Alexander Crawford Wilson and Margaret Smith

Alexander Crawford Wilson was born on 5 May 1824 in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland. He was baptised on 24 May 1824, also in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland.1 He was the second child and son of David Wilson and Jean Crawford.

Alexander was known as Sandy in later life. He married Margaret Smith on the 12 December 1845 at Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland.2 Margaret Smith was born on 14 April 1826, and baptised on 7 May 1826 in Ratho, Midlothian, Scotland to William Smith and Isobel Baxter.3

Alexander and Margaret's first five children were born in Scotland but their births were not registered. Jane Crawford Wilson (also known as Jean) was born about 1846/1847, William Wilson was born about 1848/1849, Isabella Wilson was born about 1849/1851, Agnes Margaret Wilson was born about 1853, and David Wilson, born on 17 September 1854, apparently in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.4

1851 Census Information?

The family arrived in Tasmania aboard the Chatham on the 19 February 1855. Alexander (or Sandy as he was known) is listed as aged 30, occupation Ploughman, his wife Margaret age 28, and the children - Jane (or Jean) age 8, William age 6, Isabella age 4, Agnes age 2, and David an infant. They were sponsored by George Wilson (Alexander's uncle) and the fare was 88 pounds.5

Over the next ten years Alexander and Margaret had a further five children in Tasmania. John Wilson was born about 1856 but the birth was not registered.6 Margaret Wilson was born on 1 November 1858 in Oatlands, Tasmania. The birth was registered as an un-named female.7 Alexander Wilson was born on 26 October 1860 in Oatlands, Tasmania.8 An un-named female was born on 4 September 1862 in Oatlands, Tasmania.9 Catherine Mary Wilson was born on 1 February 1864 in Oatlands, Tasmania.10

Alexander and Margaret's oldest child and first born daughter Jane Crawford Wilson (19) married Malcolm McGillivray (24) on 31 October 1865 in Oatlands, Tasmania.11 Malcolm McGillivray was born sometime between September 1839 and September 1840, if we calculate the date from the age he stated upon arrival in Tasmania, or between October 1840 and October 1841, if we calculate the date from the age he stated at marriage. Malcolm arrived in Hobart aboard the Heather Bell on 6 September 1862. The Heather Bell had sailed from London. Malcolm's trade was recorded as Shepherd, his age as 22, religion as Church of Scotland, he had been educated to read & write, and his native place was Glasgow.12 Jane and Malcolm would have twelve children that have been traced.

Alexander and Margaret's second daughter Isabella Wilson (17) married James Meikle (23) on 5 June 1866 in Oatlands, Tasmania.13 James was born on 12 July 1840 in Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, the son of Andrew Meikle and Jane Gardiner.14 James MEIKLE arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on the Heather Bell on 3 September 1861.15 Isabella and James would have four children that have been traced.

Five months after Isabella's marriage Alexander and Margaret's last child Tommy Wilson was born on 8 November 1866 in Oatlands, Tasmania.16 By 1867 Alexander and Margaret's family was comprised of William (18), Agnes Margaret (13), David (12), John (10), Margaret (8), Alexander (6), an un-named female (4), Catherine Mary (2) and Tommy (an infant).

Their oldest and first born son William Wilson (21) married his cousin Margaret Wilson (18) on 2 November 1869 in Oatlands, Tasmania.17 Margaret was born on 2 November 1853 in Scotland, the daughter of Thomas Wilson and Catherine Hay.18 They had eight children that have been traced.

William's marriage was followed by that of his sister Agnes Margaret Wilson (18) who married John George Smith (25) on 21 June 1870 in Oatlands, Tasmania.19 John George was born about 1845. His parents are unknown. Agnes and John had two children that have been traced.

During the celebration that followed the wedding an incident occurred between the bride's father and the groom, as described in July 1870, the month after the wedding:


Alexander Wilson, who had been out on bail, was charged with having, on the 25th June, unlawfully and maliciously presented a certain gun at John Smith.

Plea: Not guilty.
Mr. Graves for the defence.
The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution in this case.

John Smith proved that he resided at Salt Pan Plains; defendant was his father-in-law ; witness married his daughter on the 25th of last June. Angry words passed on the night of the wedding-day, when witness pushed defendant, but did not strike him. They made matters up. On the following Saturday about 6 in the evening witness was in his company ; words occurred, through asking defendant to leave off drinking, but there were no angry words. Defendant went away and returned in half an hour or three quarters ; a noise was heard outside the house and witness went out. A man was standing in a stooping position ; witness who saw something shining rushed at him and hit a gun with his arm ; he then found that it was the defendant. It was dark, but the muzzle was towards witness. When he hit it down, the gun went off instantly. They grappled ; witness broke the gun and then he was taken away inside. Defendant had had drink and was not quite sober. (Gun in pieces produced).

Cross-examined : I didn’t know it was defendant till I rushed at him. I rushed him as a stranger. Had he intended to shoot me, he could have shot me twice over. I can't swear positively the gun was pointed at me deliberately but it was pointed towards me I regret this I prosecution.

Re-examined : At the police office I said it was presented towards me.

Alfred (sic) Mc'Gillivray, a shepherd, another son in law to defendant, was called to corroborate, but his recollection of what occurred was in some particulars at variance with his statement at the police office. This witness said he heard a second report of a gun while the scuffle took place, and that after securing the gun he went for a constable. He found shot marks on the stone of the chimney.

Constable William Henry Peasgood, proved that he arrested defendant on the 26th June; he said the gun belonged to him and asked witness to take care of it. He said Smith had knocked him about with the gun, but in reply to a question he said what he had done to Smith was best known to Smith.

