Thursday, February 15, 2007

THE LAST MILE OF THE WAY
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It has been a long winding road, the story of the Wilbert Coffin affair. Today's posting brings to conclusion another of several accounts of this unforgetable page in the history of Canada. Normally, what I am saying here would be at the end of a story, however, as you will see when you read on today, the story will end quite abruptly, and thus it is more prudent to tell you here.
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In a couple of days I shall be posting the names of dozens of folks who assisted me in many ways to compile this story. It would have been impossible to do without their help, and I want to ensure that they are thanked and acknowledged in a big way. Due to the length of today's posting, it is impossible to name them all and their contributions in this segment of the story. Near the end of the story today, you will see some exerpts from a particular song that I thought appropriate for the occasion. The song, Green Green Grass Of Home was written in 1965 by Claude Putman Jr. and has been recorded by over 600 artists world wide. In addition, a photograph, courtesy of Wendall Stanley, depicts the burial site of Wilbert Coffin in the Gaspe' cemetery.

I wrote this story, not in any way for monetary gain, nor do I have aspirations of writing a book. I wrote it because it has haunted me since my boyhood days growing up in rural New Brunswick. There were always question marks. There were always conflicting accounts. I decided many years ago to do what I could to determine for myself. I am glad that I did. If I was skeptical of Wilbert Coffin's guilt at the onset, I can tell you now, that I am absolutely certain of his innocence. That is the result of ten long months of digging and seeking. As Francois Gravel said in his memo, the file must never close, because one day the name of Wilbert Coffin will be cleared.
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As the year 1955 progressed Wilbert Coffin's hopes remained high that a miracle would happen. Each and everyone of his applications for appeal had been turned down by the higher court. One can assume that his lawyers , Francois Gravel and Arthur Maloney, would naturally be getting nervous at the prospects of what may lie ahead. There was no time to spare, the clock was ticking, and with each day, the ever looming thoughts of Wilbert's execution would be forever etched in their minds.
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Lawyers Gravel and Maloney had come to the conclusion that much had been omitted from Wilbert's trial in the form of evidence. This was crucial. Without this evidence forming part of the process, each visit to the higher court was always the same. The appeal could only be based on mistakes made in the lower court, or in the trial judge's charge to the jury. In the absense of this, the higher court took no stand, and thus upheld the lower court's decision. Clearly, there would be but one chance for their client. An application must be made to the federal cabinet of Canada to take a stand, and the application must be made without delay, as governments are not known for expediency when it comes to making decisions.
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In the meantime Wilbert would spend his days reading and playing cards, and whenever possible, enjoy a visit by Marion. This gave Wilbert an opportunity to enquire about his son, James. Throughout the process, one thing is clear, James was definitely the apple of his father's eye. Those thoughts were echoed all the way from his months at Quebec jail.
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As mentioned in my last posting, Roger Duguay, was the guard who was selected to be the personal guard and escort for Wilbert Coffin during his days on death row at the prison. Some time later Mr. Duguay would chronicle his days at Bordeaux Jail in a book that he authored. His book, "L'échafaud : J'ai vu les dernières pendaisons à la prison de Bordeaux," translated "The Gallows: I saw The last hangings at Bordeaux Prison" was published in 1979 outlined the day to day activity behind the scenes at Bordeaux Jail for those on death row. As usual, I beg your forgiveness for errors in translation, because as we all know, translation is not an exact science. In his book, Mr. Duguay makes some interesting comments with reference to Wilbert Coffin during his last days. In the next few paragraphs I wish to share with you some of those reflections, and as well, provide to you some of the comments from Wilbert Coffin as quoted by Mr. Duguay.
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Mr. Duguay begins by explaining his role from the beginning with Wilbert Coffin. Here is that beginning as quoted from Mr. Duguay's book.
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"It is the morning. The service guard opens the door for us, verifying our numbers, the identity of Coffin, and we are beckoned to go through the first door. Then we head towards the "office" as one called it at the time, to satisfy all the administrative requirements, papers to sign, etc.
Coffin submits to all the necessary formalities without showing any sign of impatience. Once this was carried out, we approach another door that gives access to the main entrance to the prison.
