“The adjourned inquest on the body of the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae was held Thursday afternoon at the Police Court, before Coroner White. As before, Mr. E. Martin, Q.C., watched he case for Mr. Macrae, and Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared on behalf of the Crown. Mr. Carscallen, who is watching the case for the friends of the deceased, was unavoidably absent”
Hamilton Weekly Times May 25, 1876
The following full transcription of the testimony heard at the inquest into the death of Georgia Macrae appeared in the Weekly Times – a difficult read then as now:
“DR. MACDONALD was sworn and examined by Mr. Osler : I am a practising physician in this city and have been for the last twenty years; I performed a post mortem yesterday evening on the body of the late Mrs. Macrae, in company with Dr. Mullin, and Dr. Malloch who took notes and occasionally assisted; I reduced the writing of the observations of the post mortem , and we all three agree; I produce the notes; we were altogether when these were transcribed; acting under the orders of Coroner White, I proceeded at 6 o’clock yesterday to the cemetery of this city for the purpose of conducting a post mortem examination on the body of the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae exhumed for the purpose of being thus examined; the coffin was conveyed into the mortuary chapel in the cemetery, and the body, having been removed from it and placed on a table, was identified by Dr. Mackelcan and Dr. Geo. L. Mackelcan; the body is that of a well-nourished woman of upwards of thirty years of age, with marks of incisions from a previous post mortem examination; skin and white of eye were jaundiced, and there was also the green colour of decomposition on the abdomen, and the back and dependent portions of the limbs livid from gravitation of the blood after death (hypostatic congestion); several livid marks were seen on the front of the body, and these had the appearance of and were proven by incision to be produced by extravasations of blood (bruises), namely one above and towards in the inner side of the right nipple; two others above the left nipple; one on the front of each leg, a little above the ankle, and one on the upper surface of each foot; on the left side of the chest, the coagulated blood was found above the gland substance of the gland substance and behind it; on one of the bruises on the leg, there was a point of abrasion; on throwing down the scalp; extravasated blood was found above and beneath the temporal farcia, and in the substance of the temporal muscle of the left side; the area of this clot was about two inches square; the skull was examined, and no fracture discovered; both hemispheres of the brain had been sliced, and the lateral ventricles opened into; no abnormal appearances were detected on opening the chest and abdomen, and extending upwards the incision which had been made, extravasated blood was seen at the upper end of the breast bone, extending also on either side beneath the collar bones, and into a substance of a portion of the large muscle of the breast; the margin of the extravasation extended upwards a little above the upper end of the breast bone; the throat, gullet and windpipe were found to be healthy; both sides of the heart had been cut into; the remainder of the organs were healthy; liver large, friable and fatty; a portion of the outward edge had ben ruptured, apparently by a former examination; the gall and bladder were empty, the kidneys soft, dark colored and congested; the stomach contained a small quantity of dark, yellowish fluid, and the vessels of the lining membrane were a little injected; the abdominal cavity contained a considerable quantity of serous fluid; many small livid spots were seen about the shoulders; the posterior surface of the body had been carefully inspected, and no marks of a particular nature observed, except the small, dark spots already mentioned.
From our examination, we could not say that the appearances we saw were sufficient to account for death; we did not think that death had actually occurred from the clot which was on the brain and which has been spoken of by Dr. Mackelcan; the brain was a little injected with blood; there was a small remnant of a clot on the right side of the brain, which we were told by Dr. Mackelcan was the remains of the clot; taking the appearance of the body and hearing Dr. Mackelcan’s evidence, I believe the clot was the direct cause of death; the liver was not sufficiently diseased for me to say for certain that she died from it; from the appearance of the skull inside, we could not distinguish what extent the clot had covered; the part of the clot we found must have been there before death; we noticed a wound on the outside of the left temple; we could not come to an exact conclusion as to its date owing to the body having been dead some days, and it was partly petrified; concluded from its dryness and its colour that it was not a fresh clot at the time of death; this was the only external mark of violence on the skull; the marks on the body seemed to be ante mortem; there were marks of bruises, two on the left breast and one of the right, with clots of blood, the one on the left breast being very large, extending above and beyond the gland; the one on the right did not extend to the muscles; the injuries on the leg were not serious; the bruises had been produced by some blunt instrument; a blow from a fist would do it, or a fall; there was no indication of striking against furniture or there would have been an abrasion; the small clot we found in the brain was almost opposite the external mark on the temple; from the evidence given, the clot must have arisen from violence, or if the veins had been in a softened condition, it might have arisen from a rapture of those vessels but we did not find tem in that condition; as far as we could see, the veins and vessels were in a healthy condition, both locally and bout the heart; I think the clot found in the brain must have been the result of violence and not from disease, as far as we discovered; it could not have been produced by a blow of the fist under ordinary circumstances; it must have been a blow by some hard implement; such a clot might have been forming for 8 hours; no clot could form without coma, which would set in immediately upon the effusion; the blood inside was a more recent effusion than the blood and injury outside; I cannot account for their being no external mark of the same date as the clot visible; it is possible a blow might have been given over another blow without producing any extensive mark; I believe that in this instance such was the case; as the clot was recent, the blow must have been so too; my opinion is that death was caused by the clot on the head, which was the result of violence, and that that violence was recent.
