Saint Andrews Herald
August 1, 1820
On Thursday last, John Barton Morris, sailmaker, of London; and Ebenezer P. Paine, lat of Saint Stephen, shoemaker, were severally sentenced to received thirty-nine lashes for stealing sundry articles from the store of Mr. G. Hunter, of Saint Stephen, under the value of 20s. The sentence was the next day carried into execution in front of the Gaol Yard.
Also, yesterday, John Dunn, and James Hazen, were publicly whipped: the former, for stealing some articles of clothing from William McLeod; the latter for stealing three pair of ear-rings from Terence McKenny.
Morris, Paine, Dunn and Hazen, are to leave the County in five days from the time of receiving their punishment.
—St. Andrews Herald, August 1, 1820
NB Standard and St. Andrews Commercial Advertiser
Last night the house of Mr. William MacLean, merchant, was attemptd to be broken into. An alarm having been given, Mr. Snow, the deputy Sheriff and Gaoler, was immediately on the spot, and through his activity two suspicious looking characters were secured and lodged in gaol, where they now lie. Their examination will taken place today.
Undated but probably end of 1834
County of Charlotte in Account with D. W. Jack Treasurer
H. Hatch his salary and contingent expenses £28.8.9
W. Gallagher for keeping prisoners in Lock up House. St. George £10.0.0
John Gallagher for services as Constable £0.11.0
Francis McLorinan ditto 1.5.0
Andrews Sutherland ditto 1.13.0
Francis McLorinan ditto 2.4.6
Richardson Haddock ditto 2.8.9
Charles Cogan for overseeing Criminals 14.9.0
Thomas Quain blacksmith work 11.6.2
Alexander Kennedy articles for Criminals 1.5.6
J. McDiarmid Blacksmith work 1.11.6
J. Wren Old Junk 0.17.6
H. Maxwell water pails 0.6.0
John Rodger Glazing Windows 0.8.0
Perez Bradford Mason work 3.15.3
W. H. Knowles Sundries for Gaol 1.0.0
Alexander Bells services as constable 2.13.6
David Blaknay for ringing bell, 10s and 15s
Mrs. Holland cleaning hospital 0.6.0
Harris Hatch on account of Lock up House 30.0.0
C. Campbell Sheriff in part of account 7.10.0
D. D. Morrison for stove 10.0.0
G Knight on account of Lock up House 10.0.0
Robert Hanson ditto 5.0.0
A Snow Gaoler balance of account April Sessions 1833 14.16.8
Ditto amount of account Sept Sessions 97.12.4
Ditto in part of account April Sessions 1834 110.15.7
Thomas Gream, Constable for conveying prisoners to gaol 1.0.0
Commissioners of Lock up House per T. Jones 2.18.0
Davidson Sprague and Leavitt for attending court as Crown Ws. 3.15.0
Church Meigs allowance for witnesses 7.7.6
H. Hatch salary and for sundry prosecutions against parish officers 36.13.2
Ditto fees taxable on account of prosecutions 4.7.0
Peter Stubs amount paid constable for taking lunatic 0.10.9
Thomas Sime sundries for criminals 9.6.10
Mrs. J. Sharples ditto 3.4.5
N. Ames Tin work 2.7.6
Thomas Berry Carpenter work 5.10.0
Ephm. Willard Constables staves 3.8.10
William Babcock sundry cholera expences 1.10.7
William Ker for Justice business 1.10.7
Richardson Haddock for services as constable 0.7.0
Daniel McLaughlan ditto 3.6.0
John Pike ditto 4.8.6
Robert Sutherland ditto 1.0.6
Ditto for services as Cryer and Constable 7.6.9
John Pike ditto 4.13.6
James McNall ditto 2.6.3
Roger Sutherland ditto and Cryer 4.1.6
Robert Peacock ditto 0.17.1
John Rodger for glazing 0.11.8
J. M. McDiarmid for locks 1.15.8
Juo. Campbell services as constable 2.10.0
I. J. Spinney attending as Crown Witnesses 1.14.6
W. Hawkins services as constable 2.10.0
David Blackeney for ringing bell 25s and 25s 2.10.0
James Moreland services as constable 4.0.0
David Mowat coroner for services 4.1.0
Robert Peacock services as Constable 4.1.0
John Lochary for blankets, etc. 5.12.0
Andrew Sutherland services as constable 8.12.3
Thomas Quain for blacksmith work 8.19.9
Thomas Sime for articles for criminals 5.15.10
John Aymar for ditto for Gaol 7.15.9
M. Vernon for services as a Justice 4.1.0
W. Ker ditto 8.11.7
Jas. Rait for articles for criminals 16.10.5
C. Campbell Sheriff in part of account passed September Sessions 1834 for services 34.18.0
Thomas Berry for carpenter work 38.2.8
Doctor Frye for Medical Services 2.5.9
Jas. Parkinson for bread supplied criminals 3.5.8
John Rodgers for glazing 1.0.0
Perez Bradford for whitewashing etc. 1.5.3
A. Snow Gaoler, balance of account passed April Sessions 1834 53.0.4
Ditto in part of account passed Sept. Sessions ditto 3.10.
Commissioners for building gaol per P. Stubs 410.0.0
Ditto per B. Robinson 25.5.0
For keeping accounts with the parishes severally and rendering the same at the Sessions 15.0.0
Salary as Treasurer for the past year 15.0.0
Balance in hand 18.5.7
By balance in hand per account audited 2.15.3
Amount received from H. Hatch for Licences 103.1.0
Fine recovered from Jas. Scallion by H. Hatch 5.0.0
Amount received from P. Stubs on account of A. Snow Gaoler 150.0.9
Ditto from Isaac Justison Colr. Of Rates, Pennfield on acct. of Lockup House St. George 14.0.0
Ditto from P. Stubs for the payment of A. Snow and for contingent expenses 100.0.0
Ditto from W. Garnett Auctioneer St. Andrews 5.0.0
Ditto from Il Justison Pennfield for Lockup House 2.18.0
Ditto from H. Hatch for Licences 66.18.0
Ditto from w. Garnett auctioneer St. Andrews 5.0.0
Ditto S. Abbott ditto St. Stephen 2.10.0
Ditto Henry Whitlock ditto St. Andrews 5.0.0
Ditto William McLean ditto 5.0.0
Ditto John McMaster fine for non-attendance as juror 3.0.0
Ditto H. Hatch for licenses 42.6.6
Ditto James Boyd auctioneer St. Andrews 5.0.0.
Ditto H. Hatch for Licences 47.11.9
Ditto Thomas Whitlock on account of assessment 1832
Ditto fro the several parish collectors on account of assessments April Sessions 1834
From St. Andrews 174.17.9
From St. Stephen 205.10.0
From St. James ditto
Notice on shareholders' meeting of Champlain and St. Lawrence RR. p.1
"The present is the fifth time within six months that there has not been a debtor or criminal in our County Gaol."
May 13, 1835
Death by fire
On the night of Sunday the 26th ultimo, one of those distressing calamities occurred in the new Gaol here, which is calculated to arouse many from the dream of security under which they allow time to slip away unimproved, and to awaken our sympathies for the friends of the deceased. The family of Capt. Snow, the Deputy Sheriff and Gaoler, had all retired to rest but Mrs. Snow, who was in the habit of remaining to see all locked and safe, It appears she had taken a seat by the fire, partly undressed herself and had fallen asleep, when by some unknown casualty her clothes caught fire. The flames had made fatal progress before her screams awoke her son and husband and brought them to her assistance. Capt. Snow got his hands severely scorched in tearing off the burning habiliments. Surgical aid was immediately procured, but without effect, and in the laps of two hours, Ms. Snow was relieved from all her sufferings.
May 28, 1835
Begs most respectfully to intimate to his friends and the public generally, that he carried on the wheelwright business, in all its branches, at the old gaol, St. Andrews. He has on hand, carts, wheels, wheel-barrows, wagons, etc. also all kinds of paints, oil, glass, turpentine, putty. Painting, glazing and paperhanging done on moderate terms. Wheelwork, make and repaired for cash or country produce.
April 14, 1836
There is but two persons confined in gaol for criminal offences, to be tried by the Supreme Court, and one person for debt.
April 21, 1836
Report of the County Charlotte Grand Jury
April Sessions, 1836
. . .
The Grand Jury have made some remarks on the Gaoler’s account expressive of their surprise at the extraordinary nature of these charges to which they would particularly call the attention of the Court, particularly a charge of carrying bread from the baker to the prison, which actually amounts to more than the cost of the bread.
