Royal Eller Madsen

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Royal Eller Madsen

Birthplace: Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA
Death: Died in Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA
Cause of death: Suicide by Firearm
Place of Burial: Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA, Plot: Old Layton Section-North End
Immediate Family:

Son of Christian Jacobsen Madsen and Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen
Brother of Dortha Roxana Madsen Rollins; John Christian Madsen; Ezra Jacob Madsen; Aseneath Musette Bingham; Zina Albertina Madsen and 4 others

Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Royal Eller Madsen

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Graham County, Arizona Territory, Royal Eller Madsen was 14 years old, living with his father, Christian Madsen, 55, mother, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen, 48, and two of his sisters, Louisa Albertina, 21, (known as aunt Bertie) and Sylvia Elizabeth,18, (known as aunt Syl). This census record indicated that his parents had been married 25 years and had 8 children, 7 of whom were still living. However, family records indicated that Christian and Roxana were married in 1867, so they would have been married 33 years in 1900.

Royal was the first child of Christian and Roxana Louisa who was born in Arizona after their family relocated there in 1883 from Bloomgington, Bear Lake, Idaho. Christian was born in Denmark in 1844, and Roxana Louisa was born in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa in 1851, while her parents, John and Roxanna Mahala Dustin Welker, were preparing to go west with the LDS Church members living in the community at that time. This census record indicated Christian came to America in 1848, but that's not correct, because he actually arrived in 1853. By 1890, Christian was the owner of a livery stable which he owned free from a mortgage along with his farm and home. At one time he and his wife also ran the Groesbeck Hotel in Safford, Arizona.

By 1910, Royal, 24, was going by the name Roy, and was still living at home with his mother and father, Christian, 65, Roxana Louisa, 58, and also in the home was Royal's sister Bertie (Louisa Albertina), 30, and their maternal grandfather, John Welker, an 84-year old widow. His wife Roxanna Mahala Dustin Welker, had passed away in 1904. Christian and Roxanna Louisa had been married 42 years at the time of this census, and had 10 children, 7 of whom were still living.

This census record stated that Christian came to America in 1854, which is closer to his actual year of arrival, 1853, when he was 9 years old. For some reason, his parents sent him to America from Denmark with friends of the family who were given $500 to care for Christian in the new world while his parents sold all their worldly possessions after having joined the LDS church. They needed the money from the sale of their possessions to be able to afford to bring the rest of their family to America, which included the mother and father, and several brothers and sisters. They were not able to come to America until about 1857, and Jacob and Dorothea's last child, Jacob, was born in Utah in 1860.

In 1910, Christian still owned the livery stable, his son Roy was working there as a teamster, and Christian's father-in-law, John Welker, had his own income. Living next door was John Welker's sister-in-law, Eliza Madsen Welker, a 60-year old widow, and her son, David,38, a salesman in a retail liquor store. Eliza and her husband, Alfred Welker, had 7 children 3 of whom were still living, including her daughter, Amy, and son Arthur, who had by then started their own families and were living elsewhere. Eliza was Christian Madsen's sister. Three of the Madsen siblings married three Welker siblings, so the families were very connected, Her husband, Alfred Welker, was the son of John Welker's older brother, James Wilburn Welker. Alfred had passed away in 1896 at the young age of 46 years old.

When Roy completed his World War I Draft Registration Card on September 12, 1918, at the local board for Safford, Graham County, Arizona, he described himself as being short, with a medium build, gray eyes and brown hair. He was 32 years old at the time, having been born December 6, 1885. He was working as a "cowman" at the 3 Circle Cattle Company in Safford, and listed his nearest relative as his father, Christian Madsen.

In the 1920 census for Safford, Graham, Arizona, Christian, 75, was living with his son, Roy, 34, daughter, Alberta, 40 and her husband, William Branch, 38. Sadly, Roxana Louisa had passed away two years earlier in 1918. The family was living on Thatcher Road. Christian was no longer working, Roy was working as a laborer doing general work, and his brother-in-law, William Branch, was working as a cowboy on a stock ranch. Roy's father, Christian Madsen, passed away the following year in 1921. Both Christian and his wife, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen, were buried in the Safford City Cemetery.

I don't know where Roy was living in 1930, but his older brother Ezra, 56, was living with his wife Ella, 50, on Main Street in Safford. Ezra and Ella owned their own home valued at $6,000, and they had a radio in their home, which was a question that the census takers asked in the year 1930. Ezra was not working but Ella was working as a saleslady in their shoe store. Ezra passed away on February, 4, 1935. They had been married in October, 1897. This marriage was the meshing of two Safford pioneer families of note. They were active in the Safford mercantile field for many years. Mary Ella Owens Madsen was born December 22, 1879, in St. Clair County, Alabama, to James T. and Clarisa (Lonnie) Owens. She passed away at the age of 69 on May 26, 1949, and she and Ezra were buried in the Owens Family Plot in the Safford City Cemetery.

