Thursday, November 11, 2010

John Wesley Slack: The "W" Mystery Solved and a New Cousin Found!

Once in a while my enthusiasm for family history collides with a limited amount of research time.  That occasionally results in an unfortunate error or two.  So it goes with my great grandfather on my mother's side of the family--John W. Slack.  In a blog post a few months ago, I erroneously listed his middle given name as “William” thinking I had figured out what the “W” stood for.  A few weeks afterwards, I found his correct middle name.  How did I manage that?  As luck would have it, his death certificate was recently published on-line on a new website I happened to be searching one day.  While I have been a little slow to post this discovery (blame it on work), allow me to set the record straight.

Thanks to the recently established Family Search Beta Site, John W. Slack’s death certificate can be viewed at the following web address:

You do have to establish a free account and sign in to see the actual certificate, but it doesn’t take long. From the Family Search site, I was able download John W's death certificate (below) and discover his full name, (at least according to this document)—John Wesley Slack.  Well, there you have it, and it's more than I had before!

This document also helps put to bed another mystery I couldn't solve, and that's where John W. died. I had assumed he lived out his final days in Springfield, Missouri, but was unsure.  It turns out he passed away at “Doyle's Convalescent Home” in Dallas, Texas, and the informant on the death certificate was his third son, Garland Slack.  However, he was buried in Springfield along side his wife Rosa, who passed away in 1937.  There is one error on the certificate to be aware of.  It lists his “Mother’s Maiden Name” as “Rosie Morgan”.  Rosa (Rosie) Emma Morgan was his wife, not his mother.

I shared this information with my cousin Jim Slack a several weeks back, and to my surprise, he was subsequently able to find and contact Garland's grandson, John Slack.  In an interesting twist of fate, it turns out they live close to each other in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area.  What a small world!  Needless to say, I was excited to contact my newest cousin, John and learn more about John Wesley, Garland, and that branch of the Slack family.

We had a long chat and came up with some great blog ideas for the future, to include his father's distinguished Korean War service and his grandfather's first-hand account of the assignation of John F. Kennedy.  The latter topic is a post I have been planning for months and will hopefully publish soon, so stayed tuned!

In the meantime, Jim Slack has graciously shared the following photo (below) of John Wesley's grave marker at the Danforth Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri taken in 1959.

With that, the last task is to amend my previous posts containing the erroneous version of John Wesley Slack's name.  That will be done soon.  As always, I encourage all readers to comment on this or any post in order to add to the discussion.  Together, the story that is the “Slack Family” (and all my family lines for that matter) will be told.  I look forward to it!

1 comment:

  1. Do you know if John W. Slack worked as a Superintendent of "Lead & Zinc Ore" in Springfield? I have a diary that I bought in a antique store 30 years ago from the year 1909. Several entries mention John W. Slack along with a stamp listing him as Superintendant of that company.
    You can contact me at if you are interested.