Shocking Murder in Almonte–Michigan Charlie




Perth Courier, July 1, 1898

Shocking Murder in Almonte

A cold blooded murder was committed in Almonte between 1:00 and 2:00 Wednesday morning when Henry Grey, a night watchman for the Almonte Knitting Mills was shot and killed. A blacksmith shop is situated across the road from the knitting mills office; the murderer had broken into this shop to procure tools for burglary. Mr. Grey, seeing the man, went out towards him and was shot. He fell and died without giving any alarm within about twenty feet of the blacksmith shop. Mr. A. Sheriffs in the nearest dwelling—his daughter heard the shot but did not think it was more than a fire cracker. The noise had awakened Mrs. Sheriffs who noticed that the office door was open and thought she heard a moaning noise. She aroused Mr. Sheriffs who went out and saw a man lying and moaning.



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He thought he was intoxicated and got a neighbor to come and help take care of him. When they came to Grey he was alive but unconscious and expired in a few minutes without speaking. Dr. Burns, coroner, summoned a jury and opened in inquest. It was found that the bullet had entered Grey’s side near the heart. The inquest has been adjourned for future evidence. Mr. Jas. W. Wylie’s woolen mill, was also badly wrecked. Burglars entered this building drilling the safe but the door would not open though it was completely wrecked and was easily opened with a bar. The mill is situated across the river some 300 yards back from the barber shop. No trace or clue is known of the perpetrator.

Perth Courier, July 8, 1898

Almonte Inquest—The adjourned inquest on the body of Henry Gray, the night watchman of the Almonte Knitting Mills, was held in the town here yesterday afternoon. Mrs. A.G. Horten said: “Shortly after 1:00 I heard the loud moaning of some one near by. Presently I heard some one running by on their tip toes. I was much too afraid to go out”. Mrs. A. Sheriffs told about being awakened by loud moaning. She awakened her husband and they both went down stairs but could see no one. Mrs. Sheriffs went over to a neighbor for help. Mr. J. Rosamund said he was called up by telephone and reached the scene of the murder shortly afterwards. Mr. Gray was quite dead.

By all appearances he had died from heart failure. He did not know the deceased had been shot until the undertaker found the wound. The deceased was in the habit of carrying fire arms. His night clock showed he made his rounds from 1:00 am and the murder was committed shortly after that hour. Dr. Kelly, who made the post mortem exam, was called. He exhibited the bullet and sections of the body where the bullet entered. The bullet entered the right side one inch above the hip bone, severing the main artery which leads to the heart. The wound was sufficient to cause death almost immediately. The inquest was adjourned until July 8 at 2:00 pm

Perth Courier, July 15, 1898

The inquest brought out nothing new in the recent Almonte tragedy and the jury returned the verdict “that Henry Gray came to his death by a hot wound in the abdomen caused by some unknown person”. The case has been handed over to the Crown authorities. The Ottawa Free Press of Saturday published the following: “there are likely to be new developments in the Almonte murder case before the next 24 hours that may throw some light on the mystery and perhaps bring the guilty party to justice.

The promised reward of $1,000 has been the means of cutting off information for the press at the present time but it is almost certain that the police will be passing on facts that will lead to the arrest of some one. There is a young man living in this city by the name of Wall who is said to know who the murderers are having met them at Smith’s Falls after the affray. He is expected to report to the chief of police and give a description of them. One is said to be “Michigan Charlie” and it is thought they spent the night in Ottawa after the murder.”

Gray’s murderer was never found and to this day I cannot find out any information about Michigan Charlie.


Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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