Saturday, November 28, 2009

Canadian Carnival of Genealogy - Sadly, William Boyd made the news

 This Canadian Carnival of Genealogy is "a carousel" meaning we can talk about anything in Canadian genealogy that we want. Now that is more challenging than I would have originally thought. Sometimes, it is easier to come up with something to say when you get a word prompt.  When looking for ideas, I go to my photographs that are in my scanned files. Yeah, I found something.

William Boyd  - Now William Boyd is not a relative but he was the husband of my first cousin thrice removed, Maria Taylor.William was the son of James Boyd and Catherine Hartrick. William was born in Markham Township. The connection goes like this: William Boyd married Maria Taylor who was the daughter of James Taylor and Caroline Hemingway and the grand-daughter of Josiah Hemingway and Anna Stiver.

William Boyd about 1885

What is interesting about William Boyd is how he died. His death registration says that he was a constable and he was killed by a prisoner.

William Boyd was raised in Markham Township near Belford and he became a merchant.  During the mid-eighties he became a County Constable. He and Maria had four children: Mary, William B., Robert and Blanche. In 1891, they were living in Toronto

On the fateful day, June 4, 1901, William and three others were escorting three prisoners to jail  William was unarmed. The prisoners were part of the "Chicago Bank Robbers" aka "The Rutledge Gang" and they had been brought from Chicago and tried for robbing the Ross Bank at Aurora. An accomplice "tossed a hat containing three revolvers into the carriage and Rice and Rutledge had gained possession of two of them and turned them on Constables Boyd and Stewart, who were riding backward in the carriage, facing the prisoners."

Boyd was shot, the bullet had entered his skull above his right ear and entered his brain. He died about an hour after arriving at the hospital.

For more details on the day read details on the York Regional Police Association website.William Boyd is also remembered on the Toronto Police services web site. If you have any relatives/ancestors that died in the line of duty as police officers, you may be able to find information about them on the Internet, newspapers and in books.

Although, the family had only wanted a small family funeral service, representatives of the police service were there. The public lined the streets as the cortege passed.

What happened to the prisoners? They were all caught.
Thomas Jones died from not his bullet wounds but from the rough treatment from his fellows partners in crime.
Frank Rutledge, after being found guilty of robbery, jumped to his death knowing that he would be tried for murder.
Fred Lee Rice was tried and convicted of murder and was hung on July 18, 1902 at the Don Jail.
More on these individuals can be found in this appeal

More information can be found about the three men on a site that gives information about those who received the  death penalty in Canada. 

I don't expect that you will find any relative on this site but it is interesting to read some of the entries in this database. If you discover you have some black sheep in your family history, do a search, you may be surprised on what you might find. The Desperate Ones: Forgotten Canadian Outlaws by Edward Butts is another source of information on Canadian outlaws. It gives a detailed account of the Rutledge gang and the death of William Boyd. (an excerpt can  be found on Google books)

Back in 2003, I had an email from a relation of William Boyd who had found my Stiver website. He provided the photo above and has kindly given me permission to post this photo. Thank you Shane.
© 2009 Janet Iles


  1. I find this interesting. My father told me that we had a criminal in our family history named Frank Rutledge.Which is neat as there are so many Police Officers in my family history.We had found "The Desperate Ones" novel and read it. My father actually has a picture Of our ancesters after a hunting trip. The picture was taken in Streetsville and all the men were standing beside the deer they had shot. In the Picture was Frank Rutledge's Father. Just thought I'd share. Thanks, D.Rutledge

    1. my name is cody rutledge and i was born in mississauga ont my grand father ted rutledge was chief of police in streetsville in this town and his father befor him and ive allways been told the storys of frank and his rutledge gang and what thay had done and was fasinated by the history my family has held in the town of streetsville over the generations but we just wernt allways in streetsville we also have ties in the us history books as far back as bengermen franklen john rutledge was govner of north carolina and was also known as the presedent of north carolina and was apointed suprem judge by benjermen franklen so yes we have are good and are bad we were eather bank robbers or law men but we have left are marks on every were we set roots down like the rd that still bares are family name rutledge in town the town were i grew up and many befor me im proud to be a rutledge

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. It is easy to forget that in stories like this, there are people who have connections on one of the sides of the event.


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