Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Wrong Man, directed by me, not Hitchcock

It was just like the Hitchcock thriller, a case of mistaken identity.  The wrong man was sent to prison (until I checked the records further).  

For a while, I thought I had found my Great-Great Grandfather John McGrath in the 1910 Census in Columbus, Platte County, Nebraska.  On the "Name of Institution" line, it says "City Jail 27 to 32 incl".  John McGrath is listed on line 27.  His age was 67, a little young. He was widowed which was not exactly correct but his second wife had left him, maybe he just answered the question that way.  Born in Pennsylvania, listed as a Hobo.  I would not be surprised if he was a hobo and it is definitely possible to jump on an eastbound train in Cozad and end up in Columbus.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Columbus Ward 2, Platte,Nebraska; Roll: T624_853; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0178; FHL microfilm: 1374866.

Through the Chronicling America website, I found a newspaper article from the Columbus Journal about a stabbing (just a wound) and another article which said McGrath pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary.  At the Nebraska State Historical Society Library I was able to find the prison record which was difficult to read but looks like it says this guy had children Thomas and Joseph living in Sidney, Australia (looks like Austria).  Unless he lied about those children, this clears MY John McGrath as the criminal. 

This John McGrath was born in Pennsylvania, he was Catholic, age 67, widower, a miner, 5 ft 1/4 in, 109 lbs, with gray hair.  There's more to the physical description, but it's very hard to read.  I have copies for anyone who is related.  

No comments:

Post a Comment