This story taken from an article published in the “Border Watch” the newspaper of the Mount Gambier area in south east South Australia, and published on Wednesday 2 February 1870 (courtesty of trove.nla.gov.au). It is interesting, but again it’s very hard for me to say which James Heneker is involved, unless I can find proof of either father or son living in this area, (they did move here as a family for some time) but as son James would have been 20 years old he may have been working somewhere else.
The story is as follows:
LOCAL COURT, NARACOORTE, Thursday January 27 2870
Before G.B. Scott, Esq., S.M. and Messrs Gunning and Hinckley, J.P.s
Beer v. McKinnon.
Claim 25 pounds, for causing the death of a mare, the property of the Plaintiff.
Mr Cullen for plaintiff, Mr. Waterhouse for defendant.
Plaintiff gave evidence that on 28th May last, defendant told him he had ridden the mare down to Guichen Bay; defendant said she was very dull; said he would fetch the mare back on the following Sunday; did not do so; gave him no authority to take the mare; on sending for the mare heard that she was lame; the man he sent said she had an overflow of milk; had a foal running with her; plaintiff next heard that the mare was dead; examined her, but could give no decided opinion as to the cause of her death. thought it was caused by overheating; saw her three weeks or a month after the defendant rode her to the Bay; she was a good stout mare; had refused 25 pounds for her; kept her for breeding purposes; never gave defendant permission to ride her at all; never gave his wife authority to give defendant permission to ride her.
James Heneker- Defendant told witness he rode the mare to the Bay and fetched her back; said he hammered her a little, but not much; went to seek for the mare afterwards and found that she was lame; didn’t know where she was lame; thought in the off hind leg; she had an overflow of milk; the foal was with her.
Frederick Smith – Heard defendant say he had given the mare a thrashing; never gave defendant authority from Mrs. Beer to take the mare.
George Lannin – Defendant told witness he rode the mare to Guichen Bay to fetch a saddle and crupper for Mrs. Beer, and that he gave her a good thrashing.
Mrs. Beer – Never gave the defendant authority to ride the mare.
This was the plaintiff’s case.
Defendant said Mrs Beer told him she wished him to ride the mare to tame her down; took her down to Guichen Bay and fetched a side saddle and crupper back for Mrs Beer; only rode her six miles; led her the rest of the way there and back at the rate of about four miles an hour, rested frequently put her in the pad dock where he got her from; she was all right then ; the foal was with her all the time.
Joseph Hunt – Saw the mare put in the paddock when the defendant brought her back; she was in good condition was not lame at all.
Two other witnesses said they had seen the mare several times on her way back from the Bay ; defendant was leading her she had nothing on her back but a side saddle.
Mr Waterhouse addressed the bench and said there was no proof that the death of the mare was caused by the act of the defendant. She was found dead three weeks later after he had bought her back. Mr Cullen contended that the presumption was strong that the death of the mare was caused by the defendant’s act.
The bench after twenty minutes consultation returned a verdict for the defendant without costs.
The above is an exact copy from the printed newspaper article. I find it sad that a relative of mine had “thrashed” the horse and was blamed for it’s death. In Australia to “thrash” something can mean (especially in old terms, people would say “I thrashed the kid, or I will thrash you if you do that again!”) In this context I assume to “thrash” the horse meant to ride it as hard as they could. Whatever, as a vegan and animal lover it does upset me, however my understanding of my great great grandfather James Heneker was that he was a kind and caring man who did many good deeds, in fact risking his life to save children from a tent fire. But as a man who worked with bullock teams, I suppose he may have been harsh of animals. And the same could be said for his son James Heneker, who carried out very similar work as his father. Back in those rough days, I assume being gentle to “working” animals was not a consideration. I don’t know, but I still don’t like to think of this poor mare dying (and being treated in that way) especially with a foal in tow.
However that is part of the history I can’t change. As I mentioned I can’t tell if this relates to James Heneker Senior born in 1826, or his son James Heneker born in 1950. It could have been either of them.
Photograph copyright by Trevorsbirding.com 2016