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Murdoch Morrison died at Brownsville

June 21, 2012

“The body of a man named Murdock Morrison was found this afternoon in a small creek near English’s old cannery, opposite this city.”

“The dead body of a man was found in the water, close by Punch’s Hotel, the other side of the Fraser, on Thursday last.”

“On Thursday afternoon the body of a man named Murdock Morrison was found in a slough on the other side of the river, near Brownsville.”

These were the leading sentences in newspapers reporting the sad demise of 33 year-old Murdoch Morrison at Brownsville, on May 7th, 1884.

When the body was discovered the next day,  in a slough not far from the foot of Yale Road,  the new Superintendent of the Provincial Police, Henry B Roycraft,  was in New Westminster and he accompanied  Coroner Dr CN Trew to the scene.

From James Punch they learned that a man had come to his Hotel around four o’clock the day before, distraught and under the impression some terrible calamity was about to befall him.
Otherwise described as temperate and respectable-looking,   until recently he had been employed at McDougall’s logging camp at Mud Bay.

Superintendent Roycraft determined from his footprints that Morrison had walked into the slough where his body was found.   It was decided an inquest was not necessary.

“Deceased had been in very low and despondent spirits for some time past, and it is thought that having one of those spells he determined upon putting an end to his existence.”

Mr Morrison had money on him in gold and notes and he carried several letters, including a recent letter from his wife Emeline Morrison and his four-year old son Freddie, back home in Kincardine, Ontario.

Following after that of Robert Johnson, former keeper of the Hotel now owned by James Punch, Morrison’s was only the second death officially noted as occurring at  “Brownsville.”
In the early years many such deaths went unrecorded and some persons were even denied proper ceremony and a place in the cemetery.
However, Mr Morrison was known and identified, carried letters, and money, and what’s more important, had friends—at least in death.
Scottish born, Murdoch Morrison was a “Forrester” and the members of that Society took charge of his funeral and burial.
While his memorial is humble, it is lasting and well-tended, occupying a significant position in the Oddfellows section of the cemetery at New Westminster, overlooking the Fraser River.

Murdoch Morrison stone Fraser Cemetery

Flat stone in foreground marks the grave of Murdoch Morrison

Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster


Murdoch Morrison grave marker 1884

Murdoch Morrison

Of Kincardine Ont
Died
May 7, 1884

 

 

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