Inquest held at Ballarat on the body of Margaret Payne.

Heise – Coroner

Proceedings of an inquest held at Poverty Point, 28 Sep 1853


Foreman Munday Wilton

George Blackburn

James Cameron

John Knight

George Townsend

Alexander Morrison

Thomas Yuile

Robert Merritt

John Alexander

Joseph Simon

Robert Roberts

Charles Hunt

1st Witness Benjamin Payne

I came home last night just at dusk and found deceased quite drunk. I lighted a bit of fire and made myself some supper. She asked me would I give her a cup of tea and I said yes, I handed her a cup of tea as she stood by the table with her hand resting on it. She then reeled back and fell with her head against a cask, she then got up and sat upon a box where she remained for an hour. I then took off my work clothes and went to bed leaving her settled on the box. I then fell off to sleep. I awoke again about two o’clock in the morning. I felt and found she was not in bed. I then got up and struck a light. I found her with her had jammed against the bedpost and her mouth down in the flour bag. I immediately laid hold of her and tried to awaken her, and found she was dead, I then cried out for some assistance and Mrs Ramsey was the first who came. I then cried out for a doctor who came and said it was too late to do anything, but to allow her to remain in the position in which she then was and to acquaint the Coroner of he fact in the morning.

Q by Coroner. Was deceased in the habit of drinking? 

Witness Yes, a great deal

Q by Coroner Did she eat anything for the last few days?

Answer Not to the best of my knowledge for the last three weeks

Q by Coroner Did you try to prevent her drinking?

Ans Yes, I have many times

Benjamin Payne xxx his mark

2nd witness Dinah Ramsey

I saw deceased twice, first in the morning and secondly in the evening, she appeared to as if she had been drinking owing to her unsteadiness in walking. I heard nothing more of the deceased until Mr Payne called out in the night. Mrs Ramsey Margaret is dead. I then ran over to Mr Payne’s tent where I found Mrs Payne in the position which deposed to by the first witness.

Q by C Were you aware of the deceased being a person of intemperate habits?

Ans Yes I have seen her intoxicated upon several occasions lately. Her husband could not keep her sober

Dinah Ramsey

James Stewart MD

Ion opening the stomach of deceased the lining membrane I find highly inflamed and covered with lymph. There is no trace whatever of any food in the stomach but small patches of ulceration upon the lining membrane of the stomach and upon the upper part of the duodenum intestine sufficient to cause death.

I acknowledge there to be the Post Mortem etc.

James Stewart MD Surgeon

W A Heise MD Ass Col Surgeon and Coroner

PROV, Margaret Payne, VPRS 24/PO, Unit 17 1853/76, 1853/76