Friday, 9 January 2009

Top Spin

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher from California , was doing some work on her own family tree. She discovered that both she and Congressman Harry Reid shared a common ancestor: Remus Reid, who was hanged for horse theft and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory. On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription:

'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889'

So Judy emailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle. Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

'Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.'

14 comments:

electro-kevin said...

Sadam suffered a similar ending whilst delivering an address at a general meeting.

JPT said...

WE should have more civic functions like that nowadays I think.

The Refuser said...

Now that is some classy spin.

Tuscan Tony said...

Excellent, excellent. And now, from the desk of Idle, a moving eulogy to Karen Mmatthews.

William Gruff said...

Idle where on Earth do you find this stuff? It's very good.

idle said...

I won't claim to make it up, Wm Gruff. Nor do I trawl the internet. In this case, it appeared via an old mate who trained to become a banker with me in New York in 1985. He remains a broker specialising in those remaining American companies which have not yet filed for Chapter 11. And I remain, well, idle, until I sign a new contract, which my bank manager is encouraging me to do with all speed.

William Gruff said...

I'd love to be idle without the anxieties that my frequent bouts of idleness, and willingness to spend on food and drink, cause me. That notwithstanding, you are at least worthy of your bank manager's advice. I gave up demanding to see mine when very humble clerks told me, in other words, to fuck off.

Your blog invariably brings a smile to my face. Do please keep it up.

idle said...

Your kind words are gratefully received, Wm. This blog does not, it must be said, overload the server with the number of visitors it gets, but I like to think that the footfall is one of quality.

I plan to be employed shortly, but have no intention of failing to pass on those anecdotes and drolleries which come my way.

William Gruff said...

'Your kind words are gratefully received, Wm. This blog does not, it must be said, overload the server with the number of visitors it gets, but I like to think that the footfall is one of quality.'

Quality? That's the nicest thing I've heard for a long while. Many thanks.

My blogs receive even fewer visits in total than yours does but I blog purely for my own amusement and would do so if no one read them, which I honestly believed was the case for the first six months. I'm sure you're the same. The best bloggers seem not to care about stats but to cast their words to the world as though they were messages in bottles. Should they wash up on some foreign shore and elicit a reply one is surprised and delighted but should, as is invariably the case, they come to rest in the unexplored deeps of the 'blogosphere', those bloggers see only that they are privileged to be able to row against the current of public opinion.

'I'll get me coat' as that fellow on The Fast Show used to say.

rvi said...

Have these people been taken lessons from Mandy?

PS: I agre wiv yu abaht qwality - the problem is yu atrack peeple wot can reden rite an ave erpinyons, dohncha?

rvi said...

ooopps: "been taken" ahh, umm.

Anonymous said...

It's an urban legend....

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_remus_reid.htm

Anonymous said...

I did a quick look up on Judy Wallman and found that this same story has been told at least three different times. Not only has dear old Uncle Remus been a relative of Hillary Clinton, he has also been an uncle to Harry Reid, and Stephen Dion (a leader of Canada's liberal party). It seems that dear Uncle Remus signed up to be a part of the conservative movement's effort to gain back some legitimacy by making Democrats look shady.

Give him time; I am sure Remus will find a way of being related to Obama before too long

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