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The Life and Death of McGregor McDougle

(aka Gregor McDougle, Blackhawk)

 

Parts are from the History of the Regulators

Published by the Order of the Central Committee

Indianapolis, Indiana 1859

 

Charging the said Gregory McDougle with murder, do recommend that the said McDougle be hung by the neck until dead, on Tuesday the 26th of January 1858, at 2 o’clock P.M.

 

Gregory McDougle was the son of Lachlin McDougle and Eliza Mary McGregor, born in 1831 in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada.  He was one of five children including John, Mary, Angus and Miles.   For the family connection, Eliza McGregor had a brother George.


George McGregor

 

 

Her brother George was married to Sophia Huffman and had a daughter Georgianna McGregor, who married to J. Edgar Simpson and was the mother of Lillian Melinda (Simpson) Hayes. 

 


J. Edgar Simpson and Georgianna McGregor

 

Lillian M. (Simpson) Hayes married to Ben E. Hayes, and had the children of George, Eugene, Bennie, Ardis and Victor.   This is the generation that most of us are familiar with.  Victor was my grandfather. 

 

 


Lillian M. (Simpson) Hayes

 

Gregor McDougle became to be known as one of the most notorious criminals in Northeast Indiana in the 1800’s.  Back in the days before organized Law Enforcement and even before the days of the Sheriff in the area, the ‘Regulators’ were formed to deal with the uncontrollable thefts and counterfeiting of the time.    The Regulators were formed to deal swiftly with the apprehension of these thieves, which as you will read is exactly what they did.  

 

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE BOOK "HISTORY OF THE REGULATORS

On the night of the 25th of January, 1858, Gregory McDougle was brought before the Committee of the Noble County Invincibles, and after having made a full confession embracing many important developments; he was conveyed to a private room and there placed under guard.  Whereupon a committee of five men was duly appointed to examine the witnesses and report upon the evidence and the final disposition of his case.  

 

Report to of the Committee

 

We, the committee appointed by the Noble County Invincibles to collect and investigate the evidence in the case of Gregory McDougle, now pending before this Society, ask to make the following report: 

 

“After having made a full and fair investigation of all the testimony, and having found, during the said investigation, evidence of an unmistakable character, charging the said Gregory McDougle with murder, do recommend, that the said McDougle be hung the by neck until dead, on Tuesday, the 26the day of January, 1858, at 2 o’clock P.M. “

 

The report, on motion, was received and adopted. 

 

Immediately upon the adoption of the report, a deep and profound silence pervaded the whole assembly.  Each felt that the eve of an awful crisis was at hand.  The fearful responsibilities of the decision of Death, upon a fellow being, without the sanction of any other law except that of the natural right of self-defence, were now vividly portrayed in the mind of every member of the committee.  No turbulent jar, or discordant voice was heard to mar the fearful deliberations of that hour.  Calmness and solemnity was visible upon every brow.  A more calm, well matured and deliberate decision, was never made by any judicial umpire in the history of criminal jurisprudence.  The following resolution was then passed:

 

“Resolved, That the Captains of several Companies, in Noble and adjoining counties, notify the members of their Companies respectively to appear at Ligonier on the day of execution, at the hour of 12 pm, and that each Captain be requested to escort his own Company into the village, in regular file and good order”. 

 

During the pendency of the case of McDougle before the Noble County Invicibles, a more exciting and thrilling interest was never manifested by the citizens of Noble County.  Buggies and wagons were constantly on the move and fro, and not a day passed, for the space of one week, but the cars were filled almost to overflowing with passengers to and from Ligonier.  The case of McDougle formed the topic of conversation at every corner of the streets.  The movement of the Regulators now made, what before had seemed but the momentary excitement of the mass, a serious reality, upon which were suspended the awful issues of life and death.  They felt that their natural and God-given rights had been disregarded, and that the arm of the law was too weak to mete out a just retribution to the guilty, under the existing state of the society.  Hence they virtually said “The axe is now laid at the root of the tree, and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down”. 

 


The following is an account of the execution of McDougle, and published by the Noble County Register and is substantially true according to original record:

EXECUTION OF GREGORY McDOUGLE

 

At Ligonier, Indiana, January 26, 1858, by the Noble County “Regulators;” also his Confession before the Committee. 

