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William Oxley

By Paul Bech 

William Oxley

Born 1804 in Rolvenden, Kent, England

Son of John Oxley and Anne Jenner

Brother of James Oxley, John Oxley, George Oxley, David Oxley, Richard Oxley, Henry Oxley, Ann E. Oxley, Alfred Oxley and Elizabeth Oxley

Husband of Eliza Santer— married June 4, 1829 in Benenden England

Father of Albert Oxley, Mary A. Oxley, Owen Oxley, Rachael Oxley, Jane E. Arnold and William I. Oxley

Died May 19, 1853 in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia

Baptism 8 Feb, 1804, Rolvenden, Kent

 

 

 

William Oxley

By Paul Bech

Originally a Miller in Rolvenden, Kent at the Beacon Mill (Wikipedia entry) which still exists. The photo is about 1910. The mill is about one mile east of the centre of Benenden village. It is said to command views of the surrounding countryside like no other in Kent. It was said that early in the twentieth century it was possible to count 55 working windmills in the view from the Beacon Mill. Most of the owners were said to have faced financial difficulties which became more prominent with the advent of steam power.| Link to photo of Beacon Mill. To gauge the conditions in this area of England look at this Wikipedia article on the Swing riots which happened only a few years before William and his family left England.

He married Eliza Santer, married 4 Jun 1829 in Benenden England, b. 1807 in Benenden, Kent, England, (daughter of Samuel Santer and Mary Judge) d. 4 Jan 1869 in Mudgee.

Letters to his brother, James (a school teacher), in NSW State Library, written on voyage to Aust. and from Richmond area.

" James Oxley - Letters received from William and Eliza Oxley, 1839-1842, NSW State Library, CY 4583, frames 19 - 66"

Arrived Aust 20 May 1839 on "Roxborough Castle" CF

Spent first few years as a farm manager in the Richmond area

Arrived Mudgee area c1846.

Appointed Constable at Mudgee in 1851. Died after interceding in a drunken brawl between Maurice Dalton and James Brandon in May 1853, died as a result of injuries on 19 May, 1853

Gravestone in Mudgee Pioneer Park

28/10/2016 further information from Paul Bech

Dear Diane, I have a little addendum for you re William Oxley.

 

Because of the details on your website, the Mudgee Police became aware of the death of WIlliam as the result of the assault during his duties.

I was contacted by a member of the Mudgee Police, Michael Wurth. They were unaware of his service and death and decided to hold a "graveside"

service for him on Police Memorial day in 2012. This became a rally call for descendants of WIlliam. On Police Memorial day in 2012 I attended the service along with almost 100 other cousins. A church service was also held at the Anglican church. This was particularly moving as there were 3 cousins who were active or retired police officers. One each from NSW, Queensland and Victoria. A re-union was held shortly after the service. There is now a plaque remembering the service of WIlliam Oxley in the Mudgee Police station.

 

Photos and details are at:

 

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Oxley-34

 

Regards, Paul Bech

What follows is the story of Williams journey out from England. I have told this story using extracts from letters he wrote back to his brother James in England. These letters are now in possession of the NSW State library. The letters from William remained in the Oxley family until the death of James' grandson at the age of 101 in 1982. They were passed on to the State Library of NSW after this.

William Oxley was born in 1804, the third of ten children. His father, John Oxley, was a butcher in Benenden in Kent. He had an older brother, James, who was a school teacher in Rolvenden, close to Benenden.

All I know of William in England is that he was a miller at the Beacon Mill in Kent. Historical records note that it had several “managers” and that it would appear to have not been very profitable.

The first letter was written shortly after departure from Gravesend, near the Isle of White (dated 11 January 1839). With William were his wife, Eliza, and his three children, Owen, Mary Anne, and Rachael, the youngest. There are also around 300 passengers crammed on board. Foul weather greeted their first weeks through the English Channel. The letters to James were intended for the whole family to read.

