Ellis Adams – The Final Chapter (For Now …)

I mentioned a while ago that I’d emailed both the local newspaper in Idaho and the Idaho State Archives requesting any information on Ellis Adams. I had a quick response from the newspaper, who sent the following copy of Ellis’ obituary.

Ellis' Obituary in Emmett Messenger-Index August 1971

Ellis’ Obituary in Emmett Messenger-Index August 1971

It’s sad to think that he died so young of a heart attack – he was only 47. It doesn’t mention another wife or ‘new’ family – but he’d only lived in Emmett for about 13 years, since 1958. Had he remarried following the divorce from Eva? Did he then leave his family and move to Idaho? Where was he between his discharge from the army and him moving there? I don’t know. The 1950 US census will show that he’s a resident in his brother Willard’s house in Carthage, Missouri. Unfortunately I can’t find an Emmett city directory online for the time period in question! Perhaps an inquiry  to the Emmett library may help there …

The Idaho State Archives responded stating that they only had his obituary in their records. I queried if it was the same as the one above, but this wasn’t responded to, but I could have a copy of it emailed to me for a $10 (approx £6) fee. After a few false starts, I had to ring up and attempt to pay over the phone with my credit card. Eventually it all came together (9am in Idaho is 4pm here) and I paid, and the lady sent through a file. A badly fuzzy file. Of the obituary I already had … So that was a bit of a waste of time all round.

The death certificate request was hampered somewhat by me having to prove that I am actually Ellis’ grandson – after a conversation (yes, I rang them up in the USA too) we agreed that my birth certificate and then my mother’s birth certificate would suffice and that I was to fax it over to them. I did want to ask if this was the 1980s but decided against it … Anyway, I have my long-form birth certificate (actually, I have a copy of both long-form and short-form) and ordered a copy of my mother’s (although was a mere 10 minutes late to get it dispatched on Monday!). Following its arrival they were scanned by a friend and then faxed (well, e-faxed) over to Idaho. The same day (Thursday) the certificate was dispatched from Boise, Idaho at around 6pm (Mountain Daylight Time – about 1am here, I think). I think I would probably had it delivered on Saturday if UPS deliver at the weekend. Which they don’t. (Insert rant here about ridiculousness of this.) So today, Monday, I spent every hour eagerly refreshing my UPS tracker to find out when “In Transit” would change to “Delivered”.

It happened, and I came home from work and opened the envelope …

Put it this way, it didn’t tell me anything earth-shattering. He died of “heart failure” at around 4:30am. Listed as divorced, his occupation was farm labourer. He wasn’t under the care of a physician, and the informant was the Emmett Coroner, a Mr. Glenn Beatty. He was buried on 18 August.

Ellis Howard Adams, Death Certificate

Ellis Howard Adams, Death Certificate

The certificate also lists his birth date as 19 April 1924 – no doubt where the information for the grave marker came from – but I’m still happy that it is 10 April – as listed on his Social Security application.

So, all in all I suppose I feel a kind of sadness for Ellis.

Ellis Adams' Gravestone, Emmet, Gem County, Idaho

Ellis Adams’ Gravestone, Emmet, Gem County, Idaho

The “For Now” part of the title was definitely prophetic … see the latest (as of June 2022) update

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