A guard invites us to enter a small space where Coffin takes off his civil clothes: after a very severe body search, he puts on the prison clothes.
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Then, once the administration questions end, I take Coffin to the Death row cells. He disappears behind the massive cell door. The sergeant detective and the guard leave and I stay there alone, the guard having locked the door behind him. I will spend the first night without history (until nine o’clock in the morning) and another guard takes over."
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And so it begins, death row prisoner and his guard. Where you would see one, you would see the other. I do not agree with some of the perceptions of the guard. Here is an example and I quote from Mr. Duguay, "That I give in this account such importance to the Gaspésian prospector shouldn’t be surprising. In his life, and before his execution, Coffin accused of having murdered three American hunters, had largely handcuffed himself, more so because of his decision not to defend himself, causing a hasty court to put a noose around his neck." I have to be fair here. Wilbert Coffin was not accused of having killed three American hunters. He was accused, charged, and found guilty of killing one. As well, one must consider the fact that Wilbert Coffin never chose not to defend himself. He put his trust in the hands of an incompetent lawyer who chose to not defend him properly. That was why he was in the predicament that he was. The fact that Wilbert Coffin swore a forty-nine point deposition clearly stated his intentions.
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It is easy to comprehend from Mr. Duguay's statements that Wilbert Coffin did not want to die in Bordeaux jail. He maintained his innocence from day one. A question that was often asked of the guard was "How much time do I have left Roger?" As the number of days left got less and less, the intensity of his anguish became more and more apparent. On numerous occasions Wilbert was overwhelmed with grief speaking of his son and wife, wondering if they would be alright, where they would end up, but mostly agonizing over the fact that he would not be able to see his son attain manhood.
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Here is another quote from Mr. Duguay,"I never forced his confidences; neither invited him to share with me. But when he had those long silences, his tortured face filled with anguish, it was hard for me not to feel a little compassion for him. He would often repeat himself on certain subjects, like an actor repeating your own lines." Wilbert Coffin went on to say, "If Duplessis permits me to marry my mistress and gives a name to my child, I will be able to go in peace. I told all the truth on the subject of the three Americans." Again, this is a clear example of Wilbert Coffin maintaining his innocence to the very end.
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When in situations such as Wilbert Coffin was locked into, it is not uncommon for questions to be asked in an erratic manner. Here is an example from a bit of dialogue between Mr. Duguay and Wilbert.
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Roger, I know I’m going to die. I still can’t believe it! It seems like I’m going to wake up from a bad dream.
You are at Bordeaux and you are awake.
He was silent for a good while which I respected.
Do you think I still have a chance?
I don’t know, Wilbert.
Your friends, what do they think?
I tried to explain to him that my role consisted of guarding him, and should the occasion arise, to transmit his questions to the penitentiary authorities. My friends weren’t aware of their dealings.
He insisted, clinging,
Do you have news of my case?
None shares their confidences with me, I said, not wanting to further his agitation.
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This is possibly the most touching part of this chapter. This is also from Mr. Duguay's book. It is the section detailing Marion Petrie's last visit with Wilbert Coffin.
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A short time before the execution, his wife came to see him. She was a young woman with a certain charm, but the sorrow of losing the man she loved aged her. She had drawn features and a tired step, and didn’t hide her grief.
During her last visit, I had to watch over their movements, restricting their contact to minimal intimacy. In the circumstances, knowing this would be the last goodbye between Coffin and his wife, I would have liked to be one hundred miles from there.
She looked at me with begging eyes.
May I?
Yes, you can speak with him.
She wanted to be alone with him but didn’t dare to ask me. It must happen under my eyes, I said.
We can’t be alone for a minute?
No Madam, I’m sorry..It’s the rules.
I silently cursed the rules because I felt I was violating their last moments. I was assisting, without saying a word, in a heart-wrenching scene.
You are okay?
I’m okay.
It’s good today. The weather’s good, she replied, shy in my presence.
Did you have a good trip? Asked coffin.
Yes, it was long..But that didn’t hurt me.
