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Crest. 9.2 x 7 cm. Gagnon I, 4889; Harrod & Ayearst, p. 93; Masson Collection Vol. VIII, #1301. somewhat age-darkened.

Hugh MacMahon was born in Guelph, Upper Canada. He became a lawyer and practiced in Brantford, London, and finally Toronto. He was a distinguished criminal lawyer and defended the accused in the Biddulph murder trial. He became a judge in 1887. (Wallace).

Between the night of February 3 and the morning of February 4, 1880, five members of the Donnelly family were murdered by members of the Vigilance Committee in Biddulph Township, near London, Ontario. The murdered members of the family included James Sr., Judith, Thomas, John and Bridget Donnelly. The specific reason for the murders is still unclear but the underlying factors go back to the settlement of Irish emigrants in Biddulph Township and the successive feuds among the families, secret societies brought from Ireland, and increasing violence and murder. The Donnelly's were blamed for many instances of violence, murder, theft, and arson, both rightfully and wrongfully, and they were disliked and feared by many of the families in the township. Thirteen people were charged with the murder of the Donnelly's. When the case came to trial, the verdict was not guilty and sentences were not given due to the conflicting evidence given during the trial. (Trent University Archives).


Please credit the Balfour Halévy Special Collections, Library, Osgoode Hall Law School Library.

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