The Grand Jury on view of the Prison would remark that it appears sufficiently strong for any thing where strength alone is required, but on the principle that imprisonment should not be torture and death (which must ensue if Prisoners are put into the cells during winter), the Jury would remark that it appears totally unfit for the purpose for which it was intended to serve. There is a certain want of cleanliness about the Prison which should be immediately looked into by the authorities; heaps of soot and ashes are to be seen about the lobbies and small stores of the debtor’s rooms; the cellar is also very unfit for the purpose intended, the gaoler having lost great part of his vegetable during last winter.
It appears to the Grand Jury absolutely necessary that something be done in the way of a drain or sewer to carry off the filth accumulating bout such an establishment, and to save the monstrous expense of removing it in the manner in which it is now done, as well as to prevent the generating of dangerous diseases during the hot months of summer.
. . .
A. Jack, Foreman
Our new court house is now in a state of great forwardness, the plastering and stucco work being completed. On a recent visit to this building e were much pleased with the faithful manner in which the work has been performed. The Judges Barristers, Grand and Petit Jury Rooms, together with a spacious apartment allotted for Session business, are all convenient and well adapted for the use of those engaged in the administration of the laws of the country. The Court Room in the centre of the building will be judiciously laid out for public convenience, and by no means overlooking the accommodation expected by the Bench and the Bar. The building committee, together with the architect, Mr. Thomas Berry, are entitled to great credit, for having faithfully performed their respective duties. The building is situated on arising round in the vicinity of the Jail, and from its commanding situation, it will have an imposing effect when completed.
June 17, 1842
Improvements—We notice that the lower part of the old Jail is undergoing repairs, for the purpose of converting it into a Market House; the room used formerly for holding the Courts in, is also to be repaired and fitted up for a Public Hall. The partitions and floors of the old jail were lined with iron bars about six inches apart and double planked over timber, notwithstanding which several places can be seen where we are informed persons have cut through and made the escape out of holes barely a foot square. The iron and spikes appear to be good and may be disposed of to advantage.
March 13, 1844
Gaol to Let. Capt. Law informs us that the Charlotte County Gaol is to let—for the second time this Winter—not an individual having been confined in it for some time—this speaks well for our County—long may it continue tenantless.
First escape from County Jail in 21 years, over which Capt. Law has been jailer.
Escape from Prison:
On Wednesday night last,
Charles Hickey, charged with stealing from a shop in St. Stephen, and confined in the County Jail here, made his escape from it in the following manner:
The Jail is undergoing repairs, several apartments are in consequence rendered unfit for use, and the jailor is compelled to occupy one near the prisoner's room, and off the same passage. This passage is usually secured by fastening the doors at the end of it, on the outside; but owing to the Jailor being obliged to sleep where he did, this could not be done. Hickey was the only prisoner on this floor. His room was, according to custom, examined the 1st thing at night; when this was done, Hickey was in bed, and his light was extinguished. Every thing appeared to be secure, and the Jailor retired to rest. Having ascertained this circumstance, the prisoner converted a tin pannikin filled with butter into a lamp, and manufactured the iron bale of a water bucket into a small crow bar--then, taking down a long shelf and raising it against the wall, and one end raised on a tub, and the other resting near the aperture in the brick wall, intended for the admission of a stove pipe, he contrived a seat by winding a blanket round the plank. Once astride of this with his crowbar, he soon made the opening large enough to admit his body. Before removing the brick, however, he forced through the stove pipe hole onto the passage floor, some bedding, and disposed his mattress in such a way in his own room as to receive and deaden the sound of the falling bricks and rubbish. He then let himself down into the passage, bolted the iron door on the outside, leaving the Jailor within, and without molestation helped himself to sundry articles of apparel, and a few knickknacks belonging to the Jailor, and obtained his freedom.
The Justices being at the time in Session, investigated the affair, and unanimously resolved that no blame was attributable for Capt. Law, the Jailor.
Capt. Law has had charge of this Jail for 21 years, and this is the first instance of a prisoner escaping from it.
The New River Tragedy!
Thomas Dowd and Mrs. Eliza Ward arrested for the murder of Thomas E. Ward. And committed to the Jail in St. Andrews.
Charlotte County, it is to be regretted, has now its murder-tragedy to record. The “Shediac Tragedy” which created such excitement throughout the Province, and which is destined to create yet more, does not now stand out as the only murder-tragedy in NB.
The New River Tragedy exceeds in atrocity the Shediac tragedy, inasmuch, as a wife is implicated in the murder of her husband!
The wife of the murdered man, and her paramour, Thomas Dowd, have received the verdict of “wilful murder” by a Coroner’s Jury, after a lengthened, patient, and careful investigation of circumstances and the testimony of witnesses. Thomas Dowd as principal, and Eliza Ward as accomplice.
The contradictory statement of the accused parties themselves, are deemed sufficient to fix the suspicion, if not the certainty of the crime of murder, upon them. That the awful deed—a cold-blooded, premeditated murder has been perpetrated in New River, in this County, within the past few weeks, there is not the shadow of a doubt.
The residence where the murdered man lived, is the well-known “McGowan House,” located a few rods west of the New River Bridge. It overlooks the rapid New River stream, and was at one time a favourite “Inn by the Wayside”. It is on the main road leading from St. George to Saint John, and distant from the Lepreaux Mills and Village, about 3 ½ miles.
It appears from testimony adduced before the Coroner’s Jury that, an improper and illicit intimacy sprang up between Dowd and Ward’s wife; which bad beginning has, it is feared, culminated in the murder of the unfortunate husband.
The evidence of several witnesses went to prove that Ward left the house early in the morning to cut grass on the meadow a short distance up the river; and that Dowd went in a short time also, in the same direction. Also, that Ward never returned; while Dowd came back to the house about 10 o’clock the same morning, went to the Pantry and took a “lunch.” And, that Dowd and Mrs. Ward were both seen returning during the same day towards the house from the direction of the Meadow.
A young man of Lepreaux, a few days ago, being in search of his cows in the vicinity of the meadow, noticed by the unusual movements of his little dog, that, something more than common was nigh; instituted a search, discovering the toe of a man’s boot projecting out from bush and moss. Further examination discovered the body of a man, giving forth offensive effluvia of decomposition. The body was subsequently identified as that of Thomas E. Ward.
Suspicion soon pointed to Thomas Dowd as the murderer, and he was promptly arrested at Musquash—several miles distant from the scene of the murder. The wife of Ward in giving her testimony, made such and so many conflicting statements as led also to her arrest as an accomplice.
An inquest under Coroner Reynolds of Lepreaux after a protracted investigation concluded their services by rendering a verdict of wilful murder against Thomas Dowd, as principal, and against Eliza Ward an accomplice. On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29th ultimo, two teams from Lepreaux drove into St. Andrews, and in the first was seated Thomas Dowd—in the second team sat Mrs. Ward and her daughter, with a young child about 7 months old. Dowd and Mrs. Ward entered the prison doors of the County Jail as prisoners, and Annie Ward, the daughter, a young unmarried girl of 17 years of age (with her illegitimate child) as witness in the case.
The Editor of the Bay Pilot on Tuesday morning visited the prisoners in their respective rooms. Thomas Dowd was first interviewed. In personal appearance he is small of stature—with but very little muscular development—just assassinate but not kill a fellow man in a face to face, stand up fight. His complexion is quite dark—black hair, and wearing it thickly around his mouth and on his chin. His eyes are dark, rather small, and seemingly restless. His features, take them in all, are not comely. His voice is clear and his utterance low, but distinct and rather pleasing. The whole physique of the man is against either strength or courage.
In answer to a few questions, he gave his age as over 40 years; was born in the City St. John, where his father was killed when he was quite a child. Has been living at, and about Lepreaux for the last 30 years. Worked for Mr. Christopher Robinson, when Alexander Gibson, Esq., owned the Lepreaux Mills. Was never married.
Had lived with the murdered man Ward, since the 5th of April last. Had a contract from Mr. Joshua Knight last winter to get out railway sleepers for Mr. Ross of St. Andrews. Declared his innocence of the crime of which he is accused, and seemed anxious to know when his trial would come on, and wanted to know if he could get a lawyer to defend him. For one in his situation, he appeared cheerful, and expressed a desire to get some newspapers to read—“to wear away the time,” as he expressed it.
Mrs. Eliza Ward’s room was next visited; and we found her sitting by a window busily employed in sewing; while Annie, the daughter, sat also near the window nursing her babe—the poor little creature all unconscious of the wretched condition of its mother and grandmother, trying to be playful as all babies do.
Mrs. Ward gave her maiden name as Eliza Summerton. Born at Digdeguash, Parish of St. Patrick, 43 years of age. Moved to Lepreaux in November 1877.
In person, Mrs. Ward is small—thin-featured, light complexion, but rather sallow. Her forehead is the best looking part of her face or head—indicative of intellectuality; but lost, for want of culture. She is very free to talk, and only for a moment or so, hesitated, and seemed reluctant to answer, when questioned as to her husband’s age—she soon rallied however, and talked as fast and freely as if presiding at the “McGowan House.” She said she had always worked hard for a living; had sold liquor last winter, as—“she had a good ‘slew’ of Boarders,” Such were her own words, and we would not attempt to mar them by change of phraseology, or of diction. She said her husband had always been kind to her, and she “called god to witness her innocence of doing anything to hurt him.” At this stage of her conversation, her lips trembled, a tear welled up to the eye, and her whole frame seemed to shake with agitation.
Turning from the mother to the daughter, we found her much more reticent. She “believed her father had been murdered”—“had no doubt of it”—then, spoke of her child, of its “being unwell”—when the interview ended by both Mother and daughter expressing desire to get some papers to read—the mother particularly desiring to get a Saint John paper, “to see what it said,” which request, received a promise of compliance.
The Bay Pilot will give full particulars of the trial when it takes place, and our readers may look forward to its columns for a plain, unvarnished report of the trial of—The New River Tragedy, as it progresses, from beginning to end.
Nov 21, 1878
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1878, will be remembered for many long years in Charlotte County as an eventful day. the day was a stormy one; fitful gusts of angry wind howling around the corners in mournful cadences, as accompaniments, the streets presenting the one same view of snow-slush to aid, if possible, he disagreeableness of the day. It seemed a day in fit keeping with the gloomy and sad events here recorded. The forenoon at the court house had been devoted to Judge Weldon summing up all the evidence before he court to go to the jury for their final decision, thereby to enable them the more righteously to adjudicate on the innocence or guilt of the Thomas Dowd and Eliza Ann Ward for the awful crime of murder.
The jury having received the Judge’s charge, retired, and scarce twenty minutes elapsed ere they returned into court. It was a solemn moment when the jurors entered the court room and jury box, took their seats and answered to their names. It was yet more solemn when their lips opened to pronounce the verdict, and that was –“guilty.”
The Death Sentence
At two o’clock in the afternoon, the court room was literally jammed with anxious people from town and country. The Judge took his seat, the Attorney General and G. S. Grimmer, Esq., in their legal gowns, entered, Mr. Grimmer, as Clerk of the Court, standing at his desk. This gentleman then addressed himself to the prisoners that if they had anything to say why the sentence of death should not be pronounced upon them they had now the opportunity. Both prisoners standing up, Dowd first, Mrs. Ward afterwards, declared their innocence of the crime, the female prisoner appealing to God as witness of her innocence.
The Attorney General then stood up, and called on his Honor he Judge to pronounce the Sentence. The prisoners, Thomas Ward and Eliza Ann Ward having then been directed to stand up to receive sentence. His Honor, the Judge, evidently deeply impressed by the solemn duty devolving upon him, in tremulous voice addressed the prisoners.
His Honor addressing himself to Dowd, referred to the evidence on which he was convicted by a jury of his country. From all the circumstances, no person of human reason could come to any other conclusion. His Honor briefly, but feelingly alluded to the days of the prisoner’s youthful innocence, when he would have shuddered at the thought of being capable of committing such a crime as murder. But, neglect of religious duties and associating with evil, led him on step by step to the commission of the awful crime of which he now stood convicted. Turning from Dowd His Honor then addressed Eliza Ann Ward, the female prisoner. Referred to her marriage vows, and that she had assisted in the murder of the man whom she had solemnly pledged and vowed to love and cherish. That no doubt existed of her complicity in that murder by assisting Thomas Dowd to drag the murdered body of her husband to the spot in the gully where it was found. Nothing, therefore, remains for him to do but to perform the remaining part of his duty according to law—hoping and trusting that both the prisoners would make use of the time given them to repent of their great crime, wand under the ministration of religion seek the mercy and forgiveness of God.
The Sentence was then pronounced, that he Thomas Dowd, and Eliza An Wad, be taken to the jail whence they came, and from thence on Tuesday, the 14th day of January next to the jail precincts in the town of Saint Andrews, there to be hung by the neck until dead and may god have mercy on your souls,” uttered the venerable judge who was much affected, even to tears. The moist eyes of the Hon. Attorney General and the sad, serious look of G. S. Grimmer, Esq., both prosecuting officers for the town on this important trial, plainly evidenced that the sympathetic feelings wee deeply stirred in both of those learned and legal gentlemen.
The condemned man and woman were then remanded to prison to await the period of the execution. Dowd appeared nervous, but did not evidence that trepidation, or feeling, at the terrible sentence that might have been expected. Mrs. Ward, seemed for once, to have some feeling; and as she left the dock for the prison, held her handkerchief to her face, and wept.
Thus for the present ends the New River Tragedy,; and it should be the prayer of all that, another such tragic and horrifying Murder may never be recorded in the future history of Charlotte County or elsewhere.
Delving in the Past
How We Did our Business a Century Ago
Interesting Extracts from the First Court of Sessions in Charlotte
THE GAOLER’S PERQUISITES
The Gaoler to be allowed at the rate of twenty pounds per year, to be paid as contingent funds of county will admit, in proportion with other allowances to be paid from them, and liberty for retailing spirituous liquors free, at the same time the thanks of the court to be delivered to him by the clerk of the court for his past services. Adam Smith was the name of the Gaoler.
Feb 11, 1892
Scraps of History
Gleaned from the Old Sessions Records of Charlotte
TO CHANGE THE GAOL SITE
At the April sessions in 1823 it was ordered “that it is expedient to build a new gaol, and that committee, consisting of Colin Campbell, Thomas Wyer, Jr., and Peter Stubs, to appointed to find an airy and eligible situation for the site of the said gaol. And to suggest the ways and means to carry the same into execution.”
COURT AND GAOL AGAIN
At the same sitting the Clerk of the Peach was instructed to draw up a petition to the Lieutenant governor and Council, and House of Assembly praying that they will grant aid towards the erection of a courthouse and gaol in St. Andrews.
A bill was also presented authorizing an assessment for the erection of a courthouse and gaol. [assessments here]
Elisha S. Andrews, Beverly Robinson, Harris Hatch, Samuel Frye and Peter Stubs were appointed a committee to build the gaol pursuant to plans exhibited by D.D. Morrison. A contract with Morrison was entered into on the 29th of June, 1831.
Confession of Thomas Dowd
On Wednesday morning, 20th November, about 10 o’clock, the condemned prisoner Thomas Dowd, made the following confession, in the jail to the jailer:
“I killed Ward in the valley were his remains were found. I killed him with McCarthy’s narrow axe. Ward was on his way home with axe and pitchfork. When we met we had some words, he made at me with the fork. I clinched the axe, and killed him; I then took him by the legs, and dragged him to where his remains were found. Mrs. Ward never saw him after he left the house, ‘till she saw him dead in the woods; nor any one else but myself.”
Dec 12, 1878
The Death Sentence
The public are already aware that, Thomas Dowd, and Mrs. E. Ward, are now in St. Andrews jail under sentence of death for the murder of Thomas Ward; and that, the execution is fixed for the 14th of January, 1879. Petitions are in circulation for signatures praying that, the sentence may be commuted. No more opportune time could well be for the prayer of such petitions to be granted. Our new Governor General, having just passed the threshold of his advent into the Dominion, will very probably be an additional inducement for the exercise of Executive clemency. It would be sad to chronicle so early in the New Year a hanging scene. No doubt, His Excellency will do as “seemeth him good,” in the matter.
Execution of Thomas Dowd
The Charlotte County New River Tragedy has at last been finally disposed of, by the execution of Thomas Dowd; and the sentence for the incarceration of Mrs. Ward in the Provincial Penitentiary for several years.
The Tragic Drama
Tuesday morning, the 14th day of January opened up the tragic drama of the Execution of the unfortunate Thomas Dowd. The High Sheriff, with his usual desire to carry out the duties of his official position with strict fidelity to the injunctions, the letter and the spirit of the law, took every necessary and available precaution to fulfill the stern demands of the death-sentence in accordance with the law.
The grounds adjacent to the Jail were guarded by a posse of men, in order to keep hundred of would-be spectators from witnessing the dread spectacle of the hanging of a fellow creature. The High Sheriff, in keeping with his duty, admitted the members of the press, and a certain number of others, to whom it is his prerogative to give admission—all others, were excluded.
Fixed for the execution, was 8 o’clock in the morning; and long before that hour, the streets of St. Andrews presented an unusually life-like scene. People hurrying to and fro, as tho’ stirred into action by some powerful agency—it was “Dowd is to be hung!”
