Cavan Observer
Published in Cavan, county Cavan
September 7, 1861


Magistrates present:--Captain CARDEN and N. MONTGOMERY, Esq.

Joseph MAGUIRE v. Michael SMITH

Complainant hired defendant for a half-year in May last, and gave him 1s. as "earnest", but defendant did not enter his service or return the 1s. Defendant did not appear, and the court could afford complainant no redress, as the agreement with defendant was a verbal one, and no act of service was performed.

Robert TUBMAN v. Edward M'CABE

A summons for the trespass of three pigs on the 16th and 27th August. Mr. M'Gauran appeared for defendant, who was fined 1s. 6d. and costs.

Mary OWENS v. Patrick DOLAN

This was a charge of rape, but as the complainant handed up a certificate of a marriage between herself and defendant, the charge was not pressed.

Elizabeth MULLIGAN v. Francis DAVIS

Another charge of rape. It appeared that the complainant (a very old woman) has been in the habit of bringing similar charges against various parties during the past seventeen years, and that there was no foundation for the present one, which was accordingly dismissed.

Two or three cases of drunkenness terminated the business of the Court.


By the falling of a portion of scaffolding at the railway bridge in course of erection across the Farnham road, on yesterday evening, a young man named MAGUIRE was killed, two men named James M'CORMICK and Thomas SMITH were dreadfully mutilated, and some others more or less injured. The accident occurred during the carrying up to the summit of the scaffold a stone weighing half a ton. It is said that the scaffold was badly constructed and its supports inadequate, but as an inquest will be held on the body of MAGUIRE today, at which the entire facts of the case are likely to be elicited, we forbear any comment upon the melancholy affair.


On Friday, the 6th instant, as a poor woman named BRADY was drying some flax with what was termed "shoves" for a man named LAWSON, at a place called the Cross Forts, about two miles from Cavan, the flax caught fire, and before she could escape, she was burned in such a dreadful manner that death ensued in a short time. An inquest was held on the body on Saturday, before W. POLLOCK, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, and a verdict of accidental death returned.

September 14, 1861


An inquest was held on Saturday last, before William POLLOCK, Esq., Coroner, in Mrs. PATTERSON's public-house, Railway-road, Cavan, on the body of Thomas MAGUIRE, who was killed on the previous evening by the falling of a scaffold at the new bridge in course of erection on the Farnham-road for the Cavan and Clones Railway. The following were sworn on the jury:--Mr. William FINLAY, Foreman; Messrs. John SMITH, Edward MALLON, William FEGAN, Charles MAGUIRE, Phillip BRADY, Stephen BRADY, John HART, Sylvester WALLACE, John O'BRIEN, Jas. KELLY, David REID, and Charles HAILES.

Previous to the swearing in of the jury, Mr. Sylvester WALLACE, publican and grocer, objected to serving on the jury, as the railway labourers are in the habit of dealing with him, that he cashes their dockets, &c., but the objection was overruled, others of the jury being similarly situated.

Theophilus THOMPSON, Esq., J.P., D. PATTON, Esq., County Inspector, and Sub-Inspector NAPIER were present.

O'BRIEN, the foreman mason, who had charge of the scaffold which fell, was also present; but no person attended on behalf of the Railway Company or the contractors, Messrs. GREENE and KING.

Mr. THOMPSON said that on riding past the scene of the unfortunate accident...he considered it his duty...from what he saw and heard there, to place the police in charge of the scaffold, so that it should not be used until after the inquest. The scaffold seemed to be totally unfit for the purpose for which it was used, and there appeared to have been a total disregard of the safety of the poor men who were working at it. It would be for the Coroner and jury to ascertain to whom the blame was attachable.

The jury then proceeded to view the body of the deceased. It lay...covered with blood, and horribly mutilated.

The jury next proceed to view the scaffold at the bridge. It was supported upon tressles; the upper plank was an outer cut of poplar sally, about two inches in thickness, and was broken at the end next the bridge wall, where it appeared to have supported part of the gangway. The stone which fell upon poor MAGUIRE lay at the foot of the scaffold, and the blood of the unfortunate man was visible upon the ground, &c.

