Transcript: The Doomed Donnellys of Ontario | Feb 05, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "The doomed Donnelys of Ontario. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says AS A FAMILY, THEY WERE INFAMOUS IN THEIR DAY. AND CERTAINLY THEIR DEMISE REMAINS AMONG THE MOST NOTORIOUS CRIMES OF 19TH CENTURY ONTARIO. KNOWN AS THE "BLACK" DONNELLYS, THEIR STORY HAS BEEN TOLD MANY TIMES IN THE PAST 140 YEARS. BUT NEVER IN QUITE THE WAY THAT KEITH ROSS LECKIE'S NEW NOVEL DOES. IT'S CALLED, "CURSED! BLOOD OF THE DONNELLYS," AND IT BRINGS KEITH ROSS LECKIE TO OUR STUDIO.

Keith is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with short curly gray hair. He's wearing a white shirt.
A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is black, featuring a black and white picture of a family with the faces crossed over in red.

Steve continues SO GOOD TO MEET YOU.

Keith says GOOD TO MEET YOU.

Steve says THIS WAS A WONDERFUL BOOK, I GOTTA SAY.

Keith says WELL, THANK YOU.

Steve says I REALLY ENJOYED IT.

Keith says IT'S QUITE A ROLLICKING STORY.

Steve says ROLLICKING IS A GOOD WAY TO PUT IT. FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO FOR A LONG TIME, THEY WILL KNOW THE STORY OF THE DONNELLYS FROM OUTSIDE LONDON, ONTARIO, BUT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T LIVED HERE A LONG TIME, THEY MAY NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. GIVE US THE BASIC OUTLINE OF WHO THE DONNELLYS WERE.

The caption changes to "Keith Ross Leckie. Author, 'Cursed!'"
Then, it changes again to "A legacy of hate."

Keith says THE DONNELLYS WERE THE MATRIARCH AND PATRIARCH WERE JIM AND JOANNA WHO CAME FROM... ISLAND DURING THE YEARS OF THE FAMINE AND POLITICAL TROUBLE AND REBELLION AND TURMOIL, AND THEY... JIM WAS BASICALLY THROWN OFF HIS LAND, AND THEY CAME AS TEENAGERS BASICALLY TO CANADA AND BEGAN TO HOMESTEAD. BUT THEY WERE BASICALLY REFUGEES, AND I THINK IN THESE DAYS WITH MORE NUMBERS OF REFUGEES IN THE WORLD THAN THERE'S EVER BEEN BEFORE, IT'S AN INTERESTING THING TO GO BACK AND STUDY JIM AND JOANNA AND THE DONNELLYS AS REFUGEES. BASICALLY THE SYRIANS OF THE 1840S.

Steve says HOW DID THEY END UP OUTSIDE LONDON, ONTARIO?

Keith says WELL, THERE WAS... IT WAS THROUGH WORD OF MOUTH THAT A LOT OF THE PEOPLE FROM TIPPERARY WERE HEADED TO LONDON, ONTARIO AND SOUTHERN ONTARIO. LONDON HAD BEEN BOUGHT UP BASICALLY BY THE ENGLISH AND THE SCOTS, AND SO THE IRISH WERE PUSHED NORTH INTO LESS FERTILE LANDS, BUT NOT BAD LANDS, AND THEY COULD MAKE A GO OF IT UP THERE.

Steve says NOW, THEY WERE CATHOLIC.

Keith says THEY WERE.

Steve says AND THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH A MOSTLY PROTESTANT PROVINCE OF ONTARIO BACK THEN. HOW DID THAT WORK ITSELF OUT?

Keith says THAT'S TRUE. THE COURTS AND THE GOVERNMENT WERE SCOTS AND BRITISH, SO NON-CATHOLIC, AND THEY WERE... THEY HAD A TOUGH GO OF IT. THE CATHOLICS, THEY BECAME DEFENSIVE. THERE WAS ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH IN LUCAN, WHICH IS VERY STRONG, VERY CENTRE OF THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, IN DEFENCE OF THEMSELVES BECAUSE THE ENGLISH AND THE SCOTS AND OTHER PEOPLE IN POWER COULD DOMINATE AND SO THE IRISH HAD TO STICK TOGETHER AND SORT OF FIGHT BACK WHERE THEY HAD TO.

Steve says AND WHAT BUSINESSES WERE THEY IN?

