From the Dover Express of 30 Aug 1901 we read about Richard Lawrence Ballard, my 1st cousin 5 times removed. Baptised at Charlton, Dover, Kent on 20 Oct 1822 he was married to Elizabeth Ann Dennis on 2 Nov 1840 in Hougham, St Lawrence, Kent. They had 13 children – 9 boys and 4 girls. Elizabeth died on 3 Apr 1892 at Dover, Kent.
Ellen, who found her father, was born at Dover in 1861. Richard had been listed as a fish seller op the 1891 and 1901 census records.
An inquest was held by the Borough Coroner,S. Payn, Esq., at the Union Hotel, on Monday afternoon, to enquire into the circumstances of the death of an aged fish hawker, who on Saturday afternoon committed suicide at Shooter’s-hill, Buckland, by hanging himself to the banister rail. Mr. John Wells was foreman of the jury.
Ellen Ballard, 2, Shooter’s-hill, identified the body at that of her father, Richard Lawrence Ballard, aged 80, formerly a fish hawker. On Saturday, about 3 20, a neighbour, Mrs. Gann, called in and asked witness to accompany her to the cemetery. Deceased said “ You go, and tuck me up in bed.” Deceased was often in the habit of going to bed during the day, so this was done. Witness did not go all the way to the cemetery, but only as far as the bottom of the hill. On her return she went upstairs to put away her hat and cloak, when she saw her father hanging from the banisters on the stairs. Witness ran to the Prince of Wales public house to get help, and a man who was in there came and cut down deceased. Witness was so upset that she did not know if he were alive or dead, but they said he was alive. Deceased was hanging by the clothes line (produced), which belonged to the house. Deceased had been poorly for the list six months, but Dr. Long said it was old age. His mind was getting weak. He had never threatened to harm himself, but he was very low-spirited.
Henry McLaughlin, a farmer, living at 15, George-street, Dover, said that on Saturday, at ten minutes past four in the ‘afternoon, he had taken a sack, in which he had fetched some coals, back to the Prince of Wales public house, when the last witness rushed in and said her father had hung himself. Witness at once went with her and saw the old man hanging by the cord produced from the banisters of the passage upstairs. Witness went up and held the man up and called for a knife to cut him down. A neighbour, Mrs. Hayward, cut him down. He died a few minutes afterwards. The cord was fastened by a slip-knot round the old man’s neck. There was a very short piece of rope above him, and his feet were only three inches off the stairs. The police were sent for, and the body taken to the mortuary.
Mrs. Catherine Hayward, wife of William Hayward, of 4, York-place, Shooter’s hill, said that she bad her attention attracted by some children and the screams of Miss Ballard, so witness went into the latter’s house and found her screaming. Witness then heard the last witness calling, “ Look sharp, bring a knife to cut him down and save his life.” Witness picked up a knife and cut the rope, Seeing deceased breath she cried “ Thank God he is alive.” Witness felt quite overcome after this and went away. She had known the deceased for years, and that his daughter gave him the best of attention.
The Coroner remarked that if witness had belonged to an ambulance class she might have added to her good work in which she had been very plucky.
Dr. Ormshy said that he was called on Saturday at 5 p.m. to the mortuary. The body was cold then and rigor mortis had set in. From the marks round the neck and general signs the apparent cause of death was strangulation. Deceased seemed to have been a very feeble old man, and it would have taken very little to kill him.
The jury returned a verdict of “ Suicide during temporary insanity.”
The family of Richard Lawrence Ballard
Richards parents were Thomas Ballard, my 5th great uncle and Ann Powell.