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NEWSHAM PAGE INDEXThomas Newsham (Jnr)

THOMAS NEWSHAM  was born 06 Jun 1853 in New Plymouth and was Baptised August 14, 1853 (Rev H H Turton)

 He attended the Omata school and was 7 when he and the children went with their mother to Nelson to escape the conflict of war.

There appear conflicting reports as to the cause of his sudden death aged 22 yrs on the morning of 7th January 1876 in Omata, supposed first to be the result of sunstroke after a day's haymaking.


THE sudden death of a young man named Newsham was reported from Omata. The late death of a near relative (this may be a reference to the death of his brother Frances Henry) he appears to have taken much to heart, and it is thought to have brought on fits, to which he has been subject for years past, resulting in his death.

An inquest was held before Mr. V. M. Crompton, Deputy Coroner, at the Omata Inn, when the following jury were sworn in: John Knight (foreman), Henry L Gilbert, C. S. Curtis, H. Drury, J. Oliver, J. Sefton, B. Cherry, C. White, R Julian, H. Gibson, J. George', B. J. Hoskin, and L. K. Vail. The jury, having been to the residence of the deceased to view the body, the following evidence as to death was taken down :

C. Crawford deposed : That the deceased's name was Tom Newsham, and that he had seen him a little after nine on Thursday night, at the Omata lnn. He was then suffering from diarrhoea. Deceased complained of weakness. To all appearance he was perfectly sober. W. M. Newsham, brother of the deceased, deposed : That he and his brother lived together with the rest of the family in the house at the back of the Inn. Deceased had gone to bed the night previously at about 1/4 to 10. He was in his usual health, but complained of diarrhoea. All day they had been working together in the hay field. At about half-past 12 at night, witness heard a noise as if he had fallen out of his bed, and was groaning. On going into his room he found deceased on the floor. He was unable to speak, and appeared insensible. He was in a fit, like those witness knew deceased was subject to occasionally, only it was a worse one. Witness applied cold water to his mouth and head. In about a minute the crisis had passed. Up to about a quarter to four o'clock he had repeated attacks, and witness accordingly sent for Dr. Warren. He did not think deceased had been drinking spirits during the day, which had been excessively hot. He was, in fact, quite sober. Dr. Warren deposed that he first saw deceased a few minutes before half past four o'clock on Friday (yesterday) morning. He was lying on a bed on his face. His relations thought he was alive at the time, but on examining him, witness found that life was extinct, rigor mortis having set in. A little blood had issued from out of the nostrils. Witness had since made a post mortem examination of the body. He found no marks of recent violence, and believed death to have been caused by apoplexy, as the result of a severe epileptic seizure. There was nothing that would lead him to think that drink had caused deceased's death. The jury, after a brief consultation together, returned a verdict that the deceased had died from a fit of apoplexy.  

He was buried in the family plot at the Waireka Cemetery, Omata. The weathered engraved headstone is very difficult to read and, (unknown who) a descendant has at it's foot, placed a readable epitaph to record and commemorate our Newsham dead.