Casefile Clues

01 February 2014

Lost in the Flood of 1903

"Lost at Armour Dale Kansas City Kans in Flood of 1903"

In a "Widow's Application for Accrued Pension" Mary E. Butler states that she does not have her deceased husband's pension certificate number because it was "Lost at Armour Dale Kansas City Kans in Flood of 1903." Pension files are full of various excuses as to why records cannot be located.

"Widow's Application for Accrued Pension," 15 March 1904, Mary E. Butler, Union Civil War pension based upon service of Leander Butler in Company B, 10th Kansas Infantry, National Archives and Records Service. 
This was no excuse and it seems very likely the Butlers did lost the certificate if they were living in Armourdale in 1903. A little searching determined that Armourdale was actually neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. A newspaper account of the flood from which the illustration below is taken indicated the severity of the flood. According to the article, the town of Armourdale was "depopulated," its 16,000 people forced to evacuate. 10,000 men who worked in the stockyards, factories and rail yards in nearby Argentine were also out of work, at least temporarily.

The Kansas City Star of 30 May 1903 included a picture "on Kansas Avenue in Armourdale Yesterday Afternoon;"

obtained digitally on 

 GenealogyBank.com
I'm not certain how long the Butlers lived in Armourdale or whether Leander even died there. It is very possible that they left after the flood. I need to determine why they were in the area in the first place, whether Leander worked in the various industries in the area or if they had children or family living in the area. My Google search was just to determine where "Armour Dale" was as I was not certain I was even reading the word correctly. Documenting the flood was an interesting aside, but I've got to be careful not to get too distracted by it. Researching Leander is my main focus.

Armourdale and the general Kansas City area is approximately 110 miles north of the area where the Butlers lived in Vernon County.

Leander's pension file is over 200 pages--mostly medical materials. As I sift through it, we'll be posting updates of items that are either genealogically significant or can serve as an important research reminder.