Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo

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.

next page

Return to Archive

©Contents Copyright Ron Young