The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

December 8, 2010

Death of Alexander Rose

Springhill Record Oct. 1, 1931
    – Coroner’s Jury Returns Manslaughter Verdict

     Alfred Rose must Answer for Death of His Father

     “That Alex Rose came to his death as the result of a blow delivered by Alfred Rose, according to the evidence submitted” was the verdict of the jury empanelled by Coroner Dr. M.J. Wardrope in the Town Hall Wednesday evening, after hearing evidence submitted by eye witnesses.

     After a absence from the room of only a few minutes Foreman Harry Slater handed to the Coroner the written verdict of the jury.  Those on the jury were Harry Slater, foreman; Frank Davis, Dr. Murray Nicholson, Arthur Canning, John Murray, Fred Coulter, Patrick Donovan, John Leslie, William Cochrane, James Leadbetter, Thomas Faulds and Branford Matthews.

     The enquiry opened shortly after 7 o’clock with Coroner M.J. Wardrope presiding.  Daniel Nicholson, criminal investigator, of Glace Bay, who has been in Springhill for the past few days on special business, conducted the enquiry.  For the past few days Mr. Nicholson has been assisting Chief of Police, Wm. Mont in securing evidence in connection with the recent death of Alexander Rose, where foul play was suspected.  With a mass of signed statements from eye witnesses of the affair Mr. Nicholson arranged his witnesses and had them tell their story in their own way of just what they saw on the night that Alexander Rose received the injuries that caused his death two days later.

     Chief of Police was the first witness called to the stand.  The Chief submitted a rough plan of the kitchen and dining room of the Rose home.  The electric light that was burning in the kitchen Saturday night was placed as an exhibit.  Particular pains were taken to show that the light in question was burning brightly on the night referred to.

     Arthur McDonald, who was an occupant of the home and an eye witness of the fight, was the next witness.  He told of coming back from Amherst between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday night.  He was in the Rose home about 10 p.m. when two of the boys were fighting.  The father in an effort to quiet the boys took hold of Alfred, said the witness, but Alf broke his father’s hold and shoved him back.  He (Alf) then picked up a hardwood chair and swinging it hit his father on the back of the neck, knocking him down.  “Bill Gabriel and I picked him up and put him on the couch in the dining-room” said the witness.  “The only mark he had on his face then was a scratch on the right side.  Bill Gabriel and I were in the kitchen when this happened.  Maud and I went for Charlie and when he arrived he went into the dining room and asked what the trouble was.  Someone said ‘Alfred hit Dad with a chair.’  Charlie asked Alfred if he had done it and said ‘you must be crazy.’  I went outside for a few minutes and when I came back Mr. Rose said he was feeling pretty sore.  Shortly after Jack Gillis arrived and asked what the trouble was.  He then told Gabriel and I to leave the house.  When I came back five minutes later Alex Burton was there.  Alex went for a doctor but he couldn’t get one; he then brought his mother.  I stayed in the house all night and went home at 7:30 in the morning.”

     In answer to a question witness said that Alf Rose stated that he hit his father.  Witness stated that Rose fell on his face, with his head to the pantry door.  In his opinion he did not think that Mr. Rose could have fallen where he did if he had tripped on a mat between the dining room and kitchen doors.  Witness further stated that Alex Rose had been drinking.

     William Gabriel, another occupant of the house, on the night in question, in a sworn statement said that the blow from the chair did not knock the father down; that Alf Rose knocked his father down with a blow from his fist somewhere about his face.  He stated that Florence told Charlie that “Alf hit Daddie.”  Most of the witness evidence corroborated that given by McDonald.

    Dr. H.L. Simpson was the next witness.  He stated that he saw Alex Rose in the hospital on Sunday about 2:30 p.m.  He made a superficial examination and found that the patient was paralyzed from the neck down.  There was an abrasion of skin below the right eye.  An injury to the neck caused an interruption of stimuli to the brain.  The spinal column was affected with a result that paralysis set in.

     Next week’s column will have the results of the Dr.’s autopsy and the remaining eye witnesses.