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July 11, 2012

From the British Columbian of June 3, 1885:

Died of Exhaustion.
It is reported that a man was found a few days ago on the Yale road, this side of the Serpentine, in an exhausted and helpless condition. He was brought to Brownville, where he died. It is supposed he came from Washington Territory.”

From the Mainland Guardian of  June 3, 1885:

A Sad History – A Sudden Death.
On Sunday last, Mr. Punch, proprietor of the Brownsville hotel, sent John Jones to Langley. On his way returning he saw a bundle of blankets on the road, and a quarter of a mile further on he saw a man who said ‘The blankets are mine; I am not able to carry them.’ Another man came up and assisted Jones to put the sick man on horseback. They took him along for a quarter of a mile, but he was getting weaker and they took him down and made him snug in his blankets on the wayside. When Jones arrived at Brownsville, the kind-hearted proprietor of the hotel sent him back with a team; and at 11 o’clock on Sunday night the sick man arrived and was attended carefully until Monday morning. He drank some warm milk and appeared to be quiet at 7 o’clock in the morning, then he said to Mr. Punch: ‘I came from Tacoma and am going to New Westminster. I have been very ill and eat nothing the last four days. My name is Patrick McDonnell. I was mining in Cassiar, and I came from St. John’s, New Brunswick.’ In fifteen minutes the unfortunate stranger was dead. He was a Roman Catholic and about 50 years of age. That is the short history of a tragedy: but now comes the comedy, where the insignificance of responsible ministers appears just as it is. Mr. Punch, the good Samaritan, called on the Government agent in this city, and asked him to take charge of the body and have it interred. He shook his head and then said, ‘It is not my duty.’ On making enquiry Mr. Punch discovered that the Town Council had no authority to act. A stranger said, ‘Leave the body on the beach and let it rot, and then the responsible ministers will remove a nuisance.’ Punch is a Christian; he paid for a coffin out of his pocket, and the body was decently interred. It is evident that our four responsible ministers have no idea of law, order or decency, and that the systems they have introduced by puerile legislation are a disgrace to civilization.”

From the British Columbia Death Certificate for Patrick McDonald:

Date of Death:  June 1, 1885.
Age:  “about 50.”
Birthplace:  “New Brunswick.”
Occupation:   “Miner.”

From the Municipality of Surrey, Minutes of Council Meeting, July 11, 1885:

“Bill of James Punch for the Burial Patrick McDonald $33.87. Moved by cou Stender sec by cou Cann that Mr James Punch be paid the sum of $33.87 for the Burial of Patrick McDonald Carried.”
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