Re: George Edmunds - Indian Mutiny Veteran
Posted by Ian Edmunds on July 1, 2019, 7:22 pm, in reply to "Re: George Edmunds - Indian Mutiny Veteran"
Hi Barry, |
Thank you for your kind words.
I have been researching the Edmunds family in my spare time for well over ten years now and George is a bit of a hero of mine. It's been frustrating at times especially regarding his military career - I still do not know for certain which regiment he fought under. I may need to pay a visit to the National Archives at Kew and consult some military historians. I have however found some fascinating stuff.
I read though the thread from 2015, thank you. I am almost certain George was 96 when he died although it is recorded as 101 on his death certificate. The census records would also suggest this. I have a birth date of the 12th April 1833 in Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland. Father George mother Martha or Matty. This is the only record I can find for his birth.
I made an amazing discovery a while back while searching the newspaper articles which would also suggest this was the correct birth.
George's father George was poisoned by his mother Martha! It was front page news in Ireland and made most of the British papers. This is a transcript of the article:-
Poisoning A Husband – Northern Whig 23rd July 1840
The trial of Martha Edmunds 20th- 21st July 1840
Martha Edmunds was arranged for the poisoning of her husband, George Edmunds, at Ballyveagh, near Kilkeel, on the 12th April, by administering to him a quantity of arsenic, mixed with water and whiskey. The prisoner pleaded not guilty, in a distinct voice. She is a plain, haggard looking woman, of sallow complexion, and is apparently about thirty-five years of age. Her appearance indicated no particular concern at the situation in which she stood.
Sir T. Staples addressed the Jury on the part of the Crown. After a few general observations, he proceeded in detail the circumstances of the case. He said, that the prisoner had been married to the deceased, by whom she had had four children. He was a pensioner, and, in the course of his service as a soldier, has almost lost his sight. He was about 50 years of age – the prisoner is 35. They did not appear to live happily. They resided at a place called Ballyveagh, near Kilkeel, but had previously resided at Moneydarragh. Their next neighbour was a widow named McNeight. On the day named in the indictment, this woman went to their house, in the morning, and was offered some whiskey. At twelve o'clock, she again went in, and was asked to take dinner with them. She did so afterwards ; the fare being dressed potatoes. After dinner, the prisoner said she would give them some drink, on which she went to a dresser, took a tumbler, and, from a paper she poured some white powder into it. She then emptied into the tumbler some whiskey from a jar, put water into it, and offered it to the deceased, who, on tasting it, said it was bad, and he would take no more of it. Prisoner then put more water in it, and gave it to him , on which he drank it. The widow McNeight was led to observe the proceedings of the prisoner narrowly, from her refusing to eat of the dressed potatoes, alleging she did not like them, but would boil some potatoes from herself. McNeight observed a white sediment in the bottom of the tumbler from which the deceased had drank, and asked prisoner what it was. She said, it was white sugar. By and by, the old woman was about to give some of it to a young child of the prisoner, on which the latter interfered, and told her she must not, on any consideration, give it that stuff. After the woman went home, she took ill, vomited violently, and has a burning sensation in her stomach, with pain of the head, such as she never had before. Edmunds was likewise taken ill, and , after exhibiting all the symptoms of poisoning, died the same night. It would be distinctly shown, that, on the day before the murder, the prisoner had purchased, from an apothecary, a pennyworth of arsenic, on the pretence of poisoning rats. It would also be given in evidence, that a post-mortem examination of the body of deceased had been made, and that the stomach exhibited distinct effects of poison. It's contents had been preserved, and analysed by a skilful chemist in Dublin, and a portion of arsenic was found mixed with them. Evidence of other acts of the prisoner would also be produced, tending to show the extreme probability of the crime having been perpetrated by her. Should the whole of this evidence, when fully set before the Jury, convince them, without any reasonable doubt, that the prisoner had administered the poison, knowing it to be such, it would be their painful duty, arising from the character of evidence, or any discrepancy between the statements of the various witnesses, remain on their minds, they were bound to give the unhappy prisoner the full benefit of it.
[The foregoing is merely a brief outline of the Learned Counsel's speech]
Counsel then called the following witnesses :-
Sarah McNeight – “I live in the townland of Ballveagh, in this County, near the deceased George Edmund's. A person could be heard from the one house to the other. – There was a house between them, under the roof with me – George Annot's. Deceased was a middle-aged man, and nearly blind. He could merely distinguish the flame of a candle. He had four children – George, John, Charlotte, and Maryann. The first was about 7 ½ years old. I believe Edmunds was a married man, and that the prisoner at the bar was his wife. I went into his house rather before ten o'clock, on the morning of the 12th April. Edmunds was in bed, and his wife was sweeping the house. Some of the children were there, and a little girl, daughter of an aunt of the Edmunds's. I didn't sit down at that visit. I was treated to a 'johnny' of whiskey, which I divided with the youngest child of prisoner. The mother saw me do this. The same day, prisoner asked me in to sup broth. I then went to my own house. I returned to Edmund's about twelve o'clock ; there was no one in the house but those who had been there in the morning, except a little girl, Ann Baird, my grand-daughter. The deceased was at the fire. I sat down. George Edmunds was 'touched' (affected) a little with whiskey. Prisoner lifted a basin of broth for her husband, and another for me. I took the broth ; I had the prisoner's child on my knee, at the time. She took George Edmunds's basin back to the dresser, and brought a 'noggin' to him, where he was seated at the fire ; she 'skinked' the broth (poured it from one vessel to another) between the basin and the noggin, as if to cool it. Deceased supped the broth. – When I had finished mine, I went to leave the basin on the dresser. I found on the lower part of the dresser a small paper, loose at one end. I asked the prisoner what was in it. She replied it was sugar. I looked at it, and would leave it on the high part of the dresser, out of reach of the children, which I accordingly did. I was then asked to wait for dinner, by the prisoner, and remained. The powder in the paper was whitish coloured, like white flour ; the paper was bluish. Pealed potatoes were put on to boil for dinner, the prisoner attending to the process. When they were boiled, she desired me to break them, and I did so. I then, at her request, lifted a plateful, for the children's dinner. Prisoner said, she would put a little fat in the remainder, for George Edmunds and me. She then removed the pot from the fire to the dresser ; and next brought a plate of the potatoes, with some fleshmeat, to the deceased, who was quite near me at the time. I was sitting with my side towards the dresser. – Prisoner handed me a plate of potatoes and fleshmeat, out of the pot. I found a bad smell arise from it, but thought it proceeded from a bad potato. I took three or four spoonfuls of it. George Edmunds ate all of his but a very little. – Thinking shame to leave off so soon, I took a little more the potatoes. I left back the plate on the dresser. There prisoner said she would not eat any bruised potatoes, but would boil whole ones for herself. She put some potatoes on the fire, as if for this purpose, but I did not see her eat them. After the deceased has eaten his potatoes, he asked the prisoner for two half glasses of whiskey, one from himself and one for me. Prisoner said, if she gave them whiskey, she would given them sugar in it. She then went to the dresser, took a small jug from it ; lifted the little paper I had placed high on the dresser and poured the powder into the jug. I saw her shake the powder into the jug, and throw the paper from her. She then poured some whiskey into the jug, which she next to the dresser, and put water into it. The whiskey-jar was in a little box, a short distance from the dresser. The whiskey-jar was in a little box, a short distance from the dresser. She stirred up the mixture with a spoon, saying she had bought a quarter of a pound lump sugar, and that she would give us part of it. She then poured about two-thirds the full of a tumbler out of the jug, and gave it to George Edmunds. He tasted it, and 'turned' against it, remarking, 'Oh, Matty, It's nauseous – I can't take it.' She took it back to the dressed, and filled up the tumbler with cold water. She next went to a cupboard, brought a basin of soft sugar to the dresser, and took the tumbler to George Edmunds, saying – 'It will do now – drink it up.' He drank it all. She returned to the dresser, left down the tumbler he had drank from, put some whiskey and water in another, and brought it to myself. I remarked, that