To Mr. E. Martin – The purple spots alluded indicate no condition of the blood vessels, but show disease of the capillaries; you would not expect to find them in a perfectly healthy person; I do not think the blow could have been inflicted with a fist – that is to say, the inside clot could not have produced it; it might have been caused by a fall; there was nothing external to show there had been a mark there during life; I do not think the gathering outside the skull had anything to do with death; if the deceased was of intemperate habits, and had been suffering from the disease she had, one of the veins might possibly have been ruptured, but it is not probable, and we found no trace of the diseased condition of the vessels; from the appearance of the liver, I would not thought that she could have lived long; coma would have set in long before the clot assumed the size it did if the suffusion was slow; it would set in almost immediately; I observed no other marks about the skull; I removed the dura mater from the base, and found no blood.
To Mr. Osler – We found no marks of inflammatory action of the brain; we did not discover that any of the vessels had been weakened.
Dr. Mullin, sworn – Have been practising in this city 14 years; assisted Dr. Macdonald at a post mortem examination of Mrs. Macrae; I concur in the written statement produced and read by Dr. Macdonald; I do not entirely concur with Dr. Macdonald’s deduction; I have not been able to arrive at a conclusion whether the clot was the result of violence or disease; from the symptoms of the case I have heard, I think the clot came on suddenly as it might have from violence, but that on the other hand it might have been caused by a small rupture of the vessels; the larger vessels we examined were healthy, but there were ski indications which led us to believe that the capillaries were diseased and that rupture could easily occur either from disease or violence, and from intemperate habits; there would be a tendency to haemorrhage either from disease or violence; from the nature of the vessels around the heart, it would indicate that the large vessels were healthy; if the vessels are weakly, a very much lesser amount of violence would produce the haemorrhage than if they were healthy; a blow not even producing external marks of violence might produce the haemorrhage.
To Mr. Martin : Haemorrhages from small vessels frequently happen to those of intemperate habits; I am unable to state whether the clot was produced by violence or disease.
To Mr. Osler : More deaths occur from apoplexy among men than among women.
To Mr. Martin : A fall might produce the internal clot.
Dr. MALLOCH, sworn : I am a practising physician in this city, and have been for five or six years; I assisted at the post mortem last evening on the body of the late Mrs. Macrae; I concur in the written statement read by Dr. Macdonald; I concur rather with the evidence of Dr. Mullin, than that of Dr. Macdonald; my opinion is that death might have occurred from disease or violence; I believe that there was a tendency to haemorrhage in her condition; the large vessels of her heart were healthy; I was taking notes and examining closely at the same time.
To a Juror – I did not detect any disease in the vessels of the brain.
To Mr. Osler – I cannot form any opinion whether death was caused by disease or violence.
