Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Family Mystery Gets a Twist

I found this on Monday:


The Death of Thomas Moreen In Wyoming

Left His Family 19 Years Ago

Salina, Kas., July 24 -- Philip Moreen of this county has just learned of his father's death in Wyoming and that he and his sister, Mrs. T. Carroll of Denver, are the only heirs to a large fortune left by the parent.  Thomas Moreen was formerly a resident of this county and left his family nineteen years ago. Fourteen years ago he was heard from indirectly for the last time. Mrs. Carroll in reading a paper last week read the obituary of Thomas Moreen and immediate correspondence developed the fact that he was her father. The fortune was made in mining and the cattle business. Philip Moreen and his sister will go to Wyoming early next week to claim their estate.

Kansas City Star, July 24, 1907, page 5

I just recently heard the family story about Thomas' disappearance, and had not heard about this subsequent development at all.   Now I'm dying to know more.  Unfortunately, Wyoming is a big place, and the easy things haven't worked.
  • Thomas isn't indexed in the 1900 census in Wyoming, at least under the name Thomas Moreen
  • Wyoming didn't start requiring death recording at the state level until 1908
  • The Wyoming newspaper project hasn't gotten very far on digitizing newspapers for the time period I'm interested in and I'm not finding a Denver paper for the time, either.
  •'s collection of digitized Salina papers doesn't yet have 1907.
  • He doesn't show up in the BLM land patent database
I talked to someone who is in the cattle business in Wyoming and he suggested brand registries and the state cattlemen's association.  
  • I found a brand book for Wyoming, but it starts after a 1909 law and was published in 1913.  State registration of brands started in 1909; before that they were registered at the county level, and all I know is the state.
  • I need to email the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.  According to Wikipedia, they were well established by the early 1900s and kept brand and member info; some of their records have been moved to the University of Wyoming, so I'll need to contact them, too.
"Mining" seems a bit non-specific to be much help, but if the cattle thing doesn't work, I'll start pursuing it. 

Of course, all this assumes that Thomas' cattle and mining business was conducted in Wyoming, but without that I have nothing, so I think I'll run with it for a while.  If I need to, I can run up to Salina and search the papers on microfilm next week...Anyone up for hamburgers at the Cozy?

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