Friday, 9 December 2011

Dead Person #2 - William Buchanan, Foreman Shunter

Continuing my series on the interesting deaths of my Dead People, today I'm going to tell you what I know about the death of my third-great-grandfather, William Buchanan.

William Buchanan was born on 5 May 1870 in Wallsend, NSW to Hugh Buchanan (then aged 24) and his wife Miriam Williams (aged 21). He was the first child of their union to survive beyond infancy (two sons, John and Edward W had died before William's birth). William's father, Hugh Buchanan, a miner who emigrated from Scotland, had married Miriam Williams on 13 March 1866. They were married by Presbyterian Minister William Bain at the bride's father's house in Wallsend.

William Buchanan was already employed by the railways when he married Eather Ellen Culla (known as Ellen) on 31 December 1891 at the home Edward Williams (his maternal grandfather, the same house his parents had married in almost 26 years earlier). Baptist Minister Seth Jones officiated, and Andrew Read and Ada Culla (the bride's sister), were witnesses.

William and Ellen had four children - Margaret (aka Maggie - b. 1893), Marion (aka Miriam - b. 1894), William (b. 1901) and Hugh (b. 1908), and William's work in the railways continued, with him rising to the position of Foreman Shunter.

Image from: Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Coroners' Inquests, 1796-1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Source: State Archives NSW: 2764, X2089, Roll 343.

William Buchanan died tragically at the age of 42, when his youngest son was just four years old. He died on 28 July 1912 in Newcastle Hospital from severe injuries caused by an accident at work, when he was run over by a locomotive engine during shunting activity in Newcastle.

William was buried in the Baptist section of Sandgate Cemetery, by Baptist Minister G.M. Bull, the day after the accident on 29 July 1912.

When William died, he left a grieving widow and four fatherless children. Ellen did not remarry, dying a widow in 1954, and despite living in Sydney by this time, she was buried with her husband in Sandgate Cemetery, who had predeceased her 42 years earlier.