Mary Ann James was witness to an inquest.
Inquest held on 25 July 1855
Witness – Henry Farthing
The deceased Eliz Farthing was my wife. On Sun night last I and the deceased and 2 other men were drinking together in my tent. I became so intoxicated that I do not clearly recollect much that occurred towards night I went to bed and was awoke about 3 ½ am by Joseph Cook who came into my tent. My wife then dead by the bedside but I did not know it then I got up and told him to get into the bed as he said he was cold He prepared to do so and then deceased sitting by the bedside a corpse. I then went to Marshall the storekeeper. Near this place and told him and then fetched Mrs James. I fancy she rose and took some brandy during the night for there was some on the table which was finished. My wife used to be seldom drunk but was so occasionally.
Witness – Mary Anne James
I was at Mr Marshalls store on Sun evening last and was fetched by Mr Farthing soon after 3 o’clock in the morning following who told me his wife was dead. I then came down with him and found the deceased sitting on the bedside her head lying against the side of it. She had her arm light round her neck her position gave me the idea that she might have assumed that position when drunk I have not known the deceased long but have always thought her steady.
Mary Anne James x
Witness – Joseph Cook
I was drinking last Sunday afternoon in the tent of the deceased. I was slightly intoxicated towards evening. The deceased was drinking with us. She went to bed in the presence of myself and her husband about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. She was sent to bed by the latter as she had pain and he fancied she had taken too much. I then left and returned at about 3 o’clock in the morning and came into the tent and awoke Mr Farthing. He appeared to have just awoke and he asked me to get into the bed with him. I took off my clothes and in turning down the coverlet discovered the deceased. She was lying partly against the bed and sitting on the chair. Her dress was not damaged and she appeared to have died where she lay. When I told him he shewed evident signs of distress. She seemed to have risen and put part of her clothes on during the night.
Joseph Cook X
Witness Thomas Rose
I was with the deceased in her tent drinking on Sun last until Farthing went to bed about 9 o’clock. I saw the deceased drink brandy but not much. She went to bed about 5 pm her husband told her to go to bed as she complained of a pain in her back. I next saw the deceased about 4 am on Monday she was dead by the beside. I am a mate of the deceased’s husband. Have been with him 2 years and never knew a serious quarrel to take place between them. She had been dead apparently some time
Thomas Rose x
Witness – Henry Farthing recalled
I told my wife to go to bed she complained of pain in her back. She was not insensibly drunk. This was I think about 5 o’clock. I don’t recollect being very drunk whether she was in bed when I got into it but think she was. There was no light in the tent when Cook came in. She appeared to have been dead some time.
Mary Anne James recalled
From the appearance and position of the body she seemed to have died as she lay. Her dress of which she had only part on was not disarrayed she had her boots on as if she had been up in the night. She was quite cold. The husband was in great distress. I have known no quarrel to take place between deceased and her husband she used occasionally to take a glass of spirits.
Cause of death – Intemperance.