At about 17 minutes past 8 o’clock, Thomas Dowd came down stairs preceded by the Rev. Father Doyle, Parish Priest, of SG, The condemned man, wore dark pants and vest, with white shirt and no coat. He walked through the hall and out of the back door to the stand where he was to die, bearing a lighted candle in candlestick, in his hand. The Reverend Clergyman walking by his side, and bearing a crucifix.
Scene at the Gallows
On coming to the plank-stand both Father Doyle and Dowd kneeled on its outer edge with their backs to the spectators, facing the jail windows. The priest, with open book, reading the solemn prayers and services—Dowd, the meanwhile, “crossing” himself, according to the religious usage of the Roman Catholic Church, and, when the Rev. Father held the crucifix to his (Dowd’s) lips, he kissed reverently, five times, in accordance with the number of the “five bleeding wounds” which Jesus received for sinner! This was a most affecting scene! And, as if to heighten it, Mrs. Wards, his fellow-prisoner, was seen standing at a basement window, near the back-door, gazing at Dowd, and weeping bitterly!
On the priest, and Dowd, rising from their knees—the priest whispered a few words to him, and then retired a few paces; when the jailer, Mr. Mark Hall, placed him under the end of the long plank in which was fixed an iron ring; and into which the rope was secured with the fatal “knot” prepared. The jailer now secured his arms and feet, with leather straps when the unfortunate man, with almost a deathly gaze, looked upon the few, but solemn faces of his fellow-creatures there before him for the last time.
The last words of Thomas Dowd. “I am much obliged to the Sheriff; and Mr. Hall, and his family. They have showed me every kindness; and gratified my every wish. I feel every kindly feeling to the people of St. Andrews. I wish you all well. God bless you all.”
The Fatal Knot
Immediately, following Dowd’s dying expressions, the jailer passed the rope over his head, fixed the “knot” in its place; and, adjusted the black cap on his head, covering face and eyes!
In a Moment
The rope secured inside an upper window of the jail, was cut; and, Dowd, was jerked upwards some three feet from the platform—when, to all appearance—
Death was instantaneous. A slight twitching of the body, principally between the shoulders, was nearly all that was perceptible; and, the impression generally was, that, the unfortunate Dowd, suffered the extreme penalty of the law, with but little more than momentary suffering.
The arrangements made by the Sheriff were admirable; and, all the persons acting under his directions, performed their respective duties, properly and well.
Taking down the Corpse
After the lapse of about 15 minutes, the body was lowered—and Dr. Gove felt the wrist; and opening the shirt bosoms (outside and inside shirts) laid his ear against the left breast for a few seconds; also, lifted the cap from the face, and looking upon the features pronounced him “dead.”
Thus expiated, Thomas Dowd, his crime of murder; and, as far as human expiation goes, justice is satisfied. And, it is only merciful to hope, that the manifest sincere repentance of Dowd, was accepted by the God of infinite mercy, and that, although’ the body has been consigned to a deep, dark grave, the “spirit has returned to the God who gave it.”
May the sad, awful death-drama, enacted in SA, on this the 14th day of January, A. D. 1879, be a serious and salutary warning to all young men and boys, to shun the ways of evil; and to live soberly and righteously—the only safety from Sin, and its awful consequence.
Removal of the Body
Shortly after the execution, the body being deposited in the Coffin, it was conveyed to the C. C. Church where a requiem high mass was performed—and the remains subsequently interred n the Catholic Cemetery.
By direction of the Sheriff, a guard of twelve men, under Capt. E. S. Polleys, in uniform; armed with muskets and fixed bayonets, were detailed around the jail grounds, to keep them from intrusion by spectators. The people, however, were remarkably orderly and the utmost decorum prevailed.
Some 40 persons had gained access to the roof of the Hospital which stands in close proximity to the jail, overlooking the “Yard” where Dowd was hung; and, they had every facility to witness the operations.
The coffin, was on the ground, but concealed from the sight of him who was so soon to be its occupant. Previous to the execution, Mrs. Hall, the Jailer’s wife, on visiting Dowd, said—“Tommy, I hope you are prepared—you, are about to pay a debt we'll have to pay sooner or later.” (Mrs. Hall was weeping.) He replied—“Yes, but do not fret, it is nothing—god bye, God bless you! I hope we will meet in Heaven.”
Just before 8 o’clock, Dowd signed a petition, witnessed by Father Doyle, to the Governor General, praying for the further commutation of Mrs. Ward’s sentence of seven years in the Provincial penitentiary; as she was entirely innocent of any participation in the murder, or the knowledge of it. If this be so, and who would dare question the authenticity of a dying man’s confession—then, this Mrs. Ward, with all her manifest faults, should be permitted to go out again in the world—Free—but, bearing with her, the intolerable stigma of having her name so closely associated with the murder of her husband, must ever cause her to feel, like Cain, that her punishment is greater than she can bear.
We are glad that this, New River Tragedy is over. May the Press of Charlotte County, never gain have such a record to publish to the World. Again, we express hope that the awful doom of Dowd will prove a salutary warning to old and young to shun the road that leads to vice and run.
Aug 2, 1883
Escape from the County Jail of Waddell, the American House incendiary and Three Others.
A great general jail delivery, without the interposition of Court or Jury, took place here on Saturday evening under the following circumstances. It will be remembered that Hugh Waddell, bar keeper of the late American House, in this town was arrested here on the morning of Saturday the 16th of June, charged on the information of William H. Whitlock, livery stable keeper of the SS, with having set fire to the American House, which with its contents was burned down on the morning of Friday 1the 15th of June, and that Waddell, on the 18th of June, after an investigation held before Justice C. E. O. Hatheway, was committed to take his trial at the County Court to be holden here in October next. Besides Waddell, there were four other persons confined in the jai;: Charles McCarty, James Stevens and Gilbert Lauchlan, hailing here from Saint John , NB, who were committed on the 10th inst.. from St. Stephen on a charge of drunkenness and vagrancy, the two former for sixty days and Lauchlan for thirty days, and James McCardy of SA, committed for safe keeping.
Mrs. Murchie, Proprietress of the American House, has at intervals, since Waddell’s commitment, visited him at the jail. On Saturday evening hast about a quarter past eight o’clock, she applied at the jail for admission to see Waddell, saying she had heard he was sick. Mrs. Paul, daughter of Mr. Mark Hall, the jailor, who had gone down street on business, answered the call, and admitted her. While Mrs. Murchie was standing talking to Waddell, through the grating, Mrs. Paul ran upstairs to see why her child was crying. She almost immediately came down again, and while coming down the stairs, heard a noise, like what would be made by tapping the stick of an umbrella or cane on the flags. She quickened her pace, and just as she turned the foot of the stairs, into the hall, she met Mrs. Murchie going in the direction of the outer door. She was looking very pale, and said as she passed: They have opened the door, or the door is open. Mrs. Paul ran and laid hold of the solid iron door, which is used to cover the grated door, and is hung outside of it, and tried to close it and nearly succeeded in doing so but the prisoners inside pushed against it; forced it open again, stepped out into the hall, and passed through the outer door to liberty. They ran into the street and round the corner of the Court house. Mrs. Paul immediately went down town, and meeting Mr. Charles O’Neil, told him what had occurred, and requested him to find Mr. Hall.
Upon examination it was discovered that by some means, probably the lever in the hand of Mrs. Murchie, the large padlock attached to the grated door had been wrench off, the link of the lock was broken, the hinge pin was forced out and the keeper end of the link broken off. The dropping of the lock on the floor was doubtless the noise heard by Mrs. Paul. If Mrs. Murchie was not a party to the escape, it seems a strange coincidence that she should be on hand at the moment that it took place, and why she should display so much sympathy for Waddell, who beyond the shadow of a doubt, set fire to her house, requires explanation. The plan of escape was well matured and effectively carried out, both as regard the method and time. The night was dark, the Telegraph office was closed, and no doubt Mr. Hall’s movements were carefully watched, and his temporary absence taken advantage of to carry out the scheme.
On being informed of the escape Sheriff Stuart immediately placed officers in motion, and had a watch kept during the night, and at daybreak on Sunday morning started in pursuit of the fugitives. Their footprints were discovered in the mud on the road leading from Edward’s corner on the St. John road across to the above road, and up to Johnson’s cove about three and a half miles from town. Enquiry at Mr. Thomas Johnson’s elicited the fact, that his boat, when was at anchor in the cove Saturday evening had disappeared during the night. The boat has since been found at Red Beach, on the United States side of the river, and it has been ascertained that Waddell and his comrades landed from her, having paddled the boat over with a pair of paddles, which they found in a punt which laid near the boat in the cove.
The escape of Waddell created a sensation in town; on Monday it was the general topic of conversation on the street. Public opinion demands that a strict investigation into the circumstances connected with the escape be made.