She looked furtively in my direction and connected.
And the deferment is it possible? Will you have it? Coffin stayed quiet?
I don’t know more, he finished by saying impatiently.
If you don’t get it, they’ll hang you?
Tell me, Wilbert, they’ll hang you?
Her voice was breaking but she didn’t raise her tone.
I’m waiting for other news..You mustn’t despair.
But time's passing. It’s absolutely necessary that they come up with something, Wilbert! Time’s passing! At home we’re desperate. Are you confident?
Where there’s life, there’s hope, he said, falsely enthusiastic, knowing full well that there was little chance that a miracle would come.
They talked about one thing and another, their parents, their friends who were worried.
News arrived one drop at a time and they were a little encouraged.
Bah! Don’t believe all that you hear on the radio and read in the news, said Coffin, discouraged. Isn’t that right, Roger?
I nodded, badly at ease sharing their confidences.
_ Are you bored with me, Coffin teased.
She didn’t respond, but looked intensely at him. An iron door was between them and they could only exchange passionate looks.
She spoke to him of their son.
He’s growing, and he’s handsome like you.
Is he a handful?
A real devil, she said. He misses you, you know.
Coffin had tears in his eyes, most of all when she showed him, with my permission, a picture of their son.
He looks full of life.
Yes, he’s a tough guy.
It’s true, he looks like me, said Coffin.
They discussed their child, without ?????She could have said the she would be a widow soon, but she kept that to herself, content to describe the games of their child who so much wanted to see his father come home.
He isn’t sick?
No, he’s healthy. He had a little cold but that passed quickly.
He’s well equipped.
He gave her various comments, then turned to me to ask.
How much time is left?
Still a little, Wilbert-still a few more minutes.
The time flew by, too fast, and I looked at my watch hoping the hands had stopped.
She looked at me with teary eyes.
Can I hug him?
This isn’t against the rules, but there is one condition. It didn’t make me proud to have to use it at a time like this, but I couldn’t escape my duty.
You must open your mouth.
Open my mouth? she said, astonished.
Yes, I must inspect it.
She didn’t understand.
You could be hiding a pill. It’s the rules.
She submitted to this search, but it was clear she hadn’t come to Bordeaux to poison the man she loved..That she would never see again.
This procedure over, she embraced Coffin without delay, giving him in this brief physical contact, all of her tenderness.
It’s finished, I said.
She left, turning to wave at him, murmuring some words I didn’t understand, and disappeared, her walk heavy, her shoulders sagging. She had understood that there was no hope. Coffin stayed there a long time, upright, in his cell, like he was suddenly mummified.
I’ll never see her again…it’s over, he said to me later. I’ll never see her again..It’s over.
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Sometime during the final week Wilbert Coffin would make a declaration to Francois Gravel. Although much of lawyer Gravel's notes are sealed, he made some points public on behalf of Wilbert. He states Wilbert's insistence that he was innocent of the crime, and that Wilbert insisted that he continue the fight to clear his name. Wilbert would also request that lawyer Gravel keep a watch over his wife and son James. Mr. Gravel went on to state that someday his name would be cleared.
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The date was now February 08, 1956. Lawyer Francois Gravel had been in Montreal for a number of days awaiting the results of the application to the federal cabinet for a review and intervention in the case. He would visit Wilbert and explain that they would know the results the next morning. Outside the confines of the prison, Wilbert's Mom, Jessie would arrive in Montreal, joining son Donnie, and Marion. They were praying for a miracle.
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On the morning of February 09, 1956, lawyer Gravel learned very early that the miracle was not going to happen. The federal cabinet returned the case to the Supreme Court with a question. That question was to the effect, had anything changed that would cause another decision in the case if they were to hear the case compared to previously? Their answer was no. The federal cabinet had made no decision on the case at all, and did not examine the evidence. There was now no escape for Wilbert Coffin. To satisfy justice, he must hang by the neck until he was dead. Lawyer Francois Gravel inherited the task to inform Wilbert Coffin and his family.
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Lawyer Gravel arrived at the jail and broke the news to Wilbert Coffin. Wilbert's reply was, why is it necessary that he had to die if he was not guilty? Mr. Gravel stated that the execution would take place just moments after midnight. They would set about doing last minute details to settle Wilbert's affairs. Wilbert requested that he be able to write his last will and testament to which Mr. Gravel complied. Here is a copy of that last will and testament as taken by Mr. Gravel.
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Montreal, February 9th, 1956.

