Clan Munro CrestThe Munros of Pinetown

Their Families, Ancestors and connected families





Alice Article In writing the details of the sad and melancholy accident, or rather series of accidents, which happened in our neighbourhood, I feel little able to order my words aright, or see through my blinding tears. However, the sad story is soon told. Mr. Munro, so well known on the coast, as the proprietor of the Tongaat Hotel, after spending a few days with his family, left the village on Tuesday afternoon, and at sunset had almost reached the top of the hill overlooking the town (where he intended to outspan for the night), when the chain of his wagon broke. Thinking that he might check its downward progress, he rushed to the brake, but his efforts proving quite futile, down came the waggon with a terrible impetus, impelled by a weight of about eight thousand pounds. Before he could get out of its way, he was struck to the ground by the wagon, one wheel of which passed over his body. The wagon had not run far before it shunted off the road, capsizing. Mrs. Munro was killed instantaneously, while her five children most miraculously escaped, almost unhurt. The only white man who witnessed this terrible catastrophe was; Mr. James Lavender, who had travelled with Munro from Maritzburg. Having a horse with the wagon he at once rode to town to procure help, and, as the night was very dark, his horse fell, and he, too sustained some injury, from which, however, he soon recovered. At length he reached Newcastle, and as bad news proverbially travels fast, it was not long before the village was thrown into the greatest excitement: Mr. Charles Hodgson, prompted by feelings of benevolence, inspanned his trap, and drove Dr. Drumond to the spot where the accident happened, which is about three miles North of the village, on the main road to Wakkerstroom. They were soon followed by others, all of whom seemed anxious to render any assistance in their power; but on arriving there what a fearful sight met the eye as one gazed on the poor little orphans, too young to realise that they would never again be heard by that mother on whom they were calling, and soothed by her kisses of affection. It was surely a sight to move the stoutest heart to behold.

Children forsaken, waking suddenly

Whose gaze afeared, on all things round did morn,

And seeing only that they could not see

The meeting eye of love.

While Mr. Munro and the body of his deceased wife were being conveyed to the village, a report got wind that another accident had happened, which, although at first disbelieved, was soon authenticated. Mr. Hodgson, or Charlie Hodgson, who is far and wide familiarly called, while returning with the Doctor, was violently thrown from his cart, his head coming in contact with a stone which lay in the road; and who is one of the most popular young men in the villages, it would be difficult to find words to express the regret that seemed depicted on every countenance, especially when it was stated that the wound would probably prove fatal. I have delayed writing this until the post is about to close, so that I am enabled to state, that both Munro and Hodgson are progressing favourably, and pronounced by the doctor out of danger.

On Wednesday afternoon, the body of Mrs. Munro was followed to the grave by a large concourse, and the beautiful service of our Church - rendered so impressive from what had so lately occurred was read by Mr. Haddon. The children - one an infant three months old - have been well cared for, and everything has been done to alleviate the mental as well as physical sufferings poor Munro has been called to undergo.

I have little local news to record, but I may mention that a severe shock of an earthquake was felt on Wednesday evening, at exactly 4 pm. It was so violent at Feld Cornet Andedorf's that some members of the family rushed out of the home, expecting the roof to fall upon their heads.

The Rev. Mr. Mann from Durban, has arrived.

The detachment of the 34th, whose departure you recorded from the city, encamped last night on Biggarsberg Nek, and will, probably, arrive here on Monday.

Originally published in a supplement to The Natal Witness 18 May 1877 edition.

© 2023 Don Munro