Hit-piece—A published article or post aiming to sway public opinion by presenting false or biased information in a way that appears objective and truthful.
Hatchet job—A journalistic or other treatment which portrays its subject in a very unfavourable manner; a work of criticism which aims to destroy a reputation.

The Port Hope Archives quoted from an old edition of the Weekly Guide in the Fall 2006 issue of their newsletter

from the Weekly Guide  Friday October 19, 1883
About noon Wednesday, information was received at the Police headquarters here that McCabe, an escaped convict from the Kingston penitentiary, was lurking around town; Constable Rankin went to look for the man but was unsuccessful. About eleven o'clock that night, word was sent to Mr. Rankin that the man was at the Turner hotel. He with an assistant then went to make the arrest, but as soon as McCabe saw the constable was on him he bolted for the door and ran, Rankin following, and then about to lay hands on him he turned and drew his revolver and said if the constable came a step further he would shoot him dead, but Rankin was too sharp for him and shot first, shooting the man instantly. The ball must have struck in the most vital part, for the burglar had not time to fire his revolver. It was found cocked in his hand when picked up dead. There is no question if Rankin had not been successful in having the first shot he would be in the dead burglar's position. The constable immediately gave himself up to await the action of the Coroner's Jury, which was not concluded when we went to press.

After the body was taken into the hotel Dr. Corbett was sent for, but the man was dead before he arrived. On examining his clothing he found the following articles—a revolver with one charge in and two cartridges in his pocket, a knife, a briar pipe and a leather case containing seven different skeleton keys.

[The purpose of a coroner's inquest is for the Jury to answer what is informally known as the 'Five Questions,' namely:—
Who the deceased was and how, when, where and by what means the deceased came to his or her death.
The jury cannot make any finding of legal responsibility but may make recommendations directed to the avoidance of further deaths or respecting any other matter arising out of the inquest.]

from The Port Hope Times  Thursday morning October 18, 1883
Constable Rankin Attempts To Arrest Jim McCabe The Notorious Burglar And Escaped Convict
And Is Compelled To Shoot Him In Self Defence
A Testimonial of Appreciation from the People of the Town

The name of Jim McCabe is one which is well known to most of our citizens, as that of a dangerous and desperate burglar who would stop at nothing to accomplish his purpose. We are informed by a Kingston correspondent that when but thirteen years of age he began his career as a burglar; that when only thirty-nine years of age he had been sentenced to thirty-two years of imprisonment, but of coarse did not serve that time, having broken out of jail several times. On one occasion be received twenty-four lashes with a cat-o'-nine tails. It is said that while serving a term in Sing Sing, he, with the assistance of another who was shot in his attempt to gain liberty, effected an escape and hid himself in a half-nude condition in a lime-kiln, thus throwing his pursuers off the scent, as they did not dream of his daring to hide himself in such a place. After remaining there for about an hour he managed to steal away, and gained the Canadian soil, when he immediately re-commenced his burglarious business and succeeded in again being arrested. We are informed that when this arrest was made, the burns on his body received during his stay in the lime-kiln had not been entirely healed.

[John Brooke Trayes, publisher and editor of the 'Times' newspaper, begins as he means to go on, as advocate for the defence of a suspicious police action.
Far from being well known as 'dangerous and desparate,' James McCabe had been virtually forgotten in Port Hope by 1883. There is no mention of him in the 'Times' during the entire year of 1879, or 1882.
Two draconian sentences of ten years for petty theft made up twenty of the thirty-two years McCabe is said to have been condemned to spend in prison. In both cases, for good behaviour, he would have been released after serving only half that time. Had he not foolishly walked away from a work farm he would soon have been a free man.
This story contains no evidence that James McCabe was ever convicted of, or even charged with a violent crime. It is an opinion piece fashioned from gossip and rumour.
A petty thief is made into a menacing villain, eight days after he died.]

