Miles on 7 February 1882 in Martin County, Indiana.<sup>9</sup> More confusion: Some of 
       their children were baptized at St. Martin’s Church in Whitfield, as were the children of William
       Henry and Margaret Arvin. Real estate transactions recorded in the Martin County Deed Records,
       refer to this second William as “William H. Arvin of Martin County.” Later, to make matters 
       even more confusing, this second William H. Arvin moved to Daviess County! 
            Yet another William Henry Arvin was born in 1869. He is the son of the William Arvin who
       was Henry and Theresa’s oldest son. That William Arvin had a son, Richard Arvin, who lived
       with Henry and Theresa after William Arvin’s first wife died and William remarried and moved
       away. When Richard Arvin grew up, he married and had a son, whom they named William Henry
            These three men were all easy enough for residents of the area to distinguish from each other
       during their lifetimes, but after the passage of 150 years, their individual identities are difficult to


     William Henry Arvin married Margaret Ellen Yates on 27 January 1879. The ceremony was held at St. Martin’s Church in Whitfield, but the church records were maintained at St. John’s in Loogootee. (Her name is misspelled “Aytes” on the marriage license.) Margaret’s father was John Yates, said to be Scotch. He was born about 1829 in Hardin County, Kentucky, but when he came up to Indiana is not known. Margaret’s mother was Mary Patterson, whose family was English and Catholic. The Pattersons had migrated to Daviess County from Washington County, Kentucky, in 1818. (They brought this chest of drawers with them.) Mary was born in Martin County, Indiana, in 1835.10  

     The Patterson family and the Arvin family were not only friends and neighbors, they were also relatives. Margaret’s aunt, Margaret Mahala Patterson, married Thomas H. Arvin, the brother of Joseph Edward Arvin, in April of 1846. Margaret’s uncle, Martin Patterson, married Rosa L. Arvin (daughter of Henry and Theresa) in August of 1846. Martin Patterson and Wills uncle, James P. Arvin, (youngest brother of Joseph Edward Arvin) are shown sitting side by side in this picture of the Pioneers of Loogootee. (Martin was said to have lost his leg in an accident at his sawmill in Loogootee.)

     Mary Patterson and John Yates married on 11 January 1857. The ceremony was held at Saint Mary’s, Barr Township, Catholic Church. Pastor of the church, Fr. Patrick Joseph R. Murphy, officiated at the ceremony. (Although Fr. Murphy was usually quite scrupulous in his record keeping, the groom’s name is misspelled “Gates in his records.)11
     Margaret Ellen Yates was their first child, born on 28 January 1858. Mary next gave birth to a son, Joseph. However, complications arose during his birth, and Mary died. Baby Joseph survived, and the Patterson clan took both children into their care. There are no definitive records, but it is likely that Martin Patterson and his wife took them in for a few years. Martin Patterson, who outlived three wives, may have become unable to care for them as a widower. Mary Patterson’s younger brother, John Ambrose Patterson, married Henrietta (“Hettie”) Birch in 1864, and apparently took the children into her care soon after her marriage. Uncle Ambrose and Aunt Hettie lived in the hamlet of Corning, in Daviess County. They had a large family. Some of their daughters are shown here. They also had a daughter (not shown here) named Margaret Ann, who was born in 1865.12
     Although Margaret was well cared for by her aunt and uncle, she always longed for her natural parents. Her father, John, later sought work back in the place where he was born, Hardin County, Kentucky. Many years later her oldest daughter wrote, Mother remembered seeing her father when she was about seven years old. He came to see his children before leaving the neighborhood. As she remembered it, he was going to Kentucky. They afterwards heard that he had been killed by the explosion of a sawmill engine. Mother used to talk to me about her father. She didnt take it for granted that he was dead, and for many years hoped that he would come home. She had a good home, was well taken care of and loved, but that did not quell her longing for her own father. She knew her mother was dead, but she didnt know for sure about her father.” For her entire life, Margaret would never receive closure on the matter of her father’s death.


1880 – Tenth United States Census


     William and Margaret had not established their own household yet. They were living with Joseph and Rose Ann in the painted house at the time this census was taken: June 1880.


 Name                   Color Sex Age    Relationship         Profession                             Birthplace               Father’s           Mother’s
                                                                                                   Occupation                                                            Birthplace        Birthplace
                                                                                                       or Trade
Arvin, Joseph E.    W   M  64                              Farmer                       Maryland        Maryland    Maryland
          Rosana H.    W   F   55        wife         Keeping House                     Ky                  Ky              Ky
          William H.   W   M  34        Son                Farmer                            Ind                 Md              Ky
          Margaret E.  W   F   22  
Daugh in Law    House Keeping                     Ind                 Ky              Ind
          Joseph T.      W   M  20       Son            works on farm                     Ind                 Md              Ky
          Susan E.       W   F   11    Daughter           at Home                          Ind                 Md              Ky
          Lelia C.        W   F     9    Daughter                                                   Ind                 Md              Ky
Hayden, John O.    W  M   14    Nephew        works on farm                  Illinois               Ky              Ky
             A.M.                      59   
Bro in Law        works on farm                Kentucky            Ky              Ky

     Margaret and Will’s first child was a baby girl, whom they named Mary Ann. She was born 3 December 1879, most likely in Joseph and Rose Ann’s home, and she was baptized on December 28 at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, in Whitfield, by Fr. Louis Guiguen. Her sponsors were Joshua Arvin and  “Hanrietta” Patterson. For some reason, Mary Ann was not recorded on this census.   
     In the years that followed, Will and Margaret probably moved into their own home, a cabin built to the southeast of the painted house, on Joseph and Rose Ann’s land. Also, note from the census above that Will’s younger sister, Mary Jane, and her husband, James Griffin, lived nearby. They lived on a portion of the land lying to the northeast. In addition, Will’s youngest sister, Valerie Catherine (“Lelia”), would later marry, and they would also build their own cabin, this one to the north of the painted house, also on her parent’s property. This cabin would be known as the “little house.” All three of these young families would continue to live on Joseph and Rose Ann’s land for years. A letter written to me in 1980 bears this out.

Text Box:    

                                                                                                   March 6, 1980
                                                                                                   Loogootee, Indiana
              Dear Bob,  
              . . .  

              My dad grew up in the house that Joseph Arvin built
              and had his store. His mother Josephine Arvin McCann,
              granddaughter of Joshua O. Arvin, married Joseph B.
              Williams, whose first wife was Valarie Catherine Arvin, 
              after the death of my grandfather William McCann in 
              1911. They were married when dad was seven, which would
              have been in 1915 or 1916. They moved into the house
              Joseph Arvin had built and Valarie Catherine and Joseph
              B. Williams had lived in during their marriage. Joseph B 
              and my grandmother tore down the original house and built 
              another on the same spot in the mid-1930’s. I can remember
              playing on foundation rocks from the old house and the cellar
              under the present house is the same one that was under the old
                    Dad said that there was another log house located to the
              south east of the house of Joseph Arvin. It was on the same
              property and located just behind the orchard. There was also 
              a house to the north known as the “little house.” It stood 
              until the early 1960’s. My dad and Lucile Arvin both 
              said they remembered hearing of a Bob Hayden freezing to
              death on the fence outside the “little house.” Lucile said 
              Bob Hayden was a retarded brother of Rose. 

                                                                                              Mary Ellen Wildman



The Family Grows
     Will and Margaret’s family grew larger as the years went by:

     Louis Edward was born 3 January 1881. He was baptized February 20 at St. Martin’s Church in Whitfield by Fr. Louis Guiguen.

     Rose Emilia was born 4 March 1882. She was baptized on March 25 at St. Martin’s, also by Fr. Guiguen. Her sponsors were Michael Lennon and Margaret Ann Patterson, Margaret Ellen Arvin’s cousin. Rose Emelia came to be known simply as “Emma.”

     Joseph Leo was born 8 January 1884. He was baptized by Fr. “Guegan” at St. Martin’s on February 20. His sponsors were 57 year-old George W. Patterson from Margaret’s family and Will’s 16 year-old sister, Susan E. Arvin. Perhaps because there were already so many men named Joseph in the family, Joseph Leo simply came to be known as “Leo.”

     William Francis was born 7 September 1885 and baptized on 27 September at St. Martin’s by the Reverend W. H. Slaven, the new pastor, whose records begin with this baptism. Sponsors were Peter Fagen and Rose Ann Arvin. William Francis sometimes went by William M, WM, or simply “Will” later in life.

     Elizabeth Jane was born 22 June 1887 and baptized at St. Martin’s. Her sponsors were her father’s aunt and uncle, George W. and Mary E. Arvin. She adopted the name “Genevieve” later in life. Later still, it was simply  “Jennie.”     

     Michael Sanford was born 8 December 1888, based on family tradition. Father Slaven’s records end in August of 1887, and his exact date of birth is not recorded in church records. Michael Sanford went by “Sanford,” and sometimes, simply by “SM.”  

1890 – Eleventh United States Census

This census, stored in the basement of the Commerce Building, has been lost forever to researchers. A fire broke out in the building in 1921, and water used to fight the fire flowed down into the basement, turning the census sheets into a pulpy mass. Despite a public outcry, the mass of paper was later destroyed. The loss of this census creates a gap in documentation for William and Margaret’s family. However, we already have a good idea of where they were and what they were doing. Later evidence will indicate that Mary graduated from high school in Loogootee, leading to the conclusion that she, and all her younger siblings, made the trek into Loogootee for schooling. It is quite likely they attended St. John’s Catholic School there, which was located north across Church Street from the church (today the site of the Parish Center.)




