Sudden Death of Mrs McLean

It was also reported in the Shoalhaven News of December 12, 1868, that…

McLean, Janet. We have this week to record another death in our midst, of a somewhat sudden character, notwithstanding that the deceased had greatly exceeded the allotted time laid down for human existence. The following facts were elicited at the enquiry held by Mr Richards, coroner and a jury of six, on Monday, last.

McLean Alexander being duly sworn, states “I am a farmer and reside at Crookhaven, in the district of Shoalhaven, in the Colony of New South Wales; the body reviewed by the Coroner and jury, is that of my mother, Janet McLean, aged seventy eight years; she resided with my brother McLean, Donald whose house is about ten yards from mine; on Saturday last my mother was quite well; my brother McLean Archibald came to Crookhaven between eight and nine o’clock on Saturday evening, after an absence from his mother of between three and four years; Archibald came to my house a little before nine, and shortly afterwards my mother followed him; my mother sat upon the sofa, and appeared quite well; she appeared highly pleased to see my brother after so long an absence; about nine o’clock, the deceased said to my wife. “Dear me Ann, I don’t know what is come over me, give me a mouthful of water”. My wife went for water; my mother appeared to faint; I went to her and laid her upon the sofa; she never spoke, but died instantaneously. Before the deceased called for the water, she requested that her walking stick be handed to her her, as if she wished to go out. Archibald my brother, went and called our brother Donald; he came immediately, but the deceased died, before any assistance could be procured; the deceased died on Saturday, the 5th December at my residence at Crookhaven.

Donald McLean of Crookhaven, being sworn states; I am a farmer; the body viewed by my jury is that of my mother, Janet McLean, aged 78 years; she resided with me; on Saturday last, the 5th instant, she was quite well; my brother Archibald was the deceased’s eldest son; and on Saturday he came to our house after an absence of between three and four years, about half past eight on Saturday evening my mother with the rest of the family had retired to bed; I sat up reading; my brother Archibald came to the house at about half past eight; my mother got up and spoke to my brother, and in reply to Archibald who said, “You look as well as when I saw you last said, “She was very well, thank God”. Archibald had tea. In about a quarter of an hour, my brother Archibald went with me to my brother Alexander’s house; the deceased followed her son Archibald to Alexander’s house; she was away from the house about a quarter of an hour when I was called by Archibald who told me that “mother was in a fit”. I went over immediately and found my brother and his wife putting my mother upon the sofa, we applied some water to her face, and I went for Mrs Aberdeen, who came with her husband, but before we reached the house, the deceased was dead.

Reid, James Stepen being duly sworn deposed; I am a legally qualified medical practitioner, residing at Shoalhaven, I am of opinion formed from the evidence, that the deceased died from disease of the heart; the excitement caused by the arrival of her eldest son, after so long an absence, would be likely to cause a rupture of the heart, of some of the vessels; if they were prediposed by disease.

The jury after some consideration returned the following verdict: “That the deceased Janet McLean, died at the residence of Alexander McLean, at Crookhaven, Shoalhvaen, on Saturday the fifth day of December, instant, and that the death of the deceased was the result of natural causes.”

The funeral of the deceased lady took place on Monday evening, and her mortal remains were followed to the grave in the Presbyterian Cemetery, by a verty large number of relatives and friends.

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