Letter to the Editor taken from the “Tyrone Constitution” - 19th October 1928.
THE NEWTOWNSTEWART MURDER OF 1871.
By the courtesy of a friend here (Mr George Livingstone), I am in possession of a copy of the “Tyrone Constitution” of 6th July, 1928, and amongst a variety of interesting items, I find an echo of the Newtownstewart Bank Murder of 1871. This article appears to be written by R Crawford, of Omagh about 18 years ago. It interested me. His description of the crowds in the Main Street, Newtownstewart, and the burning of tar barrels, and the finding of money belonging to the Bank is particularly good and quite correct. Well, I was there in that crowd, and remember the excitement that night very well. I suppose I am the only person now alive who was connected with that tragedy. I was one of the actors in that terrible affair, although I played only a minor part. I sold the lead to Montgomery with which he filled the socket handle of the billhook with which the murder was committed. The lead I delivered at McLenahan's Hotel, where he was boarding, so I was sommoned to tell this at the trials. I knew Montgomery very well, and was particularly intimate with Mr Wm. Glass, as I used to deliver goods to Captian Caine's where he boarded. He kept me many times to listen to the Bagpipes he was learning to play. A Belfast newspaper found on the body after death, was given to him by me about 11 o'clock on the day he was murdered. As I was the youngest boy in James McDowell's at that time and had to run messages, I was brought into contact with both Glass and Montgomery, and I have still the photos of both of them.
I have a vivid recollection of the events of that 29th June 1871. A heavy shower of rain fell about 3 o'clock p.m. And Mrs Cameron standing in McDowell's shop looking out on the street waiting for the shower to pass over before starting out for home. Mrs McDowell sitting at the desk and looking out of the window at the rain.... mail rrain late and postman coming round late. When the murder was discovered – Fanny McBride, the servant, running over for Mr McDowell.
Mrs Kerr, of the Hotel, next door to the Bank, and her son James, and George McGee, who made the coffin, and I put Glass in his coffin. I remember the cuts on his head with the billhook. I recollect the heavy downpour of rain when the hearse was taking the body to the train to Belfast. The rain was so heavy that few people could venture out to follow the hearse. But the rain was the means of washing out a lot of the notes hid in a dry creek bed.
But all these things belong to a past generation and would not interest people nowadays, so I won't continue my recollections further. I was pretty young then and am now in my 74th year, so you will see I belong to a past generation.
(Sgd) ALEXANDER CLARKE,
20, Ure Street,
10th September, 1928.
Transcript of the Trial of Mr. Montgomery
The Queen Vs Thomas Hartley Montgomery
Re Murder of William Henry Glass on 29th June 1871.
Re Information James McDowell coroberate the woman Cameron to seeing Mr Montgomery.
Inquest 1st July 1871 Closed 16th August 1871, verdict of “wilful murder” Coroner Mr Orr did not return the statement due to ill health.
12th October Mr Orr returned 2
“Your request to Mr Orr has been complied with to the extent of two small Informations, which instalment he left in on Saturday. I have applied to him half a dozen times with nothing better than promises for a result”
On 16th October the Crown Solicitor wrote to the former as follows:
Before I left Dublin I made the Attorney General aware of the purport of your note and your reason for delay in returning the information in the Montgomery case. He was by no means satisfied and gave me directorys to take very active steps in case any further delay took place. I now regret to find from the Clerk of the Crown's return that delay still exists and that he is not in a position to return the information to me.
There is no excuse for such delay in the case and it is my duty to prevent it. Unless the whole case is with the Clerk of the Crown this week I must bring the matter before Government”
Mr Orr did not reply and on 21st October the Crown Solicitor
Fanny McBride, Michael McLoughlin, Cockle man, Annie Kain, Const Patrick Kelly [given £200 to invest] Const Robert Kenny, Rev Mr Bradshaw, Mr P Mackintosh Mr W Ross [handwriting]
Hedge knife bought from Mr Smith Banbridge. Inspr Irvine, Const Michael Tully was asked by Montgomery what was the best thing to produce sleep. Mrs Thompson, George McFarland, Robert Moncrief, Mary Fulton, Mr McNamee, Donald Gallagher [cockler] Hugh Bonar Haughney, Thomas Stewart, Harriett McDowell, Sarah Woods, Ninuas Kane, Kate Whiting, Robert Corker [prisoner spoke to Robert Corker on the street when told of Glass's death] Robert Cooke George Bates (went for Doctor)
Page 22 of transcript.
Council for Prisoner Mr McDonagh I L . Mr George Keys. Attorney m Aich & Collum Senr.
Alexander Clarke examined page 219 and 220.
Question number - Alexander Clarke's answer
5151 Do you know Mr McDowell? I do
5152 Are you in his employment? Yes
5153 As what? A grocer.
5154 Do you remember bringing a parcel once for Mr
Montgomery to Mr McClenaghan's Hotel? I do.
