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Fop. some time past rumours have been rife at Timaru that representations had been made to the Colonial Secretary whereby he had directed that the body of John Hayhurst, who died at Temuka in April, 1889, and was buried in the Temuka cemetery, should be exhumed and - an inquest held. The rumour assumed a .definite shape on Monday, the 20th iof July, when Mr. R. Beetham arrived at Ti mar a and announced that he would; Open the inquest at nine o'clock next morning, which was accordingly held. The work of exhuming the body was begun at eight o'clock, and by the time the jury arrived at halfpast nine the coffin was out and placed in a tent alongside the grave. The lid of the coffin having been taken offthe jury viewed the body, and at the request of the Crown Prosecutor, Mr. Martin, Christchurch, Mr. Beetham, coroner, directed that Dr. Ogston and Guthrie should make the post mortem, and hand portions of the body they chose to Professor Black, of Dunedin, for aualysis. The coroner and jury then returned to town, and the coroner said he did not propose to call any evidence that day. A Christchurch contemporary supplies the following particulars of the career of John Hayhurst:—

John Hayhurst was a Manchester man, and was born in 1828, his facher being a farmer. When about 16 years of age, his energetic nature led him to seek his fortune in Australia. He was poor, but plucky, and it is said that he reached the land of his desire by " stowing away" on a ship bound for Sydney. On arriving in New South Wales he was soon at took the first work offered him;' bub after a few months decided to come to New Zealand. He did so, and spent some years working in the bush in the North Island. What he did he did with his might, but ho kept his eyes very widely open for any chance .of improving himself. Ho thought he saw one in Canterbury when the first four ships arrived at Lyttelton. To Canterbury he came, and took a contract to cut timber from the bush, and make wheelbarrows for the contractors for the Sumner road.' After this he took to bush work on Banks Peninsula, and while there he met the lady who, on the death of her first husband, became his wife. From the Peninsula he went to Christchurch, where, with Mr. W. Gosling, now a resident of Timaru, he worked in the old Market Place smithy. His mechanical talents, it may be said, were equal to his energy and foresight, and this happy combination of characteristics rendered him admirably fitted to fight the battle of life in a new country. While in Christchurch happened an event which marked the turning point in his life. Sir Thomas Tancred engaged Mr. and Mrs. Hayhurst as married couple on his station at Ashburton. Here his energy and ability asserted themselves in a congenial field ; he proved " the right man in the right place," and rose so rapidly in the estimation of his employer and in wealth, that Sir Thomas, on leaving Cantorbury for a trip home, sold him the station on terms. His affairs now prospered exceedingly ; he became sole owner of the station on which he had been employed ; he obtained land in ' the Mackenzie Country and about Temuka. After many successful ventures he settled down at the latter place, added to his possessions there, and formed the well-known Greenhayes Estate, which, it has been said, has an annual rent-roll of some £5000.

Early in 1859 Mr. and Mrs. Hayhurst paid a visit bo the old country. Up to this time, it may be remarked, none of their children had lived longer than a few months. • In September, 1860, they left England on their return voyage, in the Chile, Captain Turnbull, Mrs. Hayhurst bringing a Miss Murray with her as a companion, During the voyage, on November 16, Mrs. Hayhurst bore a son, and he was christened John Turnbull Murray Hayhurst, and is the present owner of the Greenhayes Estate.

For several years Mr. Hayhurst worked hard on his property at Greenhayes. He then, with his wife and son, paid a short visit to England. A few years later they made another trip, and his son was left in ' the old country to be educated. Some time later Mr. Hayhurst went to England alone. He then spent several years away from the colony, which, however, ho visited at intervals. His last return was in 18SS. He applied himself with his usual energy to managing the affairs of his large property, and in the early part of 1889 he was engaged in superintending the erection of a grain store at Temuka, and of a mill, which had been removed from Milford to tho Temuka river. He several times stood waist deep in the water directing the operations, and is supposed to have received a chill which had fatal results. At all events, ho was taken seriously ill on Monday, April 1 ; next day it was announced that he was very bad ; on the Thursday it was reported that he was slightly better ; but on the Friday he died, at the age of 61 years. Ho was attended by Dr. J. S. Hayes, who gave a certificate stating the cause of death to have been uraemia, the duration of his last illness five days, that he had been last seen by his medical attendant on April 5, the day on which he died. The certificate gives the further information that the deceased was married at Manchester at the age of thirty-two years to Jane Startup, and that his surviving issue was one son, twenty-eight years of age. Mr. Hayhurst's funeral took place on Sunday, April 7, 1889, and started from his house on the main road, Temuka, where ho had been living with his wife. His son, who had married a few years before his father's death, lived in the meantime on the Greenhayes Estate, and in course of time took possession of the property under a will signed some years previqusly. Last year the new owner of the estate was unpleasantly surprised by the arrival from England of a lady who claimed to be the legal wife of the late Mr. Hayhurst, and asserted that he was the father of two children, some eight online years old, who, she said, had been born after the marriage. She claimed the property of tho deceased, and made certain representations, which led ultimately to tho issue of an order by the Colonial Secretary for the exhumation of the body. The inquest concluded on the 4th August. The result of tho post mortem by Drs. Ogston and Guthrie fully confirmed the diagnosis of the medical attendant, Dr. Hayes, who certified that death was due to urcemiu, and the analysis of the viscera made by Professor Black gave only negative results, the only substances found being bismuth, which had been administered to stop vomiting, and a mere trace of arsenic, which was stated to be a common and harmless impurity in salts of bismuth. The rumours of poisoning, which sprang up with mushroom growth, and led to the present investigation, were shown to have been due to the fact that Dr. Hayes, when first called in, observing severe vomiting as a principal symptom, made inquiry bo ascertain whether poison might have been accidentally mixed with the patient's food, and the impression these inquiries made on the minds of a few women about tho house was nob ' afterwards removed by the doctor stating that tho real cause was uroamic poisoning. Tho jury found "That deceased died a natural death, and, further, that ho died of the disease specified."

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Bibliographic details

A BODY EXHUMED., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXVIII, Issue 8645, 14 August 1891, Supplement

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A BODY EXHUMED. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXVIII, Issue 8645, 14 August 1891, Supplement

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