Old Saltfleet Records | home
Information for the following was provided by Kimberly Hurst
see note at end.
In 1801 Bartholomew London was murdered. A murder that wouldn't make the plot in a dime store novel. A murder so unbelievable that, if not the recorded truth, wouldn't sell as fiction.
A verbal altercation started between Bartholomew London and his young wife Mary. Bartholomew couldn't know that this was arranged and that Mary's friend, George Nemire, would pretend to defend her against the abuse and strike him on the skull with a board. He was elderly (ca 70) and Mary had convinced him to write a will leaving most of his money and properties to her and her children.
The dastardly deed was done.
The London family had left New Jersey in 1789 and settled in Saltfleet with the other Loyalists. It isn't clear if Mrs. London accompanied them or died sometime after arriving here. The fact remains that in 1798 he was in need of someone to look after his home. There was a young widow from Pennsylvania named Mary Osborne. Mary had two children. She was hired by Mr. London to work for him. It would appear that one thing led to another and Mary became pregnant. Bartholomew raised her children as his own. They married and Hannah London was born in 1799. Bartholomew had his earlier family living on the neighbouring lands and was spending a lot of time with them. Not long after the birth of Hannah he hired a new farm hand. Unknown by him but well known by his wife. His name was George Nemire and he too was from Pennsylvania. It didn't take long for Mary and George to get together and Mary's fourth child was on the way. This child may not have been her husbands.
Mary and George had thought up the perfect plan to get the money and land. They had one small problem.
Bartholomew didn't die from the blow to the head nor did it appear that he would!
This left Mary and George with a new problem. They could solve it! All they needed was a plan. Poison was the answer. Now never say George was stupid. He traveled a lengthy distance to Long Point and under the assumed name of Mr. Kerr obtained a dose of Vitriol. He told the Dr. he needed it for an old wound that would not heal. At that time he inquired as to the amount that would be needed to poison a man and the Dr. explained that the amount he was giving him wouldn't be sufficient. George tried to talk the Dr. out of a higher dose but the Dr. said the amount he had was sufficient for his purposes.
Bartholomew London was fed the poison but it didn't have the desired effect. George was getting really desperate. One can only imagine his desire to have the money and land. He was himself a farm hand so it must have seemed an immense fortune. Mary obviously wanted the control as well because she was a most willing participant.
Now George makes a really desperate move. He sets out on foot to walk 300 miles to Canadianiqua, New York. He purchases Rat's Bane, a poison, and returns 10 days later. They proceeded to give him two doses in whiskey but it didn't seem to affect the elderly man. On the 16th of February Mary gave her husband a third dose of Rat's Bane.
By February 17, 1801 they had succeeded!!!
Bartholomew lost his life, in his own home, at the hands of his wife and her lover.
Saltfleet was a community born of necessity. People moved here with no land, no food, no shelter. They looked out for each other. Bartholomew's neighbours became suspicious. Upon hearing of their concerns the Dr. who prescribed the original Vitriol showed up at the London home. He recognized George Nemire immediately. He remembered him questioning the dosage required to kill a man.
The authorities were summoned and Mary and George were taken into custody to stand trial for the murder of Bartholomew London. Mary now admits that she doesn't know who the father of her child is.
The trial is set for August 14, 1801 in Niagara (now Niagara-on-the-Lake). The trial judge is to be Henry Alcock and his associates Robert Hamilton and William Dickson (two Justice's of the Peace) will conduct the process. The prosecutor is Attorney General Thomas Scott. They will call 14 witnesses. The trial takes 8 hours and after a fair examination of the facts the jury delivers a verdict of GUILTY.
Mary Osborne London and George Nemire are sentenced to hang on the 17th of August "until they are dead, dead, and afterwards their bodies to be dissected".
Mary's child is born on the 15th of August 1801 and baptized on the 16th of August 1801 by Reverend Robert Addison. The child is named Catherine London. She again confessed she doesn't know the father of the child.
When led to the scaffold Mary says "May this be a warning to you all" and asks God to have mercy on her soul. Was her warning to men to beware what may befall them or was it a warning what happens to people who commit crimes. I guess we will never know.
Hannah and Catherine have been found living on in Saltfleet. The two Osborne boys may have be sent to relatives in Pennsylvania as they haven't been located.
Mary Osborne London was the first woman to be executed in Upper Canada.
The above was written to keep your attention however it must be restated that Bartholomew London was a living person. The information used came from articles in the Niagara Herald written by Silvester Tiffany February 1801-August 1801. The following information is from Kim's personal work.
Bartholomew London was the sixth great grandfather of Kimberly Hurst. He was born ca 1730 in the province of New Jersey in the Thirteen Colonies. He married in about 1753 and was blessed with his first son Jeremiah London in 1754. They lived on Scott's Mountain, Greenwich Township in what was then known as Sussex County.
Bartholomew was a farmer and by all accounts a very successful one. He and his wife had six more children. Thomas, Charles, Jane, Mehitable, Richard and Bartholomew. The youngest being born in 1776 at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Bartholomew was outspoken and was imprisoned at least twice for recruiting men for his Majesties forces in New Jersey. He suffered physically and financially for his attachment to the British Government and after the war and humiliating treatment by his fellow citizens in New Jersey he was left with no other choice but to start a new life in the British Territory called Upper Canada.
He left New Jersey in 1789 with four of his children. Jane, along with her husband Enoch Moore and their four children (Charles, Thomas, Sarah and Mary), Mehitable, Richard and Bartholomew Jr.
Bartholomew was granted first 200 acres of Crown Land in Saltfleet Township, Wentworth County in the District of Nassau. He was given Lots 18 and 19 in the 3rd Concession where he set up a new home for his family. It was good land with rich soil just below the Niagara Escarpment. On one side of him was his son Richard who drew Lots 16 and 17 and on the other side was his son-in-law Enoch Moore and his daughter Jane and their four children. His son-in-law Enoch Moore settled his family and left them in the care of Bartholomew while he returned to New Jersey on some family business. Enoch never returned having met some horrible fate and the children were left to fight for their father's land that had not been petitioned for before his departure.
The oldest son, Jeremiah, and his wife Margaret Prall and children soon joined them in their new home. They all struggled the first few years, clearing the land, building homes and rebuilding their lives.