Today is the 42nd Anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Arline Allen Kinsel and my grandfather Frank Ammi Brown were both kind and considerate, if somewhat unconventional, grandparents. Frank was Arline’s fourth husband and fifth marriage (she married one man twice).
Born October 2, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri, Arline was one of those unregistered births that twists genealogists into knots. No family Bible records names and events, no civil records include her name. But buried deep in a box at the bottom of a trunk of papers, I found a printed card completed by a conscientious clergyman after baptising 10-year old Arline on Easter, 1901. It records her birthdate, birthplace, and parents names. Thank you Reverend Mann.
Arline may not have appeared in the civil birth registers, but she was no stranger to the newspapers. Clippings and full page tear sheets record the events of her life. Her marriages, divorces, court appearances, battles for child custody, and testimony during the investigation of her sister’s disappearance all tell a story filled with more drama than Penny Dreadful could ever invent.
The scandals disappeared as Arline grew older, married Frank, and raised a second more conventional family in Southern California. She became a respectable woman, wore a hat and gloves to church every Sunday, and didn’t trouble anyone as she grew older and more feeble.
When she finally died at the age of 77, the cause of death was a ruptured appendix; she couldn’t or didn’t want to trouble anyone. She died the day before Memorial Day 1968. My grandfather, Frank, had died a few years earlier on Christmas Eve. It is always easy to remember when they left us, courtesly leaving the holiday itself free for it’s intended memories, and the day before to remember each of them.