Curious and Interesting Deaths

A wee post for the more morbidly-inclined among you. I found myself in my element seeking these out. Article screenshots were obtained via a thorough search of the British Newspaper Archive. I restricted my self to only Glasgow publications for the 19th century in a bid to curtail the amount of hits I’d need to go thru and type up. It was the ‘Strangely Enough – Fantastic Deaths and Where to Find Them‘ from the page ‘A Grave Announcement‘ that inspired me to have a look. For some it’s not the death itself that provides the point of interest, rather it’s the location, circumstance or other incidental details that made them worth inclusion, for instance, there’s an article about a girl who was “rescued from imminent death” who stands alone in this list as a lucky survivor. I’ve restricted myself to only Scottish deaths, though there were far more from England and the rest of the world found.

Glasgow Herald, Monday 27th November 1848, p.4.


   Fatal Accident. – On Tuesday afternoon, as Mr. Edwards, forester to the Earl of Kinnoull, after having been superintending the cutting of some trees upon his Lordship’s policies, was on his way home, and when near the Bridge of Dalreoch, probably fatigued, leaped upon a cart in passing to take a ride, his foot slipped, and he fell before the wheel, which passed over his abdomen. He was immediately carried to the nearest house, and a surgeon despatched for to Perth. Dr. Malcolm soon arrived, but the injuries the unfortunate man sustained were so severe that he only survived a few hours after the accident. The cart was loaded with coals. – Perth Courier.


   Death from Cold or Hunger. – On Saturday morning last, a woman belonging to the fishing village of Hilton of Cadboll, was found dead within a very short distance of her house. Various rumours were circulated in the district tending to show that her death must have been caused by some unfair means, and, consequently, the county authorities deemed it their duty to repair to the village on Monday, after the woman had been buried; but the explanations given by the neighbours regarding her mysterious death, satisfied the Procurator-Fiscal that any further proceedings were unnecessary. It appears that deceased and her husband, who is a fisherman, had been in Tain on Friday, and left home at a late hour. They were accompanied home by another man, and the party were a long time on the road, as the fisherman was the worse of drink. When near the house, the poor woman left in order to make some preparations at home; and it is supposed that she mistook a narrow path leading from the braehead to her house, and went on until she was a short distance beyond the village, and the night being extremely cold, she must have fallen asleep or become exhausted, and died during the night. After a good deal of search by the villagers, she was found early in the morning. – Aberdeen Journal.


   Death of a Monkey who was not an “Abstainer.” – It seems that a gentleman of Fort-Augustus had a favourite monkey whose amusing antics were the delight of all the youngsters of the village; his master amused himself with him at home, and outside they were often to be seen together, Pug perched upon his master’s shoulders, and looking as grave and demure as the Grand Turk himself. It sometimes happens that the most sedate, and those that appear wisest, fall into evil courses; so was it with poor “Jacko,” who lately acquired a relish for the juice of the barley, and few things gave him greater pleasure than a drop of the real mountain-dew, which, to his credit be it said, he could quaff with great grace. But Pug, who to his other acquirements added the dexterity of an expert appropriator, got into a cupboard the other day in his master’s absence, and taking the cork out of a jar of whisky, drank to intoxication; and when the servant entered, there was poor Pug lying stretched on the floor, with the empty pipkin beside him. The girl fearing to be blamed for Pug’s misdeeds, and much alarmed, was in the act of carrying the insensible monkey out of the room when the master came in, and seeing his old friend in such a plight, at once sent for the doctor. The man of physic came, but poor Pug was gone, and neither stomach pump nor emetics could now be of any avail. Poor Jacko’s remains were duly consigned to the earth; and many of the little folks of the village sadly regret the fate of this “victim of intemperance.” – Inverness Courier.


Our Artist‘s impression of Pug shortly before his demise.

Glasgow Sentinel, Saturday 2nd July 1853, p.3.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – On Friday afternoon, while a little girl was taking water from the old Quarry at Ravelstone, near Blackhall, she perceived a respectably dressed man walking near the edge of the cliff opposite her, at a very precipitous point overhanging the deepest part of the pool. She afterwards saw him sitting, with his legs hanging over the rocks, when suddenly, he fell down, plunged into the deep water, and disappeared. The body failed to rise to the surface, and the girl ran to call the attention of others; and every effort was made to sound and drag the pond, to recover the body that evening, but without effect. The same efforts were renewed, with the aid of some of the county police, on Saturday and Monday, but to no purpose. The depth of the water at the supposed point of disappearance is about 70 feet, and the apparatus usually successful in similar cases was, therefore, worked at great disadvantage, but some of those plying the hooks were sometimes of the belief that they had caught the body, though they were unable to bring it to the surface. What adds to the mystery of the case is the fact that no clue has been obtained, though diligent inquiry has been made, as to who the individual was; and, of course, it is impossible to say, whether the fatality was the result of deliberate suicide, or accidental loss of balance on the dangerous height. The girl’s story is corroborated to the extent that such a person as she describes was seen in the neighbourhood by others immediately before the accident, and that certain marks on the crag, which is about sixty feet above the water, seemed to indicate that some one had slipped over it. – Courant.


Glasgow Herald, Monday 3rd July 1854, p.6.


   The Mysterious Deaths on the Castlehill. – The bodies of the two females who were found dead last week in their house on Castlehill, having been removed to the Police Office, were examined by Drs. Tod & Inglis. After investigation, and an analysis of the food found in the dwelling as well as in the stomachs of the deceased, these gentlemen expressed an opinion to the effect that death had resulted from natural causes, however extraordinary and inexplicable the coincidences. The heart of the mother presented evidence of incipient ossification, and the daughter had been recently suffering from bronchitis. The unfortunate women appear to have lived in a very quiet and retired way, avoiding intercourse with their neighbours as much as possible. A letter, addresses to the elder of the two, came through the Post Office a few days ago, and it was hoped that this might afford some clue to their relatives; but, with the exception of a £1 bank-note, wrapped in a piece of white paper, the envelope contained nothing whatever. As scraps of paper similar to that in which the money was enclosed were found in their apartment, it is conjectured that the necessities of the poor women had been supplied from the same anonymous source. – Courant.


Glasgow Herald, Friday 29th December 1854, p.7.



   On the afternoon of Friday week John Fearns, a young man of about 22 years of age, a shipjoiner in the employment of Messrs. Simons & Co., Whiteinch, after receiving his wages, amounting to about £2, 7s 6d, went into a public house there along with some comrades. The party caroused there till about seven o’clock at night, when the majority left. The people of the public house state that Fearns left that about half-past seven, much the worse of liquor; and some parties heard a voice like singing along the road, between Whiteinch and Partick. Be this as it may, Fearns was amissing next morning, and his sister called upon one of the men who had been along with him on the previous evening, who said he would find him in half an hour, and went in search of him to several places where it was likely to be found. As he did not cast up, alarm began to be felt, and the search became more general. On the afternoon of the Sunday following, about half-past twelve, some parties, among whom was one of the police constables of Partick, found Fearns lying dead in a small sluggish stream called the Hay Burn; a little off the road from Whiteinch to Partick. He was lying on his face, his arms doubled up below his chest, and his hands firmly grasping the weeds in the bottom of the burn. Strange to say, the water at the spot was scarcely twelve inches deep. None of the money he had received on the Friday night was found on his person. From these circumstances suspicions got abroad that he had met with foul play. The case was reported to the Procurator-Fiscal, but after a careful examination of the body, which bore no marks of violence, and after the precognition of witnesses, we understand that the result is the complete removal of all suspicions, and the most likely explanation of the occurrence is that the deceased had wandered from the road, and falling into the burn, had lain there in a state of torpor. Deceased resided with his mother and family in Nelson Street, Partick.


Scottish Guardian, Glasgow, Friday 28th March 1856, p.3.


   Mysterious Death. – Yesterday morning, between two and three o’clock, the watchman at Whiteinch, Partick, heard moans of distress on the opposite side of the river at Govan. Having procured the assistance of another watchman, he rowed across the river, and found a man tossing about on the sand within a few feet of the water as if in great pain. The poor man died immediately upon being brought over to the north side of the river. No marks of violence could be observed upon the body, with the exception of a slight abrasion of the skin as if caused by a burn with boiling water. Deceased, who has not yet been recognised, was dressed in the garb of a mechanic.


Glasgow Herald, Monday 21st September 1857, p.6.


