On August 8, 1866, the Nassau Herald noted that the festivities in Fox Hill for the August Emancipation Day observance, were still being kept alive by the inhabitants of that district. On the same day, an inquest was also reported. The inquest was into the death of an elderly woman. Her name was Grace Lord, and she was eighty-seven years old. Grace was run over by a carriage on her way from the Emancipation Day jubilee at Fox Hill. It doesn’t take much math to figure out that in 1834, when slavery ended, Grace Lord would have been fifty-five years old.
The particulars are that two carriages with horses and passengers were travelling opposite each other. One going Eastward and one going Westward. The one going Eastward hit Grace Lord. The driver, a Walter Durham, Esq. rendered assistance and even took Grace in his carriage to an “adjoining” area of the New Providence Asylum. She died two hours later. Mr. Durham attended the burial and paid all the expenses associated with it. After hearing of his generosity, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”. What is rather interesting to note is the time of day the accident happened. Grace was hit by the carriage at 6 o’clock on a Monday in August. It could not have been that dark that the driver would not have seen Grace Lord walking slowly and carefully, given her age, on the side of the dusty road leading from Fox Hill. The inquest goes to great pains to note the word “evening” to give the impression of pitch darkness. But it couldn’t have been dark at just 6 o’clock, in the height of summer time, in the Bahamas, even in 1866. Also, Mr. Durham notes that while he was travelling leisurely, the other carriage coming from Fox Hill undoubtedly from the Emancipation Day jubilee, was travelling at a furious rate. All impressions have been given that he was moving within the speed limit and the other carriage was not. Even more curiously, the driver coming from the Emancipation Day jubilee had not been found, even up to the time of the inquest.
It would have been something to know more about the life of Grace Lord, a former slave who died while walking home, on Emancipation Day in 1866, some thirty-two years after she was set free.
INQUEST.— On Tuesday an inquest was held by the Crown Coroner, W. M.G. Maclure, M.D., and a jury, on view of the body of an old woman named Grace Lord. From the evidence brought forward it appears that about six o’clock on Monday evening several vehicles were returning from the jubilee at Fox Hill, and one waggon which was driven at furious rate in a westerly direction, was met when near the entrance of the New Providence Asylum by the carriage of Walter Durham, Esq’r, which contained himself, wife and child, and was driving leisurely towards the Eastward, and in attempting to keep clear of the approaching carriage Durham’s was necessarily close to the edge of the road, and the wheel of his carriage came in contact with the unfortunate woman. She sustained severe injury and had two ribs broken. Every assistance was rendered by Mr. Durham, who carried her to the Asylum adjoining, and had medical attendance, but unfortunately the poor woman died in two hours afterwards and was buried yesterday in St. Matthew’s Church yard, attended by Mr. Durham and a number of friends. We understand that Mr. Durham has paid all expenses. After some other evidence the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”
The police will no doubt endeavour to find the driver of the waggon from Fox Hill.