Text Box:      Another Sale 

          On 29 January 1891, James P. Arvin bought 80 acres of land in the Perry Township of Martin 
       County (SE-SW and SW-SE of 29-2-4), from a James Patterson “subject to a mortgage to Margaret
       E. Arvin for $420.00.”<sup>13</sup> The story behind this purchase, and why Margaret was holding a
       mortgage on this land, is unknown. This land was later owned by Pius Arvin, Will’s first cousin
       (son of Augustine Arvin).


More Children

     Margaret Mable was born 22 April 1890. She died in her infancy on 9 December 1890. Margaret Mable Arvin was buried at St. Rose cemetery, which was still in use at that time. St. Martin did not get its own cemetery until 1896.  “In 1895 St. Martin received a tract of land from Mr. & Mrs. John Downey to be used as the parish cemetery. Until this time, all had been buried at St. Rose Cemetery at Mount Pleasant. Father James Stremler, one time Chief Secretary to Pope Leo XIII, blessed the cemetery on August 25, 1895. A short five years later Father Stremler would be buried in a vault at the foot of the cross in the new cemetery.”14
     John Ambrose Arvin was born 11 September 1891. He was named after Margaret’s uncle, John Ambrose Patterson (born 1838), who, along with her Aunt Hettie, had taken Margaret into their home after Margaret’s mother died. John was baptized at St. Martin’s Church by Fr. Stremler, on 11 October 1891. Sponsors were his Aunt Valerie (William’s youngest sister), 20 years old, and her husband, Joseph B. Williams. The couple had married at St. Martin’s in January of 1891, and were probably now in the process of building their “little house,” north of the painted house, on Joseph and Rose Ann’s land.  

     Zetta Odessa was born on 28 April 1893.

     Catherine Loretta was born 28 April 1896. She went by Loretta Katherine most of her life. Loretta was baptized at St. Martin’s Church in Whitfield on May 30. original church register
    William and Margaret’s family was now complete.


A Vocation and a Home in Town      

According to family tradition, Will gradually learned the skills of veterinary work. He did not have any formal training or education in this field and apparently picked up what he knew literally with “hands on” experience. He called on clients in a buggy, similar to this one purchased by his younger brother, Martin. “Horse and buggy veterinarian” was the term used to describe these men. As his clientele grew, Will’s income increased, and he found himself better able to provide for his family.

     In September of 1899, he and Margaret moved their family off the farm and into a home on the outskirts of the fast-growing town of Loogootee, over in Martin County. (Our William Henry Arvin of Daviess County thus became our William Henry Arvin of Martin County.)
     Their home is no longer standing, but its location can be derived from a surviving loan document, written by the Loogootee Building and Loan Company. It secures repayment of a loan for $450.00 on the purchase of the home, whose purchae price was $500.00. The promissary note has not survived, but the loan carried interest at the rate of 8%, and was payable quarterly. The Building and Loan deeded the property directly to him, as recorded at the Martin County Recorder’s Office, so perhaps this home was a foreclosure, owned by the company.
    We know the property is near Saint John Church, and the boundaries of the property are described in relation to a “Mill Lot.” A map from 1892 shows where a Grist Mill was located, and this makes it possible to locate the property by its legal description in the deed documents.

   Loretta, the baby of the family, remembered their home as being “a white two-story house with a gravel circle drive, on several acres of land.” Actually, it was a one-acre tract. It was on the southeast edge of Loogootee, and it was an ideal location for a large Catholic family: just two blocks east of Saint John’s Church and school. Will and Margaret had probably been looking for a home to buy in Loogootee for some time. Their children, beginning with Mary and continuing on down the line, had all attended, or were attending school there. Mary had already graduated from high school, gone to the Normal School (e.g. school for teachers) and was now working at Larkin Brothers general store.
     This is the view of the property today, now vacant ground, looking to the south from Church Street. (Gootee Street is now known as Church Street.) And this is the view looking west along Church Street, toward St. John’s, from the same place.


     Will’s father and mother, Joseph Edward and Rose Ann, died in April of 1900. Their six surviving children inherited their land, and in May and June of 1900in a remarkable display of family accordthe children divided it up and deeded it to themselves in the portions which they had decided upon. William H. Arvin (now “of Martin County”) was deeded  38 acres of his father’s land. The value of each child’s portion was described in the deed records as being $500.00. Although there is no evidence, it is likely (as discussed above) that this is the portion of the land he and his family lived on before they moved to Loogootee. It is also likely that he continued to farm this land after he moved to Loogootee, dividing his time between veterinary work and farming. No doubt the older boys helped with the farm chores.


1900 – Twelfth United States Census

William H. Arvin
is shown living in Martin County, Indiana, with his family. They were in their newly purchased home.
     Mary has graduated from high school. She went to Normal (teacher’s) School for a time, but is now a Sales Woman at Larkin Brothers Department Store in Loogootee. She is earning more than $20.00 a month, yet she is starting to yearn for bigger and better things, more challenges than what Loogootee can provide. Louis is a farm laborer, working on the family farm back in Daviess County. He is about to enlist in the Navy. Emma is learning dressmaking, a skill which she will use the rest of her life. Leo, only 16 years old, is also a farm laborer, working on the farm with Louis. He may have decided not to attend high school. The younger children are all in school, probably St. John’s grade school, except for little Catherine Loretta, who has not started school yet.
      Also of note, the town of Loogootee was entering a new era in communication. “Telephone service was inaugurated at Loogootee in 1900 with three phones….”15

                                                                                                                       Occupation                       Ownership of home
                                                                                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     S

* Mother of how many children: 11. Number of these living: 10 (Margaret Mabel died in infancy.)

     As noted above, there is a discrepancy on Michael Sanford’s date of birth. On his Draft Registration Card, completed in 1917, he gave his date of birth as 11 December, 1889. The Social Security Death Index shows his date of birth as 11 December 1888.



Two Weddings and A Gathering

     Second daughter, Emma, left her family and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to live with her fiancé, Henry Earl Phipps. On their application for a marriage license, he listed his occupation as Barber, she a Dress Maker. They listed their address as 412 W. 4th St. (This location has since been demolished for an interstate highway.) They married on 29 June 1903.16  A Roman Catholic priest, Father John Gallagher, performed the ceremony.


     Meanwhile, back in Loogootee, on 14 July 1903, second son Joseph Leo Arvin, 19, and Cecilia Almyra Cannon, 17, born and raised in Loogootee, married. A gathering, pictured here, at Margaret and Wills home at that time, may possibly have been made at their wedding reception. Whatever the occasion, this photograph captures images of many of the Arvin family members. (Suggested corrections to the original caption are shown in red.)    

     Leo and Almyra lived with Will and Margaret after their marriage. They started their family with a son, Joseph Beamil Arvin, born 11 January 1904. A second son, Louis Emil, was born 7 February 1905.


     As mentioned, Will had become a self-taught “horse and buggy” veterinarian, traveling around rural areas near Loogootee in the days before automobiles. Loretta remembered the attic of the house being full of cattle horns, which had been sawed off by Will and brought home for the younger children to play with. Veterinary care was in its infancy in the nineteenth century, and it is unlikely that he had any formal schooling or credentials. Even so, his profession allowed him to begin earning a reasonable, even substantial, living. The family could at last begin to live comfortably, and they became one of more prominent families of the town. Mary, with her own income as a Sales Lady at Larkin Brothers, took a trip to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

     In Loogootee, Margaret had a formal portrait of their daughters made at the photography studio in town. (No smiling in those days.) Life was good. The family was at its happiest, most prosperous point. However, things were about to take a drastic turn for the worse. Never again would they be considered prosperous.

     Loretta remembered an incident which happened when she was just a little girl, in which Will and her older brothers were working around the house, and a wagon loaded with rock was accidentally pulled over Will’s hip, injuring him severely.  She remembered lots of yelling and running around. In the confusion, she cut her leg on a piece of farm equipment. It produced a scar which she carried with her for the rest of her life, a reminder of that terrible day.
     In a later incident, she remembered Will being kicked by a horse and suffering additional injury to his hip. As a result of this incident, he became permanently restricted to bed. Loretta said she always remembered him as being bed-ridden after this incident. He got out of bed only once that she could recall. She and her older sisters were practicing for a school play at the house, and her father got out of bed and danced a little jig “in his union suit.”
The girls were quite surprised.
     As a result of his injuries, Will was never able to work again. Then things got worse.


Death of William Arvin

     In 1906, Will developed a terrible disease commonly known as “consumption,” so called because it slowly consumed its victims from within. Today we know it as pulmonary tuberculosis, and there was no treatment for it in those days. It began with subtlety, but always got worse. “The classic symptoms are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss....Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. 17 The bacterium which causes consumption is slow to multiply but relentless in its progress, and the prognosis was never good. If the persons immune system could not overcome it, it was fatal. As Will slowly grew worse, Loretta remembered Margaret stopping passers-by in the street and asking them if they wanted to come in and “pray for Will” or “say goodbye to Daddy.”
     The end came in early 1907. Leo and Almyra’s third son, Dellis Sylvester Arvin, was born at the house on February 5th, but Will would never get to enjoy this grandson. William Henry Arvin died on Saturday, February 23rd, 1907, no doubt surrounded by his entire loving family.
His funeral was held at St. John’s Church, and he was buried in St. John’s cemetery in Loogootee, Indiana.

