Tuesday, 20 December 2016

‘A Tragic Ending’ - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT

May 8 1873, the Lancefield Examiner describes the shocking accidental death of Mr. James Cottam: “killed when a large mass of earth collapsed on him crushing against the cart, whilst doing roadworks at Chintin.  Conveyed to Melbourne hospital paralysed in both legs and with internal injuries, he passed a week later, on 1st May aged 44 years.  His funeral was attended by 60 horsemen and many friends at the pretty little township of Darraweit Guim on 3rd May 1873.”

James Cottam had a good freehold farm and stock but work for the Springfield Shire Council assisting John McCarty with road building would help a lot, providing more savings now they had 6 children and his wife Eliza in child again.

The two men worked hard undermining the face of a large hill cutting until time for ‘smoko’.  After discussing the grass crop for stock feed and state of the dairy cows this year, James shared his concerns for Eliza who was unwell and his pride in his oldest daughters for their housework and efforts at butter and cheese making.  He reminisced about his brother John back in England with 4 grown up lads and a daughter. 
“I wish they were here with us working this land together, but I do thank the Lord for my strong body and the opportunities in this new country.  Twenty years now I have been here and 12 with my dear Eliza – altogether we have been so blessed.”

Returning to work, with their backs to the cart they began pitching the pile of earth over their shoulders.  Sweating heavily and muscles straining they heard a thunderous rumble above.

‘Lancefield Examiner’, 08 May 1873
James Cottam b 20 Mar 1829. Croft, Winwick, Lancs. UK. (Lancashire England Birth & Baptisms 1813-1911)  d 01 May 1873 Certificate of Death Schedule B, Died Gipps Ward, Melbourne Hospital.  (My GG Grandfather – Mum’s father’s father)
Married 23 Aug 1860. Certificate of Marriage. Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. To Eliza Shanks (b 1829 according to marriage and death certificate, Poyntzpass, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Address of farm: Cottam’s Road, Chintin
James and Eliza Cottam’s children: Mary Ann 1862-1935, Elizabeth 1864-1846, Martha 1866-1902, James 1868-1923, George 1869-1960, Joseph 1871-1953 and Agnes McLeod born after her father’s death.1873-1912.
Brother John Cottam b.28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancs. UK. d. 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows, Nottinghamshire, UK.

John Cottam’s children: Joseph 1853-1926, Elizabeth 1854-1890, James 1856 – 1929 (?), John 1857-1905 and Jack  b.1859.

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