the whiskey was in colour far different from what it had been in the morning. She replied, it was given out of a milky jug, and would do them no harm. I took the tumbler to my hand, but wouldn't drink it's contents. She insisted that I should drink it ; but I refused, and said, if I must take it, I would leave it till night. I then returned to my own house. I got very sick when I went it, and threw off, three or four times. It was soon after two o'clock that I returned, and I got sick immediately after. There was a burning sensation at my stomach, and my head was violently affected. I went to bed, and remained there for about an house and a half. Prisoner sent her son George from me, and I went back to her house. She said, George, her husband, had gone to bed very ill with his head and stomach. The prisoner desired me to sit down. I refused ; she got up, shut the door, and said I must sit down. She then brought about two-thirds of a tumbler of coloured whiskey for herself, and, afterwards, the same tumbler I had had before, to myself, but I objected to take it. I had laid it in a 'blind' (built up) window. She said I must drink it. She had the other tumbler in her hand at the time, and said she could take no sugar in her whiskey. I declared, that I could not drink what she offered, as I was sick from dinner. On her insisting, I drank about two-thirds of a johnny of it. Her young child was on my knees, and reached out it's hand for the tumbler, as it was use to my dividing everything with it. I took about a teaspoonful of the white stuff from the bottom of the tumbler, which the prisoner had told me was sugar, and was bout to give it to the child ; but the prisoner observed me, and said, with a great oath, that I should not give it any of that, but that I should drink it myself. Prisoner drank up the contents of her own tumbler. I never tasted what was in mine, after she refused to let the child take the white substance. A knock was then given at the door ; she requested me to let the child in/ I gave the tumbler to prisoner, and did so. A man named Samuel McCartan cam in after the child. The prisoner placed my tumbler in a hole in the wall of the fireplace. I sent to return home ; but, when I got upon the green, I could see neither house nor door, from sickness. I went to bed, when I got home, and was lying sick for about three hours ; at the end of which time, the prisoner sent her son George for me a second time. I told him I was too sick to go. He went away, but returned crying, and begged me to come with him for a minute. I got up and went with him. When I entered prisoner's house, I found James Taggart and Robert Heaney there. Prisoner was lamenting that her husband was very bad. He was in bed ; was vomiting much, and his spasms were so violent, that they were likely to throw down the bed. Prisoner requested me to warm a smoothing-iron, and put it to his feet, which I did. I then returned home, and took sick again, on which I sent from my son-in-law and daughter, John Baird and Biddy Baird. In the course of the night, prisoner's boy George came to the window, and desired my son to get up,and hold 'big George' (his father) in bed. Prisoner came to my house, and, on observing that I was sick, laughed and said, that both her husband and I were wrought in the same way. My son was present when she made this observation. Mr. M'llwaine, a medical man, attended me that night, and Surgeon Reid next day. I don't know at what house George Edmunds died.
Cross-examined by Mr. Tomb – Deceased had been in the army, was an Englishman, and had a great deal of money. I didn't know that he was a pensioner. I understood, that £1,500 had been left between him and his brother. I think he got the most of it in a lump. I don't know that his friends sent the interest of his share, from time to time I had been employed to make clothes for the prisoner's children ; and had never done her, or anyone else, any harm that I know of ; so that she had no reason to entertain spite against me. I didn't see any white sugar in her house, at the time she was giving the whiskey. I didn't think the white power was sugar, for it wasn't like it, though she had told me it was sugar. I didn't tell her the potatoes smell, for I thought a bad potato had occasioned it. I related this at the Coroner's inquest. I first took a suspicion that the white power was poison, when prisoner refused to let me give it to the child. She appeared greatly vexed at her husband's illness. My son said, that I and Edmunds were both wrought in one way ; the prisoner said the same, and laughed at it ; my son wasn't pleased at her for saying so. I was not in drink at the time. I never was drunk, during my life.