     The Martin County Tribune ran his obituary on Friday, the first of March.


     Wm. H. Arvin, one of the best known and most respected citizens of town,
died at his home in the east part of town last Saturday after an illness of several
     Mr. Arvin was born Sept. 17, 1845 in eastern Daviess Co., where he lived
until 8 years ago, when he moved to Loogootee, where he has since resided. He
was married in 1879 to Margaret E. Yates and to them were born eleven children,
ten of whom are living as follows: Mary, Louis E., of Kansas City , Mo., Mrs.
H. E. Phibbs of Middleton, Ohio, Leo, William, Jennie, Sanford, John, Zetta
and Loretta, all of this city.
     He was a lifelong member of the Catholic church and the remains were buried
in St. John’s cemetery Monday, after funeral services conducted at the Church by
his pastor, Rev. T. O’Donoghue. Mr. Arvin was liked by everyone who knew him and
the bereaved family have the sympathy of the community.

A Tale of Two Cities

    Margaret was only 49 years old when her husband died. She was now in serious trouble. She was illiterate, had no job experience outside her home, and had six children in her care, plus Leo and Almyra with their three boys. Her husband had become disabled at the peak of his earnings years. He had died a slow, lingering death; he had not prepared a will. Medical care at his end of life may have exhausted what little savings they had. There might even have still been a balance due on the promissary note to the Building and Loan Company. And in those days of our nation’s history, there were precious few social safety nets. Margaret was in desperate straits and almost totally on her own.

     After leaving the Navy, probably in the fall of 1906, oldest son, Louis Edward Arvin, returned home, but he soon decided to move west to Kansas City, Missouri, to pursue the opportunities that the big city offered. He attended Finlay Engineering College and found employment as an engineer with a powerhouse in Kansas City. His Loogootee sweetheart, the headstrong Bridget Catherine Moran, of Irish parentage, followed him to the metropolis, and they married in September at the Catholic Cathedral, downtown. Now, as Will grew weaker and weaker, and the end became a certainty, they returned to Loogootee to help Margaret in those final grim days.
     There must have been some serious family discussions about what would happen next. Youngest daughter, Loretta, remembered that for some reason
she never knew exactly whyWill made Louis promise that he would not marry Catherine, and Louis agreed. He was not told that they were already married. Meanwhile, in long talks with her mother, Mary convinced Margaret that the family had no choice but to relocate to Kansas City also.

                          Downtown Kansas City c 1906:  from Main Street, looking east along 11th Street (“Petticoat Lane”)

     Mary knew that there was so much more in Kansas City than would ever be available in Loogootee. It was a different world. Loogootee had a population of about 1400, whereas Kansas City’s was over 200,000. This exhilarating city-on-a-grand-scale was pushing the limits of expansion, creating jobs each and every day. It had magnificent high-rise office buildings and multi-story department stores, a cable car system said to rival that of San Francisco and one of the largest stockyards and meat packing operations in the nation. It had a vibrant, balanced economy. People from farms and small towns all over the Midwest were relocating there by the hundreds, and Margaret and her family could not afford to be left behind. So, in these days of unbearable stress, she made her decision. Reprising what Mary had told her, she announced to the children that she was taking them to Kansas City “to start a new life and to give them more opportunities.”

     Within weeks of the funeral, the plan was set in motion. Margaret either rented out the family residence or put it up for sale, and in June everyone, including Leo, Almyra and their three sons, was on a train bound for Kansas City. Margaret had seen the train leave Loogootee heading west many times. She never thought she would be on it, a grieving widow relocating her family to a big, bustling, unfamiliar city, full of potential, but fraught with peril and uncertainty. She longed for the days when she and Will were young and able, when they were happy and carefree. But those days were gone. Now she had to rely on herself and the support of her older children. And without Louis and Catherine, and especially Mary, who was yearning to go, she never would have been able to do it. In her heart, she knew it was the right thing to do. The only thing they could do. From desperation sprang opportunity. And hope. 




Kansas City


Property Sales

     The sale of the home did not close until early in 1909, indicating that it might have been rented out for a year or so, although there is no surviving documentation. The eventual buyer was a Mr. James T. Drew, who paid $750.00 for the property. Because her husband had not prepared a will, the estate was inherited as provided by Indiana state law. The widow received one-third, and all the children combined received two-thirds. Therefore, Margaret and her adult children, along with their respective spouses, all had to sign the deed as owners. It was recorded in the Martin County land records on 30 December 1908.18  At this time, Emma and her husband, Henry Phipps, had moved about 15 miles north of Cincinnati and were living in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio. They signed the deed on 4 January 1909 in Ohio and returned it to Martin County, Indiana.

     The four children who were minors—Michael Sanford, John Ambrose, Zetta Odessa and Loretta Katherine—also inherited an interest in the estate. However, their property had to be placed under the control of a guardian, in this case the young city attorney, 27 year-old Falvian A. Seal.19 To complete the transaction, Mr. Seal had to sign over the childrens interests to Mr. Drew, which he did. He sold their interests, described as “an undivided 8/30ths,” for $206.67.20 Since Margaret and the adult children had received $750.00, the total sales price of the one acre tract with its home amounted to $956.67, or about $22,000.00 in present-day money. (It is not known when or to whom Will’s 38 acres in Daviess County, Indiana, which he inherited from his father Joseph Arvin, was sold.)


Text Box:      Another Sale                              
            In a later, separate transaction, Margaret deeded another, separate tract of land in Martin County 
       to a William F. Mattingly and his wife, Ida M. Mattingly, on 7 January 1909. The Mattingly’s paid 
       Margaret $150.00. It was described as “12.33 acres and ¼ acres.” The legal description puts the land 
       in the SE quarter of Section 24-3-5, “part of Nancy J. Gootee’s Parcel of Thomas Gootee’s Estate.”<asup>21</sup>
       This land was located in or near Loogootee, however 
       its exact location cannot be determined without extensive research into the partitioning of the Thomas
       Gootee’s estate. The Mattingly’s also recorded a deed back to Margaret, apparently as her security in
       the event they defaulted on payment.<sup>22</sup> 
             In May of 1909, a discrepancy in the deed had to be corrected (“the two last described is a part of 
       the first described.”)<sup>23</sup> With this correction, the sale must have finally been completed, as there is 
       no further record of it.
             This land was sold by Margaret alone (“unmarried”), which implies that it was never owned by 
       Will and the children. Did she own it, perhaps as an inheritance, prior to marriage?


Goin’ to Kansas City

     Margaret, her children and her grandchildren all travelled to their new hometown by train. It would have been a long ride, which included some overnight travel and connections in one or more cities along the way. The family finally arrived, safe and sound, at Kansas City’s Union Depot in the West Bottoms. (This view looking south.) Loretta, 11 years old at the time, was told she would see Indians when she got out west. As the train pulled into the station, she kept a close eye out for them on the bluffs above the station. She told me she was relieved that she didn’t see any.

Boom Town

     Kansas City had blossomed from a simple rock wharf landing at the foot of Main Street,  in the mid-nineteenth century, to a virtual boom town by the time the Arvin family arrived. Thousands of people were being drawn in from small towns all over the Midwest, and the population was exploding. In 1900 it was 164,000; by 1910 it would be 248,000. The city was also spreading out. After ascending the bluffs directly south of the wharf, the city had started to move eastward. It couldn’t go west. The West Bottoms, where the train depot was located, was a flood-prone area, rife with smoke-billowing packing houses and an odiferous stockyards complex, destined to rank second in size only to Chicago. Hardly a place for residential development. There had been room for only one pocket of nice homes, and that was perched on the West Bluffs overlooking the West Bottoms. It was called Quality Hill.

     What made this tremendous growth in the geographical size of the city possible was its extensive streetcar system, one of the finest in the nation. The old cable car system was now almost totally replaced by a system of passenger cars which rode rails in the streets, using overhead electric lines for power. This system boasted of an incredible 115 mile layout, almost all of it owned and operated by a single corporate behemoth: The Metropolitan Street Railway Company. Annual ridership had reached an astounding 100 million passengers, and rising. The entire city population seemed to move by streetcar, and no wonder. The fare was just 5ȼ, purposely kept low by the city.24  

     The 1907 City Directory lists oldest son Louis (Edward), now a 27 year-old engineer, living in a rental home at 1820 Montgall, on the bustling near east side of town. (This home is no longer standing.) Louis had completed his studies at Finlay (he is not in this picture), had become certified as an engineer with the city, and had quickly found work with The Metropolitan Street Railway at their Missouri River Powerhouse. The company owned and operated an enormous generating plant, which supplied electricity to the rail lines of its streetcars. It was one of the largest powerhouses in the United States. Louis’s bride, 25 year-old Catherine, is not listed in the directory.