From a letter dated Jan 11

Dear Brothers and Sisters, You have no doubt been very anxious to hear from us and I have been as much so, not doubting you thought some calamity must of overtaken us but am happy to say nothing of a serious nature has occured, very tempestuous weather we have had to encounter with since the day we started from Gravesend.........

we went on board on Saturday Dec 29 about 3 o'clock in the afternoon all quite well and in tolerable spirits but very great confusion. 30th all low spirited, Mary Ann cried to go back to her Grandmama. Eliza very low and wished to go back which rather unnerved me.

Not helping the situation was the poor health of the youngest, Rachel. She suffered an injury to her arm before departure. From what I can gather it was a bad scald while she was in the care of someone else. The ship’s doctor took Rachel and her mother to his room early on. Sea sickness was rife aboard.

Jan 1st, 1839. Morning very rough, nearly all sick a very pretty sight for one that was well. Dressed went to Womens apartment. Mr A. and Harriet ill in bed. Went to Eliza, She was very ill and sorry she ever started. Wished me to beg of you never to come to sea. Doctor, Butcher and Cook all sick. 4 o'clock only myself and two others able to keep on deck. Came over sick. Went to bed at 8 o'clock. All gruel up it come all over the place........a complete stomach pump. I got over my sickness the first night after about 6 throws.

4th Had a very rough night, sea broke over the vessel which alarmed some very much. My birthday. Eliza and I had some Gin and water.

...........7th Very rough......the sea washing over us and coming down the hatchways on poor Owen and me completely wet us through, scarcely a dry bed in the hold, driven back 30 miles.

The rough weather continued until they arrived at Portsmouth on the 11th of Jan. Measles appears to be on board.

Rachel is very poorly. I fear we shall lose her. The rest are well. We are obliged to expend nearly the whole of our money in order to get what is proper for our use and what the children can eat since anchored, an old woman came on board with provisions who makes us pay handsomely for what we want.

William apologetically requests more funds from his brother who has already been a great help.

I am very sorry to ask for a few shillings more after what you have done for us but after paying Eight pounds which I did out of what I had you know how much I must be situated. I hope you will subscribe something and send me. We shall be laying at Plymouth 3 days.

The ship is held up for a several more days as William learns that a replacement wheel has to be fashioned for the one lost in the storms. William appears to have a gained a job on board so that he now lives with the Steward and Third Mate, to who is is next under. He says in a letter from Plymouth dated the 20th of January that he shall live better on board than he did on land.

Today we had Roast Beef Pork and Boiled Ham with bottled ale and quite as much grog as I require. The Mate tells me any thing I want for my wife I am to ask him for it and he will give it.

He continues in a letter dated the 21st of January:

Nothing Dear Brother could give me more pleasure than the receipt of your letter and contents which came safe to hand this morning and for which I am truly thankful.

The rough journey seems to have an effect on passengers will to continue.

I went on shore the day after we came in. The captain would not let but a few go as so many have ran away different time. One has given us the slip this time and left his wife. She is but very little hurt. They married one month. She is not great catch which was the cause of his starting.

In March the 31st they arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. Sadly, the youngest daughter Rachel died on the journey.

she never recovered from the effects of the scald or the Measles. She gradually sunk until Death put an end to her sufferings on Feb 13. On the same evening she was put overboard. You can judge the state of our minds better than I can express them, even now I am so hurt I cannot refrain from tears nor can Eliza whenever we mention her name. I do reflect on so about the scald that I could give Mrs Gorby the old needlewoman through whom it was done a good quarrelling could I but see her; but perhaps it is the best and I will endeavour to get the better of it. Eliza you must be sure was quite worn out with fatigue and illness and is so at present. I am in the hopes that her illness is not of a serious nature. The Doctor informs me she will not be well till we land again which I expect will be seven or eight weeks.

Williams jobs on board are to serve the provisions and do the accounts. He appears to be a general handy person on board used by the Doctor, Cook and Captain where required. The benefits are that he can provide some luxuries to his wife and children from time to time.

