As I have mentioned before, my paternal grandmother, Margaret (Millikan) McKinley (1917-2007) gave me several hundred family pictures. As I got interested in the family history, she would help identify some of the people in the photographs. However, sometimes she just gave a single name that didn’t make sense to me & didn’t explain much about the picture.
Such is the case with this picture:
When I asked my Grandmother about it, she said something about Mayo Estle. Of course my first question was, “Who was Mayo Estle?” I think all I got from that was “a cousin.”
Taking a closer look at the picture, I clearly recognized several ancestors:
In the front of the picture were Alva Boone (1861-1945), my GG Grandfather; Edwin Boone (1906-1980), Alva’s son; Gertrude Boone Parr (1896-1969), Alva’s daughter; and Arza Millikan (1883-1964), my Great Grandfather & Alva’s son-in law. I couldn’t identify Arza’s wife, Mary (1897-1992) in the picture.
But how were these folks connected to Mayo Estle? Who was he? Is he in the front right of the picture? Can’t say I’ll ever know the answer to the last question, but here goes on the first two.
I did an Ancestry.com search for Mayo and found the following: Mayo Estle was born May 18, 1876 in Indiana and died December 4, 1953 in Santa Monica, California. He married Eva Johnson on September 26, 1900 in Marion County, Indiana. Eva died in 1962 in Santa Monica, California.
Mayo’s parents were Esther Ballard (b.1852) and James A. Estle (1846-1925). James’ sister was Nancy Estle (1835-1896) who married Paul Boone (1832-1917). Nancy and Paul were Alva Boone’s parents. So there is the connection to Mayo—Alva and Mayo were cousins!
Then I did a newspaper search for Mayo, just to see if I could find any more information about who he was. On the newspapers.com site I came upon an article in the Indianapolis Star dated October 20, 1918. The article headline was “Attractive Home in North Side District.” Included was a picture of a house that looked pretty familiar.
There were other photos in Grandma’s collection that linked to the first one:
The first photo looks exactly like the house from the news article. In the second picture, the lady sitting on the wall looks like Gertrude Parr.
So what about this house? According to the article, it is the residence of Mayo Estle, address 4025 North Ruckle Street, Indianapolis. “It is a two-story frame and stucco structure with full basement, finished in orange shade, with white trimmings and a green roof.” There is a “dark brown brick porch” and a “twenty-foot lawn” between the porch and the street. The article states that Mayo had the ideas for the design of the house and goes on to describe the inside of the house: The first floor had a “spacious living room…finished in a prettily grained quarter-sawed oak, worked in dark natural shades.” There was an “attractive brick fireplace and mantel, with oak shelf along the south wall.” There was a “massive extended arch sustained at either end by built-in book-cases serving as a division to the dining room.” The dining room had a “beamed ceiling, an ornamental built-in buffet…along the east wall and a built-in box seat window covers the entire south wall.” Oak trim was prevalent in the rooms on the main floor with “subdued tan” colored walls. The kitchen “has everything modern with the profuse use of built-in work.” The second floor had 3 bedrooms and a “complete and nicely furnished bathroom.” The full-size basement had an outside entrance as well. It had space “for the laundry, fruit room, storage room, fuel room and housing for the steam heating plant.” The house had “steam heat, hot and cold city and cistern water, gas and electricity.” The article goes on to state who the builders were as well as who contracted the lumber, paint, plumbing and heating work. It was a great advertisement for the house and builders. The article almost sounded like the description of a “show house.”
So it makes sense that possibly the gathering in the photos was a house-warming party.
A few more points on that…
In one of the above pictures, there is a group on the porch:
The blurred group looks like Alva Boone, his wife, Sarah “Allie” (1869-1955) and two little children…
These two cousins showed up in many pictures together. They were Keith Parr (1917-1996) and Margaret Millikan (my grandmother). Here they are in another picture from that day. Considering the two look to be toddlers in the picture, it helps date the photo to around 1919 or 1920.
So end of story, Mayo Estle built a house, had a party to celebrate & show off his new place. The expectation is that Mayo and Eva lived in this house until they moved to California. But wait…
A little more information about Mayo comes from the Indianapolis City Directory and US Census collections on Ancestry.com. Mayo worked as a retail furniture dealer. He shows up in the 1919 City Directory as living in the home at 4025 Ruckle. In the 1920 US Census and City Directory, he is living on DeQuincy! What? Someone else is listed as living in the house on Ruckle. So Mayo only lived in the house for a year or so. Maybe he really did build the house to sell it. Who knows. He shows up in the 1930 US Census in California. In 1938, he is listed in the Santa Monica City Directory as an interior decorator. Something tells me he got his start with that occupation with the house on Ruckle.
© MJM 2020