The Trial of Grace Marks


  • Ashley J. Banbury Mount Royal University



In 1843, domestic servant Grace Marks and stable boy James McDermott murdered their employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Hannah Nancy Montgomery. The murder took place on Kinnear’s farm near Richmond Hill, Ontario and their bodies were discovered by neighbours the next day. Marks and McDermott were captured shortly afterwards. During their trial for the murder of Kinnear, each blamed the other for instigating the murders. They were both sentenced to death, but only McDermott was hanged. The jury submitted a plea for mercy in the verdict of Grace Marks and her life was spared. She was incarcerated in the Kingston penitentiary for thirty years before being granted a pardon and released. Mystery still surrounds the trial of Grace Marks and James McDermott. Why was Grace Marks spared?


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