Mr. Graves submitted that it was an extra ordinary case, as the evidence of the Crown was not satisfactory. He addressed the jury on the question of the intent, and said there was no motive for the alleged act of the defendant, who was a highly respectable man, engaged as manager of his uncle's estate in the country, and who had never appeared in that position, in his life before. There had been an unhappy wedding party, and an unfortunate family affair, and the jury would deal as they liked with it.

George Wilson, J.P., gave the defendant a character for benevolence, humanity, and general respectability. Henry William Littlechild also spoke to his character on the same points.

His Honor, in addressing the jury, said defendant was charged with a misdemeanour under the law of this Colony, and the question was whether the act of the accused was done unlawfully or maliciously. Were the jury satisfied that the gun was presented at John Smith? If be, then they would consider the circumstances under which it was done, and what object he had in firing the gun ; if with intent to shoot or frighten, that, he thought, would be unlawful and malicious. If the jury had any reasonable doubt they would acquit him, but if he presented the gun otherwise than as a joke, they would find him guilty.

One of the jurors, apparently not aware that the Judge had concluded his charge, said he did not think it worthwhile to go on, as they were all agreed in their verdict.

His Honor: I have finished, (a laugh) and I am waiting your verdict gentlemen.

The jury pronounced a verdict of not guilty, and the defendant was discharged.

The business of the Session then closed.20

Alexander Wilson was certainly not someone to cross, and some interesting facts were presented during the case. The family were living in the Salt Pan Plains area north of Oatlands. They were later known to occupy a property called "The Braes". Advice from Helen Brown is that the property "...was owned by George and probably John Wilson for some time before Alexander and family were housed there." According to Helen there is reference to the “boys” (George and James) riding back and forth to there and staying in “the wretchedly cold wet cottage” or similar words by Mary Mowle in "A Colonial Woman" by Patricia Clarke. This has led to Alexander being known as “Alexander of the Braes” ever since.21

To return to the immediate family however, Alexander and Margaret's first born Tasmanian child John Wilson (20) married Isabella Zeppard Patterson (21) on 9 July 1876 in Oatlands, Tasmania.22 Isabella was born on 21 Apr 1855 at sea, the daughter of Colin Patterson and Catherine MacGregor. Her middle name was taken from the name of the vessel on which she was born.23 John and Isabella would go on to have twelve children that have been traced.

John Wilson's next youngest sibling Margaret Wilson (19) married her first cousin once removed, the much older George Wilson (42) on 28 November 1876 in Oatlands, Tasmania.24 George was born on 10 November 1832 in Midlothian, Scotland, the son of James Wilson and Agnes Patterson.25 Margaret and George would go on to have three children that have been traced.

In a relatively common occurrence at the time, David Wilson (22) married his brother's wife's sister Jane Patterson (18) on 13 June 1877 in Oatlands, Tasmania.26 Jane was born on XX XXX 1859 in Launceston, Tasmania, the daughter of Colin Patterson and Catherine MacGregor and sister to Isabella Zeppard Paterson.27 David and Jane would have fifteen children that have been traced.

Two years later Catherine Mary Wilson (18) married George Glover (23) on 8 October 1879 in Oatlands, Tasmania.28 George was born on 21 October 1855 in Bothwell, the son of George Glover and Mary Sullivan.29 Catherine and George would go on to have nine children that have been traced.

A twelfth child has been ascribed to Alexander and Margaret Wilson with the birth of a Hannah Wilson on 2 April 1879 in Oatlands, Tasmania.30 The father is recorded as Alexander Crawford Wilson and the mother as Mary Smith Wilson. Alexander would have been aged 54 and Margaret aged 52. The child died in infancy on 9 August 1879 in Oatlands, Tasmania.31

Alexander Wilson Jnr. (19) married Julia Gertrude Lodge (18) on 1 October 1879 in Oatlands, Tasmania.32 Julia was born on 27 March 1861 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the daughter of Joseph Lodge and Julia Rigby.33 Alexander and Julia would have nine children that have been traced.

George Wilson, the husband of Margaret Wilson, died on 5 March 1882 in Oatlands, Tasmania. George was reported as aged 49, a farmer, and the cause of death recorded as Cancer of the Colon and Exhaustion.34 Three years after George's death Margaret Wilson (31) married for a second time to Thomas Eadie (26) on 28 October 1885 in Oatlands, Tasmania.35 Thomas was born on 11 December 1854 at sea, the son of Thomas Eadie and Agnes Wilson.36 Margaret and Thomas were cousins. They had three children that have been traced.

William Wilson died on 26 November 1886 in Oatlands, Tasmania. William was reported as a farmer, aged 39, and the cause of death recorded as Meningitis.37 He was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.38

Thomas Wilson (23) married Agnes Steedman (21) on 16 October 1889 in Oatlands, Tasmania.39 Agnes was born on 3 October 1868 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the daughter of George Steedman and Julia Mansfield.40 Thomas and Agnes would have eleven children that have been traced.

Margaret Eadie, nee Wilson, died on 22 May 1890 in Oatlands, Tasmania from Complications of Childbirth.41 Margaret was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.42 Thomas Eadie filed for letter of administration and these were granted and amounted to £16.43 Following Margaret's death, Thomas Eadie remarried Anna, also known as Hannah, Parnell on 25 October 1893 in Oatlands, Tasmania.44 Thomas and Annie would go on to have two children that have been traced.

Prior to that marriage, in November 1891, Alexander Wilson was reported in connection with a new model of reaper and binder:

BUCKEYE REAPER AND BINDER. A trial of the Buckeye reaper and binder was held on November 23, at Little Plain, the farm of Mr Geo. Brown, at Antill Ponds. The field operated on was Cape barley intended for hay, varying from 1ft to 4ft in height, very tangly in the bottom, being mixed with rye grass. The machine was at work the whole day, doing its work in a creditable manner, only two horses being employed, and the cutting was equal to any mower. Mr Brown, who was a stranger to the Buckeye, took a turn as driver, and thanks to its simplicity mastered the machine in a few minutes, being so well satisfied with its performance that he purchased it, and another machine was ordered by Mr Alick Wilson, of the Braes, one of the oldest farmers present. At the close of the day's work those who had remained to the end signed a testimonial in favour of the Buckeye, which is published elsewhere. The trial was conducted by Mr J. Stuart Grange,. representative of the Buckeye Harvesting Company.45

Margaret Wilson, nee Smith, died on 20 November 1896 at the property "The Braes", Antil Ponds, Tasmania. Margaret was reported to be aged 70, and died from debility and gangrene of the legs.46 Margaret was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.

WILSON.-On November 20, 1896, Margaret Wilson, the beloved wife of Alex. Wilson, and daughter of William and Isabella Smith, of Ratho, Scotland. Deeply regretted by all that knew her. New Zealand and Home papers please copy.47

Margaret's death was undoubtedly significant for the Wilson family, but in early 1898 they would be involved in an event that would change the family from that moment on. On 1 March 1898 (officially registered on 2 March 1898) Catherine Glover, nee Wilson, took her own life, and the lives of six of her eight children.48

The Triabunna Tragedy.
(Friday's 'Telegraph.')
Triabunna. Thursday.

The community here is terribly shocked over the fearful tragedy of yesterday. The sensation is more intense, even than that on the occasion of the boat accident s year ago, when six men, including superintendent McCluskey, were drowned. Mary Catherine Glover, who, there seems to be no doubt, murdered her children, was the wife of George Glover, watch house keeper at Triabunna, appointed owing to the vacancy caused by the boating accident. The Glovers came from Parattah. They had eight children, the oldest two being in service. Their ages were from 11 year old to a baby four months old, and their names were: Louisa, Ida, May, Thomas, James, and Elsie. The whole family were thoroughly respected. Mrs Glover, it is said, was occasionally depressed, but gave no indication of being of unsound mind. Yesterday she was seen in various places, including Luttrett's and another store, where she asked for laudanum, which was not supplied, because there was none in stock. She was in no way excited or unusual in her manner. She was also at Cooley's Hotel convening with the landlady on the subject of accommodating a daughter while she (Mrs Glover) was shifting to another house. She was quite collected at this time. Later, it appears, arrangements were made for her daughter to stay at a Mrs Picks, a widow of one of those drowned in the boating disaster, and it was through this daughter going home to fetch her things that the absence of the family was discovered. The girl told her father the result. In the search and subsequent discoveries pretty well the whole of the township turned out to seek the missing woman and children, only giving up after midnight on Tuesday, and starting again on Wednesday at daylight. Warden Mace and Superintendent Griffiths were to the fore, and business was at a complete standstill till the sad truth was known. The children's bodies were traced mainly through the sagacity of a spaniel belonging to a young man named Edward Ford, who was searching by himself. The tragedy is singularly linked with the boating fatality, Ford's father having been among the drowned. The children were all lying together, and appear to have been sleeping. The boy's cloth cap, covered with blood, was found nearby, and it is supposed that the mother placed this over the mouth of each child before cutting its throat with a razor. This would account for the others not getting alarmed. Another theory is that the children were first drugged. When known in Triabunna that the children were dead and the mother was missing, great anxiety was felt lest she should be hiding in order to kill her other two daughters who are in service here. A search was then made for Mrs Glover, and among others Pat Cusick, the well known coach driver, was asked by the superintendent of police to keep a look-out for her while driving to Campania. In the afternoon Cusick, when about a mile from Triabunna, saw what he at first thought was a log, but, being uncertain, pulled up his coach, gave the ribbons to a passenger, went on foot to the edge of the bay, and there in shallow water, not 2ft deep, saw Mrs Glover's body face downwards. He then returned to the coach, took out one of the horses, and galloped as hard as he could to the town. A search party of 20 mounted men were just making a fresh start, but hearing of the discovery accompanied Cusick, and the body was recovered. The deceased appeared to have attempted to cut her own throat, but probably her heart failed her, and she preferred death by drowning. The family were not in monetary trouble and the sum of 10s was found in the pocket of Mrs Glover's dress. Superintendent Griffith speaks highly of the promptitude shown by the residents in forming and acting in search parties. Within a very few minutes after the first alarm he called from house to house, and the men of the town turned out to a man, and would have kept on all night had not the leaders said it was useless to go on in the pitch darkness. The razor with which the deeds were done was found about four yards from the body of the mother with a portion of the case. The deceased woman was tall end dark complexioned, with a dreamy expression on her face, and had a peculiar, hesitating way of replying at times.49

While it was an apparently open and shut case, the issue was in fact complicated by a significant earlier history, and the clumsy and inept processing of the event subsequent to the 'tragedy'. The antecedent events were revealed when inquests were held on the children and their mother:

HOBART, March 4.

At an inquest held yesterday on the bodies of the children of the unfortunate woman Glover, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that they met their death at the hands of their mother, who was insane.

At an inquest, held to-day, on the body of Mrs. Glover, the jury found that deceased met with death by suffocation in shallow water in Spring Bay. The jury added a rider to the effect that medical evidence should have been produced.

George Glover, the husband of the deceased, said that she had talked in a peculiar manner for some time previously, and, referring to two residents, had said that her blood would rest on their heads. He also received a letter from her while he was away harvesting, telling him to take no notice of anything he heard. She had had trouble, and would tell him about it when he came home. Referring to a new jacket, she had said that she would never wear it, but that it would do for his next wife.