   Mysterious Deaths by Drowning. – At half-past seven o’clock on Friday morning, the police on duty at Lancefield Quay picked up the bodies of two men who had been drowned in the river. The deceased were identified as Richard Parker, captain of the Rose, a steamer plying between this port and Limerick, and Thomas Magee, a seaman belonging to the same vessel. The facts, as nearly as we have been able to collect them, are these:- Mr. Parker spent the evening of Wednesday last with a friend in the city, from whose place he departed about eleven o’clock, for the purpose of returning to pass the night on board the Rose, which was lying nearly mid-stream at the time. It would seem that about half-past eleven, on arriving at Lancefield Quay, just opposite where his vessel was moored, he hailed her, and Thomas Magee, the watchman on board, put out the small boat and skulled alongside the Padstow steamer that lay alongside the quay side. Some of the crew, who had been at the Theatre, reached the quay about half-past twelve, and hailed for a boat to go on board the Rose. The engineer replied to their hail, by telling them that Magee had taken the boat to fetch the captain, and told them to look where he had gone to. They searched, but could see no trace of Magee, the captain, or the boat. Some two hours later the boat was recovered empty, drifting down the river; but neither the captain nor Magee could be discovered until their dead bodies were found on Friday. It is surmised that Captain Parker, in crossing from the Padstow steamer to the small boat, fell into the water, and Magee, in trying to rescue him, fell in also, and, neither being able to swim, they were drowned. Dr. Robertson, who examined the bodies, states that they present no appearance like that occasioned by a violent death. Both were natives of Ireland. – Mail.


Glasgow Morning Journal, Monday 15th November 1858, p.7.


   SINGULAR DEATH. – On Halloween, James Mitchell (King), residing in Sauchie, near Alloa, and a well-known servant of the Alloa Coal Company, was much annoyed by an unruly band of urchins knocking at the door of his dwelling. After going to bed, the disturbance continued, but Mitchell rose and went to the door in his night dress to remonstrate with the youths. While standing there for a moment, a boy threw a stone which struck Mitchell on the foot, but the blow, though painful at the time, was paid little attention to. In a day or two, however, the wound festered, and on Thursday last it was opened by the surgeon, when a quantity of matter was discharged. Serious symptoms immediately followed, and on Friday Mitchell died. He was at one time a porter at Alloa Shore in the service of the Alloa Steamboat Compny, and was generally respected for his kind and obliging manner. – Alloa Advertiser.


Glasgow Free Press, Saturday 24th March 1860, p.4.


   THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH IN CROWN STREET. – The body of a young man, William Biggar, who was found dead in his bed at his lodging at 22 Crown Street, on Friday week, was examined by Dr Stewart on Saturday, who is of opinion, as the result of his examination, that deceased died from a suffusion of blood to the brain. The marks of violence upon his face may easily be accounted for from the circumstance of his having been found with his head resting on the floor and his legs upon the bed, indicating that he must have endured great agony, and that in his struggles he probably struck his face upon the fender, which was near the bed. The blood that was flowing from his mouth appears to have been caused by the unfortunate man in his agony having bitten his tongue nearly in two. His mother, who is a widow residing in Maxwellton, Dumfries, has been informed by the police of the occurrence.


Glasgow Herald, Monday 23rd April 1860, p.4.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – Last night, a woman, named Ann Graham or Mowatt, wife of William Mowatt, cabinetmaker, 28 Kirk Street, Gorbals, was found dead in her own house. Her husband, who, we are informed, has been drinking for some time past, has not been seen since Thursday last. The unfortunate woman was seen alive last on Friday, and never having been observed leaving the house since then, the neighbours missed her, and became apprehensive that something was wrong, whereupon a woman named Mrs. Holland entered the house and discovered her lying in bed apparently lifeless. We understand that Dr. Stewart, in the course of an examination of the body, has found a lacerated wound, of about an inch in length, on the back of the head. There are no other apparent marks of violence about the body. The cause of the poor woman’s death cannot as yet be stated; she is said to have been subject to fits, so that it is possible the death may have been occasioned accidentally. Meanwhile the Southern police are making the necessary investigations.


Glasgow Saturday Post, and Paisley and Renfrewshire Reformer, 23rd February 1861, p.3.


   SUDDEN DEATHS. – About six o’clock on Monday morning a man, named Aitchison, a railway guard, residing in Ashley Buildings, High Street, Edinburgh, rose to resume his usual employment, and on going to the kitchen, where his wife slept with an infant child three weeks old, he found her lying dead, with her right arm over the child, who was also a corpse. He states that they retired to rest about 11 o’clock on Sunday evening, previous to which she gave a small quantity of whisky toddy to the child, and tasted it herself, and that he awoke several times during the night, but heard no noise to excite suspicion that aught was wrong, and several of the neighbours saw her the previous evening apparently in her usual health. Drs Thatcher and Littlejohn were called, and it is possible that their report will explain the cause of these mysterious deaths.


Glasgow Saturday Post, and Paisley and Renfrewshire Reformer, 23rd March 1861, p.3.


   SUDDEN AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – Between six and seven o’clock on Monday evening, a soldier, in the uniform of the 42d Regiment, was found lying quite insensible at the side of the turnpike road near the village of Bow, in this county. He was carried to a house in the village, where medical aid was obtained, and he partially recovered his consciousness, but died on the following morning. The cause of death is stated to have been apoplexy brought on by cold and exposure. From inquiries made by the county police it appears that the deceased belonged to the 42d Regiment, at present quartered in Stirling Castle, that he enlisted in that regiment about 21 years ago, and that his friends expected that he would obtain his discharge about this time. It is believed that he left Stirling Castle on Friday last for the purpose of visiting his relations. – Scotsman.


Glasgow Saturday Post, and Paisley and Renfrewshire Reformer, 4th May 1861, p.8.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A POLICEMAN. – On Thursday morning, about 4 o’clock, John McArthur, a police constable, was discovered by another constable lying in a state of insensibility at the foot of a stair in a close in George Street. He was immediately conveyed to the Central Office, where, on examination by Dr McGill, it was found that he had sustained effusion of blood on the brain, and probably fracture of the skull. Every means was taken to recover him; but, from the serious nature of the injuries, without effect, the unfortunate man dying about 7 a.m., three hours after he had been found. Various rumours prevailed throughout the city during the day, the report most current being that a policeman had been found dead in a close in George Street, with all the appearance of having been murdered, and, of course, vague hints at probable parties and motives were not wanting. The facts, however, so far as we have ascertained, so not in the least suggest murder. When found, he was lying on his face, head downwards, at the foot of a steep and narrow stair leading to dwelling-houses in a sunk flat. About three o’clock in the morning, a porter and his wife, who lodge in the land, heard a noise as if some one was falling down the stair, and then a short succession of moans; but, such noises being of common occurrence there, they took no heed. From the circumstances, the only possible supposition is, that the unhappy man missed his footing, and, in falling in the position he was found, sustained the injuries which led to death.


Glasgow Saturday Post, 29th June 1861, p.8.


   SINGULAR DEATH FROM OPIUM. – A coal carrier named Cornelius McBride, residing in Saltmarket, met his death from an overdose of opium on Thursday afternoon, under the following singular circumstances:- He went out in the morning in perfectly good health, and returned home about mid-day complaining that he felt very peculiar and drowsy. He told his daughter that he had been to the shop of Dr. Dick, at the corner of London Street, about which he was in the habit of lounging, and that the shop boy had given him a piece of dark stuff, like a big pill, telling him to chew it, and afterwards to take a glass of water, and that although he would feel dizzy at first, he would subsequently experience the most delightful sensation. The old coal carrier asked the boy whether the stuff would be good for asthma, under which complaint he appears to have suffered, and the boy is alleged to have declared that it would be first-rate for asthma. The poor man accordingly chewed the pill in utter ignorance of its true nature, and the natural results speedily developed themselves. Dr Dick, the boy’s employer, as soon as the symptoms became alarming, was called in, and at a later period Dr McGill, of the Central Police District, was also summoned, and applied the stomach-pump; but the narcotic was too powerful for all medical skill, and the poor man expired in his own house at half-past four in the afternoon. It is but fair to the boy, whose name is William Thomas Wilson, and who is now in custody, to state that he gives an altogether different version of the affair. He allows that the man consumed rather a large bit of opium; but alleges that the old col-carrier, who was a constant visitor in the shop, took a large pinch out of the cake of opium himself after he had heard from him, the shopboy, of its peculiar properties in making people happy, and that he remonstrated with him about taking it, but had no notion that the amount which he took was calculated to result in such serious consequences.


