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Death with Details Will Link Us

Because I interviewed Ellis McClure, the grandson of Columbus McClure, I discovered the details about his tragic death.  I do have a few different versions of the story, but I had enough good clues to find the death certificate. I conducted this interview long before I got inspired to search for actual documentation: Where is Grandpa? Oral History Interview of Ellis McClure (

    According to oral history, he was walking or driving across a railroad track in which ran alongside his property in Birmingham, Alabama and was hit by a train.  It is not clear to me that he was walking.  He was a driver for a landscape company, so I am not sure why he would have been out walking down by the tracks.

     I was able to confirm the fact that he was struck by the train from the death certificate. A few years ago, I found the index at I had to contact the department of vital records to order a copy of the original. 


  I was happy to discover further details:


  • Birth:   November 1881 in Alexander City, Alabama

  • Father: Bill McClure (William)

  • Mother:  Jane (I later discovered her last name was Champion before she married William McClure)

  • Burial:  Woodlawn Cemetery


These details helped me to locate his headstone:


We visited Birmingham just before I had a stroke back in 2016, but I did not find the headstone until later. Remember to look around in the cemetery for other family members. I did find his daughter, Lula Bell McClure (1905-1925) - Find a Grave Memorial, right next to Columbus.

We even have found census records. This is the first one without Columbus:

His wife, Corinne, is with two sons, Columbus and Archie in 1930. Corinne owned her property valued at $6,000. Where is Grandpa? Oral History Interview of Ellis McClure ( is Ellis' memory of being on the farm and asking Grandma what happened.

We still have so much to find. While I knew Ellis' dad, Archie, I feel as if I know his family a little better. See Documented Columbus McClure's Probate Record in Alabama, Wills and Probate Records, 1753-1999 (


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