It is a good thing I am situated as I am for without the priveleges I have Eliza could not have gone through what she has, I have the privilege of giving her a bottle of wine a week beside what is allowed her from the stores also soft bread, meat or anything that I may suppose she may fancy; I have not had the time to make many observations on our passage for being a handy person (self praise) I am continually wanted by either the Doctor, Steward or one of the Mates. The Captain and the Steward had some conversation the other day concerning me and in what way I was to be remunerated for my trouble. He says I shall have something say five pound and Intermediates berth from the Cape and also for Eliza if not for the children. They are all so very good to us that sometimes I wish never to leave the ship.

Four children died on the journey to the Cape, but no others. William was reasonably impressed with the Cape and recommended it to others from England as a place to emigrate to.

I think the Cape a very good place for Englishmen to emigrate to. Servants being much in request

A dutchman makes an offer of a job as foreman of wine vaults in Cape Town to William which he seriously considers. It would cost him forty pounds to truncate his journey however (later he mentions 100 pounds), so he decides to continue.

In the letter from the Cape Eliza adds some;

Oh I think of you all never out of my thoughts and of the thought of not seeing more in this world, at times when I am poorly make me very sad again.....I can assure you that coming to sea is a very great trial.....but parting from the poor little dear in the way I did is a trial indeed – God grant that we may all meet in Heaven never more to part. Yet how thankful I am that William is situated as he is, he is very much respected

The next stop is Sydney. Fifteen more died on the journey from the Cape. The weather was favourable, not a single storm. On arrival in Sydney several came on board seeking labour.

Servants and labourers appeared so much wanting as single people and no one wanted less than those with large families, which is very easily accounted for provisions of all kinds being so very dear

William and his family remained on board until the ship was ready for departure, availing themselves of the comfortable cabins now empty. He credits the kindness of the Doctor to the recovery from sickness of Mary Ann who was sick for a week on arrival. Soon they leave the ship and rent a house with only shingles for a roof, no ceiling, no furniture, for 6/o a week. William is not impressed with Sydney.

I intent should God spare our lives and have the means to, come back again......I intend to give it a fair trial and use every means to do well........ Sydney is a horrid wicked place worse than any place I ever heard talk of at home. I would not live here for any money

William obtains a position as overseer at a property in the Richmond area. He thinks of it as pleasant country. He writes again a month later;

With pleasure I write to inform you of our happiness, and to give you some better information about the country, and our situation; first our situation is one very suitable indeed for me........We have but one room to live in but quite large enough and very comfortable off quite by ourselves in the yard opposite Mr Bowmans. We get quite enough for all to live well, with vegetables without buying anything so I have no occasion to draw on my salary therefore shall be able to do something soon for myself. Before you read this I shall be a cattle owner myself.

I am rather sorry I wrote so very unfavourable about the Country in my last but I knew but little.

Eliza takes on a job as the local school teacher. William fills his letters with descriptions of the favourable climate, the unusual animals and plants (even sending skinned animal pelts home to England for stuffing). Williams fortunes continue to grow. He is offered the lease of a farm, but feels he is better off working and saving for a while longer.

The letters from home seem to be a little scarce by 1842. In a letter dated this year William entreats his relatives to send them news as it is their only connection with family and country. He journeys to the interior of the state to his masters property some 130 miles over the Blue Mountains.

...it took me four days journey, 26 miles over the Blue Mountains is a very barren part such mountain gulleys and deep ravines I never before saw, neither can I describe to you my feelings being alone on a mountain track not a house or a human being near as I passed on the tops of some of the ridges.......beyond the mountains and again on the Mudgee Road the land is good and some fine homesteads to relieve the eye and if inclination leads to refresh the body.

When they arrived at Mr B's property William was suitably impressed.

I was much pleased with the country, it not so thickly wooded as it is this way principally trees not thick and but little brush wood. Mr B's cattle run is a fine one always plenty of water. He runs over an immense track of land. I went up to look at the cattle. We were 4 days collecting them so you can guess we had some riding. Two nights I slept under some bark. You require nothing about the bark, merely wrap themselves in the blanket and off to sleep. Which after a days hard riding you have a great relish for. I was so well pleased with a bush life that I had the intention of going up to reside. Consequently I went in search of a place. I found one much to my liking about 15 miles from Mr B's station well water'd and plenty of grass (although we have been without rain for nearly 12 months). There is some beautiful flat for cultivation quite equal in soil to your marsh ground.

