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Can anyone document the date (year, possibly month) of John Stark's
return to St. Louis from New York? Jasen's new book implies that the
move occurred in 1910 by stating that it followed Mrs. Stark's death
that year. Conflicting information in _They All Played Ragtime_
places the move in 1912, likely the second half. (Was Stark merely
slow packing?) However, it could have been 1913 . . .
I am working on some publisher bios at this time, and was doing that
very bit of research this past week (thus the St. John research I was
also working on). I don't have an answer, but I have a possibility. I
have had an inordinate amount of trouble locating either John or Sarah
in the 1910 census in either NYC or St. Louis. Of note, many of the
census sheets in NYC seem to be from February through May, while the
St. Louis ones are May or later for that year. Best guess, something I
have found to be particularly true of itinerant performers, is that
Stark may have in the army at boot camp or building the Panam canal -
just kidding - likely in transit between NYC and St. Louis when the
census takers came knocking. My next step will be to find out what St.
Louis directories say in 1910 and 1911.
Two other possible traces - when was the NYC reference removed from
Stark pubs? What is the date of Sarah's death (I am having trouble
with that, but will be at the cemetery within a month to find out).
Also of note, Vicky at Scott Joplin House says her crew "discovered" a
Louis Chauvin grave in St. Louis. OK, Maybe not discovered, but re-
established. The date is March 30, 1908, which would be four days
after his Chicago death, so perhaps likely, since he still seems to
have some relatives in St. Louis (talkative as she describes them) so
assumably did then. Perhaps he was more grounded in StL. than some
reports might indicate, but chose to be an intinerant in his home town
and beyond. The grave is at Calvary Cemetery, near North Broadway and
Calvary Ave just off 70 in downtown StL. She is asking for
Sarah Ann Stark died in the city of St. Louis on November 14, 1910 of
"uraemia" with chronic nephritis as a secondary cause. Thanks to the
wonders of the Internet, you can access the database for Missouri
death certificates and view the actual certificate at
(this will probably wrap)
this database covers available death certs from 1910 to 1956--there is
a listing for "pre-1910" certificates, there isn't one for Louis
Chauvin--although I know he died in Chicago, it was my understanding
that one would need a death certificate in order to bury someone;
maybe the Illinois cert was sufficient to bury him in Calvary without
the cemetery folks requesting a Missouri one. Who knows?
However. two certificates for Sylvester Chauvin, a musician who died
in 1919 and his brother "Link" (Abraham Lincoln in census returns)
Chauvin, a barber who died in 1913 both show that they were buried at
Calvary Cemetery; if Louis was their brother (which would make him the
youngest son of Charles F. and Henrietta [Miles] Chauvin) or
Sylvester's son [his wife was named Mary and survived him a year], it
could appear that there was a family plot there.
You can see the Chauvin certs here:
if the young lady at the Scott Joplin House has Louis's death
certificate, ask her if it has the parents' names listed. I would say
that it is a pretty good bet that it may be he.
Did you ever receive the copy of Harry Fischler's obit I thought I
sent you some time ago?
Continued best wishes