So far as we can learn, he was born in Trenton, where he was reared and began his criminal career, and where it is said his father, mother, two brothers and one sister reside. For some years he sailed from this port on schooners trading between Port Hope and other points. He will be remembered in this town in connection with the robbery of the store of Messrs. Griffiths & Co., in the premises now occupied by Mr. Geo. Hooker, when a quantity of jewellery was stolen and presented to a young woman with whom McCabe was acquainted. Chief Constable Gilchrist at once took the case in hand and very shortly found the girl, Ann Brennan, at Peterboro', finding upon her a portion of the stolen property, and learned that she had received the articles from McCabe. Mr. Gilchrist communicated with the Belleville police, and finally ascertained that the man was there. Constable Thos. Hills was sent down with a warrant for his arrest, which was accomplished by the Belleville officers who handed the prisoner over to Constable Hills, and that official undertook a task which he will never forget so long as he lives. McCabe was an unusually hard man to handle and gave Hills a great deal of trouble. On the way here he struck the constable a blow with the handcuffs and cut his chin so badly as to leave the mark to this day.

[Had the 'Times' actually tried to learn anything, they would have found that McCabe's mother had died several years before he was shot down.
In the 1861 census McCabe is enumerated with his family in Trenton, age 16.
In the 1871 census he's in the Kingston Penitentiary along with a woman named Ann Brennan. The census indicates that he could read, but not write. Brennan could neither read nor write.
Thomas Hills, an ex-Constable with an axe to grind, made unsupported assertions at the Coroner's inquest in an attempt to vilify McCabe.]

The prisoner was brought here and an examination held by Magistrates R. H. Holland, J. G. Williams and C. Brent, resulting in committal for trial. At the trial held subsequently, McCabe was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in the Kingston penitentiary. Five years of this term were served, when owing to good behaviour, he was released. Shortly after his liberation, however, he was re-arrested for burglary in Trenton, for which he was again consigned to the penitentiary for another term of ten years. He had served of this sentence about four years and three months, and had given no trouble to the authorities of the jail; in fact, his rascality took the form of the sneak and the spy. He watched over the doings of his fellow-convicts and report­ed everything that was done by them to the turnkeys, who in turn showed him many favours. He had several times been allowed to go out upon the farm to work, and, on Friday previous to his death, when he asked permission to go out there on a plea of ill-health, his request was granted. Once on the farm, which is not so carefully guarded as the prison itself, he eluded the vigilence of his keepers, and made his escape. Within an hour after he regained liberty, he seems to have obtained a suit of clothes, a revolver, and a set of burglar's keys. He immediately began to proclaim himself Jim McCabe, and openly confessed that he had just escaped from penitentiary. Everywhere he was traced he continued flourishing his revolver and revealing his identity, and whenever he wanted anything to eat he went into [public] houses and, laying his revolver on a table, demanded refreshments, and they were invariably given to him. It is supposed that a man who had been discharged a few days before McCabe's escape furnished the latter with the clothes, revolver and keys.

[McCabe didn't 'break out' of prison. He ran away from a low-security penal farm. Prison officials, who had the opportunity to know him best, did not consider him 'desperate and dangerous' as Trayes would have people believe. That McCabe had a history of violence is declared without evidence, and he is denigrated even for the good behaviour prison officials rewarded him for.]

On Wednesday afternoon of last week, word was conveyed to Constable Rankin, who was on duty during that day in the absence of the Chief Constable in Toronto, that the desperado was in town and that he was flourishing his revolver around as usual. Mr. Rankin went to every place where he thought the man could be, but he succeeded in eluding pursuit. The constable was repeatedly warned as to the desperate character of the man. About half-past ten at night, as Messrs. Rankin, Douglas, and Wm. Johnson were sitting in the police station, and a conversation had taken place between the two last named as to the dangerous reputation of McCabe, a man came into the office and notified Mr. Rankin that he was at Turner's hotel. Rankin in the face of what he had heard during the day realised that the man would shoot him dead if he could, took some money and papers out of his pockets and placed them on a shelf in a cupboard, and then turning to Mr. Johnson requested him to accompany him, who cheerfully complied.

[According to the 'Times,' on the night of October 10th Chief Constable John Douglas and Constable Rankin were on duty at the police station. Sitting with them was Rankin's brother-in-law, Bill Johnson, a Sailor, husband of Charlotte Rankin.
At about 10:30pm James McKelvie arrived from Turner's hotel and 'told Mr. Rankin to come down and he came immediately.'
Why did Chief Constable John Douglas not go along to apprehend the 'desperate and dangerous' McCabe? Two Constables, doing there jobs, would have been the logical pair to make an arrest, not the relatively inexperienced deputy and an unarmed private citizen.
Didn't these three men in fact take Jim McCabe for the petty thief and loud-mouthed nuisance he appears to have been, not the reckless and violent criminal he was made out to be eight days after he died?]

