Friday, January 16, 2015

Charles M. King (52 Ancestors #2)

For the “KING” challenge, I chose to do some further research into Charlie King, first husband of Mary Gray Steele, my first cousin once removed.  I had always heard of Charlie from my dad, who felt that Charlie was quite a likable character.  But I never heard of what became of Charlie.  My dad passed away a year ago, so I missed my chance to ask him more about Charlie.  The only other living relative who would have known Charlie still lives in Terre Haute and I have written her to see if I can learn more.

What I knew before this challenge was that Charlie was the first husband of Mary Gray Steele, but that they had divorced with no children.

This past week doing research I learned that Charles M. King was born 29 March 1912 in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only child of Charles Joseph and Ernastina Bundy King.  According to Terre Haute City Directories, Charlie was listed as a student living at 415 S. 18th street in Terre Haute in 1931-1934.  During 1931 and 1932, he was still listed as a student.

Charlie King married Mary Gray Steele, daughter of Wilbur and Marie Gray Steele on 8 June 1934 in Nashville, Indiana.

The announcement states that Charlie was an aviator and a student at Purdue University.  I did not find any mention of him in the yearbooks for Purdue University that are online for the years around or of 1934.

The 1940 US Census shows that Charlie and Mary were living in Indianapolis and Charlie was a salesman.

In 1946, Charlie and Mary bought the Gray family farm in Owen County, Indiana and reopened the store that was on the farm . and sold antiques there. The store had been closed during the war.  They also opened a stable and had riding horses for hire.  They offered several Quonset huts for overnight rentals.  The store was operated only during the summers and was closed for good in the fall of 1951.

 Charlie and Mary divorced sometime between 1951 and 1956.  Mary was remarried in 1956 in Alamedo, California.

I have found a record of a Charles M. King marrying Mary Jane Giffel, nee Gillis,  on 15 Nov 1957 in Vigo County, Indiana.  As of right now, I don’t know if this is the same Charlie, although I suspect that it is.

So, I am still left with the mystery of what became of Charlie King.  I do have a few leads and am hoping that my cousin in Terre Haute can help.  I will update this story as I learn more!


  1. Hi, my name is Leah and I work at Sky King airport in Terre Haute, IN. II have some aviation information on Charles M. King If you would like to get ahold of me, I can be reached at 812-466-2229. There are some pictures and things, if you would like I could scan them and email them to you.

    1. Leah-I would love to see what information that you have on Charlie! Thanks so much. My email is: