Rourke Peace River, Alberta
Northern Alberta Regional Heritage FairProject:
Historical Mystery - Canada's First Political Assassination: Thomas D'Arcy McGee
In 1868 Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a Father of Confederation, was assisinated. James Patrick Whelan was convicted and executed for the murder. My project questioned who actually did it.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
The most interesting thing I learned was how the trial in 1868 was conducted. There were a lot of mistakes and questionable things done. Prime Minister MacDonald even sat beside the judge. Also it was the last public hanging in Canada.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
I learned a very importnat lesson about research. Every source seems to be a little bit different and you need to research a lot to make sure you are getting the real story. It is hard to uncover the real facts for history over 100 years old.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
If James Patrick Whelan went to trial today the police probably would not have had enough evidence to convict him. Police investigations and trials are handled much differently today. They would not publicly hang anyone now a days.