ADA MACRAE, sworn – I am twelve years of age; the deceased was my mother; I was in the house all the time for the few days before my mother’s death; my mother died on Thursday; my father was in the house the whole of that day and the day before; my two sisters, the nurse, myself and my father were in her room the day she died; the doctor was there twice, I think; my mother became insensible in the afternoon; I do not know what time in the afternoon – about the middle, I think; I went upstairs and my father told me she was insensible; he said so when Annie went in the room; prior to that, my father was walking up and down the room my mother was in; he had been there all afternoon; I had been in and out; I heard something going on while I was out of the room on Thursday afternoon; I was in the study room; I heard my mother scream; I heard my father say something; he said, “now, take that;” it was said in a low tone; I heard another noise immediately before the words were spoken; I thought from the noise I heard he had struck her with his hand; the scream was before the blow; there was not more than one blow; my mother said nothing; it was about half an hour after that I heard my mother was insensible; my mother had been in bed two or three weeks, except when she was up in a chair; I told Sarah Young what I heard; I never saw my father strike my mother; I saw my father before the blow was struck and before she became insensible; I went down and told Annie Hand; I went into the room shortly afterwards with Anne; I went for Annie Hand because I thought my father had struck my mother; when I went upstairs again, my mother had got out of bed and was in the hall; I think my father was in the room; she was at the head of the stairs; I do not know why she was in the hall; there was nothing unusual about her appearance; she had not been in the habit of going into the hall while she was sick; Annie Hand took her away to her bedroom, and I went with her; I saw m father when we took her back to bed; he said he had been trying to make a cup of beef tea; he said she would not take it; I spoke to him about what I heard; I said I thought he should not have struck her; he said he did not; the conversation with my father was after she became insensible; I did not hear my mother speak after the blow; she appeared sensible when she was in the hall; she walked into the bedroom.
To Mr. Martin – my mother was standing at the door to the bathroom when I saw her; her hand was on the door when I went into the room; the beef tea was standing on a tray; some of it was spilt on my father’s night shirt; the cup had not been upset in the saucer; I heard no talking in the room before I heard my father say “take that;” if I had, I could have heard it; I will not swear it was a blow I heard; the noise might have been produced by the upsetting of a cup; I saw no blow struck on that afternoon.
To the Coroner – When I saw the cup of beef tea, it was about half full; there was none in the saucer.
To Mr. Martin – Had seen my father give my mother beef tea and medicine during her illness.
To Mr. Osler – The impression the noise gave me was that of a blow.
The inquest was then adjourned until Monday morning at ten o’clock.
Mr. Macrae was arrested on Thursday night on a warrant from the Coroner, charged with feloniously killing his wide, Mrs. G. O. Macrae.
Monday, May 22.
The adjorned inquest concerning the death of the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae commenced at 10:30 this morning before Coroner White.
Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared on behalf of the Crown, and Mr. Martin watched the case for Mr. Macrae.
The first witness called was
ANNE FOSTER sworn, said I live at Mr. Fitzgerald’s hotel now, and I do housework; at the beginning of the year, I lived at Mr. Macrae’s – between the 3rd of January and the 3rd of April – as cook; I left on the 3rd of April; I slept two rooms from where Mr. Macrae slept, and on the same flat; there were two rooms between; from the door of the room I occupied one could see into the room occupied by Mr. Macrae; the hall is square, with rooms round it; I have heard Mr. Macae use threats towards his wife.
The coroner overruled the objection.
Mr. Martin requested the objection to be not as not applicable to the cause for which Mr. Macrae had been arrested, and irrelevant to the enquiry.
Witness continued – I heard threats frequently; I heard them more than twice or three times; I cannot say the day; the words used were “By God, I’ll murder you, Georgy !” In the second month of my service – it was in the breakfast room, while they were taking tea – I heard him swear that he would murder her; on the same night, after I heard this, deceased got up from the table and ran towards the kitchen, calling “Annie ! Annie ! Save me !;” I came to where she was , and Mr. Macrae came and ordered me back to the kitchen; I went back, and went by the other door upstairs, and Mr. and Mrs. Macrae went into the library; as I was going upstairs, I heard Mrs. Macrae scream and say, “Don’t strike me ! Don’t strike me !” as I got to the top of the stairs, the two children – Miss Ada and Miss Katie – ran out and cried, “Annie ! Annie ! Papa is beating Mamma !” I came part of the way downstairs, and Mrs. Macrae came out, bleeding from a cut on her head; I asked Mrs. Macrae to come upstairs to my room and I would dress the cut; she came in, but in a short time afterwards went out, as she was afraid of Mr. Macrae catching her in my room; she then went into her own bed room from mine, and I followed her in; she had her hand to the wound and the blood streamed down from it on to her collar and waist; she told me to go down and get some water; she said Mr. Macrae had struck her and used her shamefully; she showed me the cut; I went and got the water, and told her to go to bed; after she had undressed herself and put on her night dress, she came into my room and showed me marks on her legs and on her body where Mr. Macrae had abused her; after Mr. Macrae came up, I heard loud talk; the next morning being Sunday, Mr. Macrae went to church; I took her up some breakfast and found the pillow all covered with blood; Annie Hand came into the bed room, took some scissors and cut the hair from round the wound; she took the pillow case off; Mrs. Macrae begged her not o touch any of Mr. Macrae’s clothes, as he would know someone had been in the room and would beat her; the wound was on the side of the head , under the ear; I could not repeat how many times I have heard sounds of violence being used from Mr. Macrae to Mrs. Macrae; on one occasion, I dressed myself three times during the night, at the sounds of the screams from her saying, “Don’t kill me; don’t murder me,” and he, swearing, “My God, Georgie, I’ll murder you ! “ I thought Mrs. Macrae would be brought out dead; I told Mr. Macrae next morning I did not want to stay as I did not want to be a witness at an inquest.
