Thursday, March 13, 2008

This one's for "Dexter"

A statement that I have used all my life and can recall all my uncles uttered it many times-I never knew who Dexter was but assumed he was a game warden or such, My grandfather Berlin Olyer and all of his brothers were great hunters, in fact Berlin shot his last deer on a trip with me in 1943 age 70, near Cooperstown, N.Y. I think the first time I heard the statement was from my grandfather when I asked why he carried a bullet in his pocket and he always had it with him like a good luck charm. After he passed away I lost it but it was a empty brass shell 30-06.

While on a record search with I remembered "dexter" so punched it in the search engine for newspapers and what a chilling surprise -

Photo Margaret LaValle and Berlin Olyer wedding 1900 St Regis Falls,N.Y.

"the Malone Farmer" # 39 Malone,N.Y. Wednesday.Sept 23,1903

"At about 12:45 P.M. Saturday, Mr Orrando P. Dexter, a wealthy Connecticut gentleman, who owns a fine private lake and park and beautiful summer residence in the town of Waverly, started to drive to Santa Clara village, the nearest post office, His foreman, Mr Gile in company of another gentleman, had started out with a team a short time ahead of him, and Mr Russell, who is employed about the place, was hitching up another team when Mr Dexter started out alone for his mail. in his carriage. Mr Russell was still hitching up a few moments later when he heard two shots nearby. Thinking there were poachers on the place he immediately started out in the direction from which the shots came and had gone only a couple of rods from the place when he found the prostrate form of Mr Dexter lying on his back in the road, with a bullet hole through his body. There was still a temour of the muscles, but Mr. Dexter had expired. The horse which Mr Dexter was driving continued on untilll it overtook Mr Giles, who seeing nobody in the carriage, suspected that something was wrong turned back to find his emplyer. There was blood on the bottom of the carriage, a bullet hole through the back of the seat and a wound near the tail of the horse. Finding Russell and the body, the men removed it to Mr Dexter's home."

Mr Dexter was a wealthy bachelor, eccentric, and extremely jealous of his personal and property rights. A lawyer by profession and maintained a business office and legal residence in Norwalk,Conn. He did not practice his profession to any considerable extent except to pursue the poachers and native people who violated his private property. He had from time to time greatly increased his land holdings in Waverly and prosecuted relentlessly trespassers and poachers. Rumors that his life might be in danger were always turned aside with levity by Mr Dexter, who was without fear. He made so many enemies by his persistent litigation that it was only a matter of time before someone would act. Mr Dexter's aged father posted a $5,000 reward for conviction of the assassin. No one or nothing was ever found out. A few years after the death a old house in the area was being demolished and a rifle was found that was no doubt the weapon.

Although my grandfather Berlin Olyer was living in the area at the time I would hope he had no part in the shooting. Berlin lived in Spring Cove with his parents and brothers- he was 23 years old in 1900 census worked in the woods, lived of the land hunting and fishing as so many of the natives did. He married Margaret Jane Cummings a girl who worked in the mess hall of camp #5 were her mother was the cook and her father was the blacksmith and Sawyer. Berlin and his family left Spring Cove in 1908 after loosing a pair of twin boys, The lumber camp life was to much for my grandmother, by now she had 3 living daughters and 3 children who had died.-They went to Little Falls,New York were he went to work for the NYC Railroad,

But the resentment for "Dexter" must have been so strong he carried that cartridge all of his life,

Remember to add more interest to your genealogy follow every clue you never know what you are going to learn about the family, to us this was just a saying but imagine how embittered these people living in the area must have been - to Mr Dexter and makes one wonder how a piece of land can be important enough to cause people to so hate you they will take your life---

I plan on trying to take the saying out of my vocabulary. "This one's for Dexter"


Rosebud Collection said...

This is so interesting. Thank you for sharing..

Rosebud Collection said...

Wow, just read about Dexter..Doesn't greed do funny things to people and how he was disliked..I have to admit, nothing is that important to me, I came in with nothing and will leave this earth the same way..

Distressing Delilah said...

That is a great real life story pop!

wendy said...

Back up on the Johnson side of my family, a man tried to kill him once (didn't succeed) and ended up committing suicide after he'd shot him. Not too long ago I discovered that his daughter married Johnson's son (that wasn't why he was shooting him) - it makes quite an interesting story! Thanks for sharing!