A man with two families probably deserves two blog posts.
Claude Frank Aiken married Mildred Paul sometime after 1933 and his divorce from Elvira (Kring) Aiken. He was 45, she 23.
He had three children with Mildred as well, but neither of his families really knew each other. They knew there was another family, but no details. Fast forward to the age of Ancestry.com and Find A Grave, plus some researchers interested in collateral relatives (that would be your blog editors); it added up to children of the two families finding each other after many, many years.
Back to Claude’s life:
Claude had passed the exams to be a Registered Pharmacist after the required two years of college. His nephew, Lloyd Eugene “Gene” Lee, son of Claude’s sister Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, passed the exam for Assistant Pharmacist at the same test session. The clipping does not have a date but it was probably 1928.
Claude bought Martin’s Drugstore about that time, and he and Mildred worked together in the drugstore at 922 S. Vandeventer. They lived in the back of the building.
The neighborhood got rougher, and times were tougher during the depression, but they kept on with the pharmacy being an important part of the community. Their first child was 2 and a second child was expected or newborn when Claude foiled a robbery attempt from a very dangerous convicted burglar:
“FOURTH CHARGE FACED BY CAPTURED BURGLAR.
C. L. Patterson Caught in Drug Store as Proprietor Enters With Pistol.
Police asked the Circuit Attorney’s office yesterday for the issuance of a fourth burglary warrant against Carson Lee Patterson, 28-year-old ex-convict, following the capture earlier in the morning while ransacking a drug store at 922 South Vandeventer Avenue.
Patterson told police he had entered the place to secure enough money to hire a lawyer to defend himself in three pending burglary cases.
He was apprehended by Mr. and Mrs. Claude Aiken, operators of the store, who live in the rear of the building. Hearing the cash register ring as the burglar opened it, Aiken secured a pistol, rushed in to the store, and forced Patterson to hold up his hands. He fired one shot high upon the wall to scare the intruder.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Aiken called the police. Patterson readily admitted his identity upon arrival of officers.
Patterson is one of five youths who admitted 29 burglaries when they were arrested last month. He has served two prison terms, one for grand larceny in 1928 and one for burglary in 1931. He received a parole after serving part of the burglary sentence, but it was revoked after he was arrested as one of the men who tortured a Franklin County farmer and his wife to secure $150. Withing four months of his release from prison he was again facing burglary charges.”
Interesting that Peterson thought to pay his legal fees concerning previous burglaries through proceeds from another burglary. Ah, the criminal mind…
The 1939 St. Louis City Directory lists them and the store at 922 Vandeventer, as does the 1940 US Federal Census which states that the home and store were rented. They had two children, ages 6 and 4, living with them in 1940.
Claude died just four years after the census, on 05 May 1944. He is buried in the Lee family plot with his sister, Dorothy (Aiken) Lee and her husband, and her mother, Dora (Russell) Aiken. Mildred passed away 18 Nov 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Family photos and ephemera.
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