Moses McDonald’s Trial Documents

Taken 24 December 1811

The following were transcribed from the original documents by Jack McDonald & Steve McDonald who traveled to Scotland in 2009, obtained electronic copies from the National Archives of Scotland, and then typed the handwritten statements.  Due to their efforts, we have the signature of Moses McDonald in which he consistently used the M’Donald spelling.  The clerk, John Muir recorded the name as “McDonald” when writing the statement and MacDonald on the witness list.  The first witness called for Moses “MacDonald” was his wife Mary                       Glass confirming this was our Moses McDonald. 

The scanned document cut off the right side of the the page, but Jack & Steve copied the entire text  for us.      

National Archives of Scotland:  JC26/356 J. McDonald

Copy in possession of Jack McDonald and Stephen McDonald

Cover Page:

List of Witnesses to be addressed for Moses McDonald and John Gray  1812


Page 1:


List of witnesses to be addressed for the (panels) exculpation in the Criminal Indictment raised at the Instance of Archibald Colquhoun of Kellermont his Majestys advocate for his Majestys intrest, against Moses MacDonald and John Gray both prisoners in the Tolbooth of Greenock who are to be tried for the alledged crime of Theft –before the Lord of Justicary at Glasgow upon Monday the 27 April 1812 at 10 o clock forenoon—


For Moses MacDonald

1st.Mary ________ Glass Residing in Greenock spouse of the said Moses MacDonald.

2.Mr. John Gilchrist merchant in Greenock and Clerk and Cashier to Mrs Robertson and Forsyth Merchants in Greenock

3.Mr Allan Kerr merchant in Greenock

 Page 2

        4.Robert Connel Merchan and Grocer in Greenock

        5.Captain Thunery Watt Shipmaster at present in Greenock

        6.Mr James Humphry merchant in Greenock

Greenock 24 April 1812

The list in the two preceding pages contain the names of the witnesses we wish adduced to prove our defense against the criminal action mentioned in t5he first page and authorize Messengerat armes to summon them accordingly to appear at Glasgow before the Lords Commissioners of Justiciary on the twenty seventh day April Current—


                                             John Gray

                                             Moses M’Donald

Cover:     J. McDonald JC26/356

2nd Declaration of Moses McDonald

Page 1:

At Greenock the twenty fourth day of December Eighteen hundred and eleven years

In presence of Hugh Crawford one of the Magistrates to Greenock coappeared Moses McDonald present  prisoner in the Tolbooth of Greenock to when the declaration emitted by him on the twenty first day of December current being read over and he again Interrogated as to where he was on the night of Saturday and Morning of Sunday night declares that he went to bed about ten o clock on Saturday night in his own house and did not rise til between seven and eight o clock of Sunday morning.  Declares that between nine and ten o clock of Sunday                                        Confirmed Moses M’Donald   (Signature)

Page 2:

Morning he called on John Kerr a Soldier in the Ayrshire Militia stationed at Greenock and asked him to take a walk.  – That Kerr occasionally worked with the delarant as a labourer and it was from his so working with him they were acquainted that they sometimes used to take a drink together and in asking him to take a walk the declarant said  they would have their morning – Declares that they went to the house or room of Alexander Gibson (Cariner) near the West bridge but did not find him at home or any body in the room

Confirmed Moses M’Donald (Signature)

Page 3:

But his Sister Margaret Gibson who keeps his room – That the declarant sent her out for some liquor which he and Kerr drunk after which they went away without seeing Gibson—That about two o clock of the same day the declarant returned to Gibsons room and found him  Declares that the declarant had not at this time heard of the robbery of Jelly Shop neither did he then know anything about it and there was no particular conversation between Gibson and him nor can he assign any reason for calling upon Gibson that their being old acquaintances (sic) – Declares that on Monday forenoon the declarant heard

Confirmed Moses M’Donald (Signature)

Page 4:

The report which was then current as to the breaking of Jelly Shop – Declares that in the course of Tuesday the declarants home was searched for the goods taken from Jellys Shop but at this time the declarant had no knowledge of them neither had any of them been brought to his house – Declares that about six o clock on the same evening Gibson called upon him and mentioned that he had heard the declarants house was searched and said that as he had some articles e wished to conceal he was desirous of the declarants assistance to remove them which assistance the declarant

Confirmed Moses M’Donald (Signature)