Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for stealing horses and robbing trains in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory. There is an inscription on the back of the photograph, which Judy obtained during her research.
“Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. He was caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.”
Judy e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle. To her surprise, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch:
“Remus Reid 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, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”