52 Ancestors Week 26 - Black Sheep

+14 votes

AJC - A "black sheep" is someone who is considered a troublemaker or an outcast. Fortunately for family historians, some "black sheep" create a lot of records. Do you have a criminal ancestor? Someone who was considered a rabble-rouser? Is there someone who was an outcast because of a difference of opinion or beliefs?

in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Oh, lord... my own grandfather went to prison for murder. Well, he wasn't exactly Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson. He only murdered one person that we know of. Anyway, my grandfather's aunt (his father's sister) had killed her children with a shotgun and then burned the house down with the baby inside in a post-partum rampage in 1902.

There's a pretty funny letter written by a cousin of this McFatter clan, by the name of Louis Elliott Diamond, where he complains that the McFatters are all "restless halfassed volatile". You don't say! I'm restless, halfassed, and volatile as well, so I guess we breed true!
26. Nothing serious but my mother and I have always been considered the black sheep of the family.

20 Answers

+11 votes
I have talked about Robert Smythe before in this series.  He was my grandmother's brother-in-law who fell in love with grandmother's sister, Lucille, while he was married to their older sister, Addie.  Lucille was living with Addie and Robert as she awaited her divorce.  Robert fell hard for her apparently, and started stalking her and threatening her when she rebuffed his advances.  Lucille's employer had to run him out of the grocery store using a hatchet one day because he was harassing Lucille at her workplace and threatening to kill her.  

One night when Lucille, 19 years old, was walking home with her father, MIlton Freeman, Robert showed up drunk and accosted them.  Before Milton knew what was happening Robert drew a gun and killed Lucille with one shot.  He turned the gun on Milton but it jammed.  Robert ran away and was later found dead by his own hand.

The story was run several times in the Atlanta newspapers.

by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (287k points)
+11 votes

In my family, my great-great-grandfather, Jakob P. Mampel, definitely wins this prize.  Fold 3 by Ancestry (https://www.fold3.com/image/2961559) yielded a treasure from the FBI Case Files, File 4138-A.  He came to the US from Heidelberg as a child, eventually enlisting in the Union Army under Gen. Franz Sigel. That was probably the last good thing he did. Leaving his wife and five children for a younger woman after skipping town for Sacramento (he lived in Wisconsin-I can't blame him for wanting a change of climate), he lived to a ripe old age. While his could just be a story of your average family-ditching bigamist, he achieved some level of minor notoriety...in 1918, at the age of 82, he was investigated for "alleged seditious utterance" by the Bureau of Investigation (yes, it was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation a few years later). My dear ancestor was apparently a nasty piece of work who couldn't get along with his neighbors-one of them finally told him that, if all Germans were like him, it was a good thing the US was tearing into them. Affronted, my great-great-grandfather got his gun and pointed it at his mouthy neighbor. At the trial, per BOI records, the main evidence for him being a German sympathizer was that he didn't buy war bonds and his neighbors didn't like him. The majority of the jury decided that he was just a cranky jerk and decided not to convict. File closed.

by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
+5 votes
Mine is my uncle who is Charles Monroe Sapp and it is his dad who is Emory Eron Sapp half brother who is Louis Benjamin Sapp.This is Louis Benjamin Sapp's brother profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sapp-1417. Both are Black Sheep of that Sapp family. He was charged along with his half brother in the murder of his half brother 4th and last wife for her property and then the murder of the two men that killed his Em's wife, Richard Watt and Frank Havard. He was convicted for the murder of Em's wife, with Em getting 40 years and Lou getting 20 years. However, the conviction was overturned, and Em was retried while Lou sat waiting in jail for his trial. He was never retried and was let out on $7000 bail in June, 1919 more than a year after Em's conviction. In November of 1939 Lou again made headlines when he surrendered to officers in Louisiana for the slaying of a patient in a hospital in New Orleans. The story as told was that Lou caught his wife in bed with a man, and that he shot at him, but the man escaped through the window of the house. However, he had been hit by one of the shots, and that he was admitted to a hospital in New Orleans. It is said that Lou bought a bunch of flowers, hid his pistol in the flowers and went to the hospital to visit the man. He shot and killed the man in his hospital room. He was sent to prison in Louisiana and after serving some time was pardoned from prison in Louisiana sometime during the administration of Bill Dodd as Lt. Governor. Bill Dodd's mother, Virginia was a brother Louis or of Lou as he was called. It was no reason to believe that Bill Dodd had any part in getting Lou pardoned for Bill Dodd was a highly respected politician both as Lt. Governor and Supt. of Schools.
by Living Barnett G2G6 Pilot (505k points)
edited by Living Barnett
+11 votes
Gather 'round and I'll tell you the tale of Elias Felker. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Felker-209

Elias was a young man from Rockingham county, New Hampshire. In the 1830s he cheated on his wife with a woman named Patty/Martha Smart. She cheated on her husband and well it takes two to tango. The product of their union was a boy who Patty named after her father, Jeremiah. This wasn't the end of the story.

Jeremiah and Patty sued for parental custody of little Jeremiah and Elias was eventually gone by 1844. The family disliked Elias so much that on Jeremiah's death certificate in the early 1900s, his wife listed his grandfather, Joseph as the father. Now that's dropping shade.

I'm sure I have others involving cheating on spouses and illicit affairs. This one you could make a movie about. And have it directed by Martin Scorsese.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (780k points)
edited by Chris Ferraiolo
+9 votes
My g-g-uncle John Daniel Underwood deserted from the Confederate army during the siege of Petersburg, about January or February of 1865. He signed an oath of allegiance to the US (a copy of which I have) and remained up north for a while because none of his other brothers (three in the artillery) or in-laws or future in-laws (about three in the same artillery unit) nor three first cousins ever deserted.

After the dust of the war had settled, John came back but lived across the River (Catawba) from his relatives, married and became the choir director at Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Mecklenburg County, NC.

His descendants served this country through several generations. One was a government official on Guam when that Island was invaded by the Japanese during WW II and remained a prisoner until freed near the end of the war. A son of this descendant was the US representative from Guam for many years.  Another descendant is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

There is such a thing as redemption for black sheep if they are given the chance.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
+10 votes

So far as I know, my family has been pretty law-abiding on both sides. My mother Lois (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stoner-631 ) always referred to herself as the "Black Sheep" of her family. She was the first one to appreciate rock and roll, the first one to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, and use LSD. She was the first one to get a divorce. And she had a cousin who broke contact with her because of the divorce, until his own daughter got divorced, also.

Someone below mentioned axe-murderers, which made me remember that I am distantly related to Lizzie Borden (of axe murderer fame). Lizzie Borden (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Borden-196 ) was my 6th cousin 3 times removed, and my 6th cousin 4 times removed by a different path. She is even part of the official "Black Sheep Project"!

One of my and Lizzie's common ancestors was Thomas Cornell, Jr. (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cornell-73 ), who was hanged for the alleged killing of his mother, on very flimsy evidence. A key part of the evidence was a dream of the dead woman's brother. Also friends of the mother saying that she complained that her son was not supporting her in the style she felt she deserved.

He was the last person who saw his mother alive, but it was in the room next to where the family was eating, and there was no report of a commotion or struggle. The mother had been depressed and talked about suicide.

I think Tom could be counted as a black sheep, also. His pregnant wife named their daughter "Innocent".

by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 8 (85.0k points)
edited by Alison Gardner
+11 votes
So you've heard that when you start to dig into family history, you never know what you'll find....I did not know this family or my second cousin twice removed.

Leroy was 14 years old when his father, a conductor on the New York Central Railroad, was killed in an accident in which parts of his body were scattered about. Perhaps this impacted him, perhaps not.

When he was 20, he was accused of attacking a girl and admitted to the crime, according to the newspaper account, he was intoxicated and "He does not know why he attacked the girl except that when he saw her the impulse came over him to harm her and he could not resist to." For this he was sentenced to a minimum of four years in Auburn prison.

Almost exactly four years to the day after he was sentenced to prison, he married. Eighteen months later, he walked out of the house, never to be seen again by his wife. It was probably about this time that he started using an alias. One of his alias used his mother's maiden name, which was also the surname of her second husband.

Less than eighteen months later, in August 1918, he was convicted of rape, after advertising in the Philadelphia newspapers for help at a country place, then getting a girl to go onto a lonely country road. He was sentenced to a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 15 years. He was resident in the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 1920 and 1930 census.


Certainly qualifies as a black sheep...
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (608k points)
+8 votes

My family were good people. They never broke the law. However, one of my great aunts married onto an English family that did have a murderer (Skeleton) in its closet!!

My great aunt was Bessie Burrow - the oldest of my grandmothers siblings. She married a man named Edward Bentall Collis from Essex in England. I mention this just so you know how this Skeleton was connected to my family. LOL

It turns out that Edward's paternal uncle - Samuel Bentall Collis - was declared insane after murdering the local farm baliff and hacking off the poor mans head. There was a huge and very detailed write up of the events, and the trial in the Halstead and Colme Valley Gazette (Essex)  in early September 1896.


If anyone wants to read the details, let me know your email address and I can send you a Word Doc

Samuel was incarcerated at the Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum in Berkshire where he died in 1899 at age 37.

As far as I know, this is the only "Black Sheep" that is connected to my family in any way.

by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+7 votes

Wow! Some colourful characters here! No axe murderers for me yet, but I recently found out that 2nd great grandfather David Park wasn't who he appears to be in documentation only. Quelle Surprise... he drained his bank account and left my 2nd great grandmother with out a cent. A new NZ cousin has some really fun and enlightening stuff. My blog post click here

Speaking of shady, my 3rd great grandfather, David Park's father, had another wife in New Zealand. 

by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (18.6k points)
Speaking of axe murderers, Lizzie Borden (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Borden-196 ) was my 6th cousin 3 times removed, and my 6th cousin 4 times removed by a different path.
Divorce was not possible in NZ unless it went through the UK courts before 1867 and divorce was unlikely before 1857 in the UK.
Thanks Fiona. I didn't think so. I guess 3rd ggf was a bigamist then! 3rd ggm listed herself as a widow on the censuses. She did live a lot longer than him. I wonder if she knew of what was happening in his life? Her daughters both lived in NZ at the time. Very surprising to discover.
I have a Lizzie Border connection too. My ancestor was Mary Earle who married John Borden. I think they were her 5th gg parents? Mary Earle Borden was my 1st cousin 10x removed, so I dont know what that makes Lizzie. Are you connected to the Cornells also?
+7 votes

That would be my great-grandfather Seth Perry (1846-1895?).  But, I don't know why.  By the time I was old enough to ask questions, the people who would know firsthand were gone.  All I learned from the next generation was it was something that “wasn't talked about” so they didn't know either.  Only one of his children had descendants and none of us have a clue.

 For years, I didn't even know when he died.  I believe I have found his death record as the date fits with his youngest son being appointed a guardian because he was an orphan.  Seth's wife Marian (Young) Perry had died in 1892 of Consumption/Tuberculosis.  If this is the correct Seth, and I have found no other Seth Perry in the area, he died at the Shiawassee County Poor Farm of “paralysis” in 1895 at the age of about 49 and was buried there. The records for that institution haven't been preserved so I don't know how long this person was there (before or after his wife's death) or any details of his admission.

 Being at the Poor Farm at a fairly young age would seem to point to something gone terribly wrong in his life. His sister and three brothers were all alive living in the immediate area and apparently none were willing/able to take him in.  Possibly he had divorced or at least separated prior to his wife's death. There are some hints of financial problems in land records, but that isn’t unusual during this time period.  All appears normal on the 1880 US Census, but clearly something drastic happened in the next few years. His paper trail falls short of any explanation for his disgrace within the family.  For now, an unsolved mystery.

by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
Have you tried checking newspapers in case his name appears? You can check newspapers.com and some similar sites.
Good suggestion - I have tried checking the local papers that are available for the time period, but so far nothing has turned up.
+6 votes
I have quite a notorious ancestor on my mom’s father’s side, Lizzie Borden!! A few of my family members found out through ancestry.com and nobody had ever remembered that information being shared or passed through generations. I can only assume it was a stain on the family history books!
by Living Wagner G2G Crew (380 points)
Can you state how you are connected to Lizzie, because according to her profile, she never had any children


Unless she is more of a relative then an actual ancestor.

Also your moms fathers line has not be added to Wikitree.
+8 votes

I am not sure about being "ouctasts", because things that are notorious now were not considered a major problem.

Many of my ancestors and relatives lived in Kent, and it goes without saying that a significant proportion of them would have been involved with smuggling.  But there is one who was definitely implicated


Redman Stoakes (1791 - 1866)

"It seems likely that Redman was involved in smuggling. He was imprisoned in Hastings Gaol Sep & Oct 1835 for assault and lack of surety."

Going back much further, I have a cousin approximately 14 times removed, John Beaushin, son of


William Beauchin (abt. 1412 - 1495) 

It was said of John Beaushin's wife:

"The seid eldest John Beaushyn, sone to the seid William, toke to wyf Johan, called John Criklades doughtir, begoten on one [blank], the seid John Criklade beyng her gossippe. Also the seid John Criklade had issue a childe by the seid Johan, his mysse begoten doughtir, longe tyme before she was wedded to the seid John Beaushyn."


"The said eldest John Beauchin, son to the said William, took to wife Johan (Joan), called John Criklade's daughter, begotten on ?, the said John Criklade being her lover.  Also the said John Criklade had a child by the said Johan, his misbegotten daughter, a long time before she was wedded to the said John Beaushin."

by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (162k points)
+7 votes
I just found out that my Great-Great Grandmother Margaret Ann Thomas is a child who was born to Sabina Sheppard before she married. Sabina was incarcerated for concealing the birth of a child for 3 months in Wales. She married David Thomas and they had changed Margaret's birth date and parents. I wonder if Margaret ever knew this about herself?
by Living Harlan G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)
+8 votes

My most interesting black sheep has to be Robert Batchel, who left his wife in the workhouse in England, ran off to Ohio where he served in the civil war and bigamously married his second wife, only to leave her and their children nearly 30 years later to return to his original wife Angelina, who actually took him back!

And to  top it off..he celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1893 - so mention in the newspaper of the missing 30 years and extra family he left behind in the US

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes
"Obstinate in character" -- ya don't say! I wonder if the epilepsy pre-dated the wound to the head. If so, Robert may have been suffering from some form of brain damage. I can't believe Angelina took back a husband that abandoned her and four children in a freakin' workhouse. He must've looked like Aidan Turner from Poldark to pull that miracle off.
+6 votes

My black sheep is my grandfather, Richard Diecy Pennie formerly Penny.   When he was born the spelling was Penny but for some reason the entire family changed to Pennie.


He told his wife he was going bowling and never returned.  He left her with 3 small children.  From toddler age to around 9.  A private detective was hired and could not find a trace of him. No one knows what happened. If he was alive or dead. His wife never gave up hope he would show up one day. She refused to have him declared dead. He had an earlier wife and 2 daughters before he married Dorothy. I met my half aunt, Ruth Pennie Tonkin before she died. She said her mother had divorced Richard D.and that she and her sister Evelyn had run into a man they were convinced was their father when they were in their twenties in Detroit, Michigan. He denied it, finally relented and took them to dinner and promptly disappeared. No proof it was or was not him. Still a mystery. He was said to have lots of friends and be very open and likable.

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (841k points)
+9 votes

52 Ancestors for 52 Weeks - Week 26 Black Sheep

Finally, I am caught up. Whew. I never thought I would make it and just under the wire.

Clyde Hess was a very handsome, charismatic man. He was married On July 20, 1905 in Kankakee, Illinois to Bessie Irene Greening. A little more than a year later, on September 5, 1906 he married Elsie May Hudgin in Jasper, Indiana. Not anything wrong with that . . . until you find out that he did not receive a divorce from Bessie before he married Elsie.

Clyde committed bigamy.  He is the black sheep in our family.



by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+6 votes

Hmm. Bootlegger or cattle rustler or exile - family stories have one each of the former two, but I'm pretty sure I'd be haunted by at least one relative if I publicized it. So... exile it is: Based on "Internet stories" . . . the family of the immigrant Noland ancestors (most all claim Pearce Noland. b c1628 in Dublin as their father) had been exiled from Scotland to Ireland for backing the wrong side during the time of Cromwell.

I've always meant to look into that. So...

  • "wrong side" = Charles I or Oliver Cromwell, depending on your point of view, but...
  • "time of Cromwell" =  Charles I executed 1649; Oliver Cromwell "in office" as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653-1658 (according to Cromwell's Wikipedia article)

So, the Nolands weren't kicked out of Scotland because of Cromwell - not with Pearce born 1628 in Dublin. So maybe the problem was with religion while Charles I was monarch? The Wikipedia article for Charles I gives his reign as 1625-1649 and says he was considered "too Catholic" and that "his attempts to force the Church of Scotland to adopt high Anglican practices led to the Bishops' Wars". But the Wikipedia article for the "Bishops' Wars" gives the start date as 1639/40, so still too late to be the reason the Nolands were exiled to Ireland.

Family stories don't agree as to whether the Nolands in America were Catholic or not. My father's family was Episcopalian, and I always assumed that they had come to America because they were not Catholic and then moved to Virginia for the same reason. Some say that the Nolands who stayed in Maryland were those who weren't strongly religious while those who moved to Virginia were (my branch is the Virginia Nolands).

Either way, it brings up another point of fact to consider - Maryland's religious history.

to be continued...

by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (640k points)

trying to find the Internet exile story, I found a new twist to another story - the story being that my Nolands were descended from the Princes of Foharta. Search results for Scotland +Ireland +Noland turned up both the website I knew about and another one:

Wow! Library of Ireland! Maybe it's true... nope. John "O'Nowlan...the poet" breaks the line by having just two daughters. (His 3x-gr-grand on that site is shown as Awly... this profile in WikiTree may be his or a namesake's: Awly Nowlin.) The site does give information on a fairly modern descend of the family, though, if you think these might be your ancestors - I'm fairly certain they're not mine.

However, the site I knew about does appear to segway from the Princes of Foharta - that spelling from the Library of Ireland site, the other has "Fothairt (modern Forth)" - into the Nolands who settled in Maryland, noting

"The Maryland estate of PIERCE (NOWLAND) NOLAND, "Fethard," locally pronounced "Feddard," was most likely named after the ancient walled city of Co. Tipperary where this family or clan of O’NOLAN’S originated."

And it may be the passage preceding the quoted one that I'm remembering as the family being exiled:

"Genealogical researchers have a branch of this family living in Co. Mayo in the early seventeenth century, which suggests transplantation or dispossession from Co. Tipperary. Connaught or hell may have been the only choice for this family, but perhaps the more likely scenario is that this branch of the NOLAN Tipperary Clan moved into Co. Mayo with the expansion of the Butler family into Connaught."

Back to Cromwell!

"From what I can tell, Pierce Noland's father may have surrendered to Cromwell. Those who surrendered and would not pledge allegience to the English were told to go to hell or Connaught (general area of County Mayo, the western side of the River Shannon).I would suspect that Pierce Noland's father was one of the men who chose Connaught over hell!I still have never seen proof that he was from Mayo though.I have also read that in this Cromwellian time period many of the Nolans in County Carlow sold their land to the Kavanaughs and left." ~ 2003 post by Doris (Noland) Parton - https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/noland/869/

Doris continues:

"Pierce Noland was most likely Catholic because it was the Catholics that Cromwell was fighting, I think.

"I also visited for 2 days and 2 nights County Carlow where all Noland originated. They would have been there before spreading to Tipperary or Mayo or around the world. It is a charming town. There is a Nolan on the city council. I saw a van with a business sign on it for Nolan's Tyres. There were Nolan stones in almost every cemetery. None of the stones are far enough back to help us in our research, of course.

"I didn't try to do actual research during my limited time because there are few records in the 1600s surviving. I am gathering an understanding of the time period. I think our total clues lie with the fact that Nolans began in County Carlow.They spread to surrounding counties. They probably sold out because of Cromwell or surrendered to Cromwell and were forced to move west of the Shannon River. The clue about the name O'Dwyer is also very helpful."

The O'Dwyer comment refers to the post Doris was replying to, which speculated that perhaps the maiden name of Pierce's wife Katherine was O'Dwyer/Dwyer. See https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/noland/397/

and... This Geni profile of Pierce (b 1632, d 1724) takes us from Cromwell back to the princes (sorta):

From Cromwell...

"During the Irish civil war of the 1640s, Pierce is believed to have gone to Fethard, a royal charter town and centre of trade and commerce in South Tipperary where Piers Butler, a presumed distant cousin and descendant of the first Piers Butler, was Governor not to mention one of the chief commanders for the Irish rebel forces in Ireland. By 1650, however, the tide had turned. The King had gone into exile and, on February 3, 1650, Fethard surrendered to Cromwell’s army. Pierce Nowland is believed to have married shortly thereafter.