Joesph McNeight, examined by Sir T. Staples. – I am son to last witness, and lived with her at the time of this occurrence. I had gone to Kilkeel, to prayers, that morning, about ten, and returned at four. My mother was absent, but came home in a few minutes. She seemed unwell, and unable to get dinner ready for me. After dinner, I went to Edmunds's house. Deceased was sitting at the fire. After a little, he began to vomit, and complained of being very unwell. Prisoner was present, and remarked, that she never saw him through off when in whiskey before. I filled a pipe, and asked whether he would smoke. He said he could smoke none. By and by, his wife put him to bed, after he had been undressed. I left the house in a few minutes, and did not return, until awakened out of bed by the prisoner's little boy, about eleven o'clock. I then found Edmunds very unwell. The prisoner was in the bed with him, but was sitting up, with a petticoat around her. She seemed in distress, and said she did not think George “was right”. I desired her to get up, that I might stretch her husband in the bed. She did so, put on her gown, and went to the fire. After a little time, Edmunds asked for a drink. She inquired, whether he would take a little tea, and then gave some to him. He took a sup or two, but vomited several times in a few minutes, complaining of his head and stomach. Soon after, prisoner told me I was called to my own house, and I went there. My mother was in bed, and very ill. In a little time, prisoner came in, and said, that “Sally (witness's mother) and 'big George' (her own husband) were both wrought in the same way.” She smiled as she uttered these words. I replied, that they were, but that my mother was not wrought (convulsed) so severely as the other. The prisoner said, it would be a cruel thing to see two corpses leaving the street in the morning. [Prisoner here lifted her eyes and clasped her hands, as if in prayer, - the first evidence of her sense of her awful situation she had evinced, since she was placed in the dock.] I desired her to go into her own house, and prevent her poor husband from dashing out his brains against the wall. - She did so, and I went with her. Deceased was still vomiting. A man named Robert Annot was there. I remarked, that I thought both Edmunds and my mother were poisoned. Robert Annot asked the prisoner, whether there was any poison in the house. She said there was a pennyworth, which she had bought of Surgeon Mc Ilwaine, on the previous day. She went to the dresser, where it had been left, and brought out a little drawer or box, from the top, but said it was gone. She then went to the bed where the little boy George was lying, and accused him of giving it to “big George and Sally.” The boy said he had not. I then went to the deceased, and he told me he had got nothing from little George. I think the boy from his appearance, may be seven and a-half years old. In a short time after, I went to see how my mother was. I first brought my brother-in-law and sister, and then the doctor. I returned to prisoner's. She was out, but soon come back. She observed, that I appeared to be angry with her; and I replied, that I did not know who to be angry with; adding, also, that she had brought herself to as great a loss as I could come to. I think George Edmunds was dead at this time – indeed I saw him die. Cross-examined – Edmunds told me he had been some time in the army, but that he had been discharged with one year's pay. I never heard him say he was a pensioner. He took a glass of whiskey when he could get it. His wife sold a drop (illicitly) for some time before this happened. I did not tell the coroner any thing about the prisoner's smiling, when she saw my mother, for I was desired to make my story as short as possible. I told it to the Crown Solicitor. Prisoner did not attempt to conceal the fact, that she had bought poison. Deceased was dead before the doctor came, for whom I had sent my brother-in-law.
John Mc Ilwaine – I am a medical man, and keep a whole-sale shop in Kilkeel, for retailing medicine. I know the prisoner, whom I saw in my shop, on the 11th of April. She asked for a pennyworth of arsenic, to poison rats. I sold it to her, and wrapped it up in a blue-coloured paper, marked “poison.” She had purchased arsenic from me before, to poison mice – probably, about the month of September. On the morning of the 13th April, about one o'clock, a man named Baird came to me. I went, in conquence, to Sarah McNeight's, of Ballyveagh, and found her vomitting, with violent paind in the abdomen. She complained of great thirst. She was labouring, to the best of my opinion, from the effects of poison. I afterwards went to the house of Edmunds, and found there the prisoner, with a child at her breast. George Edmunds had been dead for two hours. A Police Constable was in the house. The prisoner was going about the house, crying. I asked her hoe Edmunds came by his death, and she replied, that young George had given him the poison, in mistake for white sugar, in his punch. I then sent for the Coroner and Surgeon Reid. The latter arrived about six in the morning. He and I made an examination of the body. We opened the stomach, and took out the contents. We concluded, that death had resulted from the effects of a violent, active poison. In the stomach, we found about three pints of fluid, red-coloured fluid, and a few small pieces of potato.
Counsel for prisoner here admitted, that deceased had died from poison, and that Sarah McNeight had partaken of it. The direct examination of Mr. McIlwaine was, of course, discontinued. In reply to Counsel for the defence, the witness stated, that arsenic was odourless, except when heated on a hot iron. In his opinion, it would not give out its smell, that of garlic, from being mixed with hot potatoes.
Robert Annot – I have known George Edmunds and his wife for 14 or 15 weeks. They disagreed at times, and he left the house. They lived in a friendly way at other times. I never saw any of their fallings out but one. The prisoner told me not to let her husband come into my house. She sometimes said, that she “was heart-broken with that man.” I went to Edmunds's house, on the night he died, and saw him in bed. Prisoner seemed to be in trouble. Edmunds was very ill, and she began clapping her hands and crying. She did not say he was poisoned – Cross-examined – Deceased was an old soldier, and I liked to have a crack with him. He was an Englishman, and had very good friends, who sent him a deal of money. I never heard him complain of his wife, behind her back. - [This witness was very deaf, and gave his answers in a confused manner.]
Jane Baird – I live a short quarter of a mile from Edmunds's house. I was sent for on the night he died, and found him very unwell. I saw the prisoner there. She said her husband could not be in a good state, for “his heart's blood was lying by the bed-side.” She took a candle, and shewed it to me and my daughter. I did not ask her what occasioned his sickness. She afterwards said her little son George had given him, in mistake for white sugar, poison which she had for rats. She was in trouble.
Sir T. Staples here said, he felt himself under the painful necessity of calling the little boy.
The little boy, a mere infant, was brought on the table; but the Court and Jury agreed, that there was no necessity for examining him. As a Policeman was assisting him to decend, at the front of the dock, the prisoner, who betrayed great emotion when she saw him, requested to be allowed to kiss her child; and, clasping him in her arms, she embraced him convulsively, sobbing in the most painful manner, and exclaiming, “My poor, poor George! - my poor fatherless child! - may God pity your unfortunate mother and you, this day!” The scene was one of the most touching we have ever witnessed. Scarcely an eye in the crowded Court was tearless, and more sobs than those of the hapless creature in the dock were audilble.
The case for the prosecution having closed, Mr Tomb addressed the Jury, on the part of the prisoner – He said, it was now his duty to direct a few words to them, on behalf of this unhappy mother. He would shorten his observations by condensing them into some brief directions as to the frame of mind in which they should enter on the consideration of this case, and a few remarks on the evidence, which he thought might have suggested themselves to the Jury, or, if not, which would probably be suggested by his Lordship. He was sure they would give his observations a patient consideration, so far as they agreed with their own opinion. The prisoner was charged with the blackest crime – with a most foul and unnatural crime – the murder of her husband – the man with whom she had bowed at the alter, and whom she had sworn to love, - with whom she had lived, after all the evidence that they heard, on friendly terms – and who was the only support of herself and her infant children. Before they could convict her of such a malignant crime as that, they would require to have it proved, beyond all doubt, that the prisoner was the person who administered the poison, from which there was no doubt the unfortunate man died. He felt it almost unnecessary to tell gentlemen of their intelligence, that, in approaching the consideration of this question, they must dismiss from their minds all they might have heard of this crime before they entered Court, and to found their verdict alone on the evidence that had been produced. He begged to call their attention to another point. He could tell them, from his own experience in Criminal Courts, that, in proportion to the enormity of a crime committed, the human mind was exited to indignation against the person charged, - which state of mind often suggested suspicions, and feelings of anger, that prevented them from inquiring dispassionately into the motives of the crime. He implored the Jury to dismiss such feelings from their minds, and to judge of the prisoners motives as they would on ordinary occasions. The Learned Counsel then called attention to the evidence. The first thing they had to consider was, whether the prisoner had administered the poison, knowing it to be such; and, next, what must have been her motive in doing so. He contended, that Counsel for the Crown had admitted his inability to prove a motive. The evidence of the deaf witness produced, and tortured to prove that the prisoner and deceased lived on unhappy terms, had been a perfect failure. He could only prove that they lived in the same terms as most other married couples do. They had it in evidence, that the deceased was in the habit