Deposition of William T. Williams, February 1880

WILLIAM T. WILLIAMS. — I am the Chief of the City Police; I was employed by the authorities to investigate this matter; about noon on Wednesday, 4th February, I went to Lucan that afternoon: I went with detective Phair in a buggy, and detective Murphy went by rail; we arrived about four o’clock; I went from Lucan to the Donnelly farm; the bodies were there at that time, apparently four: one near the front door and three in the kitchen; I looked about the place to a considerable extent: we looked for skulls: there was apparently only one; I took that in my hand and it crumbled: the bodies were all burned: I found nothing about the place but a pool of blood about 6ft. from the front door; there were three small pools nearly together: we returned to Lucan about dark: I told an old man to get a box and put the bodies into: I think that the jury had been there; I had not seen the Coroner then; I saw him when I returned to Lucan; also saw constables Hodge and Pope; had a consultation with them, and I think I went with the Coroner to the inquest or shortly after they had commenced; either just before or immediately after; I think it was after the inquest; I saw Wm. Donnelly, I had a long conversation with him: he told me what had occurred at his house about the death of his brother; I asked him if he had any idea how it had come about: he said there were two parties in it: that one party had gone to his father’s and one to his; I asked him if he knew any of the fellows who were at his house: he told me he could swear to four; I asked who there were: he told me he could swear to Kennedy, Jim Ryder, Martin McGloghlon and Carroll the constable: he said that McGloghlon and Ryder were the men that shot his brother: that he heard them at the door: that he pulled up the blind and looked out of the window and saw Kennedy immediately outside and Carroll between there and the gate; and that Kennedy said brother-in-law is easy now or at last: if he said Ryder also I have forgotten it; I did not take notes of it; that just after the shooting he heard Carroll say what next; he didn’t tell me which of the remarks was made first, nor did I ask him: that he saw three more standing over near the fate at the fence; and that he thought one was big Heenan; I thought he meant big Anthony Heenan; he said he thought one of the others was Pat Ryder; I don’t know whether he mentioned the other or not; I questioned him about them and he said he couldn’t swear to them;

[...] he said that after he had gone to bed some time he heard John coming through his room: and that John said to him whose that knocking at the door and hollering fire, Will: John passed through his room and went into the kitchen; he heard the call again several times: the call was fire, fire, open the door Will: I asked him as to who said it: he said that he heard McGloghlon and James Ryder both say the same thing; that immediately after his brother opened the door he heard two loud reports one on top of the other; that his brother said Will I’m shot; Lord have mercy on his soul or some such word; he kept quiet for fear he would get shot; he said he didn’t get out of bed but his wife did; that she said she would get up whether she was shot or not; that she heard the blood in John’s throat; that Hogan told him before his wife got up to lay still: that it was him they wanted; the wife did get out and lit the candle; that he said to Hogan, Hogan John is shot, pull him in; and Hogan crawled out and pulled him in to his, William’s room; and Hogan lay there himself till morning, afraid to get up: he said that just after the shots were fired he lifted the blind and peeped out: he said that he pulled the corner of the blind aside near where he was lying and looked out: he described it to me afterwards when I went to his house: the distance from the corner of the wall to the window is about two feet four inches; the head of the bed was north; that he raised up in bed and lifted the corner of the blind a very little bit and looked out; it was then he saw Kennedy and the others; he saw Kennedy immediately out of the window: that Carroll was near the corner of the projection of the house: it was then he heard said, what I have said he heard; I looked out of the window to see if I could see the gate-post and I could; I could see from the window where Donnelly said he saw Carroll; a man lying in bed the way he described himself as lying, could easily by raising himself look out as he told me he looked out;