A witness named Alice Ford, a store-keeper, deposed to having refused to serve deceased with laudanum, owing to the strangeness of her manner. She supposed, however, that deceased had got some narcotic with which she drugged the children before murdering them, and thought that she probably took some of it herself.

The husband of the deceased complains that certain storekeepers were not called on to state whether they had supplied the deceased with laudanum. He also directly charges Superintendent Griffin and Warden Mace with causing the tragedy by forcing the deceased to sign a paper apologising for certain statements she had made. The superintendent has announced his intention to demand full enquiries into this charge.50

The suggestion that Catherine had drugged the children highlighted the fact that no autopsy was performed on the children or their mother. By 11 March 1898 it was reported that the attorney-general had ordered the exhumation of the bodies to test for the presence of poisons.


Dr. G. Sprott, the Hobart Health Officer, in compliance with a request made by the Attorney-General, proceeded to Triabunua on Saturday morning list for the purpose of making a post-mortem examination of the exhumed bodies of Mrs. Glover and two of her children. He reached the town of Spring Bay at 4.30 p.m., and at once proceeded to execute his mission. He returned to Hobart at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday by way of Richmond and Risdon Ferry. Dr. Sprott yesterday made the following report to the Attorney General:

Hobart, March 14, 1898. The Hon. Attorney General, Tasmania. Sir.-In accordance with your instructions I proceeded to Spring Bay and made a post-mortem examination of the bodies of Catherine Mary Glover, Louisa Glover, and George Thomas Glover, on Saturday, the 12th inst,. The coffins were removed from the grave In the presence of the Warden, Council Clerk, P Superintendent of the municipality, and myself, and taken by conveyance to the Council-chambers, where they were identified, I removed the stomach and its contents, together with the other abdominal viscera, and at your request have handed the same over to the Public Analyst for examination this day. With respect to Catherlne Mary Glover, no marks of violence were found on external examination - the internal organs were healthy, and death was probably due to suffocation by drowning. In Louisa Glover's case, there was a large wound in the neck, which must have been Inflicted with a sharp instrument, and with some force. All the structures were cut down to the bone, and death would be instantaneous There was also a slight incised wound over the right eyebrow, but no other marks of violence. In George Thomas Glover's case there was also a fatal wound in the neck, very similar to that found on the neck of his sister. The direction of the wounds were from left to right; the probability is that they were inflicted by some one behind the deceased.-I am, etc, GREGORY SPROTT, M.D.51

Later evidence would suggest the autopsies were inadequate, and there appears to have been no consideration given to the potential for puerperal fever or insanity, a condition accepted at the time as causing "harmful behaviour of many kinds (including self-harm and suicide, and threats to husbands and birth attendants)".52 There was also the question of George Glover's suggestion that untoward stress had been placed on Catherine by the Superintendent of Police Charles Griffiths and the Council Warden F. Mace. The claims were tested in an open inquiry reported in the Mercury in early April 1898:


The recently enacted tragedy at Triabunna, which resulted in the wholesale slaughter of six children, and also in the death by suicide of the unfortunate perpetrator of the evil deed, has undergone another phase. On Saturday the Council for the Municipality of Spring Bay held an inquiry into certain allegations made regarding the character of C. Griffith, the Superintendent of Police for that district, whom they exonerated from all blame. The different events connected with the tragedy are still fresh in the minds of the public. The discovery of the victims, the inquest at which no medical evidence was called, and the subsequent exhumation of the bodies for the purpose of analysis in order to ascertain if poison or drugs had been administered, are events that have too recently transpired to be yet forgotten. But for the occurrence of such a crime the quiet seclusion of Triabunna would not have been so ruthlessly invaded, nor such undue prominence won by a locality so isolated and retiring. Built upon an area of flat-lying land, but a trifle above the level of the sea, the little township appears too quiet and secluded to be capable of attaining a position of notoriety. It requires an imagination of more than ordinary fertility, or a keen recollection of the recently perpetrated crime, to make it seem possible that the easy going people who have chosen such a place for their home could become agitated and moved. Yet this rural population has been disturbed for some weeks past, and the result of the Council's labourings on Saturday is expected to again lull to repose the unsettled residents whose normal state is lethargy, being a quiet place the police force required for the maintenance of order is not a strong one. In addition to the Superintendent of Police, who resides in the township, a special constable is also employed. The latter position for some time past was held by Geo. Glover, jnr. The services of this constable were very rarely availed of, but he was allowed free quarters for himself and family in a building attached to the Police Court and Council-chambers. It was while living in this building that the late Mrs. Glover, by statements which she made, incurred the displeasure of the Superintendent of Police and the Warden. In view of what had been said the Warden thought it advisable that the Glover family should vacate the quarters occupied by them. The order to leave the premises was given and the family allowed three days in which to depart. An offer by the woman immediately afterwards to retract certain statements which she had made, obtained for the family a longer respite. A declaration was signed withdrawing various allegations, in addition to apologising for their utterance, and another month's tenure of the home at the Police Station was obtained. In various quarters the perpetration of the tragedy is said to have been a sequence of the signing of this declaration. Rumours have also been afloat which declare that a fixed tenure of the quarters was an inducement held out to get the declaration marked by Mrs. Glover, who was unable to write. With a view to placing himself right with the public Superintendent Griffith appealed to the Council to hold an inquiry at which the whole of the facts might be made public. One thing which would have further tended to dispel the public doubt would have been the presence of Glover, when both sides of the question would have been beard. The evidence adduced at Saturday's inquiry dealt with the matter previous to the tragedy, and was directed to show that the declaration had been signed without persuasion or compulsion.


When the Council met on Saturday morning there were present :-Councillors F. Mace (Warden), J. C. Turvey, S. Salmon, G. Pitt, A. Morey, W. B. Gatehouse, and P. C. Wagner; Mr. B. White, the Council Clerk, and Mr. C. Griffith, Superintendent of Police. A number of the public were also in attendance.

