Sunday 11 March 2012

March 13, 1876 - Part One

March 12, 1876 was a Sunday and of course no daily or weekly newspaper was published that day.
The Hamilton Spectator of Monday March 13, 1876 was so full of interesting stories, that date will be treated in two posts.
The climax of the saga of the murder of Nelson Mills on the street in broad daylight by Michael McConnell was fast approaching. Two days before the date set for the hanging of the convicted murderer, members of the local press were allowed to visit him in his cell at the Barton street jail.
The following was written by a man from the Spectator and is transcribed in fell :
       This afternoon a representative of each of the city newspapers accompanied by the Sheriff, visited the doomed man, Michael McConnell, in his cells. They found him seated on his bed in the cell, dressed in black pants and vest and a flannel shirt. He appeared pleased to meet his visitors and asked them to sit down, and then to impart any information they required. He first referred to one of the newspapermen, and hoped he came with a better feeling towards him than he had displayed during the coroner’s inquest. He assured his visitors that he had no hard feelings against anyone, and if he had hard feeling he had no opportunity of retaliating, and that tomorrow would finish him and then the whole thing would be over. He several times afterwards returned to the subject and said that he had no hard feelings towards anyone on earth. In reply to a question, he said he had made no written statement and that he had only written a few verses. In reply to our reporter, he said that he had been reading “Fletcher’s Meditations” since his confinement. He produced the book which was lying on his pillow and shewed it with considerable pride, saying that he had bought a few days after his marriage. He referred with triumph to his personal appearance, proudly saying he had not failed any since his confinement, adding “and then I was used to be out of doors a great deal, you know.”
          He said that he had gained weight since his imprisonment. He appears to be in good spirits and talks quite freely, smiling all the while. He hoped that whatever the reporters wrote would be received in good spirit by the public. The reporters assured him of their good feeling towards him, and on their retiring he shook hands with them and affectionately bid them farewell.
          The scaffold is completed and presents a very insignificant appearance. It is placed against the north wall of the east yard and is so placed that no person can see the execution.”

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