     Now that Margaret and her brood had come to town, everyone pitched in to help them find a suitable rental house in which to live. And with lots of help from Mary, Louis and Catherine, Margaret and the younger children began life in their new hometown. When they unpacked, they discovered that their dishes, which Sanford had so carefully wrapped and packed in a barrel, were all broken. Then the entire family got sick soon after their arrival, and everyone was just lying around on the floor for a time. Such were their first days in their new home town.
    Margaret, a devout Catholic, was interested in locating in a Catholic parish, as close to its church as possible. Choosing from what was available for rent at the time, and what she could afford, she did the best she could, although the situation was not ideal. The 1908 City Directory, compiled in the Spring of that year, shows them living at 1517 Olive, a two-story wood structure. The home, no longer standing, was just across the street from Dixon’s Chili Parlor. Dixon’s is also no longer there. Although the home was not large enough for the family, its location put them close to Louis and Catherine and was also within walking distance of the St. Aloysius Church, located six blocks to the north at 11th & Prospect. “St. Als” was a large, full-function parish run by the Jesuit order of priests. “St. Aloysius parish was organized in January, 1886, by the Rev. Henry A. Schapman, S.J. A lot at Eleventh street and Prospect avenue was purchased and a church building was completed by the Rev. James A. Dowling, S.J. Until its completion, services were held in the basement for some years. The church is conducted by Jesuit Fathers.”25 The parish operated its own grade school and high school.

Text Box:    

          The building now on the site is not the original church. “Back when the original St. [Images]
     Aloysius Parish was built in the early 1900s, Northeast was growing by leaps and bounds. Scenic
     boulevards attracted some of Kansas City’s power elite, who erected great mansions of brick and
     stone. Churches and schools sprang up overnight to serve the growing population. Change, however,
     affected the community, and dwindling congregation numbers forced the Kansas City Catholic
     Diocese to merge ‘St. Als’ and Assumption Parish in order to streamline operations and cut costs.”<sup>26</sup> 
          The present structure on the site, built in the 1970s, is no longer owned by the Catholic Church.

                                                                                                       [Image of St. Als being torn down]










     Margaret did not complete the sale of their old home back in Loogootee until early 1909, so the family’s finances were probably pretty tight up to that time. (We don’t know when when Will’s 38 acre portion of his father’s land in Daviess County was sold.) With their very survival at stake, it was necessary for everyone to pull his or her own weight. And to their credit, the children did just that. Each one found employment. The 1908 Kansas City Business Directory tells us that Mary Ann, 29, found work as a “steno.” (Always driven to succeed, Mary was also attending Central Business College.) William, 21, was a “car” (carman on the streetcars.) Jennie, 19, was a teller at the Emery, Bird, Thayer Dry Goods Co. (The store’s sign can be seen in the photograph of Petticoat Lane above.) Sanford, who was 18, was a salesman at the Jones Dry Goods Co. John, who was 16, was a “shoe.” (There was a shoe shop two blocks east, at 1504 Montgall.) Even Zetta, who was only 13 years old, nevertheless worked as a cashier with Sanford at the Jones Dry Goods Co.
     It is doubtful that any of the younger siblings had a chance to finish the schooling they had begun in Loogootee. Loretta alone was able to attend St. Aloysius grade school, and she later graduated from Manual Training High School, a public school. Margaret, now 50, was listed in the directory as “wid William.” Hers must have been a cramped and ever busy home.
     Meanwhile, Leo, 23, and his young wife Almyra, 21, found themselves a house nearby. They rented a home at 1714 Wabash Avenue. Their three sons also attended St. Als grade school. Leo is listed in the 1908 directory as a “lab” (laborer). So now the whole familyexcept for Emma in Ohiolived within a few blocks of each other.
      (None of the homes mentioned thus far are still standing. The area is now almost entirely commercial or vacant land, much of it dissected by highways. It’s on the eastern edge of Kansas City’s Historic 18th & Vine District, a popular tourist attraction. It is home to the American Jazz Museum ( and the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame ( However, very accurate schematic maps of the structures of historic Kansas City can be viewed at the website of the Kansas City Public Library’s Digital Image Collection ( All of the structures mentioned in this sketch appear on these maps.)  

     Family tradition holds that there was a produce and meat market near their home (perhaps it was this very one, which survives even today), and Margaret often bought food for her family there. At the end of the day, the grocer would sometimes give her unsold scraps of meat, which she used in soups. The family was on a limited budget, and there were lots of “biscuits and gravy” meals. The children were surprised to see such exotic things as tamales and fried animal organs sold on the streets.
     The City Directory indicates that the Margaret Arvin household relocated to larger quarters in 1909. Perhaps the money from the sale of the Loogootee home made this move possible. Margaret and seven of her children are now living a few blocks to the west, at 1409 Garfield Avenue. It was a spacious, solid, two-story brick structure with a lot more living space than 1517 Olive. In fact, it was large enough that she could even consider taking in boarders for extra income, if she cared to. And she did care to. The Arvin family would remain in this home for five years. In 1909, everyone is listed as single, and all, save Loretta and Margaret, are still employed. The home is no longer standing today, but can just barely be seen in this 1894 photograph of the street. It’s the third house on the right. Here is a home of a similar style, which survives at 1307 Wabash Avenue. (The owner of this home, who has extensively renovated it, proudly told me it was built in 1897.)


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.”
     The grocer was 63 years old and self employed, of German descent and divorced. Was he the same grocer who ran the grocery store at 15th and Park, and who had befriended them when they first moved to town?
     The automobilists may have been race car drivers or race enthusiats. Events were held to suit the need for speed in Kansas City and around the country at this time. They may also have been working for an automobile dealership in town (there were dozens of them at this time). They could also have been employed by the Ford Motor Company. Ford Motor Co. had purchased land for an assembly plant the previous year, to be located at 1025 Winchester Avenue, in an eastern industrial suburb called Sheffield.
At the time this census was taken, Ford was also in the process of relocating its distribution center from 1806 Grand Boulevard, in downtown Kansas City, to this new property. Henry Ford, who had founded the Ford Motor Company in Detroit in 1903, introduced his low priced Model T in 1908. It was so successful that he decided to build this plant, the industry’s first “branch” assembly plant, in Kansas City. If this was the case, Margaret, benefitting from the automobile industry’s growing importance to the economy, had taken in these two tenants. (Many years later, the Ford Motor Company assembly plant moved north to Claycomo, Missouri. Today it is one of the largest auto assembly plants in the United States.)



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

     Just two weeks after this census was taken, William Arvin married Miss Maud Longacre, two years his senior. Maud was from Nevada, Missouri, and she had an 8 year old daughter, Elsie May, from a previous relationship. The wedding was held at the St. Aloysius Church on 28 April 1910. The pastor of St. Als, Fr. Michael Dowling S.J., performed the ceremony. Maud had been baptized the previous day at the church. The City Directory for 1910 shows William and Maud living at 1705 Wabash (no longer standing), just down the street from Leo and his family.

     Leo, meanwhile, had moved from 1714 Wabash to 1710. After spending a year as a laborer and the next as a machinist, Leo began working in 1909 for The Met. No doubt, Louis, and perhaps William also, helped him land a job there. He would find steady employment at The Met’s Missouri River Powerhouse. It wasand still islocated at 115 Grand Boulevard. The plant burns coal to produce steam, which turns its generators. These in turn produce electricity. In addition to electricity, it supplies steam to the buildings of the downtown area. The plant, completed in 1903, still stands today, looking much the way it did in the Arvin brothers’ time. It is still operating, no longer selling electricity, but still providing steam to downtown. Even today, it is an impressive operation.

@     *    #                                                                             Rent/Own    Farm/House

1710      Arvin       Leo            Head     M   W   28   M   8              . . .   Electrician  Street Car Co          R             H

              --------   Matilda A  Wife      M   W   26   M   8    3  3

              --------   Bimal          Son       M   W    6  

              --------   Louis           Son      M    W    4

              --------   Dellas          Son      M    W    2

@  Number of years married   * Number of children born    #  number now living



     Louis and Catherine Arvin are living in their new home, which came complete with a mortgage. The address is 4310 East 20th Street, which was on the southeast edge of the city. (This home is still standing today.) Louis is also employed by The Metropolitan Street Railway Co.
     The 1909 City Directory lists Louis, Leo and William all as employees of “Met St Rwy.” Louis and Leo worked at the powerhouse; William was a motorman on the streetcars. At this time, the Missouri River Powerhouse not only supplied electricity for the street railways of The Met, but also electricity for the Kansas City Electric Light Company, which The Met owned. The Met had a virtual monopoly in two basic utilities. It moved the city by day, and it lit the city by night.

Image                                                                          @    *    #                                                       Rent/Own      α     Farm/House


4310     Arvin, Louis Edward  Head   M   W  29 M                       . . .     Machinist    St RR           O         M        H
                __     Katherine B     Wife    F    W  27 M   4   3   3                  none   
                __     Louise K          Dau     F    W   2  S                                  none
                __     Paul E              Son     M    W   1  S                                  none

                __     Bernard W       Son     M   W  1/12 S                                  none


 α   Owned Free or Mortgaged

     Beginning in 1911, Louis and Catherine are no longer listed in the Kansas City Directory. They had moved on. In September, 1918, Louis filled out his Draft Registration Card, indicating his residence was El Paso, Texas.

     Emma and her husband Henry are living in Middleton, Ohio, about thirty miles north of Cincinnati. They live on East Third Street. No street number is given; it apparently not needed to identify the house. Henry’s mother, Anna, and his brother, Dewight, are living with them in their rental home.


              Phibbs,  Henri       Head  M   W   35   M   7                        . . .       barber    barber shop  Empl  R 
                     __   Emma     Wife   F    W   28   M   7                                      none
                     __   Anna    mother  F    W   65   wi                                           none
                     __  Dewight  brotherM   W   22   S                                            none


The Years Roll By

Margaret was the head of a large family, and her life was always full. There was always activity, and change was a constant. But following her good example, family members helped each other through all their tragedies and their times of need. As we shall see, there were many.