On the return of the jury,

Dr. MEAZE was sworn...said that a fall from the scaffold could not have caused the injuries even if the deceased fell directly on his head; some hard and weighty substance (which they all knew to be the stone) must have struck his head.

Mr. William HAGUE, builder, deposed--I saw the scaffold from which deceased was quite insufficient for the purpose for which it was intended...even if a scaffold is made in the best possible way, if one man slips, the lives of eight or nine others may be imperilled in a moment; had a crane been erected in the present case, I can't see how the loss of life could have occurred...

Patrick M'CORMACK was the next witness. He was one of the sufferers by the accident, and had his arm in a sling. He deposed--I am a labourer, and was employed on the Cavan and Clones Railway by Mr. O'BRIEN; On Friday, the 6th of September, I was barrowing a large stone up the scaffold when Thomas MAGUIRE lost his life; there were ten of us in the barrow with the stone...I said to Mr. O'BRIEN, "Do you expect six of us to carry up that stone?" "No," says he, "I'll give you plenty of help:...I allowed that he ought to bring up the pooler and have the stone cut in two halves;...that we were willing to do what we were able in fair play, but that if were to carry up the stone, we'd require the eight-man barrow--the one he got bolted with iron...he allowed that the six-man barrow would do...we got into the barry, and when we were about half way up the scaffold with the stone the offset of the principal head of the tressle gave way, and we all fell; injured myself, my brother James, Thomas SMITH, and John SMITH, my brother and Tom SMITH are now in the Infirmary, under the care of Dr. MEAZE....Mr. O'BRIEN said that the witness gave part of his evidence fairly and other parts unfairly, and that he was drunk.

Witness (who was certainly very much excited) admitted that he had taken one glass of whiskey before he came to give evidence.

James M'CORMACK, brother of the last witness, was next examined, having been brought from the Infirmary for that purpose. He appeared to be very feeble, and carried a stick....James MAGUIRE, another labourer, corroborated the account of the accident given by the other witness, but knew nothing of what occurred previously...

Several of the jury here stated that they had sufficient evidence, but at O'BRIEN's request, John KIERNAN was sworn and examined. He deposed--I am a mason...I was on the abutment of the bridge when the accident occurred...I saw the stone which the men were bringing up when the gangway fell; I think the stone they brought up before was as large, or nearly as large; I thought the scaffold was sufficiently strong before the accident occurred...I don't consider it was sufficient now; I did not see the plank rest on the wall in the manner described by Mr. O'BRIEN..

At the conclusion of this witness's examination, the room was cleared of all save the jury, who, after some deliberation, returned the following verdict:--"We are of opinion that Thomas MAGUIRE came to his death in consequence of the insufficiency of the scaffolding erected by the contractors or their officers on the Cavan and Clones Railway, he being engaged, with others, in carrying a large stone on said scaffold, which broke down."

The inquest commenced at about half past ten o'clock, and did not terminate until after three.


Cootehill, Sept. 8th--A man named John SMITH, of Drumahilla, within seven miles of Cootehill, is in custody of the Constabulary of Grousehall station, charged with the murder of his mother, Eliza SMITH, on Wednesday, the 4th instant. The deceased was eighty years of age. Mother and son are said to have had a dispute about an acre of land. John M'FADIN, Esq., Coroner, and Jas. SHARPE, Esq., M.D., have left to hold an inquest, the result of with I shall communicate.

Cootehill, Sept. 11--The jury in this case have found an open verdict, viz.:--"That deceased came by her death by violence from some person unknown." The son is, therefore, released; but it is thought that _______PERRIN, Esq., R.M., at Bailieborough, will have another inquiry, and return the case to the Assizes.


Magistrates present:--William BABINGTON, Esq., Chairman; Nathaniel MONTGOMERY, Esq., John Garnett TATLOW, Captain CARDEN, and William M. HICKSON, Esq., R.M.


Margaret M'DOON was brought up in custody, charged with having at Cavan on the 4th of September, stolen a piece of bacon weighing 18 lbs., the property of Bridget M'CABE. The prisoner belongs to a gang of travelling tinkers, who are also notorious thieves and shoplifters. In company with another female member of the gang, she went into Mrs. M'CABE's house on the 4th inst. As they were rather noisy, Mrs. M'CABE requested them to leave her house, and succeeded, by a threat of sending for the police...They took the bacon with them....Mrs. M'CABE identified the bacon. The prisoner pleaded guilty, but frantically besought the mercy of the Court on behalf of her "five small children." She was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. The bacon was given to Mrs. M'CABE, who was allowed 5s costs.


