Percy Corkum Killed by Trueman Trefry at Hantsport, N.S.

The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · 3 Nov 1903, Tue · Page 8


Editor Hants Journal:

A terrible shooting incident occurred here in town Saturday evening in which young Percy Corkum, of Lockhartville lost his life.

Two boys, Hardwood Zwicker and Harry Riley, had gone up towards Mr. North’s with some other fellows. They left these and went into a neighbouring field and procured some turnips. They went down the street again and were sitting on the side of the road, opposite Mr. Trueman Trefry’s waiting for the return of those fellows whom they had left up the street. Percy Corkum, who had been working on Mr. Balcom’s farm came down past and stopped and spoke to these boys who were sitting on the side of the road, cutting the tops from their turnips. The Zwicker boy warned Percy against throwing anything at Mr. Trefry’s house. Notwithstanding Percy threw a turnip, which was about the size of a closed hand, which struck the board fence, bordering Mr. Trefry’s property, and fell back on the road, Percy had just turned around and was standing with his back towards the house. Quicker than can be told, the report of a gun was heard and the two boys, Hardwood and Harry, ran down the street as fast as possible,

Dr. Margeson was over in Mr. Gertridge’s meat shop when Mr. Trefry came to him and told him he had fixed a fellow. The doctor asked him what he meant and he said he had shot a boy. Dr. Margeson went down with a number of others and found the dead body of Percy Corkum lying on the side of the road, with blood issuing from his mouth. He was taken up to Mr. Balcom’s where the body remained till Sunday afternoon for the inquest.

Policeman Cohoon arrived on the scene among the first with a warrant and team and immediately drove Mr. Trefry to Windsor.

During the evening Dr. Margeson examined the body and found 126 No. 4 shot in the back, left arm, neck and cheek. A number of shot had entered the heart which caused his immediate death. A number of shot were found in the fence on the opposite side of the road. The place where he fell is only thirty-four feet from Mr. Trefry’s property.

The Coroner, Dr. Margeson, held an inquest on Sunday afternoon, and the jury in a body visited the remains of the young boy.

The funeral of Percy Corkum took place from the home of his grandfather, Mr. Rogers, in Lockhartville, and was attended by large numbers. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. E. B. Moore.

Riverbank Cemetery, Hantsport N.S.


Evangeline Hotel, Hantsport N.S.

This function spoken of in our last issue, came off on Hallowe’en, Saturday night, at the Evangeline House, It was a beautiful night and there was a large crowd present, filling the house handsomely. The hotel was decorated inside with autumn leaves and red berries very prettily, there were games and guessing fights with prizes, and bubble blowing, which was great fun, and apples were the foundation of everything, and the subject of everything, and proved very interesting and amusing. Music was also was interspersed, Miss Mary June Davison, Hantsport’s talented pianist, played on that instrument accompanied by the equally talented artist, Miss Lela Lockhart on the violin, and rendered some fine selections, to the enjoyment of every visitor, The general good time was however somewhat dampened and interrupted by the word which was brought in at 9 o’clock of the sad tragedy recorded in another column, and many startled pater and mater families, sought their homes, A lunch was served to those who remained at about 10 o’clock, Shortly after which the party broke up. The affair was a most decided success. There was about $20 taken at the door, where the sum of 15 cents obtained admission to all the festivities. The proceeds were in aid of the funds of Kings College Windsor. The ladies of the “auxiliary” of Hantsport were the promoters, and they deserve much credit on the efficient and agreeable manner in which the whole thing was gotten up and the programme carried out. It was an exceedingly good time at a very cheap figure.


There was a sad tragedy enacted in this town on Saturday evening last, which was Hallowe’en. A citizen of the town, Trueman Trefry, shot and killed a young fellow who is employed by Mr. W. C. Balcom, here by the name of Percy Corkum, a lad of about 15 years of age.

The 31st of October is well known all over the land as Cabbage night, when it has been the custom for the youths to transfer the product of gardens and fields in the shape of cabbage, turnips, beets and such like truck, to the premises of other people, and to behave themselves in an uproarious and not very respectable manner.

It seems that Trefry, who is a man of a family, living just the other side of what is known as the Willow Bridge across the line in Kings Co., and who works about town, had been bothered in former years by the boys to a greater than common extent, and more especially last year, after which he made threats, that if it occurred again, that he would shoot somebody. He also says that he made representations to the town authorities to this effect, but no notice was taken of his complaint.

However that may be, this 31st of October he laid in wait for the boys, and provided himself with a gun loaded with No. 4 shot, and at about 8:30 o’clock on that evening, as some youths passed his place and made some demonstrations at his house by firing some turnips in that direction he fired at the one who threw the vegetable and instantly killed him. The boy was Percy Corkum, as we before stated.

