Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

July 2, 2020

J is For Jailbird

1863 Indictment William Massey for Theft
Olive Tree Genealogy is continuing a new Alphabet Genealogy series of blog posts. I'm not following the usual way of going A-Z surnames.

Instead I will create a one word "tag". Then I will share an ancestor (mine, my husband's, an inlaw's or one of my children's) who fits the tag

Today's letter isJ for Jailbird.

Do you have any ancestors who ended up in prison? I do, but not as many as my husband.

My husband's 3rd great-grandfather William Massey lived in St Mary's Ontario from 1860 until his death in 1865. 

William, a teamster, worked for the newly formed American Express Company which had an office in St. Mary's in the mid 1800s. In 1862 William was charged with stealing over $800.00 from the Company (approximately $20,000.00 now) and arraigned for trial. One of the jurors at his arraignment was non other than Timothy Eaton, founder of Eaton's Company stores.

Read more about William and the lies he told his family to explain his absence while in jail. 

Olive May Peer, born November 1898 in Port Credit Ontario, has a common Peer ancestor with me. Her 3rd great-grandfather Jacob Peer, who I wrote about in the book "The Peer Family of North America" is my 4th. great-grandfather. My grandmother, also named Olive Peer, was Olive May's cousin.

In February 1927 Olive May married Robert Jackson. She could not have known that her husband was using an alias, that his real name was Robert Rodgers, and that her husband would be charged with two counts of bigamy and sentenced to time in jail.
Read more about Olive and her bigamist husband.

For something a little lighter, perhaps even humourous read Baa baa blacksheep, have you any cows? My great-grandmother's brothers spent time in jail for stealing a cow! Imagine going to jail in 1901 for a year and a half just for stealing a cow.

To find more exciting and troubling stories of ancestors who have been sent to prison for various crimes ranging from being drunk and disorderly to murder, use the topic "JAIL"  That topic will also bring up lists of prisoners in various jails, and more!

No comments: