Do you have a skeleton in the closet??

MacDawg

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So, I'm going through several boxes of my parents 'stuff'. They both passed away about 17 years ago. Anyway, I've got all of my Dad's old WWII letters and pictures and things. His dad was in WWI and I've got his items as well.

Good stuff... but while I'm digging, I find newspaper articles from the 1920's that reveal that my great grandmother murdered my great grandfather! She was sentenced to be hanged (which was unheard of for a woman at the time), but in a second trial they sentenced her to life.

She had threatened to kill him, and he tried to divorce her.

From the news articles...
Newspaper said:
Dr. XXXX alleges that his wife made him deed to her all his property, threatened to "keep him in hell if he didn't," threatened to kill him, told him she cared no more for him than a chain gang n*gger or a hound dog, tried to push him down stairs, told him "he was no good, but just an old pair of pants," and committed divers other and further acts "to his great shame, humiliation and injury..."

After getting all his property, Dr. XXXX says his wife tried to carry out her threats to kill him. On one occasion, he says, she tried to push him down a flight of stairs, and told him she did not care for him any more than she did for a hound dog, also that she hated him and wished he was in the bottomless pits of hell.

The petitioner claims that his wife would show her spite by breaking up his tool chest, by turning his horse loose from the barn and making it run away and on one occasion, he says, she came to his office and slashed a leather couch into ribbons with a razor.
Anyway, she ends up shooting him, and is sentenced to be hanged. Later she is granted "mercy" and is given life.

So, I'm wondering... what's your family's deep dark secret?
Any murderers in your family?
Other skeletons?
What's the dark side of your family?
Who is the black sheep?

Woof, Woof - Dawg
*don't even think about chaining me up*
 

Doctor Q

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That's quite a story, MacDawg.
Mrs. XXXX alleges that his wife ... told him she cared no more for him than ... a hound dog
Dawgs run in the family, I guess.

I haven't uncovered many old family secrets, other than that my grandmother lied about her age. We only learned this when we found her birth certificate in some old papers. What a scandal! Pretty shocking, eh?
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
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I'm the black sheep of the family for reasons I won't go into... maybe black is a bit strong, sort of a dirty-grey colour... nothing criminal, though.

More to do with not living my life according to the script I was handed and not living up to others' expectations.

Anyway, the only really odd tale of note was the great uncle who lost his grip on reality, developed an unstoppable desire for an exclusive diet of carrots, and ate so many that he turned orange before he died.

And there was also the mysterious great grandfather who was doing something important in colonial India and became 'over-familiar' with the local boys... my grandmother (still alive at 96) is extremely reticent on the subject – have only heard hints of this from my mother.
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
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I'm not aware of any skeleton's in my family closet. Leaning about family history is interesting. The only mystery that I know about is with my paternal grandfather. He said that he grew up as an orphan and so wasn't aware of his side of the family.
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
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North Carolina
I have a similar skeleton in my family but given the fact that I'm not exactly anonymous here, I'd rather not go into more detail than that.
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
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Wow, that's some secret to stumble across, MacDawg. Hope it didn't rub your fur the wrong way.

I don't know of anything quite so juicy in my ancestry. The only story I know is decidedly on the romantic side. My father was from a reasonably well-to-do family in Hartford, Conn., and was supposed to marry a girl commensurate with his "station." He met my mother while on a trip to Virginia, they fell in love, and he ultimately decided to turn his back on a multi-million dollar inheritance to marry my mother. His own mother pretty much cut him off. His two brothers kept in touch, though. Now that my dad and uncles are gone, I don't know anything about his side of the family.
I hope I could make the same decision.
 

PickledSquirrel

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Dec 10, 2003
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Aarhus, DK
Some discovery, Dawg:eek:
As far as I'm aware of, we have no actual murderers in the family. The most interesting family trait would be a tendency towards illegitimate children or simply children unaccounted for. Amongst my (half)brothers alone, one turned out not to be my brother anyway, and one has not got the father that his birth certificate says he has. And thats just my generation:D

-Squirrel
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
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Sod off
About 10 years ago, a guy in Florida with the same last name as me was arrested for trying to murder his neighbors by poisoning their water supply. I haven't yet found out how (if at all) he is related to me. Our family jokes about it every now and then. I'm of Slovenian ancestry, so it isn't like the name is Smith or anything either; in fact he is the only other person I know with that name outside my family.
 

jim.

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2004
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C-ville, VA
I haven't found any skeletons, but I did find a couple of interesting things when I was going through my grandfather's old papers.

One, I found old medical records on the Presley family. My grandfather was apparently the personal physician to Elvis's parents during the late 50's/early 60's. Nothing too juicy there, but my pediatrician uncle made us dispose of them as required by law (or so he said). I don't think HIPAA applied retroactively. Some people lack vision.

Two, he also had an old letter sent to his father (or grandfather, maybe) from an A. Candler about helping raise capital for a drink venture that he wanted to try. According to the family, his timeless response was "No one would ever drink that." Thank god he was right, I mean who likes Coca Cola anyway?

I didn't believe that story until my grandmother dug out the letter. I'm still not sure if I do believe it even now. I still think it was an old version of a form letter. I am more inclined to believe the Presley thing because my grandparents lived a few blocks away from them in Memphis before my mother was born, and my grandfather ran a family practice for that area of town. Too bad he's too senile to ask anymore.

Jim
 

Doctor Q

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A few years back, I learned that my great uncle was once in jail. My mom told me that, but just as I was deciding that he was my not-so-great uncle, she explained that he was a reporter and had been doing an undercover investigation on the jail! The story was later published, so I guess he wasn't just making it up to explain a real stint in jail.
 

SuperChuck

macrumors 6502
Nov 15, 2003
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Chucktown, SC
Although I provide most of the skeletons for my family's closet, my great-grandmother was apparently very fond of her pistol. According to my grandfather, she was so fat that the large pistol could be hidden under her arm and she would frequently surprise her unsuspecting enemies with a few warning shots.
 

MacDawg

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I'm reading all my Dad's WWII letters to his Mom and Dad right now.
His Mom got sick and died not soon after he enlisted (he was underage and had to be signed in by his Dad).

His Dad wrote him this note on Dec. 11th, 1942

This flower was taken from mother's grave.
It is the only one that I have got. Save it.
Is not this flower worth fighting for?

Love,
Daddy
Enclosed in the note is the flower...
and it is still in good condition to be 63 years old.





Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

Ugg

macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
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Penryn
One of my Father's cousins supposedly hung himself in the barn at a family picnic. He was only in his teens, but I've heard veiled comments that another family member might have done it. The male side of the family isn't known for keeping their pants zipped up when around the opposite sex so... I don't know if I'll ever know the truth. My Dad was only about 8 or 9 when it happened and refuses to speculate.
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
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Dornbirn (Austria)
one of my grand-grand fathers were in the french foreign legion ..i think that's pretty shady enough...not much is known to his history before that (andb ecause of this the fathers side of our family always had been _much_ smaller ...

that and having family members fight on the wrong side in WW2 are the most memorable "skeletons" ... so far no murders,big psychological problems, lunatics,suicides etc. in the last ..say 75 years ..prior to that there are simply too much family members on the one side(going back untill ~1520 and the first recordings from the local church) and too few informations on the other side...

perhaps i'll dig through the old papers in the next summer
 

Counterfit

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Aug 20, 2003
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Hmm, I think the closest thing in my family would be anorexia and a couple divorces. Oh, one of my aunts was invited to a threesome with Rick James and a female companion when she was living in/near L.A.
Anything worse, I'd probably have to go over to a (very) distantly related family, the Kennedys :D Let's see, my great-great-grandmother was a Fitzgerald before she was married, and she was the niece of whichever Kennedy was mayor of Boston for a while... :rolleyes: Yeah, way back.
 

elizabeth

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Nov 9, 2004
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canterbury/nottingham
someone in my family was one of Queen Victoria's lady in waiting. However, she had an affair (or something, i can't remember exactly!) and was banished to France. Later, she received a royal pardon and was allowed back into the country.
that's about it, really.


oh, hi btw..i'm a serial lurker, and brap's other half. :)
 

MacDawg

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elizabeth said:
someone in my family was one of Queen Victoria's lady in waiting. However, she had an affair (or something, i can't remember exactly!) and was banished to France. Later, she received a royal pardon and was allowed back into the country.
that's about it, really.


oh, hi btw..i'm a serial lurker, and brap's other half. :)
Welcome elizabeth!
Glad to have you join in!

I'm still reading letters right now... fascinating.

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

MacDawg

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jsw said:
What you've posted so far is very moving. Seriously. Well, the flower part, not the homicide part.
My Dad was from the WWII era like Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation talks about. He was a very private and quiet man. I am learning a lot right now just reading his letters to his mom and dad, and theirs to him.

Fascinating.

He was in North Africa and in Italy during the war.

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

applekid

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Jul 3, 2003
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Some amusing stuff happening in this thread. :)

I haven't uncovered any family secrets, so I really have nothing to add, about my family anyway.

However, I have a friend whose great uncle was a grand wizard of the KKK.

And, that same friend also found a ring of the Masons that belonged to one of his late relatives.
 

MacDawg

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OK, for anybody that is interested, I will try to post some more of my findings as I go...

I have transcribed this letter in its original grammar, etc.

May 28 - 1942
Thursday Night

Dear Son,
How are you Well I hope. It is very hot here now. We miss you very much, I know you do us. I am glad that you received the money. How do you like working in the warehouse. You say that it keep you off of K.P. duty. Will be glad when you get sent to a base. I hope that it will be in Georgia. I did not know I would miss you so much, but I do. Be a brave boy and everything will turn out all right. Nothing exciting here. Mother said hello to you. She is doing as good as expected. She is still in bed. I have rented a hospital bed for her. We have a nurse at night time for her. Her name is Mrs. Davis, and lived next door to Cecil. Son why don't you let us hear more often from you. It cheer your mother up so much. She asked every day whether the mail man left anything from you. So write more often if you please. Just a few lines every day or two. Have you heard from R. C. yet. I guess that you will be moving around the first. Guess that you will be glad when they pay you. I did not worked in my office for about a month and it sure does hurt. It is very hard to get the patients started back. In fact I was not doing nothing when I stopped. It is hard but I will make out some way. I have worry until I am crazy, but nothing will ever make me start back drinking. I have learn my lesson. I hope that you will never taste a drop of liquor for my sake. It does not pay. I can trust you. Do not worry about mother. Keep your mind on your your business. Learn everything that you can. You will need it. I have not heard anything from Uncle Sam yet. I want them to send for me, but not when your mother is ill. I hope that she will soon get well, and then they can send for me. I hope that will not be long now. You be a good boy and write more often and I will do the same.

With love
From your
Father




Can't you just feel the pathos?
It just makes my heart ache... but then again its my dad and granddad.



I never knew my granddad, he died when I was too young to know.

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

MacDawg

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Back to the original "skeleton in the closet"

This is from the original news article.
From the caption you find out that the "lady" in the bed is my great grandmother,
and my murdered great grandfather is in the lower right corner.

The headline screamed "Woman to be hanged"



Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
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Andover, MA
MacDawg said:
Back to the original "skeleton in the closet"

This is from the original news article.
From the caption you find out that the "lady" in the bed is my great grandmother,
and my murdered great grandfather is in the lower right corner.

The headline screamed "Woman to be hanged"



Woof, Woof - Dawg
Some background on the prosecutor, and an article which mentions the judge...