The two walked coolly and resolutely down Mill street until they reached the corner of the hotel at the intersection of the Cobourg road. On their arrival McCabe moved away and was pointed out by the person who had notified the officer as McCabe, in the words, "That's him." Rankin and Johnson followed the desperado, who in endeavouring to get away from them drew his revolver from his pocket and loaded it. When within a few feet of him Rankin reached out towards McCabe as if to catch hold of him, and told him to come into the hotel where he wished to speak to him. McCabe immediately presented his loaded revolver and ordered him to stand back. Rankin at once realised that his life was in danger and fired at the burglar,
Dr Robert A Corbett
who shortly afterwards expired. The body was examined by Dr. Corbett, and then removed to the Town Hall, and in the meantime Rankin sent for the Chief Constable and gave himself up and was placed in the lock­up to await the result of an inquest.

At ten o'clock Thursday morning Coroner Maxwell proceeded to hold an investigation into the facts of the shooting, and the following jury was empanelled:—
Messrs. F. E. Gaudrie, foreman, and W. W. Renwick, C. Stuart, A. Dean, S. Williams, C. Quinlan, F. Foster, Sr., W. McLaren, R. Harcourt, J. N. G. Lodge, P. J. Connell, J. W. Stevenson, Jas. H. Rowland, Mark Boyd and R. R. Eliot, who were duly sworn.

On the table at which the jury sat were laid the articles which had been taken from the pockets of the dead man, which consisted of a pocket-book, a knife, ten cents, two loose cartridges, a wooden pipe and a case containing a complete set of burglar's skeleton keys, comprising eight pieces. The revolver was handled by the majority of the jurors, and the fact developed that it was only due to a defect in the weapon that Mr. Rankin's life had not been taken. The revolver was a cheap 'Defender,' and would go off four or five times more or less, and would then stick—some defect in the spring preventing the hammer from descending. From the time that McCabe presented his deadly weapon until Rankin shot him there was plenty of time for the latter to have been shot, and there is not the slightest doubt but that the failure of the hammer to strike the cartridge was the only means of saving his life.

The 'X' marks approximately where James McCabe was shot down by William Rankin Oct 10, 1883

Following is the evidence taken, in which is contained a full account of McCabe's doings in town throughout the day:-

John J Turner, sworn, said: I am a hotel-keeper; yesterday, the 10th of October, about half past three, deceased came into my place; I did not recognise him;
John James Turner & wife
he was accompanied by an Indian who carried an axe in his hand; deceased said the Indian had... with him two years; I told the Indian I did not wish to have such things around; the Indian took his axe and went away; and I have not seen the Indian since nor do I know his name; the Captain of the tug and deceased were talking rather harshly to each other; the captain said he could lick any such man, and deceased told him he could not, and said he could shoot the captain; deceased put his hand into his hip pocket and pulled out a revolver, and when I saw the handle I took it away from him; he asked me to give it back to him, but I refused; deceased then asked me for a glass of brandy; I told him I would give it to him if he would go away, but after he had drank it when I asked him for the money he said he had none, and told me I had his overcoat and revolver, and I might keep them until he went up town and got the money; he then went away; before he went I sent my boy and hostler to tell Mr. Rankin that there was a desperate man there who was flourishing a revolver; Mr. Rankin came down a few minutes after that, and I told him who I thought deceased was, and gave him a description of him, and said he was a pretty hard case.
I told Mr. Rankin I thought deceased's name was Anderson, because when he first came into the house he asked for the Mail, and when I brought it to him he looked over it and on finding an account of the attempted escape of Anderson and two others, he said, pointing to the name Anderson, "that's me;" he did not come back until about half past ten at night, and then he had a different hat on from that which he had worn in the afternoon; he called for a glass of brandy again and threw down a quarter to pay for it; I gave him the brandy and handed him back the change; he then asked for his overcoat, and I gave it to him, and he asked me if 'that thing' was in it; I said no it was in the cupboard behind the bar; I then handed the revolver to him; I saw it was not loaded, or I would not have given it to him; deceased then went into the sitting-room and I heard him talking there about what he could do; he said he could lick any man or shoot any man who was there.
While he had been standing at the bar there were also two young men there, and I asked them if they would go for Mr. Rankin, and they did so; I heard deceased talking in the sitting-room, and I went in, fearing there would be trouble, and asked him to go outside, as I did not want any trouble; he said some few words and put his hand in his pocket as he had done in the afternoon, and then went out; I then shut the door and left him outside; I did not see any more of deceased until he was brought in after being shot; I do not know who did the shooting; I heard the shot probably five or ten minutes after deceased went out, and I ran into the sitting-room and said to those seated there "For God's sake run, that fellow's shot someone;" I ran out with the rest, but as no one was in the house I went back; I did not know any more about the affair until deceased was brought into the hotel; Mr. Johnson and Mr. Rankin carried him in; deceased was breathing when the doctor came; deceased was perfectly sober in the afternoon and evening; he did not say in my presence that his name was McCabe; when Mr. Rankin came down in the afternoon I told him I thought deceased was an escaped convict, that he was a dangerous man, and that he carried a revolver; I thought deceased was perfectly sane.

