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Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn and Harriet Fountain

When I was researching Ernest Edward Meiklejohn for yesterday’s Trove Tuesday post, I noticed that I also didn’t have a date of death for his father, Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn.

Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn was born 25 August 1834 at Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.  He married Harriet Fountain 18 October 1868 at Maitland.

The death notice for Ernest had shown that Harriet was now Mrs. Downie, so I went searching for what had become of Donald.

On Trove, I found this notice:

Advertising - Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn noti
Advertising (1882, May 13). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), , p. 1. Retrieved May 24, 2016, from

MEIKLEJOHN. – DONALD SINCLAIR MEIKLEJOHN, age about 45, born near West Maitland, by trade a tailor, last heard of many years ago in the district of Cundletown and Port Macquarie. THIS IS TO GIVE YOU NOTICE that unless some tidings either of or from you are received by the undersigned with the next three months, your wife intends to get married again. ARTHUR CUBITT, Missing Friends and Private Inquiry Office, The Arcade, King-street, Sydney.

I had a date of death for Harriet – 21 June 1922 at Waratah, New South Wales – from an online family tree, and I was able to find a corresponding death entry on Ancestry:

Harriett Downie, death date 1922, father Henry, mother Lucy, registration no 8889.

Ancestry also gave the following Suggested Records for her:
Harriett Micklejohn marriage date 1882, spouse Willm Thos Whittley, registration place Sydney, New South Wales, registration no 1734.
Wlliam T Whittley death date 1888, registration place Woollahra, New South Wales, father Thomas, mother Harriet A., registration no 5239
Harriett Whitley, marriage date 1892, spouse Thomas Downie, registration place Sydney, New South Wales, registration no 99

From these records, it appears that Harriet never heard from Donald, and that she remarried in 1882, to William Thomas Whittley.

A search on Trove located the death notice for Harriet.

Harriet Downie death notice
Family Notices (1922, June 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), , p. 8. Retrieved May 24, 2016, from

DOWNIE. – June 21, at her sister’s residence, Grove-street, Waratah, Harriet Constance, widow of the late Thomas Downie, of Waverley, and dearly loved mother of James Henry and the late Ernest Meiklejohn, in her 73rd year.

I still had the question – what happened to Donald?  I searched on Ancestry, and found a few family trees that had his date of death in 1909.  However, newspaper articles on Trove showed that the Donald who died in 1909 was a native of Caithness, Scotland, and had lived in the Warwick district for 46 years.  Also, Probate was granted to his step-son Thomas Hugh Welsh.  This showed that this was the Donald Meiklejohn who had married Elizabeth Rose Welsh, nee Dickins.

In my notes for Donald, I found that I had found another possible death entry in Queensland, in 1894.  This entry had shown that this Donald was from New South Wales, so I decided to get the certificate, to see if this could possibly be Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn.

The death certificate showed the following information:

Donald Meiklejohn, tailor, died 2nd September 1893 at Blackall, Queensland.  He was listed as being 53 years old.  The cause of death was: killed by being thrown from a horse – accidental.  A Magisterial inquiry was held by W. J. Hartley P. M. at Blackall on the 7 day of September and the 1st day of November 1893.

His parents were unknown, and particulars as to children and marriage were unknown.  The certificate did show that he was born in West Maitland, New South Wales.

Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn would have actually been 59 years old at the time of his death, but since the informant didn’t have any details about his family, a discrepancy in the age is understandable.  The birthplace and the occupation match those of Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn, and there is no other birth record in New South Wales between 1830 and 1850, for a Donald Meiklejohn (including using wildcards in the surname – M*k*l*j*n*), so I am confident that this death entry is for Donald Sinclair Meiklejohn

Although I could have applied for the inquest file, I decided it would be quicker, and cheaper, to search for articles about his death.

Inquiry into Meiklejohn death
BLACKALL. (1893, September 18).Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954), , p. 6. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from

An inquiry was held on Thursday before the Police Magistrate into the death of a tailor named Meiklejohn, who was thrown from his horse and killed. The evidence of Dr. Hewer went to show that death resulted from a broken neck.

There was only one other article, which was a copy of the above article.