This is the last will and testament of Wilbert Coffin:
I hereby wish to make at this time my last will and testament. I pray to God to take care of my soul and take me into heaven.
All my love to my father, my mother, my brother and sisters from the
bottom of my heart, and hope that God will take care of them all of their lives.
All my love to my wife Marion from the bottom of my heart, and I am very sorry that due to a government order I could not get married to her.
All my love to my son, more than to myself, and wish him best luck in this world.
I would like that the public know that since my arrest I was not fairly treated.
It is my express and firm wish and desire that a statement which I made to my attorneys, Arthur E.M. Maloney of Toronto, and François de B. Gravel of Quebec city, when visiting me last October at the Bordeaux jail be divulged to the public.
I greatly thank all those who worked in my defense.
I wish to ask public to know that when an accused has evidence to prove his innocence, why should he die.
I have entirely perused the new evidence which corroborates my own
version of my case contained in the above statement,
I am innocent of the deaths of the three American hunters and know nothing of them.
I would like to say to the families of the deceased that I had nothing to do with this affair and I do sympathize with them.
I would like to express my most sincere thanks to my counsel, Francois
Gravel and Arthur Maloney, Q.C., for all the work they have given to my
case. I am very sorry to say that it is hard for me to express all my gratitude.
Again, my thanks to all the prison guards, who looked after me, mainly the governor, Létourneau of the Quebec jail, who was a great comfort to me.
I do hope that my son will have a happy and successful life and help me God.
I bequeath everything I have or may have to my dear son James.
AND I SIGNED
(s) Wilbert Coffin.