Keith says THE DONNELLYS, THEY BEGAN AS HOMESTEADERS, AND THEY GREW CROPS AND SO ON. LATER ON THEY GOT INTO HORSE TRADING AND STUDDING SERVICES AND STAGECOACH BUSINESS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says NOW THEY WEREN'T PUSSY CATS EITHER, RIGHT? I THINK WE CAN SAY THAT. AND MAYBE YOU CAN HELP FILL IN SOME OF THE BLANKS THAT OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS MAY HAVE ABOUT WHY THE COMMUNITY ULTIMATELY TURNED SO MURDEROUSLY... HAD SUCH MURDEROUS ANIMOSITY TOWARDS THEM.

Keith says WELL, IT'S A GOOD QUESTION. IT IS IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE THAT WENT THAT NIGHT TO THEIR TWO HOMESTEADS AND KILLED EVERYONE THEY COULD AND BURNED THEM TO THE GROUND, THEY WERE CATHOLICS AS WELL. AND WHAT HAPPENS WAS THE DONNELLYS, WHEN THEY LEFT... FIRST OF ALL, THEY LEFT TIPPERARY, THE COUNTY THERE IN IRELAND WAS CONSIDERED THE MOST UNRULY AND CRIME RIDDEN OF THE COUNTIES OF IRELAND AT THE TIME. AND WHEN THEY CAME TO LUCAN, EVEN IN THE YEARS THAT THE DONNELLY PARENTS CAME TO LUCAN, LUCAN WAS CONSIDERED THE ROUGHEST TOWN IN ONTARIO. THERE WERE FIGHTS EVERY NIGHT AND IT WAS... THERE WAS A LOT OF STRIFE. THE DONNELLYS HAD BEEN PORTRAYED AS MONSTERS, AS CRIMINAL, VIOLENT CRIMINALS, AND THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT THAT I'D LIKE TO MENTION. AND CERTAINLY THERE WERE NO ANGELS. THERE WERE SEVEN BOYS THAT WERE PRETTY GOOD LOOKING, THEY HAD MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS BECAUSE OF THEIR PROSPERITY. THEY WERE WOMANIZERS AND DANCERS AND PARTIERS AND DRINKERS AND FIGHTERS, AND THEY WERE AN INTIMIDATING BUNCH. BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS, THE REASON THAT THEY WERE PROSPEROUS IS THAT THEY DID BUSINESS, BOTH ON THE STAGECOACH LINE AND WITH THE HORSE TRADING WITH PROTESTANTS PROTESTANTS, AND IT WAS FROWNED UPON. AND THEY WERE CONDEMNED FOR THAT FROM THE PULPIT AT ST. PATRICK'S IN LUCAN BY JOHN CONNOLLY, THE PRIEST, FATHER JOHN CONNOLLY. AND HE POINTED THEM OUT AND SAID, YOU KNOW, THE HELL FIRE WILL CONSUME YOU. AND THERE WAS A REAL... BECAUSE THEY WERE... I MEAN, YOU COULD SAY, YES, THEY WERE NO ANGELS, BUT THEY WERE PROGRESSIVE IN TERMS OF NOT WANTING TO TAKE THE OLD FEUDS OF IRELAND TO ONTARIO.

Steve says WE SHOULD... I'M JUST THINKING WE SHOULD MENTION AS WELL, I MEAN, THE BOYS WERE HELL RAISERS AND THEY GOT INTO THEIR SHARE OF TROUBLE AND GOT INTO THEIR SHARE OF FIGHTS AND, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS KILLING AND... OKAY, THERE WAS ALL OF THAT. BUT THE WOMAN WHO WAS SORT OF THE HEAD OF THIS HOUSEHOLD, WHO WAS TRYING HER BEST, ESPECIALLY WHEN, YOU KNOW, HER HUSBAND HAD TO GO INTO HIDING FOR A LONG TIME BECAUSE THE AUTHORITIES WERE AFTER HIM.

Keith says YES.

Steve says SHE'S SORT OF THE ONE WHO BASICALLY KEPT IT ALL TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS.

Keith says YEAH, SHE IS...

Steve says TALK TO US ABOUT HER.

Keith says WELL, SHE'S AN ICONIC FIGURE, A FEMALE FIGURE THAT IS REALLY AT THE HEART OF THIS WHOLE STORY. SHE CAME OVER WITH JIM AND, YOU KNOW, WAS IN THE DIRT CREATING A FARM OUT OF NOTHING. THIS WAS RAW WILDERNESS, AND THEY HAD TO CUT THE TREES AND HAUL THEM AWAY AND, YOU KNOW, BURN THE BRANCHES AND OPEN UP THE FIELDS. AN INCREDIBLE STORY OF SURVIVAL WHEN THEY HAD ALMOST NOTHING TO START WITH. AND IN THE MEANTIME, SHE WAS HAVING EIGHT CHILDREN, SEVEN BOYS AND ONE DAUGHTER, JENNY. POOR JENNY WHO NO BOY IN THE REGION WOULD DATE BECAUSE HER BROTHERS WOULD BEAT THEM UP. SHE WAS LOVELORN FOR A LONG TIME. SO THESE... JOANNA BROUGHT UP ALL OF THESE KIDS, AND WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS JIM WAS ACCUSED AND CONVICTED OF MURDER VERY EARLY ON, WHEN THE KIDS WERE JUST BORN, WHEN THEY JUST... THE KIDS WERE EVERY YEAR. THEY WOULD HAVE ANOTHER CHILD. AND JUST WHEN SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH JENNY, JIM WAS CONVICTED OF MURDER AND WENT ON THE RUN FOR A YEAR.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says WHICH I HAVE TO SAY YOU DESCRIBE IN EXCRUCIATINGLY GORY DETAIL IN THE BOOK. YOU REALLY DO. YOU GO THERE.

Keith says THE KILLING?

Steve says YES.

Keith says WELL, IT'S TRUE THERE WAS A RAGE THAT JIM LIVED WITH, AND IT WAS MANIFESTED THERE IN THE KILLING OF FARRELL. BUT I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT FOR A YEAR JOANNA SUPPORTED HIM AND, YOU KNOW, WOULD HAVE THE KIDS BRING HIM FOOD IN THE WOODS. HE LIVED IN THE WOODS AND HE KEPT OPERATING HIS FARM. HE WOULD GO OUT AND WORK THE CROPS, WORK THE FARM FOR A FULL YEAR, AND THE CONSTABLES WOULD COME AND TRY TO CATCH HIM, AND THEY ALMOST DID A COUPLE OF TIMES. THEY SHOT AT HIM TWICE, AND HE WOULD RUN AWAY, AND HE KNEW HIS FARM AND HE KNEW HIS WOODS, SO HE COULD KEEP AWAY FROM THEM, AND HE ALWAYS HAS A FAST HORSE CLOSE. BUT AN INTERESTING IMAGE IS HE USED TO PUT ON JOANNA'S DRESS TO GO OUT IN THE FIELD AND HOE WEEDS, WHATEVER, OR PLANT SEEDS. SO THEY WOULD... NEIGHBOURS WOULD SEE THIS RATHER STURDY LOOKING FIGURE IN A WOMAN'S DRESS OUT WORKING THE FIELDS.

Steve says I HAVE TO SAY, I FIND YOUR TREATMENT OF THIS STORY TO BE VERY FRESH AND ORIGINAL. AND I HAD A HARD TIME PUTTING THE BOOK DOWN, BUT IT'S NOT LIKE THIS STORY HASN'T BEEN TOLD BEFORE, RIGHT? THIS IS THE SUBJECT OF BOOKS AND MOVIES AND PLAYS AND LOTS OF STORYTELLERS HAVE GONE HERE IN THE PAST. SO I DO WONDER WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU HAD SOMETHING KIND OF NEW TO BRING TO THE TABLE FOR THIS.

The caption changes to "A contemporary message."

Keith says I'VE ALWAYS BEEN ATTRACTED BY THE DONNELLY STORY. WHEN I WAS 11 YEARS OLD, MY FATHER, WHO WAS A TEACHER, HAD GROWN UP IN A FARMHOUSE JUST WEST OF LONDON AND KNEW THE DONNELLY STORY WELL. HE TOOK ME WHEN I WAS 11 TO LUCAN, TO THE GENERAL STORE, AND STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DONNELLYS, AND I REMEMBER THE PROPRIETOR SAID WE DON'T TALK ABOUT THIS DONNELLYS. AND SO THERE WAS...

Steve says STILL?

Keith says WELL, THIS WAS 40 YEARS AGO.

Steve says OH, ALL RIGHT.

