20 March 1901

It seems that a mistaken idea has got abroad with regard to an item of news that appeared in the Reporter last week. It was headed "A Doctor’s fatal Mistake". The doctor was a practitioner named SMITH and the occurrence took place at "Aston". Some people supposing that "Aston" was a mistake for "Ashton" have imagined most erroneously that Dr BENNETT-SMITH of Ashton was the gentleman referred to. There was no mistake about the name "Aston" and well-informed people would recognise this at once, but it is only proper that the absurd error should at once be set right.

This formed the subject of a trial at the Ashton County Court on Thursday, before His Honour Judge YATE-LEE. The parties concerned were Edward PRICE, farmer, Twarl Hill Form (represented by Mr J B POWNALL), and he was sued by George LLOYD, farmer, Lower Thorpe’s Farm, Austerlands, for 15 damages — Mr J S EATON was for the plaintiff, who stated that in November last he needed a good milking cow.

His son attended Ashton fair and saw the cow belonging to PRICE and after plaintiff’s son had inspected some stirks at Austerlands, an arrangement was made to buy defendant’s cow, the son saying she would give 13 or 14 quarts of milk per day. Defendant also said the cow was "as sound as a bell and would do plaintiff good". The sum of 5, together with a stirk, valued at 6 10s, was struck as a bargain for the cow, which however turned out to be poor and only yielded five or six quarts a day. Plaintiff’s wife had made the bargain, and he blamed her for buying it.

Mr W HALL, veterinary surgeon, Royton, gave evidence, and he said that the cow was in an advanced stage of tuberculosis. The animal died in January and plaintiff now claimed the value and 3 special damages. The defence was a denial that a warranty was given, or of any knowledge that it was suffering from tuberculosis. There was no complaint made until nine weeks after the purchase. In the end, the Judge gave the verdict for defendant.

On Monday, at Ashton Borough Police Court, Sarah DODD was in the dock charged with committing bigamy by marrying John YOUNG, travelling linen dealer, her first husband, Richard DODD, being alive and to whom it was alleged she was married at the Ashton Parish Church in the year 1889. — The Chief Constable said he proposed to offer sufficient evidence for a remand.

John YOUNG was then sworn and he stated that he married the prisoner at St John’s Church, Nelson, on 4th January 1896. She told him she was a widow, her husband having died in India two years previously. He recently met DODD in Blackburn. He said to him "Richard, I thought you were dead." He replied, "I am worth a dozen dead ones." — Upon this evidence, the prisoner was remanded until Thursday.

Prisoner was brought up in custody on Thursday morning — Jane VAREY, 99 Church-street, Ashton, stated that she was present at St James’ Church, Ashton, on July 22nd 1889 and there saw the prisoner married to a man named Richard DODD. They lived together for 18 months. John YOUNG, hawker, 5 Coulthart-street, Ashton, corroborated the statements previously made by him.

Cross-examined by the prisoner: He knew prisoner was a married woman, but believed her husband was dead. He lived with her for four years before he married her, and they had two children. On his return after an absence of eight months, he did not say that he had heard the prisoner’s husband was dead, and there was nothing to stop their getting married; he had only heard a rumour.

Sarah DODD, wife of Robert DODD of Blackburn, said Richard DODD was her son. Witness was not present when he married at St James’ Church. Detective-sergeant TOLSON stated that he attended at St James’ Vicarage, Ashton, on the 12th inst. Witness obtained a copy of the certificate of marriage of Richard DODD and Sarah ROBERTS. He also attended at the vicarage of St John’s, Great Marsden, and got a copy of the certificate of marriage of John YOUNG and Sarah DODD.

He arrested the prisoner on the 12th April, and charged her with marrying YOUNG. She replied "yes, if he’s alive" — Prisoner said she was guilty of marrying YOUNG on him telling her that her husband was dead. Prisoner was committed to the Assizes.

Eighteen Months of Married Life

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Henry Greenwood SMITH was summoned by his wife, Selina SMITH, for desertion. Mr WATSON appeared on behalf of the complainant and Mr BOSTOCK, solicitor, Hyde, was for the defendant.

Mr WATSON said that the complainant, Selina SMITH, Hurst Nook, was the wife of the defendant, and she charged her husband with desertion. The parties were married on August 9th 1899 at St John’s Church, Hurst, and there were two children of the marriage. One was born in November 1899 and the last in December 1900. On Easter Monday last, Mrs SMITH thought that the defendant was having improper relations with a certain person who was in the house at the time, and she left home and went to her mother’s house and stayed during the night.

On the following morning, she returned to her home, but the defendant told her to go and took the key off her and said he did not want her. She went again in the afternoon and he pushed her out of the house. Since then, the defendant had broken up the home, taken the furniture to his mother’s, and at the present time, the complainant had no place to go at all.

The defendant, Henry Greenwood SMITH stated that his wife and he had lived together happily. Complainant went to her work on Easter Monday morning about 5.45. Defendant was not working on that day, and he, along with his intended sister-in-law, were left at home. Defendant took a cup of warm tea up to his sister-in-law, who had been ill the night before, and deposited the cup of tea at her bedroom door. As he did so. A knock came to the front door and he went down and found it was his wife. His sister-in-law had had some drink. He had been asleep on the sofa all the previous night.

Mr BOSTOCK said here was a case in which the parties were both young. Defendant had been a good husband in every sense and was prepared to take his wife back again. It was a question whether the complainant had any grounds for coming to the conclusion that her husband had been committing adultery.

Chairman (Alderman HIGGINBOTTOM): We think that complainant has certainly grounds for complaint, but we think at the same time that it is not sufficient for us to do otherwise than dismiss the case. We advise you do the proper thing and to come together again.

Monday — before Messrs Henry HALL, C E REDFERN, A SHAW, S KITCHEN and T D SEAL

ALLEGED THREATS — A middle aged woman named Mary DEAN summoned a young woman named Ann JENNINGS for using threats on 5th April. Defendant denied it, and called a witness after which the bench dismissed the case.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY — Annie WEBSTER was summoned for being drunk in Lower Wharf-street. She created some laughter by saying that her husband had been teetotal for two years and on the 30th inst she went to meet him and got too much. It was her first appearance and she was discharged with a caution. — James CARROLL was sued 5s 6d costs for being drunk and disorderly in Katherine-street on the 13th inst and Elizabeth MONNIGAN was committed to prison for seven days for disorderly conduct in Crickets Brow.

SISTERS-IN-LAW AT VARIANCE — Mary Ann McCLUSKEY was sued by Rose Ann McCLUSKEY for wilful damage, 4s 10d two panes of glass on the 9th April. She pleaded guilty. — Complainant said the family were having tea when there was a crash of glass and two windows were broken. She went to the door and saw the defendant who admitted that she had done it. — Defendant told the Bench that complainant encouraged her (defendant’s) husband to go to her house. They married two brothers — Defendant was ordered to pay the damage in addition to a fine of 5s costs, in default seven days.

Sir, — I should like a few words in regard to the confirmation at St Peter’s. I venture to say that there have been a few ridiculous comments made upon the Vicar in his choosing of the caps to be worn at the service. In my opinion, the Vicar should have the right to choose whatever he thinks fit. Christianity seems to be on the wane when a paltry trifle will cause persons to forget themselves so far as to start slighting our Vicar. I cannot see what difference clothing should make at a confirmation. Some people seem to think more about dress than the saving of souls. I think it would be wiser if a few of us would make a start, and give him a helping hand in the good work, than to start hindering one who is trying to teach us there is something better to live for in this life than quarrelling over a few paltry likes and dislikes.

The Bishop of Manchester (Dr MOORHOUSE) held a confirmation at St Peter’s Church on Friday night when 152 candidates presented themselves — 78 from St Peter’s Church, 73 from St Stephen’s and one from Roughtown. The nave of the church was reserved for candidates, those from St Peter’s wearing the regulation caps for their headgear, being seated on the South side, whilst those from St Stephen’s and Roughtown, wearing tulle caps, were place on the North Side.

The Bishop occupied the pulpit and delivered an address. He said that confirmation was the gate of Holy Communion. Within their Church, none were admitted to God’s table until they had been confirmed or were ready and willing to be.

A serious accident attended with fatal results occurred in Katherine-street on Thursday afternoon, when a little girl named May CLARK, of 9 Dale-street, was run over by a passing cart, the injuries received being of such a nature as to cause death. It appears that a girl named Annie DAY took the child into an ice cream shop and did not notice that she had walked out into the roadway. On looking out of the window, however, she saw the little one in imminent danger of being run over by a coal cart. She rushed out and made a heroic attempt to save her but the wheel passed over the child, mutilating the lower part of her body in a shocking manner. She was conveyed to the surgery of Dr WALLACE who after attending to her injuries, drove her himself to the Infirmary. From inquiries made, we learned that death occurred at about ten o’clock on Friday morning.

At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, James EVANS was summoned by his wife, Mary E EVANS, for desertion. — Complainant stated that she and husband had been married twelve years, and they had one child. Her husband deserted her three years ago, although they had since been friendly, he had allowed her nothing. — Defendant pleaded not guilty, and said his wife had been living with a "navvy." — Complainant denied this. — The case was dismissed.

Sir, — Being not a "teetotal fanatic" or a so-called temperance reformer, but only a plain person with a sense of decency, I wish to express in your columns my disgust, which I think will be shared by your readers, at a placard which at present defaces the walls of this town, and is an insult to the intelligence of the persons to whom it is nominally addressed. It is in its purport a vulgar and scurrilous attack upon the bill to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors to children under the age of 16 years, recently read a second time in the House of Commons, and in its form is anonymous — a fact which conveniently shelters the authors of it from the public shame they merit.

It pretends to counsel "The working men of England" on their rights, which rights appear to be those of sending their little children to taprooms and drinking bars, and of introducing them to conditions of social pleasure which have a tendency to degradation. I have no objection to a working man drinking his half pint in company, nor to his settling the affairs of the nation in the parlour of mine host, but I have most vigorous objection to permitting for even a moment the presence of children in any place where the drinking and the talk are not likely to be fit for them to observe. And I think there is not a single working man, worthy of being called a man, who will not join in my objection.

The right of Englishmen in this matter is not a liberty to corrupt, or to aid the corruption of their children; it is the duty to protect, not a wanton license, but a moral and social obligation. At a time when "professors" are wagered to eat pigeons in order to draw men and women into places of public drinking, and less special attractions increase in number and interest, there is a growing reason why the age limit for the purchase of intoxicating refreshments should be largely extended and rigidly considered and reconsidered. We may not be able to make a nation sober by acts of Parliament, but we may leave it to grow more drunken and sordid for want of them.

Now, sir, during my residence in this town, I have read on its walls more than one appeal to common selfishness and low prejudice, but this placard contains the worst. Working men are told that if they do not write in protest to their member of Parliament — who presumably has already voted for the measure — they will come home some day, tired and thirsty, and find that they cannot send their children to fetch a pint of beer, but will have to fetch it themselves. What a lamentable possibility. Well, working men who have any respect — need I say love? — for their children will fetch it themselves if they want it particularly badly, and they will not have very far to go for it in this town.
Yours respectfully,

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