Robert L. Bowden is my great grandfather on my mother’s side. I wrote about locating his death certificate (after having looked for over 10 years) on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in this post EVALUATING A RECORD – IN HONOR OF FATHER’S DAY (click on the link to read the post).
At the end of that post I wrote about what I would do next. One of the things on my list was to find out if there was a Coroner’s Report for his death.
The following items led me to conclude that there may have been an autopsy or investigation into his death:
- The death certificate was signed by the Coroner.
- His death was “sudden.”
- The burial date & date of death were 17 days apart.
Here is the request I submitted. I enclosed a check for $12, and kept a copy of the request and my check in my Evernote Notebook for the Bowden surname.
Here is a copy of the six page report. I have indicated the items on each page that I took notice of.
Page 1 & 2 (Click on any image to enlarge it)
Page 3 & 4
Page 5 & 6
WHAT DID I LEARN FROM THIS REPORT?
- Further confirmation for the date of death of Robert L. Bowden.
- Page 1 estimates his age at about 48 yrs., page 3 estimates about 40 yrs. Based on various documents we have his age was about 43-45 yrs. in 1906.
- The time he was actually found on the floor of the hotel & the name of the hotel.
- Who found him on the floor of the hotel.
- Others who were present shortly after his death.
- The names of the officer and doctor who declared him dead.
- The name of a friend who had known him for 16 years.
- That his friend stated he had a wife and two daughters. We know he and our great grandmother were divorced in 1899 and that they had two daughters. Had he remarried since then?
- That his friend did not know the location of his wife & daughters or the cause of his death.
- His occupation as a Railroader which matches other records we have on him.
- That he wasn’t known by the clerk at the hotel.
- That the jury’s verdict agreed with the Coroner & the Doctor that this man died from heart disease.
- Had Robert L. Bowden been sick prior to his death?
- Had he been to any doctors or hospitals?
- On page 4 (and I didn’t underline this) the clerk said that Mr. Bowden’s friend “took” him to his room about noon. Does that mean the friend accompanied him? Or was Mr. Bowden in such a condition to have to be “taken” to the room?
- Since there is no statement of an autopsy being performed on the body, how did they come to the conclusion that he died of heart disease?
- Did one of the witnesses, his friend perhaps, know of a history of heart disease?
- Could he have died of foul play? Did he fall & hit his head? Was there some other method or cause of death?
- Is this the way all Coroner’s Case Files looked back in 1906?
I do know that I have learned more about the circumstances of my great grandfather’s death and I’m extremely happy to have this information.
I don’t consider this case closed just yet. I will still be trying to answer some of the outstanding questions about his life.
I’d love to hear if you have ever reviewed a Coroner’s Case for any of your ancestor’s? And, if so, what year it was and how was the report presented? Did it contain more information than this report?
OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST
SURPRISE - A BIRTH RECORD WHERE IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE
VITAL RECORDS - HOW TO REQUEST THEM & KEEP TRACK OF THOSE REQUESTS