 

The 26th of January, 1858, is a day long to be remembered by the citizens of Noble and adjoining counties, as being the day on which was executed Gregory McDougle, and we shall endeavor to give such facts as shall make the reader acquainted with all the attending circumstances. 

 

It is a well known fact, that for years our County and Lagrange have been known, hundreds of miles, as the dens of blacklegs of every conceivable grade; and honest citizens, while from home, have hardly dared own their place of residence, for fear of being looked upon as one not safe to run at large, and as the sequel will show, not without cause.  Years since, while our country was new and hiding places plenty, the notorious Latté, Hill, Ulmer & Co., formed their nucleus near the Tamarack, as a place to which all might meet to take counsel, lay plans, manufacture counterfeit money and be safe from harm.  For years their gang in a measure, controlled our election, sat upon our juries thus rendering the laws of no avail.  Year after year has passed away and the same state of things has continued.  Our horses, buggies, harness and other property, have been stolen by the wholesale; our stores broken and goods taken.  Our citizens have been meet by the highwayman and at the pistol’s muzzle robbed, and in one instance stabbed; and so well were their plans laid that their detection seemed impossible. 

 

Thus, for years, have this banditti pursued their course.  No man or his property was safe while this gang remained in our midst.  If, by chance one was arrested, he would be released by his comrades, or break jail, go on inadequate straw bail, or if held to court, be sworn clear by his confederates under the alibi dodge, until our citizens lost all hopes as to the laws accomplishing the desired result. 

 

By a chain of fortuitous circumstances, a short time since, the gang, their numbers and places of deposit, became known, when a Committee of Vigilance was formed to bring them to justice.  The result was that some twenty-five were arrested, and of the number fourteen are now in jail, well guarded.  During the investigation it became known that one of the gang, a former accomplice of the notorious Townsend, one Gregory McDougle, alias Gregory McGregor, Geo. McLane, Geo. Bates, was in custody of the Court.  A  man who, by his own confession, was born in Wallaceburg, Kent County, Canada West, in the year 1831, where he commenced his career of crime by breaking the Chatham jail, where his brother was confined, robbing the jailors wife of a purse of gold; also robbing a schoolmaster of a watch on the ice, and names of other affairs in Canada, details which stamp him as one of the most desperate and hardened villains that the annals of crime present.

 

Since April last, he with two others, have stolen no less than thirty four horses, broke two jails, robbed four stores, and two tanneries, took the entire load of two peddlers, besides a large amount of harness, saddles, buggies, and other property too numerous to mention; who publicly boasted that no jail could hold him, and that he feared neither God, man or the devil.  Further, there seems to be other and deeper acts, which he did not confess, and which we will briefly detail. 

 

The Deputy U.S. Marshal of Michigan states, under oath, that he has had in his possession for some time, a reward form Canada for the apprehension of this man, for the crimes of robbing, an attempt to break jail and murder.  McDougle confesses to his identity in the acts of robbing and attempt to break the jail at Chatham, Canada, to release his brother, but denies that the murder occurred.  The Marshal, Mr. Halstead, however states that he went to Canada twice to investigate the matter, and that the murder was committed upon the very person that McDougle confesses of robbing, to-wit: the jailors wife of the prison , where McDougle’s brother was confined.  Added to this, we have the testimony of a confederate, taken separate and apart from the statement of the Marshal, that McDougle in relating his exploits, stated that those occurrences did take place, and that he gave the blow that caused death. 

 

McDougle also confesses to robbing a schoolmaster on the ice but denies his murder.  We have, from the same authorities and others, that the schoolmaster was not only robbed, but murdered and found dead on the ice. 

 

One other crime we will mention, and close this harrowing and sickening detail.  This former confederate, heretofore mentioned, states that McDougle informed him, that he and other accomplice, hearing of a Scotchman that had received quite a sum of money, proceeded to rob him of the treasure.  With pistol to their victims breast they demanded his money.  He told them that he had deposited it in bank.  After a search, and not believing his statement, they proceeded to divest him of what clothing was necessary, and procuring live coals roasted a fire upon them.  They released him before death occurred, becoming satisfied that their victim had told them the truth.  McDougle, in his confession, qualifies by saying, that he held his accomplices horses, while they did the act.  We leave our readers to judge of the executed man’s complicity in these acts. 

