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Forum Home > The Ultimate Crime. > Quarry Bank " Murder ". 1856.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Quarry Bank Murder, 1856. Joseph Chivers. Cradley Heath, David Taylor, Rowley Regis. Australia.


Every story, so they say, has two sides, and this one is no exception to the rule. Over time, memories fade, get distorted, " facts " get added, and what you hear, is a mixed up version of the actual events. Research sometimes turns up a few surprises, as in the following little tale.


Joseph Chivers,  was born in 1826, in Wrights Lane, Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis. Following his fathers trade, he became a miner, like so many others in the Town. Also, like many others, he quickly became familiar with the demon drink, and that other ' sporting ' pastime of the area, Dog Fighting. He married in 1846, Sarah Ann, his wife, was expecting at the time, and a few months later, gave birth to a daughter. Young Sarah, was joined in 1850 by a brother, Joseph, and the family then lived in Windmill Hill, Cradley.  The area was famous, or notorious, depending on your view, for staging many Dog fights, in the local Pubs. These so called 'events', attracted large crowds, some to gamble, some to brag of their expertise at raising good fighting dogs. The names of some of these breeders, are still spoken of with great reverence, even today. Some would say, as the so called " sport " is still in existance, the correct word should be shame. The other half of the story, for there has to be one, was called David Taylor, born in 1819 in Rowley Regis, the son of a Rowley Nailer.  He also was a drinker, and like Joseph Chivers, had an interest in fighting dogs. Between 1851 and 1855, both men had come across each other at different venues, mainly though, at a Pub in Quarry Bank called The Waggon and Horses. There was some trouble between them, as Chivers dogs tended to be slightly better than Taylors, and following the last fight, Taylors dog had died. He had accused Chivers of poisoning his animal, and even though it was unlikely to be true, became more incensed as time went by. Challanged to a fist fight, Chivers came out on top, making Taylor even more angry.  In March of that year,1856, Joseph Chivers wife Sarah, sadly died, leaving him with two young children to look after, and of course, putting him under a great deal of stress. Taylor meanwhile, gathering about him a group of fellow " sportsmen and drunkards " , ignoring Chivers recent loss, paid him a vist in June. What do you do, when confronted by a drunken mob, who kicked in the door, and then invaded your home? You defend yourself. Which is exactly what Chivers did, picking up a kitchen knife, and stabbing the ringleader. David Taylor died a few minutes later, and Chivers was next morning under lock and key, awaiting his fate, at Stafford Quarter Sessions.


The story is somewhat different, and it could be correct, that Joseph Chivers was a Waggoner, except that at his trial he stated that he was a miner. It could also be true, that on the night of the killing, in June, Chivers wife was very ill, except that the records show she died in March. There's no way now of knowing, if the address given in the story is correct either, two years before, Taylor was living in Rowley Village, and Chivers in Windmill Hill. Charged with Murder, Joseph Chivers was lucky, enough people testified that the act was committed under extreme pressure, and was purely self defence. The Judge and Jury agreed, and Chivers was only found guilty of the reduced charge of Manslaughter.  There however, his luck ended, for he was sentenced to Transportation to Australia for 14 years. His family, much reduced, were sent to live with his relatives, and he went off to the Hulks, to await a ship.


The Lord Raglan, was built in Cardiff, in 1854, especially for the transport of prisoners. A modest 756 tons, she was designed to carry 300 convicts. On 5th March, 1858, she set sail for Western Australia, with 84 passengers, and 270 convicts, Joseph Chivers was one of the convicted. The ship was at sea for 88 days, and docked at Freemantle on 1st June, 1858, some of her human cargo of 268, ( two died enroute ) bound for the Swan River Settlement. The rest ended up in Van Demens Land. (Tasmania ) Now, according to the records, comes to light another few facts that don't match the old story. He was discribed as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, ( the story says he was called " Big Joe " ) of a middling stout build, with sandy hair. His records still show him as a miner, and indeed, he had a coal cut scar over his left eye, a burn mark on his right arm, and the top joint of the second finger of his left hand missing. All the marks of a miner, who had endured a few accidents at his work. I only have a few more bits to add. His daughter Sarah died in 1860, but his son Joseph, who went to live with his grandparents in Mountain Ash, South Wales, became, like his father, a miner. The name changed slightly, from Chivers to Chevers, as it did in other cases, when people wanted a fresh start. I hope he did better than his father. In 1863, Joseph Chivers re-married, and there the trail go'es cold, perhaps someone will recognise the name, and get in touch.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 6, 2011 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

TomS
Member
Posts: 3

Joseph Chivers.


