My great grandfather, James "Harry" Dunsford, had a whitening, or painting/whitewashing business with his half brother Arthur Chester Dunsford. They may have worked with and then inherited this business from their father John Dunsford, who shared the business with his half-brother Edwin.
Most of the rest of the brothers were firefighters.
The painters were poor. Harry and his wife Josephine Guyot Dunsford lived with their 3 sons and 3 daughters at 2221 Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. The house is no longer there. Josie died in 1940, when my dad was 7, and Harry in 1946 when my dad was 13.
My dad told me a few stories about his grandparents. The house was old. There was no indoor plumbing, and they had an outhouse. I always found it fascinating that, in the 1940s within the boundaries of a major city, people lived without indoor plumbing. I guess it's easy to forget how much progress we have made in basic comforts in the last 100 years when you were always comfortable. Anyway, the house was heated by a wood stove, and there was a lot of soot all over the wallpaper. My dad remembers cleaning the walls with a product called Absorene. He said it was kind of like Silly Putty. They lived near several slaughter-houses and butcher shops, so the neighborhood smelled badly. Harry and Josie had fly tape hanging all over the place to stop their unwelcome visitors from bothering them. When my grandfather, George Kienlen, asked Harry's daughter Margaret out for a date, she agreed to meet him somewhere because she was embarrassed about her house and the smell of the neighborhood.
My dad remembers sitting by the window in a rocking chair with Grandma Josie. Before his 7th birthday in 1940, she told him she was going to give him a whole roll of nickels, which is $2. Josie died 3 weeks before his birthday. Dad stated, "I never got my roll of nickels." Those childhood disappointments sure stick with us!