 

Proofs being positive, a jury of citizens, (not a jury of twelve, but a jury of hundreds,) decided that justice required that he die; and on this memorable day he was executed; not by a rabble, not by a nosy mob, not by young men in the heat of passion, but by men who for years have been residents of this and the adjoining counties, - men that were impelled, not by a thirst for blood, not to riot in the agonies of one made in the image of the God they worshipped, but that stern justice be demanded the offering as an example to the young in their midst, many of whom have already the solemnity of the hour; all would have gladly have had it otherwise, if justice could have been satisfied through any of other chancel; but all felt that his was the only resort.  During the fore part of the day he was visited by two clergymen, who endeavored to point his thoughts to Him who holds the destinies of man in His keeping, and who is free to forgive all, even to the most guilty. 

 

Gregory McDougle was brought before the committee on the evening of the 25th of January, when he was informed for the first time, of the doom that awaited him – that he was to be executed the next day at 12 o’clock.  The gentlemen whose duty it was to break him this painful and unwelcome intelligence, addressed the prisoner in some very affecting and appropriate remarks, which seemed to affect him to such a degree that he appeared confused, and made some wandering remarks, such as “Well, gentlemen, I am in your power, deal with me as you see fit – I have never been in Canada – I never had a brother there”.  He said that he committed many thefts, and commenced to relate them, but was told that perhaps he had better return to his room, where if he had anything to relate – any confessions to make, he would be waited upon by two or three persons, who would commit to writing whatever he desired  to communicate – to which he assented.  He was then asked if he would like to have a clergymen visit his room and confer with him on spiritual matters.  He replied that he would, and desired to know if he could not have an opportunity of seeing his wife.  He was told that his wife should be sent for immediately.  He was then taken back to his room, and the messengers dispatched at once for his wife and child, who arrive the next morning at 7 o’clock. 

 

After a short exhortation and prayer by the Rev. Mr. Wolcott he made the following:

 


CONFESSION

 

“I was born in Wallaceburg, Kent County, Canada in 1831.  My parents were respectable, and gave me a good opportunity for an education, but I did not improve it.  My father was a professor of religion.  I was married to Margaret Jacobs when I was nineteen years of age.  I have four brothers and one sister.  My father died when I was nineteen in Canada.  He was engaged at the time of his death in merchandising in Wallaceburg.  His name was Laughlin McDougle.  I was engaged at the time of my father’s death in keeping tavern.  I continued in this business about two years.  I commenced my career of crime about four or five years since.  My brother Miles was at work on the Great Western Railroad, where he was arrested for robbing a house and stealing a horse, and confined in the Chatham Jail.  I went to the jail in company with John McGregor , John McDougle and James McDougle, to release my brother.  The jail was surrounded by a wall.  McGregor, John and myself climbed over the wall by the aid of a ladder.  (James dared not venture.).  We took the ladder and stove against the door, which was made of wood, and burst it in.  we went into the hall and so into the jailor’s bedroom; we found no one there but an old lady, who appeared frightened, but he tapped her lightly on her head with his hand, and said, ‘Don’t be frightened, mother, I’ll not hurt a hair on your head, I only want the keys to the prison”.  She immediately gave us three – one to each of us – and also went to the bed, and from under the pillow took a bag of fifteen inches in length and handed to us, which I took and put in my pocket.  There was something heavy in the bag, but did not look to see what it was.  I then went to the grate doors and on the opposite side were they guards, who called out ‘run here boys’, upon hearing which my comrades turned and fled.  But I went up to the door and told the guards to stand back or I would shoot them.  I tried to unlock the door, but found the key which I had did not fit, and that the boys had gone with the one that did.  I then started to pass out, and the old lady followed me  and demanded back her purse of gold.  I stood a second or two, and then handed it back and said, ‘here mother, take your gold, I do not want it’.  The old lady’s name was Payne.  I then went out and joined my comrades, and traveled home on foot, a distance of twenty-six miles.  The officers pursued us, and got to my house before we did, but we managed to keep out of their way.  I then went to Chemung County, NY where I fell in company with one Sherman Mallett, and with our wives came to Burr Oak, Michigan, and there met with Wm. Latta.  Bought a place opposite, and stayed there several weeks repairing the place.  Mallett hired a horse at a livery stable and drive to Port Mitchell; broke open a store, and stolen a lot of silk goods and kid gloves; he put in an overcoat and started for home, but lost a piece near the tamarack; took rest to Latta’s. 

