Sunday, November 16, 2008

Death of the infant Boyd: 1868

The following comes from my file on the Gittos tannery, but doesn't quite fit in to that story. Still, I feel it needs to be seen, even if only to emphasise just how brutally short life in the new colony could be.

From the Evening Post, 12 September 1868:
"A most lamentable accident resulting in loss of life, occurred on Thursday morning [3 September] last, at the Whau. It appears that early on the morning in question, Mrs. Boyd, whose husband is engaged at Mr. Gittos' tannery, at the Whau, went out to milk the cows, leaving her infant, as she supposed, safe in bed. During the absence of the mother, however, the child managed to get out of the bed and crawled to the neighborhood of the fire. By some means the child's nightdress caught fire, and before Mrs. Boyd could render any assistance the poor little creature was dreadfully injured; it was, indeed, so much disfigured that neither features or sex could be at all recognised. The infant lingered until Friday morning, when it expired. We understand that Mrs. Boyd's health has been so much shaken by the dreadful occurrence that doubts are entertained as to her complete restoration."
According to the Southern Cross (8 September), Dr. Hooper was called in only after the kiddy had died, and certified that death had been caused "by injuries received from burning."

The screams must have been terrible ...

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