194 – Chleo and Boys

By 1934, Ralph Jarvis’ estate had been settled.

Life Insurance

Chleo was in good shape financially because of Ralph’s life insurance policy with Northwestern Mutual.

Aware how lucky she was to have had the policy, Chleo invested in a policy for each of her sons with Northwestern Mutual.

The ranch

Chleo had sold the largest 560-acre part of the ranch in 1932, breaking even.

In 1935, she sold the smaller 80-acre part to Hugh Carlin. That part was where Ralph’s mother Anna and her husband Sam Stafford were living. Anna and Sam moved to Wichita to be near her son Tom Jarvis.

Deed – Chleo Jarvis to Hugh Carlin – 80 acre ranch – 1935

Ed. Note: Hugh Carlin’s wife was Dot Carlin. She and I lived in the same apartment complex in the early 70s. She was a hoot. She had lots of stories about her husband Hugh and Blackie Jarvis.

The farm

Chleo and her boys Mel and Donnie were living on the farm on the southwest edge of Salina. Chleo’s mother Anna Webb and her brother Jim Webb were living with them.

In 1933, Chleo paid off the mortgage on the farm.

Jim raised wheat and oats for cash crops. On 35 acres, it probably didn’t amount to much.

Jim didn’t use a tractor. He had worked farms and ranches since his teens in 1910, and he was comfortable using a team of horses.

Jim’s team – Jarvis farm – c 1938

Chleo and Anna and Jim raised chickens and sold eggs. They had large brooder houses and collected lots of eggs every day.

Chleo and Anna grew a large garden.

Besides his work team, the riding horses were also in stalls in the barn. Mel had Sandy and Donnie had Chief.

Chleo could afford to buy a nice car for herself, and she bought a truck for Jim. Chleo kept her boys well-dressed, and sometimes spoiled them with gifts.

The boys

Mel and Don Jarvis – 1934

In 1935, Mel was age 14. Donnie was 12. I don’t know where Mel went to school as a 14-year-old. Donnie was still in elementary grades at Lowell School.

Their father was gone. But they had their uncle and grandmother living in their household.

Don and Mel Jarvis – 1936

Nibbles Extra Credit – The Great Depression – 1934-1936

The Great Depression continued. But by 1934, the economy was beginning to recover. Helped along by New Deal programs, the economy grew 10% in 1934. Prices increased 1.5%.

By 1936, measures of the economy were back to their 1928 pre-Depression levels, except for unemployment.


Unemployment crept downward below 22% by year-end 1934, and still lower to 20% by December 1935. In 1936, it continued the downward trend to 17%. The New Deal programs were helping, and some segments of the economy were recovering.

Roosevelt re-elected

In November 1936, Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected President by a landslide.

Drought and Dust Bowl

Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas – April 1935

In 1934, There were 29 consecutive days over 100 degrees. The year recorded the hottest temperatures on record. More than 75% of the country was experiencing severe drought.

By the end of the year, droughts covered 75% of the country and 27 states. Almost 80% of the country recorded extremely dry conditions. 

There were 15 major dust storms, the worst on April 15, Black Sunday.

The dust storms and drought continued into 1935 and 1936. In 1936, 20 states recorded temperatures around 100 degrees.

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

In 1935, the Works Progress Administration was created. It was a New Deal program that hired unemployed people to work on public works projects like roads, parks, and public buildings. From 1935 to 1943, WPA hired over 8 million people.

Social Security

On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. The first benefits were scheduled to begin in 1940, so there was no immediate impact on the Depression.

Government regulation

The federal government had been imposing regulations, especially in industries that had contributed to the financial downfall.

In 1935, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began to regulate the stock market. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dealt with telephone, telegraph, and radio.

Public Utility Holding Company Act

Washington Evening Star – July 3, 1935

Perhaps the regulation most interesting to us is the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. It gave the SEC the authority to regulate and break up utility holding companies.

It specifically:

  • limited holding companies to a single state, so they would be subject to state regulation
  • broke up holding companies with more than two tiers
  • required that holding company engage in regulated businesses, not motels or car dealerships or housing

Looks familiar, doesn’t it. These are the things Nathan Jones’ holding companies were doing, and they were the causes of his downfall.

Timeline – 1934 and 1935


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