The Ponton Trial

Here's a bit of scandalous L&A history - Did you know that being popular and handsome could get you out of jail?

That is what happened in the case of the Dominion Bank Robbery in Napanee. On August 28th 1897, it was discovered that $32,000 was stolen. Local man Billy Ponton, a teller at the bank, was arrested and later accused as the inside man, by three other men who were also apprehended. He was placed in the Napanee jail (today’s County Museum) and held for trial.

Billy swore he was innocent, and he was so loved by the community that over 100 people visited him in jail. Many flowers from admirers were brought to his jail cell. His trial was moved to Coburg in September 1899 due to the overwhelming local sympathy in Napanee. After just one hour the Jury found him not guilty to the sound of great applause.

This impressive bank cage is from the very Dominion Bank that was robbed by the suspected Ponton… although we can’t confirm whether or not it was present at the time of the robbery…it does suit the time period (gasp!).

Museum hours

Monday – Saturday: 10am–5pm

Macpherson House & Park hours

Open for tours in the summer

Archives Hours

Monday – Friday: 10am–5pm

Museum and Archives daily rate

Adults: $3
Children under 12: free

All service fees are based on a cost recovery model. Factors such as the physical condition of the records and copyright restrictions may prevent some or all of the reproduction processes from being offered.

Museum & Archives location

97 Thomas St E, Napanee, ON K7R 4B9

Macpherson House & Park location

180 Elizabeth Street, Napanee, ON K7R 1B5

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