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Kenneth Olin "Ken" Maynard

The Singing Cowboy


He looks like a Cowboy but looks can be deceiving. Ken & Kermit Maynard were born at 505 Liberty St., Vevay, Indiana. Lots of wild stories have been told about Ken being a National Champion bronc rider and roper. There is a web site ( www.b-westerns.com/ ) that is very accurate in telling the stories of Ken's Westerns and his younger brother Kermit's Westerns    The Maynard boys were raised in Indiana, their mother Emma Mae Stewart was born in Craig Township, on the family land. Her mother Emma Abrams died when she was very young and her father Simeon Stewart married my great grandmother Geneva Ayers who raised his three girls along with her daughter and their three boys it was a yours, mine and ours family.

Ken has proved to be a challenge in one way although I have postcards and letters from his mother to Geneva I have not been able to figure out exactly how many times he was married. I know of only two wives Arlie Harlan from Monroe County, Kentucky was the first. Grandpa Stewart said he married a beautiful Kentucky girl.. Below is a clipping sent to me by a Don Butler who is related to the Maynards but neither he or I are sure how. The Maynard family has been difficult to trace, we know there is a Butler connection but are not sure what it is.  -- Submitted by Sheila Kell.

Bertha Maynard
"The Love of his Life"
Bertha (Rowland) Maynard

Ken & Mary (Leeper) Maynard

 

Descendants of William H. Maynard

William H. Maynard
William H. Maynard
Generation No. 1

1. WILLIAM H.2 MAYNARD (JOHN1) was born Oct 1864 in Kentucky, and died in Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana. He married EMMA MAE STEWART 1894 in Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana, daughter of SIMEON STEWART and EMMA ABRAMS. She was born 1877 in Indiana, and died in Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana.

Emma Mae (Stewart) Maynard
Emma Mae (Stewart) Maynard
More About WILLIAM H. MAYNARD:
Burial: Columbus, Indiana
Census: 1920, Mckinley Street Columbus, Indiana
Occupation: 1900, In census states he is a Carpenter, Living in Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana.
Residence: 1930, Columbus, Bartholomew, Indiana

More About EMMA MAE STEWART:
Burial: Columbus, Indiana
Residence: 1880, Craig, Switzerland, Indiana, United States 

More About WILLIAM MAYNARD and EMMA STEWART:
Marriage: 1894, Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana 

Children of WILLIAM MAYNARD and EMMA STEWART are: 

2. i. KEN OLIN3 MAYNARD, b. 21 Jul 1895, 505 Liberty Street, Vevay, Switzerland Co., Indiana; d. 23 Mar 1973, Woodland Hills, California.
3. ii. KERMIT ROOSEVELT MAYNARD, b. 20 Sep 1897, Vevay, Switzerland Co., Indiana; d. 16 Jan 1971, North Hollywood, California.
4. iii. PEARL BESSIE MAYNARD, b. 1900.
5. iv. TRIXIE MAYNARD, b. 1903; d. Jun 1980, Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana, United States of America.
6. v. WILLA "JACK" MAYNARD, b. 1905.
vi. DORA MAYNARD, b. 01 Oct 1906.
vii. BABY BOY MAYNARD.

 


Generation No. 2

Arlie Harlan
Arlie Harlan

2. KEN OLIN3 MAYNARD (WILLIAM H.2, JOHN1) was born 21 Jul 1895 in 505 Liberty Street, Vevay, Switzerland Co., Indiana, and died 23 Mar 1973 in Woodland Hills, California. He married (1) BERTHA UNKNOWN. He married (2) ARLIE HARLAN 08 Dec 1816. She was born 1899 in Kentucky.

Notes for KEN OLIN MAYNARD:

There were some pretty wild hollywood stories told when Ken was being promoted, one was that he was a Champion at bronc riding and roping. This is not correct, he did however sing and play the violin. I have cards and letters from his mother to her step mother Geneva Stewart and the family was thrilled with his success out in Hollywood, but laughed about the stuff they made up.

More About KEN OLIN MAYNARD:
Arrival: 03 Feb 1935, San Pedro, California
Departure: Mexico
Residence: 1898, Corner of 10th and Wilson, Columbus, Indiana

More About ARLIE HARLAN:
Residence: 1910, Tompkinsville, Monroe, Kentucky

More About KEN MAYNARD and ARLIE HARLAN:
Marriage: 08 Dec 1816 

Child of KEN MAYNARD and ARLIE HARLAN is:

i. WILLIAM HARLAN4 MAYNARD, b. 16 Jan 1918, Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Kentucky; d. 31 Jan 1918, Monroe, Kentucky.
Notes for WILLIAM HARLAN MAYNARD:
Kentucky Birth Index, 1911-1999
about William H Maynard
Name: William H Maynard
Date of Birth: 16 Jan 1918
County: Monroe
Mother's Name: Arlie Harlan
Volume Number: 7
Certificate Number: 3418
Volume Year: 1918
More About WILLIAM HARLAN MAYNARD:Burial: 01 Feb 1918, Skeggs Creek Cemetery, Monroe County, Kentucky

3. KERMIT ROOSEVELT3 MAYNARD (WILLIAM H.2, JOHN1) was born 20 Sep 1897 in Vevay, Switzerland Co., Indiana, and died 16 Jan 1971 in North Hollywood, California. He married EDITH JESSEN 23 Feb 1924.

