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LeStourgeon Family

                                                    Ernest D. LeStourgeon.
                                                    Arthur E. LeStourgeon.
The LeStourgeon family is of French ancestry. They migrated to Virginia in colonial times and settled there. Ernest D. LeStourgeon’s father was an artist and an early settler in Illinois, passing his last years at Centralia, Ill.
His son, Ernest D. LeStourgeon, was born at Plainfield, Illinois, in 1850, and when a young man went to Centralia, where he married Christina Kruse who was born in Galena, Illinois, in 1853. He took up farming and later (in 1883) entered the ice business. He came to Arkansas City in 1898. He purchased a farm southwest of Arkansas City and became active in the Polar Ice  Co., which was founded by Dr. W. H. Heard in 1890. This ice plant was located at the southwest corner of First and Tyler, which was on the Missouri Pacific railroad track. From 1921 to 1945 this building housed the Kansas National Guard, Battery F, of the 161st Regiment. Ernest D. LeStourgeon later became a director of the American Paint & Button Company.
Arthur E. LeStourgeon, their only child, was born in Centralia, Illinois September 15, 1878. His father entered the ice business in 1883, when Arthur was 5 years old. He graduated from High School in the spring of 1898. The Spanish-American War started in February of 1898 so he enlisted in the 11th Provision­al Illinois Regiment. The war ended in September of 1898 without his being called. Arthur enrolled at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinis. Arthur’s son, Lawrence, stated that Arthur only attended one day. We surmise that he was informed that the family was going to move, so he withdrew from College. On November 11, 1989, Mr. LeStourgeon’s parents moved to Arkansas City and purchased a farm southwest of Arkansas City.
Arthur LeStourgeon started working at the Polar Ice company in the capacity of clerk and driver, where he rapidly advanced into the position of general manager. In 1901 he married Miss Kathryne Heard, daughter of Doctor William Henry and Martha P. (Fouschee) Heard. They had three children: Arthur H., born May 29, 1902; Lawrence F., born April 5, 1906; and Kathryne P., born February 3, 1909.
A. E. LeStourgeon held this position until 1908 when the Polar Ice Co. consolidated with the Arkansas City Ice and Cold Storage company,and he became a stockholder of the Arkansas City Ice & Cold Storage company as well as manager of the consolidated interests. In 1909 he became a stockholder of the Arkansas City Ice and Cold Storage company and served as a director, later becoming vice-president, and in 1920 President. In May of 1920 the packing company took over the A. C. Ice company, and the Keefe-LeStourgeon company was formed with Mr. LeStourgeon as president. Mr. Henneberry died in February of 1921 and his interest in the company was bought by Richard T. Keefe and A. E. LeStourgeon.
Arthur LeStourgeon had always been active in civic affairs, giving generously of both time and money for the upbuilding and progress of Arkansas City. He helped to organize the first Rotary club in Arkansas City and the Arkansas City Country Club. Besides his connection with civic affairs he served for several years as secretary and treasurer of the Kansas State Military committee.

He served on the school board for 16 years, nine of which he was president. It was during his administration as president of the board that the Manual Training and Junior High School were developed. Through his financial assistance, twelve students have found it possible to complete a college education.
Lawrence F. LeStourgeon, one of three children of Arthur E.LeStourgeon, was born April 5, 1906, in Arkansas City. He attended Third Ward School on 6th street where Miss Emily Hyatt was principal. He skipped three grades and graduated from Arkansas City High School in 1921. He graduated from Washington University in St.Louis. He returned to Arkansas City and on October 5, 1926, married his high school sweetheart, Afton Thomp­son. They were in school together from the Fourth grade through High School. They had two daughters, Ann Elizabeth LeStourgeon, who was born in 1930, and Kathryn Fontaine LeStourgeon who was born in 1933. In 1986 they celebrated their 60th wedding anni­versary.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum