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The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
Newspaper Articles
Read about the Early Days
1893 - 1965
1966 to Present
REPRESENTING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF 2X2 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ON THE INTERNET

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

Newspaper Articles
1912
Revised March 4, 2016

Newspaper Articles for 1912

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The Church Without a Name, The Truth, Two By Twos, 2x2s



January 4, 1912 - Fermanagh Times - Apology by W. D. Wilson

January 14, 1912, p. 5 - Fermanagh Times - Local Libel Suit Settled - £100 Damages and Full Apology

January 25, 1912 p. 6 - Fermanagh Times - Mr W. D. Wilson and the Pilgrims

February 8, 1912, p. 5 - Fermanagh Times - Mr. Wilson and the Pilgrims

February 22, 1912 - Fermanagh Times - Mr W. D. Wilson and the Pilgrims

July 14, 1912 - The People    NOTE: Cooney & List filed libel suit over this article.

July 25, 1912, p. 3 - Impartial Reporter - The Pilgrims Convention near Brookeborough

July 25, 1912 p. 5 - Impartial Reporter - Tramp Preachers - Hubbub in Suffolk

July 25, 1912 p. 6 - Fermanagh Times - Mr. Wilson of Framlingham, and the "Pilgrims"

July 25, 1912 p. 8 - Fermanagh Times - Convention of "Pilgrims" at Nutfield

August 1, 1912 p. 8 - Fermanagh Times - An Alleged "Pilgrim" Abduction Case 

August 8, 1912 - Impartial Reporter

October 9, 1912 - Irish Daily Telegraph, Dublin - Cooney's Mission Tent Burned at Makeny

November 14, 1912 pp. 2063-64 - Parliamentary Debates Official Report on Cooneyites at Enniskillen

December 12, 1912 - Fermanagh Times - An Explanation from Mr. Wilson.

Trillick Council - re Burned Tent at Makeny

CANADA NEWSPAPERS involving W. D. Wilson:

Newspapers in Napan, New Brunswick, Canada:
1912, Feb 29    The High School Times - The Go-Preachers
1912, Mar 21   Slanderous Charges Against Evangelists Refuted by Evidence from England

The World (Chatham Newspapers - New Brunswick, Canada)
RE: Go Preachers- printed shortly after John Cook & Cecil Buzby brought Gospel to Napan, New Brunswick, Canada.
1912, March    The World (Chatham Newspapers - New Brunswick, Canada)
1912, Mar 21   Go-Preachers have Gone from Napan
1912, Apr  10   Unseemly Conduct of Prayer Meeting Attendants
1912, Apr 12    Napan Correspondent
1912, Apr 27    That Napan Controversy
1912, May 7-8  Napan Notes  


January 4, 1912
Fermanagh Times

In the High Court of Justice in England
King’s Bench Division

Between W. H. West and John J. West, Plaintiffs;

AND

Wm. Dennis Wilson,
Wm. Millison Allen
James William Wilson, Defendants

APOLOGY

I, William Dennis Wilson, of Cretingham, Rookery, Framlingham, Suffolk, hereby admit that for several years past I have printed, published and circulated various letters and pamphlets of a grossly libellous nature, reflecting upon your moral character and integrity of Mr. John J ames West, of Crocknacrieve, Ballinamallard, County Fermanagh, and William Henry West, of Mullaghmeen, Ballinamallard, County Fermanagh, as members of what is called the “Go Preachers” or “Pilgrims” and styled by me, the said William Dennis Wilson, in my pamphlets are “Cooneyites,” “Irvinites,” and “Dippers,” etc. in respect of which the said John James West and William Henry West have brought actions against me in the High Court of Justice.

I unreservedly withdraw the same, and request them to accept this Apology and expression of sincere regret, and I hereby undertake not to continue or repeat the circulation, writing or publication of the same or similar matter in any way directly or indirectly referring to them in their capacity as members of the said Society personally or in any manner whatever.

And we, the said William Dennis Wilson, and James W. Wilson, and William M. Allen, of 40, Foundation Street, Ipswich, having, as the Writer, Proprietor, and Publisher, respectively, of the newspaper called the “Independent,” Ipswich, printed, published and circulated in such newspaper similar grossly libelous charges against the said John James West and William Henry West, hereby admit the same to be absolutely untrue and without foundation, and hereby unreservedly withdraw the same, and request that the said John James West and William Henry West to accept this Apology, and our expressions of sincere regret, and hereby undertake not to print, or allow to be printed in the said newspaper, any further further (sic) libelous matter reflecting in any way upon the moral character and integrity of the said John James West and William Henry West, as members of the said Society, personally, or in any manner whatever.

Dated this 10th day of November, 1911.


W. D. Wilson
William Millison Allen
James William Wilson

The Defendants agreeing to pay £100 damages, all Costs, and consenting to Perpetual Injunctions.

Solicitors for Plaintiffs:--Clarke & Gordon, Enniskillen


January 14, 1912 p.5
The Fermanagh Times

Local Libel Suit Settled
£100 Damages and Full Apology.
Mr. W. D. Wilson and the Pilgrims.

Our readers will remember that a couple of years ago, when the advent of the Pilgrims or "Go-Preachers" in this district was creating so much discussion.

Mr. W. D. Wilson , of Framlingham, Suffolk, held a couple of public meetings in E nniskillen in which he denounced tha t sect and all its doings and teachings in language more forcible than polite. Subsequently he issued large numbers of leaflets and pamphlets in which he made many serious charges against the moral character of the new movement and its members, accusing them, amongst other things, of inducing young girls to leave their homes and go away to other countries for certain unlawful reasons.

This system of denunciation having proceeded for a length of time, and growing more virulent in its character, Mr. John West, Crocknacrieve, and Mr. W. H. West, Mullaghmeen, members of the religions sect in question, brought an action for libel against the author, an d after the lapse of a considerable length of time and many communications between the legal gentlemen representing the respective parties, the matter has at length been settled by Mr. Wilson paying £100 damages and all costs, and unreservedly withdrawing all his assertions, and publishing a full and ample apology for having made them.

While every religious creed in the world is legally open to criticism and discussion, yet there is a limit beyond which thinking and right-minded men will not transgress, and certainly when certain members of a sect are boldly named in pamphlets, published broad­ cast through the land, and falsely accused of all sorts of serious misdemeanours and crimes against decent society, then indeed it is only right that the law should step in and put a stop once and for all to such conduct.

However much people of other Churches may criticise the doctrines propounded by the Pilgrims, yet every person acquainted with them knows that the wild aspersions cast on their moral character as a body are absolutely and entirely false, and that they are as clean-living and upright a class of people as those belonging to any other sect in any part of the world. The result of the libel action in question may, and we hope will, put a stop once and for all to the criticism that outsteps the bounds of decent comment..

It is clear that the Messrs. West brought this action simply and solely for the purpose of vindicating their own character and that of the religious body to which they belong. There in no doubt that had they persisted in bring­ ing the matter into Court, a judge and jury could have awarded them much larger damages than those they have accepted.


January 25, 1912, p6
Fermanagh Times

Mr. W. D. Wilson & the Pilgrims
The Rookery,
Cretingham, Suffolk,
Jan. 11th, 1912.

[To the Editor Fermanagh Times]

Sir, In your issue of the 4th inst. you publish an apology signed by myself, and addressed to Messrs. W. H. and J. J. West.

Appended to the apology is a note signed by their solicitors in the following words. "The defendants agreeing to pay £100 damages, all costs, and consenting to perpetual injunctions."

Will you allow me to point out that, although a claim was made upon me for £2000 damages, I never, as a matter of fact, paid this £100 by way of damages. The amount which I paid was £350, which was towards the plaintiff's costs. I was given to under­ stand that their costs would consider­ ably exceed this amount, and I strongly object to it being stated that £100 was part of the £350 for damages.

I should like to mention that the case was originally set down for trial in Suffolk, but was afterward, removed to London at the plaintiffs' instance. Before it came on for hearing, I was approached in writing, and asked to pay £350 in settlement, which I declined to do.

It subsequently came to my knowledge that the costs already incurred by the plaintiffs exceeded this amount. I had no wish that they should suffer, as it was the “Pilgrims” as a body, and not the plaintiffs, whom I had attacked.

