MICHAEL FARRELL CHARGED IN THE MANSLAUGHTER OF DAVID MAHER

Transcribed by Patrick Keily, December, 2012

              DEPOSITION OF DENIS CLEAR

                  And this deponent, Dennis Clear, of the Parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault, farmer, being duly sworn, doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

    I reside in the seventh range of Ste. Catherine.  I know Michael Farrell, who is accused with the manslaughter of David Maher; he resides within eight acres of me.  The night when the said David Maher was killed, it was on Easter Saturday last, Michael Farrell came into my house that night, between eight and nine o’clock.  I had finished my supper at the time.  My sons, John and Patrick, were in the house at the time, as well as the rest of my family.  When Farrell came in, the first thing he said was, “This is a damnable ting that has happened below at the cross!”  I asked him what it was and he replied two men had come up in their shirt sleeves, one of them had an axe and the other a black stick, or a whip, and one of them had sworn out to blow his brains out, and that he held his reins in his hand but let them drop and they had got under the sleigh and the mare had stopped.  He said that as the two men were approaching him, he took the axe, and the first man that came up to him he struck him with it.  I asked him if he struck him with the edge of the axe, and he replied yes, he did, that he struck him with the chop of the axe, or that he gave him the chop of the axe, and I understood from this that he had struck him with the sharp part of the axe.  I asked him why he had the axe with him, and he replied that the last time he was going to town, the bunk of the box of his sleigh broke and that he had a great deal of trouble to mend it without an axe, and this time, he added, “I took the axe away from home with me and I was very glad to have it with me, to save my life.”  He wanted me to go down with him and see what had happened, but I refused.  On the Easter Sunday evening, my son John shewed <sic> me a lot of bells which, he said, he had picked up on the road.  These bells he produced at the Coroner’s inquest and left with him.

     And deponent hath signed.

                                                            Denis Clear

Taken and sworn before me at

Quebec, this 24th June, 1861.

J. Masnire? 

 

            DEPOSITION OF ANN CLEARY, WIFE OF DENIS SHANAHAN

                       And this deponent, Ann Cleary, of the Parish of Valcartier, wife of Denis Shanahan, being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

     I keep a store in the first concession of Valcartier, where I reside.  I remember the Saturday on which David Maher was killed.  It was on Easter Saturday last.  I know Michael Farrell, who is charged with the manslaughter of the said David Maher. He called at my house when going into town on the Saturday above mentioned, and also on his return from town the same day, betwen <sic> four and five o’clock in the afternoon.  He was in company his two brothers-in-law named Landers, one James Hickey and one Thomas Connell.  Michael Farrell had his horse and sleigh with him, as well as the others.  I do not know what he had in his sleigh.  I saw no axe with him.  The deceased and his brother, John Maher, called into my place about three quarters of an hour after the said Michael Farrell and his company had left on that afternoon.  A few days before this, on the twenty-ninth of the same month, John Maher, the brother of the deceased, was in my place when the said Michael Farrell came in.  During the time they were in my house a quarrel took place between Maher and Michael Farrell and Michael Farrell wanted Maher to fight him, but Maher said he did not want to fight.  I then went down to the other end of the house as I did not want to hear the quarrel, but when the disturbance became too great as to attract my attention, I went to see what was the matter and I saw Maher down on the ground and Farrell was over him shaking him.  I think my husband separated them.

    And deponent hath made her mark declaring she cannot write her name.                                                                                               

Ann (her mark) Shanahan.

Taken and sworn before me at

Quebec this 24th June, 1861

 

             DEPOSITION OF JAMES HICKEY

                                       And the deponent, James Hickey, of the Parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault, farmer, being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

     I knew the late David Maher, who was killed at Ste. Catherine’s on the night of Easter Saturday last, and I know Michael Farrell who is accused of having killed him.  I was in company with the said Michael Farrell on the day in question and came from town with him on the afternoon of that day.  When we were coming home we stopped at a bush called, as I believe, “Landrigan’s bush”, and the said Michael Farrell told me that he had put an axe there that he had fetched down to mend his sleigh in case it got broken in the cahoots.  I think this bush is about a mile on this, the town side of the residence of John Landers, the father-in-law of the said Michael Farrell.  Farrell went into the bush and got the axe and we then went on together to the cross road, where I went on my way and left him, but I do not know which way he turned as I did not look around.

       I went into Shanahan’s store with the said Michael Farrell on the same afternoon as we were going towards home; this was before Farrell went into the bush to get the axe.

    And deponent hath made his mark declaring he cannot write his name.

                                                                      James (his mark) Hickey

Taken and sworn before me at

Quebec, this 24th June, 1861

 

             DEPOSITION OF DOCTOR CHARLES FREMONT AT INQUEST

                        Charles Fremont, Esq. of the City of Quebec, physician and surgeon, being duly sworn, doth depose and say:

                        I examined the body of the said David Maher and noticed five incised wounds.  The first was at the root of the neck, on the left side.  It extended from the edge of the sternum, on that same side, to the length of five inches and a half, in a diagonal direction upwards and backwards, and penetrated the clavicle at. . . . . .