[In the afternoon Turner snatched the revolver from McCabe and sent James McKelvie to fetch Rankin, who arrived at the hotel minutes later and talked with Turner. Is it plausible that Turner would not have told Rankin that only moments before he had taken McCabe's weapon away from him and had it lying in a cupboard behind the bar? In the unlikely event that he did not say anything about it, why didn't he? If Turner did mention his having the gun in his possession, why did Rankin not confiscate it and thereby disarm the situation?
Why did Turner not give 'that thing' to the police rather than holding it for seven hours and handing it back to McCabe just before Rankin 'coolly and resolutely' shot him down?]

Richard G. Blackham, sworn, testified he was a hotel-keeper. Three or four years ago he was standing on the sidewalk in front of his hotel, about eleven o'clock in the evening, when deceased came down the sidewalk, and accosting the witness asked him for a bottle of liquor, informing him at the same time that he had no money. Witness told deceased that he was not accustomed to give liquor to strangers without money. Deceased replied that if the liquor was not given him he would have it anyway. Witness asked him who he was, and he replied his name was Jim McCabe. As witness knew from the reputation of the man that if he did not give him the liquor he would have it at all events he gave it to him. The same night Mr. Smart and others in the town were robbed.
Witness did not see any more of deceased until Wednesday about half past ten in the morning, when he came into witness' [public] house. He had a revolver with him. Deceased slapped witness on the knee and made use of words to the effect what right had witness there, and speaking as though it was deceased's own house and witness was imposing upon him. He looked witness in the eye and said "I'm Jim McCabe." Thomas Crosby then came into the house and recognised deceased and spoke to him. Crosby asked him what was the matter with his hair, as it was an odd color. Deceased replied that he had dyed it, and then told Crosby that he had gone through a brick house on Protestant Hill the night previous and got thirty-five cents in the man's pockets. He said just as he was going out of the door of the room he saw a fine stout-looking young fellow lying in bed, and he thought he would go back and have some fun with him. Deceased said he shook the young fellow, and he jumped up in bed, but deceased placed his arms on the other's shoulders and held him down, at the same time holding a revolver in one hand. Deceased said he annoyed the young man for a while, and then pushing back from him, sprang out of the room. Pointing to an overcoat which he wore he said "I grabbed this coat at the time, and I guess the police will be after me." Deceased told witness it was a good thing the latter gave him the bottle of liquor for which he asked three or four years ago, or he (witness) would have lost ten times as much and his pants. Crosby and deceased then went up to the Grand Trunk Station. Deceased came back in the afternoon and remained about two hours. He told witness he had just come from the penitentiary.
There were some young men from Lindsay in the bar in the afternoon while deceased was there, and witness asked them to tell Mr. Douglas that McCabe was in town. Having heard that Mr. Douglas was in Toronto, witness requested Mr. Wm. Johnson to tell Mr. Rankin he wished to see him. Mr. Rankin went down about seven o'clock and witness told him that McCabe was here and was just out of penitentiary. Mr. Rankin said a man of that name had escaped from that institution. Witness then informed Mr. Rankin that deceased had been flourishing a revolver, and warned him to be careful of himself as McCabe was a desperate character and would just as soon drop him as not, deceased having made a threat about dropping a policeman. Mr. Rankin left the hotel then and returned later in the evening and inquired if McCabe had been there again. He was informed in the negative and again warned to be careful. The constable replied that he had been informed by Mr. Gamble that McCabe was dead, and therefore did not think it was him. Witness told Mr. Rankin that he was sure the man was McCabe and that Crosby had also recognised him. Deceased was sober.

