20 October 2006

Lou-Jean Rehn solves mystery for local author

Dick Kreck, author of the recently published book Anton Woode, The Boy Murderer, had a little help figuring out what happened to the “boy murderer” after he left Colorado. In the Acknowledgments of the book he writes:

    “My first and greatest thanks go to researcher Lou-Jean Holland Rehn, who used genealogy magic to track down the final days of Anton Woode. I spent a year and countless hours trying [to] find the elusive fellow, only to be stymied by his sudden disappearance from Menomonie, Wisconsin, in 1923. Without her tenacity and her skill mining public records, there literally would have been no satisfactory ending to the story.”

Lou-Jean, a certified genealogist, attributes her success to collateral family research. She says, “I solved the puzzle of what happened to him by following his wife’s family. The obit of her brother helped me to locate his whereabouts. Once I had a location that I could confirm, it wasn’t difficult to find their deaths, the cemetery, their obits etc. Basically, I used the collateral relatives to get to the person of interest.” A good lesson for all of us to remember.

The book is about Anton Woode, an eleven year old boy from near Brighton, who murdered a man for his pocket watch in 1892. The first sentence of the book really grabs your attention – “Anton Woode was at that awkward age – too old to set free, too young to hang.” It’s a little piece of Colorado history that you don’t often hear about.

Colorado State Penitentiary Index 1871 – 1973 Anton Woods, #3199 Colorado State Archives Correction Records

When I searched in the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection there were 88 hits for “Anton Woode.”

It seems that Anton Woode made the news not only in Colorado but elsewhere in the country, as well. I found an article in the The Evening News of Lincoln, Nebraska dated 24 April 1893 in the Ancestry Newspaper Collection titled “A murderer at eleven.” He was the subject of an article which accused him of being “without a moral nature.” [To access this article, you need to subscribe to Ancestry.com.]

Dick Kreck, Anton Woode: The Boy Murderer (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, Inc., 2006).

29 May 2006

Colorado veterans in grave registration databases

For researchers looking for veterans who served in Colorado units, or those who have lived or died in Colorado, here are some helpful Web sites:

Colorado State Archives: Colorado Veterans Grave Registrations, 1869-1949 (Index)

  • This index is the result of the Colorado Graves Registration project of the 1930s, which involved the American Legion and Works Project Administration, and was financially supported by the Colorado legislature.
  • Search by finding the appropriate alphabetic section on this page, which includes an explanation of the index.
  • Here is a sample of the results, showing the entry for Stephen S. Horton:
  • Stephen Horton entry

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) National Grave Registration Database

  • As of Memorial Day 2006, this database contains details about 5,204 veterans who have been buried in Colorado. Most of them served from other states. It also includes 836 veterans who served in Colorado units during the Civil War, though 445 of those are buried outside Colorado.
  • According to the site’s About Project page, the project was begun in 1996 and went online in 2005. Hundreds of members and non-members of SUVCW have contributed information, and anyone can apply for an account to submit additional information.
  • Search by filling out this form.
  • Although the SUVCW data is not complete, it is more detailed than the data in the VA Nationwide Gravesite Locator below.
  • Here is a sample of the results, showing the entry for the same Stephen Horton as above. There is some additional information not included in the Colorado State Archives index:
  • Stephen Horton entry

U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Nationwide Gravesite Locator

[1] Amos Burtnett record [link], 8th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry, National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Internet <http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/>.
[2] Eddy Burtnett entry [link], Report of the Board of Trustees of the Institution for the Education of the Deaf and the Blind of the State of Colorado for the Biennial Term, Ending Nov. 30, 1890 (Denver: Collier & Cleaveland Lith. Co., State Printers, 1890).
[3] Amos Burtnett entry, 1890 U.S. census, Special Schedule Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Cass County, Nebraska, E.D. 118, entry 25; National Archives microfilm M123, roll 38. [Link to Ancestry.com image]
[4] 1900 U.S. census, Pueblo County, Colorado, E.D. 98, sheet 11B (99 back), dwelling & family numbers unspecified, lines 75-76 (Lucy Burtnett household); National Archives microfilm T623, roll 128. [link to Ancestry.com image, indexed as Bruntnell]
[5] 1900 U.S. census, Seward County, Nebraska, Precinct O, E.D. 154, sheet 8A (144 front), dwelling 160, family 165 (Soldiers and Sailors Home, with inmate Amos “Burtrell”); National Archives microfilm T623, roll 940. [link to Ancestry.com image]

5 April 2006

Former Lt. Governor George Brown dies

George Brown, Colorado Lt. Governor from 1975-1979, died on 30 March 2006 in Florida. Mr. Brown was the first black person to win a statewide office in Colorado and the nation’s first black lieutenant governor.

According to his World War II Enlistment Record [1], George L. Brown was born 1 July 1926 in Kansas. He served in pilot training during WWII.

When the 1930 U.S. Census was taken in April of 1930, George was living in Kansas City, Missouri with his parents, George L. and Alberta H. Brown and sister, Herriet. The family rented a house in the 11th ward at 1931 Mongall, paying $25 a month for rent. [2]

  • Brown, George L., age 24, born Kansas, parents born Kansas
  • Brown, Alberta H., age 26, born Kansas, father born Louisiana, mother born Texas.
  • Brown, George L. Jr., age 3, born Kansas.
  • Brown, Herriett M., age 1, born Missouri.[2]

George’s father, who was a porter for a Recreation Hall, married at the age of 19 and his mother, Alberta, married when she was 21.

Before going into politics, George Jr. was a reporter and a city editor for the Denver Post.

While serving as Lt. Governor, he pardoned an inmate while Governor Lamm was out of state. Sylvester Lee Garrison, who was serving a life sentence for murder, had his pardon rescinded when Lamm returned to Colorado.

[1] National Archives and Records Administration, “World War II Army Enlistment Records ca. 1938 – 1946,” database, National Archives and Records Administration (http://aad.archives.gov/aad/: 5 April 2006), for George L. Brown, Jr.
[2] George L. Brown household, 1930 U.S. Census, Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri, E.D. 48-161, page 8B, dwelling 163, family 157; National Archives microfilm T626, roll 1199. Digital image at Ancestry.com.

10 March 2006

Coloradoan Dennis Weaver dies

Actor Dennis Weaver recently died at his home in Ridgway, Ouray County, Colorado (24 February 2006).

According to Weaver’s filmography and biography pages at the Internet Movie Database, he was born 4 June 1924 in Joplin, Missouri.[1] He appeared in the 1930 census as 5-year old “Billy” Weaver (indexed as “Weaner” by Ancestry.com), living with his parents Walter and Lenna Weaver, and two siblings.[2] His first film was “Horizons West” in 1952; one of his best-known roles was Chester on “Gunsmoke” from 1955 to 1964.[1] He moved to Colorado in 1989.[3] The Ouray County Clerk and Recorder’s database shows several deeds where he still used the name “Billy” (example).

[1] Dennis Weaver (I) filmography page and biography page, Internet Movie Database, <www.imdb.com/name/nm0915840/>, and <www.imdb.com/name/nm0915840/bio>.
[2] 1900 U.S. census, Jasper County, Missouri, Joplin precinct, E.D. 49-5, sheet 11B (71 back), dwelling 271, family 288 (Walter L. Weaver); National Archives microfilm T626, roll 1205.
[3] Dennis Weaver Website, Internet <www.dennisweaver.com>.
[4] Internet <ouraycountyco.gov/recording/oncoreweb/>. Currently the database only indexes documents dated 1995 and later.