Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Archie, What Tangled Webs You Wove, Time and Time Again, The Finale

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Part 1, 'The Beginning' of Archie's story is here, and Part 2, 'The Middle' is here.

So, in about 1916 Archie disappears from the landscape of Minneapolis, leaving behind his parents, his three sisters, three nieces and a wife and a 14 year old daughter.

Until July of this year we had no idea where Archie, now Arthur N. Stevens, was between his disappearance in 1916 and May of 1918.  Then, I found a marriage for Arthur in 1917, but it is NOT to Man's grandmother.  Archie married a gal by the name of Dorothy Davis. So, we now add a second wife and bigamy to his list of crimes.

This second bride might be Dorothy Davis, maybe not.  Some snooping around since the discovery of this second marriage has been, disappointing, but, not surprising.  As they say in the movies, frankly, my dear, I have serious doubts that the record shows her real name, her real age, or even her parent's names. So far I am finding little, almost nothing, other than this marriage record on Dorothy. I have yet to determine if Archie and Dorothy were divorced, or did she die??

In any event, in May of 1918 Arthur Norman Stevens married Edna May Fenton in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, his third wife, mmm, without benefit of divorce from his first wife Nellie (and who knows about wife number 2- bigamy times two?).  Arthur and Edna had three sons born between 1919 and 1920. 

Archie, as Arthur,
WWII, Civil Defense (?)
As far as we can determine, Archie did not serve, either as Archie or Arthur during World War I.  He did serve during World War II, in what we believe was the Civil Defense.

Archie, as Arthur, and Edna lived what would appear to be a quiet life, raising three sons, loosing one in a horrific automobile accident, watching two go off to war (WWII).  Both sons returned from war, both wounded, but alive.

So, Archie lived a quiet life after all this intrigue and lies and mystery, except - -

for a few other little tidbits.

There are very few family photos or papers.  Those we do have for the most part are not labeled.  We found we did have photos of Archie's parents, not identified of course.  There was that obituary of his father, Wallace, with only a photo, the text cut off.

As Arthur, Archie died in 1952, his obituary reads, in part, "Surviving are his wife, Edna; two sons, Arthur, junior, of Lincoln Park, and George, of Corpus Christi, Texas; five grandchildren, and three sisters."   Appears Edna knew about his sisters.  That was a bit of a surprise, it indicates that there may have been some communication, but what was it??  We have no letters.

And, last, but, not boring and, not necessarily the least, the FBI has a file on him!  I requested same under the Freedom of Information Act.  Does it surprise us much to receive a form that has more blacked out data than things we can read??  Nope!  The accompanying letter stated that nothing further could be released because he was mentioned in a cross-reference and that "A cross-reference is a mention of the subject of your request by name or personal identifier in a file of another individual, organization, event, activity, or the like."  The name of an organization, "United Sons of America", was found on that form we received.  Archie once again, providing mystery and intrigue.

Archie, my first brick wall, still tumbling down after almost 20 years of research.  I am hopelessly addicted to researching Archie and his Lashbrook kin.  Anytime I find a new data base to search, Lashbrook is the first name I type in.  I have been saying I will publish the family story for, mmm, years.  Then a new and exciting data base will come online, or I connect with another of Man's distant cousins, and I am off and researching more and more.  Soon, really, I must put this to rest and just publish this book!  I have to decide how to publish, as the last time I checked, it would be well over 800 pages if I print it.  I see a lot of DVD burning in my publishing future.  LOL

I would show you a photo of his headstone, only, Arthur and Edna do not have one.  The saga continues, headstone shopping shall commence. 

Archie, Archibald Norman Lashbrook, our Archie, surely qualifies as a colorful character and maybe a black sheep, and he is my entry in the 100th Carnival of Genealogy.


Linda McCauley said...

Wow! Now I want to read the book - get busy with that publishing. Tell Man he's not the only one with a grandfather who changed his name and started a new family - but I've promised my aunt I won't put our story on the web for now.

Mary said...

I'm another with a grandfather who was a scoundrel and woman-izer (I hate to call him grandfather because I never knew him even though he lived in the same city as I for several years after I was born). You're story is very interesting and easy to read. Would love to be able to write like you. I look forward to future 'findings' on this man..more unraveled mysteries and mysteries to unravel!

Nolichucky Roots said...

I'm not sure which I'm more impressed/astonished/amazed by - Archie's story or your tenacity in digging it out. I have this image of you patiently brushing away the dirt from some roots, only to discover more, and more. It would be difficult to close him down and publish, but there's always a 2nd edition! Standing O, Carol!

Nita said...

Fasinating story, Carol! I can imagine that happened a lot back then, because it would have been difficult to find someone once they changed their name. One would have a difficult time getting away with that in today's world. He probably found himself in an impossible situation, and this was his only escape. It must have been difficult for him to leave his family and start over.

Barbara Poole said...

Carol, my goodness girl what a wonderful story, so easy to follow the story, but how you followed him in life is amazing. I can't quite figure out why the FBI had a file, but to think you contacted them showed your determination to get to the facts. Did you ever try to get a copy of Wallace's obit from a newspaper?
This was really good Carol, and I'm glad, in your busy packing period, you found time to write it. Thanks.

Greta Koehl said...

This is just major, Carol - you even went to the FBI! I've read lots of stories about persistence in research, but this tops them all. Wow.

Apple said...

WOW! He certainly had an interesting life. I wonder if the redacted information in the FBI file would shed light on any of the marriages or explain the name change.