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February 16, 2009

Baa baa blacksheep, have you any cows?

I'm going to take a one day break from my posts about my plans for a Genealogy and Family Hope Chest and write my first entry for the Canadian Genealogy Carnival 4th Edition: Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors

The topic is Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors. The prompt states
Do you have a blacksheep ancestor in your family tree? Maybe one of your ancestors was a rogue, a scoundrel, a cad or just someone who done Grandma wrong...

Did great-grandma spend time in prison? Was Grandpa a bigamist? Did Great-Uncle Harry try to set fire to his neighbour's house? Most of us have one or two rebellious ancestors who didn't quite fit the mold. Even if you haven't got a blacksheep Canadian ancestor, tell us about any blacksheep Canadian.

While I have a fair number of blacksheep ancestors, none of them are Canadian! But I remembered today that I have a Canadian blacksheep relative. Two of my great-grand uncles qualify for this title.

They didn't do anything too horrific by today's standards, but they did end up spending 18 months in jail so I think that qualifies them as blacksheep! Here's the story directly from the newspaper of the day:

The Elmvale Lance, Dec. 5, 1901


Albert and Herman Vollick and Gabriel French who were accused of stealing a heifer from James Johnston of Flos were found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in Central Prison.

Judge Ardagh characterized the offence as a very grave and serious one, and punishable by 14 years in the penetentiary: though the Vollicks may have been led into it by French, he did not consider they were entitled to any leniency.

Albert and Herman Vollick were the brothers of my great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Vollick who I have written about before on this blog in Putting Flesh on the Genealogy Bones. Albert Nelson Vollick was born 1869 in Hay Tp Huron Co., his brother David Herman (Herman) Vollick was born 1879 in Wentworth Co. They moved to Simcoe County Ontario with their parents and siblings some time after 1881.

Can you believe the punishment could have been 14 years in the Kingston Penetentiary? Wow, just for stealing a cow.

I have another Blacksheep person in mind to write about in a future post, she wasn't my ancestor but she was an ancestor of my daughter-in-law. I think you'll find her extremely fascinating!


Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors???
Asking Canadians (who pride themselves on being nice, law-abiding, peace-in-the-world-types) to brag about our Black Sheep Ancestors is really asking a lot!
I like your mention of the long jail term. Quite an eye-opener considering the sentences we hand out today to people convicted of violent crimes against people.
On the other hand, in those days stealing a cow could be taking the food off someone's table, or worse still subtracting from the breeding stock.
Thanks for an interesting read,
Evelyn in Montreal


Greetings Lorine,
I wonder if Albert and Herman stole the heifer as a prank or for food? What a hefty price to pay!