of receiving a gratuitous annuity from his friends. Was it to be supposed, then, that this woman – who was not jealous of her husband, for she had no right, he being an elderly man, and blind, nor was he jealous of her, - was it to be believed, that she would poison that man, to deprive herself of the annuity, the only possible support of herself and her children? It was altogether improbable, that she should peril her life here, not to speak of her state hereafter, from such a motive. Was it probable, that, if she had formed the design of poisoning her own husband, she should have executed it while there was a witness present, who could depose against her in a Court of justice? Could they believe it? If the man was poisoned by her at all, it must have been at the time the old woman, the first witness, was present; and it must further appear, that, not only did she intend to poison her husband, but to destroy the life, also, of that old woman, with whom she never had a quarrel. Could they believe, that, if she had poisoned her husband, she should have called in a witness, and sent for that witness, again and again, when she found him growing worse under the effects of the drug? He insisted, that such a supposition must be all together unwarranted by the evidence. Why, she did not once attempt to conceal her opinion that he was poisoned, - the evidence of the last witness who had been examined, distinctly proved the distressed state of mind in which she was placed by the illness of her husband. Her remark to that woman was evidence of this. She said to her, “He cannot but be unwell, for his hearts blood is lying by the bedside;” and she immediately shewed the fluid to the witness. [Prisoner – who, since the scene with her child, had had a succession of hysterical fits, between which she sobbed and cried loudly, uttering the most plaintive exclamations about her little boy – here fell into convulsions, and, by the directions of the Judge, was removed, soon after, to the open air, in the Court-yard. It was upwards of a quarter of an hour before she was again fit to be placed in the dock, during which time her Counsel's address was interrupted.] - Counsel resumed, and said, he had been commenting, when interrupted, on the extreme improbability that the prisoner had committed the crime, and, particularly, that she should have committed it in the manner stated. Counsel then contrasted the inference the first witness wished to be drawn from the assertion, that the potatoes had a bad smell, with the evidence of the doctor, that arsenic could not have produced that smell. As it was manifest, that she had stated something more than the truth here, from her feelings of resentment at the crime, the Jury should, therefore, receive the whole of her testimony with extreme caution. He thought, arsenic may have been in the mashed potatoes; but it was most probable, that the witness's sickness arose from her having drunk spirits before she partook of the dinner. He contended, that this witness must have believed that the blue paper she spoke of containing sugar, otherwise she would have objected to its being mixed with the punch. She gave, with much point, that part of her testimony which went to shew, that the prisoner knew it was poison – namely, the allegation, that she wanted the witness to drink the remainder of the whiskey, and prevented her from giving the sediment to the child. Could they wonder that a mother should prevent a person from giving to a child a part of that which had made the person sick? That old woman must have believed, that what she offered to the child was sugar; and she now denying that she believed this, was only a proof, that like other persons, under similar circumstances, she had talked, or persuaded herself into a belief of what never had existed. There was another supposition which led to a similar inference – namely, that, if the prisoner had committed the crime, it was improbable that she would have gone to McNeight's house, late at night, smiled at the state of the old woman, and made such a speech as that “it would be a cruel thing to see two corpses leaving the street that morning.” Counsel then proceeded to state, that the prisoner had directed her Attorney to make the following statement: - That she had been going to Kilkeel on the Saturday, and, by her husband's directions, had openly bought a pennyworth of poison for rats – that, on her return, she gave it to her husband, who put it into his pocket, and desired her to mix it in the morning with something, for the vermin. The prisoner's firm belief is, that one of her children inadvertently mixed the poison with white sugar; for her husband was fond of drinking whiskey with white sugar in it. It was admitted, that whiskey was sold illicitly in the house. Prisoner thinks, that she may have administered the poison, but without the knowledge of what it was; for she administered it in the presence of a witness, for whom she herself had sent. - Counsel then went on to impress it on the Jury, that, unless they believed, without the shadow of a doubt, that, without the smallest motive, she poisoned the husband of her children, and ruined herself, they could not find her guilty.
