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Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'


Trial & Sentence

Of JAMES GORDON, who is to be Executed at Dumfries, on the 6th June, 1821, for the Bar-
barous Murder of James Elliot, a Poor Pedlar Boy, by Knocking him on the Head with a
Wooden 'Clog, in a Lonely Muir, in November last.


The Court of Justiciary was opened here by
the Lord Justice Clerk and Lord Gillies.

James Gordon alias James M'Donald or
O'Donald,' accused of murdering John Elliot,
at a solitary place on the farm of Upper Cas-
sock, parish of Eskdalemuir, on the 14th of
November; 1820, was placed at the bar.

From the evidence it appeared that William
Glendinning, a lad about 15 or 16, son to Ar-
chibald Glendinning, tenant in Upper Cassock,
parish of Eskdalemuir, while employed on the
26th of November last, (a Sunday), in looking
after his father's sheep, he discovered, at a lone-
ly place called Steelbush Edge, the body of a
dead boy, who was stretched on his back on the
grass or bent, with one hand across his breast;
and the other extended on the ground. This
was in the afternoon of Sunday, and witness
immediately went home and told his Family
what he had seen. His father and brother, an-
other youth, then yoked a Cart, and accompan-
ied him to Steelbush-edge, where they found
the dead body, which they placed in a cart a-
midst Some Straw, and covered with an old
plaid, and immediately drove homewards. Mr.
Glendinning now sent for Mr. David Graham,
Surgeon in Burncleugh, who examined the body
when it appeared that there was a cut or con-
tusion on the chin, a cut above the right eye,
and a great many wounds on the back of the
head, which in the opinion of the surgeon, must
have been the cause of his death.

The same day the body was interred, the
witness was again on the heights, in company
with a neighbour herd, where he saw a pair of
Iron-shod clogs lying within about 14 yards of
the spot where Elliot's body was found. The
three Glendinnings, that is the father and his
two sons, corroborated one another in every
particular, as to the finding of the body, and
they also recollected a man and a boy coming
to Upper Cassock a short time before this, and
described pretty minutely the appearance of
them both. The boy carried a small red wood-
en box, coarsely painted, and slung from his
shoulders by a leather strap; and the man a
small barn bag, and two hare-skins. The man
wore clogs, or Wooden shoes, the mark of which
they observed in the mud and which were
strongly bound round with iron and also shod
on the heels with the same metal, and one
cauker being circular, and the other of the
shape of a horse shoe.

It was sometime during the afternoon of the

14th November that the murder had been com-
mitted, and one of the medical gentlemen gave
it as his opinion that Gordon had held one of
the before-mentioned ponderous clogs by the
heel, and beat the poor boy on the head with it
until he had effected his horrid purpose. He
had then, it would appear, dropped the clogs
at a short distant from the body, and carried
off the box, which he kept in his possession for
two of three days, when after rifling it, he flung
it into a burn on the road leading to Ettrick;
where it was found on the 16th of November
by a lad of the name of Thomas Anderson.
Gordon fastened himself on this unfortunate
youth for three days previous to the murder,
although they had no previous acquaintance;
was seen entering along with him into the Wilds.
of Eskdalemuir, about three o'clock in the aft-
ternon, and on the evening of the same day-,
was again seen emerging from these wilds alone;
and in possession of and selling articles from the
pack, which was identified as having belonged
to the murdered boy; and father, that the in-
instrument apparently made use of in commit-
ting the murder was a clog, which was on the
foot of Gordon when they were last seen to-

After the murder the travelled through
Peebles-shire, where all trace of him was lost,
till the month of January last; when He was
apprehended at Nairn, where he emitted two-
declarations:?In the first he denied all know-
ledge of Elliot, but in the other he admitted
having teen in company with him a short time

He was found Guilty of Robbery and Mur-
der, and after an excellent address from the
Lord Justice Clerk he was sentenced to be
Executed on the 6th June, and that his body
be given to Dr. Maxwell for dissection.

The criminal behaved during this address in
a very unbecoming manner, frequently exclaim-
ing that he had never touched the clogs, and
that he had not got justice He is a native of
Ireland of a very forbidden aspect, about 5 feet
2 inches in height much marked with the small
pox, and apparently blind of the left eye. He
can neither read nor write.

The poor boy, a native, we believe, of Hex.
ham, in England, was rather weak in his intel-
lects, and being of a slender, delicate frame,
gamed his livlihood by carrying a small pack,
containing a few articles of hardware and Sta-
tionary, which, According to evidence, could
not have exceeded the value of a few shillings.

Printed by John Muir.

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Date of publication: 1820-1821   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(019)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'
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