Thos. Loveless, having been sworn, fully identified deceased and said that in Trenton he had seen him engaged in a row, and he was then pointed out as Jim McCabe; deceased was afterwards sent to penitentiary for burglary. Deceased's father was now living in Trenton and working for the corporation.

Thos. Hills, sworn, said he recognised the body of deceased as that of James McCabe. Witness knew McCabe a number of years ago, when witness was a constable. He was sent to Trenton to arrest deceased for burglary, and while bringing him here, deceased cut witness' chin badly with the handcuffs. Witness saw deceased shoot at a man and stab a woman in this town, and did not think there was a greater scoundrel alive. He thought deceased was a desperate man.

Frank Warden, sworn, testified that he saw deceased first about twenty minutes before the shooting took place; it was then after ten o'clock; deceased came into the bar and Mr. Turner handed him his overcoat and revolver; Turner's man went out and deceased followed him, and witness went to go home; he saw deceased and Turner's man talking; the former told the latter that he thought he was going for a constable, but he replied that he was not; deceased put his hand in his hip pocket and said he did not know who he was, and he mentioned a name, but witness did not pay any attention to it and could not say what it was; deceased said if he wanted anything he would always have it, and if anyone tried to stop him he would stop them; he said he would not shoot a man dead but would shoot him in the leg or some other spot; deceased then turned on the edge of the sidewalk and made a pretence of crying, and witness went into the hotel; Mr. Turner asked witness to go up and tell Mr. Rankin that the man about whom he was speaking in the afternoon was there; witness did not believe deceased was crying: witness went up Mill street and met Mr. Rankin, but as he saw the constable had already been told about the man, witness merely said "All right," and continued on up street for about 100 yards, when he turned back; witness did not see the shooting, but arrived just as deceased was being picked up; Mr. Rankin asked witness to fetch Mr. Douglas, and, when the Chief Constable arrived, gave himself up.

Frederick Sams, sworn, testified that he was a boarder at Turner's hotel; deceased came into the hotel about half past ten and went into the sitting room and dared any man to go out and fight, but he did not appear to be in a passion; that was the first time witness had seen him; there were several sailors and others in the room; one of the men began talking to deceased, and Mr. Turner came in and told deceased to go out; he stood there a minute or two and then went outside; witness and another young man then went out and stood on the platform in front of the house; deceased came forward and started a conversation; he said he was acquainted with quite a number of people in town; he said to the young man who was with witness that he would shoot the first man who tried to arrest him; he was then standing on the corner of Mill street and Cobourg road; witness was standing there when Rankin arrived, and saw deceased move away; Rankin and deceased met at the gate of the yard; witness did not see Rankin attempt to arrest him, as he was not near enough to them; it was not over a minute after Rankin and deceased met that witness heard a shot, and then he ran forward and saw deceased lying in the ditch with a pistol in his hand.

Jas. McKelvie, sworn, testified that he was hostler at Turner's and that he had seen the body and recognised it as that of the man who was shot at the hotel the day previous; witness saw deceased about four o'clock in the afternoon, but he was not at that time making a disturbance; witness saw deceased again at the house about half past ten; witness started to go for Mr. Rankin, and deceased followed him out of the house; witness thought he followed him out to put him out of the way with the revolver; deceased said that on Friday he had escaped from penitentiary, and that if any man came to take him he would tell them to stand back, and if he did not do so he would make him; witness supposed that deceased meant that he would put him out of the way with the revolver; he said if he met a person and wanted money, he would have it; if they did not give it to him he would take it; witness did not see the revolver, but Mr. Turner had told him that deceased had one; witness then went up and told Mr. Rankin to come down and he came immediately; when witness came back deceased was standing on the corner talking to three or four others; witness went in at the side door and through the front door onto the platform; deceased asked him where he had been; witness replied that he had been in the yard; Rankin came down Mill street, accompanied by Johnson; one of them bade them all good evening, and deceased replied with the same words, and walked round the corner; witness pointed at him and said "That's him," and Rankin and Johnson followed; Rankin told him to halt or stop; deceased faced Rankin and told him to stand back; they were then about three or four yards apart; immediately after deceased told Rankin to stand back witness heard a shot; deceased staggered a few yards and fell; witness thought he was shamming and told Rankin to "Plug him again;" witness saw Johnson take a pistol out of deceased's hand after he was shot, but he could not say if it was cocked; witness did not hear any other words between Rankin and deceased than those he had mentioned; he was standing on the sidewalk when the shot was fired; deceased had told him two or three times that his name was Jim McCabe.