                        The remainder of Doctor Fremont’s deposition is missing.

 

              DEPOSITION OF WILLIAM CLEAR 

                        And the deponent, William Clear, of the Parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault, farmer, being duly sworn, doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

                        I was present at the inquest held on the body of the late David Maher, and was one of the Jury.  At the investigation there was produced, by John Clear, my nephew, a string of bells for a horse, such as is worn in winter; which bells were sworn to before my by John Maher, the brother of the deceased, as being his property, and as having been on his horse that night when his brother was killed.  These bells were given in my charge by the Coroner, and they are still in my possession, and have been in my possession ever since they were handed me.

                        And deponent hath made his mark, declaring he cannot write his name.

Taken and sworn before me

At Quebec, this 24th June, 1861                  

William (his mark) Clear.

J. Masnire ?

J & L of Police.

 

             DEPOSITION OF JOHN THOMPSON 

                        And this deponent, John Thompson, of the parish of St. Ambroise, farmer, being duly sworn, doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

                        I know Michael Farrell, said John Maher, the brother of the deceased, David Maher.  I saw John Maher for the first time , and know him on the evening of the twenty-sixth of March last, at the store of Denis Shanahan in Valcartier, which is distant about four miles from where the said David Maher was killed.  I went into Shanahan’s to wait for Michael Farrell to arrest him on a warrant taken out against him by his brother, John Farrell for an assault, but he was not then there, and I soon after arrested him on the road, and after he had given bail before Mr. Mailhot, he returned and went into Shanahan’s house.  We went in together.  John Maher was still in the house and if I had known Maher was still there I would not have gone in, as I was apprehensive that Michael Farrell would raise a quarrel with Maher, as it was generally known they were not on good terms.  Shortly after Michael Farrell went in he challenged John Maher and wanted him to fight but Maher refused to fight.  I left the room and shortly afterwards was called by Dennis Shanahan to take Farrell from off the said John Maher.  When I went in I saw the said John Maher on the floor and Michael Farrell over him and I separated them. 

                        And deponent hath signed.

Taken and sworn before me at                               John Thompson

Quebec, this 24th June, 1861

 

 

 

               DEPOSITION OF PATRICK CLEAR

                        And this deponent, Patrick Clear, of the parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault, labourer, being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

                        I reside in the parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault with my father>  I was at home on the evening of Easter Saturday last, between eight and nine o’clock, as near as I can say, when Michael Ferrell, the person who is accused with the death of David Maher, came in saying “That this is a damnable thing that is after happening below at the cross”.  My father asked him what it was, and he replied that two of the Mahers’ met him and they stripped in their shirt sleeves.  One of them had an axe and the other, he said, had something black, which he thought was a whip or a black stick, in his hand, and he further said that one of them swore by his heavens – to the other – to blow his brains out.  Michael Farrell went on to say that he laid down the reins on the shaft and the mare stopped and then that he caught hold of his axe and got off the sleigh, and he said that the first one that came up to him he gave his a chop with the axe, and the other one ran away.  He said he was not sure which of them he had struck but he thought it was David Maher, and he said it was John Maher who ran away, the one who had the axe.  We live on the opposite side of the same road about eight acres distance, to the best of my opinion, from that on which Michael Farrell lives.  Our house is a little nearer to town than Michael Farrell’s.  My father and brother were present with me when the said Michael Farrell came into our house, as mentioned above.  I did not see any axe with him when he came in.  I do not remember that my father asked him why he had the axe with him that day, nor that he asked my father to go down and see what had occurred.  To the best of my belief, there was a quarrel between Michael Farrell and the Mahers’.

                        I saw my uncle, William Clear, on the evening after the Jury had given their verdict, come into my father’s house with a string of bells which he stated that the Coroner had given to him.  These bells were the same which my brother John had taken down to the inquest with him, and which he had found on the road and which I had given to my brother to take to the inquest.  I found these bells about five acres from the place where the murder was committed, on Easter Sunday morning last.  I observed no marks of blood upon them at the time.  I do not know who was the owner of these bells.  I did not observe any marks of blood upon the strap, nor did I notice any cut on it.  I did not notice whether the strap was a new or an old strap, nor do I know if I should know the strap again if I saw it.

                        And deponent hath made his mark, claiming he cannot write his name.

Sworn before me at Quebec,

This 25th June, 1861                                            

Patrick (his mark)  Clear

J. Masnire  ?

J. & L of Police  ?

 

           DEPOSITION OF BRIDGET FARRELL

                        And the deponent, Bridget Farrell, of the Parish of Ste. Catherine de Fossambault, spinster, being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

                        I remember the time when David Maher was killed; it was on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday last.  I lived at that time with John Maher, the brother of the deceased.  Some time after dark, on that evening, the said John Maher ran into the house and as he entered he fell upon the floor.  John Maher’s wife, his wife’s mother, John Farrell, myh brother, and Anthony Maher, a cousin of John’s were in the house at the time.  He shouted to his wife and said “David is killed”, meaning David Maher.  I immediately went outside of the door to one of the neighbours named McLaughlin for help.  I returned from McLaughlin’s with a boy named James Maher and went to our house, and from thence, we, - John Farrell, Anthony Maher, James Maher and myself _ proceeded with a light in a lantern to discover where the body was lying.  We found the body of David Maher just on the turn of the road which leads down to our house.  He was quite dead.  I left the three persons who were with me and went down to Mrs. Mohlay’s.  I met Mrs. Mohlay and Thomas McDonald on the road coming toward the spot.  I told them David Maher had been killed.  I then proceeded to Mrs. Molloy’s and got a horse and went for the uncle of the deceased. 

                        I know that there was a bad feeling on the part of Michael Farrell against the Maher’s and heard Michael Farrell say – I think in July last – that if he caught any of the Mahers’ about his place that “he would let the puddings out of them”.

                        When we had nearly reached the body we found the two horses which John and David Maher had taken to town that day on the road leading to our house, not far from the body.  One of the horses, nearest the deceased, was foundered in the snow, his sleigh having been caught in the stump.  This was on the left hand side of the road as we are coming out.  The other horse was nearer home and had been stopped by the reins catching on the bob sleigh.

                        I heard the next day from Anthony Maher that when John Maher’s mare came home she had lost her bells.  I saw these bells produced afterwards by one of the Clears’ at the Coroner’s inquest and I recognized them to be the same bells that John Maher had taken into town with him when he left home.  I saw Anthony Maher loosen the mare from the sleigh before we discovered the body and she proceeded home alone.

And the deponent hath signed.

Bridget Farrell

Taken and sworn before me at

Quebec, this 24th June, 1861

 

          DEPOSITION OF CATHERINE MURPHY FARRELL

                        And the deponent, Catherine Murphy, of the Parish of St. Catherine de Fossambault, widow of Patrick Farrell, being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows, to wit:

                        I am the mother of Michael Farrell, accused of the manslaughter of David Maher, and I am the mother –in-law of John Maher, brother of the deceased, David Maher.  I remember the night of which David Maher was killed; it was on Easter Saturday night last.  John Maher and his wife were living with me at that time, and David Maher was also at my house on a visit, from the day before, Good Friday.  On Good Friday morning John Maher went to town with one of my horses with a stick of timber and he left word that David Maher was to follow him into town, with the other horse, as soon as I came back from Valcartier with him.  David Maher left for town with the other horse as requested, about five or six o’clock in the evening of the same day as near as I can say.   Each of the horses had a set of bells on them when they left my house (page 22 of the deposition is missing, and I  continue with page 23 at its beginning)

Horses for David is killed dead”.  I asked him who killed him and he replied “Mick Farrell”.  There were in the house at this time, my two daughters, Anthony Maher and my son John Farrell, and myself.  We were afraid to go down the road alone, and my daughter Bridget and Anthony Maher went up to McLaughlins’, a neighbor, for James Maher.  I remained in the house and so did also my son John until Bridget and Anthony returned accompanied by James Maher.  When they returned they all three went away with John Farrell, taking a light with them in a lantern, to search for David Maher.  I think it was scarcely half an hour after they had thus gone away before the mare which had been driven by John Maher, came home alone.  When the mare came back, John Maher and his wife took her and went up to McLaughlins’ with her, leaving me in the house alone, and did not return until eight or nine o’clock next morning.  Anthony Maher came in soon after John Maher and his wife had thus left and James Maher came home, with the horse-without the sleigh- soon after him.  James Maher put the horse into the berlin and went away again to fetch David Maher’s body, and they came back soon after, within half an hour, with his body.  He was quite dead.

                        I know that there was a bad feeling on the part of Michael Farrell against the Mahers’ because John Maher had married his sister; and I heard him say some time during last summer, when they were earthing up the potatoes, that if he caught either of the Maher’s around his house, he would let his puddings out.

And deponent hath made her mark, declaring she cannot write her name.

Catherine (her mark) Farrell.

Taken and sworn before me at

Quebec, this 25th June, 1861

 

 

           JOHN MAHER’S DEPOSITION AT INQUEST

                        DEPOSITIONS OF WITNESSES severally taken and acknowledged at St. Catherine de Fossambault, in the County of Portneuf, in the District aforesaid, on the 1st day of April, in the twenty-fourth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Victoria, and of our Lord Christ, One Thousand Eight Hundred and sixty-one, on the behalf of our said Lady the Queen, touching the death of David Maher.

                        Before me Eugene Panet, Esquire, Her Majesty’s Coroner for the said District, on an Inquisition then and there taken on view of the body of the said David Maher, farmer, of the Parish of St. Alban, County of Portneuf, aged nineteen, then and there lying dead as follows, to wit:

                        John Maher, of the Parish of Ste. Catherine, lumberman, being duly sworn, doth depose and say,