Glasgow Sentinel, Saturday 30th August 1862, p.6.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – On Saturday morning, about one o’clock, a lad of 15 years of age, named Isaac Reid, boot closer, residing at 44 Spoutmouth, died suddenly in his father’s house there. He had come home from work on Friday night at half-past six, and after taking supper went out, and returned about 9 o’clock, when he complained of pain in his head and stomach. He went to bed, and shortly after vomited, and gradually getting worse, died in the course of four hours. A post mortem examination has taken place, and the symptoms are those of apoplexy.


   ALARMING ACCIDENT. – About nine o’clock on Friday night, a carter, named Andrew Torrance, residing at 48 Coburg Street, Glasgow, was coming along the London Road with a scythe slung over his shoulder. When about West Thorn House, a man who was with Torrance directed his attention to two boys who were running on the road with nothing but skin tights on. Most unfortunately, as Torrance turned round to see the boys, one of them came running up to him, when the scythe struck him, entering his abdomen, and cutting off one of his fingers. The poor boy was, as soon as possible, conveyed to the Royal Infirmary. He is named James McGhie, 16 years of age, and resides at 136 McKechnie Street, Calton.


Glasgow Sentinel, Saturday 28th February 1863, p.7.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – On Saturday morning, a young man twenty-two years of age, named Robert Buchanan, was found near Dalreoch Toll-bar, in the suburbs of Dumbarton, lying dead, with one end of the metal frame of a steel-yard weighing machine, nearly half a ton in weight, lying across his neck. Death had apparently ensued from suffocation and without much struggle, as only two indentations on the somewhat soft surface of the road, made with the deceased’s heels, were perceptible. The deceased was seen in company with a comrade several times during the previous night, and up till 15 minutes past 2 o’clock by the police-constable in the High Street, who spoke to them. At that time the two young men parted, the deceased having only 200 yards to go to his father’s house, the door of which he had to pass ere arriving at the fatal spot, 250 yards farther on the same road. There is a small piece of waste ground at the side of the road, behind the toll-bar, with a wall about five feet in height. Against this wall the framework in question was set up, the lower end being oe foot from the bottom of the wall to give it steadiness. It is conjectured that the deceased had seized hold of the top of the frame either in order to spring up to take a seat on the wall, or otherwise to throw it down as a ‘lark,’ and the ponderous piece of metal being easier overbalanced than he imagined, he had fallen on his back, the upper end of the frame coming down on his neck, causing instant death. The young man was the son of Councillor Buchanan, and a great favourite in the town, and much sympathy is felt for his bereaved parents.


   A HORRIBLE AFFAIR. – About five p.m. on Tuesday last a dreadful accident occurred at the Commonhead station of the Monkland Railway, resulting in the death of the station-master, Mr James Crawford. The station stands midway up an incline, at the point where the Airdrie branch joins the main line. An empty train of waggons was quitting the station for the top of the incline, drawn by a wire rope passing round a drum, and attached to a full train coming down. By an unfortunate oversight the ‘points’ of the Airdrie branch were open, and the empty waggons left the main line and ran along the branch. The diverging of the two routes pulled the rope from the guiding pullies, and in its sweep it caught the station-master, who had observed the mistake, and was endeavouring to correct it by signalling to the top of the incline to stop the engine, dragged him violently against the pier of a bridge crossing the railway at that point, and severed his body almost in two. Death followed almost instantaneously. The deceased was one of the oldest servants in the employment of the company, and universally respected. He has left a widow and five children.


   DEATH IN A COAL PIT. – On Saturday afternoon last, a miner, named Robert Livingstone, aged thirty-six, residing here, was killed while in the cage ascending from his work in No 2 pit, Barbauchlaw. It appeared that an empty hutch fell on the top of the cage, which, however, was not broken, from the topmost of the three workings, and that Livingstone died instantaneously, his son, a boy of about twelve years of age, who was in the cage with him, escaping almost unhurt. Strange to say, there is no external bruise or injury upon deceased. He has left a widow and five young children. The case is being investigated.


   SKELETONS IN A COAL-PIT. – For some time past, the workmen at Southdean Colliery, in the neighbourhood of Kilmarnock, have been conducting their operations somewhat cautiously, anticipating the approach to a ‘waste’ or old workings, of which there were indications in the neighbourhood. On Friday morning they came on these workings, the bottom of which was found covered with mud, giving ground for supposition that they had been once filled with water. In a short time were discovered the skeletons of two human beings lying together in a place evidently the bottom of an old shaft, and a little further on a number of bones, supposed to have belonged to a human being, though the absence of the skull, &c., rendered confirmation rather difficult. Inquiries were at once instituted, and these resulted in bringing before the public a tradition, known to very few, to the effect that about 150 years since, when coal was previously wrought in the locality, an eruption of water, caused by a flood in the Kilmarnock river, occurred, which filled the workings, drowning some of the men employed therein. It seems probable, therefore, that they are the remains of these persons which are now, at such a distance of time, brought to light. It is presumed that the absence of the water in the waste, which is only about ten fathoms beneath the surface, can be accounted for by its being drawn to the Hillhead collieries in the same district, the seams in which lie much deeper than those at Southdean.


Glasgow Free Press, Saturday 22nd April 1865, p.6.



GREAT excitement was caused on Friday morning in the neighbourhood of Leith Walk and throughout the whole town by the news that the body of a man had been found in a well in enclosed premises in Whitefield Place, and conjecture was rife as to the cause of the mysterious circumstance. Inquiries have shown that the death of the unfortunate man is attended by considerable mystery, if not suspicion. On the workmen of Mr Gavin, mason, Whitefield Place, Leith Walk, going to their work at six o’clock, they were shocked at finding the body of a man in a well in their employer’s yard. The body, which was in the well with the head downwards, was at once taken out, but life appeared to have been extinct for several hours. The police having been informed of the case, two constables arrived, and had the body removed to the hospital, where it will remain till an investigation takes place. From documents found in the pockets of the deceased, it was discovered that the body was that of Robert Stephens, master of the smack Stephens, of Inverness, lying in Leith Docks. From the statement of the mate and seamen of that vessel, it appears that they, along with Mr Stephens, left the ship at six o’clock in the evening, and that, after spending a short time with friends, they left him about eleven o’clock in a public house on the shore, where he intimated his intention of remaining all night. Soon, however, after his friends left him he walked out, being somewhat the worse of liquor, and nothing more was heard of him until his body was discovered in the manner described. In order to explain this strange case, it is necessary to describe the situation of Mr Gavin’s yard, and how it is enclosed. The yard is at the east end of a new private street, about one hundred yards long, extending from the east side of Leith Walk, and is surrounded by a wall, and partly by a wooden fence, both so high as to make it difficult for a person to climb over either of them at any point; while to go over the gate when shut, which it was on Thursday night, is equally difficult. To reach the yard and enter it from the east one has to go through a gate at Glover Street, traverse a small field, strictly private, and go over the wall already adverted to. At the south-east corner of the yard, and within a few feet of the enclosure thereof, the well (six feet deep, but containing only about one foot of water) is situated. From the fact of there being a large quantity of stones and numerous planks of timber lying on the side of the well next Leith Walk, which it would be no easy matter to get over even during the day, the presumption is that deceased entered from the Glover Street side: but what he was doing in that neighbourhood, and how he fell into the well, it is difficult to imagine. So far as is known, nothing had transpired to lead to the conclusion that his death was otherwise than accidental; but the whole circumstances of the case are so singular that further information is eagerly looked for. Deceased’s papers and money, which he was known to have in his pockets, were found undisturbed. He was a man about twenty-nine years of age, was married, and he had left his wife and four children in Fraserburgh, where his father, who is the owner of the Stephens, is also understood to reside. A telegram was despatched to his friends in that place on Friday. There was a severe cut on deceased’s forehead when found, probably received by falling head-foremost into the well. – Scotsman.


Glasgow Morning Journal, Tuesday 1st August 1865, p.2.