Drought and the opinions of his master about the suitablity of his wife for this land (Mrs Oxley was too delicate to rough it) and the fact that his wife was so well patronised by the people of Richmond as Schoolmistress, that decides against removing his family to the area right away. He already has 34 head of cattle himself, and two horses.

The letters end here. I am left wondering about the rest of Williams life. The records show that he had two more children born in Mudgee in 1846 and 1853. Perhaps he did buy some property, but the records also show that he was appointed a Police Constable in Mudgee in 1851. This would be his undoing. He died after intervening in a brawl in 1853 (his gravestone can be found in the Mudgee Pioneers Park (link to Australian Cemeteries index page) not far from the visitors centre), only two weeks after his son was born (also William). This child also died a few months later. I imagine life was difficult after Williams death. Eliza survived until 1869, dying in Mudgee. Owen married Isabella Syme (from Scotland) in the Tambaroora goldfields in 1855. Jane Elizabeth married Joseph Arnold in 1867.

Owen appears to have remained out west for much of his life. History records at least 3 years in the Coonabarabran area (his occupation listed as “saddler”). His children’s births are recorded variously at Coonabarabran, Mudgee, Rylstone, Orange and Richmond.

Timeline

1804 Birth of William in Rolvenden, England

1807 Birth of Eliza Santer in Benenden, England (William's wife).

1829 Marriage to Eliza Santer

1830 Daughter Mary Anne born in Benenden, England.

1832 Son Albert died in Benenden, England.

1833 Son Owen born in Benenden, England.

?-1838 William was a miller at the Beacon Mill, Benenden

            December Boarded ship for journey to Australia

1839, Feb 13 Daughter Rachel died

           March 31 Arrived Cape of Good Hope

          May Arrived Sydney, Australia

1839-c1846 Lived and worked in Richmond, Sydney, NSW

1842 Travels over the Blue Mountains for the first time

c1846 Arrived Mudgee area

1846 Daughter Jane born in Mudgee.

1851 Appointed as a police constable in 1851

1853, April 29 Assaulted by Maurice Dalton

           May 3 Son William born

          May 19 Died as a result of assault on April 29th.

         September 18 Son William died

1869 Eliza died in Mudgee.

Newspaper Articles

Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 13 February 1854

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Wednesday 15 February 1854

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Empire, Saturday, 4 March 1854

Transcript of the trial of Maurice Dalton

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1854.

MURDER.

Maurice Dalton was indicted for that he, on the 29th April 1893, at Mudgee, in New South Wales, did feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, kill and murder one William Oxley.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL stated the facts of the case, and called James Lucas Brandon: I live at Mudgee ; I lived there in April last; I saw the prisoner on 28th April ; he insulted me, and knocked me down ; I was going home, playing the clarionet, When the prisoner came across and asked me what business I had playing that bloody thing, and knocked me down; I went to constable Oxley, and told him, and he told me to go home ; when I got home I heard stones thrown against my hut ; I was frightened to stop, and I went out for constable Oxley, and then I saw the prisoner: Oxley spoke to prisoner, and asked what he was about, kicking up that row at that time of the night for; prisoner asked him who he was, and said, I know you are a b---dy trap, I know you by your buckle ; I then saw Oxley fall, no one was near him when he fell but prisoner; I was 100 yards off; I could not say whether prisoner had a stick or a stone in his hand ; when Oxley fell I went up to him, and found him bleeding profusely from a cut on the head, he was not able to speak, he appeared to be insensible ; I think Oxley lived for a month afterwards.

Cross-examined by Mr. Holroyd : After he was knocked down, and before his death I often saw him on duty in the streets of Mudgee ; I had been playing the clarionet in Tuckerman's public house, in Mudgee. I drunk nothing that day but peppermint and ginger beer - three glasses of port wine in the evening.

