208: The Donnelly Family Massacre

Episode 208: On Feb 4, 1880, just past midnight 5 members of the Donnelly family (A mother and father, two sons, and a niece) we brutally murdered by a mob in their homes just outside of Lucan, Ontario, in Biddolph township. A crime that happened 142 years ago this month, but it is one that had its roots in the distant past, and that has echoed into the future in Canada right up to today. The family and their story became legendary, and often shocks people into the realization of how dark, and unforgiving life in early Canada could be. Numerous books, songs, tv shows, plays, and films have been made about the murders. There is even a Craft Beer brand in Ontario called The Black Donnelly’s Brewing Company, will illustrations of the family on their bottles. If you grew up in Ontario the massacre was actually part of the school curriculum. This is a case of victim blaming on a huge scale. Myths and legends sprung up about the family — perhaps somewhat to appease the guilty conscience of society. Even up to the early 1980’s if you went to Lucan people would say ‘we don’t talk about the Donnellys’


[The Vigilante Massacre | Maclean’s | June 1, 1950]

[Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the”Black Donnellys”]

[Black Donnellys – Wikipedia]

[History | Lucan Museum]

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