                        Saturday last between twelve and one o’clock in the afternoon, I left the boarding house of Wm. Maher in Quebec, on St. Vallier street.  I met my brother, the deceased, on Saturday afternoon.  My brother left with me to come home to St. Catherine.  We were both sober when we left Maher’s boarding house.  I had gone to town to sell some timber.  I had a sleigh, the deceased had another sleigh.  He had taken to town apiece of birch.  When I left the boarding house I had nothing on my sleigh but the chains which I required to tie the stick of wood, and two empty bags.  I had nothing else on the sleigh but the bob sleigh.  I left the tavern before the deceased and he followed close behind.  There was another horse between deceased and me, this was Anthony Maher’s horse.  We stopped first at Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  This place is below the Montreal turn, that is where the telegraph wires turn off.  When we were within one acre from this tavern, or a little further, Mr. McDonald, who was driving with me, the two other horses following behind, here, Mr. McDonald stated to me, “If they are in Mrs. Wood’s, we will go on”.  He told me this because I had stated to him previously that I was afraid to come this road for fear of meeting Mike Farrell.  I told him then that I preferred going by the Charlesbourg road.  He went in Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  I believe Mr. McDonald was the first of us who went in Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  We ascertained that Mike Farrell was not there.  We remained here for about one half hour or a little more.  When we left Mrs. Wood’s I had nothing in my sleigh but what I stated before, that is the two empty bags, the chains and the bob sleigh.  The deceased had a long sleigh with no bottom.  He had nothing with him that I know of.  We next stopped at a place where the road turns off to Valcartier.  Mr. McDonald came along with us.  John Maher, a son of Anthony Maher, was with us.  He was going home with Mr. McDonald.  Here, I told Mr. McDonald that we had better take the Valcartier road.  He answered that there was no danger by the Jacques Cartier road.  That is the road we generally take to come home.  We next stopped at James Murray’s house, about four or five miles further.  We went in there to light our pipes and started again.  We next stopped at the cross road about a mile from here, near James McGrath’s house.  At this place John Maher turned off to go home.  David Maloy passed us here, we had stopped our horses.  I told Mr. McDonald here that I would not go on with the boy Maher.  I then came on with the deceased and Mr. McDonald to Mrs. Maloy’s.  I was walking with Mr. McDonald and the deceased was driving the horses.  I don’t remember what we were talking about.  We went into Maloys’ leaving our horses on the road.  We did not intend to delay, the little boy of the name of David Maher told us then our horses were going.  I, in company with deceased and David Maloy, went out to the corner of the house.  I saw the horses then at a distance of about 2 acres; they were going towards home.  I watched the horses then until they were out of my sight going towards home.  The horses were going pretty quick.  I went into Maloy’s then and Mrs. Maloy told us to wait and that she would give us a cup of tea.  We took tea there.  After tea Mrs. Maloy mentioned that our people at home would be anxious about seeing the horses coming home alone and would come to meet us.  Deceased and I left then to go home; Mr. McDonald remained at Maloys.  I went a few steps past the end of the house and I thought I perceived somebody in the swamp.  Mrs. and a boy were standing at the door and, I think, a little girl also.  I told them I will take the ax with me.  I don’t remember whether some person handed me the ax or whether I took it myself.  To the best of my opinion the ax was lying near a pile of wood.  Upon my telling them that there was somebody in the swamp, they looked but did not state whether or no they perceived any person.  I then left with the ax, my brother was walking along side of me.  When we left the people were still standing at Maloys door.  The deceased had nothing but a whip in his hand, and I am not sure whether he had this whip, or not.  We walked together until we came to within a few yards from the turn on the road about half a mile from Maloys’.  We were here side and side.  I was on the left hand side.  I had then the axe in my right hand carrying on my shoulder.  I had the end of the handle in my right hand.  Here I heard the rattle of our own bells.   The deceased stated “they are coming to meet us”, meaning Biddy and Anthony.  Here, deceased walked ahead a little quicker, he got a couple of paces ahead of me, I following behind.  We saw then a horse standing before us on the road, twenty or thirty rods from the road where we had to turn.  We were, at that time, when first we saw the horse at about five or six paces from where the road branches off.  When first we saw the horse, we could not tell if he was moving.  We thought he was coming towards us; the bells were rattling and we thought it was our own horse.  The horse which we had seen was on the cross road to the left about twenty or thirty yards above the turn we had to come.  The deceased kept going on.  I following him at the same distance behind until I got to the crossing; deceased took the road on the left hind side.  As soon as I got at the crossing I perceived some black thing about three or four yards from me to my right.  It was off the road.  I was startled on seeing this; deceased continued then alone.  I moved towards this black thing and perceived a sleigh.  It was deceased’s sleigh.  The horse was off the road in the snow facing the bush on the right hand side.  The horse was not moving.  I went to the hind end of the sleigh; recognized the sleigh and horse.  I heard then deceased asking “Who is that”?  He was about twenty yards or so from me.  I was looking at deceased’s horse that was in the snow, when I heard the deceased’s voice saying “Who is that”?  I turned round then and looked towards him.  I saw then another person standing a little ahead.  This person was facing the deceased and coming towards him.  I then heard this person who was facing the deceased, say “Come on you villain.  I have you now”.  I recognized Michael Farrell’s voice.  I ran toward them as quick as I could.  I got about ten yards from the deceased when I saw Michel Farrell aim a blow at deceased with an axe.  He held the axe with both hands and struck deceased.  I cannot say where he struck the deceased this blow, but I saw the axe coming towards the middle of his body.  This blow felled deceased to the ground.  I saw Michael Farrell strike deceased when he was on the grown two blows, and when he was hitting the blows he said “Hiss, hiss”.  I just got to him then when Farrell struck the last blow at deceased.  I was about one yard from deceased.  Deceased was lying across the road on his left side, his face turned towards me.  He was kicking and turning.  I was at the distance of one yard from deceased when Michael Farrell ran off to his horse which was about five or six yards from deceased.  I saw him jump on to a sleigh.  I can’t say if it was a sleigh or carryall.  It was something black.  I heard him say “go on! Go on!” and he drove off.  I can’t say if he was alone, I saw no person with Mick Farrell.  I then lifted up deceased’s head and asked him if he was dead.  He said, “Say nothing, say nothing”!  He did not speak after that.  I staid with him for a few minutes.  I heard him drawing his breath and something boiling inside of him.  I waited for three or four minutes.  I took him up then in my arms and I saw the blood under him over the road.  When I lifted him off the road into my arms, I perceived he was breathing no more.  He was dead.  I then took deceased and carried him in my arms back to the turn.  Here he slipped from me and fell down.  I took him up again and carried him a distance of about eight or ten yards.  I laid him down here.  I perceived another horse at about four yards ahead.  The horse was standing on the road with his head faced towards home.  The reins were tied behind, either to the bob sleigh or to the chains which made it fast behind.  The bob sleigh was thrown off the sleigh into the snow, but was still fast, being chained to the sleigh.  The horse was moving and trying to go ahead towards home.  I tried to loosen the reins.  I tried for a little while but was unable to untie them.  I was frightened and I ran home.  John Farrell, Biddy Farrell, Anthony Maher, Jimmy Maher went to the spot where I left deceased and they brought him home.  When I past the second horse and tried to untie the reins I perceived that the bells had been taken off from this horse.  I did not notice if the bells had been taken off the other horse.  When I lifted deceased up, to the best of my knowledge, I think I saw a string of bells in the snow under his body.  I can’t say if it was a strap of bells, but I thought it was a strap that I had seen, and when I missed the bells on the horse, I thought it must have been my strap of bells that I had seen under the body of the deceased. 

