Stone Cutters Murder, Magistrate's Report

Magistrates Office
Nanaimo, 14th Aug 1867

The Hon.
The Colonial Secretary
of B.C.


I have the honor to lay before you for His Excellency's consideration the following confidential statement made to me by a person of the name of Jacob Peter who is at present, and has been for a considerable period, resident on the Farm of Mr. Richard [Brinn?] on Saltspring Island.

That the body of a Negro who is believed to have been murdered, has been discovered by James Ogilvy, Master of the Schooner "Industry" of Victoria, buried in the floor of the house formerly occupied by the Stone Cutters and situated on the Chimanis side of the Island. That the murder must have been perpetrated some month ago, as the body is much decomposed rendering the features unrecognizable.

That James Mc Fadden and ___ Starks, both residents of Saltspring Island, can give such material evidence in the matter as will probably lead to the apprehension of the murderer. That in the early part of the present year, two strange Negroes were observed lurking about the Island, at which time several heads of Cattle disappeared. That on a certain day, at the period above stated, one Thomas Griffiths residing on Saltspring Island, and who is the owner of many Cattle, was seen by several persons, Indians, and White men, in the immediate vicinity of the house referred to, carrying a gun, and accompanied by a dog, that shortly afterwards the roof of the house was observed to be in flames, and that the Negroes were never afterwards seen on the Island. Public opinion therefore points to Thomas Griffiths as having committed the murder, as when he has been spoken to conceming it, he merely replied that "he did not suppose there was, or would be, any trouble about it."

Should an immediate investigation into the circumstances be decided upon, this I am of opinion can only be satisfactorily carried out on the spot, and would necessarily entail a considerable expenditure of public funds, as well as my absence from this District for some days which responsibility I am unwilling to incur without authority.

Awaiting instructions:

I have the honor to be
Your obedt servt

[Warren] R. Spalding
Stpy. Mgte.

Source: BCA, File 1169-70, (Mflm B1342), Warren R. Spalding, Stone Cutters Murder, Magistrate's Report, August 14, 1867

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