Keith says OR MORE. BUT THERE WAS THAT TENSION, AND AS A KID, I SAID WHAT IS ALL THIS ABOUT. SO THE STORY HAS REALLY INTERESTED ME ALL THE WAY THROUGH, AND I DO HAVE A THEORY THAT... WELL, I'LL GO INTO IT, BUT THE REASON I WANTED TO RE-WRITE THIS IS IT'S A BEAUTIFUL, BIG EPIC STORY THAT BEGINS IN IRELAND AND GOES THROUGH TO THE YEARS OF CREATING THIS FAMILY AND THE STRIFE WITH THE OTHER TOWNSPEOPLE AND THE MASSACRE ITSELF AND THEN THE MURDER TRIAL AFTERWARDS. THERE WERE... THE TRIAL ITSELF IS FASCINATING.

Steve says A BIT OF A JOKE, WASN'T IT? MAYBE THAT'S NOT THE RIGHT WORD TO USE, BUT IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE JUSTICE REALLY PREVAILED.

Keith says MY THEORY IS THAT AT THE VERY BEGINNING THE PLACE WAS JUST INUNDATED WITH PRESS FROM THE STATES, FROM CANADA. THEY WERE FASCINATED BY THIS MASSACRE. IT WAS AT A LEVEL OF PUBLIC INTEREST THAT RIVALLED THE ASSASSINATION OF LINCOLN AT THE TIME. AND SO THE PRESS WAS TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF SYMPATHY FOR THE DONNELLYS AT THAT POINT, BUT THEN THERE WAS SEVEN... SIX MEN ARRESTED, AND THEY HAD CHARGES AGAINST THEM FOR MURDER, AND IF THEY WERE CONVICTED, THEY WOULD ALL HANG. THESE WERE THE HEADS OF HOUSEHOLDS IN THE LUCAN AREA, AND SO AT THE BEGINNING THERE WAS SYMPATHY FOR THE DONNELLYS, BUT LATER IN THE TRIAL, AS THE MONTHS WENT ON, THERE BEGAN TO GET... DEVELOP A SYMPATHY FOR THE VIGILANTES, FOR THE KILLERS, BASICALLY, AND THERE WAS OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT THEY WERE THE MEN THAT HAD DONE THIS, AND THERE WAS EVEN CHARGES BEING... THERE WERE CHARGES BEING PREPARED THAT IF THEY WERE CONVICTED THERE WERE MORE PEOPLE THAT WERE GOING TO BE CHARGED WITH BEING PART OF THIS MOB OF 40 VIGILANTES. SO IT WOULD HAVE DEVASTATED THE TOWN HAD THEY BEEN CONVICTED AND HANGED. SO THE CHURCH WAS VERY INVOLVED BECAUSE THE CHURCH WAS IMPLICATED IN THE ACTIONS OF THE VIGILANTES, AND I'M SURE THAT THE PRIEST NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD GO THAT FAR, BUT THERE'S DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF HIM SPEAKING AGAINST THE DONNELLYS, SETTING UP WHAT WE'VE CALLED THE PEACE SOCIETY, BEGAN AS THE PEACE SOCIETY AND MAKING PEOPLE SIGN, AND EVERYBODY SIGNED IN THE CONGREGATION EXCEPT THE DONNELLYS. SO THE CHURCH WAS IMPLICATED, AND THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT WANT TO DESTROY THE COMMUNITY. SO THE OUTCOME OF THE TRIAL WAS NOT GUILTY FOR THESE SIX MEN, AND THE COURT PRONOUNCED THAT THE DONNELLYS WERE KILLED BY PARTIES UNKNOWN. THAT'S THE FINAL RENDITION OF THEIR FINDINGS.

Steve says YOU KNOW, AS I READ THE TRIAL PROCEEDINGS IN YOUR BOOK, I COULDN'T HELP BUT THINK THE FIX IS IN. WE KNOW WHAT THE OUTCOME IS GOING TO BE.

Keith says I DO BELIEVE, AND IN THE BOOK IT COMES OUT, THAT AT THE BEGINNING THEY START OUT WITH EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS, JOHNNY O'CONNOR, WONDERFUL CHARACTER, 11-YEAR-OLD KID.

Steve says LET ME DO A QUOTE, BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT LITTLE JOHNNY HERE WITH A QUOTE. SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS GRAPHIC UP.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The lone witness." The quote reads "She shouts at them, 'You cowards! You're all damned to hell. I'll see you there!"
Finally, Jim Carroll raised a club and brought it down on Johannah's head. Johannah fell to her knees. Mr. Jim and Tom both pulled away from their attackers and tried to protect Johannah. Then the vigilantes used their clubs under the swinging light.
I tried to open the upstairs door but I gave it up and scrambled down the stairs again, crossed the floor and went back into the bedroom. It was as if I were invisible, for no one seemed to lay eyes on me, in that if they did and properly thought to kill me as a witness, I were surely gone."
Quoted from Keith Ross Leckie, "Cursed!" 2020.

