Saturday, March 16, 2013

Frank Miles in the 1920's

I have already written that Frank Miles went to the oil fields in French Algeria where he met his wife to be, Maria Llabres. They married and,

" November of 1925, Frank, his wife Maria, and baby son Charles left Bordeaux [France] for New York aboard the French liner Le Bourdonnais. They settled in Spring Township, Butler County where they remained for the rest of their lives raising their three children Charlie, Joan, and Mary. Maria would remain on the farm with one exception, a trip that she took with her daughter Mary in the late summer of 1954 when she traveled back to France and Algeria to visit relatives."
Arriving as they did in 1925, the small Miles family just missed the devastating tornado of 1924 which struck Augusta Kansas.

Augusta tornado 1924, Bob Bergman
No luck in identifying the nature of the Snodgrass building. A Snodgrass genealogy lists R.L. Snodgrass of Augusta, Kansas, but identifies him as a farmer.

The Miles family grew up near the small community of Haverhill. The son Charlie and the two daughters to come, Joan and Mary (born Mary Maria Miles in 1931), went to school in Leon, walking the dirt road two miles there and back each day. Frank continued to work as an oilman, but it is unknown which company he worked for. It could have been for any of the several refineries in El Dorado, but then it could have also been for one of the three refineries in nearby Augusta.

Oil derrick circa 1920

Photograph from Kansas Memory - Mr. Eliga Carter at Gordon oil field, El Dorado, Kansas.

There is precious little to know of the decade of the twenties. Today, one traveled from Wichita to Augusta in fifteen minutes, but the trip took planning. Not until 1924, was a two lane brick road laid between Wichita and Augusta. Beyond that to Leon and Haverhill where the Miles lived, and to Beaumont, where the Van Huss family lived were dirt roads, impassable when it rained.

The 1920's were a time of change for cities. The streets were paved, and street lights put in. Small grocery stores popped up. Many a lad got his first job stocking shelves with goods and carrying out bags for customers. State law closed businesses on Sunday. Local bands provided weekend entertainment.

Cinemas came to town in the 20's. And the popular movies of the 1920's were such fare as "The Perils of Pauline" and "Buck Rogers" and westerns, like those of William S. Hart and Tom Mix. Not until 1927, did talkies first appear with Al Jolson in the "Jazz Singer."

Cars which had only made their appearance 20 years earlier, now edged out the horse and buggy on the streets and roads. In 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T roll off the assembly line. It sold for a whopping $260. The oil industry that Frank Miles worked for, would fuel the growth in automobile transportation.

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