 

“About six weeks after Latta came, and proposed to John McDougle, Sherman Mallett and myself that he would furnish us with some counterfeit money if we would get some goods.  We went to Waterford in Elkhart County, and broke open a store and stole dry goods to the amount of some $300.  We took them to about three miles west of Lima and hid them in the woods.  We sold a part to Latta, and a part to Jeremiah Misner, for counterfeit money made at Perry Randolphs.  The factory at Fawn River was broken open, I think by Charles Smith and a man called Red Head.  The goods were taken to Wm. Hill’s.  I went in company with Mallett, Wm. Ray, and John McDougle to Detroit, and there passed about $60 in paper on the Westminster Bank, Rhode Island.  I had some six or eight hundred dollars of this money.  I sold a part of it to Mallett and I hired a span of grey horses at Romeo, Michigan and drove them to Chemung County, NY, and sold them to Edward Howard, who lives about five miles from Havanna.  We then exchanged some counterfeit money for 20’s on the Black River Bank, and came back to Freedom.  Mallett passed two 20’s on the way home.  I gave mine to Latta. 

 

Mallett went into the factory at Fawn River on the pretence of looking for a site, and we all went through it.  Suspicion rested on me.  We went to Perry Randolphs and then to Kendallville, where Mallett passed one or two of his 20’s.  While we were absent my house was searched, and the officers were waiting for me when I returned, but I only stayed about two hours, and then started for Jackson.  My wife, then for the first time came acquainted with my true character.  I went back to Wallaceburg, Canada and stolen a pair of horses from Raymond Baley, and rode them seventy miles east of London, and took them into the pinery.  I stopped with a man by the name of Cartright and made shingles a few weeks, the horses being secreted.  I finally made a sleigh, stole a set of harnesses, and brought them to Cartrights.  I started for Buffalo on Christmas 1856, and put up at Grankin House.  I sold one of the horses to a merchant, and the other to Lyons at Black Rock.  I then returned to Canada, and hired a horse and cutter at Ingersoll and came to Wallaceburg, and took my cousin with me.  About six miles from Wallaceburg we stole a pony from a stable; came to Tecumseh, Michigan and there traded off the pony for another horse, and came to Freedom; went to Bill Hill’s and traded both horses for a sorrel mare;  Hill knew they were stolen.  I then started for Wallaceburg in company with my wife and cousin; we stole a pony below Detroit, and went about twelve miles, when my cousin stole a sorrel mare; we sold the pony about ten miles from Port Dover.; we took the other two horses to Buffalo, and sold them.  I went form there to Syracuse, and worked in the salt works several weeks.  Then went to Chemung County NY.  I went in company with Edward Howard to rob a man they called Big Jim.  Howard went into the house, wet a cloth with chloroform and laid it on his breast, went out and waited of r a few minutes, then went in and took $95 and a gold watch.  I took the watch and twenty dollars of the money.  I went back to Syracuse and took my wife and went to Rochester, and then went back to Chemung County and hired out to drive team for a man by the name of Hutchinson.  I went to his bed in the night , and took $125, and a watch worth two or three dollars.  Then went to Rochester, stayed a few days then went back to Chemung.  There met Mallett, who had just been pardoned out of prison.  We went to Jefferson and broke open a drug store, and took some jewelry, pocket-knives and seven or eight dollars in money.  We took the goods to a man by the name of Baker, east of Penn Yan; he offered us sixty dollars, we wanted eighty dollars, he however stolen some gold rings of us. 

