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The case which was begun on May 6th was continuing and more instances of intimidation were described, including the roughing up of an elderly Mrs. LESLIE (nee Martha OLIVER - sister of William). William JACKSON was also involved in rousing public sentiment against the LESLIE family. It is possibly significant that a William OLIVER left the country sometime before the middle of 1846 - seemingly under a cloud of some conflict - I don't yet know how he fits in.
Sharon Oddie Brown, December 9, 2004.

Updated footnotes July 5, 2007
NOTE: The unpublished paper: The rise & fall of a village industry Cornacarrow & Laragh mills 1775 – 1925 by Mary Frances Kerley is a splendid resource for understanding some of the complications of this crisis. I am grateful.

1845, July 22 Armagh Guardian


The Crown court was opened this morning at half-past nine o’clock.

PETIT JURY :--Messrs. Patrick Kelly [1] , William Blackburne [2] , William Dougherty [3] , Thomas Howe [4] , Neale Mullen [5] , John Murray [6] , Edward M’Phillips [7] , Robert Lewer [8] s, James Moynagh [9] , Pat. M’Kenna [10] , William Hughes [11] , and Wm. Norwood [12] .

Denis Lynch [13] , Michael Fealey [14] , Peter M’Cabe [15] , Peter M’Donnell [16] , and James Fealey [17] , were charged with unlawfully assembling themselves, and breaking into the house of Doctor Leslie [18] , of Laragh, June 27th, and for an assault on Mrs. Leslie [19] , at same time and place; also William Jackson [20] and Joseph Oliver [21] with being accessories thereto.

Sir Thomas Staples [22] addressed the Jury, in which he detailed the facts of the case, and he afterwards called upon the following witnesses :--

Wm. Smith [23] , examined by Mr. Tomb [24] , Q.C.—Is corporal of the 74th regiment ; knows Dr. Leslie’s house in Laragh; was there on June 27; there were in the house old Mrs. Leslie [25] , and the servant, Ann Duffy [26] ; between nine and ten o’clock in the morning several persons came to the house; these persons came up to the hall-door, which witness afterwards found was locked, and commenced knocking and battering at the door with a heavy instrument, which appeared to witness to be like a sledge; witness told the persons to go away, and to do no injury to the place, but they continued battering till they broke in a panel of the door; they then went round to the kitchen door, which witness found afterwards to be both locked and barred, and they commenced battering the door with a sledge, until they succeeded in breaking a board off the door; through the opening he saw one of the party, whom he recognises as one of the prisoners at the bar; his name is Denis Lynch; they then broke in the door altogether, and five or six men came into the house; Lynch was one of the party, and he had a sledge in his hand; saw a pistol in the hand of another; when they broke into the house, Mrs. Leslie and the servant girl were in the kitchen; the party then desired the inmates of the house to clear out; Mrs. Leslie asked Lynch for his authority, and he said it was in his pocket; Denis Lynch then caught hold of Mrs. Leslie by the arm, and with others dragged and pushed her out of the house, and shut the door on her; went away then, and left these persons in the house.

After being cross-examined by Mr. Holmes [27] , Anne Duffy and Mary Quin [28] deposed to the same facts.

Alicia MacMahon [29] , examined by Mr. O’Hagan [30] — Knows Denis Lynch, the prisoner; identifies him; knows Dr. Leslie’s house; lives about thirty perches from it; the Leslies have occupied the house since before spring; recollects June 27; saw Denis Lynch in the house of one M’Nally [31] , at twelve o’clock; he went into a room, and came out with two small pistols, one of which he put on each side of his breast, and then went out of the house; he afterward returned and said he had left a man in the big house (meaning Dr. Leslie’s) and if he (the man) would kill any one in half an hour no one could tell who he was; Dr. Leslie’s house is near M’Nally’s.

Cross-examined by Mr. Perrin [32] — Has lived near Dr. Leslie’s house for some time ; knew old Mr. Oliver [33] who lived up there till his death ; knew that Jos. Oliver lived there till last spring; did not see the Leslies living there till spring ; they were, however back and forward at the house.

Thomas M’Garrell [34] , examined by Sir T. Staples—Knows Dr. Leslie’s house in Laragh ; on 27th June was in Castleblayney at ten o’clock, and was there at twelve o’clock; there accompanied him Frank Duffy [35] , Smith [36] , and James Mahon [37] ; when he got to the house he saw the door broken; saw Peter M’Cabe inside the back door with a pitchfork in his hand; saw Michael Fealy inside with a blunderbuss; they presented the gun out of the broken door, and ordered witness and his party to stand back or that they would rue it; told them that they were sent there by Mr. John Leslie [38] ; besides the men he mentioned, saw also another man with a pitchfork; did not go into the house; went into the barn, which is next to the house, and remained there till night.

David Leslie [39] , Esq., examined by Mr. Tomb—Knows the house and mills at Laragh ; was in possession on 27th June last; William Oliver was the former owner ; he is now dead ; he was the father of Joseph Oliver; William Oliver became indebted to Dr. Leslie to nearly the amount of £6,000 in cash, securities, amount paid on mortgages, and cash per banks ; took William Oliver out of gaol; took his son out of prison; took several conveyances for security; conveyance first produced, a lease conveying all the lands, &c; another deed conveying all the mills, &c., dated 5th December, 1844; to Dr. Leslie before his death (some time last Summer) containing the mills, &c; Dr. Leslie paid all the laborers ; hired Mr. Oliver’s old servant, and made new agreement with him; paid him money due in William Oliver’s lifetime; knows Joseph Oliver; told him he had married previous to his father’s death. (A document of conveyance of furniture, &c., drawn up by Joseph Oliver himself at the time Dr. Leslie got possession, in June, 1842, handed up to the Court.) Joseph Oliver only came there in day time, but slept with his wife at night, off the premises; Joseph Oliver was aware of Doctor Leslie’s getting possession. (Reads Joseph Oliver’s letter, dated the 23d of May, 1843 :--

Dear David,--I am astonished you ever wrote such a note to Mr. Leslie, I think you have known me long enough not to accuse me of being a rogue. I never stated to any one that I had any title in Laragh, or if I had a title I would give it up as willingly as I was to get your money. (Yours &c., Joseph Oliver.”)

