Royal Eller Madsen (1885 - 1931)

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Birthplace: Safford, AZ, USA
Death: Died
Cause of death: Homicide by Firearm
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 is 14 years old, living with his father, Christian Madsen, 55, mother, Roxana Louisa, 48, and two of his sisters, Louisa Albertina, 21, and Sylvia Elizabeth,18. This census record says his parents have been married 25 years and have had 8 children, 7 of whom are living. However, family records indicate 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 that 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 Iowa in 1851, while her parents, John and Rocksena Mahalia Dustin Welker, were preparing to go west with the LDS church members living in the community at that time. In this census record it indicates Christian immigrated to America in 1848, but that's not correct, because he actually arrived in 1853. By 1990, Christian was the owner of a livery stable and he owned the stable, his farm and home free from a mortgage. At one time he and his wife also ran the Groesbeck Hotel in Safford, Arizona.

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

Here it states that Christian immigrated 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 Chris 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 his mother and father, and several brothers and sisters. They were not able to come to America until about 1957.

In 1910, Chris still owned the livery stable, his son Roy is working there as a teamster, and Chris' father-in-law, John Welker, has his own income. Living next door is John Welker's sister-in-law, Eliza Madsen Welker, who is a 60 year old widow, and her son, David,38, a salesman in a retail liquor store. Eliza 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 also 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 1897.

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 is 75, Roy is 34, Alberta is 40 and her husband, William Branch, is 38. Sadly, Roxana Louisa passed away two years before in 1918. The family is living on Thatcher Road. Chris is no longer working, Roy is a laborer doing general work, and his brother-in-law, Will Branch is a cowboy on a stock ranch. Roy's father, Christian Madsen, passed away the following year in 1921.

I don't know where Roy was living in 1930, but his older brother Ezra was 56 years old, living with his wife Ella, 50 years old, on Main Street in Safford. Ezra and Ella owned their own home which was valued at $6,000, and they had a radio in their home, which was a question that the census enumerators 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 was 69 years old in the 1940 census for Maricopa, Arizona, and was living at 3505 North Central Avenue in a home he and his wife owned valued at $2,500. His wife Caroline was 64 years old, and their 36 year old daughter, Louisa, was living with them as well. All three have an 8th grade education. Louisa is a nurse in a hospital, who worked 34 weeks during the year 1939 and earned $680.00 in income. John was not working in this census, but during the year 1930, he was a cattle rancher, and in 1920 he was a farmer, living in Gilbert, Arizona, with his other children Carol, 23, 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.

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 "suicide by firearm". I don't know if that is true or not, but it must be if she entered it in her family Bible. It doesn't appear that Roy ever married or had any children and seems like he had a very sad life. Unfortunately, I never got to meet my second great uncle Roy, because he died six months before I was born in June of 1951. Rest in peace great uncle.

Della Dale Smith

November 26, 2013

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Royal Eller Madsen's Timeline

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