Thomas Allen Chaffin, Jr.

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Thomas Allen Chaffin, Jr.

Birthplace: Corvallis, Ravalli County, Montana, United States
Death: March 03, 1961 (84)
Salem, Marion County, Oregon, United States (Intestinal Obstruction)
Place of Burial: Cremated
Immediate Family:

Son of John S. Chaffin and Susan Chaffin
Ex-husband of Agnes Josephine Chaffin; Maggie Chaffin and Addie E. Vail-Chaffin-Magill-Coyle-Dickison
Father of Merrill Ben Chaffin; Unknown Chaffin, Died Young; Darrell Fenton Chaffin; Josephine "Jo" Plummer-Linzy and Keith Chaffin

Occupation: Miner, Logger
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Allen Chaffin, Jr.

Thomas’ cremated remains were not initially taken after his death and for years were available at the Oregon State Hospital to be claimed by anyone who is related. In September 2016 his ashes were received by a relative.

Thomas was born in 1876 in Corvallis, Montana near the Idaho-Montana border. His father, John Chaffin, was born in Missouri in 1853 and his mother, Susan S. Sanders, was born in Oregon in 1861. John was about 22 when he married Susan who was about 15years old. Thomas’ siblings included Samuel Reece (born in Montana in 1878) and John (born about 1884 in Montana). There may have been others.

During the census of 1880 Thomas was 4 years old, living with his parents and brother Sam in Spokane, Washington. His father was a farmer. Thomas’ mother died on 3/4/1890 and is buried in Corvallis Cemetery in Corvallis, Montana. That town was settled by Chaffins and at least 79 Chaffins are buried in the Corvallis Cemetery. In the census taken in 1900 Thomas was single, 24, and farming in Fort Lemhi, Lemhi, Idaho next to his widowed father and brother John.

At the age of 25 on 6/1/1901 Thomas married 14 year old Agnes Josephine Kenney in Lemhi, Idaho. He was living in Baker, Baker County in northeastern Oregon at that time. Agnes was born in Idaho in 1887. On 10/13/1901, four months after Thomas married Agnes, Thomas’ father married Agnes’ mother, Mrs. Josephine E. Kenney.

Thomas and Agnes had at least 5 children: Merrill Ben, (born in Fort Lemhi, Idaho in 2/10/1902), Darrell Fenton (born in Montana in 1906), Josephine (born in Oregon in 1909) and Keith (born in Oregon in 1912). One other unidentified child was born between 1903 and 1908 died in childhood.

In the census of 1910, Thomas was listed with Agnes and 3 children in Malheur, Malheur County, in eastern Oregon. Thomas was working as a miner for wages. On his World War I draft registration form completed on 9/12/1918, Thomas reported he was living with Agnes in Sumpter, Baker County, in northeastern Oregon where he was working for a dredging (mining) company. Thomas was not found in the census of 1920, but he and Agnes got a divorce before that census when Agnes and the four children were living in Granite, Grant County, in eastern Oregon. She was working as a cook for the mines while the children, ages 7 -17, were attending school.

On 8/20/1921 in Boise, Idaho, Thomas may have married Maggie Jones. Thomas’ brother John died on 2/6/1923 in Lemhi County, Idaho. Thomas’ father died on 5/7/1925 in Stavely, Alberta, Canada and his widow Josephine applied for widow’s benefits in 1927 since John had been a veteran of the Indian Wars.

In the 1930 census, Thomas lived in near Boise. He was a single laborer doing odd jobs and living in a large boarding house. During that same census (1930) son Merrill was living in Alpha, Valley County, Idaho with his wife, Lillian and children Patricia and Merrilyn. In 1930 son Keith was 18, single and living in Baker City, Oregon where he was an unemployed boarder in the home of a house painter. In 1930 son Darrell was living with his wife Thelma and their 2 children in Portland, Oregon where Darrell was a presser for a laundry. Their daughters were Jean and Barbara.

Before 1932 Thomas married a woman named Addie who was born in 1885. They were listed in the Baker City directory in 1932. Between 1935 and 1937 son Keith moved to California. In 1940 Keith was living in Granite, Sacramento County, California with his wife Eva and 3 year old son Kerrill Keith. Keith was an oiler in a gold dredge in Granite, Sacramento County, California. In 1940 Darrell, his wife and 2 daughters were living in Baker, Oregon where Darrell was an car salesman. Thomas has not been found in the 1940 census. His brother Sam died on 2/1/1948 and is buried in Missoula, Montana.

In 1954 before entering the state hospital he was logging in Lakeview, Lake County in southeastern Oregon. On 10/11/1954 he was admitted to the Oregon State Hospital, a residential facility in Salem, Oregon for the treatment of people with mental illness. After living at the institution for over 6 years he died there of an intestinal obstruction caused by a twisted bowel. He died on 3/3/1961 at the age of 84. An autopsy was performed and he was cremated a week later.

Thomas’ ex-wife Addie died in 1963 and Agnes died in 1972. Son Merrill died in Deschutes County, Oregon on 3/5/1981. Daughter Josephine Linzy (aka Plummer) died in Placer County, CA on 6/26/1988. Son Darrell died in Nevada on 10/26/1993. Son Keith lived in Kennewick Washington and died on 12/7/1997.

More information about unclaimed cremains at OSH is available at A book by David Maisel and a documentary by Ondi Timoner & Robert James, both entitled "Library of Dust" also provide more information.

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Thomas Allen Chaffin, Jr.'s Timeline

April 25, 1876
Corvallis, Ravalli County, Montana, United States
February 10, 1902
Fort Lemhi, Lemhi County, Idaho, United States
September 26, 1905
Dillon, Beaverhead County, Montana, United States
September 16, 1909
Oregon, United States
Oregon, United States