I is for Inquest
Thanks to Alona for starting everyone on this journey of Family History through the Alphabet.
William Evans was baptised 29 May 1819 in Rhayder, Radnorshire, Wales. He marries Elizabeth Jelley about 1845, supposedly in Trinidad but I have not been able to find the marriage entry as yet, but am still looking!
Mary Elizabeth is born in 1846 in Enfield the hometown of Elizabeth, followed by Samuel Jelley in 1849 also in Enfield. William was a coachbuilder/wheelwright by trade and he followed his trade around south-east England with further children:
Llewellyn born in 1851 in Brighton, Sussex, Thomas 1853, Martha 1856 and Lucy 1860 all born in Ashford then John William Evans born in 1862 in London.
Elizabeth was buried April 5 1865 at St Andrews, Enfield, Middlesex.
William decides to emigrate to Queensland. His two eldest children Mary Elizabeth and Samuel Jelley Evans decide to stay in England.
A number of shipping records from the mid-1860s have not survived for Queensland due to the 1893 floods, so I can’t tell you which ship they sailed upon to Queensland or when.
The next we come upon William is when he marries Jane Cameron a widow, 21 April 1868. He is listed as being a storekeeper at Eight Miles Plains, Logan River. Interestingly this is also the last time we hear of Jane, no death was found but two years later, when William dies there is no mention of her except on his death certificate as being his second wife.
A very interesting death certificate as there was a magisterial inquiry.but one wonders why when the cause was listed as apoplexy?
A trip to the Queensland State Archives was in order!
At the time I wasn’t able to get to the Archives as i was working full-time but I could get to the State Library who closed at 8pm to look at the newspapers.You never know what you are going to find!
Courier Mail 2 April 1870
Oh, so that was why there was a magisterial inquiry! Bound over to keep the peace! Threatening a neighbor! Tell me more!
Courier Mail 26 March 1870
Oh the scandal of it all! Did the apoplexy maybe cause him to have a violent temper attack? It was only a week previous? Was this woman he was living with Jane his wife or was it Charlottte?
Finally I got out to the Archives to get a copy of the inquest, not really expecting it to tell me too much more.
April 2 1870
Enquiry into the death of William Evans of the Logan Road before John Petrie Esq. JP
William Woods being duly sworn on his oath saith I am a legally qualified medical practitioner residing in Brisbane. Yesterday the 1 April at eleven o’clock am I accompanied the Police Magistrate to a house on the Logan Road kept as an accommodation house by the deceased William Evans. I went into a bedroom in the house and saw a body, the body of the deceased lying on a bed. He had been dead some hours. I saw the remains of vomit about the shirt, on the body, on the bed and upon different parts of the floor. I was shown a glass with white powder adhering to it which I believed was nothing more than cream of tartar which I was informed he had drunk some hours before his death. There were no external marks of violence on the body. I afterwards saw the same body at the dead house in Ann Street. I made a post-mortem examination, first opened the chest and found the organs there all in a healthy condition. I then opened the head and found the vessels of the brain (? ? )and the membranes and the ventricles of the brain filled with serous fluid which had been the cause of death by producing what is commonly known as serous apoplexy a very ? condition found in persons who have ever even to intemperate habits. I have no reason to believe that the deceased (? )the condition of the brain being quite sufficient to cause death.
Taken and sworn me at Brisbane this 2 April 1870
John Petrie JP
Well that gave a few clues such as William had an accommodation house. What else does the inquest say?
4 April 1870
Charlotte Chapman, being duly sworn on her oath saith I am a single woman I have been living with the deceased William Evans as housekeeper for the last five years. He had been in the colony four years, I had kept his house for a year before I came out. I came out on the Young Australia with him. He was a coach builder by trade. He came from London. Evans had been living on the Logan Road nearly from the time he came out. Last week he had been off since Monday and had only eaten a couple of eggs on Thursday at dusk. Deceased had two cups of tea and then began drinking from the bottle. At about ½ past eight deceased said that he would have a (?) powder. I knew there were none in the house. I went into the house in about 10 minutes then I saw a tumbler on the table with the white stuff around the edge of it. I put the tumbler away. There was some acid cream of tartar and baking soda in the house. About ½ hour after, two gentlemen came up. Evans appeared as usual only ? from drink. At about 12 o’clock he was taken very sick. He was sick and retching until about 3 o’clock in the morning. At about three o’clock in the morning he got off his bed and drank two bottles of beer. He asked me for some water and I told him he did not want anything. That were the only time I heard him speak I heard a noise and found food ushering from Evan’s mouth. I was in the next room to Evans I could hear him if he had turned in his bed. I gave the alarm and saw Mr Chapman and told him that he was dead. He was generally sick after drinking. Evans was always in the habit of drinking once he has been in this colony.
Young Australia, They came out on the Young Australia! Who would have thought the inquest would have given me the immigration details! I still don’t have an exact date but it is likely to be somewhere around 1866 as his wife died in 1865, Charlotte was his housekeeper for a year before they left England and he was in teh colony about four years so sometime in 1866 is likely.
So I is for Inquest and Immigration!
Great sleuthing Helen and written to get us all Intrigued! Isn't it amazing what can be tucked away in those offline resources. Now I want to know where Jane got to.
Yes, you have to wonder if they got married so Jane could look after the children, probably Martha, Lucy and John as the others were old enough to look after themselves by that stage. Maybe she left because of Charlotte? You can feel the possible intrigue.
mmmhhh… fascinating Helen. I keep wondering why he married Jane when he had Charlotte as a housekeeper? Was Jane pregnant? I wonder if they had a child… maybe she left because of his fondness for "the drink"? Thanks for sharing a great story… Cheers, Catherine
I don't know about Jane. She was 39 at the time of marriage so it wouldn't be impossible that she was pregnant. She was a widow. They married in the Presbyterian Church. Jane is a mystery that i am going to have to spend some more time upon. I haven't really worried much about her before as she wasn't related and following a Jane Evans is nearly as bad as following some of my Smith families!
When William died the girls did not stay with Charlotte and the boys went out on their own.
Wow, you've proved that if you did a little deeper, you can find out all sorts of interesting facts and details. Great work yet again with the sleuthing.
It has been wonderful fun and I love the detective work.