St. Thomas – Jailyard

 Elgin County Jail Yard

Court House

St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

ST 510

OGS # 5676

Elgin County Branch, OGS
November 1985
Tony Hofstee

Revised and formatted for the Internet and Mobile Devices 9 September 2017 by Bruce C. Johnson Jr.

Copyright by the Genealogical Society, Elgin County Branch 1999

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microform reproduction, recording, or otherwise – without prior permission of the publisher.

Elgin County Jail Yard


John HENDERSHOTT and William David WELTER were hanged on June 18, 1895 for the murder of John Hendershott’s nephew William Henry Hendershott.

William Hendershott boarded with his uncle John Hendershott and a fellow boarder, William Welter, who was engaged to John’s daughter Mary. Welter and John Hendershott took out two insurance policies on William Hendershott. They were valued at $11,000 and named John as beneficiary.

On December 14, 1894, John and his daughter Mary drove into Eden, forty miles from home. About 3 p.m. Welter went to the house of his cousin, Charles Welter, claiming that while chopping wood, a falling tree had killed William. In actual fact, Welter had murdered William Hendershott with an axe.

The above was taken from various newspaper articles.

Amherstburg Echo 21 June 1895- hanging of John HENDERSHOTT and David WELTER

John A. HENDERSHOTT, born Dec. 6, 1850, died June 18, 1895 (hanged) son of Jacob & Charity (Horning) HENDERSHOTT of Walsingham

William David WELTER, born June 1870, died June 18, 1895 (hanged) son of Isaac WELTER of Southwold & Samantha (Amy) Ann DINGMAN of Westminster

The above two men were buried in the Elgin County Jail yard grounds.
William Henry Hendershott, born November 28, 1871, murdered December 14, 1894 by William David Welter and his uncle John A. Hendershott as accessory. He was a son of David M. Hendershott and Sarah House both formerly of Southwold but in 1895 of Walsingham.
Thanks to Don Cosens and Howard Mills for supplying the newspaper articles and the dates.

North American wide news reports on the Hanging from Newspapers.com (paid subscription required)

Recent News About These Burials

During an archeological dig on the courthouse property in the former parking lot area on July 6, 2010, a single grave was unearthed, containing remains of two bodies.  The grave was located in the area of the former prison exercise yard, within walls of the jail which was torn down in 1985.  An investigation was conducted, and the remains were determined to be those of John Hendershott and William Welter.

The archeological dig was undertaken in preparation for a $100-million expansion project at the courthouse facility.

The Provincial Registrar of Cemeteries has given notice of the intention to declare the site an unapproved cemetery and, according to a notice, “invites representatives of the persons whose remains may still be interred in the former cemetery to contact the registrar within two weeks after July 28, 2010”.

(taken from the St. Thomas Times-Journal, July 21, 2010)

Remains Reburied in St. Thomas Cemetery, West Avenue

On Monday, September 27, the remains of William Welter and John A. Hendershott were reburied in St. Thomas Cemetery on West Avenue, near the Mausoleum.  A simple ceremony, in the presence of about 20 people, was conducted by Rev. Roger Landell of First United Church and retired Baptist minister Rev. Clarence Roberts.  Local historian Don Cosens also gave a eulogy.  Their final resting place is to be marked by two flat markers.

(taken from the St. Thomas Times-Journal, September 29, 2010)