Joseph was my  3x great grandfather; his son Joseph Charles Chivers emigrated to the USA (and used the origianal spelling of his last name), and ended up in Braceville, Illinois by 1880, where he worked as a miner (and at other occupations, but I don't have my notes in front of me right now).   Thank you so much for this history; I would love to know/see your sources and share with you anything I can.  : )

Tom Spademan

Flint, Michigan, USA

tspademan at sbcglobal.net 

October 9, 2011 at 10:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

TomS
Member
Posts: 3

Joseph Chivers.


Joseph Chivers ended up at Fremantle Prison, which has an excellent website covering its history.  Here is a link to their database of convicts: 

http://www.fremantleprison.com.au/Pages/Convict.aspx

Joseph received a conditional pardon according to his record, on May 20, 1863, and left for New Zealand in October, 1876. 

October 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

TomS
Member
Posts: 3

Say, Dennis, are any of the structures on Wright's lane of 19th century vintage?  I took a "Google maps" tour of the area.  :)  Wonderful. 

October 9, 2011 at 1:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Joseph Chivers.


E-Mail on the way to you Tom, and thank you for the link, very interesting, and it will help in my future research projects. I'm also sure some of the site members, and many of the guests will also find it useful. Thanks for the compliments by the way, it's nice to be appreciated, and to know all the research was worthwhile.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Quarry Bank, Brierley  Hill, Murder,1856.


I have already said, both in this topic, elsewhere on the site, that stories passed down the ages, do tend sometimes to be a bit short of the mark. Only through some diligent research, does a more accurate picture sometimes emerge. Such is the case with this story, and Tom has, and continue's, to unearth a fuller picture of his relative's life. He has kindly sent me the latest piece to surface, in what has become a facinating trawl through time. The item below, comes from the Daily News, a London Newspaper's report of the murder, dated just a week after the event, 17th March, 1856.


Murder at Quarry Bank, near Stourbridge.


A dreadful affair took place at Quarry-Bank, in the neighbourhood of Brierley-Hill, on the evening of Sunday last. A man named David Taylor, a nailer, 21 years of age, met with his death under circumstances which which threaten to lead to the most serious consequences -- three men, farther and sons, being now in custody on a charge of committing the murder. The name of the prisoners are Josiah Chivers, aged 59; Joseph Chivers, aged 30, and Josiah Chivers, aged 20, the two sons of the first mentioned. The elder Chivers was a watchman in the service of the New British Iron Company, at Cradley Heath; his son Joseph was a collier, and his son Josiah was also a collier, in the employment of the same company. Joseph Chivers is married and resided near the scene of the catastrophe; and it would appear that on Sunday last, his wife having recently been confined of her fourth child, his father and brother ( Josiah and Josiah, jun.) who resided at Rowley, paid him a visit with a view to celebrate the event. They arrived in a light spring cart, which, after unharnessing the horse, they placed near the door of Joseph Chivers residence. At about 12 o'clock at night some person took the liberty of removing the cart, and then running it against the the house door, when the Chiverses left the house and a quarrel commenced. A person named Joseph Morris, a fireman in the service of Messers Swindell and Company, at Cradley Heath, was going home at the time with his wife and daughter. On arriving near to the New Inn, Quarry Bank, he heard a scuffle, and saw Joseph Chivers, whom ne heard charging four or five young men with running the cart against his door, and thereupon he ( Joseph Chivers ) laid hold of one by the collar and threatened him. A general fight ensued, in the course of which the two Joseph Chiverses went up. Some women went up at the same moment, and exclaimed to the two young prisoners, " Do 'um, goe' on,gie 'um some moor " The three prisoners then followed the party of young men, amongst whom the man Morris saw the deceased David Taylor, and in a moment afterwards he ( Morris ) saw Joseph Chivers run at Taylor, and knock him down. Joseph Chivers fell upon the deceased, and remained upon him for for four or five minutes, exclaiming while upon him, " Danm him, I'll murder him ". Morris saw Joseph Chivers strike the deceased while the former was upon him, but he could not see whether there was anything in his hand. The deceased cried " Murder ", when Joseph Chivers immediatly after getting up from him said, " I'll stop the bugger hooting murder ". Joseph Chivers then walked up the road towards his own house with the women and  the two other prisoners. The man Morris did not see anyone strike the deceased but Joseph Chivers; but he said the other two Chiver's were running about the road while the scene just described was going on. Strange to say, nobody took any notice of the deceased, who was left lying upon the ground. But about 4 o'clock on Monday morning a person saw Police Constable Millington on duty, and told him that he had a man who had been murdered, lying in the middle of the turn-pike road in the locality referred to, and over whom he had like to have stumbled. Millington went to the spot described, which is about a mile and a half from Brierley Hill. He there found the murdered man.


