Thursday, March 28, 2013

Percy George Mayhew- Man of Many Trades


Percy George Mayhew Family Narrative
by Jamie Lee McManus Mayhew

Percy G. Mayhew picture1. percy george mayhew was born in Grand Rapids, Kent Michigan on 25 June 1882 to George Richmond Mayhew and Lucy Anne (Tucker) Mayhew.[1] He died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California on 2 October 1937[2] and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Los Angeles, California.[3] He married Helen Frances Mason born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio 29 August 1882, daughter of Albert G. Mason and Loretta “Lettie” (Howe) Mason, on 14 November 1908 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio.[4]

Percy George Mayhew was the second child born to George Richmond Mayhew and Lucy Anne Tucker.[5] This was the second marriage for Lucy who had married first, William E. Osgood[6] and was presumably left a widow with a young son, Harry Osgood, who she brought to her marriage with George R. Mayhew.[7] George and Lucy’s first child was a daughter, Blanche Mayhew, born in 1880.[8]

The Mayhew’s were a well-to-do family in Grand Rapids. George Richmond Mayhew, father of Percy, was a prominent businessman in Grand Rapids first as an owner of Loomis, Mayhew & Company at 30 Canal Street and later as G. R. Mayhew Boots and Shoes at 86 Monroe.[9] The family, especially Percy and Blanche, are frequently mentioned in the society pages attending parties and other social events.[10]

Percy’s father, George Richmond Mayhew, died 3 April 1899 of paralysis, the terminology used at that time for a stroke.[11] Lucy Mayhew was appointed guardian of Percy and Blanche.[12] In 1900, after the death of his father, Percy graduated from the exclusive Howe Military School at Lima, Indiana attending for his junior and senior years of high school.[13]
Percy began his employment career as a clerk, presumably at the store now owned by his mother. Local  directories list him as a pattern maker beginning in 1892.[14] In 1906 Percy G. Mayhew received his first patent for a waterproof shoe that by 1909 he was selling at the P. G. Mayhew Shoe Company. While in Grand Rapids, Percy became associated with Arthur Ford in the Michigan Felting company. When this business failed about 1910, he moved to Holland, Michigan where he started the P.G. Mayhew Company doing business as the Mayhew Textile Manufacturing Company. He continued to manufacture the creeping blanket for babies and interchangeable comforter filler, his second patent, until further financial troubles hit.

Percy married Helen Frances Mason of Cleveland Ohio on 14 November 1908.[15] There followed four children, Josephine Anne Mayhew, Nell Elizabeth Mayhew, George Richard Mayhew, and Jack Mason Mayhew.[16]

By 1914, Percy’s mattress business was in trouble, and Percy went to his mother for help. The following excerpt from a news article in the Grand Rapids News tells the story.
Miss Blanche M. Mayhew, sister, in an affidavit says her brother came to her last January, claiming he needed more collateral on which to raise money for his business. She says she had heard talks between her mother and Percy and understood that she would not give him more collateral.
She deposes that later he came to her and she took $3,400 in Commonwealth securities from the safety deposit box and gave them to him.
The brother was also given $7,000 in Citizens Telephone company stock. Later he was given $1,000 in lumber company stock. Later he threatened his sister and she says she gave him more securities which amounted finally to a very large figure.
In January, 1914, Miss Mayhew and her mother, who was critically ill, went to Chicago where the mother was treated by specialists. Percy followed them and again importuned his sister for more securities.
“I gave him the keys to the Michigan Trust box,” she deposes “I never knew until this trouble came up that he forged mother’s name to the letter of attorneyship, through which he gained admission to the box.”[17]

There followed a series of articles in the Grand Rapids and Holland newspapers until Percy was apprehended in early December 2014 by the Pinkerton detectives.[18] This strange family saga ended on Christmas day 2014 when Percy’s mother had a change of heart and telegraphed from the East to the authorities in Grand Rapids asking them to “let her poor boy go.”[19]

Ever the entrepreneur, Percy moved to Aurora, New York in 1915 where he leased the WaySide Inn.[20] Six months later he formed a group that purchased the St Lawrence Inn, in Gouverneur NY.[21]  Percy and Helen’s last child, Jack Mason Mayhew, was born while they were in Gouverneur, New York.[22]

In 1918, according to Percy’s daughter Nell, the cost of heat for the St. Lawrence Inn was too high and Percy brought his family to California where he started a new company making candy.[23] 

