If it is of interest to any researchers I have a copy of the newpaper report from The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Friday, February 15, 1861 of the charge of attempted poisoning of Sedwell Jane OATES d/o Nicholas OATES.
The accused is Mary Oates, wife of Nicholas and step mother of Sedwell Jane. One witness is named, Elizabeth Noall CURNOW. Mary was committed to appear at the Assizes.
I also have a copy of the report of trial at the Assizes from The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Thursday, March 21, 1861
If anyone would like a copy of these reports, please PM me with your email address and I will be happy to forward them to you. The articles (copy of the newspaper page) will be in the form of a PDF doc.
From the above I believe Sedwell was born 9 Aug 1845 and died 11 Nov 1904 in Lead, Dakota, USA. According to the 1851 Census she was 5, living with Nicholas and her family. This record also shows a daughter of Mary, Margaret J. WARMINGTON aged 15. Her Mother was Margaret RAPSON. Nicholas born 1802 was the son of Nicholas and Bridget THOMAS.
Nicholas married Mary WARMINGTON about 1850. The 1851 Census record shows her born about 1805 in St Just. Not sure if WARMINGTON was her maiden name or if she was a widow.
The case had a couple of complications - the judge stopped the case and Mary Oates/Oats had the two indictments against her discharged. HeatherC
A brief outline of the case -
Sedwell Jane and Mary argued a lot and a few days before the alleged attempted poisoning they had rowed and come to blows. Sedwell's father and brother stepped in and parted them and Mary said "You old devil, I cant abide thee; I will poison three before the week is out".
Nicholas was in the habit of returning home for his lunch from the mine and taking back with him the pasty that Mary would make for Sedwell Jane, but usually the pasty was already made, and was on the shelf in the morning so the pasty was always cold. On the day all this happened, the pasty was not there, and Nicholas brought Sedwell Jane a warm pasty from home for lunch...... so this was not usual, and the only witness that Mary handed that pasty to her husband to give to Sedwell Jane was Nicholas himself.
The complications arose because under law then (and until not too long ago) husband and wife could not give evidence against each other......... the judge after some while had to stop the case because the only person that could say that Mary had handed the poisoned pasty to Nicholas to give to Sedwell Jane was Nicholas....
As the judge said,
"Gentlemen of the jury, there is an insuperable difficulty in this case. Don't think I am prejudging it; but suppose the prisoner is guilty, the party who alone can prove the receiving of the pasty is the husband of the prisoner, who by law has his mouth closed. This is a difficulty which is incurable, and as there is no chance of proving the case, you must find her not guilty."
OH MY GOODNESS !!!! My G-Grandmother was a Mary Oats....but thank goodness that was her maiden name...she married a Mitchell. Of interest, several families moved to Lead S. Dakota including some of my lot...Furze...A great deal of interesting info about this emigration can be gathered from AC Dodd's book "The Cornish Miner in America". It's full of useful personal information. Memory tells me that he tells of an Angwin who had a beautiful voice singing opera in was it Deadwood?
So Mary fed Sedwell a poisoned pasty....might have eaten one from the same batch, or something which masqueraded as a pasty in our local greasy spoon cafe.
Last Edit: Dec 20, 2008 16:09:33 GMT -5 by tonymitch