1911:  The children (except for Loretta) were still all gainfully employed. Mary was a steno for Clark & Bates Lumber Co. Leo was a helper with Met St. Rwy. Jennie has taken up the occupation of manicurist and probably worked downtown. John was now an independent, self-employed driver. Loretta was in school at St. Aloysius. Zetta was a steno at Philips Carey, an industrial abrasives company. Sanford was a salesman at Jones Dry Good Co. Margaret and the children all lived at 1409 Garfield.
     Leo supported his own family as a helper for the Met Street Railway. They lived at 1710 Wabash (no longer standing).
     William was a motorman for Met Street Railway and lived at 1707 Wabash (no longer standing).

     Michael Sanford, who started going by “SM” Arvin, was always an enterprising young man, and it showed itself early in his life. When he was just 22, he bought two building lots on the far south side of town, almost to Brush Creek. (The city limits were at 47th Street at this time.) For $420.00 each, he purchased lots 37 and 38 in the Lenox Addition (Resurvey of Kemper Heights) of Kansas City. Deed restrictions indicate that homes costing no less than $2000.00 be built there. Today, three houses stand on those two lots. The common addresses are 4601, 4603 and 4605 Wabash.   


1912:  Margaret and the children still lived at 1409 Garfield. Mary was now a steno for George L. Davis. Jennie was a clerk with Montgomery Ward and Company. John was an independent driver. Zetta was a clerk at Philips Carey. Sanford was a clerk at the Jones Store, a large department store downtown.
     Leo was a storekeeper for the Met, and his family still lived at 1710 Wabash. William was a motorman for The Met, and he and Maud lived at 3919 E. 18th Street.


1913:   Margaret and her children still lived at 1409 Garfield. Leo and family were still at 1710 Wabash. William and Maud were still at 3919 E 18th St.

      In June 1913, 20 year-old Zetta married a dashing young man of Irish descent named Dennis Simms, who was 19. Dennis had a great job as a foreman with the Ford Motor Co. Since Dennis was considered a minor, his father, John Simms, had to give consent to the marriage, which he did. They were married at St. Aloysius Church, and Mary Arvin and John Arvin signed the marriage license as witnesses. The newlyweds moved to a home located at 1004 Agnes. (Shown here.)

     John Arvin, just turned 22 years old, married 17 year-old Lillie M. Seeley, of Kansas City, on 23 September 1913 at St. Aloysius Church. Lillie’s mother gave her consent to their marriage. The newlyweds, Dennis and Zetta Simms, were the witnesses. John and Lillie moved to their own home, located at 1323 Montgall. (No longer standing.)

1914:   Margaret and family moved to 1022 Olive Street (shown here), located just a block west of St. Aloysius Church.
     John and Lillie still lived at 1323 Montgall, but Lillie’s health suddenly deteriorated. Pregnant with their first child, she died of eclampsia in the early morning hours of May 4. John was powerless to help her. The funeral was held the following day at St. Aloysius. Lillie and her stillborn child, a girl, were buried at Mount St. Mary’s Cemetery.

     William’s wife, Maud, adopted a 4 year-old child, named Anna May, from St. Anthony’s Home for Infants in October.
     Dennis Simms was listed as foreman for the Ford Motor Company.

1915:  Margaret and family relocated to 1425 Prospect. John, now a 23 year-old widower, moved back in with his family.
     In May, Loretta graduated from Manual Training High School. She was the
only one of Margaret’s children to graduate in Kansas City. A proud day for all the family.
     In August, Maud and William adopted  next page another child, a newborn baby boy, William Burke. He was renamed William B. Arvin.

     Dennis Simms was still a foreman with Ford Motor Company.

1916:  Margaret moved yet again, this time one block north, to 1323 Prospect. John still lived with them, but he had met a young lady named Ruth W. Spake, who had moved to Kansas City from the family farm in Knob Noster, Missouri, after her parents died. They started to make serious plans. Then, as a wave of national patriotism swept the country after bands of Mexicans under Poncho Villa began invading towns along the U.S.-Mexican border, John enlisted in the Missouri National Guard on June 23, 1916. A few days later, without any advance indication, President Woodrow Wilson nationalized the entire United States National Guard. John’s unit was shipped to Laredo Texas, where he was stationed beginning July 7, in an encampment north of the town. His unit never saw action, and on September 26 they were shipped back to Missouri and deactivated. He married Ruth on 16 October 1916, at St. Aloysius Church. The witnesses were Rall[?] Gannon and John’s sister, Genevieve Arvin.
     The Metropolitan Street Railway, unable to turn a profit because streetcar fares were held to 5 cents by the city, went into receivership. The Kansas City Light and Power Company was separated from The Met and left to stand on its own. The powerhouse where Leo worked remained with The Met, and its employees survived the reorganization
barelybut Leo was now listed simply as a laborer.
     William was still employed as motorman with The Met, and he now lives at 1700 Cyprus Avenue. (View on Google/Maps/Street Level.)
     Dennis Simms was listed as “repair” with Ford Motor, apparently on the fast track and learning all aspects of the business. With the birth of their first child, Dennis Jr., they have moved to a larger home at 3005 E Benton Blvd (shown here), quite a fashionable address. They were movin’ on up. But trouble was brewing.


1917:  Margaret and children were still at 1323 Prospect. Zetta was apparently now living there also. She had just given birth to their second child, Emmett. Dennis’s Draft Registration Card shows he is employed at 1025 Winchester (the Ford Assembly plant), but he was now a “travelling representative.” He may have been on the road much of the time. His residence was given as 1323 Prospect.
     John was still listed at 1323 Prospect, but he and Ruth moved to Clinton, Missouri, at some point that year.


1918:  Kansas City’s residential construction began to redirect itself from eastbound to southbound. That had always been it’s true destiny. The Blue River valley created a natural barrier to further expansion eastward, and developers began to see more opportunity to the south. One developer in particular would outshine them all: Jesse Clyde Nichols, who made successive purchases totaling over 4,000 acres of land south of the city limits, then at 47th Street. J.C. Nichols was responsible for the creation of the Country Club Plaza, which he designed to be a gateway to his residential developments to the south. The area became known as the Country Club District.
     We don’t know the exact circumstances, but for whatever reason, 59 year-old Margaret E. Arvin, swept up in this great southern migration, left St. Aloysius parish and relocated her family south to 4029 Harrison Street. She moved to an apartment in a new building there, one of several built in a row on Harrison. Of course, she made sure she was close to a Catholic church. St. James Catholic Church, just six years old, was located a block and a half north, at 3909 Harrison. St. James parish was a considered a “suburban parish,” at this time, and was the second largest Catholic parish in Kansas City. Mary, Jennie and Loretta moved with her.
      John and Ruth were in Clinton, Missouri, living at 707 E. Franklin Street for a short time. A War Department postcard was mailed to him there, and his Draft Registration Card also lists this address. They soon returned to Kansas City, however, renting a home at 2842 Michigan Avenue. (No longer standing.) Their first child, a boy, was born on 25 April 1918 at Saint Joseph Hospital in Kansas City. They named him Robert Joseph Arvin.
     Sanford was no longer listed in the City Directory. He and Lillian Cope (from Nevada, Missouri) were married by a Justice of the Peace on 3 September 1918 in Billings, Montana.

     Mary Ann Arvin, 39, married Charles S. McClung, a 49 year-old travelling salesman, in December 1918. The wedding took place at St. James Church. Mary’s younger sisters, Loretta and Genevieve, were the witnesses. The newlywed couple moved to an apartment building at 913 Holmes Road, about a mile east of her office. She worked for the T.W. Ballew Loan & Investment Co., and was now cashier of the company and executive secretary to Ben C. Hyde, the principal. The company was located in this fabulous new skyscraper—a real showcase property—called the Waldheim Building. It was one of the most prestigious addresses in town, located on the northeast corner of fashionable “Petticoat Lane” and Main Street. (It replaced the “American Dental Rooms” building, shown on the left in the 1906 photo presented earlier.) Mary was doing quite well, indeed. She was now earning more than five times what her starting salary had been at Larkin Brothers back in Loogootee, and it was increasing steadily. She may have been earning more money than her husband. Charlie worked for a company located in the West Bottoms, in the Stockyards District. He sold powdered livestock food supplements in wholesale quantities to rural stores in his territory. A mismatch in status like this could cause a man to develop an inferiority complex.

     As things began to stabilize and even improve for The Met, Leo Arvin regained his old job title. He was once again a foreman at the Powerhouse, which can also be seen in the photograph, belching smoke into the air. This view is to the northeast, looking toward the Missouri River. Main Street runs north, Petticoat Lane runs east.
     William, while on the job working as a motorman for The Met, was in a serious accident and injured his hip so severely that he could no longer work as a motorman. Subsequently, he found employment as a fireman at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, military base. He was able to work at such a remote location because there was
interurban rail service between Kansas City and Leavenworth at this time, but it was a long commute. And the new job probably paid less.


