AUSIGEN - Family History

Family: Ebenezer Douglas Dunlop / Catherine Sheehan (F7979)

m. Abt 1857

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  • Father | Male
    Ebenezer Douglas Dunlop

    Born  Abt 1816  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  26 Dec 1880  Kitty's Creek, near Yass, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location
    Buried  27 Dec 1880  St Andrew's Cemetery, Yass, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location
    Married  Abt 1857  [1, 2]  Molonglo, NSW, Australia  [1, 2] Find all individuals with events at this location
    Other Spouse  Ellen Willock | F7978 
    Married  Abt 1837  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location

    Mother | Female
    Catherine Sheehan

    Other Spouse  Patrick Nash | F7980 
    Married  Bef 20 Oct 1881  Young, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location

  • Notes  Newspaper:

      Last Sunday morning it was reported in town that Mr. Ebenezer Douglas Dunlop, farmer, Kitty's Creek, a few miles from Yass, had suddenly dropped dead near the entrance of his dwelling-house. At an early hour yesterday morning the coroner (Dr. Blake) proceeded to the locality to hold the necessary inquest. As the evidence proceeded the case assumed a most serious aspect, and pointed to poison having been administered to the deceased on the morning of his death, apparently in a glass of spirits; and one witness asserted that before death occurred the deceased accused his wife with having poisoned him.
      The inquest adjourned for a week, in order that the stomach might be forwarded to Sydney for analysis. Meantime we withhold publication of the evidence taken, or any comments on the sad occurrence. The police yesterday evening apprehended the wife of deceased, and she is now in custody awaiting the result of the inquiry


      Monday, January 10:
      Rosa Ann Wales deposed: I have been already examined in this case; I will be seventeen years of age on the 19th next April; I was the adopted daughter of the late Ebenezer Douglas Dunlop and Mrs. Dunlop; I believe I was with them twelve years; sometimes Mr. and Mrs. Dunlop lived peaceably and sometimes not very peacefully; they have had one or two serious quarrels since I knew them; I recollect the Wednesday before Christmas; on that day I was in Yass; my aunt, Mrs. Dunlop, was with me; we purchased that day a half gallon of rum, but nothing about the brandy; on Christmas eve my uncle was drinking rum; he did not drink a great deal; I cannot say how many glasses; Mr. Thomas Hines called that night about six o'clock and remained perhaps about an hour; they had some spirits together; next morning, Christmas morning, my uncle was in good health; he was lying on the sofa most part of the day reading a paper he got from home; he occasionally took a glass of this rum; my aunt was lying down part of the day; I think I saw her take one glass of brandy; during Christmas day I did not notice her to be under the influence of drink; they were, I think, friendly on that day; about six o'clock that evening Alfred Davis and John Ahearn called; there might be some talk about my going to get married to Alfred Davis; they remained there until nine o'clock or perhaps a few minutes later; During the time they were there they has some drink; Mrs Dunlop gave my uncle rum and Dr Davis brandy; After they had left my uncle said to me "are you coming to the well with me". I said, "you don't want me". During this time Mr Dunlop was feeding the pig; the sty was not a hundred yards from the house. Mrs Dunlop first returned to the house; she asked me "did not uncle want you to go for the water?"; I said yes; she said "He always wants someone with him."; this occurred after nine o'clock; after this Mrs Dunlop came in and went to bed; she went into her bedroom and went to bed for I saw her; I sat on the sofa; During the time I was sitting on the sofa she called out from the bedroom "I am frightenedfor poor uncle, I am afraid he will do something." I saw nothing in uncle's manner to lead me to think he would do anything more than usual; I was not afraid of him; She said if my uncle said anything to me not to make him any back answer. I saw my uncle return; he returned just as my aunt spoke; he went into the kitchen; the kitchen is about four or five yards from the parlor, and the doors are opposite each other, and we couls see into one from the other. I went into the kitchen and said "Good night uncle, I am going to bed". He said, "all right, I have got the water without you." I then left, leaving him in the kitchen. I went into my room and went to bed. I went through the parlor, through the front parlor door, along the verandah, and then to my room which is a skillion room at the end of the house. I shut the front parlor door when I went out. I pulled it to, and could then open it again if I wish. A slab wall divides Mrs Dunlop's bed and mine. When I went to bed Mrs. Dunlop said "Rosey, don't go to sleep." I said o. She said this to me four or five times. She said she did not know where my uncle was - that he was out. I answered he every time up to the last. I said I would not go to sleep. The last time I did not answer her. I then heard her get up out of bed and heard her with some keys. They were making a nose. I heard her unlocking a box and open it. She then closed the box and locked it. I heard her then go into bed again. She did not speak to me after that. My uncle then cam back. It was before eleven o'clock. I did not hear eleven strike. I heard my uncle go into the parlor, and from that into the room where Mrs. Dunlop was. I heard the bed make a noise as he sat down upon it. I heard my aunt ask where he had been. He said "I went for a bit of a walk with my dog over to the gate". She said something else to him but I cannot say what it was.