Thomas RAMSAY was fined 2s. 6d., or 24 hours' imprisonment, for having been drunk in the streets of Cavan.

Michael LEE, a railway labourer, was charged with a similar offence. He said that he was of the party that went to bury poor MAGUIRE. Mr. M'CREA gave them five shillings; he became tipsy; was in custody all night, and attended at the Court without a summons. As it was his first offence, the Court did not fine him.


Sub-Constable BELFORD summoned Mary CONNOLLY for having used obscene and indecent language in the public streets, and interfered with him in the discharge of his duty. After hearing the evidence, the Court refused to deal with the case, as it was one of those which should be brought before the Borough Court, lately re-established...Belford was, therefore, informed that he might bring the case before the Borough Court. CONNOLLY said she would not again appear on the same charge.


Sub-Constable CONNELL, of Ballyhaise, summoned James REILLY under the following circumstances:--He was passing along the Ballyhaise road, and saw defendant riding towards him. He walked to one side to allow defendant to pass, but defendant rode the horse towards him, and he was obliged to stand in the water channel to avoid being ridden over. He asked defendant why he did so, and the defendant replied, "How dare you speak to me?" or "What are you speaking to me for?" The only motive he could assign for defendant's conduct was that five or six months ago defendant and his brother were sentenced to a month's imprisonment each, through the instrumentality of the police. Defendant said that on the occasion referred to by CONNELL, he was going home, with his master's son behind him on the horse. The young lad tipped the horse lightly with a switch, which made the horse swerve, but there was no intention of interfering with CONNELL. Defendant added that a Mr. REID was present at the whole transaction and could support his statement. The case was postponed for a week.


Musketry-Instructor M'KEAGUE, of the Cavan Militia, summoned Hugh SMITH for an assault. Complainant deposed that on Tuesday, the 3rd instant, he was standing at Gannon's corner when defendant came up to him, called him a ruffian, &c., and raised his hand as if to strike him, but did not actually do so; the only motive complainant could assign for this conduct is that he was obliged to turn defendant out of the barrack some time ago, when his son was punished for an attack on one of the sergeants.

Defendant said he only told complainant that he would not let him kick him in the street as he did on the day he turned him out of the barrack.

Complainant said he had no wish to press the case, but he believed defendant and others were inclined to be troublesome to the Sergeants of the Militia.

The Court fine defendant 5s., and cautioned him against a repetition of the offence.


Margaret LYNCH was brought up in custody, charged with the robbery of £20, in Bank of Ireland notes from the person of James NOLAN, on the night of the 3rd instant.

NOLAN is a Longford man, and deals in wool, &c. He came to Cavan on business, on the 2nd inst., and intended to return home next day by the evening train, but having lost the train, he got tipsy, rambled about the town, and met LYNCH about midnight. She brought him to a public-house in the Half-Acre, where they purchased some whiskey, and did not part with him until she robbed him of four £5 notes and a purse. He missed the notes immediately after she left him, and next day get some of the money from her, but without success, and he left town without informing the police of the robbery. On the 5th LYNCH and her sister purchased a lot of wearing apparel at Mr. HOPKIN's establishment, for which they gave a £5 note in payment. Head-Constable MOORE, hearing of the occurrence, called upon Mr. HOPKINS, took the number of the note, and communicated with NOLAN. NOLAN could not recollect the number of the notes. All he could swear to was they were unsoiled Bank of Ireland notes. Mr. HOPKINS had put the note given to him by LYNCH in the bank, but, at the suggestion of the Court, it was sent for, and identified by Head-Constable MOORE. It answered to the description given by NOLAN, and corresponded with other £5 notes in his position. After a long and able cross-examination of the witnesses by Mr. Armstrong, the Court postponed the case for a week.

There were no other cases for hearing.

PREVENTION OF RAILWAY ACCIDENTS--It may be thought very singular, but it is certainly a subject worthy of serious consideration, that there are fewer accidents on the 31,000 miles of railway in the United States than on the 10,000 miles in the United Kingdom. This fact appears still more singular when we estimate the cost of the roads in the two countries, the vast sums laid out upon the English roads, and the comparative cheapness of those in the United States. Every railway here is provided with a double track; there two tracks are the exception....Another feature of the American railways, which should make them liable to mishaps is that they cross the country roads without tunnelling under or bridging over them, and are carried through populous towns and cities, crossing lanes and streets on the same surface as that used by vans, carriages, and footpassengers..


The "Gazette" publishes an extract from a despatch of Lord Lyons to Earl Russell, announcing that notice has been given by the Secretary of State at Washington that no person would be allowed to go abroad from any port in the United states without a passport from the State department; and that no person would be allowed in the States without a passport from a Minister or Consul of the United States...

September 21, 1861


DEATH BY BURNING.--William POLLOCK, esq., Coroner, held an inquest on Saturday last, near Kilnaleck, on the body of Mary DONOHOE, a girl about nine years of age, who came by her death under the following circumstances:--The father of the deceased is a farmer. On Friday he and his wife were working in a field at some distance from his house. They left the deceased, with two younger children, in the house. Deceased was told by her mother to prepare the dinner, and it would appear that while boiling some cabbage her dress accidentally caught fire, for when the door was opened by her brother, she was enveloped in flames and screaming piteously for assistance. She ran towards where her father and mother were working, but before the flames could be extinguished, the poor creature had received such injuries that death resulted in about two hours afterwards. The body was greatly disfigured. The jury returned a verdict that death was caused by accidental burning.

DEATH BY INTEMPERANCE.--On Saturday evening an inquest was held at the house of Mr. Adam LOWDEN, victualler, Main-street, Cavan, on the body of a man named Bernard SHERIDAN. The following were sworn on the jury by William POLLOCK, Esq., Coroner:--Mr. Edward MALLON, Foreman; Messrs. William FINLAY, Robert GRAY, Thomas CULLEN, William MAGINNES, Patrick MAGINNES, David REID, James NULTY, John LYONS, Patrick M'BRIDE, John CRONLY, and Bernard SHERIDAN. The jury went to view the body, which was coffined, and presented a truly shocking appearance....the jury were unanimous in stating that a post mortem examination would be necessary, and they could not account for the bloated and other peculiar appearances of the body.

Mr. William BRYCE, apothecary, deposed--On Thursday night, about nine or ten o'clock, Mrs. LOWDEN came for me to go and see a man who was ill in her house; I saw the deceased, who was then dying; his body was very cold...I could not feel his pulse; I asked him what caused him to be in that state; he replied that it was whiskey; he appeared to be perfectly collected and sensible....I think his death may have been caused by excessive drinking, suddenly left off...I cannot say for certain what was the cause of death...

Mrs. LOWDEN was next examined. She deposed--I know the deceased, Bernard SHERIDAN, who was a pensioner, and lived in my house for six years or so; he was addicted to drink; he drank every time he could, particularly after getting his pension...

Dr. MALCOMSON (who had previously arrived and viewed the body) said that he never knew a case in which decomposition had set in so rapidly...Dr. MALCOMSON then examined deceased's discharge from the army. It was dated Aug. 1848, and certified that he had served 24 years and eight months, and was discharged as unfit for further service...Dr. MALCOMSON then said that although he could not swear positively to the cause of death, the evidence adduced, and the appearance of the body, enabled him to come to a conclusion sufficient for the ends of justice...Deceased was an habitual drunkard, and appeared to have had a chronic affection of the stomach, bowels, and liver, aggravated by indulgence in intoxicating drinks...The jury expressed themselves satisfied with Dr. MALCOMSON's opinion, and stated that they would not require a post mortem examination....No other witnesses were examined, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came by his death in consequence of excessive drinking.


The Magistrates present were:--Theophilus THOMPSON, Esq., Chairman; William BABINGTON, Nathaniel MONTGOMERY, Andrew CARDEN, and Wm. Murray HICKSON (R.M.), Esqrs.

There were about a dozen cases of drunkeness--principally from Butlersbridge--in which the defendants were mulcted in the usual fines....

