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Murder of Pat McNamara by Patrick Whittle, 1876


Posted By: Jason McDonald (email)
Date: 3/26/2014 at 18:11:34

In Cox Creek township, Clayton county, a fortnight ago, Pat Whittle and Pat McNamara - one at least, and probably both, being under the influence of liquor - got into a quarrel. Whittle pitched in and pounded McNamara, who was old and quite infirm. Mrs. M. attempted to aid her husband, but was also badly beaten. Neighbors came to quell the disturbance, but were met at the door by Whittle, with an ax, threatening to kill anybody that interfered. Whittle was afterward taken before Squire Osborne, but released. But McNamara has just died of his wounds, and Whittle has cleared out.

~Postville Review, June 18, 1876

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Sheriff Benton, with Jack Watson as guard, started on Monday with seven prisoners for the penitentiary at Anamosa. The party of prisoners consisted of Patrick Whittle, sentenced to five years in the penitentiary for manslaughter, in the Cox Creek murder. Wilson and Williams, five years for burglary at Elkader; Dennis Murphy and P.D. Day, twenty months for burglary at Strawberry Point; and Pat O'Conner and James Ryan, nineteen months for burglary in this city at Mayor Hawley's residence and the attack on Mrs. Thos. McHale. The Dubuque Herald local gives the following concerning the prisoners, who occupied the jail in that city for a night:

Whittle is a son of the Emerald Isle, about 46 years old, thin faced and an unsteady eye, with the appearance of brooding over some deep sorrow.

Wilson and Williams are aged respectively about 18 and 20.

Murphy enquired anxiously of our reporter if he was reporting for a Chicago paper, and said he did not want his name to appear there. He is evidently a hard case, and is doubtless urgently wanted somewhere else.

May is a well dressed, genteel appearing young man, and attributes his crime (stealing $19) to whiskey, which is doubtless true.

O'Conner and Ryan are ordinarily hardened looking criminals.

~Postville Review, October 11, 1876; reprinted from the McGregor Times

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PATRICK WHITTLE. February 13. Crime, manslaughter. Convicted at the September term, 1876, of the district court of the county of Clayton. Sentenced to imprisonment in the additional penitentiary for the term of five years. The sentence of the district court is commuted from five to four years. Such commuted period of one year to commence from the filing of a certain bond with good and sufficient surety, conditioned, that, at the expiration of one year, the said Whittle shall report himself to the warden of said penitentiary unless prevented by death, for the infliction of the remainder of the punishment ordered by the court, without any expense to the state or Clayton county. The reason for commuting the sentence is, that the petitioners represent that the said Patrick Whittle is in the last stage of consumption, and growing worse, and in the opinion of the physicians cannot live more than a few months at most. [It is proper to say that up to the time of submitting this message the required bond has not been filed.]

~Special Message of the Governor of Iowa, to the Seventeenth General Assembly, Communicating Report of Pardons and Remissions; January 13, 1878; Des Moines: R.P. Clarkson, State Printer, 1878; pgs 19 & 20. (transcribed from the book, digitalized by Google, http://books.google.com/ )

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Patrick Whittle. June 7, 1878. Committed to the Additional Penitentiary, October 3, 1876, under a sentence of the district court of Clayton county, for the term of five years, for the crime of manslaughter. He is pardoned on the certificate of the surgeon of the prison that he is in the last stages of consumption, and at the request of Judge Reuben Noble, District-Attorney O.J. Clark, Hon. Samuel Murdock, and many others.

~Message of the Governor of Iowa, Communicating Report of Pardons, Commutations, and Remissions; from January 17, 1878, to January 14, 1880, Inclusive; Printed by Order of the General Assembly; Des Moines: F.M. Mills, State Printer, 1880; pgs 9 & 10. (transcribed from the book, digitalized by Google, http://books.google.com/ )

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Murder in Cox Creek
Patrick Whittle and Patrick McNamara were brothers-in-law, the former making his home at the house of the latter. He was often under the influence of liquor, and in that state was inclined to be a little quarrelsome. May 27, 1876 McNamara was away from home, and on returning was reprimanded by Whittle, when a fight ensued, in which McNamara received injuries from which he died June 6 following. Whittle was arrested, tried and convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. Murdock & Larkin were for the defendant.

~History of Clayton County, 1882; Chapter 16, pg 566

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Contributor's notes: There are conflicting reports of when Patrick Whittle was born; and his death date & burial place have not been confirmed. He may have died at the Clayton county Poor Farm in 1902 and may be buried in St. Joseph Catholic cemetery, Elkader. Additional information about Patrick would be appreciated.


Clayton Documents maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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