The Trial and Execution of Amédée Chattelle, Stratford 1895
Portrait of Jessie Keith at the age of 8. Stratford-Perth Archives
Jessie, middle front. Stratford -Perth Archives
William's diary, 1894 Stratford-Perth Archives
John Idington , Prosecutor
Stratford -Perth Archives
John Murray, Detective
Chattelle,hands manacled , (middle) passes Perth County Court House on his way to the train for the coroner's inquest. Sheriff John Hossie , forground, walks slightly ahead. Flanking the prisoner is Stratford Constable McCarthy. Stratford -Perth Archives
John Amour, Chief Justice Wikipedia
John Radclive, Executioner
Friday, October 19, 1894: The Murder
Saturday: The Man Hunt
A Crown Attorney John Idington from Stratford, (see William Street), issued a public bulletin . On Friday 19th October, Jessie Keith 13 was found foully murdered by a supposed tramp. He described the suspect " as stout, five foot nine inches tall, 190 pounds, a heavy body with a short neck, full chest and a dark complexion. He was seen carrying a "black valise". Idington oversaw the collection of physical evidence. The man hunt began.
Sunday: The Funeral and the Search
Monday: The Capture
During the three days after the murder, the police manhunt combed Perth County and questioned several tramps but none were identified by witnesses.
Three days after the murder, William Travis, a railway hand at Erin Station seventy kilometers from Lisowel, saw suspicious man approaching along the tracks . He said to his boss, "That is pretty hard looking seed. I'll bet you a quarter that's the murderer of Jessie Keith. " He apprended the man and escorted him to the Cataract Station about 2 kilometers away. Travis telegraphed for help. The prisoner gave his name as "Amédée Chattelle". Constable Wilson arrived and the party returned to Erin where Wilson locked up Chattelle for the night. The next day Charles Walker and Travis loaded Chattelle on to the train to Listowel. Stratford police chief John McCarthy took charge when they arrived. McCarthy ordered Chattelle detained for vagrancy and took him back to the train bound for Stratford 's jail.
Wednesday: Detective Arrives
Thursday October 26 Inquest Lisowel
Chief of Police McCarthy went to the jail in Stratford to get him to bring him to Listowel. Sheriff John Hossie and Crown Attorney Idlington were on board. Crown Attorney Idlington produced the evidence, handling the great crowd of witnesses with marked skill and dispatch.
A the end of a long day of witness statement and coroner reports, the verdict was that Chattelle should stand trial for murder in the first degree. Chattelle was escorted back to Stratford along with Stratford Detective John Murray, with two witnesses, plus the the black valise and its contents. They went to County Crown Attorney ldlington’s office. Three important witnesses from Atisa Craig, Mrs. McLeod, Gordon McEwatt and Angus McLean, were already there, having arrived at half-past 5 o’clock. The whole party went over to the jail, and air inspection of the various articles connected with the case was made.
March 28,1895. The Trial.
May 30 1895. The Execution.
Execution Timeline of Events .
Jessie Keith Memorial erected May 24, 1806 Wikipedia
William Keith lived to 90 outliving his wife and children. He died in 1928. He gave himself time to morn and when he was ready, re-engaged in community service roles such as councllor and justice of the peace.
John Idington was one of the most prominent citizens of Stratford. He was later named as a Judge to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Idlington Block and Idlington Creek were named for him. See: William St. where he lived.
Amédée Chattelle recounted a cruel and loveless childhood. He ran away from home when he was eleven. In his early twenties he went to sea on various mechant ships. Over three decades, he wandered Eastern Canada and all over the USA doing labour work. Near the end, he heard of a job in Michigan which led him for the first time to travel through Ontario.
John Hossie was among those who boarded the train to the swampy wood on the night of the murder. He severely restricted press access. He also escorted the prisoner to the trail and gallows. Hossie Terrace was named in his honour
Thomas McCarthy, Constable, and his brother John, Chief Constable, were both involved in the search and interrogation of the murderer. John escorted the suspect from Listowel to Stratford by train
McCarthy Road was named for their father, one of first settlers in Stratford.
Hugn Nichol, moved in as head jailer with his family when the new jail was built and worked until he died age 79 in 1921 Stratford- Perth Archives
Original home of Isabella and Donald McLeod in Ailsa Craig where on October 3, 1894, Chattelle entered through a window and stole a black valise and women's clothing. This was 16 days before the murder.
Note: Route starts at Ailsa Craig where Chattelle breaks-into McLeod's house and ends where he is caputred in Erin.
John Goddard wrote "The Man with the Black Valise" Tracking the Killer of Jessie Keith. A full story of the events.
Fun Fact: Nancy Musselman did carriage rides of Stratford . She said "when John Goddard went on the carriage ride tour he asked me if I was going to write a book and I laughed and said no, but he certainly could. He said my information on the tour so inspired him he was going to write a book. I think he did an exceptional job. He did contact me while writing it for bits of history". (Nancy Musselman is one of the contributors to the Street of Stratford site). Thank you Nancy.
John Goddard , Book signing at the Queen's Inn,Stratford. Photo Fred Gonder