Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
The older one gets -- I have discovered -- the more one thinks about one's childhood, of family and friends long gone, and the people who comprised one's life in times gone by.
Little snatches of family history sometimes find readers who remember or have heard of the families. It is my hope that there are some readers who remember some of these. The Preston family owned the Marshall Daily Democrat News for many years.
Three families on South Lafayette Avenue, many years ago
Near the end of the 19th century and for the first half of the 20th, three families -- diverse, different, delightful -- lived in the 500 block on South Lafayette Avenue in Marshall, Mo. The Arthur L. Prestons, father, mother and their 10 children, lived at 569; Coleman Bullard Kibler with his wife, Nina McMahon Kibler, and their three daughters at 572; and Robert Tillman Koontz with his wife, Sarah David Koontz, their four daughters and one son, William Shackleford Koontz at 573.
The Prestons were "newspaper people." Mr. Preston owned newspapers in may small towns in the mid-western sates, As the children grew and matured, they departed from Marshall for many of these small towns and took over the editorship and management of their newspapers. The eldest son, Eugene, married the youngest Kibler daughter, Genevieve. They moved to several different small towns, eventually settling in Norborne, where their son, William, and their daughter, Margaret, were born. They later moved to Liberty, where both children attended William Jewell College. Margaret Preston Marr passed away in the spring of 2012, leaving a son, James, and a daughter, Marsha.
Meanwhile, back in Marshall in 1918, the Kibler's middle daughter, Louise, married the Koontz's son William, and she moved into the Koontz family home, directly across from her own home.
The eldest Kibler daughter, Rachel, had married Francis Field, before the family moved to Marshall from Arrow Rock, 10 miles away. Rachel was teaching English at Central College, in Fayette, while continuing her studies for advanced degrees, She eventually received her PhD. from the University of Chicago.
The families dispersed, as families do, and the last member to live and die in Marshall was William S. Koontz, who passed away in November 1944. His wife had died in May 1931. Their daughter, Sarah Frances -- called Sally-- graduated from Central College, moved to New York City and married born-New Yorker of Scottish decent, Kenneth Frith Forbes. Kenneth passed away in November 1981. Sally lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, as does their son, Phillip. Their daughter, Melanie, who is married with three daughters, lives nearby in Long Island.
Of the Kibler grandchildren, the younger Field daughter, Mary Schwarz Arehart, of Townson, Md., and Sally Forbes, are today the only survivors, The elder Field daughter, Katherine Moore Priest, died in 2006. Mary's son Robert and his wife live in Columbus, Ohio. Katherine's son Dward Moore Jr. and his wife live in Brunswick, Md. Katherine's daughter, Kathleen Murphy and her husband live in Lee's Summit.