1919:  Margaret was still at 4029 Harrison. John and Ruth now lived at 2840 Michigan with their baby, Robert. William and Maud lived at 2215 Wabash.
     Mary and Charlie McClung moved two blocks east, to the Densmore Hotel, located at 908-914 Locust. It was closer to Mary’s office and Charlie liked it. It was comfortable and convenient.
     In April, youngest daughter Loretta Katherine, about to graduate from Manual High School, married Frank D. Jackson at St. James Church. Their witnesses were Harry Coffee and Genevieve Arvin. Frank’s family had moved to town from Lamoni, Iowa. His father, Jay M. Jackson owned a publishing company downtown. He also was a real estate broker who bought and sold several properties in Kansas City. The elder Mr. Jackson led an ostentatious life, and the family lived
in a very fashionable home in one of Kansas City’s first eastern suburbs, Pendleton Heights. They even had two live-in servants.  The home, located at 1836 Pendleton Avenue, is still impressive today.  
     On October 1st, Leo and Almyra bought themselves a home, located at 1408 Indiana Avenue. (This home is no longer standing.)
     On November 26th, younger brother John and his wife Ruth made a similar move. They purchased a home in Hill Top Addition. The address is 2315 Myrtle Avenue, only blocks away from Louis and Catherine’s old place, and directly south of Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery.
John’s first wife, Lillie, and their infant daughter were buried there. The 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

     This census was taken in January, 1920. Frank D. and Loretta K. Jackson are now renting an apartment in a building located at 2733 Gillham Road. They are now in Our Lady of Sorrows parish, whose church was located just two blocks north, at 2552 Gillham. Frank describes himself as an employer who has a printing company. Loretta lists herself as his stenographer. Margaret and Jennie have moved in with them.



Address                                                   *                                                                                                             #

2733       Jackson   Frank D      Head    R    M    W    26    M            .  .  .            Printing         own shop       Emp

                 --------   Loreta K     Wife          F    W    23    M                               Stenographer   Printing         W
                Arvin   Margaret 
Mother in law      F    W    61   Wd                              none

                 --------  Jennie      Sister in law        F    W    27    S                                Operator        Telephone        W

*  Home owned or rented

#  Employer, salary or wage worker, or working on own account

     Mary and Charles McClung are “roomers,” living at the Densmore, a residential hotel at 908-914 Locust Street. (This hotel no longer exists.)



615         McClung Charles S     Roomer         M   W   50    M           .  .  .         Commercial Traveler  Stock Powder    W 

                ----------   Mary A      Roomer        F    W   40   M                               Bookkeeper      Investments    W



     Leo and his family are at 1408 Indiana. They own their home, and it is mortgaged. The children are in grade school at St. Aloysius. All three attended St. Al’s through the eighth grade.


                                                                             *        **                                                         π
1408    Arvin,     Leo J          Head    O    M      M      W     36     M                .  .  .         Foreman   St Ry Co     W

            --------    Almira        Wife                      F      W     34     M     

            --------    Joseph B      Son                     M      W     16      S    Yes                        none

            --------    Louis E        Son                     M      W     14      S    Yes                        none

            --------    Dellis C        Son                     M      W     12      S    Yes                        none

*  Home owned or rented    ** if owned, mortgaged    π Attended school any time since Sept. 1, 1919

     In November of this year, their middle son, Louis Emil, enlisted in the Navy, lying about his age. He was only 15 at the time. He was accepted and shipped to San Francisco before the Navy discovered the discrepancy and returned him to his parents.


    William and his family live in a rented home located at 2619 Chestnut.
Their adopted daughter, Anna May, now attends school. Retta’s child, Elsie May, is too old for school; their adopted son, William B., is too young. As unlikely as it seems, in this same home, the census taker lists another family and a young widower with his children. Reflecting the harsh reality of their circumstances, a total of eleven people are living at this address. It was bursting at the seams.



2619   Arvin, William M    Head 1     R                   M      W     33      M             .  .  .      Fireman   Army Training Camp  W

            ----      Retta   M    Wife                              F       W     35      M                            none

            ----      Elsie May    Dau                               F       W     18      S                             none

           King,   Harry C       Head 2     R                   M       W     33     M              .  .  .    Box Maker Wooden Box Factory W
                       Alice           Wife                              F        W     22     M                             none
            ----      Harry C jr    Son                               M      W    2
2/12   S                              none
            Arvin, Anna May   Dau                                F       W   10
7/12   S   Yes                    none

            ----      William B    Son                               M      W    5 5/12   S                              none
Cleveland, Thomas I  Boarder                                   M       W   24       Wd                         Express   Automobile      O.A.
            ----      Gracie         boarder                          F        W   4
3/12                                    none

            ----      Elmer          boarder                          M       W  3 0/12                                     none



     Sanford and Lillian live in a small apartment building at 116 N. 29th St. in Billings, Montana. (No longer standing.)


116      Arvin, Sanford M    Head    R                     M    W     30     M              .  .  .        Bookkeeper  Wholesale Oil  W

               ----   Lillian          Wife                              F    W     29      M                             none 



     John and his family are renting a home at 2842 Michigan Avenue, waiting for the lease to expire on the home they bought at 2315 Myrtle.



 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

     Soon after this census was taken, John and Ruth did move into their home. But within weeks, Ruth is diagnosed with consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis.) John knew the symptoms; his father died of the disease. They make a decision. They would travel to the southwest, following the conventional wisdom (and their only hope) that the drier climate would help her recover. In July, Mary and Charlie McClung buy their home, helping them liquidate their assets and depart as quickly as possible. They suspect that Ruth might not have much time left. They vacate their little nest, entrusting their son, Robert, to Frank and Loretta’s care, and leave town.  

     Dennis and Zetta Simms live in Clinton, Missouri, with their three sons. They own a home, located at 305 N. Main Street, and it has a mortgage. Dennis’s father John, a widower, lives with them. Dennis is an “employer,” an agent of an automobile company (e.g., a car dealer). No doubt, he sells Fords.


305       Simms,  Dennis      Head      O   M           M    W    26   M                     .  .  .       Agent   Auto. Co.         Em
               -------,   Zeta        Wife                            F     W    26  M                                    none
             Simms,    John W.  Father                          M    W    63   W                                   none
              --------,  Dennis Jr  Son                            M    W     4    S                                     none
              --------,  Emmett    Son                            M    W     3    S                                     none
              --------,  Joseph      Son                            M    W 
10/12   S                                     none

     Louis and his family have moved to Los Angeles, California. They live in an apartment building at 811 Temple Street. (No longer standing.) Their children are in school. (This area is today considered the Historic District of Los Angeles.)


811        Arvin,  Louis E      Head      R                  M     W   38   M                     .  .  .        Engineer  Stationary      W
               -------  Catherine Wife                             F     W   36   M                                     none
               -------  Louise       Dau                             F     W   11    S   Yes                            none
               -------  Paul           Son                             M    W   10    S   Yes                            none
               ------- Bernard      Son                             M    W    9     S   Yes                            none    


     Emma and her husband Henry Phibbs also live in Los Angeles, about a mile from Louis and Catherine. They are renting an place in a residential apartment building. The Rutland, located at 1839 South Main Street. Henry is working on his own account (i.e., he is self employed.)


1839      Phibbs, Henry E  Head       R                    M   W   45  M                    .  .  .         Barber    Barber Shop        O A

              --------,  Emma                                         F    W   37  M                                  Dressmaker   Gen'l Dressmaking   W     



1921: John’s wife, Ruth, bedridden and confined to a sanatorium for persons with consumption in Phoenix, Arizona, took a turn for the worse. John returned to Kansas City to get their son, Robert, and bring him to Ruth, but she passed away before he could even get back to Kansas City. She died on 31 January 1921. Her body was returned to Kansas City and the funeral was held at St. Aloysius Church, where they were married. 29 year-old John, now twice a widower, had no place to live, so Frank and Loretta took him in. Robert was now two years old. The newspaper announcement of Ruth’s death lists her address as 2733 Gillham, Frank and Loretta’s three-bedroom apartment. Since John had almost no money left, Ruth was buried at Mount St. Mary’s, in the same plot which contained the remains of his first wife, Lillie, and their unborn infant.
     William and Retta Maud apparently divorced. They lived at 3840 E. 15th early in the year, but 35 year-old William is now also homeless. The ever compassionate Frank and Loretta took him in also. With Margaret and Jennie also living with them, it is all too obvious that more space was needed. They found what they needed and moved to a large apartment at 3041 Wabash. (No longer standing.) Frank and Loretta
s love and care for their family knew no bounds.
      In September, 34 year-old Jennie, always a bridesmaid, never a bride, at last found the love of her life, Mr. William Strasburg. They were married by a Justice of the Peace, presumably at city hall. We know they moved into their own place at this time, but the location is not known. They are not listed in the city directory until 1923.






Text Box:      Aunt Hettie 

          Hettie Patterson, the aunt who cared for Margaret after her mother died, also passed away in 1921. 
     Margaret and Loretta went back to Indiana to attend the funeral, [Image of card by Mary] which was 
     probably held at St. Martin’s Church in Whitfield. 
          In her will, Hettie grants bequests $20 to each of her grandchildren. She also specifically grants an
     equal amount to Margaret, [Image of will] whom she calls “my highly esteemed and much respected
     niece, Mrs. Margaret E. Arvin.”





1922: Frank and Loretta purchased a brand new home, 5430 Forest, in a housing development in the south part of the city. It was only the third home to be completed on the block. They were now in St. Francis Xavier parish, and the church was just two blocks north, at 52nd and Troost Avenue. The same Jesuit community which had operated St. Aloysius Church, the familys first parish, had moved to this location, built a church and founded Rockhurst College. (The present church building was not erected until 1937. See Margaret, William, John and young Robert continued to live with them. “Bill” Arvin was listed in the City Directory as working in the bindery of the Jackson Publishing Co., owned by Frank’s father, Jay M. Jackson. John was listed as a mechanic for the Globe Laundry.

