Deposition of Patrick Whalen, March 1880

[ View of the 2nd Level of the Donnelly Home, Thanks to Ray Fazakas for permitting the Project to photograph the model of the Donnelly home he created. Photograph Copyright Great Unsolved Canadian Mysteries Project , Jennifer Pettit,   ]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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