Monday, December 28, 2009

On this day in our family history...

My great grandfather's brother, William Evan Davis (Davies) died on this day in 1920. He was born 21 Dec 1887 in Garnvach, Bedwelty, Wales (the second of eight children born to Daniel Davies and Caroline Morgan).

William immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1896 and is found in the 1900 U.S. census in Scranton, PA. I haven't been able to find him in the 1910 census. He shows up in 1920 living in Buford, CO having changed his name to William Mullen (and going by the nickname Bert). It's a family mystery as to why he changed his name. One theory is that he didn't like his father and didn't want to carry his surname. Another theory is that he was in some type of trouble in PA and needed to change his name. His older brother, Thomas Stanley Davis (Davies), also changed his surname to Mullen. Some time around 1917 he married Mamie Tiderman.

They had two children, Bill Mullen (born in 1918) and Clifford Mullen (born in 1919).

The family story was that Bert died in a mining accident in Colorado in 1920. While on a research trip in Salt Lake, I found a book titled "Pre-1963 Colorado mining fatalities" by Gerald E. Sherard (also on FHL film #1698298 item #9). I was hoping to confirm the story of Bert's death. I found the following entry.

"Bert Mullen, Rope Rider, American, 31 yrs old, married, 2 children, employed 10 yrs, Routt county, working at Hayden Bros Coal Corp, Hayden #2 died 1920 Dec 28 of heart failure."

With the date I then researched newspapers and found the following articles:

Almost a year later the following article appeared in the newspaper:

I don't know the connection between Shorty Carmen and Mamie or why he willed her everything. At this point I don't know any more about this family or what happened to Mamie or the children. I found a William L. Mullen born on the same day as Bert's son, Bill, in the SSDI. He's has a previous residence in Colorado and died in Yakima, Washington on 9 Sep 1996.


  • Wales, Monmouth, Garnvach, William Evan Davies birth registration #428 (born 21 Dec 1887 and registered 27 Jan 1888)
  • Wales, Monmouth, Nantyglo, 1891 Wales Census, Daniel Davies household #231, pg. 38
  • Pennsylvania, Lackawanna, Scranton, 1900 U.S. Census, Daniel Davis household #152/168, pg. 8a
  • Colorado, Rio Blanco, Buford, 1920 U.S. Census, William B. Mullen household #163/163, pg. 8b
  • The Routt County Sentinel (Colorado) newspaper, 31 Dec 1920 issue, pg. 1, col. 2, "Phippsburg Man Dies in Mine from Heart Failure"
  • The Oak Creek Times (Colorado) newspaper, 1 Jan 1921 issue, pg. 1, col. 5, "William E. Mullen Succombs"
  • The Routt County Sentinel (Colorado) newspaper, 23 Dec 1921 issue, pg. 5, col. 2.

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