The Warden said they had met that day for a special purpose and not to consider routine business, their duty was to investigate a charge that had been laid against the Superintendent of Police. On March 25 he had received a letter from the Superintendent of Police requesting him to convene a special meeting to inquire into charges made against the superintendent by the late Constable Glover. The reason why an inquiry had not previously been held was because he thought it desirable to let matters settle down a little before calling the meeting. It would be the duty of the Council to make a searching an investigation of the matter as possible. He understood that the whole of the evidence relating to the cause of the complaint would be placed before them, which would enable the subject to be thoroughly sifted. There was nothing that any of them would like to hide, and he felt sure that both the Council, and the Superintendent of Police, would be only too glad to have the fullest inquiry made. A notice had been sent to Geo. Glover, informing him that the meeting would be held, but he did not know if Glover would be in attendance, He wanted everything to be explained and placed before the public, the mode of procedure would be for the Council to form itself into a committee of inquiry. It would also be necessary to appoint a chairman to conduct the meeting, as he would be a material witness in the inquiry. Mr. Salmon, another member of the Council, would also require to leave the table, as he would be called to give evidence. He hoped that their efforts in investigating the charges made against the Superintendent of Police would be crowned with success. Councillor Turvey was then elected to preside at the inquiry.

The Superintendent of Police asked if it would not be possible for all evidence to be taken on oath. The question was a most momentous one to him, and he wanted a searching inquiry made.

He would ask them to take evidence on oath in order that he might exonerate himself. It was a serious thing to him that such charges had been made. Allegations had been hurled against him in a broadcast manner, and in justice to himself and family an opportunity should be afforded him of having the matter cleared up.

The Chairman : Evidence cannot be taken on oath, as we have no power to administer an oath.

The Superintendent of Police: Then I leave the matter in your hands.

The Chairman: It would be necessary for the Government to appoint a Commission to have evidence taken on oath.

Councillor Wagner: Should Glover not be present?

The Chairman: Yes, he should be here, he received notice that this inquiry was to be made.


Superintendent Griffith then made the following statement:-He said that on the morning of January 5, when passing the gaol door to the stable, Mrs. Glover came out and asked him what yarns he had been spreading about her. He replied:-" Yarns about you? I don't know." She said she had been told so. He denied having said anything about her when she stated that from his manner she knew that he wanted to take liberties with her. He then lost his temper, and ordered her to go away, and called her a black cow. Afterwards he returned to the office, when the Council Clerk asked why he was going to turn Mrs. Glover out of her quarters. He then explained the reason to the Council Clerk. A man named Ryan was brought into the office in the presence of Mrs. Glover, and asked what yarns he had been telling Mrs. Glover. Ryan denied ever having mentioned the name of the Superintendent to her. Mrs. Glover maintained that Ryan did tell her something, and then accused witness of asking her to go over to his house and stay with him as his wife. He then ordered her away, at the same time telling her that he would report the matter to the Warden. She then commenced to cry, and begged to be forgiven. Shortly afterwards he reported the matter to Councillor Salmon; Mrs. Glover next morning asked him not to do anything in the matter, and also made a similar request next day. She then sent one of her children into the office for the keys of her house, but he refused to give them to the child. Mrs. Glover again asked to be forgiven, when he said if she did not tell any more lies he would do nothing further in the matter. Nothing more was beard about the matter until January 27, when he again heard that Mrs, Glover had been spreading reports about him. He then said he would clear the Glovers out, as he could not stand them any longer. The next evening he complained to Glover about the yarns that his wife was putting about, when Glover said he did not know what had come over his wife. Glover stated that she had written to him, and on his return had told him that witness had had a row with her and made use of insulting language. Witness denied having used the words complained of, and said if the woman did not deny the lies the matter would be reported to the Warden. Next morning he reported the affair to the Warden. On January 31 the Warden came in and made inquiries, and the woman again made the accusation. Witness asked Mrs. Glover if she had told her husband that he had used certain words, and she replied " No," that she had never said such a thing to her husband. Mrs. Glover then commenced to cry, and asked to be forgiven. Two days later Glover came to witness, and asked him to intercede as Mrs. Glover had acknowledged that what she had said about the Superintendent of Police was untrue. Witness refused to intercede, whereupon Glover said his wife would sign a paper to clear the charges away. He then promised on those conditions to speak to the Warden. On the same day Glover and his wife saw the Warden. The Warden asked her if she knew what she was prepared to sign about withdrawing accusations that had been made about the Superintendent of Police. Mrs. Glover said, "Yes." The Warden said that she was a free agent, and need not sign it unless she liked. Mrs. Glover replied, "I want to sign it." The Warden also put the question to Glover if he knew what his wife was signing, and the former replied "Yes." The woman then signed the paper and asked to be forgiven. Mr. Mace told Glover they would have to clear out at the end of the month.

The Chairman: And that is all that transpired up to the time of the declaration being made?-Yes.

The witness said he would prefer to make his statement on oath.

The Chairman: We cannot deal with it on oath, but you can sign it.

Councillor Pitt: Did you think she was sane when she made the accusation?-I thought it was from villainy and blackmail.

Councillor Pitt: You did not think she was insane when speaking to you?-She was crying at the time.

Councillor Turvey: Did you use any threats towards her when she made the accusations? -The only threat I used was to say that I would report the matter to the Warden.

Councillor Morey: How long had the Glovers been here?-They come in May, 1897.

Councillor Morey: During that time did you see anything to lead you to suppose she was anything but a sane woman?-She had a peculiarity in her manner, but I always looked upon her as inoffensive; I never had much to say to her at that time. Glover was present when the woman put her mark to the declaration.