   SUDDEN DEATH OF A WOMAN AND HER INFANT. – A considerable sensation has been caused in Calton by the sudden death of a woman and her infant child, in circumstances that gave rise to suspicion that there was foul play in the matter. The circumstances of the case, so far as we have been able to ascertain them, are as follows:- About four months ago a young woman respectably dressed, hired a small room on the ground floor of a back building at 44 Marlborough Street, Calton, and took up her residence there. She stated to the people living in the neighbourhood that her name was Mary Thomson or Maxwell, and that her husband was the mate of a ship and was away on a six months’ voyage. The women about the place observed that she was pregnant, and, as they had been led to believe she was married, the fact was not concealed. She was visited on several occasions at late hours by a man, it is stated, and this party was represented to a young girl who slept with her for company as her brother-in-law – a lithographer. On Monday, the 17th inst., the woman was confined and gave birth to a male child. A midwife was in attendance on the occasion, and both mother and child appeared then to be in a favourable condition. The party said to be her brother-in-law visited the house at late hours two or three times last week the neighbours allege, and gave her some money; some say that he also supplied her with medicine. Dr Robb, Clyde Street, was called in about the latter end of the week, and prescribed for her; but both she and the infant continued gradually to be sinking. It is possible that the woman and the child, though occasionally visited by neighbours, did not get the nourishment and attention that was necessary. The infant expired about eleven o’clock on Sunday forenoon, and the mother died at two o’clock yesterday morning. The matter, as is usual in cases of sudden or mysterious deaths was reported to the Procurator-Fiscal, who gave immediate orders for a necroscopic examination of the bodies, which took place in the course of the afternoon. Drs Stewart and McGill, from the city, and Dr Robb, Clyde Street, were present, and made the examination. Their opinion is, that the woman Emily Parker – such, it appears being her real name – died from natural causes, and that the infant died from inanition and want of proper care. It appears that the unfortunate deceased belonged to the North of Ireland, was unmarried, and had been a servant in the east end of the city.


Glasgow Morning Journal, 26th October 1865, p.2.


MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – About a fortnight ago a woman who called herself Mrs McNab, and said she was the widow of a fish merchant, took up her abode with Mrs Nibloe, a sailor’s wife residing in Commerce Street. Mrs McNab, according to Mrs Nibloe’s account, was not very communicative, and gave little information as to her connections or home. But it is believed she came from Tobermory. On Friday the 13th Mrs McNab sent cut for half a mutchkin of whisky, which Mrs Nibloe says was all drunk by Mrs McNab herself. Howbeit, in a day or two after Mrs McNab began to talk incoherently, to ask if “Sandy” had come yet, and otherwise to conduct herself as to convince Mrs Nibloe that she had not given a correct account of herself, and that her mind was wandering. Medical men, it appears, were called to see the woman, but nothing particular was done, and on Monday night last Mrs McNab died. No doctor could be got to certify the death, and so the case came under the attention of the police, and an inspection of the body by Dr McLeod and Dr Dunlop took place yesterday. The conclusion, we understand, to which the post mortem tended, was that the woman had died of serious apoplexy.


Glasgow Morning Journal, 27th October 1865, p.2.




   On Wednesday night or early yesterday morning Janet Fowler or Simpson, wife of Mr Simpson, farmer, Banks, Inverkip Glen, died suddenly in a cab under peculiar and mysterious circumstances. the facts, as far as we have gathered them, are these:-  Mrs Simpson had been in Glasgow on Wednesday on business, and on returning home with the 7 p.m. train from Glasgow, she got out at Port Glasgow by mistake for Greenock, se being somewhat intoxicated. The train left before she was recalled to herself, and she set out on foot for Greenock. At the foot of Barr’s Brae the attention of the police was called to her, as she was showing signs of intoxication. One of the constables named John McDonald, who was lately a gamekeeper, at once recognised her, and along with his neighbour constable, Donald Anderson, assisted her into a cab standing close at hand. They proceeded to the police station with her, and knowing her respectability got Mrs Howden to make her a cup of strong tea. She recovered herself after the tea; and about 9 o’clock Superintendant Howden sent her to the Queen’s Hotel, the two constables accompanying her. She was then able to walk herself. The men afterwards returned to the station, and stated they had left hr in the hotel for the night. Mr Howden heard nothing further of her till yesterday morning, when it was reported to him that she had died on the road home in a cab, while in the company of Constable McDonald. An investigation was thereupon set on foot, when it was ascertained that after McDonald had reported having fulfilled his mission, a girl from the hotel called him from his beat about 10 o’clock to go and see Mrs Simpson. He went there and found her determined to go home. She was proposing to walk, but McDonald ordered a cab from the Black Bull stables. The cab, driven by James Andrews, arrived at a quarter to eleven o’clock. McDonald got inside, along with Mrs Simpson, and they proceeded on the Banks Farm, by Greenock. In passing along Hamilton Street they stopped at the Buck’s Head Inn, and got three glasses of whisky – one to each. Mr Brodie spoke to Mrs Simpson. She seemed at that time all right. The cab then proceeded to its destination, as far as the Isle of Mull, about three miles out of Greenock. At this point the road to the farm strikes off the Inverkip turnpike, and is nearly a mile in length and mostly very steep. the driver, seeing the steepness of the road, and being unacquainted with it, refused to go further. McDonald wanted Mrs Simpson to go out and walk the rest of the way home, but, as he says, she refused, and said she would rather return to the Buck’s Head Inn. In these circumstances the cab was put about and returned to Greenock. It drew up at the Buck’s Head shortly after one o’clock. McDonald tried to rouse up the host, but failing, drove to the Police Office. From the police books here we find that, at 1.30, a cab drove up to the office, and a Port-Glasgow constable requested them to lodge a woman who had got drink, and gave some of the above facts. On the sergeant going to the door to help her out he discovered that she was dead. The constable expressed surprise at the discovery. The body of the poor woman was thereupon ordered to be conveyed in the cab to the Infirmary. Deceased was about 50 years of age. She was a strong, clever woman, but has come through considerable mental trouble. About 20 years ago she kept a grocery shop in Inverkip Street, but Mr Simpson becoming a tenant of Banks about 1846 she took charge there, and managed the work well. A son of theirs met his death some five or six years ago from the accidental discharge of a gun his brother was using. Shortly after that distressing event another of their children died from being scalded with a boiling pot tumbling over it. Over a year ago she got one of her legs broken, and has not since been the same woman, being at times addicted to drinking rather freely. It is said her son was at the Greenock station up till 10 o’clock waiting for her. the sad affair has caused much sympathy with Mr Simpson and the family. We understand Constable McDonald has been arrested in the meantime, pending the inquiry by the County Fiscal.


Glasgow Morning Journal. 28th October 1865, p.6 (Update to Previous Article).


   THE SUDDEN AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – Yesterday afternoon Drs Auld and Marshall made a post mortem examination of the body of Mrs Simpson, who died in the cab returning to Greenock on Thursday morning in company with constable McDonald of the Port-Glasgow force. With the exception of a slight scratch on the knee, which was observed on the previous day, no bruises or marks of violence were observed on her person, and no internal signs of advantage having been taken of her were visible. The cause of death is supposed to have been congestion of the brain. The report, we understand, was given in yesterday to the Fiscal, who immediately thereafter gave orders for McDonald’s release from prison.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, 16th January 1866, p.2.


   SINGULAR DEATH OF A HAWKER AT STIRLING. – On Saturday last, a man named Cassidy, a hawker, from Perth, who was lodging in a house in Spittal-street, Stirling, suddenly became ill and displayed violent symptoms of insanity. The police being called in, had him manacled and taken to the police-office, where he crept under the boards placed in the cell, and, from the narrowness of the aperture, he was with no small difficulty released. He was then convoyed to the Poor-house Lunatic Asylum, and medical assistance procured. He resolutely rejected all food, and, notwithstanding every attention, soon afterwards died.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Tuesday 11th December 1866, p.4.



   A gentleman, signing Edmund Morrison, writes to the Times of yesterday, with reference to the death of the Edinburgh detective, named Cameron, who was recently found drowned in Dunsappie Loch, suggesting that the unfortunate man may have been killed by an aerolite. He says – “According to the report there are no reasons for apprehending that the death was caused either by foul play on the part of others, or by any ordinary misadventure on the part of the deceased. The man met with his death on the night of the periodical visitation of aerolites. May he not have been struck by one of them, and have been precipitated into the water and suffocated? It is but a very few years since that brother and sister were driving in an open carriage in Tuscany, and the former of the two was suddenly half-stunned by a blow on the head from a small aerolite, which was picked up immediately after the accident. The occurrence was notorious at the time, and the injured individual trustworthy and well known. A second instance of the fall of an aerolite occurred lately in the garden of an intimate friend of my own at Florence, on which occasion some of the inmates had a narrow escape of being struck. The missile was examined by us, and its specific gravity exceeded that of a bullet.”


Glasgow Free Press, Saturday 2nd February 1867, p.6.




Last week we reported that on Sunday morning the 20th inst., as James Ranken, the engine-driver on the ordinary train which leave Carlisle at 9.40 p.m., and is due in Glasgow at 12.30 a.m., was proceeding between Motherwell and Holytown stations on the Caledonian Railway he discovered a man lying on the footpath near Fallwood Siding, on the down line of rail, and that upon reaching Holytown station he at once reported the circumstance to the pointsman on duty there, who, accompanied by a fellow-worker named Sanderlands, immediately proceeded to the spot indicated by Ranken, and there found the dead body of an engine driver named William Bond, who resided at Holytown Bridge, lying a few feet from the rails, with a deep cut on the side of his head, which apparently had been caused by some heavy instrument. The body although retaining some warmth, was quite dead, and was accordingly removed to the house of the deceased at Holytown Bridge, whence it was conveyed to the place of interment in Holytown Churchyard on Wednesday last. Considerable excitement prevailed as to the circumstances, but it was generally conjectured that the unfortunate man, after leaving Motherwell, where he had been in company with some of his fellow-workmen, must have been accidentally knocked down while proceeding homewards, by one of the goods trains immediately preceeding [sic] the passenger train in charge of Ranken, who discovered the body. This supposition, however, is hardly consistent with the fact of those in charge of the train not having witnessed the melancholy occurrence, as the moon was shining bright at the time, and snow lying too three inches deep on the ground, so that any object would readily attract attention. these circumstances, when combined with others, such as that the deceased was found lying with his head towards Motherwell, and that one of the persons who were first on the scene of the occurrence declares that he observed footprints, besides those of the deceased’s, on the snow, and every appearance of a recent struggle have moved the authorities to prompt action, for so soon occurrence was mentioned to the police at Bellshill, a messenger was despatched to Chief Constable G. McKay, who at once communicated with Mr Dykes, procurator-fiscal. That gentleman has commenced a thorough inquiry by the examination of various witnesses, from whom he must have elicited information of serious importance, as the body of the deceased was, on Friday afternoon, exhumed and removed within the church, where Drs Naismith and Lennox of Hamilton made a post mortem examination of the body, with what result we have in the meantime been unable to learn.


Glasgow Evening Post, Wednesday 6th February 1867, p.2.


   THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH NEAR BISHOPBRIGGS. – We learn that a post-mortem examination was made yesterday by Drs McLeod and Stewart on the body of the woman found on Monday under rather suspicious circumstances in a burn in the neighbourhood of Bishopbriggs. No marks of violence were found on the body. Deceased has been identified as a French woman lately residing in Buchanan Street, Glasgow. It appears that she had left her home on Sunday evening about seven o’clock, and nothing was heard of her afterwards till she was discovered in the burn at a quarter-past 10 o’clock on Monday, as described in yesterday’s Morning Journal. We may add that the burn is only 18 inches deep and 36 inches wide.


Glasgow Evening Post, Tuesday 9th April 1867, p.2.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH. – Yesterday at noon, Superintendent McCall and Detective Audley Thomson discovered the dead body of George D. Scotland, 60 years of age, in his own house, 27 Brunswick Street. Deceased, who was employed in Mr Maxwell’s office, Bell Street, went amissing on Tuesday last, and being rather eccentric in his habits, and living in the house alone, it was thought something had gone wrong with him. On the door being forced open yesterday, he was discovered lying naked on the floor, near the fireplace, dead.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 24 June 1867, p.2.



   Early yesterday morning a respectably-dressed man, apparently about forty years of age, met his death in a singular manner in Regent Road, opposite the High School. As Charles Thomson, the policeman on the beat, was going his rounds between five and six o’clock in the morning, he observed, as he thought, a man leaning over the railing at the top of a place popularly known as “Jacob’s Ladder,” on account of the long flight of steps which require to be climbed to gain Regent Road from the North Back of Canongate. On closer inspection, however, he discovered that life was extinct, death having evidently been produced by compression of the windpipe. With the assistance of a labourer named Sutherland, the body was conveyed to the Central Police Office, where it lies for identification. The position in which the unfortunate man was found is thus described in the official report:- “The head was resting between two of the spiked heads of the railing, the arms being extended, and the left knee slightly bent.” – Scotsman.


Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 13th July 1867, p.4.


   A STRANGE DEATH. – A strange death is recorded this week of a young clerk, apparently poisoned by the bad atmosphere of a small telegraph -office room, ill-ventilated, and with four gas-burners, of which “all the clerks had complained.” This is only a rapid and compressed view of a tragedy constantly being worked out more slowly in work-rooms and offices, and approximately imitated by the poisoning and illness due to the bad ventilation of our gaslit theatres, churches, and ball-rooms. – British Medical Journal.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 12th September 1867, p.2.



   SINGULAR DEATH OF A WOMAN AT ARBROATH. – A singular fatality happened in Arbroath to a woman named Whyte, wife of a tinker, on Tuesday evening. It appears that she and her husband had gone into a public-house in Guthrie Port, where they were supplied with drink. They were soon afterwards heard singing and laughing, but they seem to have fallen asleep, and for about three hours they were in the room together. At the end of that time some of the people of the house went into the room, when the man was just waking out of sleep. His wife, it was discovered, had slipped off the bench on which she had been sitting, and her chin was resting on the table, the edge of which was pressed against her throat so as to cause suffocation. On medical aid being got, it was found that she was quite dead.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 2nd December 1867, p.2.



   A mysterious case of sudden death occurred between Saturday night and Sunday, in Sievewright’s Hotel, South St Andrew Street. On Saturday, between five and six o’clock, two gentlemen called at the hotel, and one of them requested to be accommodated with a bed for the night. A bed-room being allotted to him, he said he did not feel well, and along with his friend he retired to rest. Whisky was shortly afterwards ordered, and the servant who took it to the room found the gentleman who ordered the bed sitting on the side of it, and his companion lying undressed under the bed clothes. Later in the evening, the gentleman who had been in bed left the hotel. yesterday morning, his companion who was left in the bed-room, not making his appearance, some apprehension began to be felt by the people of the house, and about one o’clock the door, which was snibbed on the inside, was forced open, when he was found lying in bed dead. From papers got in the pockets of deceased’s clothes, it is supposed that he was a writer in Dalkeith. Information was given to the police, who are investigating the matter. The cause of death is as yet unascertained. – Scotsman.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 13th April 1868, p.2.


CURIOUS DEATH OF A WOMAN AT PAISLEY. – About 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, four men and two women went into the house of Mrs. McMillan, spirit-dealer, 29 Causeyside-street, Paisley, called for a liberal supply of whisky, and sung and danced for upwards of three hours. About half-past seven o’clock they all left but one man and one woman, and on the waiter going into the room shortly afterwards he found the woman lying on the floor breathing heavily and apparently in a fit. He bathed her head with water, and went in again about an hour afterwards, when he found her still on the floor, but, as he thought, sleeping, and the man away. He locked the door to prevent any one interfering with her until she wakened, but on visiting her after the lapse of another hour he found that she was dead. Dr. Falconer, who was at once called in, said she had been dead about an hour. The body, which was conveyed to the Infirmary dead-house, has been identified as that of Elizabeth Forrest or Blair, wife of James Blair, tailor, Lylesland, Paisley. It has been ascertained that she left her house about noon, and had been drinking in other houses before going to McMillan’s. The case has been reported to the county Fiscal.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 3rd December 1868, p.3.



   This morning about 8 o’clock a gentleman named Morton observed a young woman sitting in a peculiar position outside of the kitchen window of Mrs. Stevens, at a height of two storeys, in the fine block of buildings situated at the corner of India-street, and entering by 334 St. Vincent-street. The girl was motionless, and appeared to be holding on grimly by the water-rhone leading down the building. Mr. Morton obtained the assistance of two police-constables, and rescued the girl from her perilous position. She was quite oblivious at the moment. Dr. McEwan attended her, and latterly also Dr. Johnston; but up till noon no efforts had succeeded in restoring her to consciousness. It appears that the girl has been employed only during a few days as a domestic servant in the house of a Mr. Ballingall, in the flat above (or third storey of the building), the window of which was observed to be open. But how the young woman, who seems about 20 years of age, and is named Ann Fay, attained the ledge of the window on the flat below is as yet an extraordinary mystery, if it is not to be explained by somnambulism. there seems, however, no reason to doubt that the young woman had been timeously rescued from imminent death.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 6th May 1869, p.2.



