Plot J, Section 12, Lot 16
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Late in the evening of October 6, 1894, there was a knock at the door of the Westwood residence at 28 Jameson Avenue in the recently annexed Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto. 18-year-old Frank Westwood, son of Benjamin Westwood of the fishing tackle and sporting goods firm of Allcock, Laight and Westwood, answered the door. Without speaking a word, the male figure in the porch pointed a gun at your Frank and pulled the trigger. A shot rang out, Frank fell back into the house and the gunman fled into the cold night air. Both of Frank’s parents quickly responded to their son’s cries for help and within minutes a doctor who lived nearby was tending to the young man’s injuries. Frank lived long enough to give the police a description of his assailant, but then, on the morning of October 10, just four days after the shooting he lapsed into a coma and died.
The police were without a suspect until one of the Westwood’s neighbours pieced together some scraps of paper he found in a pile in his garden. A few pieces were missing, but a cryptic message made up of the following five words was decipherable: “If you don’t … I will.” A reporter for a local newspaper got wind of the neighbour’s find and used the note in a follow-up story on the unsolved murder. The article prompted a reader to suggest to police that it might be worth questioning a young woman who occasionally dressed in men’s clothing, carried a revolver, and had been an acquaintance of the murdered young man. Clara Ford was brought in for questioning and after the discovery of all sorts of incriminating evidence in her small flat, the young woman confessed to the crime, claiming that Westwood had frequently made improper advances to her. The police were convinced they had an ironclad case. But when the craft Clara was brought before the judge and jury, she claimed she’d been coerced by the police into pleading guilty. She claimed the authorities assured her that the very fact that the young man had made those advances would mean Clara would be acquitted. The judge was outraged and quickly set Clara Ford free. She was never seen again. Young Frank Westwood’s cold-blooded murder has never been avenged.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded