My Labor Day Weekend is being spent laboring to rebuilt my family history files. I had a computer crash about six years ago and lost so much hard-sought information and I have finally put aside my frustration and begun the task again.
My Grandpa Ralph's father, Louis Elmer Miller, died somewhere between the age of 31 and 34 (depending whether you believe the headstone or take the family's word and I haven't found records for that yet), when Grandpa Ralph was two years old. First hard sought bit of information: the back of the photograph says Wilbur, Oregon. The kids and I took a trip there and searched on foot the cemeteries and there was no Millers by the names we knew. Thanks to the internet, he is actually buried in the Merriman Cemetery [Miller Cemetery] near Gold Beach, Oregon.
As a kid I was told that he had died in a logging accident or a bear accident. Those sounded so exciting to me with my imagination. Louis Miller was a logger in rural Oregon in the late 1800s-early 1900s. I assumed that the lack of knowledge as to the actual cause of death was because it happened in 1902, so it was clouded by time. I don't know how that started and my grandfather passed in 1961 before I was born. Now I wonder if it may have been told because it sounded more exciting. My grandfather was a solid outdoors man-hunter type guy who wrote in his memoirs in the 1950s:
"My spare time was spend hunting and trapping -- mostly skunk. Ooh, what memories and stories I could tell. I well remember one morning before school I ran my trap line and found a skunk I thought was dead -- but he warn't! I learned something about trajectory that day, believe me. Also I missed that day of school."
He wrote that he was raised in Wilbur for a while after his father's death, so that might be where the misinformation on the photo came from. And he also wrote that great-grandfather Louis Miller died of peritonitis.