Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Tragic Death of James Bernard Meggins

The Tragic Death of James Bernard Meggins

In 1868, Daniel Meggins (sometimes misspelled Megins), a farm hand at St John's, near Kapunda, married Margaret Haughey at St Johns Roman Catholic Church. The couple had ten children together, 4 girls and 6 boys:

Catherine Meggins (1870–1942)
James Bernard Meggins – (1871–1886)
John Daniel Meggins (1873–1948)
William Meggins (1876–1876)
William Thomas Meggins (1877–1939)
Mary Ann Bernard Megins1879–1973
Rosey Maud Meggins (1882–1885)
Walter Edward Meggins (1884–1885)
James Edward Meggins (1886–1974)
Gertrude Johanna Meggins (1890–1922)

When he was old enough, James, the eldest son of the couple, took a job carting hay in the local area. On December 2nd, 1886, he was between Tarlee and Kapunda loading hay onto his cart when tragedy struck.

 A storm had brewed, and with it came lightening. One bolt of Lightning directly hit the cart at about 2pm, incinerating the cart, killing both of James’ horses, and James.
 Young James, just 15 years old, was later buried in St Johns Cemetery, near Kapunda.

 It is not known what became of the Meggins family, but 70 years later, Margaret Meggins name appears in the newspapers of the time. A large gathering of 500 people were at St Johns Cemetery to witness the blessing of the ceremony, and the dedication of a new grave stone for Father John Fallon, the first Parish Priest of the area.
 Mrs Meggins was 93 years old on her visit, and stated in the papers, that she remember Father Fallon very well.

One has to wonder, if while there, she wept over the grave of her oldest son, James.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018
Photographs by Allen Tiller © 2011


1886 'THUNDERSTORMS IN THE COUNTRY.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 3 December, p. 5. , viewed 26 Jan 2018,

1936 'Pilgrimage to Hallowed and Historic Ground', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 9 October, p. 15. , viewed 26 Jan 2018, Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

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