William Freeman : I live in Mudgee ; I recollect 28th April, 1853 ; I recollect seeing prisoner that night ; he used to keep a public house at Maitland Bar ; on that night I was called up by the mistress, who said some one was breaking into the house; I went outside and found prisoner there ; I told him to go away, but he would not go away ; I then went back to my house and he followed me round and throw a large stone into my house, which fell on my wife and child; I spoke to him, about throwing the stone, and he then went away ; I saw him then walk towards the witness Brandon, who was coming down the street, and I saw them scuffling, and Brandon called out for Oxley ; I afterwards saw Oxley bleeding about the head, about half an hour after I saw prisoner scuffling with Brandon.

Cross examined by Mr. HOLROYD; He had no stick in his hand after he threw it on my wife's bed.

Donald Mcdonald ; I am a surgeon, I knew the late William Oxley ; I was called to see him in the morning of 29th April, 1853; he was lying on his bed, bleeding-profusely from a cut on his head, it was a contused wound such as might have been caused by a stone; he lived eighteen or nineteen days after I first saw, him; I made a post mortem examination ; I should say that his death was caused by the injury received on his head ; 1 knew deceased for several years, he was a healthy man ; the scalp was in- flammed, and on opening the cranium I found the membranes of the brain were inflammed, caused by the wounds; other causes might have accelerated his death.

Cross-examined by Mr. HOLROYD : I think the wounds were sufficient to cause death ; I believe deceased was a free liver, and had the appearance of a man that drank ; I saw deceased do duty as a constable ; I cautioned him not to drink ; I believe but apoplexy was caused by the blows on the head.

David Picton: I live at Mudgee ; I recollect the night Oxley was wounded ; I saw a man near Brandon's, house ; whilst I was in Brandon's house two stones were thrown in; Brandon then went to Oxley for assistance; Oxley went up to the man and said, "Is that you, Maurice Dalton?" . Prisoner said, "Who are you?" and then said "0, I know you are a bl--dy trap, by your buckle" and struck him a blow with a large stone. - Oxley fell when he got the blow ; I helped Brandon to pick him up.

Cross-examined by, Mr. HOLROYD : I was 20 yards off Oxley when the blow was struck.

Mr. Bailey, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Mudgee: I knew William Oxley, the constable; I know, he is dead; Oxley, was examined , before the Bench on the 30th April, 1853; the magistrates present were M. P. Bayley, and Basil Dickenson. (Depo- sit ¡om putin andKfliid. ) .

Mr. HOLROYD addressed the jury for the defence, and contended that the death ,was caused by other causes, and called the following wit- nesses in support of such a view of the case :-

John Ashton : I am a constable in Mudgee; I knew the deceased, I recollect his meeting with this injury ; I know that he had fits ; he had one on 26th February last year between the time of the accident and his death ; he went on duty 12 miles from Mudgee; he went on horseback ; this was about 15 or 16 days after he received the injury.

Cross-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL: The first time I saw him in a fit was on 26th February last year; I don't know what caused the fit ; I never saw him have another fit ; he appeared a very healthy man.

George Taylor; I am an innkeeper at Mudgee ; I knew Oxley the deceased; I recollect his taking a journey to Cloudy Bay ; after his return from Cloudy Bay, I saw him in a fit; this was in the morning; I saw deceased lying in a fit on the ground; I assisted him by losing his handkerchief, and then went for the doctor ; he was very apoplectic looking; I saw him occasionally on duty from the time of the assault to his death.

Cross examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL : He went, to Cloudy Bay some days after he got the wound ; it was not quite healed.

Alexander-Watt : I knew the prisoner whilst he was in my employment ; he was a very well behaved man.

Cross-examined, by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL ; It is ten or twelve years since he was in my service-; he was a few weeks in my service employed mowing-.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied at some length. After an address of some length from the Judge and a careful recapitulation of the evidence by him, the Jury returned their verdict of Guilty of Manslaughter.


Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 8 March 1854

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Wednesday 8 March 1854

Extensive article on trial of William Oxleys accused murderer, The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 8 March 1854

Outcome of trial, SMH, Wednesday 15 March 1854; Maurice Dalton was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years hard labour, the first two years in chains.

Sources

  • WikiTree profile Oxley-189 created through the import of Standen Family Tree .ged on Aug 31, 2011 by Vikki Watson. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Vikki and others.
  • Source: S-2129290697 Repository: #R-2146498758 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. Note: This information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created. Page: Ancestry Family Trees Note: Data: Text: http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=7067824&pid=1327
  • Repository: R-2146498758 Name: Ancestry.com Address: http://www.Ancestry.com Note:

 

Link to Page about William Oxley

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/12954685?searchTerm=%22william%20oxley%22&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)

BATHURST CIRCUIT COURT.

(From the Free Press.)

The business of this Court commenced on Monday morning last before his Honor Mr. Justice Therry, with the heaviest calendar, perhaps, since Bathurst became an Assize town. This circumstance drew forth a few remarks from the learned Judge, who in- formed the jury that it-would be necessary to work both early and late, and that during the session lunch time would be dispensed with. His Honor reached Mrs. Whitton's Commercial Inn, Bathurst, on Sunday morning about 10 o'clock, and attended mass at Stephen's Church.

Messrs. J. B Suttor and R. Machattie were sworn in Magistrates of the Territory.

WILFUL MURDER.

Maurice Dalton was indicted for the willful murder of William Oxley, on the 29th April last, at Mudgee. He pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr. Holroyd. Attorney, Mr. Serjean.

James Lucas Brandon deposed that about one o'clock on the morning of the 20th April, he was proceeding homeward, playing a clarinet, when the prisoner walked up to him, and after asking him what he wanted playing that b-----y thing, knocked him down. He applied to constable Oxley for assistance, who advised him to go home.  He did so, and shortly afterwards stones were thrown at his door and upon the house. Again he went for Oxley for assistance, who came out, and no sooner made his appearance than the prisoner accord him in these words, "You are a b-----y trap; I know you by your buckle.” Upon proceeding to the spot he found deceased lying senseless and bleeding, the wound having been inflicted on the side of the head.

Cross-examined by Mr. Holroyd- He frequently saw the deceased upon duty afterwards in Mudgee-never saw -him the worse for liquor, but recollected taking a glass with him on the Thursday 'before his death.

William Freeman saw the prisoner at Mr. Arthur Cox's on the 29th April last, who was making a great noise. Ho ordered him away, and was requested by him not to tear his shirt. In a moment afterwards prisoner seized a big bludgeon, which he threw inside upon the bed in which his wife and children were sleeping- At this time the prisoner had a stone in his hand. Ho saw the deceased, who was capable of walking unsupported.

Dr. Macdonald attended the deceased, who had a wound upon the side of the head, which did not appear to be dangerous.  Besides this he subsequently discovered, when holding a post mortem examination upon the body another and more serious wound at the back part of the head, but from which no external injury appeared. He had no doubt but the blows accelerated, if they did not cause his death. There was a considerable effusion of blood upon the brain. Cross-examined by Mr. Holroyd-He did not know that the deceased drank, but he had the appearance of a free liver. He saw deceased a few days before his death, and heard of his falling over a scraper ; from that period he had a succession of apoplectic fits, which continued until death,

David Picton saw the man, whom he did not know to be the prisoner, near Brandon’s, at whose house he threw two stones. Shortly afterwards he saw Oxley leave his house and heard him speak to this man, whom he named Dalton, and who in reply called him " b---y trap." A moment or two afterwards he saw Dalton strike the deceased with a thick stick, which pulled him to the earth ; blood flowed freely from the wound thus caused. He (witness) might be twenty yards from them at the time Brandon and he stood near each other.

Mr. E. Bailey proved that a charge for a violent assault was preferred against Dalton, who was committed to take his trial at the Quarter Sessions, on the 30th January. Some time after Oxley died and an inquiry was held upon his remains. The depositions were written by him as clerk of the Court at Mudgee.