Mr. Martin objected to any remarks of Mrs. Macrae being admitted, as it was not a dying declaration, and some were not even said in the presence of Mr. Macrae.
Mr. Osler wished for no evidence of what Mrs. Macrae said, unless Mr. Macrae was present.
Witness continued – Mr. Macrae was present on the night I have spoken of; I heard the sound of blows, and for two weeks from that night, Mrs. Macrae never left her bed room; I do not remember the month; it was some time before I left; during this time, when Mr. Macrae was in the house, the house maid would take the meals to the door, and the two children took them in; Annie Hand would go in when Mr. Macrae would go in; Mr. Macrae’s orders were, when anyone called, to say “Not at home;” no doctors attended deceased during this time; about two weeks after this, the house maid said we wanted to leave on account of Mr. Macrae’s behaviour, and we sent up one of the children to tell her so; she came out to the door, and one eye was swelled and black, and along the side of her cheek to her neck was black, and there was a black mark across her hand; after I gave that warning, Mr. and Mrs. Macrae asked me to stop, and I said I would remain another month; this was in my second month.
To a Juror – During these disputed, Mr. Macrae always spoke loudly and very angrily.
To another Juror – Mrs. Macrae was sometimes under the influence of liquor during some of the disputes, but on the occasion of the dispute when she received the blow on the head I could not notice any liquor upon her.
To the Foreman – When I left Mr. Macrae’s house, she was well, all except the marks; I never saw Mrs. Macrae without some marks.
To a Juror – I never saw him actually strike her.
To Mr. Martin – Mr. Macrae during the time I was there was sometimes under the influence of liquor; I do not think he was generally under the influence; I never saw him drinking; he was always able to come in the kitchen and give an order; I have frequently seen Mrs. Macrae under the influence of liquor; I have known Mrs. Macrae to be free from the influence of liquor for a week; I would say that they drank to excess, as I did not see them drink liquor; if I had seen them drink the liquor, I would have been able to swear that they were drunk; I consider a person drunk when he is out of his mind and does not know what he is doing; a person might be drunk and still walk about; on the night that I dressed myself three times, Mr.Macrae might have had some liquor.
EMMA HATCHER sworn – I live at Mrs. Mackenzie’s on the corner of Bold and Macnab streets, and am a house maid; I lived with Mr. Macrae from the 18th of December, 1875 till the 18th of March, 1876, as house maid; I slept in the same room as Anne Foster; I heard Mr. Macrae use threats towards his wife
Mr. Martin formally renewed his objection.
The Coroner overruled the objection and noted it.
