Genealogy #6: Family Clues, part 2

Family Clues, part 2

All those family stories that either aren’t true or just don’t make sense?
Make sure you give plenty of credence and time to each one…even an obviously false one may have some bits of truth to it.

This is the third example from my own family legends.

#3: “My grandfather was killed in a drive-by shooting by the Ku Klux Klan.”

Now, this one, as you no doubt can imagine, was a real doozy.
I was talking to my great-grandfather’s sister, who was describing what had happened to her mother’s father, Oliver Stanley.
The family knowledge that we had simply stated that Oliver had died…no tragedy, no murder, just…died.
But this was the kind of story I just could not let alone.
This particular event in 1885 was supposed to have taken place in North-Eastern Oregon.
Lots of Indians around at that time, but the Klan? I had serious doubts.
And a drive-by shooting? This wasn’t Los Angeles we were talking about…and cars wouldn’t be invented for some time.

So I checked into it.

I couldn’t believe what I found.

Local newspaper accounts described the events leading up to the shooting death of Oliver Stanley!

It seems Oliver was a local blacksmith, and ranchers in the area were angry that a number of horses were disappearing from their properties.
Though no proof was established, Oliver, and several others in the area, were accused of the theft.
At their trial by jury, they were acquitted, as hard evidence was not provided.
However, despite the not-guilty verdict, all the accused men were instructed to cross the state-line by nightfall.
(The town in question was about 30 miles from the border, traveling on the strongest road)
The others all left immediately, but Oliver returned home to say goodbye to his children (his wife had already passed).
A group of vigilantes followed him home, and killed him in his front yard.


Not the Klan.

Not a drive-by shooting.

But just hearing such an outlandish story made me go check it out…and the resulting factual information was hugely interesting to me…and the rest of my family!

So those stories that are clearly false, or else totally confusing?
Check them out!
You might be surprised at what you do find.


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