Continued from The Queen vs. Kelly: Part III.
Hard Times, Hard Labour
As reported in Part III, John Kelly entered the Dominion Penitentiary at Kingston on 15 May 1841, to serve a one-year sentence for the manslaughter of his brother-in-law Michael Hourigan.
Dickens described the penitentiary as ‘well and wisely governed’…
While we don’t have any details specific to Kelly’s one-year confinement in the penitentiary, we can assume it was a harsh, if not hellish experience. Though touted as a model of the new, and more humane approach to punishment and rehabilitation — when Charles Dickens visited the Dominion Penitentiary in the 1840s, he described it as “an admirable jail,…well and wisely governed, and excellently regulated, in every respect” — the new prison at Kingston was in fact “a place of violence and oppression.” From an online history at Correctional Service Canada:
At the root of its problems in the early years was its first warden, Henry Smith. Smith’s use of flogging, even in an age when it was an accepted form of discipline, was flagrant. In 1847, inmates were given 6,063 floggings, an average of 12 per inmate. Women, and children as young as eight were flogged. As well, Smith punished inmates with shackling, solitary confinement, bread-and-water diets, darkened cells, submersion in water, 35-pound yokes, and imprisonment in the “box,” an upright coffin. His son ran the kitchen, profiteering by diverting food and serving rotten meat. In his spare time, he tortured inmates, once putting out a prisoner’s eye at archery practice.
Even by the severe standards of the day, Smith’s treatment of the prisoners was considered outrageous, and he was removed from his post as warden after an investigation into his abuses in 1848.
One household, eight inhabitants, four surnames…That’s one surname for every two inhabitants, or “inmates” as they were called in the 1861 Canadian census, and not surprisingly, not atypically, all eight were related…
Here is the household of James Traynor/Treanor in the 1861 census of Kitley township, Co. Leeds, Ontario, Canada:
The “UC” in the above, btw, stands for “Upper Canada” (for Place of Birth); and the “RC” (for Religion) for “Roman Catholic.” And the inhabitants/inmates listed above are as follows:
- James Traynor, son of Peter Traynor and Catherine McGinnis/Maginnis
- Mary [Murphy] [Donovan] Traynor, daughter of James Murphy and Catherine Hardin, widow of Lawrence Donovan, and wife of James Traynor
- Catherine [Traynor] McCarthy, daughter of James Traynor and Mary Murphy, and wife of Eugene McCarthy
- Bridget Traynor, daughter of James Traynor and Mary Murphy (later married John Carroll)
- Ellen [Traynor] Carey, daughter of James Traynor and Mary Murphy, and wife of John Carey
- Mary Traynor, daughter of James Traynor and Mary Murphy
- James Traynor, son of James Traynor and Mary Murphy (later married Catherine Jordan)
- Mary Donovan, aka “Little Mary,” daughter of Patrick Donovan and Margaret McGinnis, and granddaughter of Mary [Murphy] [Donovan] Traynor and of Lawrence Donovan (later married Daniel Fowler, whose brother John Fowler married Ellen McCarthy, daughter of the above-named Eugene McCarthy and his second wife Honora McDonald/McDonnell)
Bytown Gazette, 29 November 1837. The "Lachie" named here was Daniel Lahey, husband of Catherine Lahey, and "the person who struck the blow" was his brother-in-law, James Lahey.
Yet another tale of murder and mayhem in March township. And, like the case of The Queen vs. Kelly, yet another story of a drunken altercation between two brothers-in-law, ending in a shocking fatality. And, again like the case of John Kelly’s killing of Michael Hourigan, yet another instance of either murder or manslaughter involving my (ahem, not always illustrious, but comparatively well-documented: because the Crown, it tends to leave some records in its wake…) ancestors, the Laheys of March.