5155 Do you know what was in the parcel? Mr McDowell told me
(Mr Macdonagh “Don't mind what he told you”)
5156 (Solicitor Genl) Was it weighty? It was.
5157 What did you do with that parcel? I delivered it in the Hotel.
Mr McDowell named the person who afterwards he said paid him sixpence
Examined by Mr Macdonagh
5158 When was that. Do you happen to remember, my boy? It was between a week and two weeks before the time of the murder
5159 And you did not weigh the parcel? No Sir.
5160 And you left it at the hotel? Yes
5161 And that's all? That's all Sir.
Here by direction of his Lordship the hedge knife was intrusted to Mr Fitzgerald, who accompanied by Mr Collum left the court for the purpose of having the lead extracted by a skilled hand, from the handle of the implement. After some time Mr Fitzgerald returned and handed some portions of lead to the Solicitor General, describing at the same time the manner in which the lead had come out in the process of extraction. The lead was examined by his Lordship and Council on both sides.
“Mr Keys, who although inferior to him in experience is already well known on this circuit as a skilful and able defender of prisoners”
Mr McDowell “I found a piece of lead at the store and gave it to Alexander Clarke, one of my young men, to take to him, Mr Montgomery, and said he wanted the lead to make lead bullets. He called a day or two later and paid 6d for the lead and he said it was not much use to him for he had spilt most of it in the fire.”
Twelve wounds to the head, four of them mortal. The file stuck into the ear would be fatal. It had not been taken out when I saw it.
The body was exhumed for the purpose of further examination and we had this instrument with us.
Money Found in Grange Wood by Andrew Hamilton, a farmer. Samuel Hood J Manley went to Grange Wood on 13th July a forthight after the murder and Hamilton was the first person to find it. They sent for the County Inspector. The first batch of money amounted to over £1,100. (Actually £1,036 in notes. Later £351, Belfast Newsletter of 29th June 1871 found on 19th July 1871 at Grange Wood.
Next comes a little boy who tells us that he gave a paper to Glass upon that day. The very paper a part of which is now produced.
On 29th December Edward McPhilomy with a dog who sniffed out a bundle of notes.
Mr Glass had lived at Victoria Cottage at the end of Mill Street towards Strabane-Peter's Bank.
A few pounds of lead to make Bullets..
Did you give it to someone to take to him (Montgomery) Yes, one of my lads
What was his name? Alexander Clarke.
Mr McDowell said Mr Gordon drew his attention to something sticking in the ear of Mr Glass.
The juror tried to break the file when it was provided but the Council said “Don't Sir please”
Montgomery said Mc an? “This is suspicious”
Mr Strahan Manager of Nst Bank.
Mr Montgomery was a nephew of Rev Joseph Bradshaw J B Milecross Lodge Newtownards.
Sub Super Montgomery
Head Const Hobson
Const. McVeigh and 5 or 6 Sub. Consts.
Ryan Carroll Shamus Tierney Thompson, and Mr McElane
Francis Gordon Examined :-
3289 Gordon had been told it was suicide. That Glass had cut his throat..
3290 That was the universal opinion? Yes
Deficiency of £1,605 – 8s – 10d confirmed by Mr Straghan.Returned f--? Co Inspector Heard £1,037. One note identifiable
(because it needed a number and witness had made the depositor sign it)
A cheque for £6 in favor of Mr Mitchell.
More notes brought to the office by Mr French who had brought in £351 and Sgt McVeigh brought £100.
Olivia Livingstone, the maid at Glass's home was visited by Mr Montgomery and when she asked if poor Mr glass had committed suicide, he answered in a very angry voice, “No doubt about it.”
No children at National School on the day of murder. Waterproof around Montgomery's arm.
From Papers Past -New Zealand tablet No 1, Issue 29, 15 November 1873 Page 11
EXECUTION OF SUB-INSPECTOR MONTGOMERY.
The sub-inspector, Thomas Hartley Montgomery, was executed in Omagh Gaol on August 25, for the murder of Mr Glasse, cashier of the bank in Newtownstewart. The culprit was attended by three clergymen — two Church of England and one Methodist— who sat up with him until a late hour ; and they were impressed with a strong belief in his sincere penitence. He wrote a letter to Mrs Glasse some days ago, deploring his crime and asking her forgiveness. None of his relatives visited him. At half-past six o'clock in the morning he breakfasted, and afterwards received the Sacramant. At eight o'clock the preparations for the execution were made, and the culprit walked with a calm and steady step upon the scaffold. He retained his self-possession to the last, exclaiming with great fervour as he stepped upon the drop, " Lord, have mercy upon me ! " Two minutes after the drop fell he was dead .
N.B. - This is only a partial transcription. The whole court record is foolscap size and about 2 inches thick..... all neatly handwritten.