There are of course some glaring differences between the above report and the local one's. There's no mention of any dog-fighting feud for a start, which is understandable, it was illegal. I can see the temptation for a group of obviously drunken young men to have a game with an empty cart, but why ram it into Joseph Chivers door, unless it was designed to intimidate the man. They must have known the circumstances in the house at the time, perhaps, being five strong, they thought they would have the upper hand. It's beginning to become clearer as well, as to why, after the resulting trial, Chivers sentence of death was commuted to transportation. No one saw a knife, and no one saw a blow stuck, other than with a fist. The local story, that the wounded man was taken away by his " friends ", is clearly untrue, they all ran away and left him there. The records show, that just after this sad event, Joseph Chivers wife died, while he was in Stafford Gaol. This would also have had some bearing on the sentence. Something else that came to light while I was searching,  Josiah Chivers jnr,  was suffocated to death, by Carbolic Acid Gas, at Enoch Bowers colliery at Clattershall, Brierley Hill,  on 11th March, 1868. Almost exactly 12 years to the day of the murder.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Joseph Chivers, Quarry Bank,1856.


Recently turned up, a bit of information concerning the victim, David Taylor. He was, it seems, born in Quarry Bank, which was in the registration district of Kingswinford, in1837. This would put his age at just 19 when he died. There were three other young men with him that night, all of whom had been drinking. Of the other three, Samuel Grosvenor, 19, and Herbert Foxall, 18, both got clear, but Josiah Raybould,19, who, unlike the others came from Commonside, Pensnett, was knocked to the ground. The principle witness, Joseph Morriss, although he saw many blows struck, did not see Joseph Chivers with a knife, nor anyone else for that matter. Taylor died on the pavement outside The New Inn, ( photo in the Pubs Album in the Gallery ) and no one knew he had been stabbed until the Surgeon announced it some time later. So just who did fatally stab the young man ? Who did Chivers shield ?, his brother ?, his father ?, or even a female of the family. In any case, it must have been someone very close, to accept 15 years transportation. If not for the efforts of his defence lawyer, John Burberry, he could very well have been hanged.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Quarry Bank Murder, Joseph Chivers,1856. Freemantle, Western Australia 1858.


This story has been a bit of a learning curve really, both for Tom Spademan and myself. It's been facinating, watching the real story unfold, piece by piece, and I am indepted to Tom for the additional information. Here then, is a little round up of the details.


Joseph Chivers, born 1827. Convicted of Manslaughter, Stafford, England, 1856. Occupation, Miner, Married, two children, Semi-Literate, and a Protestant. Sentence, 15 years transportation. Place of confinement, Prison Hulk, Plymouth, Devonshire. Convict number, 4793, Ship, Lord Ragln. Sailed, Plymouth, 5th March,1858. Arrived at Freemantle, Western Australia, 1st June,1858. Ticket of leave, 2nd May,1860. Conditional Pardon date, 20th May,1863. Certified Freedom date, 7th June, 1873. ( Note, The prisoners sentence only began when he or she reached the appointed place of confinement, i.e, Australia. The time spent in the dreadful conditions on the Hulks was discounted. ) Place of release, Champion Bay, near Geraldton, W.A. Departure, 6th October, 1876, to New Zealand.


Joseph Chivers died in New Zealand, never returning home, his son eventualy went in the opposite direction, to the United States, where he had a long and happy life, and left many relatives, Tom included. For further information on the Chivers Family, you can contact Tom Spademan via his e-mail, which is included in his posts above.


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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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