John and Catherine Shea, Yuma
FOUR SIBLINGS IN OKLAHOMA
We decided to feature a bit of history of Kavanaugh family in this week's ezine to go along with the information we received this week concerning the "Honey Wheat Bed & Breakfast" in Alva, Oklahoma, located at 304 3rd Street (SE corner of Choctaw & 3rd Streets).
A. W. "Fred" Kavanaugh built that two-story residence around 1916. If you are looking for a Bed & Breakfast in Alva, Oklahoma, with great food, stop by the Mathes' Honey Wheat Bed & Breakfast in Alva, Oklahoma.
The following information, history was gathered from "Pioneer Footprints Across Woods County" history book, pages 360-361.
A. W. "Fred" Kavanaugh and Ed Shea came to Oklahoma from Nebraska to go into a business enterprise. They purchased an existing Hardware business from Mr. Matthews and the firm of Kavanaugh & Shea was organized as a partnership in 1906. It was after they operated their hardware business for awhile that Henry Noble's Hardware at 403 College Avenue, in Alva, Oklahoma, was for sale.
Kavanaugh and Ed Shea asked Steve Shea to join the partnership about then and they bought the Noble hardware business. Steve Shea had a cattle ranch in northern Kansas near the Nebraska line -- he sold his land and cattle and joined the partnership. Steve and his wife, Mayme, and daughter Catherine came to Oklahoma in 1908.
Kavanaugh & Shea carried a full line of general hardware, housewares, fine dishes, kerosene and gasoline stoves, buggies, wagons, harness and a full line of horse drawn farm implements.
They sold horse drawn vehicles, farm implements, McCormick & Deering harvestors (International Harvestor Co. Combines). The Case Co. came out with a very outstanding combine about this time so the agency for Case implements was secured.
Farmers at this time had milk cows so DeLaval and McCormick-Deering cream separators were sold in large numbers. Plumbing comprised a large part of the business and a younger brother, John P. Shea, was chief plumber. When Natural Gas was brought into Alva by the Winchester Oil & Gas Co. (later Zenith Gas Co. -- presently Oklahoma Natural Gas Co.) new gas installations and gas stoves and furnaces were a very flourishing business.
Kavanaugh had an education which fitted him for a good office manager and he figured all plumbing contracts. Steve and Ed Shea did most of the selling of farm implements.
The firm celebrated its 20th year in business in 1926, and had a banner year in the sale of Case and IHC Combines. This was many years before the advent of Self-Propelled harvestors -- most of the customers who bought combines already had tractors to pull them. In rare cases however farmers pulled them with either horses or mules or both.
This particular year there was an abundant wheat crop throughout the entire Alva area -- combines were shipped in after the combines were unloaded.
Good business prevailed until the depression of the 1930's. Banks were closing all over the country and prices of farm products declined rapidly. The First National Bank of Alva closed its door and went into receivership around March 14, 1932.
The hardware business suffered as a result of low farm prices and Kavanaugh sold his interest in the hardware and was soon appointed Receiver for the First National Bank. When all the assets were liquidated, Governor E. W. Marland asked Kavanaugh to become the Purschasing Agent for the Oklahoma State Highway Department and his family moved to Oklahoma City. After the Marland administration was terminated, Kavanaugh joined the Metropolitan Paving Company which was organized and owned by his oldest son Al Kavanaugh.
After Kavanaugh's departure from the business, Ed and Steve Shea, Roy Day and Leo J. Brown (son-in-law of Steve Shea) weathered the storm of the depression. Steve Shea had a sudden heart attack and died August 25, 1937 just as the business was beginning to see a silver lining from the clouds of the depression. His wife Mayme had died previously in June 1934. The business continued to operate the Hardware and Service Station, but after Steve's death, the sale of farm implements was discontinued.
In 1945 Ed Shea decided to retire from the business so he sold his interest to Warren A. Brown. Ed died some years later and his wife Maude and daughter Margie Lou survived him.
With that transition the Brown & Brown Hardware was organized consisting of three partners: Warren A. Brown, Leo J. Brown and Catherine E. Brown. This business started October 1, 1945, at 625 Flynn Street w
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