History’s Mystery solved in Port Townsend: The killer was . . .

PORT TOWNSEND — The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but in the case of “The Brutal Beating of Capt. Henry Tibbals,” it’s taken 114 years.

But thanks to the persistence of Fran O’Brien and her daughter, Jere O’Brien Kenney, the case has finally been solved.

“We picked up all the clues except one,” said O’Brien. “We went through them and figured out who it had to be.”

The O’Briens, who are from Port Townsend, worked with Brianna Scheyer of Gig Harbor to solve this year’s History’s Mystery, an interactive drama based on a real crime that happened in Port Townsend in 1890.

Part of the Victorian Festival, it challenged amateur sleuths to interview suspects and collect clues to find out “who dunnit.”

“You had to hit all the clues and put them in order,” Scheyer said, “All the good clues came from the Learned girl years later.”

From newspaper accounts of the crime, the sleuths already knew that John Cunningham, played by Steve Evans, beat Tibbals, a saloon and hotel owner played by Lee Clark, and left him unconscious. The reports also said Tibbals’ second ex-wife and her father were present at the crime.

But who hired Cunningham to do the job?

More in News

Ridge ski season opens Saturday

Finally, enough snow falls for winter sports

Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at the site of a new U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Elwha River southwest of Port Angeles on Thursday. The bridge will replace an older nearby span that was determined to have structurally-deficient pier footings. The $36 million project is expected to be completed in December.
Elwha River bridge construction

Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at… Continue reading

Clallam Community Service Awards nominations deadline April 1

Nominations for the 2024 Clallam County Community Service Awards… Continue reading

Road work to begin near Forks

Contractor crews will begin construction of a temporary bridge on… Continue reading

A gate and concrete barricades block the north end of Towne Road as it reaches the new Dungeness River levee on Tuesday northwest of Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Residents provide Towne Road feedback

More than 30 express opinions on project

Point Hudson Marina slated to be open today

Port of Port Townsend plans grand opening ceremony on April 24

Firefighters extinguished a fire in an RV near Olympic Medical Center on Wednesday in Port Angeles. No one was injured. (Port Angeles Fire Department)
No one injured in RV fire

No one was injured following an RV fire at… Continue reading

Mobile Healing Clinic to start in Clallam Bay on Monday

RV offers similar MAT services as Sequim facility

Finalists for the 2023 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award include, front row, from left, Carol Labbe and Pauline Olsen. Not pictured is the award recipient, Renne Emiko Brock, who was unable to attend the chamber’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. Pictured with Labbe and Olsen are, back row, from left, chamber President Eran Kennedy, chamber Executive Director Beth Pratt and Lorie Fazio, Citizen of the Year committee chair. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Art advocate Brock named Sequim Citizen of Year

Labbe, Olsen finalists for town’s top civic award