Witness continued – There were scarcely two days passed without hearing a threat made; I heard Mr. Macrae say, “By God, Georgy, I’ll kill you!” The threat was always the same; it was spoken in a very vicious tone; I have seen Mr. Macrae strike his wife; on one occasion, I heard screaming; it was in the evening; the screaming came from Mrs. Macrae and the children; the breakfast bell rang for me to clear the tea table; as I went, Mrs. Macrae was in the hall between the kitchen and the breakfast room; Mr. Macrae was standing in the hall; the children were in the room; Ms. Macrae was going to the kitchen, and Mr. Macrae brought her back and kicked her through the back hall door towards the front door hall; it was a hard enough kick to send her through the doorway; he said, “I will not have you go in the kitchen;” they went upstairs and I heard screams in the bed room; I heard the children say, “Don’t pa! Don’t pa” and Mrs. Macrae screaming; the screams continued about an hour an a half; Mrs. Macrae kept her room for two weeks after this; I did not see her; no doctor or visitors saw her; we were told by Mr. Macrae to say, if anyone called, there was no one in; I have seen him strike her again after she came out of her room; I was shutting the shutters in the drawing room; it was dark; I heard her screaming in the library; I heard him say, “By, Georgy, I’ll kill you;” she ran to the drawing room door from the library; he struck her with his open hand and she fell; it was the blow that felled her; she was perfectly sober; those were the only two occasions on which I saw blows struck; I have heard screams in her room during the night; on one occasion, Anne Foster and I were kept awake all night; I could hear him say, “By God, I’ll kill you;” I did not get up; Anne Foster got up three times she was so frightened; I sat up dressed till after twelve; I was afraid Mr. Macrae would murder deceased, and then come and murder me; on the last night I was there, which was the 17th of March, I was sitting in the kitchen; I heard screams from the library from Mrs. Macrae, and from the children saying, “Don’t papa;” after that, the bed room bell rang, and I went upstairs; Mrs. Macrae wanted me to bring up some warm water to bathe a cut which was on the left side of her head; it was bleeding very much; her neck was covered with blood; before this, Mr. Macrae told me I was not to go up, that Miss Ada could attend to Mr. Macrae better than I could; I said Mrs. Macrae had rung the bell, and that I had a right to go up; I went up and Mr. Macrae caught me washing the blood from Mrs. Macrae’s head; he told me to leave the room directly; I left and went into my bed room; Mrs. Macrae followed me in, and Mr. Macrae came in and dragged her into her own room; Mr. Macrae told me that the cut was caused by Mrs. Macrae being drunk and hitting her head against the sofa while he was carrying her there to place her on it; he told me in an undertone, so that Mrs. Macrae should not hear; it was about five minutes after; I think, on tis occasion, Mrs. Macrae was drunk; Have often heard Mr. Macrae threaten to murder her; Mrs. Macrae was able to walk into my room without assistance; I think she was drunk from the amount of liquor I had brought up; she was perfectly sensible; she was not under the influence of liquor when she was kicked through the door, or when she was knocked down in the drawing room.
To Mr. Martin – I only remember seeing Mrs. Macrae under the influence of liquor once; Mr. Macrae was under the influence of liquor nearly every day.
MARY POLERY, sworn – Am employed at Mr. J.O. Macrae’s as housemaid, and have been so for the last two months; I never saw Mr. Macrae strike his wife; I have heard quarrels going on; they were of frequent occurrence, and were continued up to three or four o’clock on the day on which Mrs. Macrae died; that was the last occasion; on that occasion, I do not exactly remember the words used; I knew there was a quarrel; I heard Mr. Macrae’s voice in a loud tone and passionate; I do not know which room it was in; I cannot say whether it was in her room or not; I heard Mrs. Macrae say, “Hold your tongue;” I heard nothing but words; I was in the lower hall; it was between three and four; it was about five when I heard Mrs. Macrae was insensible; the occasion was the only time I heard quarrelling in the afternoon; I did not see or hear Ada Macrae come downstairs; at the time Mrs. Macrae was insensible I heard what Miss Ada said; I cannot remember any exact time before this I heard violent quarrelling; I do not remember the exact time before this I heard violent quarrelling; I do not remember exactly what Mr. Macrae said, or even the substance; I do not remember any threats; I never heard anything more than words at any quarrel.
To a Juror – I have heard quarrels often.
To Mr. Osler – I have seen marks of violence on Mrs. Macrae, on her head and on her eye; I am still living at Mr. Macrae’s house.
To Mr. Martin – I roomed with Sarah Young while I was there; it is on the same corridor as that occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Macrae; it is the third door from the room occupied by them; the marks on Mrs. Macrae were upon her when I came; Mr. Macrae drank frequently to excess while I was there; I have frequently seen Mrs. Macrae under the influence of Liquor; during Mrs. Macrae’s last illness, I never heard cries of “Murder” nor at any time when I was there.
To the Coroner : I never told anybody I did.
To Mr.Osler : Mr. Martin has spoken to me about the evidence I have given.
Mr. Martin : I merely asked the witness as to what she could say.
Mr. Osler : Certainly.
Witness continued : No one else has spoken to me.
To Mr. Martin : If the cries of murder were loud enough to have been heard by Sarah Young, I must have heard them too; I went to Mr. Macrae’s on the 24th.
The inquest was here adjourned until Tuesday evening. “