Deposition of William Donnelly, February 1880

WILLIAM DONNELLY. - I reside in Biddulph at Whelan Corner; I am the eldest living son of the late James Donnelly; am a married man; I recollect the night that my brother John and father were killed; I was at home that night; James Keefe stayed till eleven o'clock; Hogan stayed all night; there was also myself and wife and my brother John there all night; John came about dark to borrow my cutter to go to Granton; I went to bed at half past twelve; I wound the clock at that time; I showed Hogan and my brother to their room; John induced Hogan to stay; my wife went to bed about nine o'clock, before me; we stayed up talking about the vigilance committee; I was disturbed about half past two by John coming out of his room through my room to the kitchen; he couldn't go to the kitchen without going through my room; he spoke to me going through; that was the first I heard; the path from the front gate to the kitchen passed by his room; my bedroom was in the north-west corner of the warm part of the house; I didn't speak to John, he said I wonder whose hollering fire and rapping at the door, he kept right on and opened the door; when John opened the door going into the kitchen from my room, I heard them holler fire, fire, open the door Will; I heard them shouting as soon as I was thoroughly awakened; I heard the door opened; I then heard two shots in rapid succession almost together; John fell back against the door from my bedroom to the kitchen; the distance between the kitchen door and my bed room door is about six or seven feet; he head came down to the jam of the door; I head his head strike; he then said Will, Will, I'm shot and may the Lord have mercy on my soul; Hogan told me to lay quiet or we would be all killed;

[...] I turned the side of the blind and looked out: I saw John Kennedy, James Carroll and James Ryder: they were partly in front of the glass window: Kennedy was standing where his name is now marked on the plan about three feet from the door: James Carroll and James Ryder were standing where their names are written on the plan about nine feet from my window: I saw three other outside of the fence, near to the little gate: I calculated that they were Wm. Carroll, Patrick Rider, Jr., and Michael Heenan: I couldn't swear positively to them; I don't speak positively as to them; I speak positively as to John Kennedy, James Carroll and James Ryder; these persons are well known to me; I have known Ryder since he was born, and Kennedy ever since I can remember; he is my brother-in-law: I have known James Carroll for 2 or 3 years: I was too well acquainted with James Carroll because he has been dragging us around the Country since a year ago the 14th October last: he was getting us arrested every now and again: he had been very unfriendly towards us: there was a very bad feeling of Carroll towards us: he showed it every chance he could get: he showed it before he was appointed constable as well as afterwards: he began it a year ago last October: Kennedy seemed to be going around with Carroll all the time: Kennedy and I have been bad friends ever since I got married ot his sister: we had a quarrel with him at Fitzhenry's Hotel in Lucan: we have always been bad friends since then: after I saw the parties the missus said she would get up whether she was shot or not: John was choking with blood coming out of his mouth: she got up and lit the light: I can't tell whether the parties were there when she lit the light or not: I heard nobody after that: before the light was lit, I also heard Carroll say something: it was either what next or which best: he was apparently speaking to Ryder and Kennedy: there were some words from the parties out at the fence but I could not hear what they were: there was a reply to the question, what next or what best: Kennedy said brother-in law was easy at last: he always called me brother-in-law or in a crowd and when speaking to his friends when he wanted to make fun of me: I was then satisfied that Hogan's opinion was right, that it was me they wanted: and that they thought it was me they had shot: when the answer was made I was still looking out: I just turned back the side of the blind a little bit, just enough to see out: it was a white cotton blind: I just turned the blind back a little, just enough so that I could see out: I saw no other but the six I have mentioned: I could hear others in the direction of the big gate: I could hear a talk but could not hear who were speaking or what they were saying: when John was opening the door and they were hollering fire, fire, open the door, I was able to distinguish two voices of them: I heard that said by two parties: I knew the voices they were Martin McGloghlon and James Ryder: I am positive it was their voices: I do not say so, to the best of my opinion: I have known Martin McGloghlon as long as I have known anybody: he was raised on the second next farm to my father's: he was speaking pretty loud: they didn't appear to be raising their voices, it was above the ordinary conversational tone of voice: I distinguished their voices: I was well acquainted with James Ryder's voice: I have known him since he was born: knew his father before he was married:

[...] I couldn't say which way the wind the wind was from; it seemed to be blowing calmly when it was snowing; one of these tracks of one of the boots that had no overshoe on had slipped about three feet towards the house; that was a small sized boot, pretty wide, not very long, about seven or eight size; the overshoes appeared to be new as the creases were marked in the snow; I could trace the steps, they were long steps; once you left this roof you couldn't tell whether the tracks were of overshoes or boots because it had snowed, not enough to cover the tracks entirely; you could see the footprints but could not tell whether they were of the overshoes or of boots; the track that led from where I saw the imprint of the overshoe, led across the well towards the big gate going away from the house, he stepped over a box that was on top of the well; the other track went around the end of the house, closer to the house than the other one; there were tracks all over the garden and into two stables; the iron bar that went across the door of the stallion's stall had been taken down and left standing against the door; the fork had been taken from the grey mare's stable door and thrown on the dung pile; there was no tracks to where John's pony was; there were tracks all through Mr. Walker's garden; there were tracks to all the windows in my house except the one opposite to the door that John was shot at; about the centre of the kitchen at the north end; I observed the tracks in the morning; it appeared as if there were a great many people there; it was trampled down all around my place and around Mr. Blackwell's house, which is about twenty feet south of mine; I called Blackwell before I looked at all these tracks; I looked at the ones around the door before I called him; he was partly dressed with pants, shirt, and socks on, and ran down stairs; when I called he looked at the tracks with me; I went and got the pony and went down to James Keefe's whose house is about three-quarters of a mile from my house: he was in bed; I told him what happened; he told me not to speak about it till I went and got Phair and Murphy first thing; I saw tracks about half way to Keefe's as if a crowd had walked along the road; they did not go as far as Keefe's; you couldn't tell which way they went; the tracks were from my house, either going to or from it; I traced them to where the town line of Osborne, Blanchard and Biddulph meet, and then I saw that two tracks led down the town line in the direction of Mahers, and the rest of the tracks turned on the town line of Osborne and Blanchard as far as the first concession road you come to in Osborne leading down to Keefe's; they went about 10 or 12 rods down the concession line leading to Keefe's house, and then they stopped; there appeared to be a great number of tracks up to where they stopped, ten or twelve rods up the concession road leading to Keefe's house, but nearly half a mile from Keefe's house; after this the tracks stopped, you couldn't tell where they led to; there was one track leading to Keefe's; it was more covered up with snow than the others; Blackwell showed me the direction in which he had observed a fire during the night when I was preparing to go over and tell my father that John was shot, and when Blackwell showed me the direction, I was satisfied that the fire was at my father's; I asked Mr. Walker if he would drive over and see if anything was the matter and if not to tell them that John was dead; he took John's pony and my cutter and went over; I did not go with him; [...]

Source: Public Archives of Ontario, Irving Fonds, F1027, 82 08, MS6500, Unknown, Deposition of William Donnelly, February 31, 1880.

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