Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Mary Morgan of Hosier Lane 1863

A search in Trove for information about Mary Morgan, wife of my Dad's 2nd Great uncle,  or anyone living in Hosier Lane, Melbourne around 1863 revealed a sad incident to which Mary Morgan, was a witness.

APA citation
NEWS OF THE DAY. (1863, April 2). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 5  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154962400

Transcription of above full page
Charlotte Cannon deposed
I am the wife of James Frazer Cannan - a seaman - I live in Hozier Lane Melbourne.  The deceased female infant - five weeks old- was my child.  Deceased was a healthy child from its birth.
On ? night the 30th instant I went to bed at one o'clock taking the deceased with me.  She was quite well at that time.  I gave her the breast and laid her against my arm as usual.  I went to sleep and did not wake again until 7 o'clock yesterday morning when Mrs Morgan knocked at my door and woke me.  As soon as she woke me I found the child dead.  I called out to Mrs Morgan who came into the room and we sent for Dr Lilienfield.  The bedclothes were not over deceased's face when I woke.  She was lying in the same position in which I had placed her.  She was quite cold.
Charlotte Cannan.

Transcription of above full page

Page 6

The deponent Mary Morgan on oath saith as follows:

I am the wife of Felix Morgan.  The mother of the deceased lives in my house.

I was with the mother up to one o'clock yesterday morning.  She was sitting in her room and I was with her.

She was working as a tailoress up to that hour.

In the morning at 7 o'clock I called her and almost as soon as I did so she called me into the room and I found the child was dead.  I sent for a doctor.  The mother seemed much distressed at losing the child..  

Mrs Cannan had only one glass of beer during the night preceding.  She was perfectly sober when she went to bed.

I have no reason to think that the child's death was from any other cause than an accidental one.

Mary Morgan

In the findagrave website I found the burial information for the infant who died.
The cemetery record states she was 
Charlotte Emily Cannan
BIRTH unknown
DEATH 31 Mar 1863
Melbourne General Cemetery
Carlton North, Melbourne City, Victoria, Australia
PLOT MGC-COE-Comp-LL-No-Public
MEMORIAL ID 201314421 · 

Gravesite Details
Public plot - no headstone - No Photo


  1. Good on Mary Morgan for providing a clear and concise statement in support of the mother.

  2. I found this very interesting Kerryn. It gives us an insight into how tailoresses worked and lived in the inner city. Would love to know what the building was like that they were living in.
    Secondly, I was intruiged that you found the burial of the infant in a public grave at Melbourne General cemetery on FindaGrave. Back in the 'olden days' when the microfiche of MGC was produced, the 'paupers' register wasn't included in that fiche. The only way you could find the info was to email MGC with an exact date of death from a newspaper article or death certificate, as they had to go and physically look through the bound volumes to locate the entry. If you didn't have an exact date you were lost. So this is an amazing revelation for me and I hope it keeps me from the housework for the next day or two. Thanks!

    1. Haha Jenny, happy to help provide and excuse to keep you from housework!

  3. Just an extra thought, perhaps young Charolotte was a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

    1. That was my thought too. Over laying was not unusual but it does sound like SIDS and the poor mother likely blamed herself for the rest of her life.