[...] after I came down and was standing in the room, Mr. Thompson came up to me and said, I know I didn’t go out, I can’t swear for anybody else; I asked him why he didn’t go over when he got up; he said I don’t know why I did not go over when I got up and saw the fire; the last time I was there I examined the floor on last Friday expecially; the first time I was there the door from the front room to the kitchen was wide open; it opens away from the stairs towards the bed-rooms; I examined it on Friday and found that when it is about two-thirds open it touches the floor; two persons could pass through quite easily, with the door open so far; on that door there is a thumb latch and a bolt; the bolt has never been bolted for some time; the catch for the bolt is all dusty and rusty; the bolt hasn’t been used; the thumb latch has; the front door was fastened the first day I went there; the last day I went it was open; the lock is broken and the bolt has been used; there are two doors in the kitchen almost opposite each other; one facing north, the other south: they are both apparently used; the one facing south is used most by the wear of the wood work of the door step; it has a lock on and goes easily; the lock makes a little click; the other door has a bolt on and leads to the milk house; the bolt goes easy enough; I examined the kitchen doors very narrowly to see if either of them had been nailed up; neither of them have been, they are quite clean; it is necessary to open the north kitchen door to light the cellar; it would be dark unless you open this door; I looked out of the kitchen window and could plainly see ruins of the Donnelly place; the floor up-stairs is perfectly firm, tongued and grooved and rests on heavy beams, it is hard wood; there is about a ton weight on the floor in the centre of the room, there are a lot of grain bags filled, and a little nearer the window there is a large grain bin with lots of stuff in it; I tried the stairs also, they are very firm and will not creak; the stove pipe hole is close to the north wall; there is a board about nine inches by fourteen inches, close to the stove pipe, which is loose: a person getting up out of bed would not have to go near this board by a long way: a person getting out of bed and going to the stairs would go on the solid floor; the stairs is opposite the middle of the bed: it is only a couple of steps from the bed to the head of the stairs on solid floor.

[...] CHIEF WILLIAMS, Re-Called. — I was at the house of Pat Ryder, Sr., the house of the prisoners James Ryder and Pat Ryder: I found a revolver there, seven shooter, produced; I found it up stairs in the boy’s bed-room; where I was told that James and Pat slept with Michael; I found it on the top of a barrel on some clean clothes: it was not covered up; I examined the revolver; I could see that it had been recently discharged; it was clean it was not covered up; I examined the revolver; I could see that it had been recently discharged; it was clean outside and dirty inside; I could see that six of the chambers had been discharged; on examining the revolver I took out the chambers and I found that it contained seven cartridges; that around the point of one of the cartridges a lot of dust, that showed that that chamber had not been recently discharged; there was no dust on any of the other cartridges, around the chambers generally; it was all black as if of spent powder; the other chambers were clean; that is there was no dust around them as if they had been recently been discharged, expect that there was spent powder around the mouths of the six chambers that appeared to have been discharged; it was loaded when I found it; the seven chambers were all full; I drew the cartridges and found six new cartridges and one old one; the copper on the six new ones is clean; and the copper on the one that had been discharged has verdigras on it; about a third of the copper on the old cartridge form the bullet end downwas covered with verdigras; I found no verdigras on the copper of any of the other cartridges; the cartridges now produced and taken out of the chambers are the same as were in it when I found it; I went down stairs in consequence of what was told me by one of the prisoner’s brothers, and found in a bureau drawer the box with cartridges, is now produced; the drawer was locked: the box was given to me by the prisoner’s brother, Michael, who has a sore foot; the cartridges in the box are all the same, equally clean as the six I found in the chamber of the revolver and have the same appearance; I brought the revolver and box away with me and I have them in my possession even since.

Cross-examined by MR. MACMAHON.- If I carry a revolver it is generally loaded: the chambers of the revolver were all filled: I did not see any shells; we searched the place when I was examining it with Murphy and telling him it had been discharged; the brother told me he had fired off one shot and showed me where it was in a board in the kitchen; the lubricating stuff had got quite black on the old one, the others are quite fresh; I took the old one out once since I got it; I also took some of the others out once; I took them out the day I found it, in presence of Murphy and the brother; I don’t think I handed them to Murphy or the brother; I have been in the habit of examining revolvers and fire arms generally; there was a very small quantity of spent powder on the outside of any chamber; it was merely discolored; it was blackened; the powder was all spent and it was merely the effect of the powder; I think it is one I have marked, for I see a little rust on the outer edge that I found the old cartridge in; I couldn’t tell now which chamber the old cartridge that had not been discharged came out of, if I had not marked it; [...]

Source: Public Archives of Ontario, Irving Fonds, F1027, 82 80, MS6500, Unknown, Deposition of William T. Williams, March 31, 1880.

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