      He went out to the parlor and had a glass of something and she said "you are drinking too much!" He said "no, I only took a small glass." He came back then and again sat upon the bed. I then went to sleep and do not know what afterwards occurred. I was awoke between twelve and one o'clock. My uncle called me. He called "Rosey, Rosey, come to me, I have fallen!"

      I got up but did not dress. I ran out in my nightdress. When I left my own room I went to the front door of the parlor where I had come out of before. When I reached there the door was barred inside and I could not get in. I do not know who barred the door. It was not barred when I went to bed. I sang out and said "Uncle, open the door for me". He said, "I cannot move. I fell". I then went round the house to the gate, went through the garden and to the kitchen. On reaching the kitchen I saw uncle lying on the stones between the kitchen and the house. My aunt was sitting at an outhouse or store some yards away and about six or seven yards from where uncle was lying. I asked uncle "What's the matter with you?" He said, "I am poisoned!" I said "no you are not" He said, "I am." I said then "How did you get it!" He said I got it in the last glass." I said "You could not, you took it yourself." He said "No, I did not, your aunt gave it to me." I said "no, I heard you take it yourself." He said, "No, she gave it to me. I told her when she gave it to me that it was bitter. I wanted a drink of water and she told me to take some sugar!" He also said she wanted him to go to bed at once. He said that when he was going for the water he had the first fit and fell. I asked what way he knew he was poisoned. He said he knew the fits, and that they were caused by strychnine. I asked him how do you know it was strychnine, and he said because he had seen dogs poisoned with it. Mrs. Dunlop was present and could have heard every word said while Dunlop was speaking. Mrs. Dunlop said "How can you think that I" He said "You did" and "You have done it at last Kitty!" Mrs. Dunlop was crying and I do not think she made any answer to this. Dunlop then said "I wish there was a doctor here" Aunt said "we'll send for a doctor" and he said "it is no use, I will be dead."

      He asked aunt - said "Kate (meaning my aunt) go for a neighbor!" She said "Rosey will go." He said "No, Rosey wont go" and "Rosey don't leave me or I will be dead before you come back!" He had a fit then. I then left and went for Mr. Garner.

      Mr. Garners' is not far distant. I informed Mr. Garner and ran back again. On my return I found uncle dead and lying in the same place but on his face and hands. When I left he was on his back. Mrs. Dunlop was then pouring water from a jug on his head. I asked her what she was doing and she said he had asked her for a drink but could not take it, and had then asked her to pour it on him. Then Mr. Garner came. Mr. Garner asked what had happened.

      I went away to tie up a big dog that was loose. I do not think I made any reply to him. During the time he was there he asked what had happened. We both replied. I said "He said he had got something in the grog." I said to Mr. Garner that my uncle said there was poison in the grog but I do not remember telling him that my uncle [had] said my aunt had given it to him. We carried the body inside and laid it on the sofa. After I went out first, my aunt asked me to give deceased some painkiller. I did so. I gave him what was in the bottle. That was scarcely a teaspoonful. On next day (Sunday) I saw a policeman out there. I did not ell him all I have told you today. He asked me something about how deceased died. I told him something but nothing about the poison. Mr. David Webster and others were there that day (Sunday).

      On that night my aunt and I had some conversation. This was previous to the inquest. She told me not to speak about giving him painkiller and not to say anything about his saying he had poison given to him. "If you do we will all get into trouble about it!" She said he would be cut up and butchered like a bullock. I do not think she said anything else. She said we would all be taken to gaol. I said I would not, but if they asked me I would tell then. She said, "Very well, I'll say no more to you - you can do as you like!" She further said "Oh, Rosey, you have turned on me!" After saying this she was crying. On Sunday morning I swept up the bedroom floor. I found a cork. There was a piece broken off the cork. I found it on the verandah in the dirt I had swept out of Mrs. Dunlop's bedroom. I had a recollection of seeing the cork previous to this. I believed it to be the cork of a bottle that contained poison - strychnine. I had seen the bottle previous to this in the looking-glass drawer on the table in Mrs. Dunlop's bedroom. As far as I can judge, it was about twelve months before I had seen the bottle in the drawer. My uncle got the bottle and strychnine some years ago. I heard my aunt that day state to sub-inspector Brennan that that poison had been destroyed years ago. I heard her say there had been no strychnine there for the last even years. I do not remember hearing her say my uncle could not have been poisoned with strychnine as there had been none in the house. I heard her say that uncle never said before he died that he had been poisoned with strychnine. I said he did say so. On Christmas Day she asked me to have a glass. This was before my uncle died. She said it was peppermint. The glass (tumbler) was about half full and the contents were of a yellowish color. I took it out of her hand. I drank about half of it. I said, "It is very strong. I don't like it!" She said, "you'd better drink it!" She forced it on me and put the tumbler to my lips and wanted me to drink it. She did not force any of it into my mouth but she endeavored to do so. I felt sick to my stomach after taking it. I spoke to her about it and she said "Oh, you have been nicely taken in - most of it was brandy." I do not know if it was brandy or not. It smelled like peppermint. It was somewhat bitter. I would not know the taste of brandy. Mrs. Dunlop may have had a few glasses during Christmas. She never showed signs of drink. She had drink before the inquest. On the Sunday night after my uncle's death, she drank. My uncle died with the knowledge that he was poisoned and he said my Aunt had poisoned him.

