Intriguing family ancestor

A probably apocryphal email circulating on the Internet at present claims that a senior US politician with gambling connections has a colourful ancestral history which his spin doctors have reworked into an amusing 21st century biographical rendition.

The email notes that one Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher, was doing some personal work on her own family tree when she discovered that she shared a common and quite notorious ancestor with the politician. In fact, that forefather had been hanged for horse stealing, prison escape and train robberies in nineteenth century America after being arrested by the Pinkerton railroad detective agency.

Wallman unearthed the only picture around of the man, taken just moments before he dropped through the gallows trapdoor.

On the back of the picture was the inscription 'XXXXXX", horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

Intrigued, Wallman contacted the politician's office asking if he had any further information about their shared ancestor, and his staff sent back the following Washington DC version of the family history:

'XXXXXXX was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, XXXXXX passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.'

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