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Summer 2001
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 1   No. 3


Help!! is a feature in which we attempt to solve our readers’ research problems using materials available at the Library. We invite our readers to contribute solutions to questions featured in this section. Send your problems and solutions to Gateway Family Historian, St. Louis Public Library, History & Genealogy Department, 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103. You can also e-mail questions to us at Put GFH-HELP!! in the subject line.

Question: I am looking for information on an ancestor of mine who apparently shot himself and his wife around 1904. He died, but she survived and remarried. I searched your Obituary Index, and his name is not there. I know he lived in St. Louis, and he died there as well. Where else could I look for his name and death date? Is there a source for police files?

Answer: You should contact the following organizations as a first step.

St. Louis Police Library
315 S. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63102
(314) 444-5581


St. Louis City Medical Examiner
1300 Clark Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103-2718
(314) 622-4971


Vital Records Service
634 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108

City of St. Louis Circuit Court
1320 Market St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 622-4582

We have the St. Louis Death Registers (which are similar to death certificates), and you can search them once you have an exact date. We will also be able to check the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other local newspapers for articles related to the shooting.

Also, check the marriage indexes to see if the wife’s second marriage appears. If you wish, we can also look at the St. Louis City Directories and the 1900 Federal Census for further information on this couple.

Question: My relative is buried in Steamboat Rock, IA. I have a copy of his diary from 1863. In the back is written, "Winthrop Station, IA 46 Reg. Ills.Volunteers by way of Cairo, Ills." I have not been able to find him on any rosters in Iowa or Illinois. I’m not sure he will be on any military rosters. One diary entry says, "Commenced working for the government as teamster at the Peola (may read Rolla) Post under Capt. Grimes – arrived in St. Louis and reported." Were teamsters just considered citizens, and not "soldiers"? That would explain why he isn’t on any roster, although I would think he would be listed somewhere! It’s a mystery to me.

Answer: Teamsters were considered civilian employees and were employed by the Quartermaster of the U. S. Army, who was responsible for supplying the various Union armies. Check this website for available National Archives materials about teamsters and wagonmasters: wgnmstrs.html. You should know that teamsters were made eligible as time went by for some of the post-war benefits available to military veterans such as pensions, death benefits, and burial in national cemeteries. Your ancestor or his widow may have received a pension or death benefit from the federal government based on his employment as a civilian teamster. Because you have his diary, you may know more about him than do many people who have already accessed the government records available on their ancestors. Check the website mentioned, however, as you may be able to find additional information about your ancestor. You may also want to research the unit he was attached to by looking at the series of books, Supplement to the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot, 1985 -.), or by going to the website:

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