The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

June 20th, 2012

Hunting Accident

Oct. 27, 1932 – Springhill RecordMrs. M. Spencer Accident Victim

Parrsboro Oct. 25, 1932

     Mrs. Major Spencer of Parrsboro was shot in the neck and almost instantly killed Saturday morning when she was mistaken for a deer by a party of hunters, who had hidden themselves in a hut at West Brook, waiting for dawn while a very heavy haze was still on the ground.  Mel Rushton, of Springhill, one of the party, saw what he took to be a deer coming out of the woods and crossing an open clearing, less than a hundred feet from their shelter.  Leaping to the open window, he flung his rifle down on the ledge to rest and his first shot lodged in the throat of Mrs. Spencer, who, with Josiah Fulton, for whom she worked as a housekeeper, for some time, was going hunting herself.  Only the sudden cry of Fulton saved him from injury and death also as the other members of the party were by this time endeavoring to get the supposed deer in the focus of their rifles, Fulton’s cry, brought to the Springhill party the full realization of what had really happened, but they could do nothing for the wounded woman, who passed away almost instantly.  With Rushton, in the party were John Lowther and Fred Rushton

     An inquest held Saturday Saturday afternoon at West Brook by Coroner Dr. Charles H. Henderson and the following jury was impaneled.  Chesley Dickinson, James Adams, Smith Pettigrew, Arthur Dodge, Harry Pettigrew, R. Pettigrew, Karl Dickinson, Carmen Bird, J.C. Henwood, J. Vanti, C. Pugsley.

     A verdict of accidental death was returned by the jury.  Officer McLeod of the Springhill detachment of the RCMP stated today no charge had been preferred against Rushton.

June 1, 1933    For mistaking Mrs. Spencer of Southampton for a deer last fall, Melvin Rushton, of Springhill, will face trial for manslaughter.  Rushton, seeing a form through the fog, fired in the direction of the shadow and struck down Mrs. Spencer, who was crossing a field with a male companion, shortly after sun-up.

June 22, 1933Mel Rushton Found Guilty

Amherst, June 20 – After a retirement that extended for over five hours the Petit Jury in the Supreme Court tonight returned a verdict of “Guilty” against Melvin Rushton of Springhill charged with man-slaughter.  A strong plea for clemency was submitted to Mr. Justice Ross by the foreman Howard A. Ripley.

     Rushton was held responsible for the death of Mrs. Major Spencer, of Southampton, whom he mistook for a deer on a hunting trip, a bullet from the rifle causing a fatal wound.

July 13, 1933Rushton Is Given Jail Sentence

     Amherst – Melvin Rushton of Springhill, who at the opening of the Supreme Court was found guilty of manslaughter was sentenced by Mr. Justice Hugh Ross, to a period of 12 months in the county jail.  Rushton and two other friends were at West Brook deer hunting.  They arose early in the morning at the call of John Harrison, who declared he saw two deer approaching.  Rushton put his gun through the window and fired at two moving figures.  To his horror he heard a man’s voice cry out – and rushing from the camp he discovered he had fatally wounded Mrs. Major Spencer of Southampton, who was also out shooting with a masculine companion.

     In imposing sentence Mr. Justice Ross informed Rushton that he realized the tragedy was entirely accidental but he stated that he did not think that Rushton had used sufficient precaution in ascertaining the identity of the object at which he was shooting.

     Previously, in charging the jury Justice Ross had stated that he wished to disassociate himself from a horde of careless hunters, who entered the woods every fall, who fired aimlessly and without any thought of any moving object.

July 27, 1933Chief Mont Gets Jail Breaker

     Police Chief William Mont is credited with a smart piece of work this week in the capture of a vagrant who declares he is George Stevens, wanted at Mahone Bay, for a sensational jail break.  Stevens, it is said, had been charged with entering the C.N.R. depot in that town, when arrested for a charge of vagrancy.  Stevens was representing himself as an agent for the Legionary, a magazine, published in the interest of ex-service men.  It is said he had collected several subscriptions.  Recalling to mind the description published in a Halifax daily of the man who broke jail in Mahone Bay and noting a similarity, the chief worked quickly in order to confirm his suspicions, which he was able to do.  It was a smart piece of work and Mr. Stevens will return to Mahone Bay to stand trial.