I therefore agreed to pay the amount towards liquidation of their costs. I see that you have also referred to the "damage" in another column. In fairness to me I trust that you will give equal publicity to my denial that " £100 damages" were paid.--I am,

W. D. WILSON.


February 8, 1912, p. 5 
Fermanagh Times

Mr. Wilson and the Pilgrims

To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times, Enniskillen

DEAR SIR

We notice in your paper of the 25 th January a letter by Mr. W. D. Wilson in which he attempts to belittle the Apology, and settlement given by him in the suits of West v. Wilson.

After these proceedings were issued Mr. Wilson lodged for damages in Court, the sum of £52 which we refused to accept. Subsequently our London agent in this matter was approached for a settlement, and the apology, as published, was signed by Mr. Wilson. A consent for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further libeling out clients was given, we have been paid the £100 exclusive of costs.

Yours faithfully,

CLARKE & GORDON

Solicitors for Messrs. Wm. H. West and John J. West.


February 22, 1912, p. 1
Fermanagh Times

Mr W. D. Wilson and the Pilgrims

[To the Editor Fermanagh Times]
Cretingham, Suffolk
February 15th, 1912

SIR,

Referring to the letter of Messrs. Clarke & Gordon in your issue of the 8th inst., in which they state that after these proceedings were issued, I lodged for damages in Court the sum of £52, which they refused to accept, may I point out that £44 of the £52 was the amount, so I was informed, of the plaintiffs’ costs to that date, incidental to the proceedings in which four writs were issued against me. I paid £52 into Court to cover all possible expenses.

With regard to the £350, which I eventually paid in settlement, I was given to understand that the plaintiffs’ costs exceeded that amount, and that I was, therefore, not paying anything for damages, I cannot, of course, say how the amount was actually dealt with by the plaintiffs and their solicitors. I have no wish to belittle my apology to the plaintiffs, but I desire to have the facts of settlement clearly stated.

I gladly admit that I was mistaken in what I said with reference to Messrs. West, at the same time I have reason to believe that my efforts to warn the unwary against the practices of the Pilgrims have not been unavailing—

Yours truly,

W. D. Wilson


NOTE: Cooney & List filed libel suit over the following article.
July 14, 1912 
The People

THE COONEYITES
CHARGES AGAINST THE TRAMP PREACHERS

(By our Special Commissioner.)

Rural Suffolk is in a ferment, caused by the singular doings of the "Tramp Preachers," who have established themselves in the county. Also known as the "Cooneyites" and the "No Sect," these missioners of the tattered coat and empty pocket have succeeded in creating such a hubbub in Suffolk that the wildest stories are afloat. Disdaining denominations, pouring contempt upon all organised forms of Christian worship, and proclaiming that marriage as an institution is to continue no longer, the "Tramp Preachers" have now fixed their headquarters at Debenham, near Stowmarket. 

Already they have "laid hands" upon one of the most prominent tradesmen of the town of Debenham, and have created Mr. List, the carrier, "Bishop of Suffolk," while another (an agricultural labourer) has been elevated to the dignity of "Archbishop of Norfolk." For some years the "Tramp Preachers" have been wandering through the country vaguely prophesying an immediate "judgment to come."  And with this has been coupled a command that the converted shall at once sell all earthly possessions and cast the proceeds into the treasury at the meeting held each Sabbath.  Although their preaching contains the wildest statements, converts have not been lacking.  Many have been young women of that mystical temperament that lend a ready ear to weird teaching, and these have been induced to leave comfortable homes and throw in their lot with the "Tramp Preachers."

STRANGE DOINGS

For some time they have endeavoured to have a settled place of abode, but only recently have they succeeded in obtaining their coveted desire.  For a time they held meetings at Sudbury, Suffolk, until they were driven from the quaint market town by an enraged army of 3,000 men and women, who alleged that the "Preachers" were practicing what was virtually a system of "free love."  Then other places were tried with little better result, and it seemed as though the "Cooneyites," as sometimes called from their leader, Edward Cooney, would be compelled to always live up to their self-assumed title of the "Tramp Preachers." 

But now, by various and strange means, they have obtained a permanent footing at Debenham, and the quiet countryside is in an uproar. Nor can this be wondered at.  Firstly, because the sect are surely like nothing else under the heavens, literally, the last word in freak religions, and filling their converts with the wildest, maddest fits of hysteria.  At Stowmarket a boy of 11, after being baptised, was seized with convulsions, and howled like a dog for a period of four hours.  This was gravely diagnosed by the Cooneyite preacher in attendance as "the great and sore complaining of Yum, the dog demon."  But after much supplication by the faithful at the meeting the canine devil was exorcised, and departed with a last dismal howl. 

Not to be outdone, a young woman from Newmarket, who was induced at the meeting to declare herself a convert, suddenly fell to the ground in a species of epilepsy, foaming and wallowing in the most distressing manner.  But at last coming to herself, and weak and exhausted with the strong convulsions, she was persuaded that seven devils had flown from her.  With such marvellous happenings, rural Suffolk is agog at the present time.  Indeed, so great has been the excitement that nearly 30 overseers of the neighbouring parishes have thought it advisable to issue a signed statement warning the country people against the "Tramp Preachers," while a number of ministers of various denominations have also signed a similar caution.

MIDNIGHT MEETINGS

Mysterious midnight meetings have been held in a large portable tent which the Cooneyites carry about with them to which all but the faithful are denied admittance.  After singing strange hymns, the brethren and sisters abandon themselves to a species of religious hysteria.  Strong cries of ecstasy are succeeded by fits of what appears to the impartial to be madness, while the Cooneyites roll upon the ground with dismal screeches and groans.  No statement is too fantastic for this sect.  With demure faces their preachers speculate on the possibility of raising the dead, while the laying on of hands in conjunction with the use of the anointing oil has taken the place of the services of the physician. 

And now a fresh malady of mental madness has broken out—certain of them claim to speak with the "tongues of the Spirit," screaming forth a stream of gibberish which is gravely interpreted as being "of the Holy Ghost." But if this were all, it is not likely that many would take much interest in the doings of the Cooneyites.  But, there are those who are saying grave things against this sect. The chief enemy of the "Tramp Preachers" is Mr. W. D. Wilson, of The Rookery Farm, Cretingham, a pretty village some six miles from Framlingham and three miles from Debenham.  Interviewed by a special representative of "The People," this gentleman had a singular story to relate.

OF MARTHA AND OF MARY

As to Mr. Wilson’s standing in the county, none can speak against it.  He is the largest farmer in the whole of Suffolk, and farms some thousands of acres.  In addition he is known as a great dealer in pigs, always having near 2,000 fattening for market.  The County Council selected one of his farms recently for certain experiments in wheat growing which they are carrying out, and as touching any matter agricultural Mr. Wilson is certainly the great authority in the countryside.

But some time ago an event happened which grievously changed the even current of his life.  There came into Cretingham two young women, who simply announced themselves as Cooneyites.  Name, occupation, sect—they professed to have none of these, but repeated a formula in answer to all questions:  "I am Martha," and "I am Mary."  They preached in the village, and such power attended their ministry that two sons and two daughters of Mr. Wilson threw in their lot with the sect. 

At the present time these four young people have left The Rookery Farm, where all their lives had, up to this strange conversion, been spent, and have lost their identity—they are Cooneyites. This loss of his children was a severe blow to Mr. Wilson.  He conceived a violent antipathy to the sect, and has spent much money and energy in endeavouring to drive out the wandering sect from Suffolk.  For a time he did succeed; now that they have taken up permanent quarters in Debenham he has redoubled his crusade, and the countryside is plastered with bills and posters that provide much reflection for the thoughtful and merriment for the rustics.

ALLEGED IMMORALITY

Among the Cooneyite female preachers was one Alice Pipe, a pretty girl with a sweet voice.  Under a species of hypnotic influence she falls into a sort of trance and repeats words that might be any language.  It is gravely announced that she speaks by the Spirit, and many have been converted through her. It is believed that many young girls have joined this sect, wandered about the country, and at last lapsed into immorality. 

In support of this Mr. Wilson has sworn a declaration before a notary at Ipswich, in which he makes the most specific charges against the most prominent of the sect. This document, which has been extensively circulated throughout Suffolk, charges the sect with repudiating marriage.  It asserts that one of the statements of a Cooneyite preacher was that "marriage was hammered out by the devil on an anvil in hell." 