     Jennie Strasburg was the manager of Rockhill Beauty Parlors. She and her husband Bill lived at 4018 Warwick Blvd.


1923: Margaret lived at 5430 Forest with Frank and Loretta. John and young Robert also lived there. John, perhaps unemployed, was not listed at all in the directory.    
     William Strasburg was a “supt.,” apparently the superintendant of 4016 Warwick Blvd., which was connected to 4018. The buildings are no longer standing, but this is an image of the “connected buildings” located just to the north.

    William was now a janitor for the Unity School and lived at 915 Troost, east of the downtown area.
     Mary McClung was listed as Secretary-Treasurer of the T.W. Ballew Company. She was working for Benjamin Hyde. Mary had worked for Mr. Hyde, in his various business enterprises, since he came to town in 1909. She was now one of his most dependable and valued employees. Her husband, Charlie, was steadily employed by the Columbian Hog & Cattle Powder Co., as a travelling salesman. Charlie was not as driven to succeed as Mary was. No one was.

1924: Margaret was not listed in the City Directory, but John and William were shown living at 5430 Forest. William was foreman of the Jackson Publishing Co. John again took up the occupation of “driver.” Robert was now six years old.
     Dennis and Zetta purchased a home located at 5439 Tracy, a block east of Forest. Dennis Jr. turned eight years old, Emmett turned seven, and Joe turned four.


1925: Margaret and John still lived at 5430 Forest, though no occupations were listed.
     William was listed at 5430 Forest, occupation printer, but he became a clerk for the Union Bank Note company this year and moved to 1221 Washington (in Kansas City’s West Bluffs area). He married Eva Ree Sisson, of Nevada, Mo., in April.

1926: Margaret, John and Robert continued to live 5430 Forest. In an unexpected turn of events, Frank and Loretta have their first and only child, born on April 15. They named her Rosemary, but she soon became known as “Todi.”
     William was listed as printer living at 1118 Pennsylvania (still in the old Quality Hill area in the West Bluffs).

     Mary and Charlie moved up again, becoming residents of the Hyde Park Hotel. Mary was doing quite well working for Benjamin Hyde, and she thrived on the challenges of her job. 
     Zetta was now listed as the only adult resident of 5439 Tracy. Dennis Sr. was not listed. On the very day he stood as godfather for Todi at her baptism, he left town with a model from a downtown department store and abandoned his family.

1927: Margaret moved to 5439 Tracy, to live with Zetta and her three boys. Robert continued to live with Frank and Loretta. John and William were not listed in the directory.
     The Metropolitan Street Railway had been separated from the Kansas City Light and Power Co. back in 1916, and The Met had retained control of the Missouri River Powerhouse. Since then, demand for residential electricity had increased by leaps and bounds, while streetcar ridership had plateaued because of the rise of the automobile. Kansas City Light and Power Co. (which had become Kansas City Power & Light) purchased the Missouri River Powerhouse from The Met. The price was an astounding $2,500,000. They renamed it the Grand Avenue Station and then spent even more money modernizing its equipment. Persevering through all this, Leo again retained his job. Kansas City Power & Light Co. was now his employer.
     Mary and Charlie were still at the Hyde Park Hotel. Benjamin Hyde’s brother, Arthur, moved to town this year, and the two brothers founded the Sentinel Insurance Company. They had the connections to make it work: Ben had been the Superintendent of Insurance for the State of Missouri since 1921, and Arthur was the Republican Governor of Missouri from 1921 to 1925. Arthur was to be the president of the new company. And, because of her exceptional ability, Mary was given the assignment of becoming his personal secretery. The three of them launched the Sentinel Insurance Company.

1928: Margaret continued to live at 5439 Tracy with Zetta and the Simms boys. John again was not listed in the directory, but was also living there. He became a surrogate father to them. In this conglomerate family, his biological son, Robert, continued to live with Loretta and Frank, who became his surrogate parents.
     William was employed as a shipping clerk for the Union Bank Note Co. and lived at 10110 E. 16th St.
     Mary and Charlie McClung could now afford to move to the Baltimore Hotel, perhaps the most prestigious hotel in Kansas City. This was probably all Mary’s idea. She was doing exceptionally well, moving in some very high-power circles. Soon, even greater things were in store for her. Charlie’s distaste for this lifestyle began to eat on him.



     Historical Note: Late in his term, President Calvin Coolidge announced to the nation: “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.” This blunt statement opened doors for a number of Republican hopefuls, but none approached the public esteem enjoyed by Herbert Hoover, Coolidge’s Secretary of Commerce. He had a long record of humanitarian service, although he had never before actually run in an election of any kind.
     The Republicans assembled at Convention Hall in Kansas City in June of 1928. Hoover easily won the nomination on the first ballot. The vice-presidential nod went to Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas. The platform of 1928 was devoted largely to self-congratulation, as the Republicans claimed full credit for the nation’s prosperity. Huge numbers of voters turned out on November 6 and handed Hoover and the Republicans a resounding victory. The Democrats lost by more than six million votes.
     Hoover nominated Arthur M. Hyde, former Governor of Missouri and now president of the Sentinel Insurance Company in Kansas City, to be his Secretary of Agriculture. Mr Hyde went off to Washington for the inauguration. His appointment was confirmed by the United States Senate the next day. Secretary Hyde returned in glory to Kansas City to make preparations for his transition to Washington. He asked his personal secretery if she would continue to work for him at the Department of Agriculture. His secretery was none other than Margaret’s daughter, Mrs. Mary Ann McClung. She accepted the offer, and she soon moved to the nation’s capitol.
Her husband, Charles McClung, however, remained in Kansas City.


1929: In September, while Mary was working in Washington, her husband, Charles S. McClung, died.    
     The stock market crash in October ushered in the Great Depression. The economy was crushed and it contracted drastically. Deflation settled in; times got tougher than ever.
     William was the head stockman for the Union Bank Note Co., his residence listed simply as “Independence” [Missouri].      


1930 – Fifteenth United States Census


     This census was taken in April of 1930. Margaret is living with Zetta and her three sons at 5439 Tracy. Zetta has opened her own beauty parlor continues to make the mortgage payments on the home.

(Figures shown in green are conversions of dollars to 2011 money values.


                                                         *       **                                  π      #  

5439    Simms, Zetta O      Head     O    8000     F   W   35   M   19              .  .  .           Proprietor   Beauty parlor 

            --------  Dennis         Son           108,200  M  W   14    S            Yes                       none

            --------  Emmett        Son                          M  W   13    S            Yes                       none

            --------  Joseph          Son                          M  W   11    S            Yes                       none

            Arvin, Margaret E Mother                       F   W   72  Wd                                        none


*  Home owned or rented     ** Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented   
π  Age at first marriage          #  Attended school or college any time since Sept 1, 1929         

     Sometime after this census, William and Jennie Strasburg took up residence with Zetta, to share expenses. Margaret’s son Dennis Jr., mentioning his father without a trace of the pain he must have felt, later wrote simply that, “During the 1930’s most members of the family were in financial difficulty due to bank failures and the depression years. My father had left and grandmother Arvin moved in with us on Tracy. This was just one block from the Jacksons. The failure of the Pioneer Trust Co was a real blow. This resulted in John and the Strasburgs moving in with us on Tracy for a period of about two years. We had the room and they stayed with us until things improved.”    

Frank and Loretta still live at 5430 Forest, one block west of Tracy. They have continued to care for Robert all this while. Frank has a position in the catalog preparation department of the Cook Paint Company, located at 21st and Broadway. One of the questions on the census asks if there is a radio set, an amazing new technology, in the home. Its presence is indicated by an “R” on the census form. The Jacksons do indeed have one, and Loretta and Robert are demonstrating it for one of Frank’s advertising pieces.


5430      Jackson, Frank D.  Head   O  7000  R     M   W  37  M  26              .  .  .         Advertising Man Paint Co.  
               --------, Loretta K   Wife       
94,600        F   W  33  M  22                                  none
               --------,  Rose M     Dau                            F   W 3
11/12 S                                      none
               Arvin,  Robert     Lodger                         M   W  11   S           Yes                      none


     Leo and Mida are renting a home at 1016 Jefferson, located on the West Bluffs of the downtown area of Kansas City. Family tradition indicates that “they lost their home during the Depression.” They also have a radio set.


1016      Arvin,   Leo           Head     R   3500        M   W   45   M   19              .  .  .    Pump House Tender  Power Co 

              -------   Elmira        Wife          47500        F    W   43   M   17                         none
              -------   Joe B          Son                           M   W   25    S                                iron worker  Steel Constr Firm


       William Arvin is living with his family at 9512 E. 16th Street. They own their home and have a radio set.


                                                         *     **     ®                           π    #

9512     Arvin, William F     Head    O   4000   R    M  W  46  M  22              . . .     Bindery Forman  Printing Shop 
             -------    Eva R         Wife         
54,100         F  W  39  M  18                        none
             ------- William Jr.      Son                            M  W    S         No                 none

     As the economy worsened, William’s employer, Union Bank Note, “went under” about the time of this census.


    John, twice a widower, is struggling back. He is listed as a Roomer at a hotel with furnished rooms at 1334½ Broadway. He operates the Yellow Inn Cafe, below him on the ground floor, at 1334 Broadway. He has no radio set.