 

We went from there to Penn Yan and took the cars for Rochester; stayed there a while; finally went back to Baker’s and broke open his wagon and stole seventy or eighty dollars worth of goods.  We then went to Chemung and stole Joseph Howard’s horse, and went back to Bakers and stole his two mares, sleigh, double harness and a set of single harness;  we traded our sleigh and harness off for a wagon to a man by the name of Reed, in Chautauqua County; we kept eh mares.  We broke open a store and stole dry goods to the amount of $200.  also a jeweler’s store, and took two r three hundred dollars worth of watches and jewelry; we took our jewelry to Canada.  We hired a horse and buggy of a man by the name of Fish, and drove it to Perry Randolph’s and sold it to Woodford. 

I next went to
Pennsylvania and broken into a grocer and got about a  hundred dollars worth of tea and tobacco.  Mallet hired horses and buggy of Wood ford and we went down to Ellicottville, where we got in company with a man by the name of Phipps, and we went some seven miles to a man by the name of Oxen and I held the horses while they went into a house; they hurt Oxen badly by striking him with a stick; they got twenty-four or twenty-five dollars.  We stopped some two or three months with Reed.  I then took my mares and hitched them to my wagon, and we came to Tiffin, Ohio and Mallett sold all to a pump peddler.  I then came to Burhams to see about my mother.  I got thirty dollars of Burnam in bogus coins and $2000 in counterfeit of Bill Hill and the Southern Bank of Kentucky, brought from Cincinnati.  I then returned to Chautauqua NY and sold some I returned. 

 

On my return I became acquainted with Payne through Burnam.  We went to Wolf Lake and took a pair of horses of movers, and took them to Mr. Woodfords in Chautauqua County, and sold them to him.  We stole another pair of brown mares and rove them back and sold them to Burnam.  Payne stopped at Perrysburg and stole another and rode to Burnham’s.  I traded a watch with Payne for a horse and $20.  Next Barney Weston, Sol. Stout and myself went to Springfield, broken into a store, got about $200 worth of dry goods, and sold them to Barney Weston for a wagon;  I sold it to Burnam for my board.  Next Payne and I went to Uniontown in July, and got ten or twelve pairs of boots, two pair of long rubber boots, and one par of men’s gaiters.  Payne sold his to Bill Hill, and I sold mine to Kreamer.  Payne and I next went to Ontario and pulled sum four or five hundred pair of buckskin gloves from McKinley; sold some to Hill some to Ulmer and some to Joe and Bill Hall. 

 

A man by the name of John Wilson stole Spencer’s horses and took them about thirty five miles north of Cincinnati, and sold them to an old farmer, and them pulled a pair of brown horses, and brought them to Burnams and put them to my wagon, drove them to Detroit, then shipped them to Dunkirk and drove them to Thomas Reed’s in Chautauqua County NY.  I took a mare and colt from Burnams to Michigan four miles east of Albion on the Jackson Road and traded them to William Hill for a horse. 

 

I traded a horse to _______ he is with us.  I gave him counterfeit money, and he told me he passed it; he was initiated before I saw him.  These men are the kind of men that are the cause of so many horses being stolen.  Also _______, I would not be afraid of his exposing me if he knew I had stolen a horse.  Stealing from the peddler at Rome, myself, Kessler, Hadley, Stout, Hank Core and Smitzer, hid the goods under a hay stack.  Myself, Core ad Stout went to Springfield, and on our way back Core went into a shoe ship and took two guns one deer skin and accordion.  I think, took them north.  We then came to McKinzies wagon and took the box out and hid it in the bushes.  A few nights after I gave it to Forsyth to peddle out.  Forsyth the magic man.“

 

On being questioned he stated that he robbed a man by the name of Alexander McCoy of a watch on the ice at Wallaceburg soon after I tried to get my brother out of jail.  I ran up behind him and pulled his watch, when he fell down on the ice but he was not hurt.  He came to my house the next morning for a drink. 

 

Upon being questioned in regard to a certain Scotsman, robbed in the western part of New York, he said “Mallett and Wm. Roy went to his house; the man was setting smoking his pipe; they asked him for a drink, he got them some water, when Roy knocked him down.  He asked what they wanted.  Roy said they must have his money.  He said he put it in the bank.  They poured out wheat and flour and raked it all through in search of the money.  After which they put some live coals in a kettle and set him on it., but he still said it was in the bank. I merely held the horses outside.  They took an old watch and left.  A man by the name of Jones pointed the place out to them by writing them a letter.  Jones lives near Georgetown in Canada. 

