Carlow town, Inquest 1820.
An Inquistition Indented taken on behalf of our Gracious
Sovereign Lord the King at the house of Richard White in the
Town of Carlow this 24th day of May before James Ryan,
Coroner, on view of the body of the said Richard White then
and there lying dead upon the Oath of the Jurors: Richard
King, William Galbraith, Joseph Bowles, Edward Kennedy,
Michael Connolly, Stanley Johnson, John Bowers, William O'
Brien, John Burbridge, Edward Keating, Edward Giltenan,
Hamilton Gardiner and John Brennan, good and Lawful men.
The said Richard White came to his death on the 19th May he
being riding in a Gig drawn by a certain Gelding on the
trackway of the River Barrow, it so happened that the
Gelding took fright and flung Richard White on the ground by
means whereof Richard White received one Compound fracture
of the left leg and that by the improper treatment and
management of the fracture by a person by the name of
Sylvester Duigan and other improper treatment Richard White
did languish until the 23rd day of May at his dwelling house
in the Town of Carlow and did then and there die and the
above named Jurors upon their Oath do say that the death of
Richard White was occasioned by the means aforesaid,
(signed) James Ryan, Coroner for Carlow.
Statement of William Ryan of the Town of Carlow, Surgeon
and Doctor of Physic.
Saith that on the evening of Friday the 19th of May 1820 he
was called to attend Richard White at his house in the Town
of Carlow. He found that Richard White's leg was fractured
with a considerable projection of the upper bone over the
lower bone of the leg, William Ryan got assistance and
brought the bones in opposition to each other for a short
time but in consequence of the contraction of the muscles
they over lapped to a considerable degree and finding it
impossible to keep them in their proper situation he was
obliged to remove a small portion of the upper bone and
finding it still impossible to keep them in their proper
situation he made a small incision to bring the bones to a
proper situation when Doctor Reede of the Town of Carlow
came in and was told by William Ryan of all he had done -
Doctor Reede sanctioned all he had done and Doctor Reede
placed the leg in the most easy position and then bandaged
the fractured part lightly.
On the following day William Ryan was told by Doctor Reede
that a man by the name of Sylvestor Deegan had been at
Richard White's house for the purpose of setting the leg,
William Ryan then called to White's house to ascertain the
fact where he was informed by Richard White that Slyvestor
Deegan was contacted by White's wife and that Deegan had set
Patrick McQuirk of the Town of Carlow, Publican saith that
on Saturday the 20th of May about the hour of eight o'clock
in the forenoon he met Slyvestor Deegan at the door of
Richard White's house and went into the house when he saw
Deegan and others directed by Deegan strip and open the
bandages on Richard White's leg, White was Roaring and
Bawling with pain, he saw Slivestor Deegan set White's leg
and heard White say he was more free from pain than before
- he then saw Deegan apply four wooden splints to Whites
leg and then he bandaged then up.
Richard White died three days later.
Examination of Mary White, widow of
Richard White, deceased, sayith that on the 20th day of May
1820 her husband Richard White was Roaring and Bawling in
great pain all night and day, having been attended by
William Ryan, Surgeon, and Dr Reede of the Town of Carlow.
Mary White was told by Sally Keegan of
Bridewell Lane to call Sylvestor Deegan, of John Street,
Carlow, a bonesetter of repute to set her husband's leg in
the proper fashion, as it was apparent to the aforesaid
Sally Keegan that William Ryan, Surgeon, had made a hames of
doing so the previous day.
Sylvester Deegan came to the house with
others, namely, James Reddy, John Hendrick, Mark Deer and
Thomas Murphy to hold down her husband Richard White while
Sylvester Deegan made to open the fracture and set it.
Bernard Murphy of Castle Hill
administered a pot of homemade strong Spirits brewed by
Henry Nowlan of Bridewell Lane, to have Richard drink in
order to deaden the pain.
Sylvester Deegan left her husband in some
ease and the pain stopped for only a little time, within the
hour the leg swelled in an alarming manner.
Mary White was told to send for Mary
Doyle, a Handy Woman of repute of Bridewell Lane to bleed
the leg and head and place Leeches on the several wounds
opened by Mary Doyle thereby to bleed the leg and head.
Such was the pain and inconvenience her
husband suffered and caused by the fracture that he could be
heard roaring out on the road, her husband drank the
remainder of the homemade Spirits supplied by Henry Nowlan.
On that same day William Ryan, Surgeon,
called to the house and expressed his displeasure at his
good work being interfered with and told her not to call on
him again in any circumstances, he then demanded five
shillings for payment, she could only render him three
shillings and four pence, half-penny, he then told her that
as Richard White was in this situation as it now manifested
itself so he would die (roaring).
Several hours later Richard White was
calling loudly for Doctor Reede to have his leg taken off,
she called on Doctor Reede who informed her that he could
not undo the work of a Renegade so called bonesetter and
said her husband would have to be buried with his leg
intact. The leg was many times its normal size, on the 22nd
day of May she called again on Sylvester Deegan who came to
the house and broke the fracture again and set it again, and
cutting some bone in doing so that it would set in a natural
position, during this procedure Richard White was held down
by several neighbours.
Patrick McQuirke, Publican, of Potato
Market, gave Richard some Bonded Spirits to drink, Henry
Nowlan brought an extra pot of homemade Spirits and
administered same to her husband, she will now testify that
it is her belief that the homemade Spirits was illegal brew.
Mary Doyle then cut more incisions to
stop the swelling and placed Leeches on the open wounds.
Richard White languished in great pain
and died within three days, she is now left a poor widow
with seven young children and further sayth not, Sworn
before me this 24th day of May 1820,
Fishbourne, one of his Majestys Magistrates for the Peace in
It be advised that Henry Nowlan of
Bridewell Lane be taken into custody and held in the Jail of
Carlow until the next assizes of Carlow to stand trial for
the brewing of illegal Black Pot Whiskey.
Bunbury, one of his Majestys Magistrates for the Peace in
Note from Michael Purcell:
[Readers may have noticed
some anomalies in the Richard White case – the 1820
bonesetter was at times recorded as Sylvester / Sylvestor
Deegan elsewhere Duigan...(Deegan appears to be
correct)...the Coroner James Byrne appears on some forms to
be James Ryan (Byrne is correct)..depends on who was
completing the forms,....I usually try to check other
sources and correct before posting but in this instance
there were 8 pages of reports dealing with Richard White's
injury and death so I posted all the variations in our three
emails as they were recorded on originals as example to
readers of the problems in transcribing some documents.]