As you may remember from my earlier post, we had a mystery on our hands. The family story was that Efner worked for the railroad & died in a hotel fire, perhaps in Wadena or Staples MN. The death date for him in the family Bible was 28 Oct 1909, but I hadn’t found a death certificate.
So my clever & persistent mother has been at it again. She decided to tackle this problem. First she got all organized & made her fact sheet. She found a census record for him that I had missed – he was listed as Efner Efnerson in 1895!
Then when she ran out of leads, she contacted the Wadena County Historical Society & they provided several helpful tidbits:
1) Cemetery information – Efner M. Atchison, May Atchison, Clair Atchison Fjerstad, Nettie Kilts and Ruben Kilts are buried at Evergreen Hill Cemetery, Section 4 old east Lot/row L62/W/1/2 in Staples, MN. (Hooray we have more information about where he is buried!)
2) Wadena Pioneer Journal 11/4/1909 “Last Thursday the relatives in Thomastown of Dick Atchison of Staples were advised that his death had occurred in Minneapolis where he had been for a couple of weeks for treatment. The funeral services were held from the Methodist Church, Rev. L. Dodds officiating. The remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery north of Staples. The deceased leaves a wife and three children and numerous other relatives to mourn his loss.” (Dick!? When did Efner go by Dick!?)
3) Wadena Pioneer Journal, Neighborhood News 11/4/1909 “Owing to the recent fire, the Hotel Ransford at Brainerd, has been closed. Thomas H. Beace, who has been managing the hotel, will not renew his lease, as he has arranged to manage a new hotel at Virginia.” and “Brainerd had a bad fire Thursday of last week. The damage amounted to between $150,000 and $200,000. The fire started in the Schwartz drug store. The Columbia block and contents were a total loss. The Odd Fellows block and post office burned, and the Ransford hotel was practically ruined. The Masons, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows and Red Men lost heavily.”
(There was a fire, but no link that Efner was involved & it looks like he was already in Minneapolis having his treatment at the time.)
Then my clever & persistent mother decided to search for the death certificate by the date. (Luckily the last name starts with A!) She found one for Richard Achison & enough information matches up that we think it is him.
So, it looks like we have another family story that doesn’t appear to be true. We can’t find any evidence he worked for the railroad (& others do say they worked for the RR in the census). And on his death certificate it says he died from: chronic nephritis with valvular disease of the heart, which doesn’t seem fire related.
I was surprised that he wasn’t listed at a hospital on the death certificate, since he was supposedly in Minneapolis for treatment according to the newspaper article. I was very curious who or what was at “304 Aldrich Ave S” in 1909 and found that the address listed was not a valid address. (I spent some time with the 1909 City Directory & some old maps.) And my clever & persistent mother also looked up the doctor that signed the death certificate and he was located on Nicollet Ave., pretty far away.
Still another mystery for someone to solve! And there is so little information for Efner’s son Glenn – who wants to work on that puzzle?
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