Nov 29, 1883
Use of the Knife in St. Andrews
On the night of Wednesday the 21st inst. A lad named James Gallagher, for some misconduct, was by the proprietor of Kennedy’s Hotel, ordered off the premises, refusing to go he was ejected; shortly afterwards Gallagher returned and attempted to force his way into the hotel. Mr. Kennedy barred his entry, when a tussle took place. Gallagher drew a jack knife and stabbed Mr. Kennedy in the left breast where the passage of the knife was stopped by the rib, and in the abdomen immediately below the ribs where the knife, fortunately, only made a slight puncture. Both wounds were in a dangerous locality. Had the knife been thrust with a little more force, either of them, would probably have cost Mr. Kennedy his life. Mr. Kennedy also had one of his fingers gashed. Mr. Mark Hall, the County jailer, came to Mr. Kennedy’s assistance, and succeeded in disarming Gallagher who we are informed, was severely punished by Mr. Kennedy striking him across the head and face with a whip.
July 17, 1884
Hugh Waddell who escaped from the Charlotte County Jail, in this town about nine o’clock pm Saturday July 28th, 1883, where he was coffined on a charge of having on the morning of the 25th of June, set fire to the American House, was at the instance of the Attorney General of New Brunswick arrested by a United States Deputy Marshall, at Saco, Maine, on the 9th inst., on board the schooner Anne Frye, of which he was mate, and taken to Boston. Sheriff Stuart proceeded to Boston on the 9th inst. To identify Waddell. A hearing on the petition of Sheriff Stuart for the extradition of Waddell was held before Judge Nelson, in the U. S. district Court on the 11th inst, which resulted in the granting of an order remanding Waddell to await proceedings in the usual form before the state department at Washington. Sheriff Stuart arrived her Monday evening, he will return for Waddell, as soon as he received notification from the U. S. Authorities.
Sept 11, 1884
A Jail Breaker’s Designs Foiled
Thursday last, Rebels a prisoner [Rebels and one or two others escaped from jail earlier this year and made it as far as Calais; see earlier issues] serving a sentence in the Charlotte Co. jail, advised Mr. Mark Hall, the jailer, to be on his guard, for that Hugh Waddell and Duel Marshall, prisoners, had torn an iron strap off the wood grating, which forms a division in the corridor or jail hall, that he Rebels had told Waddell, not to do it, as he had got enough of escaping, and was now being punished for breaking out of fail, Waddell told him with a profane expression to mind his own business, they would not interfere with him. The jailer demanded the iron to be given up, but compliance was refused, the cells of the conspirators were searched, and the iron strap found in that occupied by Waddell. The presumption is that they intended when an opportunity should offer, to attack the jailer when he came into the corridor, and fell him with the iron, and either having stunned or killed him, to make their escape. The two men are now by order of the sheriff, kept in close confinement. We think that representation of Rebel’s conduct should be made to the proper authorities, with a view of securing a commutation of his sentence. Since the incident took place, Rebels has had to listen almost incessantly to abusive epithets hurled at him by Waddell, who feels enraged at the exposure of his villainous design.
Dec 18, 1884
Grand Jury Glenn recounts visit to St. Andrews jail for inspection. Not very friendly reception by Sheriff Stuart, who is taken up by Glenn for referring the “hallowed precincts” of the jail. In Dec. 24 issue Stuart defends the remark.
Dec 27, 1888
Gallagher and Walker, the latter known by the soubriquet of “shy Walker,” recently committed to the county jail from St. Stephen, escaped from that institution on Wednesday evening 19th, and found their way to Calais, Maine. The jailer after putting a hod of coal, for the night’s use, into the corridor, omitted to fully bolt the door, which being discovered by the above named prisoners, they opened it and stood not upon the order of their going. Walker was captured in St. Stephen on Christmas day by deputy-sheriff Robinson, brought back to St. Andrews yesterday, and put back in his old quarters again.
Oct 24, 1889
An Old Prison
A Peep Within the Walls of St. Andrews Jail
How Some Prisoners Have Escaped. The Story of Hugh Waddell’s Escape and Recapture Told once More.
The recent escapes from the County Jail, followed by the removal of Mr. Mark Hall, for nineteen years jailer thereto, have directed public attention to this venerable institution.
St. Andrews’ Jail was not the creation of yesterday, as a glance at its antiquated walls will readily show. It was constructed as far back as 1832, and, doubtless at that time it was considered to be a model prison in every respect. In these advanced days, however, it is very far from being what it ought to be, and there is little doubt that to this cause, as much as to the alleged carelessness of he Jailer, is due the numerous escapes that have taken place from time to time. The immense blocks of granite out of which the venerable pile is built were brought all the way from Deer Island, Maine, in sailing vessels, there being no quarries in this neighborhood in operation at the time. The building itself is quadrangular in shape, two stories in height, with a low pitched roof, running down from the four sides. A little over one-third of the building was designed for the use of the jailer; the rest was for prison purposes. On the ground floor are the criminal cells, and from the glimpse we got of them in company with Sheriff Stuart, on Friday last, we would blame no prisoner for tying to escape from them. They are both small and dark and ill ventilated, and before they were provided with a water closet, must have been noisome dungeons indeed. There are five cells on each side of the corridor. The cell doors are of iron, and the entrance is so small that a man, with a corporation on him of any size, would have some difficulty in getting through. Each cell is 6 x 8 feet in size, and is surrounded by solid stone walls, two feet thick. There is an aperture in the outside wall of each cell to admit air and light. These apertures are about four inches wide, by twelve inches high. In olden times, a large wooden plug was used to close them up, but of late years the wooden plug has been discarded, and a sliding window cover the space. An old fashioned draw-bar fastens each cell door.
The corridor is, perhaps, five feet wide. It is entered by two doors. The first door is of solid wood very securely fastened. The second is composed of broad iron bars held in transverse sections. It is fastened on the outside by means of a modern prison padlock of ponderous size. There is no fastening whatever on the inside, so that when the jailer has occasion to go in, he just have some person to stand guard at the door until he comes out. Usually his wife or his daughter has performed this service but it is a dangerous job to ask any woman to perform, where there are desperate characters imprisoned. There is a low window at one end of the corridor, which admits light. This window was protected by thick iron bars, which were considered escape proof, but not many years ago, the prisoners sawed them through and made their escape. Since then, an additional grating of the strongest iron has been placed outside of this first grating (the latter having been repaired () and he would be a bold ingenious fellow who could saw his way through this window now without detection.
Cutting for Freedom
Even with the old-fashioned grating it was no easy task to cut through to liberty. The prisoners who did this job must have been at their work for some time. They unravelled the yarn from their socks before beginning their task each day, and fastened it tightly around the bar above and below where the cut was being made. This helped to deaden the sound. For fear any noise from the sawing should reach the jailer’s ears, the rest of the prisoners tramped up and down the corridor, whistling and singing, and making as much noise as they could, keeping a close watch upon the door at the same time. When they had sawed as long as they dare, the cut was closed up with soap and dust sprinkled on it to hide it from view. Then, having removed the yarn, the prisoners slipped off to their couches, no doubt to dream of sweet liberty. In this way they carried on their work until two of the bars had been cut through. Then, the cross-bar was easily swung out, and one by one the prisoners crawled out through this narrow hole, and gained their liberty.
The Debtors’ Quarters
The second floor of the building is utilized as a debtor’s prison. It is well lighted, and in composition with the lower apartment, is quite comfortable, indeed. There are four cells on this floor. One of them is now being used by a female prisoner, who is serving out a sentence of twelve months for larceny. There are three males down stairs, Henry McIntee, awaiting trial on a charge of arson Wm. Walker, serving out a term for vagrancy, and a debtor. Walker had the honor of letting himself out on one occasion, but he did not enjoy his freedom long, being brought back in about a week afterwards. He received an addition ten days from Judge Stevens for breaking Jail, his honor remarking at the time that he would blame no prisoner for walking out when he found the door open.
