Edited by Ann Chrissos
Irvin (Shorty) W. Kraus (b. 1901, d. 1972) was the son of Herman Kraus and Hazel Christine Kessler (b. 1909, d. 1996) who was the daughter of John and Christine Pfitzinger. Between 1915 and 1941, Irvin worked for Mr. Eggers at the Arrowhead Nursery or as a part-time mail carrier in Chesterfield, Missouri. Irvin purchased his parents two-story stucco house in 1939. Unfortunately, it burned down three days before he was to take up residence. The house was located on the present day site of Sears Roebuck at Clarkson Road and Highway 40. In 1941 he and Hazel purchased a water hauling business because the St. Louis County Water Works did not supply the Chesterfield area with water. After circulating a petition they were permitted to use two delivery trucks. Their three daughters – Laverne (m. Claypole), MauDell A. (m. Walter Beeden), and NaOma M. (m. Levy) joined the business when they were old enough. They not only helped to deliver water, but also cleaned their customers’ cisterns. They wanted to buy the business in 1952 when their mother became ill and could no longer work. However, society at that time believed young ladies should not drive a truck if they wanted to have children because it would be too hard on their bodies. Consequently, Irvin sold the business to George Schuttenberg and returned to the nursery until he died in 1972.
The Kraus sisters were interviewed by Marcella Mertz on 29 December 1996.
Hazel C. Kessler Kraus in her 1930s farm kitchen.
|Home of Irvin Kraus
Courtesy of LoVene, NauDell and NaOma Kraus