Councillor Pitt: Did she ever act in an insane manner?-Not to my knowledge; but her mother was insane.

The Chairman: Do you know any reason why Mrs. Glover should withdraw the statement which she had made?-No, they had received orders to leave their quarters, and no hope was held out to her of the order being cancelled if the declaration was signed.

Witness, continuing, said he found that he could not place any dependence on Glover in connection with the work. Once when sent to Maria Island Glover had not made a truthful report, as witness found out shortly afterwards.

Councillor Wagner: You did not report that to the Council or make any complaint, and you should have done so.


The Council Clerk (Mr. B. White) said that he remembered Mrs. Glover coming to the office one morning, and saying that she would have to clear out.

The Chairman: Did she tell you the reason?-Yes ; she said that Mr. Griffith had been trying to take liberties with her, and that Mr. Griffith had told her they would have to clear out. Mrs, Glover stated that another person also told her something about Mr. Griffith. Witness asked the Superintendent of Police about it, and the latter came into the office, and said that it was a yarn the woman had been spreading. Mr. Griffith also said that he was going down to see the Warden, and get them cleared out of their quarters, He was present when Ryan was called into the office, and heard him deny that any names had been mentioned in his conversation with Mrs. Glover. Ryan said that Mrs. Glover was not telling the truth. Mrs. Glover then cried and asked to be forgiven, and behaved in an insane fashion. He remembered an occasion when one of the Glover children came to the office for the keys of Mr. Griffith's house, but the latter would not give them up. Mrs. Glover admitted in the presence of the Warden that the allegations which she had made against the Superintendent of Police were not true. Glover was present in the morn when the declaration was signed. When leaving the room Glover went out by the front door, and his wife left by the side door. Witness said that in his opinion the woman was mad. She was perhaps quiet and inoffensive, but not sane. The first time that he saw Mrs. Glover be exclaimed that she was ratty. On one occasion Mrs. Glover said that she was unhappy, as her husband was not good to her.


Frederick Mace, Warden of the Spring Bay Municipality, said it was his custom to keep a journal, in which he noted things that he thought of interest. He found in that journal, under date January 29, that the Superintendent of Police came to him and said that Mrs, Glover had been making certain damaging statements about him (the Superintendent), and asked for an investigation. On January 31 he made an investigation of the complaint made by the Superintendent of Police. Mrs. Glover was present, and also the Superintendent of Police and the Council Clerk. The Superintendent of Police made his statement, and the Warden then asked Mrs. Glover what she had to say. The woman wrung her hands and said that she was sorry, and that it would never happen again. Witness asked Mrs. Glover if she would withdraw, but she said she had forgotten what had been said, as she was in trouble and would not do it again. She would not withdraw the statement, and he told her she would have to leave the quarters in three days. She again rung her hands, expressed sorrow, and asked to be forgiven. The Superintendent of Police then told her to go to her quarters. On February 2 he took a declaration made by Mrs. Glover. The Superintendent of Police told witness that Mrs. Glover was anxious to withdraw all that sbe had said, and also wished it to be put in writing. The woman was called into the room, and her husband was also present. She said she wished to withdraw all the had said about the Superintendent of Police. Mrs. Glover stated that what she had said was untrue, and she wished to sign the declaration. He told her there was no compulsion, but the woman said she wished to withdraw the statements as they were untrue. As Mrs. Glover could not write he held the pen while she made a mark. He had done his best to dissuade her from signing the thing hurriedly. The declaration was then signed, in which the woman retracted all that she had said about the Superintendent of Police. Witness had told her that it was about the best thing that she could do to make amends for all that she had done. Glover was present at the time, and made no objection to her signing it, but said he agreed to what she was doing. After the declaration had been signed Mrs. Glover went out by the side door, and her husband remained in the room. Witness wished to arrange with him about leaving the quarters which he occupied. As Mrs. Glover had signed the declaration, he was willing to allow them more time in which to leave, but would not allow them to remain on, as the woman might again make similar statements. It was then arranged that at the end of February they were to leave the gaol quarters.

The Chairman: Did you ever have any conversation with Mrs. Glover previous to the time she made this declaration?-Only at the first investigation.

What impression did you form with regard to her mental condition?-That she was a melancholy sort of woman. She was always wringing her hands and sighing. He then questioned her with regard to a certain statement that the Superintendent of Police had been accused of uttering. Mrs. Glover denied having made the accusation. The Superintendent of Police, who was also present, called Glover into the room when the latter admitted that his wife had made the statements complained of. Glover stated that he had never known his wife to tell a lie.

The Superintendent of Police: Do you not remember questioning Glover as to whether his wife knew what she was signing?-Yes, and I am sorry to see that Glover is not here to-day.

The Superintendent of Police: If I could compel witnesses to attend, I could prove that the woman tried to buy poison,


Miss A. Forde said that Mrs. Glover had applied to her for laudanum about January 20. On the night that the children were killed Mrs. Glover again applied to witness for laudanum. She bad noticed that Mrs. Glover appeared strange in her manner. She refused to supply the poison, as she did not like the appearance of Mrs. Glover.

Councillor S. Salmon. Said he was frequently at the Council-chambers. The Superintendent of Police had told him that he would have to get rid of Glover, as he was a nuisance. He interceded for the sake of the family, as Glover was smart enough if he chose, and could be useful in the bush. The Superintendent then overlooked the matter. On one occasion a ratepayer had complained that Glover was unsuitable for his position. In January the Superintendent of Police complained to him regarding statements that Mrs. Glover had made, but he had said that no notice should be taken of what was said, as the woman had been ill. The Superintendent of Police, however, thought it rather serious. Mrs. Glover had interviewed him and asked if the Superintendent of Police could turn her out without the consent of the Council. He replied that it was not the Superintendent of Police who was removing Glover, but that it was being done by the Warden. Whatever was done, he told her, would be reported to the Council later. She said statements made by her about the Superintendent of Police were untrue. He believed that the woman had not been in her proper mind since her last illness. Witness said to his wife that Mrs. Glover would either commit suicide or go to the asylum.