   On the morning of Wednesday last, whilst a man of the name of Archibald Martin was on his way to his work, he found John Storey, late gamekeeper, Dunse Castle, lying in a state of great agony on the roadside, on the Oxendean-road, nearly opposite the road which leads to Castlemuir. Storey spoke of his suffering great pain, adding something like the words, “It will soon be over.” No aid being near, Martin came to Dunse to get a conveyance to take him home. In the meantime, Storey was removed by carts passing on their way to Dunse. About the head of the Stoney Moor, Storey’s son met the carts and spoke to his father, but could get no rely except “It would soon be over.” At this time the pain was so great that he had to be lifted out of the cart to the road-side. His son then left him to procure medical aid and a conveyance to take him home, but before these could be obtained he expired. He had been in his own house at tea-time that evening and was quite sober, but after that had not been seen by his wife. there are no external marks on his body. the cause of death is not yet known. A post-mortem examination is to take place on the body to-morrow, when the cause may be learned.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Tuesday 16th November 1869, p.3.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH IN EDINBURGH. – A gentleman named Veitch, belonging to Glasgow, but who, when in Edinburgh, resided in Stockbridge, not having been seen since last Wednesday, his house here was entered by a window, and he was found lying on the floor in a pool of blood. There were no marks about his person, and it is supposed that he had burst a blood-vessel. His wife, who resides in Glasgow, was at once telegraphed for, and arrived in Edinburgh last night. The circumstances having been communicated to the police authorities, a post-mortem examination of the body will take place to-day. – To-day’s Courant.


Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 16th April 1870, p.2.



   Last night a terrier dog was killed in Main Street, Anderston, under rather singular circumstances. One of Mr Menzies’ horses had got loose from the stables in North Street, and ran off in the direction of Main Street, where it came into collision with one of the Partick omnibuses. A little terrier dog happened to be in the centre of the street at the time of the accident, the shock of which caused the runaway horse to come on its beam ends, and fall directly above the dog, which, to use a common, although not classical expression, was knocked as flat as a pancake, and picked up quite dead. The force of the collision damaged the omnibus, and seriously injured Mr Menzies’ horse.


Another of our Artist‘s impressions of the scene of this incident.

Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 9th June 1870, p.2.


   SINGULAR DEATH OF A BOY NEAR ABERDEEN. – On Tuesday afternoon, as Thomas Williamson, aged eleven years, was proceeding along a turnpike road, leading a cow belonging to his father, Mr. Williamson, farmer, Nether Tertowie, Kinnellar, near Aberdeen, he had tied the end of the rope by which the animal was led round his waist. The cow ran away, dragging the boy along the road for a distance of about 500 yards, whereby he was injured so severely that death resulted.


Glasgow Herald, Wednesday 29th June 1870, p.4.


   MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A GIG-DRIVER. – At a late hour on Monday night, the Rev. Mr Elder of Tealing hired a gig from Mr Stratton, Dundee, in order to go home, and took with him a driver named Bernard Quin. The journey to Tealing was safely accomplished, and at an early hour yesterday morning the driver left Tealing on his return to Dundee. No one was with him, and, as the night was clear, it was thought that he would have no difficulty in driving at a good pace. Neither man nor machine, however, made their appearance in Dundee for many hours after the time they were expected, and the greatest anxiety was felt by Mr Stratton to learn if any misfortune had befallen them. The suspense from which Mr Stratton suffered was removed in the course of the forenoon, but only to give place to the deepest sorrow. Intelligence was received from a farmer in the neighbourhood of Tealing that the man who had driven the Rev. Mr Elder home on the previous evening had been found lying on the road about six o’clock in the morning by some ploughmen in the service of the farmer, with a gig-cushion and a gig-rug lying near him. The man was speechless, and, being evidently in an exhausted condition, the ploughmen carried him to Balnuith farmhouse, where he died in an hour and a half afterwards. The horse and gig were found in the course of the morning on a road near the Mains, some miles from the spot where Quin was found. The machine did not seem to have suffered any damage, and the horse and its harness also appeared in good order. How the unfortunate man met his death is yet a mystery. The affair was reported to the Fiscal, who left Dundee in the forenoon, along with a medical man, in order to make investigations, and to hold a post-mortem examination on the body of the deceased. Quin leaves a widow and three children to mourn his sudden loss.


Glasgow Evening Post, Thursday 24th April 1879, p.3.



   A middle-aged woman named Isabella Lays, a native of Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire, died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Monday night under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The deceased woman, who resided in Cowgate, had, it is said, shown symptoms of insanity, and caused some disturbance. A young medical gentleman who was sent to deal with the case is said to have injected a quantity of morphia into the woman’s arm, which had the effect of producing quietness. She never regained consciousness. The matter is being investigated.


Glasgow Evening Post, Friday 20th June 1879, p.3.


   SINGULAR DEATH AT KILMARNOCK. – John Calderwood (82), living in Roberson Place, Kilmarnock, and keeper of the Kilmarnock Bowling Green, was yesterday accidentally killed while taking the mowing-machine to the green. The instrument acquired too great an impetus, and he endeavoured to stop it. He was unable to do this, and it fell down the embankment into the river bottom, dragging him after it and falling on him, fracturing his skull, and killing him instantaneously.


Glasgow Evening Post, Friday 23rd January 1880, p.3.



   A deaf-mute named Mary Ann Napier or Gibb met her death in Aberdeen in a most extraordinary manner yesterday morning. She had been returning to her home in Commerce Street with a bag of gas-cinders on her back, which was securely tied by a cord about her neck. A labourer, residing in the same house, was alarmed by a loud shriek, and, on going outside, discovered the woman leaning against the railing, the bag of cinders being suspended over the outside. She appears either to have stumbled or the bag had slipped from her back. Dr. Barr, who was called, pronounced her dead, the cause assigned being strangulation. Deceased was 61 years of age, and was a widow.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Saturday 21st February 1880, p.2.



   Late on Thursday night last David Queen, a seaman belonging to the ship Jennie Harkness, presently lying at Yorkhill Wharf, went on board his vessel in a state of intoxication, and, after indulging in a round of oaths, proceeded to the forecastle where, drawing his knife, he threatened to do for anyone who approached him. He then left the forecastle, followed by one of the crew, who remonstrated with him as to the manner in which he was conducting himself. In return for the advice Queen made a thrust at the man, but failed in the attempt. After this, it is stated, he was proceeding aft when he tripped and fell, his head coming against an iron bit on deck. From there he was carried into the forecastle. He lay there apparently asleep, but the chief mate having been told of the man’s outrageous conduct, and fearing a repetition of it when he would awake, had him put in irons. Yesterday morning he was found in the carpenter’s room still insensible, and with blood oozing from his nose. On seeing how matters stood the captain had the irons removed from the man, and information of the event given to the police. Dr. Clark, 160 Dumbarton-road, was also sent for, but all attempts to rouse Queen proved futile, and he was ordered to be taken to the Western Infirmary. He never regained consciousness, and died last night about ten o’clock. The Fiscal has ordered a post-mortem examination of the body to be made, and the police authorities are making a searching investigation into the case.


Glasgow Evening Post, Tuesday 24th February 1880, p.3.



   About a quarter to twelve o’clock this fore noon a woman, named Anderson, while under the influence of drink, threw herself into the river a short distance above the Suspension Bridge at Glasgow Green. A young man named Aitken, assisted by Mr. John Geddes, son of Mr. George Geddes, succeeded in rescuing her. She was immediately removed to the Humane Society’s House, where, under the care of Mrs. Geddes, she quickly recovered from the effects of her immersion, and was subsequently removed to the Eastern Police Office. This is the second time the foolish woman has thrown herself into the Clyde.


Glasgow Evening Post, Tuesday 7th September 1880, p.4.



   On Sunday a boy, four years of age, son of James Allan, farm grieve at Auchallater, was seized with a fit of vomiting, and expired in a few hours, despite the utmost attention on the part of two medical men. The boy had complained for some time back of severe headaches. Another member of the family died several years ago under similar circumstances.


