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!! Ballina Chronicle; Sep 19, 1849 "Tierney Execution"

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, Sept 19, 1849 EXECUTION OF JOHN TIERNEY On yesterday at half-past twelve o clock the extreme sentence of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2003
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, Sept 19, 1849

      On yesterday at half-past twelve o'clock the extreme sentence of the law
      was carried into effect on the scaffold in front of our county jail on the
      unfortunate culprit, John Tierney, who, with a respectable young man, named
      Harrington, was tried at the late assizes of Nenagh, for the murder of Burke, a
      tailor, who resided in Thurles, and appeared to have been of active habits and
      industriously followed his trade. At 12 o'clock a strong detachment of the 79th
      Highlanders, under command of Captain M'Call, together with Captain Hodgson,
      Lieut. Harrison, Ensign Boothby and Assistant Surgeon Fowler, drew up in a field
      opposite the drop; while 60 of the constabulary, under Mr. Sub.-Inspector O'Dell
      and Head Constable Hayes, were stationed in the area surrounding it.
      A few minutes after twelve, the Sub-Sheriff arrived with the death
      warrant, and the culprit at half-past 12 was led pinioned out of his cell, from
      which he walked to the scaffold with a firm step, accompanied by the Rev. Mr.
      Spain, R.C.C. and holding in his right hand a crucifix, and in his left a
      handkerchief. He fervently and loudly repeated, "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have
      mercy on me!" The executioner, who was not in the least disguised, and who with
      the utmost sang froid and apathetic indifference gazed on the military, police
      and spectators underneath him, immediately made his appearance, placed the rope
      on the wretched man's neck, put on his head a white cap which he drew on his
      face, "Jack Ketch," whose undisguised appearance created much sensation and loud
      murmurs among those present, then drew the fatal bolt, and Tierney's existence
      in a few moments was at an end. In consequence of the rope either not being
      placed properly on his neck, or from its thickness, the unfortunate man suffered
      strangulation for two minutes during which time his body writhed and he plunged
      his legs. The knot came under his chin instead of being at the butt of the ear.
      After the body suspending the usual length of time, it was cut down, placed in a
      coffin, and interred in the burial ground of the jail. There were but few
      persons who witnessed the horrible and demoralizing spectacle, and who, we
      regret to say, for the most part were composed of women, with children in their
      arms, and boys and girls. The following is the declaration:
      "Nenagh Prison, Tuesday night, Sept. 11
      "I most solemnly declare in the presence of God, before whom I am about to
      appear, that neither Patrick Bloomfield nor Philip Harrington had hand, act or
      part in the murder of Thomas Burke, of Graigue, in the parish of Drum, nor had
      they nor any other person any knowledge whatever of it. I declare and
      acknowledge that I committed that dreadful murder without the aid, presence, or
      assistance of any other person. May the Lord, in his infinite mercy, grant me
      pardon, which I have most earnestly implored every moment, night and day since
      my conviction.
      "In the presence of Nicholas Power, Roman Catholic chaplain, Thomas Rock,
      governor; and James Going, head turnkey."
      "John x Tierney"

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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