A History Of
George Alfred Beckett
In 1930, George Alfred Beckett left Old Perlican, Newfoundland in search of employment. Upon landing in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, he had a local taxi driver named Nicholas Marthos drive him a short distance to Tower Road where Beckett killed Marthos with an iron bar. The origin of the song is listed as "unknown" but it was long suspected that George Alfred Beckett wrote the song himself while in jail awaiting his execution by hanging. The song, however, has been discovered to be written (in first person) by a gentleman named Phil Penney from Cape Breton Island.
To my knowledge, this is the only known recording of The Ballad Of George Alfred Beckett. If you know of another recorded version of this song in it's entirety, I would be interested in hearing from you.
Nicholas Marthos Glace Bay, NS - Sept. 22, 1930
Nicholas Marthos, known locally as "Nick the Greek," usually waited for fares on a stand in Glace Bay. He had not been seen for several hours when motorists found his car parked on a lonely road outside of town. Marthos had been beaten unconscious with a blunt object and died an hour after being discovered. A nearby householder reported hearing a woman's scream at about the time Marthos was thought to have been attacked, but there were no other obvious clues. On November 7, 1930 Canadian detectives went to Old Perlican, Newfoundland and arrested a 40-year-old former resident on a charge of murder. Since Newfoundland was not part of Canada at the time the man had to be extradited to face trial. He was tried in Sydney NS the following February. The jury deliberated only 20 minutes before finding the killer guilty and he was hanged on April 30, 1931.
September 1930 George Alfred Beckett had made a full and complete confession to the murder of Nicholas Marthos, Glace Bay taxi driver, on Sept. 22nd. Beckett was arrested several weeks ago at his father's home in Old Perlican and extradited to Glace Bay, C.B.
January, 1931: Following examination of 14 crown witnesses at Glace Bay, George Alfred Beckett, of Old Perlican, was committed to stand trial at the February term the Supreme Court for the murder of Nicholas Marthos.
Sydney, Feb. 21, 1931 - George Beckett was found guilty of the murder of Nicholas Marthos by trial jury. After deliberating an hour and twenty minutes the Supreme Court petit jury returned a verdict of guilty in the Beckett case, and Judge Hugh Ross will impose sentence at the close of the court term, a week or so hence. J.W. Maddin, K.C. and N.R. McArthur, K.C., summed up the case for the Crown, which produced 36 witnesses at the trial. No witnesses were brought forward on behalf of the accused, his council, M.A. Patterson, confining his defence to his address to the jury yesterday.
The Ballad Of George Alfred Beckett
Original Words & Music by Phil
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George Alfred Beckett is my name as you may
My parents reared me tenderly the truth I will make
To the coalfields of Cape Breton my course I then
One evening late last autumn as you may understand
From thence I made a quick escape to get home was my
From there back to Cape Breton my trial for to stand
Here's to my aged parents I now must bid adieu
I wish to thank all my dear friends who were so kind
My life is almost to an end my days are just a few
Now to conclude and finish from this world I must
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