Arthur Loreston Kibby 1890 – 1931

Arthur Loreston Kibby was born 23 December 1890 in Winchester, New Hampshire. His parents were George Kibby and Elizabeth Quigley. In 1900, he lived in Hinsdale with his parents and three siblings. In 1910, he lived in Claremont with his parents, and worked in a shoe factory. In 1914, he moved to Boston.
Arthur registered for the World War 1 draft on 5 June 1917, in Schenectady, NY. He was employed by the Whitehead Sand Company as a teamster.

In October of that year, a William Quigley reported to the Bureau of Investigation that Kibby was “playing the Slackers game” by moving between White River Junction, Vermont, to Greenfield, Massachusetts, or Claremont, New Hampshire to avoid being called for the draft. Quigley isn’t identified further, but perhaps he was related to Arthur Kibby’s mother. Before it was called the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation investigated threats to the nation and its citizens, and in this instance, had the responsibility to determine whether Kibby was avoiding the draft. They determined that Kibby had not registered in Vermont. The investigator tracked Kibby down to his boarding house in White River Junction. Kibby stated that he had registered in Schenectedy, and he provided the date, and a witness to his registration. Later, while out rowing, his boat capsized and he lost his registration card. He applied for a new card, and had documentation to that effect, even though he had not received a replacement registration card. The investigator was eventually able to confirm that Kibby had actually registered when and where he said – four months before Quigley made the complaint.

In the 1920 census, Arthur was a lodger at a residence in Springfield, Massachusetts. He worked as a baker. Another lodger was Dora Barton, an assembler in a toy factory. She was separated from her husband Leslie Barton, and was the daughter of Harry Sturtevant and Bertha Blood. Her divorce was finalized in May, 1921.

Arthur and Dora married about 1923, and in 1925, were counted in the New York state census, living in New York City, where Arthur worked as a cook. Arthur and Dora separated, and by 1930, Dora was living in Windsor, Vermont, working as a domestic for a private family. She was living with Joseph N Robideau and his mother – she married Joseph on 25 May 1931.

Although Dora listed herself as widowed, in fact, Arthur had moved west without her. A news item from the Angola (Indiana) Herald reported that authorities were seeking family ties of a dead war veteran. The news story said that Kibby had drifted into Angola two weeks previously and had been on a drinking spree for several days. The next day, he drank much coffee and took heavy doses of aspirin. At his boarding house, other residents tried to help him, and called a doctor, but Arthur died that evening, 23 April 1931, due to an aspirin overdose.

In trying to identify family members, officials went through his belongings. A bible in his possession had the address of a mission in Chicago, and people there thought he was a World War soldier with a divorced wife in New York.

A follow up story reports: The local American Legion boys demonstrated their loyalty to their cause, and a buddy overtaken by death far from home. Their act may have been passed over as a perfunctory affair by many people, who take that much for granted. But I believe that in the little town of Claremont, New Hampshire, is a fond mother in the sunset of life, whose mourning for her soldier son who died suddenly in Angola, among comparative strangers, is tempered and softened by the knowledge that his comrades, the American Legion of Angola…..gave him a burial with full military honors.”

The Legion members had tried unsuccessfully to locate his wife in New York City. Eventually, the war department matched his fingerprints to the correct soldier, and Legion members contacted Arthur’s mother in New Hampshire. She could not afford to have Arthur returned to New Hampshire, and requested that he be interred in Angola.

A year later, on Decoration (Memorial) Day, a granite monument was installed at Circle Hill Cemetery, marking American Legion lots, and inscribed Angola Post No. 31. This monument has a bronze plate that says “Pvt. Arthur L Kibby, Cook and Bakers’ School, Died April 23, 1931.”

The news item says, “On this lot will be buried any soldier who has no other plan for burial.”