 

Dekalb County – Miles Payne, John Wilson and George Palmer broke open the Spencerville store.  R.J. deals in counterfeit, lives in Uniontown, Hadley and Hunt robbed and stabbed Myers. 

Ligonier – Hank Core stole Storm’s buggy.  It is on the
Michigan River at True Roberts at Lowell.  Wrights goods were stolen by Charles Smith and Wilkinson and sold to Bill Hill

 

Lagrange – Constable Louther deals in counterfeit and horses.  James Pitts signs the bills on Pretty Prairie; Ad Nimmons used to Misner signs his own.  There is an old man that usually stops at Perry Randolphs, he cuts their plates, or does their engraving, I think he is there now.  John Goodrich secretes stolen horses, he secreted two for me at different times.  He also deals in counterfeit.   He asked me for it.  Holsingers horse was taken by Hunt and sold to Wm. Hall, four miles from Albion, Michigan.  Dan Wilson and Ben Wilson deal in counterfeit, and secreted a couple of horses for Payne. 

 

McDougle was at Burnames in December 1857.  He saw Dr. Hogan and Hogan said that he had sold Burnam a Christmas collar and if he let Burnam have $00 or $500 whose business was it?  Dr. Hogan was at a part at Ben Wilsons.  Payne was there.  Payne let Hogan have a quantity of counterfeit to keep till after the dance.   Payne had $900; Hogan knew it was counterfeit money. 

McDougle has seen Meeker there counterfeiting at different times; seen him at Burhams coloring counterfeit.  James Clark, a baggage master on the railroad at
Fort Wayne, deals in counterfeit, he is a big stout man.  Jed Cothrell, who keeps the saloon, deals in counterfeit; he used to get his money from Bill Hill and Burnham. 

 

Johanthon Thompson makes and peddles spurious coin; lives in Kinsman, Ohio on the road to Meadville.  Ott Hoken a starch dealer, deals in Counterfeit. 

 

Wm. Thompson, used to be Sheriff in Chemung Co. NY, John Thompson, Henry Thompson, out west, Charles Hibbard keeps tavern, all of the same place and John Rosenkraus think he lives in Bath, NY all deal in counterfeit money. 

 


HIS APPEARANCE

 

McDougle, throughout the period of his confinement, up to the time of communicating to him his awful doom, seemed perfectly careless and hardened, and, in fact his bearing and manner were defying.  He made several derisive remarks about the proceedings of the Regulators – stated that he was not to be, and could not be frightened.  He seemed at times to regard the persons about him, and all attempts to get a confession from him , were marked with contempt.  His remarks were often profane as well as insulting – sometimes he would maintain a dogged silence to all inquiries made of him.

 

After being informed of the doom that awaited him, he seemed to wake up to a new and entirely different feeling. 

 

The writer of this witnessed the parting interview with his wife and child – a babe of near of year old.  His wife had reached him about 7 o’clock A.M.  McDougle was the first to convey to her the tidings of his own doom.  She was completely overcome and in a short time relapsed into a swooning state, from which she did not fully awaken until time had come for his removal to the place of execution.  And oh! The heart rending scene of those minutes which composed that parting interview. 

 

McDougle was composed but weeping freely, and lamenting his fate.  His wife, in view of this last interview upon earth with the husband of her youth, seemed inconsolable.  Her ejaculations of grief and sorrow were almost unmanning.  She begged to go with him.  He told her that it would not do.  Once or twice he started from the embrace of his wife, remarking that he would have to go as “they were waiting for him”.  He urged her to train up their child in the “way it should go”.  The babe participated in the sadness of the scene; it caught the reflex of grief on the countenances of those around it.  McDougle, brushing away the tears, hushed his babe affectionately and fondly and bidding a last adieu, he slowly left the room for the carriage, which awaited him in front of the hotel.  He was seated with a clergyman and three or four other gentlemen, and  once driven to the place of execution, followed by a large cavalcade of horseman, and other in carriages and on foot. 

