COLD BLOODED MURDER IN OPS
October 26, 1863
A barbarous murder was committed in the Township of Ops last Thursday night.
The victim is a man named James Diamond, who, it appears, lived along with his family in the one shanty with another man called James Fleming. The shanty is located in the 7th concession, near what is known as Waltes’ Farm, about a mile and a half from Lindsay, on the Peterborough Road. Striking off just at a bend in the road at No. 4 section school-house. Mr. Carlans the shanty is placed about 800 or 400 yards northwards in the woods.
The circumstances for this fearful crime so far as we can gather, are these. It seems that on the day of the murder was a logging bee at the house one William Muldoon, who lives some 150 yards or so to the east of the scene of the tragedy. The deceased James Diamond apparently took a special interest in this spree, as he was seen by the neighbors carrying water that day for service of the “bee” About twenty, we learned, attended this festive gathering, and among the rest Fleming and Diamond left the party and went home before dark, not waiting for supper. It appears he immediately went to bed, pretty much the worse for liquor. Diamond, who had been testing rather freely, came home between seven and eight o’clock, when an altercation took place between him and his wife, and as all accounts go to show, the quarrel was interfered in by Fleming. Diamond under the influence of drink insisted that his wife should go back with him to the dance. She refused, and Diamond upbraided her, saying that she was his wife and should go with him. He is said to have reproached her with infidelity, and called her a whore, and that she had too great a liking for Fleming. A desperate scuffle must now have ensued; but what transpired we can only conjecture from what the neighbors tell. The night was quiet and calm, and Mr. Peter Hanlan, a farmer, whose house is fifty yards to the south of Fleming and Diamond’s miserable shanty, could hear the disturbance from his own door. He went on to the pathway, and sat down on a stump for a seat. The two unhappy families had the reputation of being noisy and quarrelsome, particularly when drink was going, and he did not care to go near the shanty. Mr. Hanlan then heard them making an “angry noise”, and quarreling very high and could hear loud tramping on the floor of the shanty, “as if they were threatening one another”.
One party had a candle, and the person who had it seemingly brought it outside. All at once- in a moment- the noise ceased, and Mr. Hanlan called to his wife, “Diamond is dead!” For he had the impression, that Diamond was a man that wouldn’t stop speaking unless he was dead, at least when he had drink. Mr. Hanlan heard a cry, “ Oh my da! My da is dead!” He then heard Fleming, for he knew his voice, hush the child. Fleming then vociferated in great passion, “ Oh! God damn him! - God damn him! I’ll kick his___, ” or something to that effect. Mr. Hanlan learned next day, they actually stmbled on Diamond, the murdered man.
It appears that after the tragedy was over, Mrs. Diamond took her youngest child in her arms and went up to the family named Kennedy, whose shanty is but a few yards to the north of hers. She asked Robert Kennedy to come quickly, without saying what had happened. Kennedy and his wife and family were in bed. They had not time to dress, when Mrs. Diamond returned and begged them to come for “two men running over the field there,” pointing towards the field, had killed her husband with clubs which they had in their hands. The Kennedy’s came down immediately, and found Diamond lying alone on the ground, about three yards from the back of the shanty. He was insensible and bleeding profusely about the head, and they had him carried in and laid on the floor of the shanty. The Kennedy’s however, say they heard nothing of the fighting, as they were away to bed. They said to Mrs. Diamond to get a doctor, but she said that it was just a “drunken sleep,” and that he would be better when he waked. Fleming, who was in the house, said to them he knew nothing about it for he said. “You see I’m in bed.”
The Kennedy’s stayed till post midnight. Diamond laboured heavily in breathing all night, which indicated how brutally he was used, and the intense agony he suffered. He never spoke or showed signs of the least sensibility, and died on the floor of a miserable shanty just as the sun rose on this horrible deed of darkness.
Chief Constable Douglas, on being apprised of the murder, immediately set out with Kennedy, taking with him as an assistant’s Constable Crough and Pigot. Fleming and Mrs. Diamond were accordingly kept under surveillance.
About one o’clock, Dr. Fidler, coroner, held an inquest on the body, and the jury returned a verdict of “murder” against James Fleming and Mrs. Diamond.
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