                        It was good daylight in the evening when first I went into Maloys’.  We remained there about three quarters of an hour.  It took us twenty minutes to get to the cross where we fell in with Michael Farrell.  I think it must have been about eight o’clock when we fell in with Michael Farrell at the cross.

 

CROSS QUESTIONED BY MICHAEL FARRELL, THE ACCUSED:

Question          - Did Deceased and Witness go together to town?

Answer            - No

Question          - Where and at what place did McDonald say he preferred going by

                          Mrs. Woods on account of his hat, he wanted up in paper?

Answer            - A piece beyond where Gingras’ shipyard is on the ice.

Question          - Who asked about Farrell being at Woods?

Answer            - Mrs. Wood.

Question          - When deceased and you were at Mrs. Wood’s on Saturday last was any

                          Remark made about a loaded whip which deceased held in his hand

                          And what did deceased say to the observation.

Answer            - I heard no remark made.

Question          - Had deceased a loaded whip?

Answer            - I do not know whether he had or not.

Question          - How did you come to allow your horses to go on from Maloys’

                          Without following them?

Answer            - I was going to follow them when Mrs. Maloy told us to go in for

                          A cup of tea, and David Maloy said then that he would come up

                          With us (or come to.)

Question          - What is the distance from Maloys’ to the swamp?

Answer            - About two acres.

Question          - While at Maloys’ did you see any person pass?

Answer            - no.

Question          - Had deceased and you your overcoats on coming from Maloys’ to

                          The place where you fell in with Farrell?

Answer            - No.  We took them off for fear anyone should get at us or follow

                          Us, so that we should run back, we left our coats at Maloys’.

                          I told deceased we better take our coats off.  We gave both our

                          coats to little David Maher.

Question          - What did you do with the axe you held in your hand when you

                          Came up to the prisoner?

Answer            -  I held it in my hand all the time.

Question          - Was it you or the deceased who cried out “shoot him, the bugger?

Answer            - I did not hear it and I did not cry it out.

                        The foregoing deposition having been read to the deponent in presence of the accused, who declares he has no more questions to put, the deponent declares that the foregoing deposition contains the truth, and declares he cannot sign. 

(Fifty-nine words erased are null and thirteen marginal words approved are good.

 

SWORN BEFORE ME THIS

1ST  APRIL, 1861.

