Hello, my name is Victoria Woodcock and I am a historical researcher with the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service. My colleagues and I have been have been researching the construction of the Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and specifically we have been focusing on the lives and work of the men and women who worked on this project. My area of research concentrated on the men who were killed while working on the project and the first individual to die was a young marble polisher named Phelix (Felix) Arthur, from Pickens County, Georgia. He was killed in Saint Paul while working in the marble polishing shed on the work site early in the morning on May 5, 1898. He was caught in one of the belts that ran the polishing machines and was badly injured as a result. He died the next day at St. Paul City Hospital in Saint Paul.
This is what I know about him: Father: Charles A Arthur Mother: Julia Arthur Birthplace: Grassy Knob, Georgia 1873-1898. Burial Place: Old Tate Cemetery, Pickens Co., GA
Unfortunately Ramsey County/Saint Paul did not issue death certificates at this time but local newspapers-Saint Paul Globe and the Minneapolis Tribune- do mention his accident and death. He also is listed in one of the Saint Paul phone directories as living on 445 Rice Street in St. Paul. If you look at Google Maps you will be able to locate the site.
Several of my colleagues are preparing to go to Pickens County later this fall to do some filming at the marble quarry there. We are in the middle of constructing a web site and a documentary on the subject for release late this year. We have been tracking down the descendants of some of the workers and of course the men who were killed working.
I would very much appreciate any information about Phelix Arthur or what happened to his family after his death. It was my understanding that they were so grief stricken that they left Georgia and moved to Texas, to the Kaufman area.
Sincerely Yours, Vickie Woodcock
PS: There is a memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Saint Paul were the names of the men and women who have been killed while working on the job are read out annually. Phelix Arthur's name was read out last year.