Notes for KERMIT ROOSEVELT MAYNARD:
Kermit Maynard had a long career in Hollywood, not as celebrated as his brother Ken he was a more stable personality, or possibly less affected by the Hollywood hype. He was close to his mother Emma and she went to stay with him frequently in California.

More About KERMIT ROOSEVELT MAYNARD:
Residence: 1900, Jefferson, Switzerland, Indiana
SSN issued: California 

More About KERMIT MAYNARD and EDITH JESSEN:
Marriage: 23 Feb 1924 

Child of KERMIT MAYNARD and EDITH JESSEN is:

i. WILLIAM4 MAYNARD, b. 1943.

4. PEARL BESSIE3 MAYNARD (WILLIAM H.2, JOHN1) was born 1900.

More About PEARL BESSIE MAYNARD:
Never Married: Columbus, Indiana
Residence: 1920, Columbus, Bartholomew, Indiana 

Child of PEARL BESSIE MAYNARD is: 

i. JOAN4 MAYNARD.

5. TRIXIE3 MAYNARD (WILLIAM H.2, JOHN1) was born 1903, and died Jun 1980 in Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana, United States of America. She married STRANGE. 

More About TRIXIE MAYNARD:
Residence: 1910, Columbus Ward 5, Bartholomew, Indiana
SSN issued: Indiana 

Children of TRIXIE MAYNARD and STRANGE are: 

i. WILLIAM MAYNARD4 STRANGE, b. 1932; d. 24 Dec 1999, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States of America; m. UNKNOWN.
More About WILLIAM MAYNARD STRANGE:
Residence: Jefferson
SSN issued: Indiana
Unknown-Begin: IN
ii. SHIRLEY JEAN STRANGE, b. 1934; d. 1995; m. UNKNOWN HICKS.
More About SHIRLEY JEAN STRANGE:
Social Security Number: 313-32-6770
SSN issued: Indiana
iii. BETTIE ANN STRANGE, b. 1935; m. FORSEE.
iv. JACK DANIEL STRANGE, b. 1945.

6. WILLA "JACK"3 MAYNARD (WILLIAM H.2, JOHN1) was born 1905. She married UNKNOWN BRENT. 

More About WILLA "JACK" MAYNARD:
Residence: 1930, Columbus, Bartholomew, Indiana 

Child of WILLA MAYNARD and UNKNOWN BRENT is: 

i. DONNA KAY4 BRENT, b. 1943; d. 1970.






Dateline: [Tompkinsv]ille, Monroe County, KentuckyNewspaper Article

A Frequent Tompkinsville Visitor

Monroe Countians Grieve Maynard

By Mrs. Stanton Taylor

Friends and relatives here of Ken Maynard, 77 star of Westerns, recently received word that he had died recently [March 23, 1973] in the Motion Picture Hospital in California.

The news brought back a flood of memories. Ken was not born in Mission, Texas, as his press agents would have you believe, but in Vevay, Ind., on Jul 21, 1895. He was reared in Columbus, Ind. His sister, Mrs. Trixie Strange, of Memphis, Ind., says that while not then in his teens he got a job feeding a man's horses and the first thing you know he was trick riding with them. At the age of 12, people would bring him horses to break. He ran off from home shortly after this and joined a Wild West Show.

Maynard was related to the John T. Butler family in Tompkinsville, and often visited them. He first appeared locally in show business at the Monroe County Fair where he was the main attraction. Here he engaged in trick riding, roping, and bull dogging. Tall and muscular, with dark blue eyes and coal black hair, he usually wore a white ten gallon hat and a black cowboy suit and charmed his spectators with his performance.

It was in Tompkinsville on December 8, 1916 that Ken Maynard was married to Arlie Harlan of Tompkinsville. Arlie was an extremely beautiful young girl, and is remembered as one of the prettiest girls that ever grew up in Tompkinsville. (Incidentally Arlie was the sister of my brother-in-law, Wick R. Harlan.)

Prior to his marriage Ken had dated a popular young Tompkinsville girl, Grace Palmore, now Mrs. Pascal Keyes.