(signed) EUGENE PANET

 

The Farrell-Maher Affray

Newspaper Clippings

Tuesday, April 2, 1861 – The Morning Chronicle, Quebec

FATAL AFFRAY – ARREST OF THE ACCUSED

A man named Michael Farrell was arrested by the Chief of Police, on Sunday evening last, under peculiar circumstances.  Information had been received by the Police, in the course of the afternoon, that a man named David Maher had been killed near St. Catherine’s on Saturday afternoon, and that Farrell, the person accused of the deed, had come to town for the purpose of consulting and retaining counsel.  In consequence of this intelligence, the Deputy Chief and Constable Walsh placed themselves on the alert, and, after a short time, conveyed information to the Chief of Police that a person suspected as the accused had been seen in the vicinity of an advocate’s residence in St. Lewis Street.  A few minutes afterwards, Mr. Bureau arrested the man Farrell in Parlor Street.  It appears that he had left town for St. Catherine’s where he resides on Saturday afternoon, after making some purchases in the city; that, on arriving at a road which crosses the main road to St. Catherine’s, he found two men named Maher, belonging to the same place, waiting for him.  With one of these men he had been in difficulties, and they both ran forward to attack him both striking him.  He defended himself with an axe which he had on his sleigh, and in doing so struck David Maher on the shoulder and neck.  The man immediately fell, and Farrell left the ground and calling at the first house, informed the farmer who was an acquaintance, of what had occurred.  David Maher Died in the course of Saturday night or Sunday morning and Farrell came to town, as he states, for the purpose of giving himself up.  We give the above details merely as one version of the story, which, in the absence of official information, we do not pretend to vouch for.  There is another version of the affair given which is totally contrary to the above, and by which Farrell is represented as having been the aggressor.  Early yesterday morning, the Deputy Chief of Police, with a number of assistants, left town for St. Catherine’s with the accused in charge.  The coroner left for the same place, for the purpose of holding an inquest; and none of these gentlemen had returned at a late hour last night.  It is presumed, however, that their labours will terminate in the course of today, when we shall have the result of the Coroner’s inquest and a reliable statement of facts.

Wednesday, April 3, 1861 – The Morning Chronicle, Quebec

The inquest on the body of David Maher terminated in St. Catherine’s on Tuesday last, in a verdict of “Manslaughter” against Michael Farrell.  We subjoin evidence of John Maher, brother of the deceased, as containing the details of the fatal affray; also the evidence of Dr. Fremont, on the condition of the body:

John Maher, Lumberman, being swon, deposed - Saturday last between twelve and one o’clock in the afternoon, I left the boarding house of Wm. Maher in Quebec, on St. Vallier street.  I met my brother, the deceased, on Saturday afternoon.  My brother left with me to come home to St. Catherine.  We were both sober when we left Maher’s boarding house.  I had gone to town to sell some timber.  I had a sleigh, the deceased had another sleigh.  He had taken to town apiece of birch.  When I left the boarding house I had nothing on my sleigh but the chains which I required to tie the stick of wood, and two empty bags.  I had nothing else on the sleigh but the bob sleigh.  I left the tavern before the deceased and he followed close behind.  There was another horse between deceased and me, this was Anthony Maher’s horse.  We stopped first at Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  This place is below the Montreal turn, that is where the telegraph wires turn off.  When we were within one acre from this tavern, or a little further, Mr. McDonald, who was driving with me, the two other horses following behind, here, Mr. McDonald stated to me, “If they are in Mrs. Wood’s, we will go on”.  He told me this because I had stated to him previously that I was afraid to come this road for fear of meeting Mike Farrell.  I told him then that I preferred going by the Charlesbourg road.  He went in Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  I believe Mr. McDonald was the first of us who went in Mrs. Wood’s tavern.  We ascertained that Mike Farrell was not there.  We remained here for about one half hour or a little more.  When we left Mrs. Wood’s I had nothing in my sleigh but what I stated before, that is the two empty bags, the chains and the bob sleigh.  The deceased had a long sleigh with no bottom.  He had nothing with him that I know of.  We next stopped at a place where the road turns off to Valcartier.  Mr. McDonald came along with us.  John Maher, a son of Anthony Maher, was with us.  He was going home with Mr. McDonald.  Here, I told Mr. McDonald that we had better take the Valcartier road.  He answered that there was no danger by the Jacques Cartier road.  That is the road we generally take to come home.  We next stopped at James Murray’s house, abut four or five miles further.  We went in there to light our pipes and started again.  We next stopped at the cross road about a mile from here, near James McGrath’s house.  At this place John Maher turned off to go home.  David Maloy passed us here, we had stopped our horses.  I told Mr. McDonald here that I would not go on with the boy Maher.  I then came on with the deceased and Mr. McDonald to Mrs. Maloy’s.  I was walking with Mr. McDonald and the deceased was driving the horses.  I don’t remember what we were talking about.  We went into Maloys’ leaving our horses on the road.  We did not intend to delay, the little boy of the name of David Maher told us then our horses were going.  I, in company with deceased and David Maloy, went out to the corner of the house.  I saw the horses then at a distance of about 2 acres; they were going towards home.  I watched the horses then until they were out of my sight going towards home.  The horses were going pretty quick.  I went into Maloy’s then and Mrs. Maloy told us to wait and that she would give us a cup of tea.  We took tea there.  After tea Mrs. Maloy mentioned that our people at home would be anxious about seeing the horses coming home alone and would come to meet us.  Deceased and I left then to go home; Mr. McDonald remained at Maloys.  I went a few steps past the end of the house and I thought I perceived somebody in the swamp.  Mrs. and a boy were standing at the door and, I think, a little girl also.  I told them I will take the ax with me.  I don’t remember whether some person handed me the ax or whether I took it myself.  To the best of my opinion the ax was lying near a pile of wood.  Upon my telling them that there was somebody in the swamp, they looked but did not state whether or no they perceived any person.  I then left with the axe, my brother was walking along side of me.  When we left the people were still standing at Maloys door.  The deceased had nothing but a whip in his hand, and I am not sure whether he had this whip, or not.  We walked together until we came to within a few yards from the turn on the road about half a mile from Maloys’.  We were here side and side.  I was on the left hand side.  I had then the axe in my right hand carrying on my shoulder.  I had the end of the handle in my right hand.  Here I heard the rattle of our own bells.   The deceased stated “they are coming to meet us”, meaning Biddy and Anthony.  Here, deceased walked ahead a little quicker, he got a couple of paces ahead of me, I following behind.  We saw then a horse standing before us on the road, twenty or thirty rods from the road where we had to turn.  We were, at that time, when first we saw the horse at about five or six paces from where the road branches off.  When first we saw the horse, we could not tell if he was moving.  We thought he was coming towards us; the bells were rattling and we thought it was our own horse.  The horse which we had seen was on the cross road to the left about twenty or thirty yards above the turn we had to come.  The deceased kept going on.  I following him at the same distance behind until I got to the crossing; deceased took the road on the left hind side.  As soon as I got at the crossing I perceived some black thing about three or four yards from me to my right.  It was off the road.  I was startled on seeing this; deceased continued then alone.  I moved towards this black thing and perceived a sleigh.  It was deceased’s sleigh.  The horse was off the road in the snow facing the bush on the right hand side.  The horse was not moving.  I went to the hind end of the sleigh; recognized the sleigh and horse.  I heard then deceased asking “Who is that”?  He was about twenty yards or so from me.  I was looking at deceased’s horse that was in the snow, when I heard the deceased’s voice saying “Who is that”?  I turned round then and looked towards him.  I saw then another person standing a little ahead.  This person was facing the deceased and coming towards him.  I then heard this person who was facing the deceased, say “Come on you villain.  I have you now”.  I recognized Michael Farrell’s voice.  I ran toward them as quick as I could.  I got about ten yards from the deceased when I saw Michel Farrell aim a blow at deceased with an axe.  He held the axe with both hands and struck deceased.  I cannot say where he struck deceased this blow, but I saw the axe coming towards the middle of his body.  This blow felled deceased to the ground.  I saw Michael Farrell strike deceased when he was on the grown two blows, and when he was hitting the blows he said “Hiss, hiss”.  I just got to him then when Farrell struck the last blow at deceased.  I was about one yard from deceased.  Deceased was lying across the road on his left side, his face turned towards me.  He was kicking and turning.  I was at the distance of one yard from deceased when Michael Farrell ran off to his horse which was about five or six yards from deceased.  I saw him jump on to a sleigh.  I can’t say if it was a sleigh or carryall.  It was something black.  I heard him say “go on! Go on!” and he drove off.  I can’t say if he was alone, I saw no person with Mick Farrell.  I then lifted up deceased’s head and asked him if he was dead.  He said, “Say nothing, say nothing”!  He did not speak after that.  I staid with him for a few minutes.  I heard him drawing his breath and something boiling inside of him.  I waited for three or four minutes.  I took him up then in my arms and I saw the blood under him over the road.  When I lifted him off the road into my arms, I perceived he was breathing no more.  He was dead.  I then took deceased and carried him in my arms back to the turn.  Here he slipped from me and fell down.  I took him up again and carried him a distance of about eight or ten yards.  I laid him down here.  I perceived another horse at about four yards ahead.  The horse was standing on the road with his head faced towards home.  The reins were tied behind, either to the bob sleigh or to the chains which made it fast behind.  The bob sleigh was thrown off the sleigh into the snow, but was still fast, being chained to the sleigh.  The horse was moving and trying to go ahead towards home.  I tried to loosen the reins.  I tried for a little while but was unable to untie them.  I was frightened and I ran home.  John Farrell, Biddy Farrell, Anthony Maher, Jimmy Maher went to the spot where I left deceased and they brought him home.  When I past the second horse and tried to untie the reins I perceived that the bells had been taken off from this horse.  I did not notice if the bells had been taken off the other horse.  When I lifted deceased up, to the best of my knowledge, I think I saw a string of bells in the snow under his body.  I can’t say if it was a strap of bells, but I thought it was a strap that I had seen, and when I missed the bells on the horse, I thought it must have been my strap of bells that I had seen under the body of the deceased. 

                        It was good daylight in the evening when first I went into Maloys’.  We remained there about three quarters of an hour.  It took us twenty minutes to get to the cross where we fell in with Michael Farrell.  I think it must have been about eight o’clock when we fell in with Michael Farrell at the cross.

CROSS QUESTIONED BY MICHAEL FARRELL, THE ACCUSED:

Question          - Did Deceased and Witness go together to town?

Answer            - No

Question          - Where and at what place did McDonald say he preferred going by

                          Mrs. Woods on account of his hat, he wanted up in paper?

Answer            - A piece beyond where Gingras’ shipyard is on the ice.

