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NAMES: Samuel COULTER (-1851) of Mounthill; James QUIGLEY of Castleroach; John J. BIGGER. OTHER PLACES: Roach AKA Roche, Parish of Roche.
Sharon Oddie Brown. December 7, 2008
Thanks to Wendy Jack for this transcription. The footnotes and any errors are mine.


1849 March 4 Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, March 4, 1849; Issue 328

DIABOLICAL ATTEMPT AT ASSASSINATION. - A most diabolical attempt at assassination took place in the county of Louth on Wednesday evening, the 21st ult[1].  When Mr. Samuel Coulter[2], of Mounthill[3], and Mr. James Quigley[4], of Castleroach[5], were returning home from the fair of Dundalk[6] in a cart, and when driving at a brisk trot, about six o'clock, a man jumped out from the side of the ditch on the high road at Roach[7], and within a short distance of Mr. Quigley's house, and deliberately fired a pistol-shot at them, the contents of which (five balls) perforated the great and body coats of Mr. Coulter; and one of the balls also passed through the waistcoat and shirt, each of the balls having inflicted wounds upon the small of his back, which they much lacerated.  Immediately upon the shot being fired, Mr. Coulter, although so wounded, attempted to jump out of the cart and secure the man, who was then quite close to him; but Mr. Quigley held Mr. Coulter so tightly by the waist that he could not extricate himself, and as the mule which they drove was frightened it set off with the cart, when the man ran after them, and again fired a second shot at a distance of ten or twelve feet from them, the contents of which they heard distinctly passing near them.  Thus, by the interposition of Providence alone, were the lives of two of the most respectable, charitable, and kind-hearted farmers of the location saved from assassination.  When the first shot was fired, the ruffian must have placed the deadly weapon so close to Mr. Coulter as to burn and much injure his coat with powder.  One large and a small leaden ball were found in the cart next morning, where they had fallen down.  Information having been sworn before J. J. Bigger, Esq., J.P[8]., the police were put in immediate requisition, and are actively employed in tracing the assassin[9].


[1] February 21, 1849.

[2] Samuel COULTER. This is the same Samuel COULTER of Shortstone who was murdered May 3, 1851. He married Mary BAILIE on March 24, 1846 at Barronstown, Co. Louth. They had two sons: John Bailie COULTER b Jun 26, 1848, and was baptised at Creggan Church June 26, 1848. His brother Samuel was an infant at the time of his father's murder. The two brothers famred SHortstone when they grew up.

[3] Mounthill. There are a number of COULTERs mentioned in the Registry at Creggan Church from Mounthill. Interestingly, there is also a note in the Creggan Church documents  that a Samuel COULTER of Mounthill was murdered in February 1849, although it would seem that he was merely injured on this date, but murdered in 1851. There are numerous listings of COULTERs at Mounthill in the PRONI Freeholder records.

[4] James QUIGLEY. His name appears on the threatening note that appeared on a door overtop a proclamation offering a reward of £80 for information on the attack on Samuel COULTER. (SOURCE: Select Committee on Outrages (Ireland) p185.) The name James QUIGLEY is recorded in the 1854 Griffiths Valuation:

·         Leasing land in Drumbilla, Parish of Roche from Sir John S. Robinson Bt.

·         Owning two three houses valued at £0.8.0, each of which he leased out.

·         Leasing 35 acres at Roche, Parish of Kane; 70 acres at Ednakill, Parish of Roche from John J. Murphy; and 71 acres and a house valued at £3.0.0 in the townland of Roche, Parish of Roche from John J. Murphy.

·         Leasing a house and garden on Shore Road in Dundalk valued at £2.5.0 from the Earl of Roden.

·         Leasing a house at Charleville, Parish of Strabannan from M. O’Reilly Dease valued at £1.2.0

[5] Castleroach. I suspect this is in the townland now known as Roche. There is no townland currently named Castleroach. The threatening notice indicated: “James Quigley Roach”.

[6] Dundalk, 4 miles southeast of Roche.

[7] Roach, Parish of Roche, CO. Louth

[8] J.J. BIGGAR, Esq. JP. NOTE: A John J. BIGGER was a landlord with holdings in several townlands. He leased lands from John J. MURPHY at Falmore, Parish of Roche, Co. Louth including a 117 acres of land in three parcels and buildings valued at £28.0.0.

[9] The assassin. I do not know who he was. There was never a conviction.



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