About 25 years ago a woman I corresponded with about my PEER family in Guelph Ontario Canada told me an intriguing story. According to her she found a newspaper article about my great-grandfather Stephen Peer being attacked and killed by an axe-wielding neighbour. She didn't provide a date or any other details. No amount of pleading or coaxing on my part could get a source from her, not even the name of the newspaper. Stephen was not her ancestor and my Peer ancestry was of no interest to her so even my offers to share everything I had on the family held no interest.
So for 25 years I've tried to find this reference. Some time ago I found Stephen's death registration for 1897 but the cause of death was listed as Typhoid Fever not murder. Nonetheless I checked Guelph newspapers for several months prior to his death just in case. But nothing turned up. These newspapers are not indexed so searching meant a long laborious read of every issue. Eventually I put this on the back burner as a curiousity, as a story that might have a little truth to it.
Searching Online Newspapers
It was published in The Lethbridge News (Alberta) on June 5, 1895 and was noted as a condensed story. I was pretty excited to find this but of course now I want the full story. Why was this pump so important? Who was Walter Hyde and his father? And why would an Alberta newspaper publish this?
Looking for Walter and the Full Story
A search of Ancestry.com census records turned up some information on Walter Hyde. He was born ca 1874 to Alfred & Sarah (Farrow) Hyde. It struck me that Walter was quite a bit younger than my great-grandfather who was born ca 1853. I don't know if Walter went to jail or any other details of this incident but am determined to find out.
Since getting to Guelph to hunt through the filmed newspapers is difficult for me I decided to hire the Guelph Public Library Research Services to look for any references to this event. Fingers crossed that I find out exactly what happened. Of course if any of my readers live in Guelph Ontario and would be willing to have a look in the Guelph Mercury in first week of June 1895 for this story, please let me know!
The Moral of This Story
The moral of my story is NEVER GIVE UP! Okay I have two morals - never give up and never ever dismiss a "story" as untrue until you've found evidence to either prove or disprove it.
UPDATE: Full news article found! Read about what happened at 52 Ancestors: Found Details re Great-Grandpa Peer Attacked By Axe-Wielding Neighbour in 1895