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Wilbert Coffin made a special request that he be allowed to speak with former Sergeant Henri Doyon, his personal friend from Gaspe' who had been with the Quebec Provincial Police. This request was denied as was his final request to Maurice Duplessis that he and Marion Petrie be allowed to marry.
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Wilbert would spend a lot of the afternoon of this day with The Reverend Sam Pollard. It would be Reverend Pollard who would walk to the gallows with Wilbert. Again, throughout this day Wilbert Coffin would maintain his innocence of the crime for which he was convicted. Wilbert would also find forgiveness for those who held him captive including the police. Wilbert is known to have made the statement that it may be possible to take many things away from him, but the one thing that couldn't be removed was his smile.
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Though visibly shaken by the chain of events, Wilbert walked to the gallows reciting a prayer with Reverned Pollard. It is said that Wilbert's final words were, "I Commend My Soul Unto Thee." At a couple of minutes past midnight, in the wee hours of February 10, 1956, the life of Wilbert Coffin was no more.
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I have to say this was a tough story to write. Though I did not personally know any of the players in the story, it was most difficult to put together, chiefly because in a story such as this , I found it to be impossible to remain an arms length away without getting personally consumed. I simply cannot begin to think of the horrors involved if a family member was caught in a similar circumstance, and to be completely powerless to change things. I have come to this conclusion from extensive interviews with various family members in this case.
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As I mentioned in the last posting, there was an element that I knew little about. That was until such time as Mrs. Elsie Willett from a small northern Ontario town contacted me. Wilbert Coffin was Elsie's brother, and it was Elsie, who was one of three who accompanied Wilbert Coffin's body back home to Gaspe' after his execution. The following is Elsie's contribution to the story.
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When it became apparent that the execution would take place, Elsie knew her place to be was in Montreal. It is winter and Elsie is faced with a journey that she had hoped she would never have to make. From Timmins, Elsie had a problem securing a seat on the plane, and no one was willing to give up their seat, forcing Elsie to take a later flight via Toronto. Elsie would arrive that night in Montreal at approximately eleven o'clock, roughly one hour prior to the scheduled execution.
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In Montreal Elsie joined with her mother, Jessie, and Marion Petrie. The three of them would travel with Wilbert's body on the CN train to Gaspe'. Elsie's brother Donnie was in Montreal, although due to finances, he would be unable to make the trip to Gaspe'. He had however, made the necessary arrangements with a local funeral home to take care of final details for his brother.
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Elsie informed me that the funeral home had gone to great lengths to ensure dignity and respect for her family. There were hordes of news people who had descended upon Montreal for the occasion. The funeral home had made secret arrangements with respect to removing Wilbert's body from the prison grounds. This was done in an effort to distract the scores of reporters and photographers. The hearse arrived, and shortly after left with the reporters and photographers in tow. A short time later, a second funeral vehicle left the prison grounds. This vehicle contained Wilbert's body. The funeral home had stationed the second vehicle as a means of securing privacy for the family.
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At approximately seven o'clock in the evening Wilbert's body was placed on the CN train bound for Gaspe'. The train staff had secured a car with sleepers for the three ladies and made it out of bounds for the travelling media onboard. They were provided meals, sleeping quarters, and other comforts compliments of the train staff. Elsie informed me that for the duration of the journey, it was not uncommon to see people lined up along the tracks to pay their respects to Wilbert.
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Arriving in Matapedia the following day, a change of train was necessary for furtherance to the Gaspe' coast. Again, as in the first leg of the journey, people were lining up to catch a glimpse of the train. As the train pulled into Gaspe' town, Elsie told me that never could she be prepared for what was awaiting their arrival. It was estimated that in excess of five hundred people were waiting at the platform to pay their respects.
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.Then I awake and look around me
.At four grey walls that surround me
.And I realize that I was only dreaming
.For there's a guard, and there's a sad old padre
.Arm in arm we'll walk at daybreak
..Again I'll touchThe green, green grass of home.
.Yes, they'll all come to see me.
.In the the shade of that old oak tree
.As they lay me'neath the green, green grass of home.
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Lew Stoddard
Posted to site February 16, 2007

