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Conception Bay North - Harbour Grace District

Court of Sessions case regarding a riot in Mint Cove, Spaniard's Bay, in 1813

The information was transcribed by MARILYN PILKINGTON
While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there could be some typographical errors.

Court of Sessions - Harbour Grace

King vs.

John Roberts

William Roberts

Joseph Deer

Joseph Foster

John Greely

Michael Farrell


David Pheline

Present: William Lilly & Richard Palmer, Esq.

September 14, 1813

This was a prosecution brought before the court against the Defendants for assembling and behaving in a riotous manner on Sunday Evening at Mint Cove in Spaniard's Bay, they being principally concerned therein and also behaving in a very unbecoming manner towards Robert Gosse and Jonathan Sheppard, said constables in said Mint Cove against the peace of our sovereign Lord the King. The parties being before the court, the several witnesses were duly examined. Vis:-

William Gosse, sworn. Saith he was in the House of Jonathan Sheppard last Sunday Evening and that Jonathan Sheppard was walking in the House when John Roberts pushed the door open and said “Boys, any of you that have anything to say to me come out of doors and say it to me.” Nobody answered said Roberts, but the master of the House, Sheppard, put him out of doors.

Jonathan Sheppard, sworn. Saith went from his own stage and spoke to Mr. Collins' son (George) and looking over his right shoulder saw William Roberts fast hold of Timothy Collins by the throat. Deponent went to clear them from each other when Joseph Foster struck Deponent a violent blow on the eye and in his defence he, the Deponent, struck Foster, upon which Michael Farrell took Deponent by the two arms and held them behind the Deponent's back so that Deponent could not move and said Farrell cried out to Foster to “strike the son of a Bitch about the face, about the ribs, and everywhere, pay him for the grudge I owe him this summer” and Deponent further says that had it not been for Robert Gosse, the constable, he would certainly have been killed, and after Deponent was knocked down Michael Farrell trampled and kicked him.

Robert Gosse, sworn. Saith he was on the north side of Mint Cove and hearing a noise on the south side went over, thinking it might be some of his own crew, and the first thing Deponent saw was William Roberts striking Timothy Collins two or three times and after Deponent had separated Roberts from Collins he saw Joseph Foster and Jonathan Sheppard striking each other. Deponent at same time saw Michael Farrell patting Joseph Foster on the back saying “Damne, Joe, don't see yourself wronged.”

Deponent then called Henry Sheppard to come to his assistance, but before he came Deponent broke a stick from the flake and swore he would knock down the first person that would strike another blow.

The people then separated when Deponent and Henry Sheppard remained on the spot and that David Phealen Junior, John Roberts and Joseph Foster Youngster were coming over the beach when David Phealen said that if John and George Collins were caught to the south ward they would have their necks cracked or words to that effect and Deponent, hearing a noise in Jonathan Sheppard's house, went there and found David Phealen Junior engaged with Jonathan Sheppard, the Constable pulling and hauling at a stick, when Jonathan Sheppard called Deponent to lend him a hand to take away the said stick which Deponent did, after which John Grealy (Farrell's servant) took hold of John Roberts and said that if any body had anything to say to him he should fight them. The constable deponent said no one should fight there. Grealy replied, Who the Devil should hinder him? Constable replied he would, on which they separated.

Thomas Smith, sworn. Smith said last Sunday evening Joseph Deer came to his house and enquired for George Collins and said he wanted to speak to him and on he, Deer, and Collins going they went to the end of Deponent's house and on Deponent seeing them they exchanged handkerchiefs - conceived they were going to fight when Deponent said he would have no fighting there and turned off his room when Deer and Collins went immediately to Piddle's dock and began fighting. Deponent further states he saw them and several persons assembled there while he was standing on his own room.

John Gosse, sworn. Saith that on Sunday evening as he was standing on Henry Sheppard Senior's room he saw Jonathan Sheppard Junior and Joseph Foster together at this time. Deponent saw Joseph Foster strike Jonathan Sheppard Junior several times when Michael Farrell was present and he also says that he heard said Farrell say to Foster “strike him under” and that he, Farrell, held Sheppard by the shoulder while Foster was beating him when shortly after he, the Deponent, went away.

Frank Gosse, sworn. Saith that last Sunday evening at Mint Cove he saw Joseph Foster and Jonathan Sheppard Junior striking each other when Joseph Foster got Sheppard down and was beating him very much when Deponent went and took Foster away, at which time John Roberts came in and asked Deponent why he took his brother from Sheppard. He replied to prevent his being murdered, and then wanted to fight Deponent, which he refused to do, saying if he had anything to say to him, he, Roberts, might call upon him tomorrow morning.

Michael Farrell's wife standing by said now was the best time.

John Collins, sworn. Saith that Sunday evening at Mint Cove saw John and William Roberts quarrelling with his mother and sister about striking of her son George by John Roberts. Saw Jonathan Sheppard Junior come to the place and heard him ask what they were quarrelling about. Further says he saw Michael Farrell take hold of said Sheppard at his back and hold him while Joseph Foster was beating him when Francis Gosse went and took said Foster away from Sheppard and that the Father of Deponent ran down to separate the people who were fighting when William Roberts struck Deponent's Father in the face twice.

The several circumstances being duly investigated and many corroborating evidence having appeared against the defendants, the court gave judgment that David Phealen Junior, John Robberts, William Roberts, Joseph Deer and Joseph Foster do find security for keeping the peace for Twelve Calendar Months from the date hereof in the sum of Twenty Pounds and sufficient sureties Ten Pounds each and that they do pay the following charges. Also John Grealy his part thereof.


David Phealen, fine £5"0"0

Court 1st Class 2"0"0"

Recognizance " 6 "

Mittimus " 5 "

William Roberts, fine £5"0"0

Court 1st Class 2"0"0

Joseph Foster,

Recognizance £" 6

John Grealy

Court 2nd Class £1"7"6

Joseph Deer, fine £5"0"0

Court 1st Class 2"0"0

Recognizance 7"6"0

The Defendants Michael Farrell and Joseph Foster prayed they may be allowed to have a week longer so as to enable them to bring forward some witnesses, they being absent when they left Mint Cove, in order to disprove the foregoing charges, which the court granted when the court adjourned until Tuesday the 2nd instant.

November 2, 1813

King vs.

Michael Farrell

The Defendant being brought before the court on the 14th of September and took his trial, being there charged with behaving in a riotous manner on Sunday evening, the 12th September, at Mint Cove in Spaniard's Bay, he then prayed he might be allowed a week to get witnesses in order to contradict the charges brought against him at that trial.

Michael Farrell, the Defendant, and his several witnesses being now before the court, the latter were duly examined: --

Elizabeth Foster, sworn. Deposes she was at Mint Cove on the first and last of the quarrel that happened there between Jonathan Sheppard Junior and Joseph Foster. Did not see Michael Farrell kick said Sheppard or put a hand towards him.

Frances Phealen, sworn. Deposes as to the substance of Elizabeth Foster's deposition.

Francis Sheppard, sworn.

Questioned by the Court - Did you see Joseph Foster strike Jonathan Sheppard?

Answer - I did.

Question -Did you see Michael Farrell kick or strike Jonathan Sheppard?

Answer - I did not.

John Hudson, sworn. Deposes that he went over just as the quarrel was nearly over. Saw Jonathan Sheppard Junior and Joseph Foster fighting. Saw John Roberts with jacket off and he conceived he was going towards Jonathan Sheppard to strike him, on which Deponent went and caught hold of said Roberts in order to hinder him, on which he, Roberts, knocked off Deponent's hat with his fist when he, the Deponent, went away.

John Busie, sworn. Deposes that he was at the beginning and end of the riot which happened at Mint Cove. Saw Jonathan Sheppard strike Joseph Foster first when they commenced fighting, that while Sheppard and Foster were fighting heard Michael Farrell tell Foster to strike Sheppard under.

The foregoing evidence, not contradicting the evidence taken on the 14th September last, is therefore manifest that Farrell was guilty of promoting the said riot.

Judgment that Michael Farrell do find security for keeping the peace from the date hereof Twelve Calendar Months himself in Twenty Pounds and two sureties Ten Pounds each and also that he do pay a fine to the King of £6.0.0 and other charges attending the suit.

© Marilyn Pilkington & NL GenWeb