Well known local author/journalist Ed Arnold has released a new book, Young Enough to Die: A True Peterborough Story, an investigative story about the 1910 murder of a 74-year-old Norwood woman.
The book covers the Peterborough trial of the 17-year-old accused, Robert Henderson, who was believed to be the youngest person ever hanged in Canada. In June of 1910, Robert was hanged in the Peterborough jail courtyard. Young Enough To Die looks at who he was, what he did and examines whether he should have died for killing Norwood's Margaret McPherson.
The front and back cover images by Scott Arnold
Arnold, former longtime Managing Editor of the Peterborough Examiner, examines the details and uncovers new documents in the case of what was then believed to be the youngest person ever hanged in Canadian history. The pleas for mercy and justice went right to the top to Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Arnold first stumbled upon the case a few decades ago while doing research for another book. Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones (pictured below with Arnold) has also written about the case in the 1990s.
Warden J. Murray Jones (at left) with Ed Arnold at the old County Jail site (photo by Scott Arnold)
Arnold’s research uncovered many myths and misconceptions about the teen, the killing and the trial. “It was one of those stories that sticks to you, and drives you to learn more,” says Arnold, a fantastic storyteller who has been writing about Peterborough and its people for almost 45 years. “I didn’t know what I was getting into when the journey began, but knew I had to make this trip. I’m so glad there are historians, archivists and journalists who help preserve stories about our past. Without them, this book could not have been finished.”
Arnold points out there were three local daily newspapers and several community newspapers in the Norwood area at the time, and the Toronto newspapers also covered the case. The meat of his story came from archives in Peterborough, Toronto and Ottawa.
Old county jail site (photo by Scott Arnold)
Young Enough To Die: A True Peterborough Story is a journalist’s journey to try and find the truth about this case. It will be up to the readers to decide if justice was done in 1910, Arnold says. The book is dedicated to F.D. Kerr, the Peterborough lawyer who battled to save the teen’s life and the St. John’s Anglican minister, Canon J.C. Davidson, who fought to save his soul.
The book features dramatic front and back cover photos by PTBOCanada.com's Scott Arnold, Ed's son. "This is the first time that dad and I have collaborated on anything so it's pretty exciting," says Scott. "I use the word collaborate loosely though as he did all of the work; I just happened to take a random shot of a beautiful sunset that was meant for my Instagram account. I had no idea that months later it would be on the front cover of my dad's newest book. I'm so proud of my father and to be a small part of his newest book is unbelievable to say the least."
Old County Jail site
There are only 200 copies remaining for sale of the limited print run of 400. The book is being released in Norwood on Saturday (October 15th) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Norwood Town Hall, courtesy of the Norwood Historical Society and public library. It is also available at the Peterborough Examiner office on Hunter Street East and the Peterborough County offices on Water Street.
Young Enough To Die can also be ordered by emailing Ed here.