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Genealogy is dull... and _then_ 
26th-Aug-2009 05:15 pm
I've been digging at my Jennings' ancestors for some time, and come back to them a bit recently, having had contact with cousins of varying levels of closeness. Recently stephanie_klaus found an article or two on someone with the same name as my great great grandfather's sister, and we've both been poking at things to see if it was the right person. She snapped last night and bought a copy of a wedding certificate that confirms that it is the right person, which means that the following is about my great great great aunt Mary Robina Jennings:

The Argus
Friday 6 September 1878
Unlawful Wounding

At the City Police Court yesterday Jonathon Saxby, an elderly man, was charged with the unlawfully wounding his wife, Mary Robina Saxby, on the 18th August. Sir A. Read Appeared for the prisoner, who was still so weak, from the wound he inflicted on his throat in the attempt to take his own life that he was allowed to sit on a chair on the floor of the court. Inspector Montford prosecuted.

Richard Sides, resident surgeon in the Melbourne Hospital, remembered Mr.s Saxby and the prisoner being brought to the hospital on the afternoon of the 18th August. Mrs. Saxby had an incised wound on the back of the neck, about 2 inches long through the muscles and through both arteries, reaching to the bone, and laying bare a portion of the scalp. The prisoner had a wound reaching across the throat from the angle of one jaw to the other, and separating the larynx and exposing the organs of speech. The wound in Mrs Saxby’s neck was dangerous.

Mary Robina Saxby, the wife of the prisoner, said she was living with a Mrs. Noble on the 18th August. The prisoner came to the house that day between 1 and 2 o’clock. She spoke to him at the door. He held her hand tight and backed her into the front room, where there was a young woman named Mary Mason.

She read him a letter she had written in answer to one received from him. The prisoner said, “You intend to leave me do you?” and witness replied?” and witness replied, “Yes, I intend to look to myself. I have been in a state of poverty long enough.-You know how ill I have been, and yet you worry me. The prisoner said, “You had better say what you have to say quickly, as you have a little time to say it in.” The prisoner then made a rush at the witness and took her by the head. She screamed murder, and Mary Mason also screamed. The prisoner still holding witness, shut the door, leaving Mary Mason outside the house, and afterward shut the bedroom door. The prisoner and witness were then alone in the house. When the prisoner first caught witness by the head, he took a table knife, ground to a point, out of his pocket. In the struggle witness got possession of the knife, and the prisoner knocked her down and tried to strangle her. She succeeded in getting up, and the prisoner knocked her down on the bed, and wounded the back of her head with a pair of scissors which he took from a sewing machine. Her face was buried in the bed and she felt the prisoner press the scissors into the back of her head. He then took a penknife from his pocked, and stabbed her on the nick with it. Witness said, “Oh, father, let me go, and I will go home with you to-nigh.” The prisoner then let her go and sat down on a chair. Witness escaped from the room, but the prisoner pursued and caught her round the throat. She called to a Mrs. Blincom, who was in the kitchen. The prisoner fell on his knees, and cut his throat with the penknife, which he had kept in his hand all the time. Some men then came into the year, and witness escaped up the right-of-way and into the front street, but seeing the prisoner standing in the verandah, she ran back again, and locked the yard gate. For the last three years the prisoner had threatened her with a knife and revolver whenever they had words. Witness separated from husband a week after Easter by the doctor’s advise. He was agreeable to her going away.

Mary Mason, a single woman, living with her sister, Mrs. Noble, in Franklin street, remembered the prisoner coming to the house on the 18th August. He was in the front room with Mrs. Saxby. Saw Mrs. Saxby hand a letter to the prisoner. He said he could not read it, as he had not his spectacles with him. Mrs. Saxby then read the letter at the prisoners request. In answer to a knock, witness went to the front door, and while standing at the door it was pushed to, and she was shut out of the house. Soon after she heard Mrs. Saxby scream “Murder,” and witness ran for help. The prisoner was in the habit of calling at the house to ask for his wife. On one occasion, about four weeks ago, he said to witness he meat to find his wife, and would take her life.

At this stage of the proceedings the further hearing of the charge was postponed until the next day.

The Argus
Saturday 7 September 1878
Unlawful Wounding

The case against Jonathan Saxby, for unlawfully wounding his wife, Mary Robina Saxby on the 18th ult., with intent to do her grievous bodily harm, was proceeded with at the city Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Wilton, JV, and a bench of justices. Mr. A. Read appeared for the defendant.

Patrick Healey, constable, said that on Sunday, the 18th August, from what he was told, he went to 31 Franklin street west, in the company with Constable Loughnan. On arriving at the house, he saw the prisoner standing in the verandah, with his throat cut. He went though the passage into the kitchen, where he found the woman Saxby sitting on a sofa, and bleeding from a wound at the back of her neck. Her hands and fingers were cut, and she also had a wound on the left jaw. A cab having been procured, the prisoner and his wife were conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital. On the way to the institution, the prisoner handed witness a letter, saying, “The house is a bad one; this will account for all.” On being searched at the hospital, a penknife was found on the prisoner, having marks of blood and hair adhering to it. Witness then returned to the house, and found a pair of scissor lying on the table, covered with blood. The room appeared as though a struggle had taken place in it, and there were several marks of blood on the counterpane of the bed.

The following is a letter above referred to:-
“Saturday, Jul7y 6, 1878.”
--“To the Coroner of the City of Melbourne.
--I trust this may save you and many of the medical staff the trouble of finding out the state of my mind. I wish to inform you, cool, calm, and deliberate, my work of vengeance is done. I was married to one I loved three years ago. She, Mary Robina Jennings (maiden name), lived a s servant with Mr-, to whom she became pregnant. He concocted a marriage with her and the groom. The groom married her in a wrong name. After being with him a short time he so ill-use her that she had to get a protection order against him. She then became my housekeeper, and I married her. Since that time I have been hunted by her own brothers an sister like a mad dog. They twice parted us and drove her on the streets of Melbourne at last. I blame them for all her trouble. She has property coming to her, and they are trying to make her commit herself so that they can do her out of it. She is now with another, and deserted me. This, I may state, is our own compact, sworn on the Bible – the one that betrayed the other, that one should die, and the other destroy theirself. That has come to my turn so to do. This is caused through-. Murder and suicide. God curse them. Amen. Could I but see her this might be stopped, but no, I cannot. To all whom this may concern, think not for one moment I am deranged. I assure you all I am cool, calm, and collected as ever was, and I pray the Almighty God may forgive this, my rash act. Give all and every thing leave to my daughter Lizzie Saxby-J R Saxby Stoke street, Sandridge, July 6”

There's a few more articles, expanding on some bits or others, and a letter from Mary Robina's original employer, denying any immorality on his behalf, that was published in the Argus.

She had a bad run - her mother died at 2yo, her dad at 4yo, abandoned by her first husband, her daughter died, her second husband tried to murder her, and finally died of TB at age 33.

(articles from Australian Historical Newspapers project at the National Library of Australia)
(Deleted comment)
26th-Aug-2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Dunno, there's been the odd story... :)
26th-Aug-2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Wow - exciting stuff!
It reminds me of my Grandad's story about WWII. Landing on the beach at Normandy in a tank carrying craft, the engine of the ammunitions vehicle that drove off in front of his overheated and caught fire, setting the ammo off like fireworks. The driver of the ammo truck drove onto uncleared beach (fortunately it didn't have any mines on it) to get it away from the rest of the troops.
26th-Aug-2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Nyargh. Bad enough to be at Normandy, but then to nearly get killed by an accident in a vehicle...
26th-Aug-2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
And they weren't even getting shot at!
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