“The Bear River Murder”


"About a brutal murder I now say a word, I mean that Bear River murder No doubt of it you've heard." Detective Power discusses the murder and why he thinks Wheeler is the murderer and how it happened. Wheeler confesses and is to be hung September 8.


Creighton has extensive notes about this event, which seem largely folklore though she talked with people who knew Annie Kempton. The dates are uncertain; Mackenzie dates the murder to 1895, and Creighton says that Smith wrote his song in that year -- but notes in the same sentence that people in Bear River dated the murder to January 27, 1896. They dated Wheeler's execution to September 1896.

Creighton also reports that Wheeler was not from Digby County; locals thought him Portugese, though one wonders how a non-Englishman would acquire the name "Wheeler." - RBW

Historical references

  • 1895 - Anne Kempton murdered by Peter Wheeler at Bear River, Digby County (source: Mackenzie; Creighton says 1896)

Cross references


  1. Mackenzie 152, "The Bear River Murder" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3286
  3. BI, Mac152


Author: S. Smith
Earliest date: 1928 (Mackenzie)