Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stories in Stone: The Death of William Booth 1894


A trip to the Maungaturoto Anglican Cemetery to search for the resting places of Eliza and Charles Davies a couple weeks ago had me pausing at the grave of William Booth aged 26 years. William had been employed as a bushworker by Thomas Coates at Pukekararo (formerly known as Pukekaroro). Working in the bush felling kauri was a hazardous occupation. Booth had met with a violent death when he was severed in half by a log rolling down the chute killing him instantly.

In yesterday's issue we recorded the death of Mr. William Booth, who was killed at Mr. Coates' bush, Pukekaroro on the 12th instant. An inquest was held at Mangawai, on the 13th. It appears that deceased was a bush worker. He and a mate named Clarke were cross-cutting a log at the bottom of a shoot in the bush. He told the workmen at the top of the shoot that he only intended to cut two logs and then leave the shoot to work at another place in the bash. Instead of doing so he started to cut a third log. The men at the top were jacking a log along the skids when it accidentally rolled into the shoot. The; shouted "Look out below," whereupon Clarke got out of the way, but Booth was jambed between the two logs and his body was completely severed in halves. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with these facts, and exonerated all concerned from blame.
New Zealand Herald,20 February 1894, Page 4

A correspondent writes on Monday, February 12th, a very sad accident happened in Mr. T. Coates' bush, at Pukekaroro, when Mr. William Booth met with a sudden and violent death, which has caused quite a gloom upon that and surrounding districts, the deceased being a general favourite with all who knew him. He was a fine promising young man of 26, ever on the alert to lend a helping hand to all who needed it. The bushes at Pukekaroro and Maungaturoto were closed till after the funeral, and the high esteem in which he was held was abundantly testified by all the bushmen following to the grave, where, in all, about 160 people gathered to pay the last tribute of respect to his memory. Deceased was a member of the Forester's Court at Maungaturoto, and although the courb has been in existence eight years this is the first death among its members. The Foresters followed their deceased brother's remains to their last resting place ab Holy Trinity Church cemetery, Maungaturoto, where ib was met by its esteemed minister the Rev. W. Horsfall, who conducted the service in a very impressive manner, the hymn Days and Moments Quickly Flying," being sung. The Foresters' funeral service was read, and an address givan ab the grave by the Chief Ranger, Brother Chadwin. The coffin was covered with beautiful wreaths and flowers, placed there there by sorrowing and sympathetic hands. The deceased came from Taupiri, on the Waitako. Two of his brothers attended the funeral, Great sympathy is felt for them and all the relatives, in the sad and sudden sorrow now haTe sustained in the death of so good and worthy a son and brother, whose memory will be ever held in the highest esteem by all his brother Foresters and friends in the Kaipara district.
New Zealand Herald,19 February 1894, Page 5

5 comments:

Amy Franks said...

woah that would've been quite a scary gory scene. great post Liz!

DARIAN ZAM said...

Not quite a 'widow maker', but still...

Liz Clark said...

Yeah I had a bit of a shock when I read what happened to the poor guy. Horrible way to go.

DARIAN ZAM said...

This is one of you new projects you were talking about, I guess. There was another lady doing similar stories based on grave stones, but once she she gathered enough for her book and put it out - she seems to have would down the project. That said, I haven't checked in on it for quite a while.

Liz Clark said...

Actually no. But I am digitising the Maungaturoto Congregational Church Cemetery Records name by name it's taking a while though. There's a lot of people buried up there. I had a recent contract for researching some heritage sites learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.