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Tyrone Assizes, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, July 1837

Extracted from the Londonderry Standard July 15, 1837
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia
len_swindley[at]hotmail.com
Court House & Post Office, Omagh, Co. Tyrone (acknowledgement to Postcards Ireland)

 

TYRONE ASSIZES

The following noblemen and gentlemen compose the present Grand Jury of Tyrone. They were sworn before James Lendrum, Esq., the High Sheriff in the Court-house, Omagh, on Thursday last, at half-past two o’clock.

The Right Hon. H. T. L. Cory, M.P. Foreman Lord C. Hamilton, M.P. Lord Viscount Northland

Lord Viscount Alexander Richard Burgess, Esq. Charles Irwin, Esq. Captain Sinclair Col. William Stewart John C. Moutray, Esq. Captain Crossle Major Humphreys Robert W. Lowry, Esq. Samuel Galbraith, Esq. William L. Conyngham, Esq. Henry Pole, Esq. George Stack, Esq. Charles Eccles, Esq. Captain Caulfield Henry L. Prentice, Esq.

Out of a panel of forty-eight which was called over, the above nineteen only answered their names. On being sworn they proceeded to the Grand Jury Room to enter on the fiscal business of the county. The judges will arrive in Omagh from Enniskillen this day, and the Record and Crown business will be commenced at ten o’clock on Monday morning.

The calendar is much heavier than we had anticipated, many of the crimes of a serious character. The total number of cases for trial is thirty-two.

For Murder 4

Rape 1

Violent Assault 8

Robbery 7

Exposure of Infants 2

Horse Stealing 2

Cow Stealing 2

Pig Stealing 1

Uttering Base Coin 2

Vagrancy and Prostitution 3


 

July 22 1837

Tyrone Assizes, Omagh. Tuesday July 18

The Hon. Justice Torrens entered the Crown Court, shortly after nine o’clock. As the Pomeroy procession case was the first to be tried, the Court was crowded by persons anxiously awaiting the result. A number of traversers were then put forward, and indicted for a riot on the 12th July, 1836, at Pomeroy.

His Lordship addressed the Court and said that from his knowledge of the case in question there had been a great deal to complain of on both sides, and he believed the Crown took the same view of the case. These processions unfortunately arose from a party spirit, but which he hoped would soon to put an end to. In some other places, he was happy to say, reconciliation had been effected. Some of the papers, in reference to the Cavan assizes, had misrepresented the conduct of the Attorney-General, and strongly commented on the charge of the judge. It had been said that the Crown had abandoned the case. He would only say it was lamentable to see such misrepresentations, and hoped in this case there would be no such reason of complaint. He hoped all parties would now see that no matter what creed or colours they belonged to, they must be amenable to the laws, and that such foolish processions must be discontinued. There was plenty of time on hands, and if they which to try the traversers man by man, he had no objection.

Mr. Schoales, Q.C., said his Lordship had only anticipated the wishes of the Crown Counsel in the present case; all parties felt they had broken the law, and it was his wish that the proceedings would here terminate. He only desired that the law should be vindicated.

Messrs. Deering and Macklin, on behalf of the traversers, concurred with his Lordship and the Counsel for the Crown, and instructed their clients to submit.

His Lordship recommended them to withdraw their plea and plead guilty, but that they should be bound in ample security to keep the peace, viz. £50 each and two sureties of £20 each, and that in all cases of breach of peace the sureties be held responsible.

His Lordship then addressed the traversers, pointing out to them how leniently they had been dealt with, and hoped they would withdraw themselves from such processions, which must ultimately end in disturbance. He had witnessed in other parts of Ireland the good effects which resulted from such withdrawals, and hoped that they (the traversers) and others in this part of the country (about which he felt a particular interest), would follow such a praiseworthy example. And if at the commencement of her most gracious Majesty’s reign, which has been so peacefully ushered in, they and all other parties should leave off such processions of demonstration and feeling, and unite together in promoting the welfare of their common country, it would be a bright day in Ireland’s history

The happy termination of the above the above case seemed to give entire satisfaction to a crowded court.

William Walker, was then indicted for selling base coin to James Mackin, in Strabane

William Bourke, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate, examined – Knows James Mackin; gave him five shillings marked in a peculiar way, which he described to the court; got them again from the prisoner when he was arrested in Ballybofey; found also a key in his pocket which opened a drawer in his (prisoner’s) house, in which were found quick-silver and other articles used in colouring base coin; prisoner was drinking with Mackin at the time he was apprehended.

Cross-examined – Never marked any shillings before; is not brought forward for the purpose of propping up Mackin’s case.

James Mackin examined – Deposed to his having got five shillings from former witness, for which he purchased from prisoner, in Strabane, six half crowns and four shillings; Mr. Bourke found him and the prisoner next day in Ballybofey; gave the base coin to Mr. Burke. (The Base coin was produced on the table, and proved to be the same found on prisoner). Prisoner said he did not care a d – n for any person, as the money was good.

Cross-examined – Has been eight years a coiner; has been imprisoned four times and three times convicted; his wife has been transported; and his son is at present in gaol for uttering base coin; thinks he could earn more money as a coiner than as an informer; does not expect any reward or expenses if he succeeds in convicting prisoner.

Robert Henderson, Policeman, examined – Knows prisoner; was one of the persons who apprehended him in Ballybofey; went with Mr. Burke to Walker’s house. – (Witness here produced a great many implements which he found in a curious grotto in prisoner’s garden). The house in the garden was locked when witness went there, but Mr. Burke found the key in prisoner’s house; prisoner is a respectable farmer.

FOR DEFENCE. – Rev. Thomas Fullarton, examined by Mr. McCay – is Rector of the Parish of Stranorlar; has been so for eight years; knows prisoner; never heard any thing against his character before; he has known him to fulfill several public offices of trust in the county; was appointed church warden and enumerator some years since. – Guilty, to be transported seven years.

James Maquinn, charged with stealing a cowfrom James Monahan, on 22nd June last.

J. Monaghan examined – Lost a cow from his cow house on 22nd June last, the door had been locked; got her some days after from John McGurk

J. McGurk examined – Identifies prisoner, who came to his house with a cow, which he says he had bought in Fintona fair; wanted grass for her; afterwards left her with him, tied to a tree.

William Williams, examined for defence – Swore he saw prisoner buy a cow in Fintona fair, and pay the money; does not know from whom the cow was bought.

Cross-examined – Thinks prisoner was acquainted with the person – Guilty, to be transferred for life.

George Farr, indicted for stealing a cow, the property of Robert Henry, on the 12 th July last.

Robert Henry examined – Lost a cow on the 12th July last; afterwards found her in a field of prisoner’s who said he had bought her. – Guilty, transported for life.

John Hayes, indicted for breaking into the house of John Kerr, and feloniously taking a gun and several other articles.

Joseph Kerr examined – Found the door of his house open on the morning of 27th April last; missed several articles – a hat, gun &c.; the robber had entered the house by getting down the chimney; a neighbour of his afterwards brought prisoner in custody to his (witness’) house, with the hat which he had lost, and which prisoner was found wearing; prisoner then gave up tickets for other stolen articles, which he had pawned.

There being no evidence against the prisoner of committing the robbery, and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

Benjamin McNight, for stealing a heifer, the property of James Stinson.

James Stinson examined – lost a heifer in February last; tracked her along the road to prisoners’ house, and found her in a room; there was nothing in the room but the cow.

Prisoner in defence, called a number of witnesses to prove that the room was rented to another person. Guilty; to be transported for life.

Neal Duffy, otherwise Hegarty, for stealing a horse from John Molloy.

John Molloy examined – Had a horse stolen from his stable on 31st March last; afterwards found him with the police at Pomeroy, on 14th June.

John Armstrong, policeman, examined – Got the horse with prisoner at Pomeroy, on first of June last; asked his name, which he said was Hegarty.

Guilty, to be transported for life. Prisoner did not seem to be more than fifteen or sixteen years of age.

Michael McGinly, John Irwin and Bridget McBride for breaking into the house of George McWilliams, of Aughnacloy, and stealing a pan-crock, &c. – Not guilty.