The Escape of Hugh Waddell with three other prisoners, on the 23rd of July 1883, caused one of the biggest sensations that St. Andrews has ever experienced. Waddell was awaiting trial on a charge of setting fire to the American House, in St. Andrews. On the day of his escape he had been entertaining an old sweetheart of his. While she was conversing with him through the grated door, the jailer’s family were alarmed by hearing a noise as if caused by something falling. Instantly, the woman screamed out, “They’ve gone, every one of them.” And she had spoken truly! When the affrighted jailer reached the prison quarters every one of his four birds who had been caged so securely (as he thought) had flown. It was a general jail delivery in earnest, without any court ceremonies to lend éclat to it. The lock had been broken by the prisoners, though exactly how they had done it has not been discovered to this day. Of the four prisoners who gained their liberty that time, but one, Waddell, ever saw the inside of a St. Andrews jail again. They got across into Uncle Sam’s territory, as speedily as possible, and from that day to this the whereabouts of those three missing jailbirds have been unknown to the authorities. Waddell was out a year and a month before Sheriff Stuart got his fingers closed on him again. It was some months after he had flown that the Sheriff heard that he was in Boston. By the consent of the Attorney General proceedings were at once begun looking to his extradition. The papers were made out, and the Sheriff, with Mr. James G. Stevens started off to Boston to collar the prisoner and bring him back. But the task proved a more difficult one that they had anticipated. They enlisted the services of the United States and Boston detective forces, but not a clue could they get concerning him. After a long and weary search, the Boston detectives had to declare themselves beaten for once, and the Sheriff and his companion were obliged to return home empty-handed. Time went on. The extradition papers were mildewing in the Sheriff’s desk, and the Sheriff himself had about made up his mind that he and the St. Andrews Fire bug had parted company forever. But one day, the townspeople noticed a sudden change come over the usually stoic features of the Sheriff. All at once he seemed to be full of business. His step became buoyant; there was a flash in his eye that had not been seen there for some time before, and the number of constables that were observed hastening in and out of his presence betokened something unusual in the wind. But the officers of the law were as dumb as clams, and the curious citizen were obliged to satisfy their curiosity by indulging in surmise and speculation. The presence of constables about the wharves night after night, evidently lying in wait for some one they expected to arrive by water, roused the curiosity of the people almost to fever heat. By degrees it leaked out that the Sheriff had received information that Waddell was on his way to SA, and that to see his sweetheart he was willing to risk liberty and even his life. But he did not land. One night, while watching along the river-bank, the constables observed a boat being rowed cautiously towards the shore. It was not more than a hundred years from the beach, when a shrill whistle from the land was heard. In a twinkling the bow of the approaching boat was turned seaward, and the craft was rowed silently and quickly away into the darkness. It was afterwards learned that Waddell was in this boat, and that his watchful friends on shore had given the signal which had caused the boatmen to turn about so quickly. After watching in vain for his return he constables abandoned their vigil. A day or two afterward, Sheriff Stuart went to Saint John and, with the assistance of two Saint John detectives, made a search of two vessels in which it was though the fugitive might be concealed. But, beyond hearing that the man he was after had come as far as Eastport in one of the vessels, the officer of the law left Saint John littler wiser than when he went here. Coming home in the steamer he accidentally met a party who was acquainted with Waddell's haunts in Boston. Again, the Boston Detective machine was set to work, and this time with better results. Ascertaining that Waddell’s mother was living in Boston, the detective visited her, and on the pretence of securing her son’s services as a bar-tender for a Nantasket Beach hotel, he learned that his man was on the way from New York in the schooner “Annie Frye.” The detective kept track of the schooner until she arrived at Biddeford, Maine, and then hastening thither he had little difficulty in picking Waddell out from the crew. He was arrested, taken to Boston, the extradition proceedings were renewed, resulting in his return to St. Andrews Jail, on the 20th of August, 1884. After he had got back to his old quarters, and while waiting for trial, he and another prisoner conspired to attack the jailer and gain their freedom. Another prisoner let the secret out. The Sheriff, on making an investigation, found that an iron bar had been wrenched off the drunkard’s cage in the jail, and with this the jailer was to receive his quietus. All the prisoners denied any knowledge of the bar, and it was only found when the rotten flooring in one of the cells was lifted up. The prisoners were kept closely confined until their trial took place when Waddell was sent to Dorchester penitentiary for fourteen years. He went to prison as meek as a mouse, and is still an inmate of it.
The Jailer’s Goose Froze
Dark, ill ventilated and uncomfortable as St. Andrews Jail may be now, its present condition is ten times better than it was a few years ago. It is not many years since it was so cold that a goose belonging to the jailer froze to death in it. It is almost a miracle that the prisoners did not share a like fate. The walls had not been demented for years, and the wind and weather had opened the interstices in the stone to such an extent that the building was like a sieve. Within quite a recent period the walls have been pointed with cement, and thus and thus the wind was prevented from whistling through the cracks and blowing the hair off the prisoners’ heads as it had been doing. There is also a stove in the corridor and a closet for the prisoners comforts that a few years ago they were stranger to.
The Late Jailer
To talk of the Jail without having something to say about the Jailer would be like describing a church without mentioning the minister. Mr. Mark Halls, as has been stated before, has held the position of Jailer for almost twenty years. Whatever his faults may have been, none can say that he was ever cruel or unkind to those unfortunates who were placed in his charge, and if he erred at all it was on the side of leniency. Had he been a man of less kindness of heart and a stricter disciplinarian, it is probably that escapes would not have been so frequent as they have been. It is the knowledge of this fact that has created a great deal of sympathy for him throughout the County, and the wish has been freely expressed that he should be reinstated and given one more chance.
Mrs. Hall has been alike a mother to the prisoner, and has accorded them kinder treatment than they were entitled to. In other prisons the inmates have a stated hour for getting up from their beds to their meals, and if they do not rise at that time they either have to do without or take cold victuals. In St. Andrews Jail, humanitarian principles have to a large extent government the conduct of the jailer and his wife in this regard. It has ever been the practise to keep the fires alive until the last prisoner has arisen, so that his mug of tea might be warm and comfortable for him. No doubt in some people’s eyes this would be considered an unnecessary kindness, and some might even be disposed to find fault with the jailer or his wife for it, but, under the circumstances, we cannot blame them. Situated as the jailer is, comparatively alone, there should be some better arrangement of the cells than exists now. As things are at present the jailer is comparatively at the mercy of the prisoners. There should be some arrangement by which each cell could be scoured without making it necessary for the jailer to go in and close each one. In addition to this, the means should be at hand to lock the corridor door from the inside, when the jailer has occasion to go in. If some such arrangements s these were carried out and a little more light provided, so that every object in the corridor could be distinctly seen by the jailer before entering, and the position of every cell door and prisoner noted, the number of escapees would be reduced to minimum, and a great deal of danger to the jailer’s person removed.
A Youthful Jailer Appointed
Since Mr. Hall’s removal, the jail has been in charge of Mr. Leonard Chase. Mr. Chase slept in the jail office, and took his meals at his home, which is only a few rods distant from the prison. His appointment was only a temporary one, however, as on Monday the announcement was made that the Sheriff had appointed his son, Louis Stuart, to be responsible position of jailer, and that it was the Sheriff’s intention to move into the jail himself as soon as possible. Sheriff Stuart says that he jail is to be run on jail principles after this, so that intending “boarders” should bear this in mind. The man who tries to escape after this, need not be astonished if he is “winged” before going many yards.
May 15, 1890
The Scott Act. How it is being vindicated at the Capital.
An Alleged Lunatic
A “party by the name of Johnson”—John Johnson is the name he gives—was taken out of the Lansdowne House on Tuesday and placed in jail on suspicion of being a lunatic. When landlord Pendleton went to his room that morning he found Johnson on the floor in “undress uniform,” driving horses with the bed quilts, and having a jolly time all to himself. After going to jail, Dr. S. T. Gove made an examination of the man, and concluded that he had better remain in confinement for a period until the Scott Act Rum had worked out of his system a little. Sheriff Stuart found in his pockets a tin whistle, six cents, a lot of crackers and cheese, and a cake of soap, which goes to show that in the matter of cleanliness his mind was sounder than a good many sane people we might name. Johnson says he belongs to Pictou. If crazy he is a very harmless lunatic.
Delving in the Past
How We Did our Business a Century Ago
A CHIMNEY ROBBER
Houses were constructed on a different principle then from what they are now, and it was not an unusual occurrence for a robber to enter a house through the chimney and make his exit in the same way. At the sessions of 23rd March, 1787, a prisoner was indicted on a charge of having entered a house by the chimney route:--
Cornelius Ryan, who being apprehended on a warrant issued by James Campbell, on suspicion of going down the chimney of the dwelling house of Neil McNichol and stealing from thence sundry articles at different times, the property of the said Neil McNichol and John McPherson, upon the oath of Neil McNichol, ordered to be committed to the Common Jail till discharged by due course of law.
The Scott Act is being vigorously enforced. The reputed dealers in St. Andrews have put on their shutters, and it is stated will go into other business. One victim has arrived at the Jail from SG, and others are expected from the same locality. Some of the island dealers had better close up their bars, if they do not wish to be behind Jail bars, as the Scott Act people are on their trail.