      Mrs. Dunlop was always very kind to me. She was as kind to me as my own mother could be, if not kinder. My uncle also was very kind - a kindness such as a father would show to his daughter and nothing more. I have no feeling of animosity against Mrs. Dunlop and I make this statement honestly and it is all correct. If I had not been asked about the poison or foul play I would not have said anything about it. Mr. Arthur Webster was the first I told the particulars about the poison to. I know nothing more than what I have told about the death of Mr. Dunlop. I recollect seeing sub-inspector Brennan out there and saw him find some poisons in the pantry - one was vermin killer, the other oxalic acid, and the other hartshorn. It is a long time since any of the vermin killers was used. The police took these poisons away with them.

      To Mr. Wilkinson (solicitor for Mrs. Dunlop): There has been one young man coming there lately and paying his addresses to one - Mr. Alfred Davis. There has been on one else. Some twelve months back a person named Garner used to come. Some times Mrs. Dunlop advised me for Mr. Davis and sometimes against him. My uncle was always for him. I am quite sure Mr. Dunlop was in favor of Mr. Davis and never did anything to prevent it. He never spoke against Mr. Alfred Davis coming there. I was on the best of terms with Mrs. Dunlop about Alfred Davis. I recollect two serious quarrels between Mr. and Mrs. Dunlop. I know that Mrs. Dunlop made up some story about Alfred Davis and told it to my uncle to put him against us but it was only a story. That was one quarrel they had and it was about me. It was a serious quarrel. The other was a long time ago when I was very young. My uncle told me it was about my turning to my aunt's religion. The only serious quarrels I know them to have had were about me. I was very angry at the time with Mrs. Dunlop for talking about Alfred Davis. I am not still very angry about it. My anger lasted some two or three days. I am not very anxious to get Alfred Davis.

      Mrs. Dunlop has often before come into Yass and purchased brandy and rum before Christmas. We always had drink in the house at that time. Uncle had not had any spirits in the house between last Christmas twelve months and the last Christmas. Uncle had been complaining of a pain in his side for over two years but said it was only rheumatic. Some time ago I heard him say the pain would be the death of him but not lately. The Wednesday before Christmas was the last time I heard him complain of the pain. When he was dying he spoke more to me than to Mrs. Dunlop. He had not a hold of her hand when I was present. I did not hear conversation pass between deceased and Mr. Hines on Christmas eve. I did not hear Dunlop walk about on Christmas Day complaining about me and Davis. His manner did not seam strange to me on that day. He had been taking a glass occasionally but you would never know he had been drinking. A stranger would not. Mrs. Dunlop said she was afraid of him. Deceased did not say to me that he had no one to care for him and I did not hear him say I would be the death of him.

      The door of the parlor is barred on some nights and not on others. He was lying about the same place on my return as when I left him to go for Mr. Garner. His head was off the pillow but his feet were in the same place. I told Mr. Webster about what my uncle said and I told Mr. Hines when leaving for Yass to be sure and have and inquest. Mr. Hines is on the jury. I do not remember all I said to Mr. Hines. The drawer in the looking glass was the place the strychnine was kept. I saw it about twelve months ago there. I saw it lying in the drawer but did not touch it or examine it. I believe the cork I have referred to to be the cork that was in the bottle. I wont swear positively it is the cork but I believe it to be the cork. There were plent of bottles in the house with corks. There was one the same size but its cork is a new one and this cork is an old one. There may have been more than one bottle of the same size in the house.

      After the death Alfred Davis was at the place. He came there perhaps eight o'clock before the inquest. I believe he was there all Sunday and went home with his father and mother before sundown. He came back on Sunday night about nine o'clock. He stopped all night. We were sitting together but not alone. He was not paying his address to me on this very Sunday. I did say to Mrs. Dunlop I would never forgive her for telling the story about Davis but did not swear it.

      "Rosa Ann Wales, who deposed: I am seventeen years of age; I am the adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dunlop; I lived with them about twelve years; I was on good terms with them; I had no quarrel with them; the old man was about sixty-three years; his wife and he would sometimes quarrel........"

  • Sources 
    1. [S203] Fostering of Rosa Wales, Decker, Judy Reynolds, (11 December 2000).

    2. [S106] Death Certificate.