George Williams, for a malicious assault on Stephen Todd, on 5th January last. It appeared in evidence that Williams was passing by Todd’s house on the way home, on the 5th January last, which was old Christmas day, and that a dispute commenced about a dog of Todd’s, which was on the road, and which Williams ordered him to take in – that Todd and his wife were both struck with stones, and had some of their windows broken, and that there were shots fired by both parties. There was no evidence however, to convict Williams, as being the person who committed the attack, and he was therefore acquitted.

James McKeon, for assaulting Mr. Phillips, a police officer, and William McCrea, for a riot on the 12th July. – Cases referred to the Sessions.

Terence Judge, for killing a mare, the property of James Burns, on 21st August, 1836

James Burns examined – saw Judge throw a stone at his mare on the night of the 21st August, and struck her on the head; believes the wound caused her death. On the defence it was proved that Burns was in the habit of keeping a rather sickly stud, and that the death of his mare proceeded from a more natural cause. The jury brought in a verdict of acquittal.

John Judge, Michael Devlin, John Cavanagh and Owen Judge were indicted for conspiring to keep back James Burns from giving evidence against James Judge at former assizes – The prisoners were acquitted , as from the evidence produced, it was shown that Burns himself was not averse to be kept back, having an object in view on being so detained.

Edward McSorly, indicted for an assault on Robert Hunter, at Omagh, on 11 th June 1836.

The evidence produced went to show that Hunter had made profitable speculations by his alleged beatings, having got considerable sums of money from McSorly’s friends and others to stop prosecutions; and from the equivocal nature of his evidence, being entirely at variance with that of other respectable witnesses, the jury acquitted the prisoner.

Anne Ewing, for stealing a piece of stuff , on 4th March last, the property of Ebenezer Moore, of Castlederg. – Not guilty.

William Wildman and William McCord, indicted for stealing from Robert Ross, money to the amount of £160, £10 of which was bank post bills.

Robert Ross examined – Stated that, during his attendance at last Summer assizes, the above sum was taken out of a chest; the money was abstracted by removing one of the boards off the bottom of the chest.

Cross-examined – He had a house-keeper of the name of Carson; thinks there was no way for any one to take the money except through her; did not miss the money for two or three weeks after his retturn home.

In answer to a question from the Lordship, why he did not keep the money in the bank, witness said, he had been burnt in the sleeve by that work already.

John McLaughlin examined – Deposed that, during last Summer Assizes, in the absence of the prosecutor, (Ross), he had a conversation with the prisoner (McCord), about Ross’s house and property; McCord said that they might make off as much money as he would purchase a few cows; witness declined; the other said there would be an attempt made that night at any rate; witness afterwards saw McCord shew a bundle of notes to Wildman, some of which were bank post bills.

Cross-examined – This conversation happened during the last Summer Assizes, and witnesses only swore informations against prisoners a few weeks ago; had a quarrel with McCord; witness threatened him if he would not clear his wife of some charges which he (McCord) had brought against her, he (witness) would discover about Ross’s property, but if he did clear her he would not swear informations; lived some years since in Cookstown, was never turned out of it.

There were no witnesses called for the defence, and after a few minutes consultation, the jury acquitted the prisoners.

The Court then adjourned till next morning.

Wednesday July 19

Hugh Gallagher, Thomas McCulkin and Patrick Caulfield, for robbing the shop of James Thompson, Strabane, by breaking open the windows

Prisoners pleaded guilty to the robbery, and were sentenced to be transported seven years.

The crown business here transmitted but the Court was engaged till a late hour in the evening hearing the traverses of new lines of roads and presentments


 

July 26 1837

Sentences of prisoners found guilty at last Omagh Assizes

Benjamin McKnight transported for life

Francis McLaughlin transported for seven years

Patrick Tague imprisoned six months to hard labour

Mary Bradley imprisoned twelve months

Robert Moore imprisoned six weeks to hard labour

Joseph Greer, imprisoned six months to hard labour

John Gallagher transported for seven years

Edward Donnelly transported for life

James Mossey transported for life

Margaret Flanagan imprisoned one week

Timothy Kennedy transported for seven years

Thomas Divine transported for seven years

James McCaffrey imprisoned twelve months

Thomas Gallon imprisoned four months to hard labour

James McGinn transported for life

George Farr transported for life

Jane Carnwath, or McBeth imprisoned four months to hard labour

Michael McCourt imprisoned four months to hard labour

James Sleaven imprisoned four months to hard labour

William Walker transported for seven years

John Hayes transported for seven years

Neal Duffy or Hagarty transported for life

Hugh Gallagher transported for seven years

Thomas McCulkin transported for seven years

Patrick Caulfield transported for seven years

William Long transported for seven years


 

These Assizes were reported in the Londonderry Journal with additional information:

Londonderry Journal July 25, 1837

TYRONE ASSIZES – Omagh, July 17

The Hon. Justice Torrens entered the Crown Court at a quarter to ten o’clock, when

Francis McLaughlin was arraigned for breaking into the house of James Mullin, of Killeen, on 10th February last and for stealing yarn out of same – Prisoner found guilty; to be transported seven years.

James Mullin and wife both identified the prisoner at the bar, with whom the yarn was found at Castlederg: knows the yarn to be the same.

Thomas Egan and Samuel Ruth, indicted for the murder of James Kennedy, on 1st March last at Tybore [Tyboe?]

Robert Worrily [Worling?] sworn – Saw James Kennedy on the day in question; saw Egan and Ruth; saw them contending with deceased and throw him over ditch, when witness called out that he would be murdered; fetched deceased upon the road, when Tom Egan threw a stone which hit deceased on the head and knocked him down; a stone was also thrown at witness; deceased in good health previous to this.

Cross-examined by Mr. Doherty – Was at a funeral; deceased was standing along with the witness, with his hands behind his back; deceased had a stone in his hand and threatened to strike the first man that would come forward; supposes stone half a pound weight; deceased had no appearance of whiskey.

John Lyon corroborated the evidence given by first witness; and said, in addition, that John Kennedy, son of deceased, came running from the field, where he was ploughing, and struck Egan over deceased’s shoulder.

William Baird, M.D. – Attended an inquest on deceased; thinks he died from effects of a bruise on the skull produced by some blunt instrument such as a stone; the wound was two inches long, and depth about one-eighth inch; believes he died from inflammation of the brain; did not think it proper to replace the fractured part

The Judge now charged the jury; and after adverting to the circumstances of young Kennedy coming in as a mediator, he thought it strange that he should have appeared with stones in his hands, and become identified with the rioters. The Jury, after a short deliberation, acquitted Thomas Egan and Samuel Ruth. The prisoners were then admonished by the Judge against getting into a quarrel of the same description in the future.

John Woods was charged with having stolen a cow, the property of John Woods of Stewartstown, on 7th July, value £6. It appeared in evidence that John Clark had gone to the fair of Draperstown cross in company with another person, who, it appeared, drove this cow. Prisoner, it was stated, had also denied his name, and called himself Quinn; there was no other direct evidence against prisoner. The jury found him not guilty.

Patrick Teague charged with an assault upon Anne White and an attempt to violate her person.

Anne White examined – Lives in Lisnamallard; on 7th January 1836, prisoner came to her mother’s house and awoke her out of her bed; sent her mother for a naggin of whiskey; came into the room where witness slept and barred the door; forced himself into the bed, and attempted to get the better of her; did not see him undress or loosen any part of his clothes.

Mary Quinn examined – Lives next door; heard a screaming noise as of quarrelling; plaintiff came into her house and remained all night. Guilty. The prisoner having been previously convicted of another offence, the judge sentenced him to twelve months’ imprisonment.

Jane Cornwith [Carnwath], stealing clothes from Mary McIlhenny, Strabane, 27th June last. Guilty.

Thomas Devine for stealing shirts from Mrs. Alexander, Nt.- Stewart. Guilty.

Thomas Devine, for stealing shirts from Mrs. Alexander, Nt.-Stewart. Guilty.

Henry Best, for the manslaughter of Jane Lepper, 12th December last, at Augher. Guilty.

James Murphy, for having a jaunting-car in his possession, knowing same to be stolen. Not guilty.