The first public execution that has ever yet happened in this district took
place on Friday last, the 8th, at 6 o'clock am in front of the court house,
Throughout the greater part of the previous evening the carpenters were
engaged in constructing the scaffold, and before it was completed a large
crowd of spectators had collected around where it was erected. At about
half past 5 o'clock the sheriff with his posse entered the cells of the
prisoners, and announced to them the near approach of the fatal hour, which
they received with calm indifference.
The officers then proceeded to unfetter the prisoners, and while so doing,
the only remark that Barry made was that he hoped that none of those present
would ever be placed in his awful position. The Indian, who up to the time
his shackles were being removed appeared perfectly harmless, began to manifest
a disposition of resistance, expressing a determination not to be hanged,
but insisted that he should be shot and struggled in such a manner as to
induce the officers to keep the irons still on his wrists.
A few moments before the hour the prisoners were conducted to the scaffold
accompanied by the Ref. Father McGuicken, who had previously administered
the Holy Eucharist to Barry and the rites of baptism to the Indian. On the
scaffold, Barry who had been suffering for some days from a severe attack
of sickness, betrayed no symptoms of trepidation, but sustained himself
throughout the trying scene with the utmost fortitude and coolness. The
Indian on the contrary, behaved in a very excited manner, and indulged in
the most foul and blasphemous language, cursing the King George man and
his Indian accomplice, endeavouring all the while to extricate himself from
his pinions. Neither of the prisoners made a public confession, although
it is very certain that Barry must have done so to the priest before he
could receive absolution; if he did so the tenor of it will never be communicated
to human-ears, as the laws of the Roman church forbid the revealing of
secrets made at the confessional.
Everything being ready at a given signal the executioner drew the bolt and
the door fell with a dull heavy sound, and the murderers were launched into
eternity without a struggle. After the bodies had hung for the space of
half an hour, they were examined by Dr. Bell who pronounced them dead, and
being immediately cut down by the hangman were at once conveyed in coffins
to the place of internment, near the burial ground at Richfield.
By 7 o'clock the scaffold was removed and nothing remained to show that
any unusual event had occurred.