Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Murderous Assault on The Captain Smith of The Canal Boat.Virginia 1865

Pottsville Miners Journal
September 23 1865

On Monday morning last about 3 o’clock, as the boat Virginia, owned by the Schuylkill Navigation company, and commanded by Captain Smith of Reading, was passing through the guard locks at Landingville, this County, four Irishmen boarded the boat, two seating themselves at the bow of the boat, and two at the stern. As the boat was passing up the dam, the men gathered around the Captain, and demanded his money... The Captain replied that he had but seven dollars, and they could have that. The robbers were dissatisfied, and one of the ruffians named Owen Mullen, struck the Captain on the head with a billy, and threw him on the hatchway. The Captain’s son, a small boy, who had loaded a gun by his father’s direction, came up the cabin steps, and placing the gun near Mullens head, fired the contents through the head of the robber, killing him instantly. Malloy, lived on “The Flat”, Schuylkill Haven. And was known to be a desperate character. After Mullen was shot the rest of the men attempted to seize Captain Smith, but he sprang overboard and swam ashore. His son followed him by jumping through the cabin window. When the Captain jumped in the water the ruffians threw the tiller at him, but fortunately it missed him. The Captain and his son succeeded in reaching Orwigsburg Landing. Without further molestation. The robbers pulled the boat tothe shore, and escaped. Every good citizen will feel a sense of relief that such a scoundrel as Mullen has been disposed of, and earnestly hope that other wretches in this county, when caught in crime, may be sent the same road quickly.
On Monday Coroner Johnson held an inquest, The jury rendered a verdict of Justifiable homicide

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stu -- On Sept. 18, 1865, a Heckscherville mine superintendent wrote to his bosses in New York: “An Irishman got shot this morning on a canal boat. He went on board and demanded the captain’s money or life. The captain son’s overwhelmed him, went down into the cabin, brought up the captain’s gun and shot the robber dead instantly. A few such shots around here and Forestville of this kind would do us a POWER OF GOOD." He wrote this just weeks after the murder of a Muir, a Branchdale mine superintendent. The author was Henry Dunne, who would himself be murdered within a few months. -- Mark B.