Thomas BROWNLOW had a summons or process against Peter SMITH, a publican of this town, relative to some transaction in which he paid SMITH eight shillings instead of two shillings. The Court had no jurisdiction in the case, but, by consent of both parties, it was left to the decision of Mr. John MATCHETT and Mr. David REID.


Owen CAHILL and James CAHILL, the contractors for the keeping in repair of the streets of Cavan, summoned Mr. James BRADY, Secretary of the Cavan Gas Company, for injuring the streets of Cavan. It appears that, in consequence of the corrosion and consequent leakage of the old pipes, the Gas Company are now laying down an entire new set of pipes. In order to do so, they were, of course, obliged to open up portions of the streets, and it was for the injury thus effected the summons was brought.

Mr. M'GAURAN said that both himself and Mr. BRADY (who did not appear) understood that the case had been settled by Mr. ERSKINE, the chairman of the company.

The Chairman said that complainants asserted that they were disallowed the amount of their contract on a former occasion, in consequence of the neglect of the company to leave the streets in proper order after laying down their pipes.

The County Surveyor said it was he who had reported against complainants on the occasion referred to, and the allegation made by them was a mere excuse; it was for their own neglect in not keeping the streets in repair, not for the injury done by the Gas Company....The Chairman inquired if Mr. M'Gauran would give a guarantee, on the part of the company, to have the streets in good order after the pipes are laid down. Mr. M'Gauran said he would not like to do so until some of the directors were present.

Mr. KENNEDY, one of the Directors, here entered Court. The required guarantee was given, and complainants received 2s. 6d. costs.


Ellen M'CONNAGHY summoned Mary Anne COYLE for an assault, and Mary Anne COYLE had a similar charge against Ellen M'COUNNAGHY. The weight of evidence was against Mrs. COYLE (for whom Mr. M'Gauran appeared), and she was fined 2s. 6d.--her own case being dismissed.

Richard LANG summoned Francis SOMERS for an assault, and SOMERS brought a similar charge against LANG. It appeared that LANG and a man named TULLY were soliciting money to purchase a car for a man named Alick M'MANUS, and for that purpose went into LENNEHAN's public-house, in Bridge-street. SOMERS (who is a stranger) was sitting in the kitchen, and refused to give LANG any money, upon which an altercation arose--brought on, according to the evidence, by the abusive language of LANG. LANG's case was dismissed, with 5s. costs.


The Queen at the prosecution of James O'BRIEN. The defendant is the foreman mason employed at the erection of the railway bridge on the Farnham road, and the charge against him was that he, by wanton negligence, did cause the death of Thos. MAGUIRE, at Drumanny, on the 6th of September.

Mr. M'Gauran appeared for O'BRIEN, and Mr. Knipe attended, to watch the proceedings on behalf of Messrs GREENE and KING, the contractors. The Right Hon. Lord Farnham, K.P., occupied a seat on the Bench during the proceedings in the case...The deposition of Patk. M'CORMACK and James M'CORMACK were then read over, and sworn to by them....

O'BRIEN was admitted to bail--himself in the sum of £25, and two sureties in £15 each--to appear from Petty Sessions to Petty Sessions.


Margaret LYNCH was brought up on remand, charged with the robbery of £20, in Bank of Ireland notes from the person of James NOLAN, on the night of the 3rd instant.

The particulars of this case were given in our last publication. The prosecutor was examined at some length by Mr. HICKSON (the other magistrates having left Court), but as he would not undertake to swear that some other person besides LYNCH might not have robbed him, the case was dismissed.

The Court then rose.


MRS. ANNE MADDEN, 95, Main-street, Cavan

Begs to acquaint the Nobility, Gentry, and Inhabitants of Cavan and its vicinity, who have so liberally bestowed their patronage on her late lamented husband, that the Business will be carried on as usual....The Stock of Water Closets, Baths, Garden and Force Pumps, &c., now on hand are of the newest kind, and of the most approved construction.

September 28, 1861


This Court, recently re-established, was opened on Saturday by William JOHNSTON, Esq., Chairman, of the Town Commissioners, and Justice appointed under the Towns' Improvement Act. The following were the cases hears:--

Patrick MONAHAN was summoned for having permitted his cart to remain on the narrow part of Bridge street. The defendant did not appear, but the Town-Sergeant having proved the service of the summons, stated that defendant informed him that he would submit to any fine imposed by the Court, and would not repeat the offence, but he was unable to attend, as he had gone to Ballyconnell with a load of flour. He was fined in the costs.

