My grandmother was the genealogist in our family for years. She thrived on embellishing colorful stories about our ancestors. One of her most outlandish tales included the television character Sheriff Matthew Dillon. She claimed the series “Gunsmoke” was based on Dillon’s life in the Wild West. I researched our “Matt Dillon”—and discovered he’d been the magistrate for Raleigh Township, Ontario. As the magistrate, he wore many different hats, including one for sheriff.
Grandpop had had upper and lower dentures. He complained for weeks of pain in his mouth. A visit to the dentist revealed a “tooth” (probably really a root tip) coming in under his denture—which 50 years later, became a “third set of teeth.”
When Lois had extractions to eliminate the crowding, the aunts were positive she’d also grown a third set of teeth. Orthodontic treatment produced a beautiful smile and that was all the proof they needed.
Need for Speed
That’s been a family legend for more than a century. But thanks to Ancestry.com , we recently discovered that Tom actually arrived five weeks later.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
What really happened: During the 1874 Chicago Fire, he and a friend were going to the docks to catch a boat home to Joliet. The wall of the St. James Hotel collapsed on them and they were both killed.
Debbie Leser » Freeport, Ill.
When the shooting came up, Gladys said she was told George “was in the wagon with his father and two brothers when he was shot and killed by an Italian.” But none of us had ever read an account of the incident.
George was driving his wagon home from Johnstown when it happened, according to the first article (he often sold produce from the wagon). Three other men were with him; one was an Italian man known only as “Barber” (that was one of his occupations). George and Barber got into some kind of argument and climbed down from the wagon, when Barber fired. The other men claimed they were “facing the other way” and didn’t see what happened. Perhaps they’d been drinking at a bar and fell asleep in the back of the wagon. Though the newspaper mentions a reward for information leading to Barber’s arrest and the follow-up stories mention two sightings of him, he apparently was never apprehended.