Feb 11, 1892
OPPOSING THE JAIL LIMITS
At the September sessions, 1823, the following order passed:--“that the Jail limits be bounded as follows, to sit, north-westerly by the north-western line of Elizabeth street from high water mark in a north-easterly direction to Parr Street, thence south-westerly along the north-eastern lien of Parr Street to Sophia Street, thence south-westerly along the south-eastern line of Sophia street to high water mark at the bank of the harbor, to include all the wharves now built or that hereafter may be erected, between a prolongation of Sophia street and Elizabeth Street, and a distance of fifty feet round the said wharves, and also to include the space between the said wharves, and to extend to low water mark, between a prolongation in a south-western direction of Fredrick street and Edward Street.” These limits were subsequently extended.
Scraps of History
Gleaned from the Old Sessions Records of Charlotte
At a special meeting of Sessions held in May 1833, an order passed “that all persons adjudged to hard labor shall work from 7 o’clock am until 6 o’clock pm that they shall be employed in breaking up stone for the market wharf and levelling and clearing away around the County Gaol and at such other public work as the committee hereafter to be nominated may direct and appoint.” This committee was composed of Thomas Wyer, William Ker and James Douglass, and they were authorized to employ a suitable person to superintend the work of the criminals. In a recent conversation with councillor R. Cogan, of St. Stephen, he stated that his father was engaged as superintendent of the criminal laborers. Some of the best roadwork done in St. Andrews was done by a gang of criminals under Mr. Cogan’s superintendence.
March 10, 1892
Pine, the jail breaker, who declared he would not be taken alive, was capture in St. Stephen on Tuesday morning by Marshall McClure. He tried to draw a revolver on the officer, but in his haste to escape he dropped the weapon and did not have time to pick it up. McClure fired two or three shots at him before he hove to. He is now ensconced in St. Andrews sail once more. Pine was indicted before the Grand Jury for theft in October, 1889, but before is case came up for trial, he had made his escape. He is an accomplished thief. Numerous robberies have taken place since he regained his freedom, in which he is believed to have been the principal. The Wren robbery at Bocabec is supposed to be one of them.
March 17, 1892
Pine, the youth who was recently returned to Jail after an absence of almost three years, was identified by Christopher Wren as the pat who was employed with him and who suddenly disappeared with a gold watch, a revolver, a suit of clothes and a number of other articles belonging to his employer.
“Hotel de Scott Act” is the facetious term applied to St. Andrews Jail. Letters addressed in that way frequently arrive at the St. Andrews post office.
A load of bad whiskey, with an accompaniment of revolver and knife, is what a Milltown tough brought to St. Andrews with him on Sunday night. He drove down with the wife of a Scott Act prisoner, and having been refused permission to bestow some of the whiskey upon the jail boarders, he became very wroth. He struck one young man a treacherous blow in the face. Then he drew his revolver and threatened to shoot. He was allowed to go scot free.
May 13, 1897
Escaped from Jail
Robert Pye Opens Bolts and Bars and Secures His Freedom-But is Captured within Sight of his Prison Walls.—An Ingenious Prisoner
One of the most ingenious and successful attempts at jail-breaking ever made by a prisoner was carried out b Robert Pye, a prisoner in St. Andrews jail on Saturday afternoon last. By means of some keys and other instruments of his own making, Pye opened the bolts and bars of three massive doors which restrained him, and then having obtained an entrance to the office of the jail, he leaped out of the open window and in a trice was breathing the free air of heaven. Unfortunately for his plans, though the jailer and his wife were both absent at the time, the prisoner’s departure was noticed by a little girl, the adopted daughter of the jailer. She gave the alarm, which resulted five minutes later in the recapture and return of this prisoner.
To aid him in his escape, Pye had blackened his features. This deception proved so successful that although the jailer noticed the man on the street he did not recognize him as the prisoner until the little girl told him. To Jailer Kendrick Pye said that he had been planning his escape all winter. He expressed regret that all his ingenuity and labor have been thrown away.
In order to gain an entrance into the hallway of the jail, the prisoner had to pen three doors. The first one was of latticed iron, which was fastened on the outside by a padlock four pounds in weight. The key to open the lock was of peculiar construction, but the prisoner, after several attempt, succeeded in making a hardwood key the exact counterpart of the original. After opening this door, he encountered a wooden door, with a steel face, which is secured with a huge bolt outside a few inches from the floor. The only opening in this door is in the middle. It is about two inches square. Through this small aperture, he dropped out a wire which pulled the link f the bolt up in shooting the bolt. Door No. 3 was of iron bars fastened with a lock. This door he unfastened with a key which he had constructed out of the blade of a knife. To obtain an impression of this lock while the other doors were fastened he had to reach out through the openings in the two doors a distance of about three feet using the handle of a white-wash brush. Sheriff Stuart had no idea that man’s ingenuity cold secure an opening through three massive doors, but this opinion on that subject has considerably altered since Saturday.
The Jail Bed-straw
Fragrant as were the memories which Mr. James Brayley carried away with him from he County Jail, after his Scott Act imprisonment, they were not half so fragrant as a lot of bedstraw which he brought out with him. It was no particular fondness for he Jail beds that moved him to do this, but rather a desire to le the public know the kind of stuff that the County compels its prisoners to lie down upon. The Beacon was invited to partake of a sniff of the straw aforesaid, and we are quite safe in saying that a bed or roses could not be more fragrant. But the fragrance was of the wrong kind. Mr Brayley says that he will submit the straw to the inspection of the S. P. C. A. and it is possible that he may also carry a sample of it to Premier Emmerson. Sheriff Stuart, who was spoken to about this matter, said that every prisoner, on entering the Jail, is furnished with fresh straw and clean bed clothing. He declares this was done in Mr. Brayley’s case.
Disposing of a saucy Tramp
Two tramps, who completed a 30 day term at the Jail on Friday last, became very annoying got the townspeople. Eon of them, named Maguire, belonging to Indiantown, Saint John , was particularly offensive. He entered houses, helped himself to whatever he could lay his hands on, frightened the woman folks, and used threatening language to everybody he met. About nine o’clock in the evening, the boys took him in hand, and after conducting him to the outskirts of the town, the belaboured him with whips, sticks, etc., until he was very glad to leave the place. It’s doubtful if he will return for some time.
Jan 11, 1900
***A lad named George McCarty, who refused to stay where the Alms House Commissioners placed him, but persisted in making his bed in barns, hay-mows, pig-styles and the like, was sent to Jail last week for thirty days for vagrancy.
Hope Young’s Case, Hanging at SA
The Digby correspondent of the Halifax Chronicle, discussing the probable fate of May Hope Young, sentence to be hanged on December 22, said,
“Sentiment is strongly against the execution of a woman. The Maritime Provinces have never sent a woman murdered to her death. They have on record but one other case, where a woman was tried for murder. That was in NB in the ‘80s, when the woman was found guilty as an accessory before and after the fact but her sentence was commuted and she served but short term in prison.”
The Digby correspondent is quite right in stating that no women have been executed in the Maritime Provinces. In the old colonial days, however women found guilty of murder were hanged, and sentiments of chivalry or regard for their six did not county in their favor.
On the 12th of August, 1826, Richard and Marie Stewart, a brother and sister living at SA, were arrested for the murder of their illegitimate child. There were no delays in the execution of justice in those days, and on August 16th, just four days after the arrest, Judge Chipman passed a sentence ordering them to be hanged. They were given twelve days in which to prepare for death, and on the 28th of august were executed at St. Andrews. In the quick space of sixteen days this unnatural pair was disposed of.
On the 17th of September, 1784, there was a row in the home of John and Nancy Mosely, and Nancy, picking up a fork, threw it at her husband. He was struck on the temple and died a few days. Mrs. Mosely was arrested and tried for murder. As it was a domestic row, the court did not think Nancy guilty of murder, but convicted her of manslaughter. For punishment she was branded with a letter M on the left thumb. The Moseleys, who were colored people as were the Stewarts, were among the original grantees of Parrtown.
A case since Confederation, that may be the one referred to by the Digby correspondent, was that of Mrs. Thomas E. Ward, who was tried in 1879 with Thomas Dowd for the murder of her husband at new River. Dowd was convicted and executed at SA, but Mrs. Ward, who was adjudged an accessory, was reprieved after being sentence.—St. John Globe.
[The Stewart couple resided in a shanty not far from the present golf club house. The hanging took place in the public square alongside Kennedy’s hotel. While they were imprisoned in the jail here, a prisoner named Greenlaw made his escape. Though his feet were shacked and a ball and chain attached, he crawled through the sewer to the shore. He was afterwards captured near Joe’s Point.]—Ed Beacon
The jail is empty. This does not mean that there are now law breakers in Charlotte County—not by a jug full.
Four male Norwegians were placed in jail last week for fighting on the street. High feed and no work is getting on the Norwegian nerves.
A Mrs. Neilson, Norwegian worker at Chamcook, accused of throwing knife at Miss Robertson. Cannot speak English. Fined 10 dollars of 30 days jail. Takes fine.
