11.14.2007

It Was Murder!

I was going to do another copout post on account that I am still a little woozy on my feet, but I didn't get around to taking a picture that must go with my copout post for it to be of any worth so instead you get to hear a little story about my family genealogy.

Family genealogy is something that I have been interested in for some time now and recently I have had the time, my desire, and a little success all correspond together. My mother is also really getting into doing the research and this little story actually comes from some research my mother did.

One bright sunny day my mother called me and declared (in a rather excited voice) that my great-great grandfather had been murdered. (Not that she was happy that he had been murdered, but it is a bit uncommon and a bit interesting.) She gave me the date of his death and I took the research from there by doing an article search in the Boston Globe's archives. Sure enough there were like 5 or 6 articles all about it. Unfortunately, since the Globe is a money-making newspaper they would not let me read the articles before forking over some of my money. So I relayed the information back to my mom and let her pay for the articles (don't judge--it was her research anyway. I was just helping out.). Then I had to wait for her to finish work and come home with the articles before I could learn all the details of my great-great grandfather's murder. In the ensuing hours I worried that he was killed in a drunken bar fight--it is an unfair stereotype to assume that being Irish his murder would automatically revolve around being drunk especially since I have lived in Ireland and know the character of a good may Irishpersons...or maybe that is why I jumped to the unfair stereotype (I'm kidding, I'm kidding).

Anyway, she eventually did come home and read through the articles only to find that the murder did in fact revolve around a drunken brawl. The good news was that my great-great grandfather was likely not drunk and was completely innocent. Apparently my great-great grandfather was at the local bar having a friendly drink when a couple of adult bullies began to beat up an old man who they claimed owed them money (as the court record would later show the bullies actually owed the old man money). Well regardless of who owed the money my great-great grandfather didn't think it was right that two men in their 30s should be beating up an old man and stepped in and broke up the fight. The two bullies didn't take too kindly to this and stole a large knife from the bar and followed my great-great grandfather home. Shortly before he actually reached home the two men attacked him from behind in the street and slit his throat. There was a policeman nearby who was able to sort out what had happened, but my great-great grandfather died almost immediately on the scene. I was further pleased to read in one of the articles that my great-great grandfather was considered by his neighbors to be a good father and husband and a hard worker. Now, just in case you were wondering what happened to the bullies…they were both locked up for a very long time and were both reported in the newspapers to be ne’er-do-wells.

So that is my interesting little story about my family as discovered in researching our family history.
Now, obviously I wish that he hadn't been murdered especially in the manner that he did die cause it just sounds horrible, but also because it was about 1895 and he left his wife with something like 8 young children and it must have been truly hard for them to even survive. Still, it makes for a good story and finding interesting things like this is good incentive to keep on looking through all the records--hopefully for a few more happily-ever-after stories.

4 comments:

Denise Hollinger said...

Okay, is this an awful question to ask--what Great Great Grandpa is this? I am assuming it is Nana's or Grandpa's father but I can not remember who has that many siblings. Very interesting and sad. Man I would not want to be his wife with that many kids and a single mom.

Yankee Girl said...

It was Grandpa's Great Grandfather. His name was John Burns and begat John Burns who begat Grandpa.

Denise Hollinger said...

duh, I was thinking Great Grandpa not great Great! That is awful, but I can see how finding something like that can motivate you to find more. Keep up the good work.

Denise Hollinger said...

You still have Tess on Wed! I need ideas for Christmas gifts for you still! We get in Tuesday afternoon...see ya soon :)