Glasgow Herald, Monday 20th September 1880, p.4.


   STRANGE DEATH OF A KILMARNOCK MAN IN GLASGOW. – Early on Saturday morning the body of a man was found lying on the top landing of the stair of the house 15 Oxford Street, S.S. [South Side, Gorbals] It was conveyed to the Southern Police Office, and was afterwards identified as that of Robert Brown, a flesher in Kilmarnock. Deceased had been lodging in the house for a day or two, and it is supposed that having fallen on the stair he had suffocated himself, his head being downwards on the stair.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 20th December 1880, p.2.



   This morning a labourer, immediately on going aboard the ship Glenbuorag to his work came across the dead body of Robert McMonagle, also a labourer, lying between the fore and main decks. Deceased had been working on board the vessel on Saturday, and was last seen by his fellow-workmen when they were knocking-off between four and five on Saturday afternoon. It is not known how he came by his death, but a post-mortem examination will be made in the course of the day. McMonagle, who was 52 years of age, has left a widow and four children.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 21st February 1881, p.2.



(Special Telegram from our own Correspondent.)

                                        CRIEFF, Monday, 1 p.m.

   Last Tuesday night James White, farm labourer, Tail Fowlis, Wester, proceed to Crieff to fetch a doctor and a woman to attend his wife. On the way home he left the woman to get a drink of water for himself. The woman went forward to her destination alone, and though White never afterwards appeared, no proper search was made for him till yesterday, when his dead body was found in a field some distance from his residence, where he had evidently fallen asleep, and succumbed from exposure.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Wednesday 2nd May 1883, p.2.



   Edward Leckie, a trunk-maker, 45 years of age, was found dead in bed this morning, in a lodging-house at 12 Princes-street, where he had been living for about a fortnight. Leckie got his right arm and hand hurt in work in Saltmarket on Saturday last, but got his injuries dressed in the Infirmary. Yesterday, after complaining of extreme pain in his arm, he went to bed, where, as stated, he was found dead. The bed was saturated with blood, which seemed to have flowed from his injured arm. The body was removed to the Central Police-office, and inquiries are being made into the affair.


Glasgow Evening Post, Friday 11th January 1884, p.2.



   A young girl named Mary Taylor, employed as a domestic servant at Adziel House, near Strichen, died on Wednesday under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Taylor, who was only 13 years of age, was suddenly seized with illness between two and three o’clock in the afternoon, no one being in the house at the time save herself. Mr. A. McLeod, her master, was engaged in the garden, and he, hearing her cries, went into the house to see what was the matter. Finding the girl lying on the floor, he assisted her to a chair, and, thinking from the symptoms that she was suffer from an epileptic fit, he gave her a little water to drink. At that stage Mrs. McLeod arrived, and the girl was put to bed. On a neighbour being called in, it was considered wise, as the patient was apparently becoming seriously ill, to send to Strichen for medical advice, but before Dr. Trail reached the house at half-past six o’clock the girl was dead. The cause of death has not yet been ascertained, but a post-mortem examination will, of course, be ordered to be made. Deceased, who belonged to New Byth, where her parents reside, was in Aberdeen so recently as Monday in connection with a charge which was brought against her of stealing £2 from her employer. This offence she acknowledged, and as her master and mistress expressed willingness to take her back into their service, Sheriff Brown dismissed her with an admonition.


Glasgow Evening Post, Wednesday 16th January 1884, p.2.


   STRANGE DEATH OF AN OLD WOMAN. – Sarah Sinclair, aged 89 years, died yesterday morning under mysterious circumstances at Straiton, Ayrshire. Her brother, with whom she lived, heard groans outside the house during the night. He went outside and found his sister lying there undressed, with a large wound on her head. He went for assistance, but the woman was dead when he returned. The police are investigating the matter.


Glasgow Evening Post, Thursday 30th December 1886, p.2.



   At an early hour on Tuesday morning, Dr. Peter White, Yetholm, knocked at the door of a house in the village and asked to be admitted, complaining that he had fallen on the street and hurt his leg. The person applied to ran for help, and when in a short time assistance arrived, the doctor was found in a prostrate condition in the street apparently lifeless. He was at once carried into the house, when he was found to be dead. Mrs. White died of inflammation of the lungs only on Saturday, and has not yet been buried. Her funeral, which was fixed for Monday, has been postponed in order that husband and wife may be interred together.


Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 8th October 1887, p.2.



   About six o’clock this morning a man was found dead in a smallboat off Society, about two miles to the west of Queensferry. He was found sitting on a seat as if in the act of rowing. The boat bears the name “David Bryce, Limekilns.” It is supposed that he was engaged rowing people to the Fleet, and that during the darkness last night must have lost his way and died from exposure.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 31st October 1887, p.2.


   STRANGE DEATH OF A MAN IN EDINBURGH. – At about half-past six o’clock on Saturday morning, while a gardener, William Walker, about 38 years of age, was crossing Princess Street, he was observed by the driver of a market van to look very ill. Walker stumbled and fell on the street. When picked up he was unconscious. A scavenger, Peter Hughes, observing what had happened, assisted the vanman to remove the injured man to the south-side pavement. Shortly thereafter a policeman on the beat came up. As the man did not appear to be getting better, a cab was procured, and he was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where he died an hour or so after his admission, never having regained consciousness.


Glasgow Herald, Tuesday 7th February 1888, p.7.


   STRANGE DEATH IN GLASGOW. – A man named Alexander Bell was found yesterday afternoon lying in Dundas Street, evidently very ill. He was unable to give his address, and was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where he died later in the day. The cause of death is not known.


Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 12th May 1888, p.7.



   Last night two constables brought into the Central Police Office a street woman, named Barbara Keith, residing at 6 Candleriggs, and who had been creating a disturbance by shouting and howling in the Trongate. Three other women accompanied them to the station, and stated that Keith had swallowed a quantity of vitriol in the lodging-house of John McGeachie, at 8 King Street, shortly before the constables had arrested her. Dr. Dalziel, who was in the office, then examined the unfortunate woman, and found that she was suffering from sulphuric acid poisoning. He had her immediately removed to the Royal Infirmary, where she died about 11 p.m.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Tuesday 21st August 1888, p.2.



   Margaret Stewart or Irvine (44), wife of a labourer, residing at 30 Rosemount-street, died under singular circumstances in her house last night. About a fortnight ago a pimple grew on the top of one of the veins on the inside of her right leg, a little below the knee. While standing at the jawbox [kitchen sink?] last night the pimple burst, and blood flowed from it most profusely. Becoming alarmed, the husband summoned a neighbour woman, and they both endeavoured to stop the bleeding with bandages, but without effect. A doctor was then sent for, but before his arrival, twenty-five minutes after the bursting of the pimple, the woman had expired.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 11th October 1888, p.2.



   Two curious “death stories” come from the southern district of the city this morning. In our yesterday’s issue was a paragraph of the sudden death of a labourer in a close in South Coburg-street. The body was taken to the Southern Police Office, and being there positively identified by three different persons as that of Hugh Doyle, it was certified by the officials as such. But it turns out that Hugh is not dead. Some of his neighbours noticing the paragraph, and being rather doubtful of the sad event, went to Hugh’s house, where he was comfortably seated by the side of the fire. they showed him the announcement of his demise, which he took in good part rather than otherwise. He then proceeded to the police-office, and on the way met two of the witnesses who had pronounced the body to be his. The witnesses, as may be supposed, were frightened in thus being confronted with what they considered to be an apparition, but Hugh lost no time in convincing them of his vitality. At the police-office he denied all ownership of the body, and of course the witnesses had to acknowlege [sic] their mistake. Doyle was shown the body supposed to be himself, and although there is a resemblance between him and the deceased, it is not such to have caused this curious mistake. With Hugh Doyle’s disclaimer, the body has still to be identified.

   The other case is that in which a man was found in Eglinton-street, apparently dead. He was brought to the police-office on stretchers, placed in the mortuary, and was covered over with the customary white sheet. Sometime afterwards the turnkey, in paying some attentions to him that are usually observed in the case of all dead bodies, to make sure that life was extinct, gave his ear a firm pinch. the supposed defunct jumped up instantly, to the consternation of the official, and rudely demanded what he was doing. He was not dead, but drunk. On recovering from the effects of the alcohol, he was liberated on pledge, and as he failed to answer at the court to a charge of drunkenness the pledge was forfeited.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 8th April 1889, p.5.



