On This Day

James Donnelly

Squatter James Donnelly

Profession: Squatter


Why Famous: Patriarch of the Donnelly family, also known as the Black Donnellys, a family who participated in an notorious feud in Biddulph Township in Middlesex County, Ontario, which culminated in a massacre in which five family members were killed.

Born: March 7, 1816
Birthplace: , Ireland
Star Sign: Pisces

Died: February 4, 1880 (aged 63)
Cause of Death: Murder

Historical Events

  • 1857-06-27 James Donnelly becomes engaged in a drunken brawl with Patrick Farrell, who suffers a fatal blow to the head. Farrell dies two days later, which makes James Donnelly a wanted man and draws the Donnelly family into the notorious feud
  • 1859-09-17 James Donnelly is sentenced to hang for murdering Patrick Farrell, but a petition for clemency reduces his sentence to 7 years in Kingston Penitentiary
  • 1880-02-04 Black Donnelly massacre in Biddulph, Ontario. Irish immigrants James (63), Johannah (56), John (32), Thomas (25) and Bridget (21) Donnelly murdered at home by members of the Vigilance Committee

Famous Irish People