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I don’t know what it is about my Joynes family with birthday parties and drinking and then shooting and killing people.  Crazy stuff was going on, that’s for sure! Well, I guess the detective in me doesn’t mind airing dirty laundry, finding skeletons in the closet, etc., especially when it makes for a good story!

Well, first, let me get the groundwork laid.  My 3rd great-grandparents, Oliver & Mary Jane Joynes, had 3 sons and 3 daughters that they raised to adulthood.  While my own great-great-grandmother, Jennie Joynes, was a bit of a black sheep also, (see another birthday-party-gone-wrong story here), today, I thought I would tell you a story about her brother, William Oliver known as “Ollie”.

Ollie was the third and youngest son of Oliver and Mary Jane, born March 24, 1863 in Baltimore.  He met and married Amelia “Minnie” Haas, daughter of Frank, a German immigrant, and his wife, Emma.  Together, Ollie and Minnie had two children, but only one, a son, William Oliver Joynes, Jr., born in 1894, lived to adulthood.

The family lived on Eastern Avenue in East Baltimore, near Patterson Park, and Ollie was a bricklayer by profession.

baltimore row houses

From all accounts, Ollie was jolly, except when he drank…then he would become jealous and mean and even he threatened to kill his wife on more than one occasion.

One early spring day in 1906, Ollie and a couple of his buddies from work, Daniel Leonard and George Schrek, were sitting around Ollie’s house drinking all day.  It had been raining; not so great working weather.

This is the following account from the Baltimore Sun Newspaper, 15 March 1906:

William O. Joynes Shot After Driving Wife From Home
Daniel Leonard Says Joynes Killed Himself — George E. Schreck Avers Leonard Fired Shot

While struggling with two men for the possession of a pistol yesterday afternoon, William Oliver Joynes, 42 years old, 2801 Eastern avenue, was shot in the left temple and almost instantly killed on the pavement, several doors from his home.

Shortly after the affray, Daniel Leonard, 224 North Bradford street, was arrested by Patrolman May.  George E. Schreck, 235 North Montford avenue, the third man in the struggle, ran away, but surrendered later at the Eastern Police Station.  Both men are charged with causing the death of Joynes, and Justice Packard committed them for the action of Coroner Sudler, who has summoned a jury of inquest to investigate the case.

Leonard claims that Joynes shot himself while he and Schreck were trying to take the pistol away from him, but Schreck told the police that Leonard succeeded in wrenching the pistol from Joynes’  hand and then fired the fatal shot.

According to the information gathered by the police, the shooting was the result of a quarrel between Joynes and his wife, Mrs. Minnie Joynes, in which Leonard is alleged to have taken pact.  The wife corroborated Leonard’s version of the affray in a number of details, but Schreck insists that he saw Leonard shoot Joynes, and Mr. Andrew J. Bradley, 1000 ?? street, who was passing on a Roland Park car, says that he saw the pistol drop from Leonard’s hand.

Were Celebrating Birthday

The three men are bricklayers and did not go to work yesterday morning on account of inclement weather.  Schreck and Leonard went to the home of Joynes in the morning and the three men are said to have drunk a considerable quantity of beer.  Mrs. Joynes had made arrangements to go to the theater with Mrs. Mollie Noland, and shortly after dinner, she went upstairs to dress.

In relating the incidents leading up to the shooting, she said, “When I came downstairs, Mr. Leonard asked me not to go to the theater, as it was raining and it was his birthday, and he wanted me to stay home and help him to celebrate the occasion.  I told him that the three men could celebrate it and that I preferred going to the theater.  Then my husband spoke up and said he thought that I had better stay at home, but upon my insisting, he said that he was satisfied to let me go.”

“An argument then arose between Mr. Leonard and my husband, and I tried to stop them.  My husband became enraged and, going into the cellar, he got a pistol which he had hidden there.  As he came back upstairs, he pointed the pistol at me and threatened to shoot me.  I ran through the hallway, closely followed by my husband, and then darted out the door.”

“Seeing that my husband was following me, I ran out on Eastern avenue, and he called to me to stop or he would shoot.  I ran into the yard of a friend.  I did not hear the shot and knew nothing of the affray until a few minutes later, when another neighbor informed me that my husband had been killed.”

To be continued…