Memorandum of agreement of a lease for a year of a portion of the mills and lands of Laragh, from Mr. Leslie, commencing at May, 1842, and ending May, 1843, at the yearly rent of £180; Mr. J. Oliver never got possession, or paid rent under this agreement; Mr. Leslie went to Laragh, after J. Oliver was arrested (I think in February last); witness is seldom there now, owing to threatening notices posted up there, saying “ he would be shot like a dog at his own hall-door,” &c; witness’s mother and his servants reside in his house at Laragh; William Oliver, the father of Joseph, gave possession of the house, lands, and mills of Laragh, to witness, on June 18, 1842.

Cross examined by Mr. Holmes.—Witness allowed William Oliver to live up there to the time of his death (about a year ago) ; witness himself resided half his time at Laragh, and the other half at his residence in the County Armagh; (witness produces a deed executed to him in 1835) ; he was then a candidate for the County of Monaghan; witness executed the lease handed to him by Joseph Oliver, stating distinctly that the lease had been altered since he had signed it, reducing the rent from £360 to £106 per annum ; the stamp carried £360.

[The lease was examined by the Court, and pronounced altered; the alterations were not initialled by the witness ; the document was therefore invalid.]

Witness pronounced the lease to have been fraudulently altered since he signed it, as the stamp duty would carry the full amount of £360, which was altered to £106 changing “three” into one, and erasing the last syllable from sixty; witness had J. Oliver arrested at the last Castleblayney Quarter Sessions ; he was since discharged by the Judge; witness opposed his discharge, being apprehensive, if he was discharged that he would create more riot and disturbance; witness is now the owner of all the mills and lands of Laragh, and stated to Mr. Holmes that he would let him or Mr. Oliver have them for much less than they cost him.

Francis Smith, examined by Mr. Hanna [40] , Q.C.—Recollects being in Chapel [41] , on Sunday, March 2; heard Mr. Wm. Jackson, the traverser, addressing the Congregation in the Chapel yard; he gave out for no one to work in Laragh, unless with Mr. Joseph Oliver’s leave, and for no one to pay any rent to Dr. Leslie, or they would rue it.

Mr. Holmes here submitted that there was no evidence against Oliver or Jackson, as being accessories to the crime.

Mr. Tomb—We have much more evidence against Mr. Jackson and Mr. Oliver; but as my client only wishes to enjoy his property in peace, he is willing to allow a nulli prosequi against them.

After some further observations, Judge Perrin [42] said—Gentlemen of the Jury, you will find a verdict against these four men, Lynch, Fealey, M’Cabe, and M’Donnell. (The prisoners had previously submitted.) Then addressing the prisoners, he said, you and all of you ought to feel that you have been mercifully dealt with. Had Mr. Leslie called on the Court to pronounce sentence, I would have felt it my duty to have passed a very severe one. You are now let out on your own recognizances, with judgment hanging over your heads, liable to be called up for sentence during that time, if you misbehave. As for those gentlemen associated with you, I should recommend them in future not to advise men in humble life to commit crimes that may deprive them of liberty, and subject them to be tried for murder—for had Mr. Leslie’s men been in the house when the outrage was committed, you might all have been now standing your trial for murder, as it was clearly proved to me that Mr. Leslie was in quiet and peaceable possession.

[1] Patrick Kelly?
[2] William Blackburne?
[3] William Dougherty?
[4] Thomas Howe?
[5] Neale Mullen?
[6] John Murray?
[7] Edward  M’Phillips?
[8] Robert Lewers?
[9] James Moynagh?
[10] Pat. M’Kenna?
[11] William Hughes?
[12] Wm. Norwood?
[13] Denis Lynch?
[14] Michael Fealey?
[15] Peter M’Cabe?
[16] Peter M’Donnell?
[17] James Fealey?
[18] Dr. David LESLIE, nephew to William OLIVER.
[19] Mrs. Martha LESLIE nee OLIVER, sister to the recently deceased William OLIVER of Laragh.
[20] William JACKSON?
[21] Joseph OLIVER was the son of William OLIVER (recently deceased) and grandson of David OLIVER.
[22] Sir Thomas Staples. SEE: http://www.proni.gov.uk/records/private/staples.htm He was the 9th Bt, eldest son of the Rt Hon. John Staples.
[23] William Smith? A corporal in the 74th Regiment.
[24] Mr. Tomb? NOTE: a Florence Gertrude TOMB married Herbert BROWN of Killynure.
[25] Martha LESLIE nee OLIVER. This is the mother of David LESLIE, hence the “old Mrs. Leslie”.
[26] Ann Duffy?
[27] Mr. Holmes?
[28] Mary Quin?
[29] Alicia McMahon?
[30] Mr. O’Hagan?
[31] McNally?
[32] Mr. Perrin?
[33] William OLIVER d. abt 1844.
[34] Thomas M’Garrell?
[35] Frank Duffy?
[36] Smith? I presume William SMITH aforementioned.
[37] James Mahon?
[38] Mr. John Leslie is the son of David LESLIE.
[39] David Leslie is the one who successfully claimed ownership of the mills.
[40] Mr Hanna?
[41] Chapel – would this be Ballybay Presbyterian Church. I need to check which congregation they were part of.
[42] Judge Perrin?



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