After his marriage Ken worked neighboring county fairs and appeared in rodeos throughout this area. In 1919 he and his bride moved to Louisville, Ky., and he was stationed for a time at Camp Knox, now Fort Knox. After starring some time with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Fox brought him to Hollywood. Fox never used him but he soon found a job. He made his film debut in 1924 in "Janice Meredith." He became a star immediately and for 30 [?] years appeared in one Western series after another. He, Tom Mix, Buck Jones, and Hoot Gibson were called the "big four" of Westerns. All had two things in common. All were range cowboys and all came to pictures from Wild West Shows.

Between 1924 and 1944, Maynard was in [unreadable] movies. His first 27 films were silent. His biggest hits were said to be "Wheels of Destiny" and Texas Gunfighters." He will long be remembered as the world's champion roper and bronc rider and as the first singing cowboy and the first fiddlin' cowboy.

His peak salary was $3,000 a week, but he netted as much as $4,000 a week when he was operating his own company. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of money when the bank of Italy failed during the depression.

Strangely, the fact that he once made a film in Monroe County, is not so well known. The film entitled Kettle Creek [alternate title: Mountain Justice], was made on Kettle Creek in Monroe County in 1927. This was shown at the Plaza Theatre in Glasgow, and the writer well remembers going to see it. I especially enjoyed the part where they danced to the tune of "Buffalo Gals."

Before his arrival to make this film, Ken had wired relatives to find him rooms in the finest house in Tompkinsville. It was decided that Mrs. Maggie Evans' home fitted this description and arrangements were made for him to stay there and ride back and forth to location. Mayard insisted on paying $16 per day for these accomodations which he said was the amount he customarily paid. Mrs. Evans, a devout member of the local Methodist Church Church [sic] contributed the entire amount received from Maynard to the Building Fund for the New Methodist Church, then under construction.

My brother, Abe Carter, was a teen ager at this time. Abe literally grew up in the saddle and the beautiful black horse he owned evoked Ken's admiration. Abe was thrilled when Ken asked and received permission to ride the horses.

Only last summer, "Sunset" Carson, a cowboy movie star himself, was the star, producer, and director of Ken's last Western, "Marshal of Windy Hollow", filmed in Owensboro, Ky., Ken plays a chief in the Texas Rangers in this while Carson plays the Marshal. Maynard does no trick riding or singing in this, just sits behind a desk and gives orders. (This was due to his physical condition.) The movie has not as yet been released. Throughout his career, all of Ken Maynard's films have projected a shining, untarnished image of him. He refused to play anything but the "Good Guy." Tarzan, Maynard's remarkable horse, is certainly worthy of mention. He performed flawlessly.

Ken's last years were spent in a trailer in San Fernando, Calif., about 15 miles north of Hollywood. His second wife, Bertha, died in 1964. He and his first wife were divorced.

Survivors are three sisters, Mrs. Trixie Maynard Strange, of Memphis, Ind., Bessie Maynard and Willa Stattler of Louisville, KY.



Additional information submitted by: Steve Hicks, 24 Feb 2014:

"First, Aunt Bess's name was NOT Pearl Bessie.Only a fool would call her "Bessie". She hated that name. Her full name was Bessie Mae (same middle name as "Little Grandma"....what the grandkids called Emma) Maynard. She died in 1979. I'll have to check with Aunt Betty on the date. Additionally, Bess had NO CHILDREN. Trixie (my grandmother) was born June, 1903 and died June, 1980. Grandpa Strange's full name was Oscar Daniel Strange. He was born in April, 1905 and died in May, 1971. Willa (Aunt Jack or Joan {as she liked to be called}) was born in 1905 and died in either 1987 or 1988. She left no contact numbers for the authorities to contact the family, so we have no idea where she is buried. We think she did this so she would be buried somewhere near her daughter, Donna, who was a ward of the Commonwealth of KY. Mom was born September 28, 1934 and died July 5, 1995. Dad's full name was Ernest E. Hicks, Jr. He was born May 5, 1931 in Clark Co., IN and died October 16, 1985 in Memphis, IN. Grandma Maynard died in 1962 while living with Kerm and Edith in Los Angeles, CA. Kerm had her body cremated and buried in Columbus next to Grandpa Maynard, Dora and Baby Maynard. I met Ken one time. It was during the filming of "Marshal of Windy Hollow". NO matter what you may hear or read, Aunt Bess DID NOT sleep in her car or drive down from Columbus, IN. Bess NEVER owned a car, NEVER learned to drive and live in Louisville (S. 3nd Street). Aunt Bess, Grandma Trixie and Aunt Betty went to Windy Hollow together. We came a little later due to Dad having to work late."