Monday, October 19, 2009

Coroner's Inquests

16 August 1832
An Inquest was held at the School House, below WISEMAN'S on the HAWKESBURY, on the 13th instant, on the body of FRANCES MERCHANT, a child of two years of age, who had strayed from her house, fell into a hole of water (which had been dug for a well) three foot deep, and was drowned. A Verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned, and the hole directed to be filled up or fenced in.

Notes. Her death:


26 July 1832 Thursday
On Sunday an Inquest was holden before MAJOR SMEATHMAN, Coroner for Sydney, at the BRITISH STANDARD TAVERN AND HOTEL, on the body of MR. JAMES NICHOLSON, gunsmith, who died suddenly the previous day. It appeared in evidence that deceased had been unwell for some time past, caused in a great measure from the free use of spirituous liquors. The Jury returned a verdict, that the deceased died by the visitation of God.

Notes. His death in NSW BDM indexes:
V18321465 16/1832 NICHOLSON JAMES AGE 60
Therefore born about 1772. According to the 1828 census he arrived on the 'Asia' (3) in 1825 with a 7 year sentence, his employment then given as 'gunsmith' living at George St, Sydney. The Sydney Gazette carried news of the inquest Tuesday 24 July 1832 and noted that James Nicholson was "a gunsmith of George St.... the unfortunate deceased had accumulated some property since his arrival in the Colony, and was generally supposed to be preparing to return to his Native Country (Ireland), where his prospects were flattering. As a tradesman in his particular art, he stood unrivalled in Sydney."

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