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

     John’s residence was listed in the Kansas City Business Directory this year as 5439 Tracy (Zetta’s home). He must have moved downtown when he took over the restaurant.

     Meanwhile, Louis and Catherine have moved from Los Angeles to Oakland City, in Alameda County, California. They live in a rented home at 3535 Kingsley Street. (Still standing; view on Google Maps/Street Level.) The family has a radio set. Catherine’s parents are described as being born in the Irish Free State (formed in 1922 and from which Northern Ireland opted out.) The Irish Free State would be replaced by the modern state of Ireland in 1937.


                                                           *     **     ®                           π    #

3535           Arvin,  Louis E  Head    R    $45.   R    M  W  49 M  25             .  .  .               Ship Engineer  Marine

                 ------, Catherine B Wife         $608           F   W  47 M  23                                   none

                 --------,  Paul E       Son                             M  W  21  S        No                            Salesman         Abrasive

                 --------. Bernard W Son                             M  W  19  S        No                           Assistant Manager  Motion Picture


*  Home owned or rented     ** Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented    ®  Radio set

π  Age at first marriage          #  Attended school or college any time since Sept 1, 1929

     Henry and Emma Phibbs are still in Los Angeles. They now own a home, valued at $3800.00, which is located at 135 East 77th Street. They have a radio set.


135             Phibbs, Henry E    Head    O  3800  R   M  W  55  M  28                 .  .  .            Barber   Barber Shop
                    -------   Emma R    Wife       
51,400        F  W   49  M  21                                   Seamstress  Dress Shop



     Sanford and Lillian are living in their home at 314 North 31st Street, in Billings City, Montana. (No longer standing.)  They were across the street from St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. Radio set? Yes.

314           Arvin,  Sanford M    Head   O   $8000  R  M   W  40  M  29             .  .  .             Proprietor   News Shop
                  ------    Lillian  C       Wife       $108,200    F    W  39  M  28                                 Saleswoman  News Shop
                  ------    Janet  M        Dau                           F    W   9   S         Yes                         none   
                 Haber,  Ann  M        Lodger                       F    W  21  S          No                         Saleswoman  News Shop 

#  Attended school or college any time since Sept 1, 1929


       Mary McClung, recently widowed, is still working at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. She stays at the Burlington Hotel, 1120 Vermont Avenue NW, in the District of Columbia. (“Where living is an inexpensive luxury. Four squares north of the White House, room and bath, $3.50 $47.35.”) Mary pays $75.00 per month for her apartment. No radio set. She lists herself as a clerk for the U.S. Government. This hotel (no longer standing), along with others in the area, holds many such government employees.  


1120        McClung, Mary     Head       R   75.00          F  W 50 Wd  38               .  .  .            Clerk     U.S. Gov't


     Mr. Arthur M. Hyde, her “superior” in the parlance of the times, is also listed. He is shown staying with his wife and daughter at the prestigious Mayflower Hotel, one of Washington’s finest hotels, which is located nearby.
     Other residents of the Mayflower include James C. Stone, member of the Federal Farm Board, William M. Jardine, former Secretary of Agriculture, Malcolm G. Gibbs, president of the People’s Drug Store chain, Ephraim F. Morgan, former Governor of West Virginia, Jonathan C. Royle, editor of the U. S. Daily newspaper and Ray S. Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior. Although Mr. Hyde’s rent is not listed, we find other residents paid as much as $500.00  
$6,760.00 per month to stay at the Mayflower.  



     Also staying nearby, at an even more prestigious address, is Mr. Hyde’s superior and his family.




1931:  William worked for Sleek-Warwick Paper Co., and lived with Eva at 9512 E. 16th, Independence, Mo.

     Jennie and Bill Strasburg lived at the Baltimore Hotel, where she operated her beauty parlor.
     John’s Yellow Inn Cafe is now operated by one Alf  F. Henderson. John is not listed in the directory, and may have sold the restaurant and moved back to 5439 Tracy. There was room available now, because the family lost its matriarch in June of this year.      



Death of Margaret Arvin

      On Tuesday, 16 June 1931, “Mother Arvin,” as she was respectfully known by all, was helping with the St. Francis Xavier altar boy picnic at Fairyland Park, 75th and Prospect Avenue. Without warning, she suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. There was nothing anyone could do for her. She collapsed and died immediately.
     Her death was solemnly written up in the St. Francis Monthly Calendar.   page 23  page 24 The newspaper notice tells us that services for her were held the following Saturday. In the fashion of the times, they began at Zetta’s home, 5439 Tracy, at 8:30 in the morning, and concluded at their parish church, St. Francis Xavier. Margaret Ellen Arvin’s final resting place is in Calvary Cemetery. It was a new cemetery, dedicated in 1923, located only about a mile south of the Simms and Jackson residences. She was interred along its northern edge, where the first grave sites were purchased. In the years to come, several of her children would also be interred near her. Granchildren and even great-granchildren would follow.

After Margaret’s death, youngest daughter Loretta had her father’s remains moved from St. John’s cemetery in Loogootee and reinterred at Calvary next to Margaret, where they remain today.

     Margaret did not have an easy life. She had known harsh times, lost her mother, lost her father, lost her husband. She brought the family to Kansas City under difficult circumstances and raised her children here. Though she was a devout Catholic, she saw all her children except Zetta marry outside the church, and Zetta’s husband deserted her on the very day he stood as a godfather for his niece. Margaret’s life was not easy, but she always overcame the obstacles set down before her. Given no great advantages, she triumphed with what she had. Hettie Patterson, the aunt who raised her when her mother died, said it best. In her will, Aunt Hettie called her “my highly esteemed and much respected niece, Mrs. Margaret Ellen Arvin.”  










Postscript:  All My Children


     Will and Margaret’s children became the Arvin clan’s next generation. Following the strong example set by their mother, they continued to care for one another during her lifetime and for many years after her death. They were all seriously affected by the Great Depressionsome worse than othersand by events from which there was no escape. But they helped each other through these trials and troubles, and in the end the family survived. They were good people.

                  circa 1927: Mary McClung, Jennie Strasburg, “Little Mary” (a neice who was visiting), Loretta Jackson,
                  Zetta Simms, Margaret Arvin; not pictured: Emma Phibbs (living in California)

                  Charlie McClung, William F. Arvin, William Strasburg, [background] Beamil, Louis and Dellis Arvin,
                  [foreground] Joe, Dennis and Emmett Simms, George _______, Robert Arvin, Frank Jackson, Leo Arvin

    Read the Postscript.



Researched and written by Robert Joseph Arvin, Jr.     
  © Copyright 2011

Thanks to Lavada Arvin Scott, daughter of Louis Emil Arvin, and Rosemary (“Todi”) Jackson Hughes, daughter of Loretta K. Arvin Jackson, for their research assistance and for providing so many photographs, documents and family traditions.


  1.   Harry Q. Holt, History of Martin County (1953), Vol. 2, p 174, 175
  2.   Fr. Patrick Joseph R. Murphy, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Davies County, Indiana,
        Barr Township, Ledger II (compiled by Mrs. Thomas J. Nolan, Miss Pamela A. Nolan,
        Mrs. Russell Baker and Mr. Herman J. McAtee from the original records in 1975. Available
        on microfilm, number 1255704, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.)
  3.   1850 Census, Daviess County, Indiana, Reeves Township, p 194
  4.   Harry Q. Holt, History of Martin County (1953), Vol. 2, p 288-292


  6.   O.A. Fulkerson, History of Daviess County (1915), p 273

  7.   Harry Q. Holt, History of Martin County (1953), Vol. 2, p 174, 175

  8.   Eugene C. Murdock, One Million Men, The Civil War Draft in the North (1971), p 172

  9.   Martin County, Indiana, Index to Marriage Records 1850-1920 Inclusive, Book 4, p 326

11.   Fr. Patrick Joseph. R. Murphy, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Davies County, Indiana,
        Barr Township, Ledger II
(compiled by Mrs. Thomas J. Nolan, Miss Pamela A. Nolan,
        Mrs. Russell Baker and Mr. Herman J. McAtee from the original records in 1975. Available
        on microfilm, number 1255704, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), p 70        


13.  Index to Deed Books of Martin County

14.  St. Martin Church History
15.  Holt, Vol. 2, p 293
16.  Hamilton County, Ohio, Probate Court Archive Records, Vol. 167, p 285
18.  Martin County Deed Records, Book 57, p 89-90 As shown in the Index

19.  Martin County Order Book I (or 1), page 166

20.  Martin County Deed Records, Book 57, p 91
21.  Martin County Deed Records, Book 56, p 515

22.  Martin County Deed Records, Book 56, p 518
23.  Martin County Deed Records, Book 57, p 163-164
24.  Monreo Dodd, A Splendid Ride: The Streetcars of Kansas City, 1870-1957 (2002), p 82, 86 

25.  Carrie Westlake Whitney, Kansas City, Missouri: its history and its people 1808-1908 (1908), p 409


Courtesy of the Library of Congress: shoe shop, Burlington Hotel interior Ford Motor Company assembly line, Arthur M. Hyde, Mayflower Hotel
Courtesy of Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Missouri: Drawing of Union Depot, Garfield Avenue 1894, Waldheim Building, Manual Training High School, Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore Street, Densmore Hotel, Hyde Park Hotel, Sentinel Insurance Building and Fairyland. Used with permission.

Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches