Every family has black sheep. Here's mine

Mine was my youngest great-uncle. And he made sheep look smart.

First, there was this case: The missing millionaire, wherein a millionaire “leaves town”, leaving control of his assets in an attorney’s care; said attorney then liquidates all of the assets and puts the money into his own accounts.

My GU wasn’t the millionaire (that’s a different branch), nor was he the attorney. My GU was the notary public that signed off of the dubious papers. Uncle Artis (or is it Ardis?) disappears for a couple of years, the attorney gets thrown in jail, and the millionaire is never heard from again. This probably wouldn’t make him terribly unusual, but then there’s the second case.
Same attorney, and same GU get together in the late 70s, and decided to make money by extortion, so they sent letters to numerous companies, saying effectively “Give us money or we’ll do something bad to you”. When our would be extortionists didn’t get responses, they sent letter bombs, adulterated commercial products (rat poison in some products, pepper juice in eye drops & nair in shampoo), and sent (are you ready for this?) ticks in envelopes with messages that the ticks had horrible diseases that would be transmitted if the ticks bit someone. However, the ticks didn’t survive the letter sorting machinery. :smack:

Here’s a court record for the second case: UNITED STATES v. HORTON

The pair was apparently apprehended a little over a year before the Tylenol poisonings.

It appears that another person was initially blamed for the extortion, but the charges were dropped against him: Stephen Grant Morton

So what is the stupidest/weirdest story your family has?

You set the bar a little high with the ticks and the sorting machine. It’s going to take a while to top that for pure surreality!

My family doesn’t have a black sheep. Well, I’ve heard some relatives talking about one, but I can’t figure out who it is so they must be mistaken.

My family has a white sheep.

Among our population of artists, musicians, activists, politicians, unionists, unemployed gits, and general malcontents, there is… my sister. Completely normal, married, respectable, even goes to church.

The blackest the sheep come in my family is a couple of pot smokers, that also includes the in-laws. We ain’t got nothin’ on Zyada’s family!

Sort of like Marilyn Munster… :smiley:

Swedish musician Ahmadu Jah (father of Neneh Cherry), born in West Africa, once wrote on an album cover that he wasn’t the son his parents had wanted, becoming a musician instead of a doctor: “You can say I was the white sheep of the family”.

Your second example notwithstanding, I don’t really understand why this one is so bad. The notary’s job isn’t to make sure that the documents are legal. That’s the lawyer’s role. The notary’s job is just to verify that the people signing it are the correct people to sign it.

I was recently considered for jury duty. They had a handful of short questions on the form I had to fill out. Questions could be considered rather embarrassing to have to answer yes to in front of a judge, lawyers, and the rest of the crowd. Answering those for myself I was generally able to answer no. Same questions about my family? All indications point to yes.

One of my mother’s distant relations was a low-level gangster during the prohibition era. He smuggled booze from Canada into the US.

He ran afoul of rivals, and was shot to death with the good old fashioned Tommy gun.

The interesting detail is that, apparently, he was shot up so badly that they had to bury him in a bag - the gun quite literaly cut him in half. Gross.

My great-grandfather on my father’s side drove trucks for bootleggers during Prohibition. My father gets exceedingly irritated when I tell people great-grandpa was a bootlegger.

Dad: He just drove the truck!
Me: The truck full of black-market booze. Dad, that’s what bootleggers do.

Nice! Perhaps our relatives worked together, back in the day.

Apparently one of my (Great-great grand) uncles ran with the Wild Bunch in Wyoming. My Great grandmother was afraid of him.

But that’s okay. My Great Grandomther’s first ride in a car was with the town’s Madam.

In a normal situation, that would be the case, but in this instance, he was (at least legally) one of the last two people to see the millionaire. If he had talked to the police, he probably would have never had any later problems.

But he ran away instead.

Which is what my wife has called one of my sisters (the “normal” one) for the past 40 years. I come from a family of eccentrics. Including me.


One of my fairly distant relatives was Crazy Joe Gallo.


One distant cousin went raiding with Quantrill’s gang in the 1850’s or whenever, got very drunk on the raid, and met the business end of a rope when captured by angry townsfolk.

In the 1700’s one who was a judge killed a guy in a duel and later burned down a town in Virginia when they didn’t want to be under his jurisdiction. He was polite enough to warn them to leave before he burnt the town.

I have another one - an ancestor of mine was hung for being a witch in New England … but survived (a neighbour cut her down).

Mary Webster, later known as “half-hanged Mary”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Webster

I have a distant uncle removed a ridiculous amount of times who’s in jail for attacking a random black guy. And his bad luck at parole hearings is explained, in part, by the “I know I’m in jail due to the corrupt system, but I’m still running for Governor as a write-in candidate on the WHITE MAKES RIGHT party ticket” newsletters he sends out to any family members he can remember the address of.

I am not making that up. He seriously talks about being the chairman of the White Makes Right party.