Barkerville, Williams Creek, CaribooMURDERER
On Thursday, July 4, 1867
James Barry was brought before the Honourable Mr. Justice Matthew Bailie
Begbie on charges of the murder of C.M. Blessing. On his lordship assuming
his seat on the bench, the prisoner, James Barry was placed in the dock,
and the indictment having been read over to him, he pleaded "not guilty,"
whereupon a jury of twelve men was empanelled. Opening the case for the
prosecution Mr. H.P. Walker gave a speech of considerable length, reciting
the various circumstances connected with the murder. The prisoner was defended
by Mr. A.R. Robertson.
William H. Fitzgerald, the first witness
for the prosecution stated that he discovered the body at a place about
two miles on the other side of Edwards' ranch at Beaver Pass. "It was
lying behind an undulation of ground, in a clump of bushes; the body was
decomposed; the skull was three or four yards from the trunk." Upon
examining the skull a bullet hole was found which appeared to have been
produced by a six-shooter. Personal articles were found including a sheath
knife, tin cup, watch, silver pencil case, and gold pen. The cup had the
name of C.M. Blessing engraved on it. Mr. Fitzgerald also identified two
gold pins which were taken from a dancing girl last autumn. One had the
remarkable feature of appearing to be the profile of a man's face when turned
in a certain way.
The next witness examined was one W.D. Moses,
a black barber from Barkerville. Mr. Moses knew Charles Morgan Blessing
and had traveled up country with him in the spring of 1866. They reached
Quesnelmouth on the evening of 28th of May, 1866. On the 29th they saw James
Barry in front of Brown & Gillis' saloon. Barry addressed Moses by name
and enquired when he was going up to the creek. Moses replied that he would
not be going until the next day. Charles Blessing was impatient to leave
for Williams Creek and although he expressed his doubts about traveling
with James Barry he decided to go and arranged to meet W.D. Moses at Van
Winkle. Upon leaving Moses he said to him,
"My name is Charles Morgan Blessing, be sure to recollect
it if anything should happen to me in this country."
He then went into the saloon to get his blankets, and went up to the bar
to take a drink, paying with a Bank of British Columbia bill. Moses said
to him "Charley, you are not broke yet." and he answered by saying
he had $50 or $60 left.