After shooting the boy, Trefry immediately went in search of Dr. Margeson, whom he found at the butcher shop of Mr. Gertridge, and told him before witnesses of what he had done, and that he had shot a boy. He then led the doctor and a number of others to the scene of the tragedy, which was not far distant. Upon examination the doctor found the boy quite dead, and had him taken to the house of his employer which was quite handy but in Kings Co. Upon a closer examination it was found that the lad had been shot in the back a little to the left of the backbone, and over the region of the heart. The distance between the boy and Trefry, at the time of the shooting was but 33 feet, Trefry being hidden behind a light board fence, and had fired through it where a board was gone. There was found to be 26 in the left arm, and three had passed through his cheek but only leaving a slight wound there. The shots in the boy’s back had passed clear through the outer skin of the stomach, and could be felt from the outside. His heart had therefore been riddled through and through by probably thirty or forty shots, any one of which would have caused death almost instantaneously.

Trefry was immediately arrested, and taken to jail at Windsor by policeman Cohoon. He made a full confession, and did not seem inclined to keep anything back in regard to the circumstances but justified himself and said it was the fault of the Hantsport authorities who had not protected him, and that he had to protect himself. On Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock the Coroner Dr. Margeson empannelled a Jury consisting of G. W. Woodworth, Foreman, Capt. D. T. Faulkner, F. E. Pentz, Geo. Comstock, John Reid, Capt. Charles Davison, E. C. Burgess, Capt. Chas. Lawrence, Capt. Robert Davison, F. A. Coffill, T. M. Smith and L. M. Wall, and an inquest was held at the Town Hall, after the Jury had viewed the body, and the verdict rendered, according to the facts adduced by the Witnesses, viz:

That the deceased Percy Corkum came to his death from a shot from a gun in the hands of some party in concealment on the evening of the 31st day of October between the hours of eight and nine o’clock.

Hardwood Zwicker sworn; – Live at Hantsport. Knew deceased. Was sitting on the western side of the road on the evening in question the 31st of October at about half-past eight o’clock on the northern side of the Willow Bridge leading to Kings County. Was on the King’s County side. Harry Riley was with me. Was only a short distance from Hantsport with two Woolaver boys and Riley and Corkum. We got some turnips out of a field and fired one or two at Trefry’s house which struck the door. Told Percy not to fire any more. Did not know that Trueman Trefry was there with a gun, but Percy fired another turnip that hit the board fence for it was light, and we could see plainly. Almost immediately a shot was fired, Did not hear Trefry speak, or make any noise except a rustling of the leaves inside the fence before the shot was fired. We then, Riley and I ran home, we were frightened. Heard Percy cry as if hurt, not very loud. Did not see Percy fall. Heard that Percy was dead later in the evening. It was about half-past 8 or 9 o’clock when the thing happened.

Harry Riley Sworn;- Am 14 years of age. Live in Hantsport. Knew Percy Corkum. Last night, Saturday 31st October was with the other boys Hardy and Percy. We left Mr. Balcom’s place and came down the street together towards the Willow Bridge. Sat down near the bridge waiting for Eddie and Stan Woolaver, who were coming in the same direction that we had come. Percy Corkum was about 12 feet from us, towards King’s County, on the westward and standing near the centre of the road. Corkum fired a turnip at the house of Trueman Trefry opposite. I had told him previously not to do so. Don’t know where it hit. Heard rustling of leaves and then the report of the gun at once afterwards. Did not see any one, and then ran home. Heard no words spoken from anyone. Heard outcry of Percy Corkum, and when I looked back I could see him lying on the ground quite still.

Frederick Alley Sworn: – Live in Hantsport. Knew Percy Corkum. On the evening of the 31st of October, last night, between the hours of 8 or 9, I was at the butcher shop of Mr. Gretridge on Main St., in Hantsport. Trueman Trefry came rushing into the shop inquiring for Dr. Margeson, who was inside. I heard him say that he had fixed a fellow down there and wanted the doctor to come at once and see him. He said that the boys had been bothering him and that he had shot one of them, and that he had been bothered by them before and had warned the town about it, and he had taken the law into his own hands. I went to the place where Percy Corkum lay. It was moonlight. He was on the other side of the bridge, found him lying near the centre of the wheel track on his face with his arms spread out. Trefry took hold of the body and dragged it further to the side of the road, and laid it down, I didn’t. I couldn’t, then Dr. Margeson came. I left. He, Corkum, was apparently dead when I got there.

Source – extracts from scrapbooks of George Burns