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Born 100 years apart

By DAVID BUCKNER
DCN Correspondent

My research on Emily Mattson was unable to account for some details, but I was surprised at how much I was able to learn about her and her family with nothing but a name and year from which to start.

I started my research in the Park Hill Cemetery. I noticed Mattson’s gravestone because she was born 100 years before I was. Her gravestone had her name (Emily Mattson) and the years she lived: 1886-1951.

From there I went to the St. Louis County Gen Web Web site. I looked at the death index from the Web site and found Mattson’s name easily. There were many Mattsons listed, but thankfully only one Emily for that year in St. Louis County. That gave me her exact date of death, which was April 19, 1951. I also learned that her middle name was Viola from the death index.

Now that I knew her date of death, I went to University of Minnesota Duluth library to look at microfilm of the Duluth News Tribune. The first paper I viewed was published the day after her death on April 20, 1951. There I found her obituary. I discovered that she was 64 years old, was survived by her husband, Matt C. Mattson, and that she lived at 2719 W. Eighth St. It also stated that she was a Duluth resident for 42 years, and also listed information of her community involvement. She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, the Zion Ladies Guild, the Ladies Fireman Auxiliary, and the Duluth Garden Flower Society. Finally, it said that she was born in Lake Lillian, Minn.

Now that I knew where she was born, I tried to track down her date of birth using the MN Gen Webs Web site. I went to Kandiyohi County to look for her in the birth index. I knew this would be difficult because I didn’t know her maiden name. The Kandiyohi County Web site wasn’t as detailed as the St. Louis County’s version, and I didn’t find her birth date listed.

Then I went back to the Park Hill Cemetery to get some help from the office staff. The only new information I received from the cemetery records was that she died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

My last venue for obtaining information about Mattson was the Northeastern Minnesota Historical Society (NMHS). NMHS program director Pat Maus was a great aid. She helped me look through the 1935 Duluth city directory to find more information about Mattson or her family.

I found that her husband, Matt, was an engineer at the Northern Pacific Railway. He died in 1962. She also had a son named Clayton who was listed as a student. I then looked through a Denfeld High School yearbook for that year and found Clayton. He was involved in a lot of school activities and was an avid musician. In a later city directory I found that Clayton became a salesman at St. Germain Bros. Inc., which is still around today. Clayton died in 1972.

I was never able to find out the date that Emily was born. In the end it was an interesting project and I was surprised to have learned so much about her.

Key Information of Emily V. Mattson:

• Born in Lake Lillian, Minn., in 1886.
• Married Matt C. Mattson, an engineer at Northern Pacific Railway.
• Moved to Duluth in 1909 and was a resident of Duluth for 42 years.
• Member of Zion Lutheran Church.
• Member of the Ladies Fireman Auxiliary.
• Member of Duluth Garden Flower Society which was founded in 1927.
• She lived at 2719 W. 8th St.
• Died in her residence of cerebral hemorrhage in her residence on 4-19-1951 at the age of 64.
• Buried at Park Hill Cemetery with husband Matt.