My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Suicide or a Murder?

The death certificate of my great grandfather YATES A. ADAMS shows the kind of information I wish I didn't have to read or believe. The fact that I have read the word "suicide" many times over the past 11 years doesn't help ease the pain and wondering. He has been a mystery to me, because I have no family records, photos or stories about him. I have always liked his name, Yates, I think it is unique (imagine if it was John Adams). My soon to be grandfather, Clarence F. Poole, was the informant and that is why there was so little personal information (he was dating my grandmother, and they married a year later).

At the time of his death, Yates was living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. His wife and daughter were living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The death certificate stated he was "out of employment."

His only child, Marjorie Anderson Adams was about 26. Yates had two sisters for whom I have little information, and a brother, John Anderson Adams, for whom I have a wealth of information and a good story for the future. Yates was born August 1860 possibly at Batavia, Genesee Co., New York. A little more on Yates, he married Sarah Belle Farmer on October 20, 1887 in Battle Creek, Michigan at the home of her father. Per the 1910 census, Yates, his wife and daughter were living in Detroit, Michigan.

Now, I am pondering the newspaper article sent to me several years ago. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the paper (but it was probably from Battle Creek, Michigan) nor do I know the date. And even worse, several words are missing on the Xeroxed page. Why didn't I notice that years ago? Maybe I could have gotten a better copy.

On the newspaper, somebody hand wrote a date of Mar 10, 1917 and circled the word Funeral. If this is a fact, then the funeral was on that date, as his body was removed from St. Louis, Missouri (death place) to Battle Creek, Michigan on March 7th for burial.

The newspaper article, written a few days after the death certificate preparation, had differing bits of information.

1. Instead of a suicide, the paper states, "His Death Remains a Deep Mystery" not just a plain mystery, but a deep one.

2. Yates "was found in the basement of the L. M. Rumsey Manufacturing company, by whom he was employed." The death certificate stated he was unemployed. Late at night, at his company of employment, he was writing letters, "in a happy frame of mine" and was planning on meeting somebody in New York City. Yates apparently was asked to resign, but he was still at the company.  If he was writing personal letters and was happy, why would he shoot himself?

According to the newspaper writer, "the  supposition is" Yates was shot by a thief. That is what I want to believe. What are the facts?  There must be more.

Unfortunately, the newspaper article is missing some information on the right side. Since I don't know the title, I will have to spend time on getting a full copy. Also research further to see if there is a conclusion. Was the thief ever caught? I am hoping I can follow-up this article on a future "Looking Back" post. Any suggestions as to where I can get this information or hire an inexpensive researcher or a qualified volunteer whom I would pay to do this for me?

Follow-up:  On Friday, January 15th I was able to get a copy of a St. Louis newspaper article pertaining to the death from John Newmarch.  More to follow.


Apple said...

I would look to see if there are any St Louis papers you can access online. An account written where the death occurred may have more information.

When I saw the name Yates combined with Batavia I thought of Yates township in Orleans County, not too far north of Batavia. I have no idea if the name is related to the township but thought I'd pass that on.

Barbara Poole said...

Hi Apple, yes I have spent a lot of time looking at newspapers, but nothing for either city. However, I don't sub. to an actual newspaper site. So there could be something. As always, thanks for your input.
Regarding the name, it could be a possibility, esp. since his father's name was Liberty, then John and John. No other Yates in the family.

Barbara Poole said...

Alma Darling wrote me an email, and gave me permission to post here.
"Your blog is outstanding and the entry about Yates Adams is fascinating. The tragic event occurred in Missouri, which has an outstanding newspaper archives. I suggest that you contact the State Historical Society in Columbia and ask them how to proceed. You have all the pertinent information, the place, the date and the mystery has a great deal of local interest. It will be coverage of it in the local papers and St. Louis has several papers.

Just google Missouri newspaper archives and you will get the info about the Historical Society. The people there are very helpful. Unfortunately, funding cuts reduced their hours and I think they work from Monday thru Thursday. They will help you learn a much more about the surrounding circumstances. Hope this helps with this mystery! Alma"