Percy became a widower on 22 August 1935 on the death of his wife Helen.[24] Percy George Mayhew died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California on 2 October 1937 at the age of fifty-three years, three months, and seven days of malignant nephroslerosis,[25] rapidly progressing kidney failure caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. [26] Percy and Helen were cremated and are buried in Altadena at the Mountain View Cemetery.[27]

Children of Percy George Mayhew and Helen Frances Mayhew
i.                    Josephine Ann Mayhew born 25 May 1910 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan.[28] Married Jack Curtis 14 March 1931.[29] Died 8 Sept 2001 in Pawnee City, Pawnee, Nebraska.[30]
ii.                  Nell Elizabeth Mayhew born 18 April 1912 in Holland, Ottawa, Michigan.[31] She married first Freeman Henry Argetsinger 6 Jul 1935,[32] second Glenn Eugene Miller 16 November 1978.[33] She died 14 January 2001 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.[34]
iii.                George Richard Mayhew born 7 August 1913 in Holland, Ottawa, Michigan.[35] He married Cleo Dorothy Hopp 14 February 1937 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.[36] He died 30 December 1980 in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California.[37]
iv.         Jack Mason Mayhew born 18 February 1917 in Gouverneur, St. Lawrence, New York.[38] He married Ethel Dutcher 25 February 1938 in Pasadena, Los Angeles, California.[39] He died 25 March 1988 in Newport Beach, Orange, California.




