Meet the people of the KellyGang story
I was a horse expert, lived near Mansfield (later at Lake Rowan) and KellyGang supporter
Links to the KellyGang , Background , Run in with the law , Fitzpatrick Incident , Gold Mining , Stringybark Creek Murders , Escape North , Euroa Robbery , Mass arrest of sympathizers , Jerilderie Robbery , Later in 1879 , Early in 1880 , Death of Aaron Sherritt , Glenrowan Siege , after the siege , Ned Kelly's Trial , Royal Commission , Family ,
brothers Tom... sisters ?... wife Bridget Lloyd, parents John Wright. children Jack... aunt ...
Tom Wright was deaf and dumb.
I was 6 foot 1 inches tall and weighed 13 1/2 stone [JJK)
Did my family come to Victoria from South Australia (Argus5/7/80)
I have been described as being tall and softly spoken. At the age of 28 I was described in a police report as being 6 foot 1 inches tall, of medium build, and 13 stone in weight. I had fair hair with a beard and moustache I was a horse broker from Mansfield. I had come from Northern Ireland. I was a Protestant.
An assessment of my character. (Herald4/7/1880)
We had a farm in the Mansfield area and I was a horsebreaker.
In April 1871 Ned Kelly said that I lent my horse to him and he went to find my horse. I was staying with Annie and Alex Gunn at the time. Ned Kelly found the horse and took it to Wangaratta where he loaned her to a publican's daughter. It was alledged that I had taken the horse from Maindample Station. Ned Kelly was charged with theft of the horse and sentenced to gaol. Later I was charged with with illegal use of a horse and got 18 months in gaol but was released after 6 months on account of my good behaviour. The case was heard at Milawa in the Emu Hotel. Bricky Williamson gave evidence against me. see also (Argus11/11/78) (Argus31/5/71)
In 1873 I married Bridget Lloyd and she was related to the Kellys.
Ned Kelly got out of gaol in February we met at the Imperial Hotel in Beechworth. To settle our difference over the horse we fought the famous 20 round bare knuckle fight. Ned won. He gave me a hiding.
Soon after the fight I was charged with stealing a horse from the Andrew Byrne at Moyhu.
See also the Jerilderie Letter.
I might have just dropped over and saw the boys occasionaly (OMA11/1/1879)
After the shooting the police organised big search parties from Mansfield looking for the KellyGang. I was pretty annoyed about the whole business and my brother and I stood outside one of the local churches and let them have it
'Dogs! Curs! Coward!. Follow me if you want to catch the Kellys. I'm going to join the Gang! Come out a little way and I'll shoot the lot of you' (Argus30/10/78)
We really sturred the police and they went after us. For this display of support for our friends the police charged my brother and I with using threatening language and I and my brother were lock-up in Mansfield (Age31/10/78) (Argus31/10/78) (CHC) (Alexandra2/11/1878)
While in the lock up Sup Sadleir promised me £30 if I would go and find the body of Kennedy, or bring him in alive. He put some conditions to this. I wanted to see Maggie. Before anything could be done the police found Sgt Kennedy's body. (RC1736) (CHC)
In the pub in Mansfield (Argus23/11/78)
I appeared on 5/12/78 at court,
in Mansfield answer to a summons charging him with using abusive and threatening
language to Constable Allwood on
Sunday evening, the 24/11/78.
I was convicted; no surprise there. (Argus6/12/78)
On 2/1/1879 Commissioner Standish ordered the arrest of about 20 sympathizers. I was a particular target. (RC1269)
He took that action under section 5 of the Outlawry Act. Most of the sympathizers were held in Beechworth goal.
The men were held without ever being given a chance to defend them selves. They were remanded in custody for periods of 7 days. Only one of the sympathizers was effectively represented by a lawyer. The magistrates repeated the remands each week for over 3 months before the sympathizers were finally released. I had a chat with the Magistrate. See (Argus27/1/79) (OMA11/2/79) (OMA18/2/79) (OMA20/2/79) (OMA27/2/79) (Argus17/2/79)
While we were in Beechworth Goal I became annoyed with the authorities but unfortunately I took it out on my fellow prisoners. I had fights with John McElroy, Ben Gould and Frank Harty. Keith McMenomy records that I did not like queuing for a wash and used to say 'Men first, dogs come last' was a joke but in the circumstances it was misunderstood. (JJK)
At the start, the mass arrests had public support in Melbourne but that turned into general contempt for the police. The arrests resulted in fewer people being prepared to assist the police or to supply information about the KellyGang
After Mrs Kelly's arrest following the Fitzpatrick Incident in May 1878 and my own arrest as a sympathizer I became concerned that Mrs Skillion was trying to look after the whole Kelly family on her own.. I felt that we all had a duty to Mrs Kelly to help keep the family together. I spent some time there doing what I could. The police would not dare arrest me for helping a women look after her family.
It is likely that I turned up at the start of the siege with Ned Kelly and Steve Hart on the evening of 26/6/1880
I had a chance with Ned Kelly's sisters to have an interview with him after he was captured (Argust29/6/1880)
Later I decided to move away from all this trouble and I went to the Northern Territory.