This evidence closed the case for the Crown. Mr. Holroyd addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner.

This case, he said, involved a charge -of murder without malice, as from the evidence which had been given it was impossible to conceive that the prisoner could have been actuated by any such feeling. There was nothing before the jury to show that they were even acquainted, and from the nature of the wounds the blows must have been of a trivial character. When the witness Freeman reached deceased he was standing upon his legs, and could not, therefore, have been very seriously wounded. There was moreover a discrepancy in the testimony of Picton and Brandon, which showed plainly that both could not speak truth. The former estimated the distance at which they stood at the time deceased fell at 103 yards, whilst they later fixed it at about 20. Clearly this was no case of murder and he could not for one moment imagine how it was to be reduced even to manslaughter upon such trumpery evidence.

According to Dr. Macdonald's testimony,  the deceased_had a predisposition towards apoplexy, and this predisposition was increased by ardent spirits of which it appeared probable he partook. It would also be fresh in the recollection of the jury that the deceased had fallen against a scraper a few days before his death, and had then most probably received the injury at the back of the head, which caused apoplexy, and hastened his death. To his mind it appeared that an assault was the worst charge that could be fixed upon the prisoner. He then called Constable Ashton, of Mudgee, who knew the deceased, and remembered that on the 29th February, 1853, he had a fit about 7 miles from Mudgee, and was insensible for about three quarters of an hour, but had never seen him in one before nor since. Witness attri- buted  his illness on that occasion to the fact that they had been travelling all day with a flick of sheep, and deceased had not broken his fast. About 15 days after the assault, deceased was on duty and went with a letter for the coroner to Cloudy Bay, and did not return until the following day.

Mr. George Taylor, Innkeeper, of Mudgee, remembered deceased’s going to Cloudy Bay in the early part of May in last year ; it was after the assault; had never seen him in a fit until he returned from Cloudy Bay. On the morning after his return, heard some one screaming, and on going out saw deceased on the ground in a fit ; knew that he had been on duty occa- sionally after the 29th of April, Cross-examined by the Attorney-General: The wound in the head was not quite healed at "the time he went to Cloudy Bay, and witness thought he was not able to do as much duty as before the assault. He did not appear to suffer from any other cause than the wound in the head.

Mr. Alexander Watt was called to give the prisoner a character. He said he had known him for ten or twelve years, and on one occasion had employed him during the harvest ; had also heard other persons speak of him, and believed that when sober, he was quiet and well behaved, but when in liquor very violent. Beyond this he did not know very much about him.

The Attorney-General replied and made same stringent remarks about gentlemen appearing to give prisoners a good character of whom they knew but little, the natural consequence of which was that the cases of those who really deserved a good character were materially injured.  In reference to the case before the court he cited some cases to show that it was a matter of no importance whether the deceased was aged and infirm, or young and strong, but if his death was accelerated by the conduct of the prisoner the charge against him was sustained. He also directed the attention of the jury to the expression used by the prisoner at the time of the assault, calling the deceased a " b-----y trap," for kicking him after he had knocked him down, and said if deceased had drunk too much or taken too much exercise after the assault it would not make an atom of difference ; for Dr. McDonald had declared that death had resulted from the effects of the blows upon the head.

His Honor, in summing up, laid before the jury very clearly and distinctly the  difference between murder and manslaughter, and said that in cases of homicide the law presumed the existence of malice; and it was for the defendant to show that he had just cause for his conduct in the affair. After reiterating the evidence he left the case in the hands of the jury.

The jury found a verdict of manslaughter against the prisoner, who was remanded for sentence.

Outcome of trial, SMH, Wednesday 15 March 1854; Maurice Dalton was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years hard labour, the first two years in chains.

Wants to get in touch

Dear Editor, I have just read Paul Bech's article about William Oxley with interest. I think my Husband was an descendant of one of William's brothers and I have a drawing of Elizabeth Oxley his sister in my sitting room. Is Paul Bech a relative.? How can I contact him? Regards, Joyce Oxley

Editor: Joyce has been put in touch with Paul.