I have previously posted on the Misadventures, Deaths, and Near Misses of my family members, but as people could hurt themselves in so many ways in the 19th and early 20th century I thought I would share some more. I have included a couple of people related to me, but most are just everyday people doing everyday things. If you click on the “victim’s” name it will take you to Trove and the original article.
Poor Henry was climbing through a fence with his Winchester when it went off and shot him in the foot. John Kinghorn, a somewhat accident prone lad, lost the flesh below his thumb after the barrel of his gun exploded in 1890. On another day not long after, he was riding to Hamilton with the Byaduk Mounted Rifles when another horse kicked him in the leg resulting in a severe leg injury to John.
Reverend Father Scanlan was shooting rabbits with Reverend Father Timmins. Father Timmins wounded a hare so Father Scanlan pointed his gun through a hedge to take a last shot when the gun exploded, wounding him in the thigh.
Mr W.B Edgar made the grade while trying to relive his golfing days only to have some protective plovers attack him.
An over exuberant crack of a stock whip resulted in Stephen Moodie’s peculiar accident. Another peculiar accident occurred to an unknown and probably embarrassed customer of Page’s store in Warracknabeal. Lucky in-store video surveillance was not around then or the footage may have made it to a 1920s equivalent of Funniest Home Videos.
Young Alex McIntyre would have thought twice before he messed with a bottle of spirits of salts again. Deciding the best way to make sure the cork was in the bottle was to stomp down on it with his boot, he caused the bottle to explode. It was enough to blow the hat from his head. Luckily he escaped with minor burns and a dose of sense.
While the following peculiar accidents were not headlined as such, I do believe they fall into that category. Feeding peanuts to a leopard at Melbourne Zoo did it for David Horsfall and Mrs Hill of Casterton found a lost needle in her hand, 35 years later.
Miss Gladys Makin would have been wary of yawning after her peculiar accident in 1908.
“Eyes Damaged by Paper” was the headline for Mr H. Foster’s peculiar accident. From the Minyip “Guardian” newspaper, Mr Foster took paper cuts to a whole new level. Fingers are the usual victims of the dreaded paper cut, but the gentleman managed to have the paper he was carrying pass over his eyeball. Several days in a dark room was the remedy.
The headline “painful accident” was found 2149 times at Trove, although I think most accidents would fit this description.
Walter Greed of Hamilton was a victim of a painful accident in 1891. Walter was the son-in-law of Reuben Harman and husband of Jesse Harman. While working at his uncle’s coach building business Walter’s hand became caught in a studded drum used to prepare stuffing for carriage seats. Once released, he ran, blood dripping, to Rountree’s Chemists in Gray Street where his hand was bandaged. The chemist recommended Walter attend the Hamilton Hospital where it was found he had no broken bones.
It goes without saying that Mr Matthews’ accident was painful. While mustering sheep in the Grampians in 1898 a fall on to dry sticks saw one of them enter three inches into his leg. Wood was also the cause of Mr J. Sullivan’s painful accident near Warrnambool. A chip of wood flew up and hit him in the eye, resulting in the eye being removed.
I feel bad smiling while reading the following article. But when I begin to visualise what John Brisbane was doing it is becomes cartoon-like, particularly if I think of what might have happened and thankfully didn’t. Apologies to John’s descendants for my mirth.
SOME UNFORTUNATE RELATIVES
Death by misadventure best describes the unfortunate death of my gg uncle and again spirit of salts proved a very dangerous substance. In 1939, Ernest Richard Diwell drunk spirits of salts thinking it was whiskey. This was a fatal mistake.
Only two years earlier, Ernest’s, uncle William Diwell had his own misadventure.
I could go on all day with examples. I have hundreds of them including “unusual accidents”, “extraordinary deaths” and articles with headlines such as “Horse Jumps in Side-Car” and “Cakes Flew When Horse Bolted”, but I will save them for another time.