Dew, Sarah 1876 June 10th
Another inquest was held at the Council Chamber the same day on the body of Sarah Dew, who was found dead in bed that (Monday) morning.
Ruth Whitlock, wife of George Whitlock, Culver Street, said he met the deceased in Milford Street on Saturday, and invited her to come to her house and sleep there, as she appeared to have no where to go. She did so, and stayed all day Sunday, having her meals with her. About half past six on Sunday she went to bed, but didn’t complain of being unwell. She never knew the deceased was subject to fits. Her children went to bed in the same room about half past seven, and at half past ten witness went to bed herself, but before doing so went into the deceased’s room, shook hands with her, and wished her goodnight. She then appeared perfectly well. Witness didn’t see her again till next morning, when she found her dead at the foot of her bed on the floor. She sent for Dr Gordon, who came immediately afterwards.
Harry Whitlock, son of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence, and said the deceased and his mother were perfectly sober when the deceased went to bed. He and his brother slept in the same room as the deceased on Sunday evening, and when they went to bed she was asleep. About seven o’clock next morning he thought he heard the deceased struggling, and upon sitting up in bed he saw her struggling at the foot of the bed. She fell off on to the boards, and her head was towards the door. When they saw her struggling in bed his brother called for his mother, but she didn’t come. He was afraid to get out of bed to call his mother. Shortly after seven o’clock he got up, and went downstairs to light the fire, but didn’t tell his mother what had happened, because he thought deceased had gone to sleep again. About eight o’clock his brother George came downstairs, and called his mother, and she went into the deceased’s room.
Caroline Chambers, a widow residing in Milford Street, said she had known deceased about 15 or 16 years, and saw her on Wednesday morning about half past eight at her (witness’s) house, when she appeared perfectly well, but said she had no money to get food with. The deceased was widow of William Dew, who was boots at the “Red Lion” Hotel. She came to her on Wednesday to see her little boy, who was living with witness. She had never seen her in a fit, but her son told her that she frequently had them, and was not safe to be left alone. She saw no bruises on her on Wednesday night, but her son told her she had twice fallen downstairs at the house where she was lodging in Castle Street last Monday.
James Henry Gordon, medical practitioner living in Salisbury, who examined the deceased, gave it as his opinion that the marks on the body were due to natural causes, and he thought from the state of her body and what he could glean of her previous history, she died from an apoplectic fit.
Verdict – “Visitation of God.”
FreeBMD gives the age of deceased as 49. Ruth Whitlock, the Good Samaritan in this case, is the subject of an inquest in 1883. One notes the Coroner asked her child if she was sober. I also noted in the City Petty Sessions issue of the Times for July 1st 1876, “George Whitlock was summoned by his wife, Ruth Whitlock, for assaulting her, but neither of the parties appeared, and the case fell through.” -ED.