One of my favorite family history finds was a newspaper article about my great-grandfather being sentenced to prison.

No one in my family knew this. Had my dad known, he would have carried his mugshot around in his wallet and shown it to everyone he met. Some of my dad’s cousin’s kids sent messages went I posted the information on Ancestry, surprised by the development.

Dallas Eby was born on 19 August 1884 in Yakima, Washington, one of nine kids. Dallas lost his father David when he was only 5, and the family lived in various spots throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho as he grew up.

One day I was plugging names into the internet, and came across this:

morning olympian
From “The Morning Olympian,” 21 June 1903.

I never would have found this without looking at newspaper sites. I had never heard a story or rumor about this. So I set out to find more. I emailed the Washington State Archives, and was able to obtain his prison records! They even included a mugshot, one of only 3 known pictures of Dallas.

Dallas maeby mugshot
Dallas Eby mugshot, 1903.

Dallas was convicted of grand larceny for stealing a horse, along with his brother Jesse and a friend.

dallas prison
Handwritten information about Dallas Eby.

These records gave me such insight into Dallas, more than I had found prior or have since.

dallas discharged
Portion of his discharge paperwork.

The information about his scars and missing a portion of his missing thumb helps give a better sense of his build. And the picture is priceless: it is the clearest of the photos we have, and I see so much of my brother and dad in him.

I find this to be a sad period for Dallas. He served 10 months in the Washington State Penitentiary. I wonder how he suffered the injuries listed in his discharge paperwork, if they occurred in prison or before. But having these documents provides invaluable information for our family, which is an upside to this misfortune.

This also shows you never know what you will find on your tree, or were you will find information on your ancestors! Thanks for allowing me to share this story of misfortune.

You can find all my 52 Ancestors post through the tag below.


Until next time,


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *