Patrick Kilroy – the bullying Butcher of Lytton

Esther Darlington MacDonald's story about a rather unlikeable character in the late 1800s.

by Esther Darlington MacDonald

Many colourful characters emerge from the history of the Fraser and Thompson canyons in the 1870’s and 1880’s. The pictures painted of the people and the hamlets of that era are, frankly, not terribly flattering. Today’s neat and tidy streets and avenues in Lytton, as well as Yale, might well be unsettled to know that their habitats were once, far less so. In fact, they were described as downright ‘rotten’ by the Reverend G.M. Grant in his book, Ocean to Ocean: Sandford Fleming’s Expedition Through Canada 1872.

The only exception was the Globe Hotel in Lytton, a veritable beacon of comfort and fine cuisine amid the squalor of huts, unpainted and not even white washed.

Louis Hautier was a Belgian, born in July 1822. He arrived in California in 1855, married there, and moved to Victoria in the spring of 1859, after gold was discovered on the Fraser River. He soon realized that the establishment of a hotel in Lytton might well prove a good business venture.

Leaving his pregnant wife in Victoria, he made the arduous trip to Lytton. It didn’t seem to matter to Hautier that the surrounding temporary shacks, huts and tents occupied by the gold seekers would scarcely qualify as permanent residents. But his impeccable appreciation of quality, along with a spirit that must have been indomitable, set him about having the hotel built, and built in the best possible taste.

Sandford Fleming’s Expedition Through Canada in 1872 made reference to the Globe Hotel described as a ‘hostelry’. The group stayed overnight at Cornwalls (Ashcroft Manor), and proceeded through rain, gusty winds and hillsides of rock where the only route was over narrow ledges that Simon Fraser had described as ‘death defying’ only a few years earlier. Towards the end of the day, the expedition finally approached the village at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. Though the outside of the ‘house’ (hotel) did not look at all promising, they were amazed by the change inside. In the dining room, Mr. Hautier and his pretty wife had comfortable rooms available, and the company dined sumptuously on petit gout de mouton, ‘with fixings’.

The clientele of the Hotel however, was a different proposition. ‘Dirty, drunken’ miners prevailed, calling out invitations for the guests to partake of claret, champagne, brandy, whatever their weary harts desired. They were advised to ‘Go through the form so as not to give offence’.

A very big Irish man named Patrick Kilroy, a butcher, became a thorn in the side of Hautier. One day, Hautier heard something about himself and his family attributed to Kilroy, that had the hotel man approach the big burly man, with a revolver in the pocket of his jacket. He took a strong ‘cudgel’ in hand, and approached the butcher. Kilroy was standing in the doorway of his shop. Hautier described the slanderer ‘in plain language’, and shook his stick at Kilroy to emphasize his remarks.

The butcher, more than a ‘bit of a bully’ did not appreciate the manner and the shaking stick of this puny little man who had dared to approach him. He was accustomed to saying anything he wished to say about anybody passing, however disparaging. The facts did not interest the butcher if it entertained others and made a good story.

With stick in his left hand, and his right hand on his revolver in the pocket of his jacket, Hautier tilted the revolver and fired. The bullet struck a glancing blow off Kilroy’s forehead. The over 200 pound butcher fell heavily to the ground, blood streaming from his head, and blackened by powder from the gun. The only witness to the incident was a man named Shal-lou. A number of people, attracted to the explosion of the revolver, arrived on the scene. They ran to Kilroy’s assistance and took him to a doctor. Meanwhile, the pistol remained in the pocket of Hautier’s jacket.

The butcher was known to be ‘tight fisted’ with his money and Dr. McInnes refused to treat Kilroy unless he was paid. Bill McWha, the proprietor of the Lytton Hotel, offered to pay the doctor. Knowing McWha to be a ‘man of his word’, the doctor proceeded to clean and dress the wound, which, in the end left no scar on Kilroy’s forehead. McWha was dismayed to be charged $300 by the doctor, a goodly sum in those days. Nevertheless, he paid.

Kilroy then made a complaint against Hautier, and the hotel man was committed to trial at the assizes held in Yale. Shal-lou was the star witness. Now Kilroy had had ‘many conversations with the witness’ and would give him all the meat he wanted in the belief that Shal-lou would testify to Kilroy’s credit. He hired A. Rocke Robertson to be his counsel. Judge Mathew Begbie officiated. Shal-lou told what he had seen in a straightforward manner. All the bribes and blandishments of Kilroy had failed to make him tell ‘nothing but the truth’. He told the court of the vicious attack Kilroy had made on Hautier, and that the hotel man had shot Kilroy in self defence. The fact was, that Kilroy had wrested the stick out of Hautier’s hand and had hit the hotel man with it. Judge Begbie asked Kilroy if he had done so, and the butcher hedged and would not say. Impatient with the evasions, Begbie threatened to lay a contempt of court charge against him. Kilroy was ordered to be locked up for six hours, and Hautier was acquitted.

Apparently, when Kilroy died, he left a small estate. In 1869, his brother-in-law knowing of the money held in a Philadelphia bank to the tune of $1,500 with interest accrued, made an affidavit that the butcher had died intestate in 1861. He then took the money out of the bank in his wife’s name. The bank was reluctant at first, but provided with the  necessary security, finally paid the money over.

If there is a moral to this tale, it probably lies in the danger of uttering slander. Not everyone carries a revolver in his jacket pocket to avenge slander, but what goes around, eventually comes back to haunt you, as it did the Lytton butcher named Patrick Kilroy.

Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit: http://www.sterlinglorence.com/)
Gravel is the new gold: Cyclist bumps new biking trend

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton

Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road — now Highway 97 — through Clinton. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Grant received for Cariboo Waggon Road restoration project north of Clinton

New Pathways to Gold hopes to start work this summer on restoring sections of historic road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Most Read