Steve says DID I DO AN OKAY IRISH ACCENT AT THE END THERE?

Keith says NOT BAD.

Steve says THIS POOR LITTLE KID IS THERE ON THE NIGHT AND WITNESSES THE MASSACRE.

Keith says RIGHT.

Steve says YIKES.

The caption changes to "Truth is stranger than..."

Keith says AND HIS TESTIMONY WAS CONSISTENT. HE HAD TO GIVE IT MANY TIMES AND IT WAS VERY CONSISTENT IN TERMS OF HIS MOVES, WHO WAS DOING WHAT TO WHOM, AND YOU KNOW, I PUT THAT IN THE BOOK AS ACCURATELY AS I COULD.

Steve says WELL, LET ME RAISE... OF COURSE WHEN YOU READ A BOOK LIKE THIS, YOU'RE WONDERING, NOW, IS THIS TRUE OR IS THIS TRUE OR IS HE PLAYING WITH THE FACTS HERE OR IS HE TAKING LIBERTIES HERE? DID YOU HAVE AN INTERNAL BAROMETER AS TO WHAT YOU MIGHT USE POETIC LICENSE WITH AND WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE VERY STRICT ON THE FACTS WITH?

Keith says YES. WELL, I'VE BEEN... I'M ALWAYS ATTRACTED BY TRUE STORIES. I'VE GOT A LOT OF MOVIES AND MINI SERIES AND SO ON, LIKE THE AVRO ARROW AND THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION, AND I LOVE BIG EPIC CANADIAN STORIES, AND THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE. BUT I DO HAVE A LINE IN THE SAND. I DO START WITH THE FACTS. I WANT TO DRAMATIZE THE STORY AND START WITH THE FACTS, AND I DO HAVE A LINE I DON'T LIKE TO CROSS. IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE THE MASSACRE ITSELF IS EXTREMELY ACCURATE TO THE COURT RECORDS AND THE TESTIMONY THAT WAS GIVEN. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER EPISODES THAT IF I CAN, I WILL STICK TO THE FACTS. BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO ADJUST THINGS A LITTLE BIT FOR DRAMATIC, ENTERTAINING POSSIBILITIES, AND I'LL GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE. THERE WERE TWO BOYS, TWO OF HIS SONS, ROBERT... SORRY. TWO OF HIS SONS, JAMES AND MICHAEL, THE HORSEMAN AND WOMANIZER AND JAMES THE ALCOHOLIC ARSONIST. THEY DID... THEY WERE KILLED IN A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME BEFORE THE MASSACRE, BUT I WANTED TO HAVE A BUILDUP TO THE MASSACRE, A SUCCESSFUL ONE, AND I WANTED THEM TO BE INCLUDED, AND THE THINGS THAT LED TO THE MASSACRE ALSO INCLUDED THEIR MURDERS. SO WHAT I DID WAS I MOVED IT... I MOVED THEIR DEATHS, EVEN THOUGH THEIR DEATHS WERE WEEKS OR EVEN MONTHS BEFORE THE MASSACRE, I MOVED IT UP JUST TO BEFORE THE MASSACRE TO JUST GIVE THAT BUILD, THAT DRAMATIC BUILD UP TO WHEN THE MASSACRE OCCURS.

Steve says THAT'S POETIC LICENSE.

Keith says AND THAT WAS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST THING I DID IN TERMS OF CHANGING STORY STRUCTURE.

Steve says IN OUR REMAINING COUPLE OF MINUTES HERE, TELL ME THIS. ARE THERE ANY DONNELLY DESCENDANTS STILL AROUND?

Keith says WILL DONNELLY, I DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS BY THEIR DESIGN, BUT THEY SORT OF DISAPPEARED, AND NOW THERE ARE TWO... THERE'S THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF WILL DONNELLY AND THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF MICHAEL... SORRY, NOT MICHAEL. PATRICK. THEY WERE TWO OF THE SURVIVORS OF THE DONNELLY CLAN.

Steve says EVER TALK TO THEM?

Keith says NO, NO. WELL, I REALLY ONLY FOUND OUT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. IT CAME OUT THROUGH THE MUSEUM IN LUCAN.

Steve says YOU GOT TO WANT TO MEET THEM, I ASSUME.

