Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mystery Monday- The Mysterious Disappearance of Christina McGregor

Wallance Street Braidwood,
Not long ago I came across an article that caught my attention. I was as I call it "playing" on Trove.  This means, I randomly put in names and places connected with my family tree and see what comes up.  Lots of fun if you have time.  This evening, I was searching for family names that lived in the Braidwood, Major's Creek and Araluen area of New South Wales.  In the late 1850-1860's this district was a thriving mining community and many of my ancestors gravitated here to try and make their fortune in the new colony. One branch of my family tree is the McGregors.  Peter McGregor and his second wife Christina Miller/Muller came to Australia from Scotland with their family.  Imagine my surprise when I came across this article.

Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser (NSW : 1864 - 1867), Thursday 22 October 1863, page 2

MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE -On Thursday evening last, Mrs. McGregor of Berlang, left Toney's public-house at the top of Araluen Mountain to return home. The sun-was down at the time, and the night anything but favourable for a female to ride through a wild country alone. In the morning, as Mrs. McGregor had not returned home, search was made, and her horse with saddle and bridle on was found. Her husband, Mr. Peter McGregor, with some friends and neighbours,has been out ever since, but up to the date of the latest intelligence from Major's Creek, no clue can be found. It is much to be feared that Mrs. McGregor was thrown from her horse, and in the darkness of the night has fallen into some of the deep gullies and ravines which abound in this part of the country, in endeavouring to reach home. If such should turn out to be the case, but little hope remains that she will be found, for if dead her body would in all probability be devoured by native dogs, as was supposed to be the case with a lad who was lost in the same part of the bush some years since.

The article caught my attention, could this Mrs McGregor be related to me!!  I knew that my great,great,great Grandfather Peter McGregor had come to Australia and had settled into the Braidwood district, however, I had not heard any family stories about his wife Christina's untimely death!!

I searched  on Trove  little more, using the date of death to see if I could find any more information on Mrs McGregor's mysterious disappearance.  It took a while, finally I found another article that answered the question as to what happened to Mrs McGregor.

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), Saturday 24 October 1863, page 4

The late mysterious disappearance.  In our last issue we stated that Mrs. McGregor, wife of Mr Peter McGregor of Berlang had been missing since the previous Tuesday evening.  Her body was found on Friday Morning, and a magisterial inquiry held on the following day, at Toney's Public House, Majors Creek before J.H. Griffin, Esq. J.P., cleared up the mystery. It appeared from the evidence that the last time Mrs McGregor was seen alive was on Tuesday evening at about five o'clock, when she called at Toney's public house, which is a distant about four miles from her house, and remarked, on leaving, that she had plenty of time to get home before dark. The people who saw her last say that she had a glass, but was sober at the time she started for home. On the following (Wednesday) morning her horse was found about half a mile on the road between the public house and Berlang, tied to a sapling and inquiries to the fact that she had not yet reached her home, induced a further search, which was continued until Friday morning, when her cold body was found in an old shaft full of water about 300 yards at the rear of Toney's premises by her stepson. 

A post mortem examination by Dr Beer proved that she had been alive when falling into the shaft, and she had died from asphyxia.  The night upon which Mrs McGregor was missing was intensely dark, wet and stormy and the probability is that she had missed her way, and got off the road, and in making back for the public house lamp, had fallen into the shaft.  Her remains were interned on Sunday in the presence of a large concourse of friends and neighbours.  Braidwood Dispatch October 21 

Death Certificate - Christina McGregor
Oh what a sad story!!!  I still had not confirmed that she was  Christina McGregor, the wife of my Peter McGregor.  Time to look for some concrete evidence.  I did a search on the NSW Birth, Deaths and Marriages site, and found a Christina McGregor who had died in the Braidwood District in 1863.  I sent off my money and request for a copy of the death certificate.  I had to solve this mystery!!

 For the next week, I checked my mail box with eager anticipation!! 

The certificatee finally arrived and confirmed my suspicions. The death certificate for Peter McGregor's wife Christina stated that she had died from  asphyxia, after falling into a mine shaft.

My mystery solved!  Poor Christina who had travelled all the way from Scotland with her husband Peter McGregor and her stepchildren twelve years prior had met with such an unfortunate accident at the age of 44.  

Once again, thank you Trove!! for helping me find another fascinating story about my family tree. 



  1. As well as all the treats that Trove brings us, it also brings to light sad stories like Christina falling down the mine shaft and then being trapped there. Imagine her panic and horror.

  2. yes, I am afraid newpaper articles generally tell us about the bad things our ancestors have done or the sad things that have happened to them.