Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which two cousins are shot

In 1855 two brothers, William and James Alford, migrated together from Devon to Australia. Coincidentally each had a son who died of gunshot wounds.

One brother, William, was living with his family at Woodstock on Loddon in central Victoria and his oldest son, William John was 18 years old. Apparently William John was working nearby as a woodsplitter at Shelbourne (cutting timber for a bridge) when he picked up his gun by the muzzle and it caught on a log and shot him in the stomach. He didn't die immediately and was able to tell his father and others what had happened so his workmate, George Cousins, wasn't implicated in his death.

William John Alford's inquest
 Bendigo Advertiser  23 June 1871
The other brother, James, was living with his family at Maddingly near Bacchus Marsh in central Victoria in 1884 when his third-born son, Edward, died of gunshot wounds. Edward, who was 25 years old and a butcher, was working on a property at Arundel near Keilor north of Melbourne when he met up with a fishing group and led them to where hares were plentiful. As they were walking Cornelius Clancy's gun caught in his clothes and discharged, killing Edward Alford almost immediately. Clancy was arrested but later released.

Edward Alford, accidental death.
 Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette,  28 Nov 1884
In Trove it's worth checking all the newspaper reports available because they don't always write exactly the same information. In this case one report mentioned that two of the fishing party were women, and another report mentioned that Clancy was discharged.

Edward Alford's accidental death
 Evelyn Times and South and East Bourke Record, 28 Nov 1884 
Edward Alford's inquest
 Bendigo Advertiser, 26 Nov 1884

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