I think most genealogists seek an ancestor who was a king or queen, maybe relationship to a historical figure or a Pilgrim. Some of us even seek ancestor of some notoriety like Jesse James of John Dilinger. It offers relief from the many leafs in our tree that are just mundane. Now I would not mind a king or Daniel Boone or being a Polish Genealogist maybe Kasimierz Pulaski. I was not seeking a notorious, Black Sheep to liven up the old family tree, but alas these things do happen.
OK, my Black Sheep is from Detroit, MI. Actually, Stanley Gawlick [sic], really born Stanislaw Gawlikowski, was a street tough during the roaring 1920′s and a member of the “Shotgun Gang”. Stanley was born about 1902 in Poland and came along with his Father Antoni & mother Katarzyna through Ellis Island. I do not know how Stanley went bad.
That was Stanley’s MO. He liked to introduce himself that way at the bank robberies. A tad narcissistic, n’est-ce pas? Apparently, that was par for the times. As you can see, his headline is entitled, “A Bullet Sings Goodby[sic]“
Well here is his mug, printed in the Detroit News, that fateful day, the 5th of August 1924. Now this newspaper clipping was saved by my cousin’s parents. When I asked my father, who was not born at that time, he said he never remembered anyone in the family speaking of this.
This goes to show that historical newspapers can provide you with vital record info too, such as date of death and cause of death (gun shot wound). I am an aficianado of the Polish Daily (Detroit), named, Dziennik Polski. They provided an even longer article !
Well I said it was probably just a local story. Then a year later, I found another article on this crime in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that describes the crime. From the article in the Dziennik Polski, I am wondering whether the female robber may have been a common-law wife or whether she was just a gun moll. Along for an exciting ride.
That’s my Black Sheep meme and I am sticking to it ! Let me hasten to add that Stanley and I share no blood. We are merely related by marriage.