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*> Referenoe was made yeotorday In the letter of our Mount Somers correspondent to the finding upon the roadside of the dead body of one Thomas Oczens who has been for many years a w oil-known character m that distriot and lv other parts of Canterbury. Aa will be coen by tha evidence adduoed ad (he ioqaest of whioh a report appears 'below, it was found that death waa not due to a fall from a horse I as had been supposed, but to an attaok of 'sanguineous apoplexy. Crams, as we [ have said, was a well-known oharaoter, and it may bn added alao well liked, balng a genial and jovial sort of old fellow. Birn at Lewes, Surrey, ln 1812, he was In his earlier days a man o'-war's man, having eerved io tbe English Navy under the first Admiral Napier. He used to speak of service at some time In bis naval career m tbe Hydra steam frigate under the fl ig of Admiral John Klngham, and was present at the siege of Aore and took part m tbe naval operations In the Crimean war. Subsequently be would appear to have been In the merchant service, as he frequently referred to bis experiences as a castaway on the Australian ooast from a vessel wrecked m Oushlon B \y. He h.d also had his torn at gold-mining, having followed tbat occupation on tbe West Ooast diggings. He had never married, and was never heard to speik of any relations. He oame ont to this oolony m tho Chrysolite circa 1860 or 1861, and sinoe then was for some years m tbe service of Mr Alfred Oox at Raukapuka, and has been at different times In tbe employ of Mr Thomas, Mount Tarlesie ; Messrs Smith and Rowley, at Alford Forest and Olent Hillr, and at Mount Possession, working for the last-named firm, and also for Mr W. 0. Walker. For the last 12 years he has been In the Mount Somers distriot, making his head-quarters at the hotel, and working In the busb and about the stations, often In the oapsolty of a oook. He was a very hardy old fellow, and like all old salts was fond of spinning yarns, and wss a great favorite with children and well liked by the settlers generally. He died suddenly on Tuesday last under olroumstanoes folly detailed ln the report of the inquest given below. An Inquest on view of the body of Thomas Crz.ns was held at the Mount Somers Hotel on Wednesday evening by Major Steward J P. acting as Coroner, and a jury of six, v'z. , Messrs W. H. Smith (forsman), Edwin Hill, Rlobard Morgan, Murdooh Campbell, David Stott and Robert Jones. The jiry having viewed the body the following evidence was taken. Daniel John Smith, wat a laborer residing at Mount Somers, and worked for Mr Hood. Knew deo.ased Thomas Ooz'ns. Saw him lylog dead yesterday afternoon about 40 or 50 yards below the railway station. Tils was at about 20 minutes p. st one p.m, Abont eleven o'olook the same morning Mr Hood had sent O zins to fetch a horse from a paddock which was some dlstanoo farther from the hotel than the plaoe where the body was lying. There w»s no horse near the body. Found tbe horse for whioh Ocisns had been sent about half way between the plaoe where he was lylog and the Mount Somers hotel. On seeing him lying on the gronnd, went up to him and said, "Tommy, are you hurt?" As be made no reply witness lifted one of hla hands aud then be saw that he was dead. Oalled a man named Johnson, who lives near, and he and his wife oame up, Left them with the body, and ran tQ tbe hotel for Mr Hood, who returbed at once with witness to the plaoe. where the body was lying. On seeing It he was satisfied that life was extinct. Helped Mr Hood to lift the body into a trap, and It was brought to the hotel. The body viewed by the jury was that of Thomas Ooeens. Did not notioe any iojury on tbe fase or any part of deceased to aooount for his death. When witness saw him at 11 m tbe morn* ing he appeared to be m his osual health. He was an aged man. Witness oonoluded tbat deceased bad fetohed the horse oqt of the paddook beoause It was fonnd on the road. Jndged he, had been riding It beoause there were horse-hairs on hlg troqsers of the same oolor as the horqe. So far as witness knew the horse was a quiet one. Had often driven It. It was a draught horse. Believed It had been ridden, and so far as witness knew it was quiet to ride. John Hood, being sworn, sa(d]he was licensee of the Mount Somers Hot9l, Had known deceased for over 25 yeare. Did not know his age positively. Believed be was over 7Q and had beard tbat he wonld be 77^ 4*, -. month or