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 (genealogyjustask.com)
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 Ancestry.com. 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 (genealogyjustask.com) 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 (genealogyjustask.com).