Roy's brother John Christian Madsen, 69, was listed in the 1940 census in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, and was living at 3505 North Central Avenue with his wife Caroline, 64, and their daughter, Louisa, 36, was living with them as well. They owned their home free from a mortgage which was valued at $3,500. All three had an 8th grade education. Louisa was working as a nurse in a hospital, and for the 34 weeks she worked in 1939, her income was $680. John was not working in this census, but during the year 1930, he had been a cattle rancher, and in 1920 he was a farmer, living in Gilbert, Arizona, with his wife, Caroline, 46, Glenna, 15, and Dorothy, 8 years old. In 1910, John and Caroline had their sons with them, John Wilford, and 15, Karl Edward, 14, and at that time Louisa was 8 and Glenna was 5 years old.

I can find no other public records for Royal Eller Madsen, but my grand mother's hand-written family Bible records indicate that he died in 1951 via "homicide by firearm". It doesn't appear that Roy ever married or had any children and seems like he had a very sad life. A Find A record indicated that Royal E. Madsen, son of Christian Jacobson Madsen and Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen, died January 20, 1931, not 1951, as my grandmother's Bible record indicated. He was buried in the Safford City Cemetery in Safford, Graham County, Arizona, in the Old Layton Section on the North End of the Cemetery.

Della Dale Smith

November 26, 2013

AMENDMENT: July 21, 2015:

Per an obituary sent to me by Martin McMorrow, the son of Dorothy Madsen McMorrow, and grandson of John Christian Madsen, the brother of Royal Eller Madsen, "Roy" committed is the story about him:


Hovering between life and death with the odds slightly in favor of his recovery, Roy Madsen, aged 43 years, is in the Morris-Squibb Hospital in a semi-conscious condition from a self-inflicted wound in the head, caused, it is believed, in an attempt to take his own life. The motive behind his rash act cannot be accounted for by his relatives or friends, for apparently he was well and happy, and did not give his relatives any signs that he was thinking of attemting such an act. The deed, his relatives state, could not have been caused from financial trouble as he is known to be fairly well to do.

Madsen had been making his home with his brother, John Madsen, on a cattle ranch near Nogales for several years and came to Safford on Thursday of last week to spend a few days with his sister, Mrs. Hyrum Bingham, and his brother, Ezra Madsen, before going to Globe, where he has two sisters, Mrs. Will Branch and Mrs. George Elledge, and where he expected to get employment.

About five o'clock Tuesday afternoon he told his brother-in-law, Hyrum Bingham, who was with him in the yard, that he ad two guns in his suit case and would give him one of them. He entered the house and went to his suit case, took out one of the two guns and then went back into the yard and when near Mr. Bingham suddenly raised a .45 calibre six-shooter to his head and fired. The bullet entered the skull just above the right ear and came out near the crown of the head. The deed was witnessed by Bingham and Mr4s. Bingham, who at the moment was standing in the door of the house a few feet away.

From another newspaper article:


Roy E. Madsen of Miami, a former resident of Safford, shot himself in the head Monday afternoon shortly before 2 o'clock while seated in a garage adjoining the home of his brother-in-law, William Branch, at No. 2 Elm Street, Dairy Canyon. He died from the self-inflicted wound at the Miami-Inspiration Hospital early Tuesday morning. It was said that despondency over _______ _______ and bitterness against life in general caused Madsen's suicide. (NOTE: two words were scratched out the obituary above, but it may have said "early dementia", but I'm not certain of that.)

Madsen was found in the garage at the home of his sister, Monday by Mrs. Mary Helberg, a neighbor, after a shot had been h eard in the small building. Mrs. Hellberg summoned Dr. F.F. Miller of Miami, who rendered first aid treatment. The man was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, but efforts to save his life were in vain.

An automatic revolver was found near where the man was lying in the garage and a looking-glass was found nearby, it was reported by deputies of the Miami sheriff's office who investigated the killing. Officers described the case as suicide after first investigating the scene.

Mr. Madsen left Safford to reside wit his sister in Miami several years ago and has been suffering from ill health for some time. The body was brought to Safford where funeral services were conducted under the direction of the Rawson Undertaking parlor Wednesday afternoon. Only a short service was held at the grave. H.L. Payne spoke briefly condoling the bereaved relatives.

NOTE: There seems to be some discrepancy between these two articles, since one said that Roy died at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Mrs. Musette Madsen Bingham and Mr. Hyrum Bingham, and the other said he shot himself at the home of his brother-in-law, William Branch, who was the husband of Roy's other sister, Bertie Madsen Branch. It is also odd that someone scratched out the reason for his suicide in the newspaper clipping of the obituary.

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Royal Eller Madsen's Timeline

December 6, 1885
Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA
June 20, 1931
Age 45
Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA
Safford, Graham, Arizona, USA, Plot: Old Layton Section-North End