John Heber – Hard Labour
As I am not going back to work until the end of May, one of the things I know I need to do is to clean up my back room where my computer and my family history stuff are. I’ve got a couple of piles of paper and research I’ve done over the last year or so that I haven’t really done much with.
So, with this in mind to clean up, I started yesterday to go through the information and record the information into my Legacy Database and to scan any documents and attach them to the appropriate person. I was going really well until this afternoon, when I came across a page from the May 1880, Police Gazette of listing a ‘return of Prisoners tried’. The last entry on the page was for a John Heber ‘inflicting grievous bodily harm’ to Paul Heber (his father). John was sentenced to 6 months Hard Labour in Maitland Gaol. I recorded the details in the database but I thought I would check Trove out to see if there was a newspaper article about the incident. There was and more.
I note here that John Heber was married to Ellen McCormack, my maternal great grandmother’s sister.
The first thing I saw when I searched Trove was reports from various papers in April 1903 of ‘Attempted Wife Murder’, ‘Sensation at Maitland’, ‘The Pelaw Main Sensation’. I’ll write a separate post about what occurred in 1903.
Prior to the 1880 incident there appears to be a number of incidents involving John and his family.
From various other newspaper articles:
The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893) Saturday 3 May 1873
‘A Jeremiah Boland, on the same day, was charged with having assaulted a boy named John Heber, at Oswald, near Lochinvar, on the 27th April.
John would have only been 13 at the time. Jeremiah was also charged with assaulting Margaret Heber (John’s mother), as well as destroying certain fencing, the property of Paul Heber (Husband of Margaret & father to John).
Three years after the above incident, Paul Heber, John’s father posted the following add in the Maitland Mercury on the 27th July 1876
ANY PERSON EMPLOYING OR HARBOURING MY SON, JOHN HEBER, who is under age, will be PROSECUTED as the law directs, PAUL HEBER, Luskintyre North Vineyard.
On the 29th January 1874 a Michael Boland was charged “with having violently assaulted one Paul Heber, at Luskintyre. This report is rather long and if you want to read – you can do so by reviewing the report here.
The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893)
Tuesday 22 June 1880
John Heber surrendered to his bail on the charge that he did, at Luskintyre, on the 3rd day of May, feloniously, unlawfully, and maliciously wound one Paul Heber with intent thereby then to do him some grievous bodily harm.
Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr. R. A. Youag.
Mr. C. G. Heydon prosecuted for the Crown and opened the case to the jury.
From the evidence it appeared that the prosecutor and the prisoner, who was his son, were not on friendly terms, and Heber had prohibited his son from coming to his house. Between 7 and 8 o’clock on the evening of the 3rd of May last in consequence of something the prosecutor’s daughter had told him, he went outside of his house at Luskintyre and saw the prisoner outside the back door. Prosecutor asked the prisoner what he wanted. The latter, who had a stick in his hand, replied that he would b-soon let him know.
Prisoner asked for his clothes, which prosecutor had previously thrown out. Heber told his son that he had thrown his clothes out on the wood-heap. Prisoner replied ” You b—— German b——, I’ll break your b——– jaw, like you had it broken before.” Prosecutor went back into the house and, got a stick or axe-handle, and afterwards went back and returned with a gun in his hand. He held the gun by the barrel, and made a kind of a shove ,at prisoner witfy the butt of it. Prisoner took the gun out of Heber‘s hand, and then struck him over the head with the stick he held in his hand, the blow causing Heber to fall on to the ground. Heber was afterwards carried into the bedroom, and was laid up for a fortnight or so. He was attended by Dr. R. J. Pierce during his illness. The prosecutor admitted that he had taken a quart of wine from dinner time that day up to the time of the assault, and was rather excited. About six or seven years ago he was bound over to keep the peace towards a person named Boland. Prisoner did not hit him with a stick until he struck or shoved the prisoner with the gun. Prosecutor also admitted that he was reputed by some to be a quarrelsome man when in liquor. Prisoner was turned out for being disobedient and refusing to work. Another version of the affair given by John Heber, another of prosecutor’s sons, was that the prisoner and prosecutor seemed to be hitting at each other before the prisoner struck his rather with the stick. This witness also admitted that he had been turned out of the house on four or five occasions, and the prosecutor was a pretty violent man when in liquor. Witness’s father and mother quarrelled, and sometimes Heber turned his wife out, and sometimes she left of her own accord. Similar admissions were made by prosecutor’s daughter.
The prisoner was in the habit of coming to the house for his clothes, which were washed there. When Dr. Pierce saw the prosecutor about three hours after the assault, the latter was insensible, and his eyes were bunged up. There were two large wounds on the fore- head, one, a straight wound, about three and half inches long, running from his hair to the nose ; and the other, a semi-circular wound, about two and a half inches long. Both wounds were completely cut to the bone, and were bleeding freely, his clothes being saturated with blood -, one of the front teeth was also broken. The doctor was of opinion that there must have been more than one blow to have inflicted the injuries described. Prisoner after the arrest told the constable that the prosecutor had struck at him with a gun, and asked his brother to go down to a stump in the paddock and get the gun which his father had broken over him. Prisoner had the stick in his hand before his father came out.
Mr. Young addressed the jury for the de- fence He submitted that what the prisoner did was done in self-defence. On the occasion of the assault the prisoner went to the house as he was in the habit of doing to see after his clothes which his mother had washed for him, when he was attacked by the prosecutor, who admitted that he struck the prisoner with the gun before the latter had struck him. The quarrels between prosecutor and the prisoner arose through the latter always stepping in and protecting his mother from the violence of the prosecutor.
At one o’clock the jury retired to consider their verdict, at twelve minutes past one they returned into court with a verdict of guilty of unlawfully wounding, with a recommendation to mercy on account of circumstances of aggravation. His Honor said he would take into consideration the fact that it was the prisoner’s first offence, and also the recommendation of the jury, and inflict a lighter sentence than he would under other circumstances. Prisoner was sentenced to be imprisoned in Maitland gaol for six months with hard labour.
- Posted in: Heber