Mr. Wm. Ryan said that Mrs. Glover had asked him if he had heard any bad yarns, but she did not mention names. On a subsequent occasion she accused witness of mentioning Mr. Griffith's name, but he had never done so. Glover had on one occasion accused witness of speaking about the former's wife, but afterwards expressed sorrow for having referred to the matter.

This concluded the evidence, and after deliberating for a while the committee brought up the following report :-" We have carefully considered the evidence, and have not found anything to prejudice the character of the Superintendent of Police, or shake our confidence in him as our officer, and we regret the absence of George Glover from this inquiry."53

The inquiry however was tainted from the beginning as the Council was effectively investigating itself so the result could not be considered impartial. As Stefan Petrow in his research of the event noted:

Belatedly, one month after the municipal enquiry, John Cotton of Orford displayed the best understanding of Mary's actions and the most acute insights into her character. He condemned 'the humiliating mockery of an investigation'. He shared the public 'dissatisfaction' and 'disgust' at the failure to vindicate 'the malignant and persecuted dead.' If Mary Glover was known locally to be mentally unstable, then it was 'improper, if not illegal' to allow her to sign 'an incriminating document'. Her statements about Griffiths would not have been taken seriously in the district. Cotton intimated that, if Mary was mad, she might have been driven to madness by the damage to her reputation of signing a retraction of those statements. Although Mary was 'uneducated', she had 'a strain of gentle blood in her veins, and may have been as conscious of refined feelings as many of her more favoured sisters'. After all she was the mother of eight 'most creditably reared children'. Cotton plausibly argued that a combination of circumstances culminating in the signing of the document drove her 'to desperation and despair, till she saw no refuge from present and impending misery but the grave'. Her 'maternal instincts' pushed her 'to effectually provide for the future of her younger children'. If she was insane, it was because of 'the holiest of human attributes - the madness of maternal love'.54

It is also strange that during that inquiry Charles Griffiths should say that Catherine's mother was 'insane'. According to Petrow, "Griffiths noted that ... he had a telegram from Dr. G. E. Butler stating that Mary's mother had been 'insane' on the day she died." At this point, no historical material has been found to suggest that Margaret Wilson (nee Smith) was ever hospitalised for mental instability. Additionally, to suggest insanity on the death bed is to side step any number of conditions that might cause confusion while someone is dying.

The whole affair must have taken a huge toll on Catherine's immediate and extended families. George Glover is known to have moved from the district in the days following the event, no doubt to escape the incessant intrigue. He ultimately remarried in April 1902 as reported in the Mercury:

GLOVER-KREGOR.-On April 21, 1902, by the Rev. Isaac H. Palfreyman, George Glover, son of George and Mary Glover, of Bothwell, to Frances Cecilia Kregor, daughter of Frederick and Ellen Kregor, of Roberts's Bay. By licence, in King-street Church.55

Catherine's father Alexander Crawford Wilson died on 15 November 1906 at his property "The Braes" in Antill Ponds, Tasmania.56 He was buried on 17 November 1906 in Oatlands, Tasmania.

WILSON - On Thursday, November 15, 1906, at his late residence, Glenmorey, Antill Ponds, Alexander Wilson, in the 83rd year of his age. Funeral at Oatlands, at 2 o'clock on Saturday.57

A more informative death notice was inserted by Alexander's daughter Jane Crawford McGillivray:

WILSON.-On the 15th November, at his residence, Glenmorey, Woodbury, Alexander, son of David Wilson, Esq., Linlithgow, Scotland, and beloved father of Mrs. J. C. M'Gilllvray, Queenstown. "He giveth His beloved sleep."

Malcolm McGillivray, the husband of Jane Crawford Wilson, died on 11 April 1912 in Cleveland, Tasmania.58

Alexander Wilson died on 23 March 1919 in York Plains, Tasmania.59

WILSON.-At Glenbrae, York Plains, on March 23, 1919, Alexander Wilson, fourth son of the late Alexander and Margaret Wilson, of Antill Ponds, and beloved husband of Julia Wilson, in the 59th year his age. Died suddenly.

WILSON.-Funeral of the late Alexander Wilson will move from his late residence, Glenbrae, York Plains, on Tuesday, at 12 o'clock, arriving at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, at half-past 2.60

Thomas Eadie, the husband of Margaret Wilson, died on 5 March 1920 in Parattah, Tasmania.61

EADIE-On March 5th, at his late residence, Parattah, Thomas the dearly beloved husband of Hannah Eadie aged 67 years. Beloved by all who knew him. To be with Christ, which is far better The funeral will move from his late residence on Saturday the 6th inst at 3 o'clock p.m., for Oatlands Presbyterian Cemetery.62

John Wilson died on 7 September 1922 in Parattah, Tasmania.63 John was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.64

WILSON. -On September 7, 1922, suddenly, at his residence, Parattah, John, the dearly beloved husband of Isabel Wilson, aged 66. Funeral will leave his late residence at 1 o'clock Saturday for Oatlands Presbyterian Cemetery.65

A small obituary was published the same day:


The death occurred at Parattah yesterday morning of Mr. John Wilson who had been a resident of the district for many years. The deceased for some time was a councillor of the Oatlands municipality, a territorial justice of the peace, and a member of the Road Trust before the council took over the duties of that body. He was 67 years of age and leaves a widow and grown-up sons and daughters.66

Jane Crawford McGillivray, nee Wilson, died on 20 November 1923 in Maffra, Victoria.