 

They arrived at the place of execution at about 3 o’clock.  After some preliminary arrangements, the wagon containing the prisoner and his coffin was driven under an oak tree from a branch of which the fatal rope dangled.  He seemed calm and collected – indeed, he evinced throughout the whole of the terrible scene the utmost calmness and self possession.  The preparations being completed the prisoner rose and addressed the crowd. 

 

The following is an abstract of his remarks for a report which we are indebted to our friend A.B. Miller, Esq:


REMARKS OF McDOUGLE

“I am happy to see such a crowd around me, and I hope that all young men will take a warning from me.  My old father and mother advised me to do good.  I never committed murder.  They say that I killed a man and woman in Canada, and that I burnt a man to make him tell where his money was.  It is false.  The worst crime I committed was in New York.  I then stole, and hurt a man, which long troubled me, but he got well.  I have stolen many times and taken many horses.  Mr. Braden has my confession, which I am willing you all should see.  I am sorry to be here, but it might as well be my lot as another’s.  I say to young men, keep from houses of ill-fame, and instead of playing cards, read your bible.  The first deviation is the worst.  The progression is easy then to robbery, and finally to murder.  No man, I think, has any hard feelings towards me, and I have hard feelings towards none.  The citizens of Ligonier have treated me kindly.  It is my unhappy portion that my doom should be a warning to all young men, and I am glad to see so many here.  It is said that I fear neither God, man, or the devil.  I do fear God.  It is but a few years since I commenced this course.  I broke jail in Canada to release my brother.  I was discovered and had to flee my country., and have since fallen into bad ways.  I was forced by circumstances into the society of bad men, and hence have pursued a bad course.  There are quite a number of people who think the Committee is mistaken in what they do.  I say they are not.  They are justified, and I hope they will succeed in their undertaking, and root out all the thieving, coining, counterfeiting and horse stealing.  Many present are probably as bad as me, but I hope they will all, especially  the young men, take warning by me.  My only source is God.  I trust to Him for mercy.  I trust in the Lord. 

 

Note – The confession of McDougle is given as he gave it in, after the sentence of death was passed upon him.  It is proper to say that it is not considered full.  The time was short, sixteen hours, that he had to relate his misdeeds, and where he disposed to give a full and honest account, the overwhelming horror of his situation would tend to cause him to confuse and disconnect his statements, and also, in the multitude of his crimes, to pass over many acts, some of which he adverted to in conversation with clergymen and others.  There are some crimes committed by him in this section of country, which are well known, which he as not mentioned in all of his confession.  These will be given in future, accompanied with the statement of his former accomplice.  This sheet is compiled to satisfy the public demand, and is given as the superficial view of the matter at present. 

 

The wife of McDougle, subsequent to his execution, proved to be a very important witness in many cases.  She manifested, however, great reluctance to having any publicity given either of her name or the execution of her husband, stating as a reason that her parents were still living, and she did not wish them to know anything of her misfortunes.  She said she never intended to let them know where she was. 

 

Several letters were received by the Regulators, from different parts of the Country, confirmatory of the statements of McDougle in reference to his own crimes, one of which is given below:

 

Rushville, NY

Mar. 22, 1858


Mr. Postmaster,

 

As I have just read an account of the execution and confession of Gregory McDougle, at your place on the 26th of January last, and has many have no confidence in such confessions made at such times and under such circumstances, I thought I would write and let you know that all those acts, except the horse stealing, which he says transpired in this country are true.  His statement in reference to the store which was broken in Chemung County is also true, and the Baker whom he mentions is a man living in Pen Yan, as he says.  I have showed the confession to the Sheriff of our county, and he says he is acquainted with the said Baker, Joseph Howard and several other hard cases he mentions.  I see by the papers you are doing good work.  I write that you may know that many of the statements made in said confession, in reference to his acts in this country are true. 

 

F. C. Chamberlain, P.M. 


THE FOLLOWING ARE VARIOUS ONLINE LINKS WITH REFERENCES TO McDOUGLE

Blacklegs, Regulators, and the Hanging of Gregory McDougle
A paper written by noted Historian and Attorney John Martin Smith of Auburn, Indiana

Down at Lattas Mill, by Lawrence T. Sullivan

Early Indiana Newspaper Accounts of the McDougle Execution
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
Article 4
Article 5
Article 6
Article 7
Article 8

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