Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Gruesome Death

Trewman's Exeter Flying Post

For most of my English research purposes, the two most useful newspapers are the
North Devon Journal and Trewman's Exeter Flying Post. In my last post I wrote about how scans of the North Devon Journal are now available through the British Newspaper Archive. Another newspaper resource is British Newspapers 1800-1900, the result of a partnership of the British Library with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. Until recently access was only available to institutions, however, individuals can now purpose a 24-hour pass for £6.99, or a seven-day pass for £9.99. And so, for the last seven days, I've been reading Trewman's Exeter Flying Post.

In previous posts, I've written about some accidental deaths in the parish of Merton, Devon, and recently reported on the accidental death of my distant relative, Mary Jane BULLEID (1828-1838). Both the North Devon Journal and Trewman's Exeter Flying Post frequently reported on inquests "on the body" of victims of misadventure. Perhaps the most gruesome in its details is this report from the Thursday, March 25, 1841 edition of Trewman's Exeter Flying Post:
FATAL ACCIDENT.—On the 16th inst. as a boy named Oliver, about 12 years old, in the service of Mrs. Petherbridge, of Pill, in the parish of Tawstock, was going with a horse and cart, in passing a gateway the horse started, and the cart being upset on the unfortunate boy, his head was crushed in such a manner that the brains literally protruded through the fissures caused in the bone of the skull. An inquest was taken on the body, and a verdict of Accidental Death returned.
The most likely candidate for the victim is Henry OLIVER, son of John OLIVER and Ann SALTERN, who was baptised at Tawstock, Devon on 29 Mar 1829.

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