Keith says YEAH, BUT THE MUSEUM, IT'S A STRANGE THING THAT'S HAPPENED TO THE MUSEUM IN LUCAN, AND LUCAN IS WHERE, YOU KNOW, THE DONNELLYS BATTLED THE FLANAGANS AND THE REGANS ON THE MAIN STREET THERE OUTSIDE THE CENTRAL HOTEL. I WENT FOR A READING THERE AT THE LIBRARY, AND I HAD A GREAT TURNOUT, BUT THE MUSEUM HAS... THERE WAS A DEFENSIVENESS, THIS DEFENSIVENESS THAT I TALK ABOUT ABOUT WHEN I WAS A KID AND FELT IT, AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE MUSEUM AND, YOU KNOW, THE CITY FATHERS OR THE TOWN FATHERS HAVE KIND OF DECIDED TO EMBRACE THE DONNELLYS AND NOT BE DEFENSIVE. SO THEY ARE MUCH MORE OPEN. THE MUSEUM TALKS ABOUT THE MASSACRES, TALKS ABOUT THE VIGILANTES, AND MANY OF THE VIGILANTES, THEIR DESCENDENTS, AT LEAST, STILL LIVE IN THE TOWN, AND SEVERAL OF THEM CAME UP TO ME AFTER MY READING AND SAID WE LIKE WHAT YOU DID WITH THE BOOK. AND THESE ARE, YOU KNOW, THE... THESE ARE THE SAME NAMES AS THE PEOPLE THAT WERE CHARGED WITH THE MURDERS OF THE DONNELLYS. SO I FELT... I DON'T KNOW IF THE BOOK KIND OF WAS VINDICATED MY EFFORTS THAT THEY WOULD COME UP AND DO THAT. AND JUST IN KEEPING WITH THE EMBRACING OF THE DONNELLY STORY IN LUCAN, WHICH IS A GREAT LITTLE TOWN, BEAUTIFUL TOWN, VERY WARM AND FRIENDLY NOW I FIND, IS THEY'VE GOT BLACK DONNELLY ALE AND STOUT. YOU CAN GO ACROSS TO THE ROADHOUSE FROM THE LIBRARY AND NOW THEY ARE GETTING INTO INSPIRED DONNELLY FOODS, LIKE JOANNA'S HOT WINGS AND THEY ARE KIND OF... I LIKE TO SEE THAT. I THINK IT'S A FRESH NEW TAKE ON THE DONNELLYS, AND THE MUSEUM IS TERRIFIC ON THE MAIN STREET IF ANYBODY WANTS TO SEE.

Steve says GREAT, AND IT ALL HAPPENED 140 YEARS AGO YESTERDAY.

Keith says YES.

Steve says AMAZING. THAT'S AMAZING. YOU HAVE A TATTOO I CAN SEE?

Keith says THIS COMES BACK TO THE IDEA OF TAKING TRUE STORIES AND DRAMATIZING THEM, AND YOU KNOW, TRYING TO STICK TO THE FACTS, TRYING TO TELL THE TRUTH.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler."

Steve says SHOW IT TO THAT CAMERA OVER THERE, IF YOU WOULD, PLEASE.

Keith rolls up his right sleeve and shows a large tattoo on his arm. It is a phrase written in cursive lettering.

He says OKAY. WELL, THIS IS WHAT I DO. SHOULD I...

Steve says READ IT IF YOU WOULD, SURE.

Keith says IT SAYS HERE... IT'S A QUOTE BY MARK TWAIN, AND IT SAYS EVERYTHING HERE IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE, EXCEPT WHAT ISN'T. AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

[Laughter]

Steve says THAT'S A GREAT QUOTE. THAT'S A GREAT QUOTE, AND YOU OBVIOUSLY LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT IT'S GOING TO BE A PERMANENT PART OF YOU.

Keith says WELL, IT'S WHAT I DO. IT'S WHY I'M NOT A JOURNALIST. I'M A DRAMATIST. I DO MOVE THE FACTS AROUND BUT I TRY TO STICK TO THE TRUTH.

Steve says KEITH, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I ENJOYED THE BOOK... I THINK I DID, SO MAYBE I CAN. CURSED! BLOOD OF THE DONNELLYS IS WHAT IT'S CALLED, AND WE'RE GLAD IT'S BROUGHT YOU TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Keith says IT'S BEEN A GREAT PLEASURE, STEVE. THANK YOU.

Watch: The Doomed Donnellys of Ontario