Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another Fatal Accident by an 'Alligator': Baker family, Natal 1854

Natal Mercury 22 February 1854

On Sunday morning, as two children of Mr Baker, residing near the upper drift of the Umgeni (usually called Peel's Drift) were bathing in shallow water at the side of the river, an alligator* seized the older, a child of ten years, by the side, above the hip, and dragged him from his hold of the rope which crosses the stream, and by means of which both children were as they thought safely amusing themselves. The younger (only seven years), on his brother shrieking out, seized his uplifted hand, but the monster tore his victim away into deep water, and not a fragment of the poor children has since been found. It is high time that a reward was offered for every alligator destroyed in order to prevent the destruction of human life now so frequent in our rivers.

On Sunday, the 26th instant, at his residence near the Umgeni, aged 42, Mr Thomas Brenchly Baker, leaving a widow and numerous young family to mourn their irreparable loss. The death of the lamented deceased is believed to have been accelerated, if not occasioned, by the fatal accident to his child by an alligator in the river, which we reported last week. Mr Baker was suffering under slight illness at the time; but that distressing event deeply affected him, and aggravated disease supervened.

On Monday, the 20th ultimo, at New Germany, near this place, by the Rev. WHC Lloyd, MA, Colonial Chaplain, and afterwards by the Rev. M Sabon, Catholic Priest; Robert Daniel Eagar, Esquire, of this place, eldest son of Edward Eagar, Esquire, of Cape Town, to Euphrosine Mary, youngest daughter of the late Justus Suaving, Esquire, also of Cape Town. 

*i.e. crocodile: no alligators in Natal

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