MACGILLIVRAY. -On the 20th November at her daughter's residence. St. David’s P.H. Maffra Jane Crawford, widow of the late Malcolm MacGillivray, Inverness, Scotland, elder daughter of the late Alexander and Margaret Wilson, Linlithgow, Scotland, dearly loved mother of Catherine (matron Maffra Hospital) Williemina (Mrs J. A. Mckenzie-McHarg, Tas and Malcolm, Parkville.67

Margaret Wilson, the wife of William Wilson, died on 21 October 1926 in Mount Seymour, Tasmania.68

WILSON.-On October 21, 1926, at Overton, Margaret, widow of the late William Wilson, of Mount Seymour, in the 76th year of her age. Funeral will move from Overton at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning for Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands.

"Thy will be done."69

Thomas Wilson died on 22 November 1929 in the hospital at Campbell Town, Tasmania.70 Thomas was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania. His headstone reads:

In loving memory of Thomas Wilson, beloved husband of Agnes Wilson and youngest son of the late Alexander and Margaret Wilson of Ratho, Scotland and the "The Braes", Antill Ponds, Tasmania. Died ... aged 63 years. Thy will be done.71

Isabella Wilson, nee Patterson, died on 5 November 1934 in Parattah, Tasmania.

WILSON.-At Springfield, Parattah, on November 5, Isabella J. Wilson, relict of the late John Wilson, and eldest daughter of the late Catherine and Colin Patterson, late Hilly Park, Parattah, in the 80th year of her age.

WILSON.-Funeral of the late Isabella Wilson will, leave her daughter's residence, Springfield; Parattah, on Tuesday (This Day), at 3 p.m., for the Oatlands Presbyterian Cemetery.72

Agnes Wilson, nee Steedman, the wife of Thomas Wilson, died on 2 August 1936 in Tunbridge, Tasmania:

WILSON.-On August 2, 1936, at Tunbridge, Agnes, dearly beloved wife of the late Thomas Wilson, late of Glenmorey, Woodbury, aged 67 years. Funeral notice later.73

WILSON.-Funeral of the late Mrs. Agnes Wilson will move from her residence, Tunbridge, on Tuesday (This Day), at 1.30 p.m., arriving at the Presbyterian, Church, Oatlands, at 2.30, thence to cemetery.74

An obituary was reported the same day:


The death occurred at her residence, Tunbridge, on Sunday evening or Mrs. Agnes-Wilson, aged 67 years, widow of Mr. Thomas Wilson, or Glenmorey, Woodbury, Deceased had been ailing for some time. Mrs. Wilson was the eldest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Steedman, of Mt. Seymour, and had spent all her life in the Oatlands' district. After their marriage about 47 years ago the late Mr. and Mrs. Wilson lived on The Braes and Glenmorey estates, Woodbury. Following the death of her husband eight year ago Mrs. Wilson and family lived at Tunbridge. The deceased took an active Interest in the affairs of the Tunbridge Presbyterian Church, and made various gifts to that institution. Six sons and four daughters survive her. They are: Messrs. George (West Australia), John (Granton), Roy, Norman, Thomas, and Ronald Wilson (Tunbridge), and Mesdames B. Lodge (Tunbridge) and A. Johnson (Melton Mowbray), Miss Marjorie Wilson and Mrs. F. Triffitt (Tunbridge). Mrs. Wilson ls also survived by five brothers-Messrs. G. (Zeehan), E. (West Australia), C. (Queensland), R. and W. Steedman (Hobart), and a sister, Mrs. Hanson (Melbourne). The funeral will take place at Oatlands today.75

Julia Gertrude Wilson, nee Lodge, died on 10 March 1946. Julia was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.76

WILSON-On March 10, 1946, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. W. J. Barwick. Attawatta, York Plains, Julia Gertrude, beloved wife of the late Alexander Wilson, York Plains; aged 85 years.

WILSON.-The funeral of the late Mrs. Julia Gertrude Wilson will leave her daughter's residence, Mrs. W. J. Barwick, Attawatta, York Plains. to-morrow (Tuesday. March 12). at 2.45 p.m., arriving at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, at 3.30 p.m. for interment. Friends are invited to attend.77

An obituary mentioned additional history of Julia:

Mrs Julia Gertrude Wilson, of York Plains, died on Sunday, aged 85. She was the widow of Mr Alexander Wilson, and the youngest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Joseph Lodge, of Tunbridge. She was the last surviving member of the Lodge family.

She had lived at York Plains for 38 years. She leaves a family of five sons - Messrs Cooper (Lake Leake), Alec (Ross), Joseph (St. Patrick's River), James (Seven Mile Beach), and Daniel (Bagdad) and three daughters-Mesdames W. Barwick (York Plains), J. Rolls (Elderslie), and T. Pulford (Bothwell). One son lost his life in the First World War.

The funeral took place at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, on Tuesday and was conducted by the Rev A. G. Roy. Chief mourners were the five sons, Mesdames Bar- wick and Rolls, Messrs W. Barwick and T. Pulford (sons-in-law), Mrs D. Wilson (daughter-in-law), Messrs J. and W. Barwick, R. J., and D. Wilson, A. Pulford, C., L., K. Wilson K., I., and A. Rolls, C. and D. Davis (grandsons), Mesdames C. and D. Davis, R. Gregg, A. Nielson, W. Bar- wick, J. Barwick, A. Pulford, R. Wil son, Miss Joan Wilson (grand daughters).

Funeral arrangements were made by W. Lockett and Sons, Campbell Town.78

Jane Wilson, nee Patterson, the wife of David Wilson, died on 28 Apr 1954.79

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