The Murder of Captain George Henry Perry

The Murder of Captain George Henry Perry

Posted on November 26 by admin
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Today’s blog post comes from Sharon Robart-Johnson, author of Africa’s Children A History of Blacks In Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

February 26, 1921

The murder of Captain George Henry Perry, sea captain, merchant and well-known Yarmouthian captured world-wide attention.  One February night as he climbed the two steps leading into his back porch, he was struck by a blow to the forehead knocking him to the floor. As he lay helpless, he was struck two more blows to the back of the head, cutting and fracturing his skull.

The person(s) unknown picked him up and threw him outside into the snow where he was discovered by Mansfield Ross. He lay there for one hour before help was summoned.  Captain Perry’s condition was critical when he was finally moved into his house where he died shortly after.

An investigation was conducted and witnesses questioned.  Several alleged attempts had been made, at various times, to harm 65 year old Perry; carriage shafts tampered with, cake laced with poison, dynamite caps in his machinery and the steps of his home tampered with. His wife, Clara, the most likely suspect, was eventually charged with his murder. She was later acquitted.

It was concluded that the attack had been made inside Captain Perry’s house.  An iron bar believed to be the murder weapon was found in a tub in the porch.  At 58 would Clara have had the strength to lift her husband and toss him into the snow? Clara claimed that she was the Captain’s sole heir, but his will was never found.

One story that circulated at the time of the murder was that Clara had been having an affair with a Black man named Harry Millenor and was going away with him. Forty years later Harry bragged about killing a man.  Did he do it?

The Perry case remains unsolved after 91 years.

Sharon Robart-Johnson has a rich cultural background comprised of both African and European ancestry. Born in the South End of Yarmouth, she is a thirteenth-generation Nova Scotian and part of her heritage dates back to the early slaves who were brought to the Digby County area in the late 1700s and to the Black Loyalists who arrived in Shelburne in 1783. Her passion for reseraching Black history began in 1993. Sharon, her husband, and son live in the (at one time) all-Black community of Greenville, Yarmouth County.