"Having taken an active part in the Irish civil war, under the terms of an Act of Resettlement passed in 1652, Piers Butler was forced to forfeit his vast lands in south Tipperary in exchange for less desirable lands in counties Clare, Galway and Mayo, where he, his tenants and retainers could resettle. Pierce Nowland, his wife and their young children, most likely Henry and Darby at this point, are believed to have gone to Co. Mayo sometime around 1654 where Pierce Jr. was born sometime around 1655. It is not known exactly where they lived but it was most likely in the Barony of Tirawley where Pierce Butler is known to have received lands."

Back to the princes (sorta)... The Geni profile for Pierce (b 1632) is attached as son of Thomas Charles Nowland, son of Daniel Nowland, who - in WikiTree - goes on back to the aforementioned Awly Nowlin, who is named in the pedigree posted by the Library of Ireland ("sorta" because WikiTree has Daniel and Thomas Charles as brothers, son of John Nowlin).

Maryland's religious history, from [this WikiTree page]:

  • George Calvert, First Baron of Baltimore in County Longford, Ireland, sought a royal charter to settle the region north of the Potomac River, on either side of Chesapeake Bay, which would become the Province of Maryland. His intention was to found a haven for Roman Catholics in the new world.
  • Under the rule of the Lords Baltimore, thousands of British Catholics emigrated to Maryland.
  • In 1649, the Province of Maryland passed the Maryland Toleration Act, the first law establishing religious tolerance for Christians in the British North American colonies. This was done as part of Maryland's welcome of Puritan refugees from Anglican Virginia while seeking to preserve the rights of the Catholics in St. Mary's County.
  • Reflecting parallel tensions in England under the Commonwealth government of Oliver Cromwell, tensions between the Puritans of Providence and the Catholics of St. Mary's erupted into civil war in Maryland, culminating in the Battle of the Severn in 1655.
  • In 1689, a Protestant rebellion expelled Lord Baltimore from power.
  • In 1715, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, swore publicly that he was a Protestant and was restored to power.

So... perhaps the moves (to America & between Maryland and Virginia) had nothing to do with religion. They arrived in Maryland (as far as is known) in the 1670s and Pierce (c1655-1715) moved to Virginia about 1707. From what I can tell by the profiles attached to Pierce (b c1628), he was the only child to have died in Virginia. (He's also the only one I've researched extensively, since he's the one I'm descended from.)

So... As an exile. Seems that maybe part of what I remembered may have been half right: that the family had perhaps been kicked out of one county in Ireland by Cromwell. Not necessarily for being Catholic, but for not pledging allegiance to the English.

+4 votes

Yes, there’s stories like these in every family. I’d rather not write about them publicly, I know those involved who suffered wouldn’t want their problems made public online, even anonymously. 

by Ellen Gustafson G2G6 Mach 2 (28.0k points)
+4 votes
I have yet to come across an ancestor that I would consider a black sheep!
by Marsha Craig G2G6 Mach 1 (10.2k points)
+4 votes
My sixth greatgrandfather, Samuel Fuller, wasn't just a murderer - he was executed for the killing of his own son:


575. WH Sat Dec. 8, 1792: "Pittsburgh, November 8. On Friday the 2d inst., was executed in Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina, Samuel Fuller, of Granville County, for the horrid and unnatural murder of his son. Mr. Fuller, till within a few years past, has conducted himself as a good and respectable citizen, has raised a family in good repute, and by his industry and frugality, acquired considerable property. Unfortunately for mankind, their passions, in some unguarded moments, get the better of reason and every human feeling, in the present case we have a striking instance. A man near three score years of age, unworthily takes to his bed an abandoned woman, and keeps her in offence of a faithful wife and a number of children, who are the pledges of his marriage vow. The unhappy one who fell a victim to his rage, had frequently requested his father to drive this infamous woman from his house, who destroyed the quiet of all the family. On the morning of the fatal catastrophe, this son went with a resolution to drive her off, when high words ensued, and soon after a gun was discharged by the father at his son, loaded with buck shot, several of which perforated his head and body, which killed him instantly."

The story spread from NC, to PA and thence to CT.  Nobody knows the name of the son he killed: the one most often proposed was his son Spivey, but he was living in GA at the time, and Samuel included him in the will he wrote before his execution.
by Anneliese Kennedy G2G6 Mach 1 (18.2k points)

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