No witnesses were produced for the defence.
His Lordship then charged the Jury, and summed up at much length, but we are prevented from giving even an outline of his address, from the space already occupied by our report. [During the delivery of the charge, the prisoner was again seized with violent convulsions, and medical assistance was necessary to restore her. It was a considerable time before she recovered. Every person in Court seemed deeply affected at her situation.]
When the Jury had been shut up for about three-quarters of an hour, one of them came into Court, and stated, that a gentleman had fallen senseless on the floor, in an apoplectic fit. Two medical gentlemen who happened to be in Court, were requested to give their services to the Juror, in any way that might be requisite.
A communication was soon after made to his Lordship, to the effect, that Dr. McIlwaine had bled the gentleman, who then exhibited some symtoms of recovery, but was not likely to be able to continue in consultaion. Under these circumstances, his Lordship addressed himself to the Crown Counsel, and inquired as to the proper course to be pursued. It would be necessary to do one of two things – either to discharge the Jury, and to try the whole case over again, or to swear a new Juror, and to examine all the witnesses again, before him and the eleven. He remembered a case something like this, in which the evidence was read from the Judge's notes; but this was in the case of a witness taking ill.
Sir T. Staples cited a precedent, in which it appeared, that the course was, to discharge the Jury, swear a new one, and go over the case as at first. The Jury might consist of the eleven who had sat before, and one new Juror.
The Court decided on adopting this precedent, but thought it better to go on with another case, to see whether the Juror should recover.
After hearing another case the Jury, in the murder case returned to Court, and were discharged, from the continued illness of the Juror. Counsel for the prisoner wished the new hearing to be postponed till next Assizes, but the prisoner herself was anxious it should be proceeded with as soon as possible. - Adjourned.
Tuesday, July 21.
The Court opened shortly before ten o'clock. The following gentlemen were sworn on the
Petit Jury: - James White, Joseph Berry, Charles Arbuthnot, Robert Harrison, John Martin, Hugh Harrison, Wm McCleery, sen., William McRoberts, Sam Bradford, Bernard Connan, Joseph R. Knox, and John Frechelton.
With the joint consent of Counsel for the Crown, and Counsel for the prisoner, the re-hearing of the murder case was entered upon.
Martha Edmunds was again placed at the bar, on the charge of poisoning her husband. The appearance of the prisoner was not much altered, from the period of her arraignment yesterday.
The addresses of Cousel, evidence, etc, were substantially the same as on the former trial.
His Lordship began to charge the Jury, and to sum up the evidence, at 25 minutes to three o'clock, and did not conclude till a quarter past four. The Jury, after a consultation of 10 minutes duration, returned their verdict, acquitting the prisoner of wilful murder, but finding her guilty of manslaughter.
On Wednesday the 21st October 1840, as reported in the Belfast Chronicle, Martha Edmunds was one of eleven female convicts from Downpatrick and Carrickfergus put on board a steamer from Belfast to Dublin in preparation for transportation. She had two of her children with her.
George was 7 1/2 at the time of his fathers death and effectively orphaned by his mothers transportation.
I'm not sure exactly who took him in but he joined the army somewhere between 1848 and 1853.
Sorry, this post is longer than I intended but I have so much to tell.
I do have copy of George's funeral although I'm not sure how to attach it to here. I can email it over to you if that would be easier.
Is Mac Cummings related to my great granny Agnes? I have quite a bit of info on my Cummings side he may be interested in.
Apologies again for the length of this post but I could write a book!