My 32nd entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge.
The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.
I have fallen way behind in this challenge again due to continued health issues the last few months, but I am trying to catch up by the end of the year.
My 32nd ancestor is my 3rd great grandfather, James Patterson DARNLEY.
While working on the recent blog post about my 2nd great grandmother Catherine DARNLEY (1878-1928), I started spending a bit more time researching her parents, and was shocked to stumble upon this death certificate for her father, James Patterson Darnley. Third great grandfather Darnley died 18 March 1908, in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, from a homicidal gun shot wound to the abdomen!
Hoping that a gun shot wound death would be covered in the local newspapers, I hopped on over to Newspapers.com and struck gold.
Third great grandfather James Patterson Darnley was shot and killed by three “foreigners” (“Italians”) who jumped up from behind an embankment with the intention of robbing Darnley on his way home (to the Hempfield Slope mine area) around midnight. Third great grandfather Darnley was accompanied by his son, son-in-law, and another man. According to the Indiana Democrat, “Darnley rushed at the thug with his [own] revolver” before getting fatally shot.
Even his hometown paper carried the news.
Fourteen months after the shooting, the man arrested and tried for the murder of James Patterson Darnley was acquitted by a jury. The verdict was reported in two different area newspapers, but those newspapers seem to disagree on whether there were one or two men tried and acquitted.
About James Patterson Darnley
I have only just started researching this part of my family, but from what I gather so far, James Patterson Darnley was born in Bothwell, County of Lanark, Scotland on 21 July 1856. His parents (according to the death certificate) were James DARNLEY and Annie BODMAN of Scotland. Third great grandfather James arrived in the U.S. with his father in 1865, at the age of 9 or 10.
It appears that his father married a Margaret in 1868, after father and son arrived in the U.S. I do not yet know if third great grandfather James’s mother Annie died, or if his parents divorced. I don’t even know if his parents were married.
At the time of his death, Darnley was married to Sarah Ann LLOYD (b. 1859) and lived in Greensburg. He was employed as a miner (I would assume at nearby Hempfield Slope Mine). Sarah and James were married in 1878. They appear to have spent most of their marriage together, raising their children, in Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland.
Genealogy SnapshotName: Darnley, James Patterson (1856-1908)
Parents: James Darnley and Ann Bodman
Spouse: Sarah Ann Lloyd
Surnames: Darnley, Bodman
Relationship to CJRoots: 3rd great grandfather
Sharon Szymankiewicz says
Hi Colleen, My name is Sharon Darnley Szymankiewicz. When I read this article I talked with my Dad about it. He said this was his Great Grandfather. My father’s name is Jerry Darnley. He grew up in Bellaire, Ohio. He said he always wondered why his Grandfather hated Italians. He said he would hear his grandparents talk about someone being shot and he never knew who they talked about, plus he was very young when they talked. His Grandfather was James Patterson Darnley and his Grandmother was Sarah Mannion. They had several kids and my father was raised by them on their farm in Bellaire. I know some of his Aunts and Uncles lived in Wheeling, W. Virginia. I thought you would be interested know there is family in Buffalo, NY