It accuses them, further, of holding midnight meetings, after which the converts of both sexes sleep together in a tent with but a "curtain of gauze between."  Further, the names of young women are given who have been seduced and abandoned by certain of the "Tramp Preachers," while cases are quoted of Suffolk girls who have become mothers without being married.  And lastly, the statement asserts that a number of young women have been induced to leave England, and have lived immoral lives in South America and the States.

As has been said, Mr. Wilson is a man of good standing in the county, and therefore his charges have created the most intense excitement.  Up to the present the Cooneyites have not replied to the grave charges made against them, but it is reported that they intend to do so. The Cooneyites and Marriage.  See next week’s "People."


July 25, 1912 p. 5
Impartial Reporter
The Pilgrims - Convention near Brookeborough
Roman Catholics Attend a Service

The sect commonly called ‘Pilgrims’ or ‘Go Preachers’ opened their annual convention at Nutfield House, a mile from Brookeborough, on Sunday. For some years past this annual convention has taken place at Crocknacrieve, near Ballinamallard. But this year it was decided to hold it at Nutfield, a beautiful country seat recently purchased by a County Antrim gentleman named Mr. M’Clung, a prominent member of the sect, from the late Mr. Hammond.

For the last few weeks preparations for the gathering have been in progress through not on quite as elaborate a scale as at Crocknacrieve. Nutfield house and grounds are adaptable to the purpose of convention, and numerous marquees and sleeping shelters were erected for the accommodation of the hundreds of ‘Pilgrims’ who arrived towards the week end by rail and road from all parts of the United Kingdom, numbers travelling from America and the Colonies.

Temporary bakeries and workshops of various descriptions are provided, while writing offices and a post office branch are also part of the equipment.

The convention was opened on the Sunday morning by a ‘testimony’ meeting, confined largely to members.

The principal meeting of the day was at three o’clock and was held in a large tent on the lawn. The tent, in addition to a small marquee alongside, was filled with about 600 or 700 pilgrims, while about 300 of the public from Lisnaskea, Maguiresbridge, and Brookeborough localities, half of whom were Roman Catholics, congregated around the tents, and remained standing in the open air while the meeting was going on. The central figure of the proceedings was Mr. Eddie Cooney, one of the leaders of the sect, who was accompanied by Mr. Wm. Irwin, another prominent leader, on the platform. Mr. Cooney and a number of women addressed the crowds for about two hours.

Note: Mr. Wm. Irwin is William Irvine. His name is often misspelled in newspaper articles.


July 25, 1912, p.3

THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
_____________
TRAMP PREACHERS
HUBBUB IN SUFFOLK
APPOINTMENT OF ‘BISHOPS’
MR. WILSON AND HIS CHARGES
SOME OF THEM QUITE UNTRUE

The People of London in its last issue has an article on the Tramp Preachers or ‘No Sect’ which says:—Rural Suffolk is in a ferment, caused by the singular doings of the ‘Tramp Preachers,’ who have established themselves in the county. Disclaiming denomination, pouring contempt upon all organised forms of Christian worship, and proclaiming that marriage as an institution is to continue no longer, the ‘Tramp Preachers’ have now fixed their headquarters at Debenham, near Stowmarket. 

Already they have ‘laid hands’ upon one of the most prominent tradesmen of the town of Debenham, and have created Mr. List, the carrier, ‘Bishop of Suffolk,’ while another (an agricultural labourer) has been elevated to the dignity of ‘Archbishop of Norfolk.’ For some years the ‘Tramp Preachers’ have been wandering through the country vaguely prophesying an immediate ‘judgment to come.’  And with this has been coupled a command that the converted shall at once sell all earthly possessions and cast the proceeds into the treasury at the meeting held each Sabbath.  Although their preaching contains the wildest statements, converts have not been lacking.  Many have been young women of that mystical temperament that lends a ready ear to weird teaching, and these have been induced to leave comfortable homes and throw in their lot with the ‘Tramp Preachers.’

