Catharine Conner, Deception > forgery, 5th December 1750.

Reference Number: t17501205-76
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

92. (L.) Catharine Conner , was indicted for publishing a false, forg'd and counterfeit will , purporting to be the will of Michael Canty , mariner , belonging to his majesty's ship the Namure, Oct. 29 . +

James Roxborrough . I am clerk to Mr. Hughs, a proctor in Doctor's Commons; [he produces the forg'd will.] This will was sworn to at the office, the 29th of October; the prisoner left it there the Saturday before: I took it into my custody and lock'd it up, and on the Monday morning following, there was a man came with her; they ask'd me if I had not a will belonging to Michael Canty , I said, yes, I had; she said, she desir'd to be sworn to the will of Michael Canty , saying, this was his will, after I had wrote the durate on

the back of it: '' Such a Day such a one was the '' sole Executrix duly sworn by me, before the Surrogate '' of the prerogative Court of Canterbury.'' I wrote down the Namure on the back of it, that he died at such time the ship was lost, as far as she knew; she went before the Surrogate, the worshipful John Bettesworth , and he administered the oath to her. That that was the last Will and Testament of Michael Canty ; after that she came back with me, I told her, she could not have the probate immediately, by reason the office was shut up in the afternoon, on my lord mayor's day; so I appointed her to come on the Wednesday; she had brought another will along with her, that was prov'd, which was the will of one John Cotter , she was the executrix of that too; after she was gone, I look'd upon both wills, I observ'd much the same characters in the witnesses names. At the same time Mr. Hughs was concern'd for one Mrs. Croley, who was wife to one Charles Croley , who was a creditor of Michael Canty 's, mariner, belonging to his majesty's ship the Namure: she was sworn, in order to get administration to Canty before, who had a note of hand for 36 l. of Michael Canty a mariner, brought by her when she was sworn to take out this administration: it was in my master's possession, sign'd by Michael Canty , to Mr. Charles Croley , or order. I took this note from among the papers, and compared it with the writing to the will; and I did not think there was any similitude in the characters; the christian name in the note is wrote Mich. and that in the will at length: I first sent to the people who were concern'd for the original, to obtain the administration, that is, Croley's wife; and one Mr. Murphy, and Mrs. Croley came together, and at the same time they came, the prisoner was in our office. I ask'd Mr. Murphy if that was Michael Canty 's writing, he said it was not; upon that he ask'd the prisoner what sort of a man this Michael Canty was, she told him he had no business with it, and she would not give him any answer about it; he ask'd her how she came by the will, but she would not tell, and upon making a great many idle excuses, I went for a constable; while I was gone a woman who goes by the name of Dunn, who came that morning with her, call'd her out, and they both walk'd, or run away together: in the afternoon there was a man who came with her when she was first sworn, came to know why he could not have the probate out, I told him, that could not be till the caveat was withdrawn, and the affair settled with Mrs. Croley; he said, he would bring the woman in the afternoon, he brought her; Mr. Murphy and the constable was fetch'd and charg'd with her; she was detained two or three hours, in order to see if she would make any confession, but she did not; Mr. Murphy, this woman and the man that came along with her, went out together into the street, but what their discourse was I know not; when they came in again I took her into the office, and told her she had better confess, if it was a bad thing, which I told her I had great reason to suspect; all she would give me for answer was, Suppose she had found it.

Timothy Murphy . I knew Michael Canty , a mariner.

Q. Did you ever see him write?

Murphy. Yes, sir, I have; I am well acquainted with his hand writing; [He is shew'd the name at the bottom of the will]

Q. Is that his hand writing?

Murphy. I am sure it is not; I have receiv'd letters from him; I was before my lord mayor with the prisoner at the bar; my lord ask'd me the reason why I gave her in charge with the constable, I said, because the will she produc'd was not Michael Canty's hand writing: [The note given to Mrs. Croley is put into his hand.]

Q. Do you think this is his hand writing?

Murphy The name to it is his hand writing; I desired the prisoner to inform me who did it, that we might apprehend them; she said one Dennis Dunn 's wife gave it her. The will was dated Oct. 26, 1747; wherein the sole executrix was Catharine Conner , daughter of Darby Conner, of Kingsale in the kingdom of Ireland, &c. witnessed by Robert Spurway and Henry Doe .

John Johnson . I knew one Spurway, he was clerk to Mr. Boscawen, when he was captain in the Namure; I have seen his writing: [He is shewn the name at the bottom of the will.]

Johnson. This is not his writing.

Q. Did you know one Henry Doe ?

Johnson. I knew one Henry Day ; he was quartermaster.

Q. What are you?

Johnson. I was order'd out of the ship at Fort St. David's, and came home with Admiral Griffin; I came away about four or five months before the ship was lost.

James Fagan . I knew Robert Spurway , he was the secretary's clerk on board the Namure, but I never saw him write.

John Readman . I am clerk at the navy office, I have here the books belonging to his majesty's ship the Namure.

Q. What wages were due to Michael Canty mariner, on board that ship?

Readman. There was due from the first of July 46, to the 13 of April 49, about 39 l. 15 s. he was set down able seaman, the ship was lost the 13 of April 49, and he was supposed to be lost in her at fort St. David's in the East-Indies, and these books are the best that can be made out, by the captain and officers, her books being lost.

Mr. Hughes. I was present about 3 weeks ago when the prisoner was before my Lord Mayor, she at first denied she knew any thing of the forgery, but said she was the cousin of the man: she went out and I followed her; she said if she might be allowed an evidence she could make a discovery of the persons that forged it; after that she declared before my Lord Mayor one Dunn had wrote the will, and gave it to her in order to go to Doctors Commons; but she wanted to accuse the wife of Dunn who was in custody, on suspicion of being concerned in this affair; the reason she was taken into custody was, that after the prisoner was taken she came to our office to enquire for her.

Prisoner's Defence.

I can neither write nor read, I did not know any thing about it, I did not carry it to the Commons at all, I said it was made by one Dunn, he lived in Ratcliff High Way at one Newman's, I came to receive my brother's effects, and he and my husband made me go to administer upon this will.

Mr. Hughes. She told me she was present when Dunn forged it, and that he had forged a great many more, and was coming to Doctors Commons with them.

Guilty

Death .


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