R. G. Blackham, recalled, said his reasons for sending for the Chief Constable and Mr. Rankin were that deceased had walked through the [publc] house and made himself pretty familiar with it, and Crosbie had told witness that deceased had skeleton keys; he therefore feared a burglary.

Wm. Johnson, sworn, testified that he was sitting in the police station Wednesday even­ing about half-past ten o'clock, when Turner's man came in and wanted a constable to go down to the hotel; he said there was one Jim McCabe down there using a revolver and was rather careless with it; he warned Rankin
Wm 'Bill' Johnson 1911
that the man was a hard-looking case; Rankin turned to witness and asked him to go down with him, and he consented; witness and Rankin went down to the hotel, and when they reached the corner of the house deceased and three or four standing there; witness bade them "good evening," and some one spoke; deceased turned and went off down Cobourg road; witness and Rankin followed and when they got within a few steps of him Rankin said, "Hold on, McCabe, come into thehotel, I want to speak to you;" McCabe told Rankin to stand back and raised his revolver; then Rankin fired; witness saw McCabe's revolver when he raised it; he had his hand by his side and when he raised it the revolver was in it; witness said Rankin's life was in danger, and felt that he was justified in doing what he did; witness would have done the same thing had he been in the same position; witness took the revolver out of deceased's hand as soon as he fell and put it in his, witness', pocket; when he was in the hotel, Dr. Corbett asked to see the revolver, and witness handed it to him; it was then cocked; witness said he was satisfied that the body was that of James McCabe; when Rankin and witness arrived at the hotel some person pointed out deceased to Rankin and said, "That's him."

The 'Times' spelled his name 'Johnston'; I've preferred 'Johnson', the spelling his son Robert used and William Johnson was buried under

Dr. Corbett, sworn, said: I was called last night to examine a man who was shot at Turner's hotel; the man is deceased; it was about fifteen minutes to eleven o'clock; deceased was lying in Turner's front sitting room and was dead; I examined the body and found a wound about half-way between the nipple and the arm-pit on the left side; the size of the wound corresponded with the holes in the clothing; I could pass my little finger in quite readily; I had the body removed to the Town Hall, and this morning made a post mortem examination, tracing the wound; it extended through the left lung and entered the right, taking an upward course toward the right side; the hole in the left lung was a large and ragged one; the result was that hemorrhage took place very rapidly, and the left pleural cavity was filled with blood; death resulted from hemorrhage from this wound; when I first examined the body I searched the pockets and found a wooden pipe, an empty pocket-book, ten cents, and two cartridges loose in the pockets, a knife and a case containing a set of burglar's skeleton keys, consisting of seven pieces.

The Coroner then addressed the jury, explaining the law in regard to justifiable homicide, and expressing his opinion that Constable Rankin committed the act in self-defence.

The jury, after some discussion brought in the following verdict:—
"We, the undersigned jurors empanelled to make inquiry into the shooting of James McCabe, find that the said James McCabe was shot and killed by William Rankin, constable of the town of Port Hope, in self-defence and in discharge of his duty; and we furthermore commend the said William Rankin for the courage displayed by him and exonerate him from all blame."

[The foreman of the jury, Francis E Gaudrie, Merchant Tailor, was John B Trayes' brother-in-law.]

[Eyewitness testimony is questionable at best and would have been more so when offered by prejudiced and possibly drunken tipplers claiming to recall what they thought they saw of a momentary incident that took place in the dark.
The Coroner's jury accepted that McCabe and Rankin were standing face-to-face when McCabe was shot down, despite Dr Robert A Corbett's conclusive evidence that they were not:—

"I examined the body and found a wound about half-way between the nipple and the arm-pit on the left side; the size of the wound corresponded with the holes in the clothing; I could pass my little finger in quite readily; I had the body removed to the Town Hall, and this morning made a post mortem examination, tracing the wound; it extended through the left lung and entered the right, taking an upward course toward the right side."

