Joseph Domino La Plant 1865

Father of Gedeon Anthony La Plante

(written by Helen Betty Barth)


Joseph Domino LaPlant


Joseph Domino LaPlant was born November 28th 1865(7?) in Pipestone Township, Michigan to Gedeon and Denise LaPlant who were from Canada and only spoke French in the home.  Joseph D. had two brothers, Arch, and Delmar and two sisters, Louise and Marie. (Denise LaPlant is listed in the genealogy paper, not sure if Helen Betty left her out) When about 30 years old young Joe came to Kansas and taught school at a one room school house between Danville and Argonis.  This young French bachelor attended the country dances at Danville and met a young piano teacher named Margaret Ellen Smithhisler, better known as Maggie (although she hated that name).  They courted for some time and then, married in Danville at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on May 24, 1898.


Joseph Domino and Margaret Ellen


Immaculate Conception Church Danville


Children of Anthony Smithhisler & Martha Ellen Blubaugh:

Anthony Elias, Charles Edward, David Stephen, Louis Philip,

Margaret Ellen, Julius Bernard, Francis H., Leo Raymond


Joe and Maggie lived with Maggie’s folks south of Danville for a short time until Joseph Domino decided he wanted to go back to Michigan and try “fruit farming”.  He loved to tell about the big strawberries and how Michigan apples were so much better!  While in Michigan they picked fruit and took it to Chicago to sell.  They also started their family.  They lived in Michigan for ten years and during that time Maggie got very homesick to see her family.  She prayed that she would get back to Kansas before her parents died.  Her prayers were answered.  Back to Kansas they went, bought a farm north of Danville and J.D. became a wheat farmer. Not a wealthy farmer but provided for seven children.  Maggie raised chickens and sold eggs to help out.


Their children were Joe, Leo, Marguerite, Edgar, Paul, Gedeon, and Helen Betty.  As each one got older and left the farm to pursue their different vocations, it finally left J.D. and Maggie to work the farm on their own.  They were getting older and in those days there were no tractors, work was done with a team of horses.  In fact they were the last family in Harper County to buy an automobile which was a Ford Model A.  J.D. was proud of that car and no one dared to drive it unless he was in the front seat beside them.


When Helen Betty was the only one left at home and school started the fall of 1928, they sent her to Harper to stay with Marguerite.  She was teaching the 5th grade there.  In the spring of 1929 Joe sold the farm to a neighbor, Kye McKeiver, and moved to Wichita to 1742 South Main.  J.D. was looking for a place to build a new home and found a lot at 1112 Jackson.  The home was finished by September and they moved to the north side of Wichita. 


Mom & Dad at 1112 Jackson


They rented a bedroom to a school teacher for two years.  Her name was Ruth Clough.  She was a friend of Olive Ann Mellor who was a secretary to Walter Beach.  On one of the weekends J.D. and Maggie visited Joe and Ferrell and also down to Manchester to visit Leo and Dorothy, Olive Ann stayed the weekend with Ruth and in the Sunday Eagle the headline read “Olive Ann Mellor to marry Walter Beach”. This became quite a story for us because Olive Ann went on to become the President of Beach Aircraft.


Later J.D. and Maggie bought a little restaurant near 11th street and Bitting.  Maggie did the cooking and J.D. took care of the cash register.  The “depression" came along and they rented out their home on Jackson and moved into a small apartment in a home close to the restaurant.  Later they moved back on Jackson and lived there until Joseph Domino died December 27, 1947.  Maggie continued to live there for several years.


                                                                                        Margaret and Mom                          Joseph Domino LaPlant                           Margaret LaPlant


You will notice that some spell La Plant with an “e” attached to the end, or LaPlante.  I am not sure of how this came about.  Two stories have been told.  The story I remember is when Paul and Edgar were back east, at that time there was an actress by the name of Laura LaPlante.  From Marguerite on down the family added the “e”.  Our parents and the two older boys retained the original spelling, LaPlant.  The other story said that when Gedeon was at St Benedicts they told him his name should be spelled with the “e”.  The truth is we are all related no matter how we spell our name.  I love the name whether it is LaPlant or LaPlante!


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