MS 658 Reel 112 Document 944- 947 (handwritten) Drummond Township

Toronto - January 27th 1857

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your inquiry as to Joseph Easby I have only to state that while attending the Session of Parliament here in 1829 or 1830 I have a recollection of Mr. Wm. Morris speaking to me about him and his making an arrangement with John Hay in whose house he lodged, to receive him and to bring him up. Wm. Easby the father of the boy had murdered all the other members of his family & then set fire to the log house in which they lived -- The fire did not however consume the remains and he so managed as to have them interred without any suspicion resting upon him of having murdered them. The youngest and only child spared, Joseph, was received at the time by a neighbour and it was in consequence of something said in the course of play with other children that a suspicion of foul play was excited and the bodies were disinterred. The sad truth was then ascertained that all had been barbarously murdered and Easby who was just about to leave the place was arrested. He was convicted and executed for the crime leaving the child he had spared, the instrument under providence of his detection without friends or relatives in the country. Hay having no family of his own willingly received the boy and for several years after I saw him in the house while lodging there during the Sessions of Parliament. I know that Hay and his wife were extremely kind to the boy and that they did not expect or receive any compensation for their care of him.

I have every reason to believe that their care and kindness were extended to him as long as he chose to remain with them and till he was old enough to earn something for himself.

I cannot say at what time he left them or whether he did not usually make his home with them till the death of Mrs. Hay. I have understood that he was drowned from a small schooner in which he was sailing, in the harbour of Toronto.

Tho' I believe Hay was influenced by a feeling of kinship & humanity in taking the boy under his care, yet I think in his present position if there are means of his estate that he has decidedly the best claim upon them-- at least I am not aware that any one has a more legitimate claim.

Yours very truly

A. Mc Lean

E.C. Jones Esq.