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Help finding an elusive death cert from about 1935 in Wyoming/Montana

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Help finding an elusive death cert from about 1935 in Wyoming/Montana

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 5:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Arthurs
I’m trying to locate a death certificate for my grandfather, Jack (John) Arthurs. According to my mother he came over from Ireland with his brother around the turn of the century, and they ran cattle on a ranch in Montana or Wyoming, but were forced into working in the Union Pacific coal mines in Hanna, Wyoming and later Roundup, Montana after their cattle were stolen by rustlers. Subsequently Jack and his wife Maude and my mother moved to California, to San Jose. After a few years Jack returned to the Wyoming/Montana area to take up a position as cook either on the ranch or close to the ranch he and his brother had been rustled off of. According to Mom, he traveled back there by bus from California in winter, and froze to death at a rural bus stop/shelter, perhaps being a little bit tight having had a drink or two while waiting for the people from the ranch to pick him up.

Here's what I know or think I know:

According to his draft card, Jack Arthurs was born on June 4th, 1882.

Jack Arthurs married Maude Watkins in 1903 in a town near Hanna (I was able to get the marriage cert from the Wyoming office), and they show up on the 1910 census in Hanna along with two daughters, one of them my mother. The 1910 census also shows a sister, Lizzie Arthurs, whom I vaguely remember my mother mentioning, and whom I have found no other trace of anywhere.

By the 1920 census the family had moved to Roundup, Montana, another coal mining town, and my mother was probably studying to become a school teacher.

By the 1930 census they had moved to San Jose, California.

The San Jose California city directory for 1931-4 lists Jack Arthurs, working as a flagman for Southern Pacific, and his wife Maude Arthurs as living in San Jose. In 1935 it only lists Maude Arthurs, and in 1936 it lists Maude Arthurs as a widow.

There are two gravestones for Jack Arthurs in the Hanna, Wyoming cemetery, one old and one new, but I am uncertain if he is actually buried there, or if those are only monuments which my mother had placed. The dates are wrong, assuming the San Jose city directories are accurate, since the gravestones both say he died in 1937 (just the year, no date and no date of birth). The instructions for placing the original tombstone, none of the family members being present, were probably given over the phone, and then much later when Mom ordered a replacement tombstone that error could have simply been repeated.

I've tried family search and all the other free sources I can find and haven't been able to dig up anything about a death. Ancestry.com got me the city directories, but nothing more. I've emailed the Hanna cemetery and am awaiting a response on whether they know if he is buried there. I'd thought there might be a mention in a newspaper somewhere about finding someone frozen to death in a bus stop (assuming that's accurate), but I'm having trouble figuring out which would be the best newspaper archive to subscribe to for that area and those dates.

Any suggestions as to newspaper archives, or other ways in which I might locate the death cert if that fails?
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Con Rob 19 Oct 2013 11:22PM GMT 
Con Rob 20 Oct 2013 1:26PM GMT 
beastburn6847 1 Dec 2013 9:01PM GMT 
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