Deposition of Patrick Whalen, March 1880

PATRICK WHALEN. - The evidence given by him at the inquest was read to him, and now proceeds to correct it […]

Evidence at the Coroner’s Inquest. - At about half-past one o’clock this morning young Connors came to my door, crying and bawling, saying he was froze; he was barefooted, no hat, and had his coat under his arm; I got up and let him in; I asked him his name, and he said he was Connors; I asked him what was the matter, and he said the Donnellys was killed; James Donnelly was called up: he said he saw them tying James Donnelly, when young Connors came to my place; I looked out of my window and saw a light in Donnelly’s front window, like a lamp; I made on a fire to warm young Connors; I looked again across to Donnelly’s, and saw no light in the front, but saw a light in the back kitchen, and it was increasing; I then thought it was a fire; I went to my son John’s, and he was up when I got there; I said Donnelly’s house was all on fire; I arrived at the fire before my son; I could not see any person about the fire when I got there; I went to the front window, south, and tried to look in, and could not see anything with smoke; the front door was shut when I got there; the window and door burst, and smoke came out; I went round to the back and looked in the back door and thought I saw the body of a person on the floor; the only persons who came to the fire was my two sons and Connors; after the fire burned down, I could distinguish what appeared to be the remains of four persons; I could not recognize any of the bodies; yesterday was the last time I saw the Donnellys, John and Thomas Donnelly: I saw a number of tracks about Donnelly’s place, more than I would expect to see; I saw blood in three places in front of the house; I saw nothing on the ground as if a struggle had taken place; it was a bright night, no moon: light snowing a little: the fire had melted the snow where the blood was, so that no trace of a struggle could be seen.


[what follows is the testimony of Whalen at the Preliminary Examination on 12 March 1880]

The statement “I got up and let him in” is not correct; the boy shoved the door in and got in himself; the statement “I asked him his name and he said it was Conners” is not correct; my missus asked him and he said he was a son of Mr. Connors, and I heard him say it; the statement “I asked him what was the matter, and he said the Donnellys are killed” is not correct; I asked him what brought him out, or where he was, and he said he came from Donnelly’s, and that a lot of men had run them into the bush; and the boy said that they were all dressed in woman’s clothes; the statement “James Donnelly was called up, and I saw them tying James Donnelly,” the boy did not say that to me; I neither asked him nor heard him say it; the statement “after the fired burned down I could distinguish what appeared to be the remains of four persons” is incorrect; I only saw two persons in the morning when the fired burned down; […] I looked out through the window and saw what appeared to be a lamp in the south window of Donnelly’s house, when I looked out I turned to him and said “you must be foolish, there is no fire there”; he said there is, call up the boys; I looked again and the fire was out […] I looked out again, and I saw Donnelly’s back kitchen on fire […] so I turned back and went to Donnelly’s […] I then left the fire and went home to prepare to go to Granton: when I went to the fire the last time, Johnny Connors was in bed up-stairs: I heard him say to my wife, after he came back from the fire, something about Carroll: my wife or I said to him, how did he know it was Carroll, and he said he knew by his voice; he did not tell any other names […]

Cross-examined by MR. HUTCHINSON. - […] I never belonged to the vigilance committee: I was at one of the meetings of the committee, but there was no business done; I don’t know who asked me to go; I saw the people going, so I went with them; I had received no notice of the meeting, but thinking there was a meeting that night, I went over; I don’t know why I went; I remember going, but don’t know why: I went to the meeting, but I don’t know with whom; I don’t think I can remember; I swear that I don’t recollect with whom I went; it was before the burning of Ryder’s barn; I don’t know who were there; I don’t know whether there were three, four, or ten there; I can’t say how many were there; I have forgotten; I stayed there perhaps a couple of hours; there were some of my neighbors there that I know well; I saw James Carroll and John Kennedy there; I think Martin McLaughlin was there; I did not see Thomas Ryder there […]

Source: Public Archives of Ontario, Irving Fonds, F1027, 82 80, MS6500, Unknown, Deposition of Patrick Whalen, March 31, 1880.

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