William Donnelly Murder, 1832
Huntingdon Gazette, Wednesday, July 25, 1832
Captain William Donnelly, a respectable farmer, living on the line of canal about a mile from the forge of Messrs. Royer & Schmucker, and about two and a half miles from the borough of Williamsburg, in this county, was SHOT in his own house, on Sunday night last. The circumstances as related to us are these:--Near midnight Mr. Donnelly heard a noise in his house, rose from his bed and made for the front door, with a view of preventing the escape of any person from within, and ascertaining who was without. It is said that when in the act of speaking to some person on the outside, he was shot by a monster who had made his entrance into the house. The gun with which he was shot, was loaded with shot, which entered the right side. Mr. Donnelly lingered until Tuesday morning, at l o’clock, when he expired. The villains carried off two rifle guns, which was their only spoil. Parties of armed men have been in pursuit from Williamsburg, Alexandria and Huntingdon, but have not, as yet, met with the slightest success. Suspicion rests on three men who were at the house of Mr. Donnelly on Sunday. One is a large man, supposed to be a dutchman, the other two smaller. They had a yellow dog with them and probably now have the three guns in their possession. We think it is the duty of the Governor to issue his proclamation, offering a liberal reward for the apprehension of the murderer or murderers. Justice should be satisfied and the guilty punished.
The supposed murderers were seen by a black woman on Tussey’s mountain, about seven miles from this place, on Monday morning last, who thus describes two of them - the thrd one was not seen by her, but was thought to have been in the bushes. - One a middle sized man, dressed in blue clothes, with a cap on; the other, a large man, dressed in black, with a shop pouch of black bear skin.
The Republican Advocate, Huntingdon, PA, Wednesday, July 25, 1832
An act of the most atrocious nature was perpetrated on a very respectable inhabitant of Morris township, in this county, by the name of William Donnelly, about 15 miles above this place, on the line of canal, on Sunday night last. The circumstances as we have them are as follows: Three men unknown, broke into the house of Mr. Donnelly between the hours of 11 and 12 oclock at night, procured three guns which were in the room. Mr. Donnelly who was in bed above stairs, heard the noise and went own and demanded of them their business, they told him to be gone or they would shoot him, when he turned to retreat up stairs, one of them whom he had not before observed, being still in the house, the other two having retreated to the porch on his first appearance amongst them, fired on him with a shot gun, loaded with shot, the contents of which lodged in his body; they then made their escape, carrying the guns with them. Many of the citizens of the neighborhood in which the act was committed, and of this town are in pursuit of the villians, and hopes are entertained of their detection: We are informed Mr. Donnelly died of the wound about one o’clock on Monday night.
The Republican Advocate, Huntingdon, PA Wednesday, August 1, 1832
Some person or persons unknown on the night of the 22nd inst. being Sunday night broke into the house of William Donnelly, of Morris township, Huntingdon county, Pa - who on being heard by Mrs. Donnelly, was asked who was there, and no reply being given, was asked a second and a third time and still no answer; the questions awoke Mr. Donnelly, when he sprung out of bed and went to the front door, where he was told by the villian then in the house, to be off or he would shoot him, which threat was instantly put in to execution by the man shooting Mr. Donnelly in the right side, with a shot gun or musket loaded with shot, which passed from the lower part of the right breast nearly across the right side, carrying away part of two or three of the ribs as deep as to the liver - which wound terminated the existence of Mr. Donnelly, in twenty-six hours afterwards. - Previous to doing the above act, he or they had taken from the house, two rifle guns, and one shot pouch and powder horn. One rifle had a percussion lock which was made of a flint lock, and which had on either seventeen or eighteen pieces of silver, one piece being lost off near the middle of the stock, shaped something like an S. the gun was made by L. Fondersmith, the shoulderpiece was of brass, running from the lock to the first thimble, with pieces cut out and the wood _et through. The upper part of the stock was cracked near the first screw of the lock. The Rifle had a flint lock with the frizen plated with steel, made by A bright, and had either five or six pieces of silver, one piece something like a D, being lost, the mark being visible where it was lost off, and one of the other pieces is shaped like a half moon, on the side of the but - the stock near the muzzle is considerable cracked - the shot pouch is covered with a wolf skin, and considerably worn, the strap of it being cut nearly in two by strapping razors - there is a scabbard for a knife in the inside of it. There was three men in the house of Mr. Donnelly on Sabbath morning on whom some suspicion rests - one of them having an old fashioned shot gun and was very impudent; on of these men was a long, rough ill looking man, the other largest man about five feet nine or ten inches high, rough looking also; the third was the least and had the shot gun, this man had sandy hair and a freckled face; and these men, it is thought, worked on the public works, and have been seen together before by several people passing and repassing this place. The above reward will be paid for apprehending an securing the murderer or murderers, upon prosecution to conviction, and all reasonable charges paid for bringing and securing him or them in the jail of Huntingdon county.
***Editors of newspapers throughout the state and elsewhere, friendly to the good order of society, will publish this for a distressed family.
July 27, 1832
Copyright © 1996-2013, All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 1996-2004 Ken Boonie & contributors
Copyright © 2005-2010 Judy Banja & contributors
Copyright © 2011-2013
Josie Baughman & contributors