[1]“Michigan, Births, 1867-1902,” index and images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 15 Feb 2013) Perry Mayhew, 25 June 1882.
[2] California Department of Health Services, death certificate no. 37-063727, Percy Mayhew (1937), Vital Statistics Branch, Sacramento.
[3] Mountain View Cemetery (Altadena, Los Angeles, California), Percy Mayhew and Helen Mayhew marker, personally read, 2007.
[4] “Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973,” index and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : access 15 Feb 2013) volume: 70-71; page 224; application and return no. 59895, Percy G. Mayhew and Helen F. Mason marriage 14 Nov 1908.
[5] 1884 Michigan state census, Kent County, population schedule, 3rd Ward City of Grand Rapids, p. 112, dwelling 382, family 427, for Blanche Mayhew in George R. Mayhew household; FHL microfilm 984,118.
[6] “Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,” index and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : access 15 Feb 2013) “Out of Town Marriages for the City of Boston for the year 1870,” pg 55, entry 22, William T. Osgood and Lucy A. Tucker 28 April 1870.
[7] No record has been found of the death of William T. Osgood nor of a divorce between Lucy and William Osgood.  George and Lucy Mayhew with Harry Osgood, are enumerated in 1880 U.S. census, Kent County, Michigan, population schedule, Grand Rapids, Enumeration District (ED) 138, p 6, dwelling 32, family 35, George R. Mayhew household; digital image, (http://www.ancestry.com : access 15 Feb 2013), citing FHL film 1254588.
[8] 1884 Michigan state census, Kent County, population schedule, 3rd Ward City of Grand Rapids, p. 112, dwelling 382, family 427, for Blanche Mayhew in George R. Mayhew household; FHL microfilm 984,118.
[9] See Grand Rapids City directories from 1867 through 1890. Also see Dan O’Reiley, “In the city,” Michigan Tradsman, 27 Jun 1884 “G. R. Mayhew is building a fine residence on South Prospect street, adjoining the home of Amos. M. Musselman”
[10] “From the Summer Resorts,” Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 17 August 1901, digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 February 2013) citing original page 6.  See also “Social News of the Week,” Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, 15 November 1908, digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 February 2013) citing original page 39,42. 
[11] “Geo. R. Mayhew Dead,” Grand Rapids Herald, Grand Rapids, Michigan 4 April 1899.
[12] “Court Records: Probate,” Grand Rapids Herald, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 8 April 1899, digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 February 2013) citing original page 5.
[13] “Society,” Grand Rapids Herald, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 23 Dec 1900, digital images Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 February 2013) citing original page 3.
[14] “Burns Agents Searching for Percy Mayhew: Young Business Man, Well Known in this City and Holland, Missing,” Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 24 September 1914, digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 February 2013) citing original page 2.
[15] “Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973,” index and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : access 15 Feb 2013) volume: 70-71; page 224; application and return no. 59895, Percy G. Mayhew and Helen F. Mason marriage 14 Nov 1908.
[16] 1920 U.S. Census, Los Angeles, California, population schedule, Hermosa Beach, Enumeration District (ED) 541, sheet 14A, dwelling 126, family 141, Percy G. Mayhew household; digital image, (http://www.ancestry.com : access 15 Feb 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication  T625, roll 118.
[17] “Holland Mattress Man Soon to be Nabbed,” Holland City News, Holland, Michigan, 10 December 1914, page 1, column 5.
[18] “Holland Citizens Heavy Creditors: Percy G. Mayhew Co., Went Bankrupt for Thousands,” Holland City News, Holland, Michigan, 16 February 1915, page 1, column 4.
[19] ibid
[20] “News of the Nearby Towns: Arrora and Wells,” Auborn New York Citizen, Auborn, New York. See also, “Wanted in Michigan,” Auborn New York Citizen, Auborn, New York, 10 December 1914, page 6, column 3;digital image Old Fulton Postcards (http://Fultonhistory.com : accessed 20 February 2013)
[21] “St Lawrence Inn to be Reorganized; Corporation to Purchase Gouverneur Inn,” Watertown Daily Times, 27 December 1916, page 3, column 3; digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 23 February 2013) Historical Newspapers (1690-1980)
[22] Nell Argetsinger, (Pawnee,Nebraska) to Jamie Mayhew (Hacienda Heights, California,) letter,  undated approximately 1975, privately held by Jamie Mayhew [Researcher’s Contact Information) 2013.
[23] Argetsinger to Mayhew, 1975. See also “St. Lawrence Inn Closed,” The Free Press, Gouverneur, New York, 6 December 1917, unpaginated, column 4. 
[24] "California, Death Index, 1905-1939," digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 23 April 2012), 1930-1939 >Heslop, Nellie-Rzechtalski, Leon , image 384of 836, Mayhew, Helen, 22 August 1935
[25] California Department of Health Services, death certificate 37-063727, Percy Mayhew (1937), Office of State Registrar, Sacramento.
[26] Malignant Hypertensive Nephrosclerosis” The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook for Patients and Caregivers, (http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney_and_urinary_tract_disorders/blood_vessel_disorders_of_the_kidneys/malignant_hypertensive_nephrosclerosis.html : accessed 23 February 2013) December 2007.
[27] Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital image (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 February 2013), photograph, “gravestone for Percy Mayhew (1882-1937) and Helen Mayhew(1882-1935), Memorial No. 12638889, Records of the Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, Altadena, Los Angeles, California;” photograph © Shiver.
[28] Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital image (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 February 2013), memorial, “for Josephine Anne Mayhew Curtis (1910-2001), Memorial No. 57751294, Records of the Pawnee City Cemetery, Pawnee City, Pawnee, California.”
[29] Cleo Mayhew, (Arcadia, Los Angeles, California)1975, address book containing birth, death and marriage information; privately held by Jamie Mayhew [Researcher’s Contact Information) 2013. This address book was held by George R. Mayhew after his wife, Cleo Mayhew died 3 September 1975 and came to the researcher on the death of George R. Mayhew 30 December 1980.
[30] Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave, memorial, “for Josephine Anne Mayhew Curtis (1910-2001), Memorial No. 57751294.
[31] Cleo Mayhew, (Arcadia, Los Angeles, California)1975, address book.
[32] Ibid
[33] “Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 February 2013), marriage of Nell E. Argetsinger and Glen Eugene Miller, 16 November 1978; citing Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Records. Nevada Marriage Index, 1966-2005. Carson City, Nevada: Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Records.
[34] David Argetsinger, son of Nell E. Argetsinger (Orland, California), interview by Jamie Mayhew, 6 June 2011; notes privately held by interviewer, Yorba Linda, California, 2013.
[35] George R. Mayhew (Long Beach, California), interview by Jamie Mayhew, 1978; notes privately held by interviewer, Yorba Linda, California, 2013.
[36] “Certificate of Marriage,” couple’s copy, George R. Mayhew to Cleo D. Hopp, Mayhew family records held by Jamie Mayhew 2013. Held by George R. Mayhew after his wife, Cleo Mayhew died 3 September 1975 and came to the researcher on the death of George R. Mayhew 30 December 1980.
[37] Jamie Mayhew, personal knowledge of death of George R. Mayhew 30 December 1980.
[38] Argetsinger to Mayhew, letter, 1975.
[39] Undated newspaper clipping, “Mrs. Jack M. Mayhew” marriage of Jack M. Mayhew and Ethel Dutcher 25 February 1938 in Cleo Mayhew, scrapbook, ca. 1937-1975; Mayhew family records held by Jamie Mayhew 2013. Held by George R. Mayhew after his wife, Cleo Mayhew died 3 September 1975 and came to the researcher on the death of George R. Mayhew 30 December 1980.

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