STRANGE DOINGS

For some time they have endeavoured to have a settled place of abode, but only recently have they succeeded in obtaining their coveted desire.  For a time they held meetings at Sudbury, Suffolk, until they were driven from the quaint market town by an enraged army of 3,500 men and women who alleged that the ‘Preachers’ were practising what was virtually a system of ‘free love.’  Then other places were tried with little better result, and it seemed as though the ‘Cooneyites,’ so sometimes called from their leader, Edward Cooney, would be compelled to always live up to their self-assumed title of the ‘Tramp Preachers.’  But now, by various and strange means, they have obtained a permanent footing at Debenham, and the quiet countryside is in an uproar. Nor can this be wondered at.  Firstly, because the sect are surely like nothing else under the heavens, literally, the last word in freak religions, and filling their converts with the wildest, maddest fits of hysteria.  At Stowmarket a boy of 11, after being baptized, was seized with convulsions and howled like a dog for a period of four hours.  This was gravely diagnosed by the Cooneyite preacher in attendance as ‘the great and sore complaining of Yum, the dog-demon.’  But after much supplication by the faithful at the meeting the canine devil was exorcised, and departed with a last dismal howl.

Not to be outdone, a young woman from Newmarket, who was induced at the meeting to declare herself a convert, suddenly fell to the ground in a species of epilepsy, foaming and wallowing in the most distressing manner.  But at last coming to herself, and weak and exhausted with the strong convulsions, she was persuaded that seven devils had flown from her.  With such marvellous happenings, rural Suffolk is agog at the present time.  Indeed, so great has been the excitement that nearly 30 overseers of the neighbouring parishes have thought it advisable to issue a signed statement warning the country people against the ‘Tramp preachers,’ while a number of ministers of various denominations have also signed a similar caution.

MIDNIGHT SCENES

Mysterious midnight meetings have been held in a portable tent which the Cooneyites carry about with them, to which all but the faithful are denied admittance.  After singing strange hymns, the brethren and sisters abandon themselves to a species of religious hysteria.  Strong cries of ecstacy are succeeded by fits of what appears to the impartial to be madness, while the Cooneyites roll upon the ground with dismal screeches and groans.  No statement is too fantastic for this sect.  With demure faces their preachers speculate on the possibility of raising the dead, while the laying on of hands in conjunction with the use of the anointing oil has taken the place of the services of the physician.  And now a fresh malady of mental madness has broken out—certain of them claim to speak with the ‘tongues of the Spirit,’ screaming forth a stream of gibberish which is gravely interpreted as being ‘of the Holy Ghost.’

But if this were all, it is not likely that many would take much interest in the doings of the Cooneyites.  But there are those who are saying grave things against this sect. The chief enemy of the ‘Tramp Preachers’ is Mr. W. D. Wilson, of the Rookery Farm, Cretingham, a pretty village some six miles from Framlingham and three from Debenham.  Interviewed by a special representative of The People, this gentleman had a singular story to relate.

OF MARTHA AND OF MARY

As to Mr. Wilson’s standing in the county, none can speak against it.  He is the largest farmer in the whole of Suffolk, and farms some thousands of acres.  In addition he is known as a great dealer in pigs, always having near 2,000 fattening for market.  The County Council selected one of his farms recently for certain experiments in wheat growing which they are carrying out, and as touching any matter agricultural Mr. Wilson is certainly the great authority in the countryside. But some time ago an event happened which grievously changed the even current of his life. 

There came into Cretingham two young women, who simply announced themselves as Cooneyites.  Name, occupation, sect—they professed to have none of these, but repeated a formula in answer to all questions:  ‘I am of Martha,’ and ‘I am of Mary.’  They preached in the village, and such power attended their ministry that two sons and two daughters of Mr. Wilson threw in their lot with the sect.  At the present time these four young people have left the rookery Farm, where all their lives had, up to this strange conversion, been spent, and have lost their identity. The loss of his children are a severe blow to Mr. Wilson.  He conceived a violent antipathy to the sect, and has spent much money and energy in endeavouring to drive out the wandering sect from Suffolk.  For a time he did succeed; now that they have taken up permanent quarters in Debenham he has redoubled his crusade, and the countryside is plastered with bills and posters that provide much reflection for the thoughtful and merriment for the rustics.