Question          - Who asked about Farrell being at Woods?

Answer            - Mrs. Wood.

Question          - When deceased and you were at Mrs. Wood’s on Saturday last was any

                          Remark made about a loaded whip which deceased held in his hand

                          And what did deceased say to the observation.

Answer            - I heard no remark made.

Question          - Had deceased a loaded whip?

Answer            - I do not know whether he had or not.

Question          - How did you come to allow your horses to go on from Maloys’

                          Without following them?

Answer            - I was going to follow them when Mrs. Maloy told us to go in for

                          A cup of tea, and David Maloy said then that he would come up

                          With us (or come to.)

Question          - What is the distance from Maloys’ to the swamp?

Answer            - About two acres.

Question          - While at Maloys’ did you see any person pass?

Answer            - no.

Question          - Had deceased and you your overcoats on coming from Maloys’ to

                          The place where you fell in with Farrell?

Answer            - No.  We took them off for fear anyone should get at us or follow

                          Us, so that we should run back, we left our coats at Maloys’.

                          I told deceased we better take our coats off.  We gave both our

                          coats to little David Maher.

Question          - What did you do with the axe you held in your hand when you

                          Came up to the prisoner?

Answer            -  I held it in my hand all the time.

Question          - Was it you or the deceased who cried out “shoot him, the b______?

Answer            - I did not hear it and I did not cry it out.

Chas. Fremont, Esq., M>D>, sworn and examined the body of the deceased David Maher, and noticed five incised wounds.  The first was at the root of the neck on the left side – it extended from the edge of the sternum, on the same side to the length of five inches and a half in a diagonal direction, upwards and backwards, and penetrated through the clavicle, at its sternal extremity, and through the first rib, at its curvature towards the spine, dividing the sub-clavicle artery and vein with the superincumbent fleshy parts.  The second incision penetrated the left side of the chest.  It was about three inches in length, and separated part of the cartilages of the sixth and seventh ribs and part of the sternum diagonally.  The third was situated in the right side, penetrating the abdomen through the cartilages of the false rib.  The fourth was situated on the left side of the spine, was about two and a half inches in length diagonal in direction upwards, separated the long muscles on the side of the spine, and penetrated to the body of the last dorsal vertebra, which are deeply indented by the instrument.  The fifth wound was situated in the upper third of the length of the arm, was transverse and penetrated through the bone,  On opening the thorax, the left cavity was found to contain about three pints of blood, the lung was collapsed, the heart empty of blood; the right lung contained air, and the cavity was free from blood.  Both lungs were free from any trace of disease.  The stomach contained a moderate quantity of food, appeared quite healthy, as did the other organs contained in the abdomen, with the exception of the liver which exhibited a long deep incision corresponding to that noticed on the right side.  A small quantity of blood was found in the cavity of the abdomen.  The head was carefully examined externally, and exhibited no mark of violence.  The skull was opened, and the brain and its membranes examined, which were found in a perfectly normal condition.  I am of the opinion that the first described wound was, inevitably, the mortal wound, and that in combination with the other wounds above described, it was the cause of death. 

In addition to the above, Mrs. Molloy, Thomas McDonald, John Sanders, Michael Grogan, John Clear and John Farrell, were also examined.  Clear deposed to the fact of the accused coming into his house on Saturday night, telling him of what had occurred, and stating that he had been attacked by the Mahers’, one of whom, he stated, had called out to shoot him. –

The inquest came to a close about seven o’clock on Tuesday evening.  Coroner Panet summed up the evidence to the Jury, explaining the difference between murder and manslaughter, and stating that if the jurors believed that the evidence of the first witness was fully corroborated, the verdict must be of the former.  Mr. A. Hearn, Esq., Advocate, attended on behalf of the accused.  Farrell was brought back to town at the close of the inquest. 

Friday, April 5, 1861 – The Daily Globe, Toronto, Canada West

A quarrel occurred at Jacques Cartier, on Saturday night last, between two brothers, named Maher, and a man named Farrell, where by one of the brothers Maher lost his life from the blow of an axe, infliced <sic>  by Farrell.  The homicide has been arrested.

 

Saturday July 6, 1861 – The morning Chronicle, Quebec City

Michael Farrell was placed upon his trial, accused of the murder of David Maher, on the road to St. Catherine de Fossambault, on the 30th March last.  Mr. Stuart, Q.C., and Mr. Cairns for the prosecution; and Messrs. O’Farrell and Plamondon for the defence.

 

Monday, July 8, 1861 – The Morning Chronicle, Quebec City

Court of the Queen’s Bench – Before Hon. Justices Duval and Meredith                                              

The Court was occupied, during the whole of Saturday with the trial of Michael Farrell charged with the murder of David Maher at St. Catherine’s on the 30 of March last.  The whole of the witnesses for the prosecution were examined and the defense

 entered into, but the trial had not concluded when the court adjourned at a late hour in the evening.

 

Tuesday, July 9, 1861 – The Morning Chronicle, Quebec City

Yesterday morning, the jury in the case of the Queen vs. Michael Farrell, came late and returned a verdict of “Not Guilty” against the prisoner.