Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Do you have a chain saw murder in your family?

Family Hisotry - good, bad and ugly

These six history snippets from my family history are true - or so I've been told. 


Murder most bloody.

- One of my ancestors killed his wife with an early version of the chain saw.  Chain saws first appeared in 1785 but became more prominent in 1926. The earliest were hand driven like an old egg beater or drill. Later ones where powered by various means but were large and cumbersome. Which one this supposed killer used, I don't know.

How to get away with murder.

- My grandfather, the local justice of the peace, was once called to the scene of a murder where the husband reportedly killed his wife with a stick of fire wood and then threw the evidence into the wood stove.

Whiskey Anyone?

- At another time, Granddad closed down a whiskey still and kept the equipment in the upper hall of his home waiting for the magistrate to come for a trial. My grandmother was not enamored of the resulting odor.

- Halloween Pranks

My five uncles loved pranks and placed chickens in the school room on one Halloween. The resulting mess took days to clean and everyone had a holiday. You can still see that school in the historic village at Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, May 2015 there was a fire that caused some damage to this school house of the past.
Those five uncles later all served in the military during WW11.

- One family member was a bigamist... a war related event. Enough said.

- The minister and the Sunday School Superintendent: 

We used to delight in telling people that my father (the clergyman) and my mother (the Sunday School Superintendent) lived together for two summers before they married. Not unusual today, but in the 1940's it would have been scandalous. However, when we look closer, we find out that she was a widow living in the Manse and one of her duties was to provide room and board for the summer student minister. He courted her the following year by mail and they were married in 1947 and remained married until they died in their 90's. This is the photo of their last Christmas together.

What tales - tongue in cheek or other wise, are in your family?


  1. Hi Mahrie, Intriguing ancestors!! I can imagine several storylines for future books.

    1. Ho Joanne - too true - stories could arise from our family's histories - but dare we write and publish them?

  2. I don't have any murderers in my family, but my dad had an uncle who got in trouble during prohibition. He was caught with an abnormal amount of sugar, and thus it led to the discovery of his crime. Many Mennonite Brethren (our heritage and faith) are teetotalers, so its ironic that he would do this and serve time. Those are all the details I know. Your post makes me want to find out more.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Melodie. Prohibition was rife with bootleggers. The South Shore of Nova Scotia housed quite a few but it seems they did not have a monopoly on the job. Do find out more about your uncle if you can. All too soon the older generation is gone and we can no longer access those details. Let us know what you find out.

  3. The first line of this post would make a killer (no pun intended!) first line for a novel. LIke, seriously. I don't have any in my family (that I know of. I know chain saw murderers don't go around all willy nilly, announcing their transgressions to the world, lol) but this is the stuff that great mysteries are made of.

    1. Hi Quanie - Had not thought of that as the first line for a book-- but you are right. Since I write mystery - I need to give it some consideration.

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