two. He made hJI boma at tho hotel and when out of employment did odd jobs for witness. Latterly he had followed the oooupstlon of a oook for harvesters or shearers. He was a man who occasionally w< nt on the spree. Last saw blm alive be. tween 11 and 10 o'clock yesterday. He was then quite sober ard had not to witness' knowledge had a drink tbat day, He appeared to be m bis usual health. Witness asked him to brioo up one of his draught horses from a paddock beyond the railway station, about two and a half miles from tbe hotel. Drove deoeased to the paddook m his (witness') trap. When they reaohed the paddook tbe horse was at work In oharge of witness' ploughman. Told Ooz.ns to wait till tbe job was finished and then brlrjg tile horse up. Witness tben drove back to the hotel. About aq hour or rather more after-yards the last witness (Smith) oame to the hotel and stated that Cosine was !ylng on the road, that he (Smith) theuzht he|wss badly hurt, and was'nt sure whether he was'nt dead. Drove down with Smith to the plaoe and found the body lying oa the road about 3 ohatns or so helow tbe railway crossing. Went up to It and from its appearance concluded that Oczans was dead. With the assistance of Smith and another person pqt the body j Into the crap and drove it to tbe place where it nqw lay. Witness Immediately sent notioe to the polloe —to Sergeant Feltcn at Ashburton. Witness afterwards went down the road to see If he oould find deceased's tracks, In order to ascertain lf he bad been walking and leading the horse or whether he had been riding tt. Fonnd the horse's traplrs, bpt no footsteps beside them anywhere near the snot where the body lay, from whioh he oonoladed that deceased had ridden the horse to the place where be was found. Witness also fonnd a plaoe at wbioh there were marks as If be had there attempted to mount the horse. Witness had often seen the horse at work, and believed It to he a quiet one. When witness first saw the body It was lyl^g stretched "out at full length with the arms straight down by the sides. There had heen other persons there beforo witness arrived. Did not notioe soy braUes or wounds. The features were of the usual livid color of a dead person. Felt quite sure from his appearanoe that Oozans was dead. Trover saw any movement of the body then or alnoe. Thomas Miliar deposed that he waa ploughman for Mr Hood. Last saw dei oeased alive abont half-past 12 yesterday. at whioh time witness assisted him to mount » draught horse with which witness had been ploughing, and whioh deceased was to take to the hotel for Mr Hood, Abont balf-a-mlle from whore he mounted Oczans bad to leave tbe {fold by a gate and witness saw him dismount for the par pose, DJd not see blm go throogh the gate. Did not take- any further notioe. Saw or heard nothing more about bim until some time In the afternoon when witness beard that be was dead, Tha horse was very go et either to drive or ride. Witness h % ad been on Its b*ok dog-as of times, It WMMqoUt« M fcwli.j A •

[T~ m ~^~ mm ~*^*nmmaaMHa**************a***m ■ • To the Jury : Would not hfcve let O zeni mount the horse had witness not known it to bo a qu'et one. Deceased was a jovial sort of man ar.d a general favorite. John Moore Tweed, said he was a duly qualified medical practitioner. Had examined the body of deoeased Thomas Oc Z9oe. Discovered no external marks of Injury. Opened the cranium and found a large olot of blood on the brain extending over the whole surface of the right side, anteriorly, showing that death was due to sanguineous apoplexy. Should judge It probable that if deoeased wss riding he was seized with a fit of apoplexy and either got off. or fliid off tho horse, as be had evidently not oome la violent oontaot with ths ground and had sustained no extraneous Injury. The vessels were all enlarged and diseased and it was not unlikely . that the exertion of re-mountlng the horse might have brooght on tho apoplectic seizure. In witness' opinion death was due to apoplexy. The jury found that "The deceased Thomas Or sens came to his death through the operation of natural causes, to wlt from sanguineous apoplexy."

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Bibliographic details

THE SUDDEN DEATH AT MOUNT SOMERS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2081, 7 March 1889

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THE SUDDEN DEATH AT MOUNT SOMERS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2081, 7 March 1889