27 comments:

The Taggerts said...

We have just had the opportunity of looking at the last posting to your story. It is sad, but you present it well. This whole affair should really upset Canadians. I hope our politicians will finally pay attention.

The Taggert Family
Kamloops

Sylvie Racette said...

I have commented in the past on the site and have enjoyed the story. Sure we knew the outcome, but nice to see how everything ties in and the information regarding Wilbert Coffins last days very sensitive and touching. A real human touch to it all.

Sylvie Racette
Perth Andover, N B

Anonymous said...

Mr Stoddard, I have been following this sad and unforgettable story from day one, but nothing prepared me as i read your final posting. Tears of sadness poured down my cheeks for the Coffin family. As a former Gaspesian, thank-you from the bottom of my heart for finally shedding some light on this very unfortunate saga. Surely now people will be held accountable for such corruption!! God bless you.

Pat Cormier said...

In spite of it being a very bad event you have done it with grace. Lew do you think it will ever get turned around. It has been such an awfully long time. I hope it still can.

Pat Cormier
Saint John, N B

Nephew Rick said...

My mother told me about how much everyone helped the Coffin family after Uncle Bill's execution. The men and women who worked on the trains, at that time, made sure they had privacy and checked, through that long trip, if they needed anything through the night. When they arrived in Gaspe to 500 friends and neighbours, waiting at the station, everything was organized for them. The feeling of support was and still is gratefully appreciated. The readers from across the country have given hope and we thank you. The battle still goes on with AIDWYC attempting to have Uncle Bill exonerated. Thank you very much Lew. Hope to meet you in person some day.

Bert Alexander said...

It is incredible that this could go on in any community of Canada. It is so disgusting. It causes one to want to vomit. It affects so many people, can ruin kids for the rest of their lives. And who is responsible, those that we teach our kids to respect the most, our police and law makers.

Bert Alexander
Burlington

Lani said...

Of all the many papers, documents, etc. that I've translated for Lew, the chapters from Roger Duguay's book were the most poignant and the ones that brought me to tears. That this should take place in my country...that this was santioned by my Québec..by my Canada...that we let this happen to someone in my community...I can't find the words to tell you how heart broken it leaves me! To think that saner heads in government turned their backs and let it continue when they could, at the very least,have commuted Wilbert's sentence to life imprisonment while his lawyers worked to clear his name..shame on you all!

Lew Stoddard said...

As I stated in my last posting, this was a real tough part of the story to write. I concur 100% with Lani Mitchell (Baker) in her comment.

Lani phoned me when she concluded the translation of the exerpts from Mr. Duguay's book. She said I hope you are up and ready for this, and indicated to me that it had brought her to tears on several occasions.

After reading the material several times, I have to admit that I was moved and shaken by it all. It is chilling to think that it was all brought about because of the actions of our Canadian politicians.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my apologies to the Coffin family. This has gone on now for fifty-one years so it appears abundantly clear that the government has no intention of apologizing for their actions. I might as well be the first to apologize on their behalf for this shameful act.

Lew Stoddard
Host of Stoddard Online
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james coffin said...

thank you Lew and Lani for bringing my dad's story to everyone now we need the help of everyone here to tell there friends but mostly we need you too tell your local newspapers about the story nothing much goes past ontario in the media if we all out west start asking them to look up the site read the story we canstart to get this known out west not just in the east how many of you know that my aunt marie and i were in ottawa at the house of commons and they had a vote on pushing the justice department to move quickly on this case the vote was 280 to 0 this is only the third time in history that a vote has been carried by such a lager number aidwyc is by ourside in bringing it to the goverment they are the ones who have helped James driskell and now Steven Truscott the last push must come from the public and the media so if any of you nice people out there wish to help feel free to join in call or write your local papers ctv cbc global as many has we can if the media picks up on this we can change history to show my dad did nothing wrong thank you one and all if anyone wants to get hold of me or write my e-mail address is jimca1@hotmail.com i will make sure myself avable for interviews to any media who would like one THANK YOU AGAIN LEW AND LANI FOR ALL YOUR HELP

Marie Papineau said...

You have done a special job of portraying the final events of this story, as well as everything fromthe beginning.

The lyrics of that song were just too much Mr. Stoddard. I wept when I saw and read that. So very very fitting as a conclusion to your story.

Marie Papineau
Rimouski, Quebec

Hannelore Vanhoort said...

Hello to all the folks of Canada. We have commented on this site a couple of times in the past.

We live in Belgium but my husband's work takes him overseas once in awhile and we love going to Canada.

As we have told you we have been reading this story for some months. What a striking ending that you bring forth. Brought tears to my eyes, but I believe you are very sensitive and caring.

We have visited the Gaspe area on a camping holiday. Very beautiful scenery and of course the big rock not far away.

Congratulations on the story and good luck to the Coffin people.

Hannelore Vanhoort
Schaerbeek, Belgium

Gordie Paul said...

Excellent ending to your story. Sad and touching but that is most definitely the way that it would have been. Hard to accept that it could happen like it did in Canada.

Gordie Paul
Timmins, Ontario

Marge W said...

That is such a touching song Mr. Stoddard. Have heard it for years but you know I had never really listened to what it was about until now. It is such a similar story. Very fitting indeed.

