The Portadown Weekly News
and County Armagh Advertiser.

June 25, 1859
Portadown, county Armagh

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   On Saturday evening last a sad accident, resulting in the loss of one life, took place on the River Bann, about a mile from this town, on the Carrick-Blacker side.
   From the evidence at the inquest held on Monday be Edward D. Atkinson, Esq., Coroner, it appears that the deceased, a young man named Thomas Leslie, a sapper in the Royal Engineers engaged on the Ordnance Survey in this locality, accompanied by three townsmen, went up the river to bathe. On their arrival at the customary bathing place the deceased refused to go in there in consequence of so many bathing, and they pulled further up the river, when he (deceased) putting an oar in the water to try the depth, said they would bathe there. The boat being half full of water was drew up on the bank to be emptied, and one of the young men and the deceased stripped and leaped in. The young man was out first, and swam up the river : the deceased then sprang in, and after swimming about half way across was observed to turn round towards those on the bank and throw up his hands, (as they thought to turn on his back or play some trick.) when he immediately sank. They not seeing him come up called to the young man in the water (who was a considerable distance from him), and some boys that were in a boat to go to his assistance, but when they got to the spot no help could be rendered.-- The boys say he came up a second time, and one of them made a "glam" at him but missed him, and he sank to rise no more. The two on shore, their boat being on the bank, could render no assistance, and the young man in the water was barely able to save himself owing to the fright.-- The boys then proceeded to the town and gave the alarm, when a number of the townspeople, with the police force, came up with drags and nets, and though every effort was made throughout the night the body was not found until seven o'clock the following morning.
   Blame has been attempted to be cast on his companions for not rendering some assistance, but the result of the inquest was sufficient to prove to every unprejudiced mind that none could be attached in that quarter.
   It was stated that while the deceased was stationed in Enniskillen, he had been taken with cramp when bathing, and would have been drowned were it not for several of his comrades who were bathing along with him.
   When the body was taken up on Sunday morning his left leg and arm were gathered up as if by a spasm.
   The deceased was just two months married, and has left behind him to mourn his loss a young widow, for whom much heart-felt sympathy was felt and shown.
   From what we can learn he was a young man of respectable standing, amiable disposition, and deservedly a favourite among his comrades.
   Several of his corps came by rail from Newry, and, accompanied by a number of townspeople, attended his remains to the parish grave-yard at Drumcree.
   We have received a communicatian [sic] from the "Royal Engineers and civil assistants employed in the ordnance survey of County Armagh," thanking the inhabitants of Portadown for the kindness shown on the occasion of the lamentable death of their comrade.


   On Wednesday, the 22nd inst., the committee appointed to present the above assembled at the Town-hall, and being joined by several others, proceeded to Mr. Crawford's residence. On our arrival there we observed the following:--The Venerable Archdeacon Saurin, Rev. Ambrose Sneyd Cave Brown Cave, Dr. Bredon, Dr. M'Loughlin, Richmond Pepper, William Joyce, James Searight, William Reid, John Henry Pepper, Thomas Guy, John Leany, George Kinkead, and James D. Mitchell, Esqrs.
   Richmond Pepper, Esq., having stated the object for which the meeting was assembled, called on Mr. Kinkead to read the address. The plate was presented by Mr. Mitchell, and Mr. Crawford then read his reply in his usual feeling and impressive manner, (both will be found in our advertising columns). The parties present were subsequently entertained in a most hospitable manner by Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, and they withdrew, each regretting that the tie between them was so soon about to be severed.
   The plate was supplied by Lee & Son, of Belfast, and consisted of a very handsome Tea and Coffee Service, with a magnificent salver, bearing the following appropriate inscription, engraved in the best style of the art:--
   "Presented, with a Tea and Coffee Service, to the Rev. Francis Crawford, A.B., by the inhabitants of Portadown and its vicinity, in testimony of their respect and esteem for him as a faithful minister during an incumbency of three years. June, 1859."
   We may mention that we never saw more chaste or elegant articles than the above. We learn that there is a handsome time-piece, supplied by Neill, Brothers, of Belfast, with a suitable address from teachers and children of the Portadown Sunday Schools, under the superintendence of the Rev. gentleman, also about to be presented to him. This speaks well for his ministerial usefulness.  


   On Monday, the 21st inst., a soiree was given [by] the Keady and Darkley Band of Hope in the market-house, Keady, which was remarkabley well attended.-- The Rev. George Steen presided. After the good things provided had been disposed of, and the report read (which showed an encouraging increase of members,) Edward D. Atkinson, Esq., of Tandragee, addressed the meeting, and was well received in consequence of his near relationship to Mr. W. Atkinson, to whom the credit of the formation of the society is attributed. At the conclusion of his address, a letter was read from Mr. W. Atkinson, now in Calcutta, to the Band of Hope, which was received with acclamation. The meeting then separated.
   On the same evening an off-shoot of the Tandragee Total Abstinence Society held its first meeting at Maymacullen, and obtained twenty-six members.
   On Tuesday, Mr. Wilton, of London, delivered a lecture, in connection with the Tandragee Society, in the Duke of Manchester's school-house, at Mullahead. At its close twelve names were enrolled.
   On Wednesday evening, Mr. Atkinson lectured (in consequence of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Wilton), to another branch of the Tandragee Society in Cabra School-house, Scarva, and 23 persons were added to the Tandragee Society.
   And on Thursday evening, Mr. Atkinson and Mr. Wilton addressed a crowded meeting in Mr. Reilly’s school-house, Scarva, and 23 persons were added to the Tandragee Society.
    In contrast with the foregoing, the particulars connected with the death of Jane Taylor, an aged woman living near Grange church, on Tuesday last, whilst under the influence of drink, fell out of bed, and her foot catching in it, she hung suspended and no assistance being there, she was found dead in the morning. Verdict accordingly.


Submitted by ajk.

Bibliographical Reference:  The Portadown Weekly News, and County Armagh Advertiser, printed and published 25 June 1859 by John H. Farrell, at his office, 44, High-street, Portadown. Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, and posted to the IrelandOldNews web site, by permission of the British Library.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: All rights to the pages found within this site are retained by the original submitter of the information. Pages may be printed or copied for personal use only. They may NOT be reproduced in any form in whole or in part by any individual or organization for profit.