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Willliam Kerrigan in Westfield New Brunswick 1851
Posted by: Lucinda Bowker Brown (ID *****8148) Date: October 27, 2006 at 15:32:12
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Hi - I came across this artical about my ggggrandmother Elizabeth McCluskey <widow of William> on the New Brunswick Provincial Archives. Her children were William, James, Susannah, Jeremiah, Robert, George, and Elizabeth. They were all orphaned on December 7, 1851.

Does anyone have any information on this particular situation? Or, on Why William McCluskey died?

Thank You

Many thanks to the late Daniel F Johnson for the hard work that was put into compiling these records for all of us.

Daniel F Johnson : Volume 13 Number 1778

Date : December 27, 1851
County : Saint John
Place : Saint John
Newspaper : New Brunswick Courier

The language of the text is the original used in the newspaper entry and as transcribed by Daniel F. Johnson. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.

The Westfield Tragedy! Eye Witness Account:On Sunday 7th inst., about 2 o'clock in the morn., William KERRIGAN residing near Lands End, Westfield Parish (Kings Co.) sent his sons to the house of William WAGONER with amessage desiring his wife who was staying there to return home and also requesting John C. McGLAUGHLIN to accompany her, assigning as a reason that he was unwell. He had previously sent a person named CARR to his wife and daughter as also to the widow of William McCLUSKEY requesting them to come to his house. On the arrival of the above persons at KERRIGAN's house, he appeared highly pleased, shook hands with them and said that they were good neighbours. He asked McGLAUGHLIN to sing a hymn, which was complied with; after which KERRIGAN proceeded to prayer and while so engaged, kissed the ground several times. He was then observed to take from a cupboard a large draw-knife with which he instantly rushed upon McGLAUGHLIN inflicting a large wound on the head. McGLAUGHLIN succeeded in escaping from the house and the maniac then turned upon WAGONER. WAGONER also ran from the house, followed by his wife, son and daughter and the widow McCLUSKEY. The murderer instantly persued them and cut down his own wife and son. He then rushed upon Mr. WAGONER and inflicting a wound on the side of the head, he turned upon the widow McCLUSKY and cut her down. KERRIGAN turned in pursuit of his daughter and came up with the hapless victim at a fence and killed her on the spot. The murderer ran back to the widow McCLUSKEY who lay extended on the ground and on seeing him she cried out, "OhWilliam, spare my life and let me go to my poor little children." KERRIGAN answered "Get up and go, you devil! "She did so, upon which he immediately killed her saying that he would kill all those who came before him. KERRIGAN then returned to where his wounded wife and son lay and killed them. Meanwhile William WAGONER had proceeded to his own house and informed his son Richard WAGONER who was in bed that KERRIGAN had killed his mother. The youth immediately dressed himself and seeing from the window KERRIGAN approaching the house, armed himself with a gun and went out to meet him. KERRIGAN, having come up, aimed a blow with the knife at the elder WAGONER who avoided it and closed in with the murderer. Richard WAGONER then struck KERRIGAN two blows on the head with the gun which prostrated him and in doing so the barrell became seperated from the stock of the piece. Unfortunately KERRIGAN succeeded in rising and ran at the boy Richard with the dreadful knife. The boy defended himself with the barrel of the gun but not without receiving a severe wound in one of the fingers. KERRIGAN, somewhat disconcerted by the resistance offered, jumped back when the boy Richard succeeded in inflicting a heavy blow with the gun barrel on the side of KERRIGAN's head which brought himto the earth. In this position KERRIGAN shouted to the elder WAGONER "Will you let him kill me?" adding "Richard, youthink you are a d___ smart fellow, but I am smarter than you are." KERRIGAN then rose from the ground and on finding that his arm was fractured exclaimed "Oh Lord, I am done forever! He then ran off towards the residence of Alexander LONG, seeing which , Wm WAGONER informed LONG of the fact anddirected him to procure an axe. LONG did so, and KERRIGAN seeing the probable nature of his reception, turned and ran towards the River. Some neighbours having by this time collected, proceeded to carry Mrs. WAGONER to her house andthe bodies of the other four victims were conveyed to KERRIGAN's house. Search was now made for the murderer and at 8 o'clock the same morn., KERRIGAN was found near the River leaning over a fence. His hands and feet were badly frozen. He was bare-headed and his clothing consisted of only a cotton shirt, trousers and drawers. KERRIGAN requested to be taken to a fire, but desired his captors not to put him too near it. He was then conveyed to his own house, and his wounds having been dressed, he was put into a bed near the fire, a strong guard having been appointed to watch him. KERRIGAN died on the same eve. It is reported that Mrs. Wagoner died Saturday 11th inst. and William WAGONER could not live.

Daniel F Johnson : Volume 13 Number 1744

Date : December 20, 1851
County : Saint John
Place : Saint John
Newspaper : New Brunswick Courier

The language of the text is the original used in the newspaper entry and as transcribed by Daniel F. Johnson. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.

An inquest was held at Westfield (Kings Co.) Monday before James Brittain and John Wightman, Esqs., on view of the body of Elizabeth McCLUSKEY widow of William McCLUSKEY, age 48. Verdict - deceased came to her death by mortal wounds inflicted on back part of her dead and neck by William KERRIGAN with a draw knife.

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