Sheffield Independent – Thursday 04 July 1889
The Drowning Case At Mexbro’
An inquest was held at the Crown Inn, Swinton, yesterday, by Mr. D. Wightman, coroner, on the body of Emma Mountain, 18 years of age, domestic servant daughter of Stephen Mountain, miner, who lives at Swinton. ‘
The deceased was found drowned in the canal at Mexbro’, on Monday, after having been away from her place of service for several days.
Stephen Mountain, miner, Swinton, father of the deceased, said his daughter had been living in service with James Longbottom, first at Whiston, and afterwards at Mexbro’ and he did not know of any trouble she was in. When he saw her last she was in very good spirits, and was generally cheerful. He had recently heard that a married man who lived at Kilnhurst had been visiting her while she was at Whiston, and passing off as her uncle. A few weeks ago he asked this man to accompany him in a walk to Mexbro’ to see his daughter whose master had removed there from Whiston, although he did not know at that time know that this man had been to see his daughter. The man hesitated a little and remarked that he should have to pass as her uncle if he went. He thought this was a piece of nonsense, and continued to think so when his daughter addressed him as uncle. He did not think the deceased had committed suicide, but had fallen into the canal accidentally.
Longbottom wife of James Longbottom, landlord of the Park Hotel, Mexbro’, said the deceased had been in her employ about a year, and during ten months of that time they had lived at Whiston. A week ago last Monday the deceased went to Mexbro’ feast, and did not return. While they were living at Whiston a man whom the deceased said was her uncle, visited her occasionally, and when they removed to Mexbro’ he came again and was accompanied by the deceased’s father. She always thought the man was the deceased’s uncle. When the deceased went away on Monday night she was in company with two young men, and promised to be back again soon after eleven o’clock. She did not return, and was not seen alive again by her.
Thomas Piper, glass blower Ellen Street, Mexbro’, said he had known the deceased about a month, and had a walk with her a week ago on Monday. They went to the gala at Mexbro’, and were together until half-post two o’clock the next morning, when he left her at Mrs. Clark’s, in Leach row, Mexbro’. She stayed there all night. On Wednesday night he was in her company again, and the last time he saw her was at seven o’clock on Thursday morning. He was not with the deceased alone except on Wednesday night, aa there was another girl and a youth with them. The reason the deceased stayed at Mrs. Clark’s house was because she said she had stayed out late and was afraid to go back to her place.
Bridget Clark, Leach row, said she became acquainted with the deceased on Tuesday night, when she came with another girl and two young men, and stayed at her house until Thursday afternoon. She then said sha was going to Rotherham to try and obtain another place.
John Hammond, boat hauler, said he found the body of the deceased on Monday morning in the canal. She was dressed, but had no hat or jacket on. The latter, however, was afterwards found doubled up in her pocket, and her hat on the bank, with the feather and ribbon torn off.
Alice Hoyland, Denaby Range Farm, said she had known the deceased for several years, and saw her on Thursday, when she looked cheerful and in her usual spirits. At night they walked together from the farm to the ferry at Mexbro and the deceased crossed over and went into Mexbro That was the last he saw of her. The deceased never alluded to any trouble she was in, but said she had left her place on Monday night and had gone home.
The Coroner said there was no more evidence, and it was not clear whether the deceased, being frightened at staying away from her place and from her home, had committed suicide, or whether she had been going to Rotherham and had accidentally fallen into the canal.
The jury returned a verdict of ” Found drowned.”