But where, in the case of The Queen vs. Kelly, it was a Lahey (Michael Hourigan, son of Timothy Hourigan and Mary Lahey) who was the victim; here we have a Lahey as victim: Daniel Lahey, husband of Catherine Lahey, who was the sister of Mary (Lahey) Hourigan and the aunt of Michael Hourigan; and also a Lahey as perpetrator: James Lahey, brother of Catherine Lahey and of Mary (Lahey) Hourigan and uncle of Michael Hourigan, and my 3x great-grandfather.
This gallery contains 36 photos →
Photograph of Benjamin Clayton (1892-1962), taken at the studio of A. Thawley, Leeds. Image courtesy of Gary Clayton.
When I first posted about Benjamin Clayton, I made reference to a military record (a WWI attestation paper) which I thought might belong to the Benjamin Clayton who is found in the household of Michael Moran (son of Francis Moran and Anne Galligan) in the 1911 census of Fitzroy township. Thanks to an email communication from one of Benjamin Clayton’s grandsons, I can now confirm that this was indeed the same person. He was born in Leeds, England on 16 September 1892; and he died at North Bay, Ontario, Canada on 1 February 1962.
In 1905, the orphaned Benjamin Clayton was sent to Canada (to St. George’s Home, in Hintonburg, Ottawa, one of the main receiving centres for Catholic Home Children from 1895 to 1930) with a party of boys from the Catholic Emigration Association.
Emmett and his brother Donny served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Donny’s plane was shot down; and he spent time as a POW in a camp in Germany.
[When my dad was a kid, he heard tales of cousin Donny having been forced to eat “black bread,” presumably pumpernickel or something like that, which my grandparents, in all innocence, took as the highest refinement of military torture.]
When the war was over, Emmett went from hospital to hospital in the UK, looking for his brother. He finally found Donny in a military hospital on the outskirts of London, and stayed with him until he was ready to travel (but from some of his war injuries, including a broken bone that did not heal properly, he never quite recovered).
When Donny was deemed fit to return home, the two brothers took the train up to Edinburgh for the weekend to celebrate, and then shipped out to Canada.
(As told to me by Emmett Patrick Sloan, Ottawa, January 2007).
I’m currently reading Janice Nickerson’s Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Researcher’s Guide. Highly recommended!
Continued from The Queen Vs. Kelly: Part II (and The Queen vs. Kelly: Part I).
John Kelly’s trial for the murder of Michael Hourigan took place on Thursday, 20 May 1841, at the original Bathurst courthouse in Perth. The following is based on the account published in the Bathurst Courier (28 May 1841), which enlivened its recital of the facts of the case with bits and pieces of boilerplate didacticism (much like the tablid press of today).
A Fatal Affray
‘They finally made it up over some beer,…but got disputing warmly afterwards about a child.’
On Good Friday, 9 April 1841, John Kelly arrived at Henry Smith’s brewery “between 9 and 10 o’clock” in the morning, and “stopt some hours there.” His brother-in-law Michael Hourigan (spelled Horrogan in the newspaper account) came to Smith’s brewery at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. While there initially appeared to be “some coolness between them,” the two men “finally made it up over some beer, at the suggestion of Horrogan.” However, the truce was short-lived; and Kelly and Hourigan “got disputing warmly afterwards about a child” (two-year old Ann Kelly, daughter of John Kelly and his wife Mary Hourigan and granddaughter and goddaughter of Mary [Lahey] Hourigan) in the presence of Henry Smith the brewer.
After leaving Smith’s brewery (whether together or separately is not clear), Kelly and Hourigan were seen together by two witnesses, John Brennan and William Headley, both residents of March township. William Headley was apparently the first of the two witnesses to see the two men together, when he and his wife came by in a sleigh. Having been shown “a stab on the side of [the deceased’s] head, inflicted by the prisoner,” Headley urged Michael Hourigan to get into his sleigh. Unfortunately, Hourigan refused, stating that “he would have satisfaction;” and Headley and his wife drove on.
This gallery contains 14 photos →
This gallery contains 16 photos →