Born on 7 April 1886 in Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois, Aida Lowena Mayham was the daughter of John Banks Mayham and Emma Boulter Jauncey. Some records indicate Aida’s middle name was Lourena. John Mayham was a judge and former mayor of Murphysboro. Aida grew up in Murphysboro along with two sisters, Anna May and Leila, but by 1910 they were living in St. Louis with their widowed mother. One brother died in infancy in 1880.

On 23 June 1920, Aida married George Kempland, son of William Corbyn Kempland and Jane “Jennie” Penberthy. The wedding held at the Church of the Redeemer was a large affair. Articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the wedding in detail, along with a full-length photo of Aida in her wedding dress. The marriage did not last, however, and ended in divorce sometime between 1930 and 1940. Aida and George had no children. It appears that Aida used her maiden name throughout her entire life.

An obituary published by the Southern Illinoisan of Murphysboro, Illinois, states that during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Aida was a correspondent for a Japanese newspaper and that she was an ambulance driver during World War I. There is a photo of Aida in the Gerhard Sisters Photograph Album of the American Red Cross (1917–1919). She was a member of the Zonta Club.

Aida’s lifelong profession was an electrologist, a name that she originated. She was interviewed for a feature article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in May 1957 in which she told how she got started in this field in the early 1900s thanks to the support and guidance of Dr. W. A. Hardaway. This was an entirely new procedure at that time and Aida devoted her professional life to this with a passion. City directories from 1913 and 1914 show that she was already set up for business with an office on Euclid.

Aida Mayham
Aida Mayham
Photo in the collection of Susan Mowry
Used with permission

The 1910 census shows the family home to be on Washington Avenue. By 1920 they were living on Pershing Place where Aida continued to live for the rest of her life. She died at her home on 22 March 1961 with burial along with her mother at Oak Grove Mausoleum.

Written by Susan Mowry
November 2016

© 2016, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 10:29