The Donnellys: Massacre, Trial, and Aftermath: 1880–1916

ECW. Vol. 2. Nov. 2021. 424p. ISBN 9781770416208. pap. $19.95. CRIME
On a cold February night in 1880, a group of vigilantes surrounded the Donnelly house in rural Ontario. By the end of the night, five members of the family had been murdered and the house burnt to the ground. The only surviving witness, 12-year-old Johnny Donnelly, went on to testify against six local men believed to have been involved in the crimes; however, his testimony was not considered reliable due to his young age. Despite a lengthy trial, no one was ever convicted of the murders. In this two-volume series, Little (Who Killed Tom Thomson?) works to separate fact from fiction and provide an unbiased, compelling, and thorough account of the events that transpired between the Donnellys (a family of Irish immigrants) and the community of Biddulph. Since settling in the area in the 1840s, the family was known for creating tension through violent fights, bitter business rivalries, and even a murder. After years of living alongside “the black Donnellys,” a group of neighbors came to believe the family was responsible for all of the troubles facing their town and set out to eradicate its members. The first volume focuses on the 40 years between the family’s emigration and the murders, whereas the second volume covers the two-year trial and the aftermath of the murders.
VERDICT True crime fanatics will relish Little’s vivid and inspired storytelling.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing