Neil’s personal decades: 9 – 1864-5 – pause for a murder

I see that the decade 1855 to 1865 saw the birth of several people I actually remember! More on that next time.

Meanwhile you may recall the extraordinary (I now think) article posted in the Sydney newspapers in 1839 about my convict ancestor Jacob Whitfield who was at that time about to appear before the court charged with receiving stolen goods.

Jacob was subsequently discharged by the court. I guess he was in no position to sue Whitfield the gunsmith (no relation), a free settler.

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Revolver, double trigger, Tranter c. 1860 (AF). Revolver, percussion, (Tranter, double trigger model) top barrel inscribed “George Whitfield Cannon House, King St Sydney”, 1850 – 1864

See also The Firearms Technology Museum

There is an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. I said in my recent post in this series “So that gunsmith, who was murdered in 1864, may have been just a bit unfair about my ancestor.” It does seem possible he rather made a habit of blackguarding people, if the person eventually found guilty of murdering him (but not hanged for it) is to be believed. “On the evening of November 4th 1864 at about 6:30pm while talking to two friends outside his shop he was murdered by patrick McGlynn, a former employee who had been dismissed after a disagreement about four years earlier. McGlynn walked up to him and shot him through the temple with a six shot revolver.” You will find the Illustrated Sydney News 1864 account here. It was big news throughout the whole country. This is from the Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser 12 November 1864.


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