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Colonial Cases


OREGON SPECTATOR (Oregon City), 28 November 1850

MR. EDITOR - I hand you the enclosed certificate for publication.  The fact of their (sic) being no coroner to hold an inquest on George M. Williams, and finding that suspicions were abroad, at the request of many citizens, I thought it my duty to order a post mortem examination, and you have the result of such examination.  I have an inventory of his effects, and after the expenses are paid, the balance, if any, will be paid over to his heirs.  Wm. K. KILLEGEN, Mayor of Oregon City.  November 25, 1850.

GEORGE M. WILLIAMS died very suddenly at Oregon City.  About twelve hours after death a post mortem examination of the body was made by Dr. Barclay and Dr. Steel, as follows:

   Williams died from a determination of blood to the head.  The stomach was in a morbid and vitiated state, and may have brought on the apoplectic attack.



November 14, 1850.


DAILY ALTA CALIFORNIA, 14 September 1852

Later from Oregon.

RESPITE. - We learn that O'Kelley, convicted last July, in Benton county, of the murder of Mahoney, and who was sentenced to be hung on the 27th of August last, has been respited for a time by the Governor. - Times.

   We learn from M. S. Kennedy, Esq., of Dugan & Co.'s Express, that the body of a man was found in the Coast Fork of the Willamette river, in Lane county, about ten days since.  There was a ball hole in the breast, leaving no doubt that he had been murdered.  He was apparently about 40 years of age, heavy set, with blue eyes.  His horse lay upon the bank of the river, with his throat cut.  No trace of the murderer could be found, and suspicion rested on no one. - Statesman.


OREGON SPECTATOR (Oregon City), 16 September 1853

A person named Elijah Gibson, carpenter, of Cumberland, Maryland, was accidentally drowned on Friday last.  He was at work on the steamer "Belle of Oregon City," and while in the act of slinging a plank around the guard at the stern of the boat the fastenings gave way and the man was knocked from the staging.  He sank and did not appear to the surface of the water after he touched it.  Search was immediately made for him, but his body was not recovered for several hours afterward.  It was finally grappled b y means of hooks attached to a pole.

   We understand he has no parents living.  He was engaged to a young lady in Cumberland, Md.  Had he lived it was his intention to have returned in a short time to marry her.  He made no disposal of his effects, but said since he has been in the Territory, we hear, which is something like a year ago now, that in the event of his death he would rather what little he had should go to this young lady to whom he was to have been married.

   His remains were taken care of by the Odd Fellows, of which Order he was a member, and on Sunday last was suitably interred by the Society.

   A jury of inquest was held over the corpse, and the following is the verdict:

CORONER'S INQUEST. - A jury having been duly sworn to examine into the cause of death of Elijah Gibson, render a verdict of accidental death from drowning.  FORBES BARCLAY, Coroner.  Oregon City, Sept. 10, 1853.


THE UMPQUA WEEKLY GAZETTE (Scottsburg, O.T.), 5 September 1854

Report from a London inquest, Wakely coroner.


OREGON SENTINEL (Jacksonville), 29 January 1859.


Mr. A. J. Butler, of this county, committed suicide, at his residence on Bear creek, about the 17th inst., by shooting himself with a revolver in the forehead, the ball passing into the brain.  It appears that the deceased had been somewhat unwell for some time previous, but no cause is known for committing the fatal deed.  He had probably been dead for some five days before the body was discovered.  A coroner's inquest was held upon the body, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death by a shot fired from a revolver supposed to have been fired by his own hand.


[Large ink mark over this paragraph.]

We learn from Mr. Gustaf Wilson, Coroner of Josephine County, that Mr. William Murphy was murdered on the [Crescent] City Mountain, at [D????]house, on the 21st inst., between the hours of 12 and 2 o'clock, a.m., by a person who came in the house the day previous, and called himself an Italian, but whose name is unknown.

   The fatal deed was committed with an ax upon the right breast and below the left shoulder, four wounds being inflicted.  A Coroner's inquest was held upon the body of the deceased which returned a verdict of wilful murder by a person calling himself an Italian, but whose name was unknown to them.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School