Born in December 1862 in Niles, Michigan. His dad was John Groot Mead and mother was Delia Louise Corell. Delia passed away in 1866. John Groot Mead married Mary Eliza Dexter (nicknamed “Dan”) in Connecticut in 1867 and they had one child, Hudson Dexter Mead who is my great grand-father.
So, Arthur J. Mead would be a step brother to Hudson Sr. My mom, Gloria, who is a granddaughter of Hudson Mead Sr. has no recollection of hearing of Arthur. But, my mom also has a couple letters, signed by Arthur addressed to his mom and his brother Hud. Through ancestry also found a document by a great granddaughter of Arthur (Laura Squires) referring to Arthur and his possible suicide in 1910.
Arthur married Laura Belle Bryant on 15 Feb 1892 in Uintah, Utah. She was quite young at the time being only 17 years old while Arthur would have been 29. They had 4 children, Delia, Nila, Hudson S. and Gertrude. Sometime after 1903 when Gertrude was born and 1910, it appears that Laura ran off with another man to California leaving Arthur with the children.
Below are scanned copies of the letters from 1910 which are hard to read. I have also attached my transcription of the letters along with a copy of the document from Laura Squires.
Transcript of Arthur letter to Hud:
Chadron, Nebraska Dec 29, 1910
You’re a Prince and I realize to the full the difference between you and I. No doubt I have about the same natural ability as you, but you have used yours while I have wasted mine. I remember a remark Grandma Mead made to me when I was a little boy “Hell is paved with good intentions”. If I could have fully realized then what this meant my life’s story might have been different. I have intended to do things. You have done them. Results speak for themselves. I have been figuring out why a black hen laid a white egg while you have been getting the egg. That explains the whole situation. Sentiment is a good thing when under proper control, but instead of keeping it under control I have allowed it to control me and the result is wreck and ruin. No man ever lived who loved his wife and children and home more devotedly than I did, but I did not seem to know how to mix the business in and make it combine. So I lost my wife and when I lost her I lost everything that made life worth living for me, because I had allowed sentiment instead of judgement, to rule. To say that I have suffered the fortunes of the damned during the past 15 months is putting it mildly. No words can express what I have suffered. This suffering has rendered me worthless to the world, my family, my friends and myself, so I am getting out of the way to make room for someone more worthy. I fully appreciate what you have done for me, but the prospect of repaying you seems utterly hopeless, so I want to get out of the way before the debt grows larger.
Transcript of Arthur letter to his mom:
Chadron, Nebraska Dec 29, 1910
I am so sorry that you don’t think I appreciate what you have done for me and mine. I appreciate it in my heart. I guess my acts do not show it, but that’s my misfortune more than my fault. I have no recollection whatever of the remark you mention concerning Grandma Mead. I may have uttered the words you quote, but if I did, they were said without reference to you. You were always entirely welcome at our house both by Laura and myself and the only fault we ever found with you was that you would not rest and take life easy while you were with us, instead of being the first one up in the morning and digging into the work as though you were getting paid by the hour. We have both made our mistakes but neither of us ever had any unkind remarks to make about you while you were present nor while you were absent. I did not try to answer you when you were talking to me because I am unable to control my emotions and I was too much choked up to talk. I appreciate fully what you have done for us and the fact that I have been unable to do my share in return is one of the things which has made life so miserable for me. I’m sorry you have misunderstood me but I can’t help it now. It’s too late. If I had been the fortunate possessor of a spirit like yours things would, no doubt, have been different with me.
Information in letter by Laura Squires:
Laura B. MacLean’s Marriages
Posted 09 Nov 2015 by Laura Squires
My great grandmother, born Laura Belle Bryant, married Arthur J. Mead in 1892. They had four children, Delia, Nila (my grandmother), Hudson and Gertrude. Arthur was a train master in Cedar City, Utah and sometime between 1903 when Gertrude was born and the 1910 Census, Walter MacLean happened through Cedar City and met my great grandmother. She left her husband and children and ran off with Walter MacLean to San Jose, California. The 1920 census shows them living in San Jose and that my grandmother and my dad (Robert P. Squires) were living with them at that time. My dad would have been less than one year old (he was born on December 1, 1919).
The 1910 Census shows that Arthur Mead took the four children (Delia, Nila, Hudson and Gertrude) and moved back to Dawes, Nebraska where he lived with his parents at that time. According to the story told by my grandmother Nila, Arthur Mead committed suicide, but I’m not certain when that happened.