Samuel SMITH was summoned for having allowed a dung-heap to remain on the public thoroughfare at Mill-street. SMITH said that on Wednesday week Mill-street was flooded by the heavy rain. He swept the portion fronting his own door, and left the sweeping there, expecting that it would be taken away in the Commissioners' cart, which was not done. The Town Sergeant said SMITH had no right to meddle with the sweeping of the streets, and that parties were in the habit of intentionally stopping the sewers in Mill-street.

SMITH alleged that it was the horses feeding in the streets stopped the sewers....After some further remarks, SMITH was fined 1s and costs and reprimanded by his Worship for improper observations respecting the Town Sergeant.

William ADAMS was fined 6d. and costs for having allowed his pig to wander on the public streets.

Peter MURPHY was summoned for having allowed his ass to wander on the public streets; but as the ass was a small one, belonging to defendant's child, and had been given away since the issue of the summons, the case was "nilled."

Margaret FARRELLY was fined 6d. and costs or having her pig at large on the public streets.

John FLOOD was summoned for having allowed his pig to wander on the public streets, on two occasions...Defendant did not appear and service of the summons having been proved, he was fined 2s. 6d. and costs...

There were no other cases for hearing.


(Before T. THOMPSON, Esq., J.P.)


Michael SMITH and Bernard FITZPATRICK were each fined 6d. and costs for having been drunk in the public streets.

Ellen REILLY was charged with a similar offence, to which she pleaded guilty, but was let off without a fine on account of having been twelve hours in custody, guiltless of a similar offence for a long time, and attending without a summons.


Bridget M'KERNAN summoned Andrew SMITH for having assaulted her and turned out of his service, without any just case, she being his hired servant; and he had a cross-summons against her for misconduct. The evidence was so conflicting that the Court postponed the case for a week.


Mr. Peter BRADY summoned John TALBOT for having delayed for two months a pair of boots, the property of complainant, given to him to repair, which boots complainant asked for on several occasions, but could not obtain from defendant until Sunday night, when they were returned to him, improperly repaired. Defendant admitted that he got the boots about two months ago, to repair. They were, however, in such a "dilapid" state as to be only fit for cutting up as "levellings"...the case was dismissed.


Mr. Anne WIDDOWS summoned Daniel MAGUIRE and Eliza MAGUIRE, his daughter--the former for an assault, and the latter for abusive language; and Daniel MAGUIRE summoned Anne WIDDOWS for an assault. The parties are joint occupiers of a home in the Main-street, and appear to live on very unfriendly terms with each other. The evidence regarding the alleged assault was so conflicting that the Court dismissed both cases. The other charge was beyond the jurisdiction of the Court, the abusive language not having been used on the public street.


Mary MILLIGAN was charged with street begging. She said she was a native of Navan, that her husband was a carpenter, with whom she came here to seek employment, and he having failed to do so she was obliged to beg. She was sentenced to four days' imprisonment--the warrant not to be executed for 24 hours, to give her an opportunity of leaving Cavan.


James O'BRIEN, who was admitted to bail on last Court day, again appeared to answer the charge of having, by wanton negligence, caused the death of Thomas MAGUIRE, on Friday, the 6th inst.

The Chairman said that in accordance with the directions of the magistrates on last Court day, the Clerk had submitted a fair statement of the case to the authorities, requesting instructions as to the course to be taken by the magistrates. The reply to this communication was very unsatisfactory...His Worship then read the correspondence, and adjourned the case for a week.

The only other matters before the Court were the committal to prison of a criminal lunatic, and the endorsement of a warrant for the conveyance to Lurgan of a candle maker arrested in Cavan on a charge of having illegally left his employer's service.

County Cavan Newspaper Transcription Project

Ireland Home Page
County Cavan

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All rights to the pages found within this site are retained by the original submitter of the information. Pages may be printed or copied for personal use only. They may NOT be reproduced in any form in whole or in part by any individual or organization for profit.