Wells, Anna

Wells, Anna      1887 October 1st         Andover

Miss Anna Maria Wells, superintendent of the Young Women’s Christian Association, which meets at Douglass house, London-street, Andover, died suddenly on Monday afternoon, under, in certain respects, very painful circumstances.

It appears that the deceased had been away for a holiday, and returned on Monday by the train which arrives at Andover about 2pm. A little later she was engaged in attending to a ladies’ working meeting at Douglass House, which closed – as was the usual custom – with a prayer meeting. Deceased was on her knees in the act of praying, when she suddenly fell back dead. She was very much respected by a large circle of friends. Her exertions on behalf of the young women of Andover have been very earnest, and through the Association she has been the means of doing much good.

The inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon by Mr Farr, borough coroner, at Douglass House.

Catherine Rebecca Hedderley said : I live at Penton Grange, and am a widow. I knew the deceased well. She had lived with her for more than a year. I first saw her at Miss Edwards’s, at Chapmansford, and frequently saw her in connection with the Andover branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association, of which she was co-secretary, and superintendent of the evening classes. I conducted a meeting in this room at quarter past three on Monday. Deceased was present. We had a little talk before the meeting, and discussed the plans for the winter, deceased entering fully into the discussion. She seemed in her usual state of health. Deceased had been a missionary in India, and returned to England about two years ago, and had since suffered somewhat. She was not able to drive, having a bad head and back. She always walked. The meeting opened with prayer and a hymn, and then there was a bible reading. I noticed a tired look on her face. We then knelt down again to pray, when deceased fell down, without making the least noise. We tried remedies, but everything failed. Seeing that she was not pale, but turning a dark colour, we sent for Dr Elliott, who came immediately. Deceased came home from India two years ago, perhaps more than that. She had complained to me about her head and back, and was obliged to lie down on her back two or three hours in the day.

Dr J H Elliott, of Andover, said : Between ten minutes and a quarter past four on Monday afternoon I was driving past the house, when I was stopped by a young lady, who asked me to come in to see Miss Wells, who was taken suddenly ill. I went directly and found deceased lying on the floor of the room, being attended to by her friends. She was totally insensible and almost pulseless. She breathed two or three times and died. Deceased was perfectly unknown to me. She died of syncope or failure of the heart’s action, but how that was caused I do not know. I have made a superficial examination of the body, and found no marks of any description to indicate a death from other then natural causes. It was most probably caused by excitement. Deceased seemed in a prolonged faint, but her pulse got very weak, and I tried many remedies, but they were of no avail.

The Coroner remarked that the evidence seemed very conclusive, and the jury concurred, and found that deceased died from natural causes.

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