William Donnelly Tells Something About the Township.

A FREE PRESS reporter happened to run across William Donnelly, of the township of Biddulph, yesterday afternoon. "Bill" must be pretty well known to the majority of our readers by this time, at least by reputation. Lest some should not be posted in regard to his identity, it may be stated that he is the eldest surviving son of the Donnelly family who were murdered in Biddulph in the month of February last. The particulars of that heinous crime are no doubt fresh in the minds of all. Bill had a good deal to say yesterday about one thing and another, and the conversation turned upon affairs in Biddulph.

"Well," said Bill, "there's just as much 'reign of terror' in the township as ever there was, only you don't hear of it now adays.

[...] "It would injure the chances of the crowd in jail. Their lawyers and friends, you see, say that no such Committee ever had any foothold in the township, and that the whole affair originated with me. But I know more of their doings than they are aware of, and will let some of them know all about it before they are through with their trial.

[...] "Well, I'll tell ye. Pat Grace had a bee not long since, and quite a large number of the farmers around about were there. They were hauling manure, and the day being hot, a good deal of cold water was used for drinking purposes by the men. The well on Grace's farm is not a very good one, and so some of the persons who were at the bee knowing that Pat Darcy had a good well, went over and got a few pailsfull of water. I suppose they repeated this two or three times during the forenoon, and after dinner, one of the men was sent over again for a similar purpose. When he reached the pump, he noticed a piece of paper pasted on it, and looking closer at it, observed some writing. It read:- "No more water for the Blackfeets out of this well. Go up to old Donnelly's and get your water."

"What is meant by the Blackfeets, Bill?"

" I don't know, unless it is to distinguish those who belong to the Vigilance Committee from those who don't, and whose sympathies and feelings are with us and on the side of law and order. I got the paper, anyway, and am going to keep it. Oh, yes, they keep matters very quiet out there just now; you see, they haven't the Donnelly's to blame things upon as they used to."

[...] "Have you an idea that the Vigilance Committee still keep up their organization?"

"They may not do so as openly or publicly as they did for some weeks previous to the tragedy, but it is well-known that many thefts and offences have been committed of late in the township, which the friends of the prisoners do their best to keep from getting published."

[...] "But how do you account for these depredations being kept so quiet?" was next asked.

"How?" replied Bill; "its just as I told you. Since the Donnellys are gone, and cannot be blamed for offences such as described, it is not prudent to let the public know that even a concession line fight ever distrubs the quiet of life in Biddulph now."

"Why not?" queried the reporter.

"Because the Vigilants and their lawyers and friends have all along persisted that our family were the persons who committed the offences in Biddulph, and now that they're dead and gone, they don't want the people to know that their statement were lies of the blackest kind. [...]

Source: Unknown, "The Biddulph Tragedy - The Reign of Terror Not Yet Ended," London Free Press, June 24, 1880.

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