ALLEGED IMMORALITY

Among the female preachers was one Alice Pipe, a pretty girl with a sweet voice.  Under a species of hypnotic influence she falls into a sort of trance and repeats words that might be any language.  It is gravely announced that she speaks by the Spirit, and many have been converted through her. It is declared that many young girls have joined this sect, wandered about the country and at last lapsed into immorality. 

In support of this Mr. Wilson has sworn a declaration before a notary at Ipswich, in which he makes the most specific charges against the most prominent of the sect a charge which we (I.R.) believe to be totally untrue. As has been said, Mr. Wilson is a man of good standing in the country, and therefore his charges have created the most intense excitement.  Up to the present the Cooneyites have not replied to the grave charges made against them, but it is reported that they intend to do so.


July 25, 1912 p. 6 
The Fermanagh Times
Mr. Wilson, of Framlingham, and the “Pilgrims.”
Disappearance of a Daughter

Inquiries are being made in Belfast by the Suffolk police into the disappearance of a girl named Wilson, whose father, a wealthy farmer, residing near Framlingham (well known in Enniskillen) alleges that his daughter who is under age, was abducted by the members of an alleged religious community some time ago.

In a deposition Mr. Wilson swears that his daughter who is entitled to £300 a year in her own right when she comes of age, was secretly conveyed to Belfast, where, for six months, she acted as servant in a certain house, and on enquiries being made was carried off to America. He adds that he has discovered no fewer than thirty-six girls who had been induced to leave their homes, and were deported from the North of Ireland to the States.



July 25, 1912 p. 8 
The Fermanagh Times
Convention of "Pilgrims" at Nutfield

The “Pilgrims” opened their annual convention at Nutfield House, a mile from Brookeborough, on Sunday. For some years their annual event has taken place at Crocknacrieve, near Ballinamallard, but this year it was decided to hold it at Nutfield, a beautiful country seat recently purchased by a County Antrim gentleman named M’Clung, a prominent member of the sect.

For the last few weeks preparations for the gathering have been in progress though not on quite as elaborate a scale as at Crocknacrieve. Nutfield House and grounds are adaptable to the purposes of the convention and numerous marquees and sleeping shelters were erected for the accommodation of the hundreds of “pilgrims” who arrived towards the week end by rail and road from all parts of the United Kingdom, numbers travelling from America and the colonies. Temporary bakeries and workshops, of various descriptions are provided, while writing offices and a post office branch are also part of the equipment.

The convention was opened in the morning by a “testimony” meeting confined largely to members. The principal meeting of the day was at 3 o’clock, and was held in a large tent on the lawn. The tent, in addition to a small marquee alongside, was filled with about 600 or 700 pilgrims, while about 300 of the public from Linaskea, Maguiresbridge and Brookeborogh localities congregated around the tents and remained standing in the open air, while the meeting was going on. The central figure of the proceedings was Mr. Eddie Cooney, who was accompanied by Mr. Wm. Irwin, another prominent leader. Mr. Cooney and a number of women addressed the crowds for about two hours, after which tea was provided for all. The convention will be continued for some weeks.


August 1, 1912 p. 8
Fermanagh Times

An Alleged "Pilgrim" Abduction Case

[To the Editor Fermanagh Times]

Sir,

You have in your last week’s paper some very untrue statements about me. I am asking you to contradict them in your next issue.

What Suffolk police are inquiring in Belfast about me, and for what purpose?

I am not under age as you state (my age is 30). What do you mean by saying I have been “abducted?” I have never been entitled to £300 a year.

I have not been secretly conveyed to Belfast, nor have I acted as a servant there. Please also apologise yourself for publishing these statements.

I am, etc., ELLEN WILSON

[We copied the paragraph in question out of a Belfast newspaper, and had no reason to believe it was erroneous. We regret having given further publicity to the statement, and apologise to Miss Wilson for the annoyance it has caused her.—Ed. F.T.]



August 8, 1912
THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
_____________

The Pilgrims brought their convention to an end at Nutfield, Brookeborough on Sunday.  Rain poured all day Sunday and prevented any attendance of the general public, while the week day services were attended almost exclusively by members of the party."


October 9, 1912
Irish Daily Telegraph, Dublin

Mission Tent Burned

What is looked upon as a malicious act was perpetrated at Makeny, some two miles distant from Irvinestown, on Monday morning. It appears that Mr. Edward Cooney, the leader of the sect locally known as “Pilgrims” has been holding a series of Gospel Services for the past three weeks in a tent there. The service on Sunday evening was attended by a large crowd, and after the service the lamps, three in number, were extinguished in the usual way.

Early on Monday morning Mr. Irvine Stewart, on whose land the tent was placed, noticed a volume of smoke issuing from the field in which the tent was.

On going to investigate he discovered that the tent was burned to the ground. On examination it was found that the oil had been removed from one of the lamps, and it is supposed part of the canvas saturated with it.

Several of the seats were slightly charred. It is understood the owners of the tent have lodged a claim for £25 compensation


[No date or publication name]

TRILLICK COUNCIL

An adjourned quarterly meeting of the Council was held on Saturday. 

Present – Messrs. D. McSorley, J.P. (chairman); P. McCaughey, J.P.; Joseph Brown, P. Murphy, P. McBride, P. Traynor, F. Burns, and P. Gallagher. 

Mr. Aiken (clerk) read a letter of complaint from Mr. J. R. Henderson concerning the entrance to a labourer’s cottage, whereby his land was flooded.  It was decided to have the cartway raised and a pipe put in. 

Messrs. Clarke & Gordon wrote on behalf of Mr. John West, Crocknacrieve, claiming £30 damages for the burning of a tent, his property, in the townland of Makeny on the night of the 6th October of the morning of the 7th.  It was decided to send the notice to their solicitor, Mr. O’Connor, Omagh, to take what steps he considered necessary. 

High Shannon was appointed tenant of a cottage in Girgaddis. 

The secretary of Tyrone County Council wrote that the representation made my Trillick Council relating to opening new quarries had been adjourned.

See 1913, January 30 for court case for this matter


Parliamentary Debates Official Report

Tenth Volume of Session 1912
Comprising period from 28th October 1912, to 14th November, 1912, pp 2070 -71.

CRIMINAL LAW AMENDMENT ACT ( IRELAND)

13. Mr. FETHERSTONHAUGH asked whether the Chief Secretary's attention has been called to a poster sent by post to Members of this House, and purporting to be published by one W. D. Wilson, of Cretingham, Suffolk, imputing that Enniskillen is a centre of the white slave traffic, and that fifty young girls had been exported from Mullaghmeen, the residence of Mr. J. West, Crocknacrieve, the residence of Mr. W. H. West, and Ballinamallard, the adjoining village, and that the Cooneyites, a Christian sect of which Messrs. West are leading members, are actively carrying on the traffic; is he aware that Messrs. West recovered damages by action in London last year against this W. D. Wilson for a similar imputation; and has he inquired through the police whether there is any foundation whatever for the charges made by Mr. Wilson, and with what result; and will he consult the law officers as to a prosecution of Mr. Wilson, if sane, for criminal libel?

[Answer] Mr. BIRRELL: I have seen a copy of the poster referred to. The police inform me that there is no truth in the statement that Enniskillen is a centre of the White Slave Traffic. I understand that Messrs. West instituted proceedings last year against Mr. Wilson and that the case was settled by consent, Mr. Wilson making a public apology and paying £100 damages. I am advised that this is not a case in which the police should prosecute; the matter would appear to be one for civil action.

hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1912/nov/14/criminal-law-amendment-act-ireland#S5CV0043P0_19121114_HOC_61


To the Editor of "The Fermanagh Times."

AN EXPLANATION
THE ROOKERY FARM, Cretingham, Framlingham.
Dec. 7th, 1912.

Dear Sir,
I see that Mr. Birrell, in answer to Mr. Fetherstonhaugh, is reported to have said that I made a public apology to the Messrs. West and paid £100 damages. This is not correct. It is quite true that I, believing as I do still believe that Messrs. West did not wilfully do anything that was wrong, and that their motives were throughout good in their dealings with the Go-preachers, gave them a written apology and they accepted that, with the costs, in full settlement. Mr. Birrell is therefore mistaken in saying that I paid £100 damages.

Yours faithfully,
W. D. WILSON.

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