I’m now 71 years old, and can remember as a child once meeting “Uncle Tommy” in Logansport (probably in the late 1940s or very early 1950s). He was actually my great uncle, but everyone in my family called him “Uncle Tommy”.
Bridget Heslin married Bernard Healey and had six daughters, his nieces. The common thought was that Bernard kept hoping for a son to be a “Junior”, but gave up and named his sixth daughter “Bernardine” (sic). My mother was one of the other five daughters, Evelyn Healey.
I never lived in Logansport, but visited there often as a young child. I can remember a lot of relatives named Maroney, Frushour, Healey, and Heslin, but there were too many Irish relatives for a youngster to know just who was related to whom.
I know Uncle Tommy did have oil and gas rights near Pilot, Wyoming since I still receive monthly checks from the royalties but, as ˝ of 1/6 of maybe 1/64, the royalties aren’t significant.
Two stories about Uncle Tommy are still fresh in memory. The first was that, when he returned to Logansport, his eyesight was so sharp that he’d read the daily newspaper in a dark room without needing to turn on a light. He attributed his eyesight to living so long in Wyoming, where things of interest were often miles away.
The second story, however, is a legend of his days in Wyoming. Water rights were naturally crucial to the farmers and ranchers, and one of Uncle Tommy’s neighbors diverted Uncle Tommy’s water for himself. Uncle Tommy rode out to confront the man, an argument escalated into an armed confrontation, and Uncle Tommy shot and killed the neighbor. Uncle Tommy went to trial and was acquitted, the ruling being that anyone who diverted another man’s water deserved killing. That ruling wasn’t exceptional in those days, but the fact that the jury accepted the eyewitness testimony of a Native American was considered groundbreaking.
Those were different times.
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