Monday, November 14, 2011

Louis Lanctot's Date of Death - A Research Log

This is me, still playing catch-up with my research logs.  If anyone sees anything I missed or any flaws in my analysis, please let me know.

Subject Name:  Louis Phelisa Lanctot, b. 17 Sep 1888 d. Oct 1922

Question to be researchedWhen did Louis die?

Date of Search:  11.10.11

Place Searched:  Yankton Cemetery, Yankton, South Dakota, headstone

Results:  Shows Louis P. Lanctot’s death year as 1922.

Place Searched:  Note attached to transcribed obituary – unknown date – from Josephine Lanctot, daughter of Louis Lanctot.

Results:  “Was killed when a truck loaded with lumber turned over and pinned him underneath.  The truck belonged to a neighboring homesteader in Casper, Wyoming.  They were hauling lumber to build the homestead for his mother, as time was running out to get her house built to secure the homestead claim.  It is unclear that they ever told her that it was her lumber.  The truck came around a curve and met another vehicle with bright lights, which blinded the driver.  Louis was in the back of the truck (the cabs weren't big enough for 3 in those days).  They thought Louis had tried to jump out of the truck, but his coattail caught on the lumber and it threw him under the truck.  His neck was broken and the hub of the wheel rested on his temple.”

Place Searched:  Entry for the “History of Yankton County” submitted by Josephine Lanctot Swift – unknown date – written as short biography of Louis P. Lanctot and Alice M. Schneider.

Results:  States that Louis “lost his life in an automobile accident near Casper.”

Place Searched:  Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records (

Results:  Land patent #862804 for 320 acres dated 17 May 1922.

Place Searched:  Transcribed obituary for Louis Lanctot – October 1922 – presumably published in the Yankton Press & Dakotan.

Results:  “Louis P. Lanctot, formerly of Yankton, was instantly killed near Casper, Wyo., Saturday afternoon, when a heavy auto truck, loaded with lumber turned over pinning him underneath.”

Place Searched:  Louis Lanctot, death certificate 1922-1666 (21 October 1922), Bureau of VItal Statistics, Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Results:  Death certificate gives date of death as 21 October 1922 at 10:00 p.m. at Wyoming Medical Center as a result of a fracture at the base of the skull caused by truck overturning.

Analysis:  All sources agree that Louis died in 1922, probably October.  The land records show that it was obviously after May 17, 1922.  Unfortunately, none of the secondary sources provide a date within the month of October.  Therefore, (obviously) my most reliable source for the death date is the death certificate itself.

Conclusion:  Louis P. Lanctot died on 21 October 1922 at 10:00 p.m. in Casper, Wyoming.          

Next Steps:  I would still like to have a copy of the actual obituary to confirm the details of his death (the story given by Aunt Jo doesn't quite match the cause of death on the certificate).  The volunteer at the Wyoming State Archives did not find any mention of the wreck or Louis’ death in the Wyoming papers.  I will write to the Yankton Press & Dakotan to see if they still have the obituary among their archives.


Anonymous said...

I just looked on (and I'm sure you have too) and the issues of the Yankton paper they have are from 1861-1875, so no help there.

I hope you get your obit.

Jenny Lanctot said...

Thanks for checking on that, Dee! I have looked, and found nothing. I will be writing a letter to the Yankton Press & Dakotan to check their archives. Cross your fingers!

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