Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Uncle Frank": The Character pt.1

In researching what became of the Tilley's (after my 4th Gr-Grandfather Joseph Tilley sued a white man very soon after slavery ended and won) I discovered that one of my Uncle's, Ned Tilley, was sent to the Penitentiary twice, where he became infamous for dishing out his own brand of justice..

I decided to search for his brother, my 3rd great grand uncle Frank Tilley to see if he too, ended up in prison and here is what I discovered:

In the 1870 Census, Frank was listed as living next door to his parents and younger sister with his wife Edith/Eda. He was a Farm hand. Common occupation- no excitement there.. (Their last name was listed as Smith- haven't uncovered why just yet...)

1870, U.S. Census, Greene Co., Mo.

In the 1880 Census, Frank and Edith live a few blocks away from his parents and he works at a Saloon.

1880, U.S. Census, Greene Co., Mo.

Seeing the word Saloon just brought the time frame to life. Images of old westerns come to mind...  Frank apparently lived up to every Old Western movie Saloon  scene I've ever seen. Below are some newspaper articles I found about my Uncle Frank. Enjoy....:)

Sept. 21, 1886, The Springfield Leader

March 2, 1887, The Springfield Leader

July, 17, 1889, The Springfield Leader

May 13, 1891, The Springfield Leader 
Feb. 28, 1895, The Springfield Leader 
August 9, 1899, The Springfield Leader

 I know domestic violence isn't a laughing matter, but " caressing blow" to his "dusky sweetheart"... LOL? Edith must have left Frank or vice versa by now. This is the first of many domestic disturbances between Frank and his dusky sweetheart  Flora....

 (This one is kind of distorted so I transcribed it below)

March 16, 1900, Springfield Republican

Frank Tilley.
  The battle-scarred hero of over a score of fighting and cutting affrays, is once more the victim of the deadly steel blade.
  Every city has its characters, and Springfield numbers among its list Frank Tilley, the well known colored man, whose face plainly shows that he has enjoyed better days.  Frank frequently takes on board too much :red eye" and then goes hunting for trouble. Yesterday was one of his off days, and he invited one of his rivals to decorate his shapeless physiognomy with a piece of cold steel, which invitation was promptly accepted and now "Uncle Frank" (as he is affectionately called by his associates and companions), is nursing a badly lacerated face.
  For several years, Frank Tilley has been paying attention to a colored woman named Flora Farrier who resides in a Shanty on Olive Street which is in the rear of the Old Coop Tobacco Factory, and a place which has caused the city officers much annoyance and many a drop of blood has been spilled on the rusty old board floor. On last Tuesday morning a couple of burly Negros who claim to hail from the Sunflower State, where they had been at work in the coal mines, appeared at the Olive Street resort and applied for board and lodging. They were accepted as welcome guest and the now "happy" family of which Frank Tilley was a prominent member, proceeded to have a high ? time as the two Negroes from Kansas were well supplied with "?". Booze flowed freely and everything went well until yesterday when Frank Tilley got a "little too gay" with Flora Farrier, the "landlady" and after a war of words, Franks temper got the better of him and he slapped the colored woman at which one of the Burlys from Kansas, who gave his name as Bob ? became infuriated at the actions of Tilley, and drawing his pocket knife, which contained a long ugly looking blade, commenced to curve up on the face of "Uncle Frank" inflicting several very deep wounds upon his cheek and his neck.
   Before the men who did the cutting took his departure from the resort he laid claim to the fact that the woman who went by the name of Flora Farrier, whom Tilley slapped was his wife. The men made their escape and have not as yet been captured.
  The notorious Flora Duncan, who has quite a criminal record , also resides in the house where the affray took place.  

So, Frank was an alcoholic character around town who worked at a Saloon and was a "Prominent Member" of a "family" of characters that reside at a "resort". I can only wonder if the resort was an actual boarding house or a brothel or both...What I do know is that Frank wasn't done making local newspaper headlines...  

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