Charged with throwing a knife
A conflict of authority which arose among the women in charge of the Chamcook boarding houses, culminated last week in a case in the police court. T was alleged on one side, and the statement was supported by several witnesses, that Mrs. Neilson, Norwegian, had thrown a knife at Miss Robertson. Mrs. Neilson, who gave her evidence in her native tongue through the medium of an interpreter, declared that she had not thrown a knife at Miss Robertson. In her excitement at being accused of inciting trouble among the Norwegian girls, she had thrown her knife on the floor. She had several voluble witnesses to support her statement. F. H Grimmer appeared for the prosecution; Mrs. Neilson conducted her own defence. The magistrate decided in favor of the complainant, and a fine of $10 or 30 days’ jail was imposed. The fine was allowed to stand.
St. Croix Courier
Shiretown Items—The County Court House. 100 the anniversary. Quotes Adam, publisher of Standard on construction of same. “The item was written by Adam Smith, editor of the Standard, and then only 26 years of age. It is doubtful if any paper now printed in America is managed and edited by so young a man. Older residents will remember Mr. Smith as a dignified old gentleman with white hair and beard. he died in 1896, aged 82 years. It would be interesting if we could learn the names of the committee in charge of the work. The property at the corner of William and Water Streets is still known as the Berry estate (the architect’s property), and the rent is collected by the heirs of Thomas Berry mentioned as architect. I have been told that he contractors, or man in charge, was a Mr. Conley who lived in the house at the head of Queen Street now occupied by Charles Stinson. The present jail was built in 1832. The former jail was a the head of Queen St. It was from this building that a prisoner, on trial for murder, escaped and was free for several years. he was afterward discovered in Boston, brought back and hanged. There have been six sheriffs during this period of a hundred years since the building of the Court House. Colin Campbell was in office at the time of building but died that year, and was succeeded by Thomas Jones, who held the office till February 1865. Alexander Paul held the position from 1865 to 1883. R. A. Stuart 1883 to 1931. “Victor H. Maxwell 1931 to 1933, and C. W. Mallory 1933 to the present time. Some of the prominent Barristers appearing in this Court House between the years 1840 and 1880 were James Chandler, S. Frye, Peter Thompson, P. Stubbs. Alexander T. Paul, George S. Grimmer, James J. Stevens (later County Judge), Benjamin R. Stevenson, James Mitchell (afterwards Premier of Nb), Lewis “A. Mills, George S. Hill, George D. Street.
St. Croix Courier
St. Andrews Scene About 1860
(By J. F. W.)
The above is a copy made by A. Shirley of an old photo taken in St. Andrews about 1860. The building in the centre was used for various purposes and was referred to under various names. The whole of the first floor was used as a market house, while the upper story did service as a town hall, court-house and armoury. Two unfortunates, negro brother and sister, were hanged from the beam connecting the pillars, somewhere about 1870, for the crime of infanticide. The large square building to the left will be recognized as Paul’s hall, which is still standing. The smaller building to the right, probably burned along with the centre building, was used as a fire engine house. The gaol, I am told, was directly behind the centre building.
St. Croix Courier
July 9, 1942
Sergt. Hutchings to Stand Trial of Charge of Murder
36 Witnesses Testify in Three-Day Haring. Accused has no Counsel and Asks no Questions
Murder Trial Opens Sept 8
Blacks Harbour, July 4
Sergt. Tom Roland Hutchings, 21-year-old armourer in the Royal Air Force, stationed at Pennfield, late Friday afternoon was committed to stand trial at the next court having criminal jurisdiction in the County of charlotte for the murder of Bernice Connors. The next sitting of the Charlotte Circuit Court is scheduled to pen at St. Andrews on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Accused heard 36 prosecution witnesses testify against him, asked not a single question, and informed Magistrate E. A. Nason prior to being committed to jail to await trial, that he had nothing to say and did not wish to call any witnesses in his own behalf.
Friday afternoon Dr. John M. Roussel, medico-legal expert, and assistant to Dr. R. Fontaine, in the Province of Quebec, medico-legal laboratory, testified that he had discovered a number of human blood stains on the R. A. F. uniform handed to him b Detective Staff Sergeant F. W. Davis of he R. C. M. P. and Sergeant Davis told of securing the uniform from Hutchings at the Pennfield air station.
During he two day preliminary hearing, Hutchings was not represented by counsel, while. M. Groom, clerk of the peace for Charlotte County conducted the prosecution and had associated with him E. B. McClatchy, of the attorney-general’s department. Flt. Lieut. Elvanson, of he R. A. F. attended the court proceedings and took a watching brief of the Air Force. . . . The second witness of the afternoon was Detective Staff Sergeant F. W. Davis of the R. C. M. P. He told of coming to Black’s Harbor in the early mornign of June 8, arriving here at 12:15. . . . “I have the accused the customary warning. I told him he did not have to answer any questions. He said he clearly understood the warning and he gave me a short resume of what he had done on the night of Friday, June 5. I asked him for the uniform he ore on Friday night. He was wearing it at the time, and took it off and gave it to me. I also took several other articles of clothing from his room. He was wearing glasses when I interviewed him at Pennfield,” said the witness. He said he took them from the room of the accused, and with the consent of the accused, two pairs of socks, two handkerchiefs, two collars, a tie, a suit of underwear and a pair of shoes. These were later turned over to R. C. M. P. Corporal Rime.
“On the morning of June 10, while looking around the community Hall here, I discovered a bluish handkerchief near the kitchen door. The handkerchief was stained. I kept this in my possession and turned it over to Dr. J. M. Roussel in Montreal on the mornign of June 25.”
“I interviewed the accused in the jail at St. Andrews on June 13, and asked him to give me a ring he had on his finger, and he gave me the ring,” continued the witness.
The tunic, trousers and belt taken from the accused at Pennfield were produced at this point and offered and received in evidence as well as a pair of shoes, a handkerchief found by the witness outside the Community Hall and several other articles taken from the room of Hutchings at he air station.
Detective Sergeant Davis said he had located a rock, stained with blood, on the highway near the spot where the body of Miss Connors was discovered. He found the rock on June 10, and this too was handed over to the Dr. Roussel, and identified by the witness in court and submitted in evidence. . . .
The witness identified the uniform in court as the one handed to him , and said he had made an examination of the clothing and found a number of blood stains on the tunic and trousers. “I would say the stains were human blood stains,” said the witness, and then went into details as to the different places the stains had been found. He said there was a single dark stain on the belt, and was of the opinion it too was a blood stain, but could not say that it was a human blood stain. Dr. Roussel said he was unable to group the blood from the stains. He attributed this to the fact that stains that had been on cloth for some time or on cloth which had bee submitted to heat lose their properties; therefore making it impossible to group the blood.
St. Croix Courier
News Notes From St. Andrews
Interesting Facts About the Gaol
There is no definite record as to when the present gaol was built, over the door of the main entrance the numbers 1832 are cut in the stone. It is possible that is the year it was started, bu the oldest records show it was not in use ill Nov 17, 1834, with W. R. N. Law as goloer. Mr. Law had been in charge of the old gaol, but its location is not stated. The same record book shows that the ship Rober t Watt, belonging to James Read, was launched at St. Andrews. There rae two books in which are recorded the prisoner’s name, offence, complainant or creditor, the officer’s name, amount of debt or sentene, time of dischare and remarks. This book was opened in 1850 and runs till 1863. There are 869 prisoners listed in this first book. The second book commences in 1864 and is still in use at the present time. There are 3,757 prisoners listd in this volume, making a total of 4,626 person swho spent time behind the bars from 1860 to the present day. In scanning the records one finds the names of two youths who were arrested for quarreling and fighting on the streets of St. Andrws April 18, 1850. These two lads were only 10 and 12 years of age, and one was released the next day, april 19, and the second on the following day, April 20. The officers who mae the arrests were Haddock and Hanson. They were released on the authority of Benjamin Williams and the attorneys connected with the case were Hathway and Kerr. The shortest sentence probably ever served in the local gaol was in 1935 when a man was brought in for debts. A soon as he arrived nd the gaoler was giving the officer the recepit, a friend came in and paid his fine and debts. He did not even see the cells but he must be classed as a prisoner once th egaolers received his commitment papers. It is shown in the record book that a certain man had 27 convictions and spent 1,441 days in the gaol. He eventually died in the office of the gaol in 1931. Another man stil lliving had 31 convictions and served 1,106 days. Three other persons respectively with 20, 17, and 18 convictions served 962, 785 and 600 days. These men wer all real good pals and often spent the cold winter months in the County Gaol.
St. Croix Courier
County Archives find a home: they’re in the jailhouse now.