The bullet that killed McCabe could not have travelled on that trajectory if the two had been standing face-to-face. It would have travelled on that trajectory if McCabe had been shot as he turned to face Rankin, or to run away, or if Rankin simply walked up beside McCabe and shot him.

The implication of Corbett's evidence was ignored by the Coroner, Robert Maxwell, by the jury, and by the 'Times.'
Everyone who said McCabe was facing Rankin when he was shot was either mistaken or lying.

Why was William Johnson there? What was his role? Assistant? Witness? Accomplice?
In the seven hours the revolver was out of McCabe's possession it could have been tampered with and made inoperable. After McCabe was shot, it would have been possible for Johnson to take the gun from McCabe's pocket, cock it, and claim he had taken it from his hand.

Would any sensible person put a cocked and loaded gun in his pocket if he believed it might go off?]

Mr. Rankin was at once notified of the verdict and released from custody, and was heartily congratulated by his many friends, who had anxiously awaited the result of the investigation.

Mr. Weir, steward of the Kingston penitentiary arrived on the evening train, and fully identified the deceased as James McCabe, who had escaped from imprisonment in the penitentiary on the Friday preceding.

A subscription list has been circulated by Messrs. Stanley Paterson and W. B. Williamson, and having been signed by nearly all the prominent citizens of the town, we understand quite a handsome sum has been realised. The presentation of this substantial appreciation of his bravery to Mr. Rankin will take place to-day, and will be accompanied by an appropriate address setting forth the sentiments of the subscribers.

from The Port Hope Times  October 18, 1883 page 4  (Editorial)
While it must be admitted on all hands that a revolver in the hands of a police officer should not without great provocation be brought into use, we believe our citizens almost unanimously acknowledge that Constable Rankin was perfectly justified in firing upon the convict James McCabe when he attempted to arrest him on Wednesday night of last week.

McCabe was known to be a desperate character, a burly, powerful ruffian, who would not hesitate at the perpetration of any villainous deed, so long as by its performance he could maintain his liberty and keep himself provided with money with which to supply his numerous wants. His whole career has been that of a dishonest ruffian, preying upon society, and the better part of his life has been spent within prison walls. He seems to have been possessed of sufficient cunning to outwit his keepers, and escape from not only the Kingston penitentiary but also from Sing-Sing and the Auburn State prison, but in each instance his new-found liberty has been of
John Brooke Trayes
brief duration. He seems to have been no sooner out of one jail than he was into another; and like most of his class acted the spy and sneak on his fellow prisoners to curry favour for himself.

After his recent escape from the penitentiary it might have been expected that he would have been anxious to conceal his identity until the heat of the hunt after him had subsided, and directed his steps to a locality in which he was not known, but instead of this he openly declared who he was on every opportunity, related the circumstances of his escape, produced his revolver with reckless freedom, and demanded something to eat or drink,—and immediately directed his steps to his old haunts.

McCabe's behavior during the day here was such that it was no very nice task to undertake to arrest him, and Constable Rankin showed his efficiency as an officer, and that be did not hesitate to perform his duty even when he felt that his own life was at stake. The convict had frequently said he would shoot any officer who attempted to arrest him, and it is not to be wondered at that when he turned round on Constable Rankin and told him to stand back or he would shoot him, that the latter drew his revolver and fired without hesitation. In such circumstances, when two parties are in such close proximity to each other, a great deal depends on who succeeds in firing first, and in this case we feel convinced Mr. Rankin was successful only because the revolver in the hand of McCabe refused to go off. His revolver is described as a cheap, worthless class of weapon, which will sometimes fire all right enough, but will occasionally stick.

It is fortunate for Mr. Rankin that it missed fire when presented at him, or he might be in the cemetery now instead of McCabe. Taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, we cordially agree with the verdict of the coroner's jury—that the constable merely fired in self-defence, and is to be commended for the fearless manner in which he performed his duty. Constable Rankin has proved himself a very efficient officer since his appointment, this being not the only instance in which he has undertaken a difficult task.

[McCabe's 'numerous wants' appear to have numbered two—food and drink; his old haunts—Port Hope boozers.]

from The Port Hope Times  October 18, 1883 page 5
The following letter from Mr. G. Cheney, General Superintendent of the Canadian Express Company, speaks for itself and voices the general sentiments on the subject throughout the country:—

Canadian Express Company
"Dear Sir,—I have read the 'Guide Extra' you sent me with some interest. I am glad that your police officer was up to his business, as it is very hard to see a good man sacrificed for a miserable creature like this burglar. I am sure the law and populace will exonerate the officer.
I wish, if you can learn particulars, you would let me know what this McCabe was put in the penitentiary for, and what is more particular to me, let me know what his initials are: as this Company had a serious trouble some twelve or fifteen years ago, in which a man by the name of 'P. McCabe' was mixed up, and this may be the same chap, and you may be able to get the information.
"Gen. Supt."

[This letter speaks to the subject not at all, it's inserted here because it links the name McCabe with a vague crime.
James McCabe was likely in prison 'twelve or fifteen years ago.'
There were at least two Peter McCabes living in Port Hope throughout this time.]

from The Port Hope Times  October 18, 1883 page 5
We are requested by Mr. Blackham that in justice to Mr. Thos. Crosby, whose name was coupled with that of McCabe in the evidence taken at the inquest, that while McCabe was in Mr. Blackham's hotel the latter saw Mr. Crosby passing, and being certain that he could identify the burglar, he called him in. The two went out together, but in a short time Mr. Crosby returned and told Mr. Blackham that he did not wish to be seen with McCabe. From reading the evidence it would appear that Mr. Crosby was an associate of the escaped convict, but such was not the case.

[Thomas Spencer Crosby, like McCabe and Johnson, was a Sailor.]

from The Port Hope Times  October 18, 1883 page 8
The Indian who was at Turner's hotel with McCabe on the day the latter was shot returned the next day, but was ordered to leave. He did so, and has not been seen since.

[Two passing references are made to this anonymous man. If he witnessed the shooting he might have given evidence less favourable to Rankin. Instead, he was dismissed as just a no-account 'Indian.']

from The Port Hope Times  October 18, 1883 page 8
On Friday afternoon last a little boy found buried behind the Grand Trunk Railway Station a quantity of silver plated ware which from its appearance had lain there but a short time. The lot consisted of eighteen forks, five salt spoons, one fish knife, one butter knife, seven tea spoons, and fourteen table spoons. The thieves evidently mistook them for solid silver, but after testing them by breaking some of the pieces thought best to bury them. The goods were placed in the hands of the police, and some of them have been claimed by Miss Frazer and Mrs. Smith, of Cobourg. There is good ground for connecting the name of McCabe with the robbery.

[What but malice would move Trayes to dredge up a story of stolen tableware and gratuitously associate it with McCabes' name?]

from the Times April 30, 1891
Some cranks in Cobourg are censuring Constable Rankin for using his club upon a fellow who interfered while he was making an arrest, and caused the escape of his prisoner. If the people of Cobourg approve of rowdyism, Chief Rankin would perhaps please them better by neglecting his duty.

No justice to be found in this sordid affair, or the newspaper account of it. This is not journalism.

Killing Jim McCabe was a good career move for William Rankin.
From following his father's trade as a Cooper, building barrels in Bolton, in 1881, he moved on to become a Police Constable in Port Hope by 1883; Chief Constable, Port Hope 1886; Chief Constable, Cobourg in 1891; Chief of Police, Napanee 1901-1911; Police Magistrate, Napanee in 1921. At the time of his brother Robert's death in 1925, Rankin was Chief Magistrate in Napanee.

William Rankin died in 1928, age 79. His grave in St John's Cemetery is marked with a stone.
William Johnson 1850-1929 and wife Charlotte Rankin occupy the same cemetery plot.

John Brooke Trayes died Oct 14, 1892, age 50, a highly respected member of the Port Hope Conservative establishment.
His grave in St John's Cemetery is marked with a bigger stone.

James 'Jim' McCabe, luckless son of Charles McCabe and Margaret Tague died, age 39, and lies in an unmarked grave somewhere in Union Cemetery, with JB Trayes' unholy denunciation for his epitaph.

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