To all the Coffin family I am thinking of you and hope you are succesful in all this. The written story should really get people thinking about it now.

Marge Williams
Halifax

Bernice and Jim said...

A great writing project Lew. You have done real fine work on this and a lot of it as well. I hope people appreciate that. My husband and I have read every posting that you have done on this story.

Bernice and Jim
Moncton, N B

Nathan Jones said...

Jim Coffin is quite correct. The western media needs to pull up their socks. People in the west have almost no knowledge of this event. This is not right.

Nathan Jones
VANCOUVER, B C

Bob said...

Same old stuff time and time again. The national media thinks that Canada ends at the Quebec/Ontario border.

Bob Sears
Winnipeg

Al B said...

i wish to do my part to urge all canadians that read about this to get in touch with the member of parliment and do something about this. Good luck coffin family and to you too lew

Al Bretton
Regina

Sadie said...

You have come a long long way since I commented the first time on you site months ago. I have been reading it though as has my sister as she spent many years living on the coast area of eastern Quebec near where this all took place.Hard to believe this could happen in such a beautiful spot.

Sadie McEacheron
Winnipeg

Janice Harding said...

Wilbert Coffin was truly a victim of circumstance in this tale. One can easily see that he was selected because he was in the right place, and of course have no resources to really fight back made it so much easier. That could have been any one of us. He deserves our support in trying to clear his name.

Janice Harding
Montreal

Edna and Sam said...

We visited the cemetery this past summer where Mr. Coffin is interred. We spoke with a gentleman there who was tidying the grounds, he told us that many many people stop in the summer months. I can understand why. It gives one quivering feelings after reading about this over the years. Thank you Mr. Stoddard for your most complete report compared to any others that I have read.

Edna and Sam Adams
Kenora

Sara McBrine said...

This was such a sad touching finality of a horrendous story. Not by the way you wrote it was it horrendous, it was horrendous because it happened.

You did a great job of presenting it. For something over fifty years old, you and Mrs. Mitchell did a super job on the research. I work for a research group. I could take a lesson from you both.

Sara McBrine
Ottawa, Canada

Bill M said...

Why is it that in so many cases when someone is elected or appointed to a high position within the community, they use it for their own cheap agenda.

Just look at all levels of politicians that turn "rotten and dirty" across Canada. Little wonder that poor Wilbert Coffin was allowed to hang.

Bill M
Red Deer, Alberta

Craig H said...

The last mile of the way is always the big one in any journey. Unfortunately that last mile can be good or bad. This one was very bad for Wilbert Coffin.

If you can prove that his last mile was caused by government mis-handling, I am hoping that you can make it the last mile for some of those guys as well with reference to terms in office. They do not deserve to be sitting members if they are not willing to clear this mess up, the mess caused by their ancestors in government.

Craig H
Calgary, Alberta

Lorette Cormier said...

I have relatives up and down the east coast of Quebec and New Brunswick. Was just a simple serene way of life until all this happened. I feel that Wilbert Coffin was never guilty. Hope you can prove that.

Lorette Cormier
Bathurst, N B

T and J Simms said...

Good luck on the remainder of your quest to get the conviction of Wilbert Coffin overturned. I suggest that it will be a battle dealing with the government. Have enjoyed your story so far and keep up the good work.

T and J Simms
Chilliwack, B C

Kim said...

Thank you Lew and Lani for all your hard work. The family appreciates the time and effort you have both given to this black spot on Canadian history. Thanks to all the readers who have been following Lew's postings, giving information and support.

Anne Blake said...

To all the readers that follow this site and especially to Lew and Lani our whole family thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hopefully there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for uncle Bill's son and his sisters as well as the rest of the family. A special thank-you to God for bringing Jimmy back into our lives as for years he was missing from our life. Jimmy it will be resolved thanks to all the help the family is now finally getting. Take care everyone and God Bless