Trove Tuesday: “Hung Himself Due to Religious Excitement”

“Hung himself due to religious excitement”, now that’s not something you read everyday so when I saw that in a newspaper article on Trove I simply had to read on. And while it is a bizarre story in itself, it does end up having a connection to my own family.

Now the article is long, and a little fuzzy to read (as shown in the picture below), so to save your eyesight I’ve chosen to extract the text  …

The Advertiser. Monday, November 28, 1881.
An inquest was held by Mr. W. Hicks, J.P., in the Gumeracha Courthouse, on Thursday, November 24, on the body of Stephen Morand, who committed suicide by hanging himself that day. Mr. D. Moffat, sen., was chosen foreman of the jury. Murray Randell said – I went into my yard at half-past 7 o’clock this morning and saw John Tilly, who told me be had missed deceased, and also that he could not find the leg-rope used when the cow to milked. Looked about and found the body of deceased in the barn hanging by the neck, with the leg rope tied to the top of a ladder. Last saw deceased alive yesterday afternoon. John Tilly, labourer, said—I have known deceased about a month. He slept in the house next to mine. He seemed strange at times, and was perplexed about religious matters. He woke me up about 1 o’clock this morning and asked if he would have to suffer for what be bad done, and said someone was going to kill him. Told him not to trouble himself as no one would do that. Advised him to go to bed, which I thought he did. Went to work in the morning as usual. Could not find the leg tone and suspected something was wrong as I had not seen deceased about. I spoke to Murray Randell, who went in search, and having found deceased, told me. Went and cut the body down. It was quite cold. Had no idea deceased would make away with himself. W. R. Randell said – I have known deceased since 1879, be having worked several trips on the boats with me. Have noticed that be seemed strange and excited at times, and have heard that he was suffering from religious excitement. During his last trip up the Darling he got into some row and received a blow on the head which no doubt affected him. Last saw him alive on Tuesday morning. The Rev. Mr. Fieldwich, Baptist minister, said – I noticed deceased at service the last few Sundays, and was introduced to him by John Tilley. His manner from the first seemed strange and incoherent. He was at the service last evening and I had a conversation with him, after which be seemed very excited. I felt convinced from the conversation that he was of unsoundmind. He left me about a quarter to 10 o’clock to go home. Dr. Baden said— I was called this morning between 8 and 9 by Police-trooper Bluntish to examine deceased. Found him lying on his back in the straw with a rope around his neck. There was a distinct mark of the rope under the chin. Did not notice any other marks. Should think life bad been extinct for several hours. Consider death was caused by strangulation through hanging. Police-trooper Bluntish said —About twenty minutes past 7 this morning a son of Mr. Randell’s informed me that a man in their employ had hung himself. Went with Dr. Haden and found deceased as already de- scribed. Examined the body and found a deep cut round under the chin, but no other marks. The jury returned a verdict, “That the deceased hung himself while laboring under strong religious excitement.”

As you can see the article is long, so I’ve chosen to only show a portion of the original (the beginning and end) below. You can view the whole original article on Trove here.

Trove - religious excitement 1a Trove - religious excitement 2a

Now I know you’re still wondering what the connection to my family actually is? Well the property the guy hung himself on was Kenton Park, which was where Captain William Richard Randell and his family were living at the time, and they are connected to my family.

So once again, you just never know what you’re going to discover in Trove!!


2 Responses to “Trove Tuesday: “Hung Himself Due to Religious Excitement””

  1. I agree, how could you go past a headline like that one! And great you found a (respectable) connection to your own family.

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