(From Our Edinburgh Correspondent.)

   To-day a stoutish-built man, apparently a mason, was found in a common stair in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. On being taken to the Royal Infirmary, life was pronounced extinct. The body was removed to the mortuary at the Central Police Station, where it lies for identification. Deceased is dressed in a light-grey coat and vest and moleskin trousers. The man appears to have been about forty years of age, five feet and a half in height, with reddish hair and moustache, and beard under the chin.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 14th October 1889, p.2.



   On Saturday information of a mysterious death was forwarded to Mr. Langham, the City of London coroner. The deceased has been identified as Mr. G. B. Phillips, aged forty, a jute merchant of Dundee. At half-past six o’clock he arrived at Cannon-street Railway Station by the tidal train. He had been to Paris to visit the Exhibition. Whilst en route from Boulogne to Folkestone he made the acquaintance of a young woman, and from inquiries that have been made it is evident that he travelled in her company to London. On the arrival of the train at Cannon-street Station the deceased got out, and immediately afterwards sank to the platform as if dead. He was carried to the Cannon-street Hotel, where he expired about two hours afterwards. It is understood that the identity of the deceased was ascertained through certain papers found in his pockets, but whether the young woman referred to had been detained is not known. The inquest will probably be held on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 21st October 1889, p.7.


   EXTRAORDINARY DEATH OF A FISHERWOMAN. – While Margaret Bruce or Wood, wife of a Porthnockie fisherman, was crossing a wire fence on the farm of Slackdale, near Cornhill Railway Station, her foot slipped, and the band by which the creel of fish on her back was attached shifted to her throat, and the result was immediate strangulation. It seems that in missing her foothold she had fallen backward, and being unable to extricate herself had come by this sad end. Deceased, who was a most industrious woman, well-known in the district, was about 60 years of age.


Glasgow Evening Post, Wednesday 8th January 1890, p.5.








   The inquest which was opened before Sheriff Balfour yesterday into the circumstances attending the death of David Gass, prisoner at Barlinnie Prison, which took place on December 30th, was continued to-day. In the course of the evidence led it transpired that deceased was 18 years of age, and was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment at Dumbarton Sheriff Criminal Court, on November 6th for indecent assault.

   Warder Drummond said he was on the night patrol on Friday night, December 27. His attention was specially called to the deceased, who was brought to the hall by the Governor that evening, and put in a special cell, where he could be easily watched. He appeared all right up till about 9 o’clock, when he began to rave, and shout that his mother was dead. The doctor was sent for, and deceased became quiet afterwards. Witness again had charge of him on Saturday night, when he shouted a little, but was comparatively quiet, on Sunday night he began to shout about ten o’clock and make a great deal of noise, and throw himself into dramatic actions. Witness visited him every half-hour. About 1.30 on Monday morning he again began to make a noise, shouting, “I can die, I can die!” Witness went upstairs at the time, and when he came down he saw deceased lying on the floor.

   The Fiscal – You entered the cell? – No, I could not. 

   The Sheriff – How? – I had no key. 

   The Fiscal – Where was the key? – Mr Clark, the sleeping-in warder had a seal key; the others are all locked up at the gate, I understand. I went for the seal key, but he said he had no authority to give it to me. It was about twenty minutes before the cell was opened, Dr Carr then arriving with another key.

   Examination continued – Witness entered the cell with the doctor, and found deceased unconscious. He was removed to the hospital. He never saw deceased fall or hurt himself in any way.

   Reubens Clark, sleeping-in warder, said he had charge of the seal key belonging to that wing of the prison. Warder Drummond called his attention to deceased about 1.30, saying he was lying on the floor. Witness went and looked at him through the spy-hole.

    The FISCAL – Why did you not go in? – Because I thought he was at some more of his tricks. I had been told by the ball warder that he was feigning insanity. I rung the bell for the doctor, who came, and deceased was removed to the hospital.

   The SHERIFF – You are there if anything special takes place? – Yes. 

   The sick nurse at the hospital spoke to their [sic] being a wound on the back of deceased’s head and two small bruises on his forehead.

   Dr Carr, prison surgeon, stated that he had been called on the evening of December 27th, and found deceased flushed and excited, and crying out that his mother was dead, that somebody had told him so. Witness gave instructions for him to be specially watched. On Sunday he found him better, when he acknowledged his misbehaviour, and promised to do better. On Monday morning witness was called, and found deceased unconscious in his cell. He had a small bruize [sic] on the forehead and another on the nose. He was removed to the hospital, but he never regained consciousness, and died about 7.30 that morning. Witness’s theory was that during some of his acrobatic performances he had struck his head on some of the fixtures in the cell, dying from concussion of the brain. He did not detect any insanity in his conduct, but merely mental excitement.

   Dr Dunlop, who examined the body, found death had been due to concussion of the brain, and that the injuries were such as could not have been caused by any other person.

   The Sheriff returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony. 


Glasgow Herald, Tuesday 8th April 1890, p.4.


   SINGULAR DEATH IN A CHAPELHALL PIT. – Yesterday morning a colliery fireman named Robert Notman, residing at Marshall’s Land, Chapelhall, was found dead in the bottom of No. 1 pit, Newhouse. He had gone down an hour previously to feed the ponies and kindle a cube, but as he did not “chap” to return, the engineman sent down to see if there was anything wrong, and found him dead on the cage seat. Deceased leaves a widow and family.


Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 13th October 1890, p.5.





   John Adamson, an army pensioner, residing in Clarence Street, Edinburgh, was taken into custody of the police yesterday afternoon on a charge in connection with the death of his wife. It is stated that the accused called on a neighbour woman about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, stating that he would give a shilling if he could get a glass of whisky for his wife, who, he said, was ill. An hour or so later he called again on the individual referred to, or on another neighbour woman, wanting her to come and see his wife, because, as she would not speak to him, he thought there was something wrong with her. The request was complied with, and Mrs Adamson was found to be dead. The body was then quite warm. The deceased had, it is reported, very little clothing on her body, and it is stated that a wound, from which a large quantity of blood had flowed was observed on her right side, a piece of cloth, soaked with blood, lying under the right arm. The police were then communicated with, and Adamson was taken into custody.



(From Our Own Correspondent.)

   EDINBURGH, 1.45. – John Adamson was remitted to a higher Court this morning on a charge of murder.


Glasgow Evening Post, Tuesday 31st May 1892, p.6.




   This morning the dead body of John Wallace (19), a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, presently garrisoning Maryhill Barracks, was found in a quarry situated between Gairbraid Street and Garrioch Road by Joseph McSpirit, 4 Kent Street, a workman in said quarry. The deceased was last seen about 10 o’clock last night in the regimental library. Some time during the night he broke out of barracks, and nothing further can be learned regarding him until found as above stated. One of his feet was stuck fast between two large stones, and he was lying on his back when found. Dr Hay, casualty surgeon, examined the body, and is of opinion that death resulted from concussion of the brain, the result of a fall. The bridge of the nose is fractured, and there is a small wound on the crown of his head. Inquiries at the barracks elicited the information that deceased has been in the barracks since he was an infant.


Glasgow Evening Post, Tuesday 4th June 1895, p.7.


   SINGULAR DEATH OF A SCHOOLBOY. – Adam Johnston, ten years of age, son of James Johnston, miner, Little Raith Colliery houses, Fifeshire, died on Sunday under peculiar circumstances. In the course of Saturday the boy had been at Cowdenbeath, where there was a number of swingboats, &c., and when he returned home in the evening he complained of headache and sore throat. After being bathed he was put to bed, and although he vomited during the night he was not supposed to be seriously ill. In the morning he was found dead. The cause of death has not been ascertained.

29 thoughts on “Curious and Interesting Deaths

  1. Elizabeth Isherwood, 60, walked naked into an airing cupboard at the villa she was renting and shut the door. When she tried to leave, part of the door handle broke off in her hand. She dug into the wall in an attempt to escape, but struck and burst a pipe, which sprayed water into the cupboard and caused her eventual death by hypothermia. She was found several days later. Why she had shut herself in the cupboard in the first place remained a mystery.

    1. That’s a sad story. Not one that would make it into a post on a pre-1900 Scottish history site, being from England in 2018 😉

  2. Great post – you found some fascinating stuff. Particularly enjoyed ‘death of a monkey!’ Thanks for the shout-out too. Hope to see you publish some more of your findings in the near future.

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