An Appleby Family Tree

Continuing the story of Duncan Scott Grey and the fascinating but mysterious past of my great grandfather William Cunningham Appleby, who travelled to Jerusalem and Cairo and lived in various parts of Africa including Johannesburg, until his sudden death.

William Cunningham Appleby (1869)
is the most colourful character of the family.

His death is described in the following article
from the Rand Daily Mail of December 1st 1909 :





Roodepoort, Tuesday

Wm Cunningham Appleby, a carpenter, employed on the Kimberley Roodepoort, took his life yesterday afternoon by shooting himself with a revolver. The deceased is a man between 35 to 38 years of age. He was married, but his wife and children are not in this country, being resident at Newcastle upon Tyne. For some months past, deceased had been leading an irregular life. His connection with the Kimberley Roodepoort was short. He started work there on November 22nd, and had been off a day or two through illness, and had been drinking more or less right through. He however gave no hint of designs on his life. He retired to his room on the mine yesterday afternoon, and was then evidently in a desperate state of mind. The room was used by deceased and an Italian miner, Andrew Abrario, and this is the Andrew referred to in the following inscription found on the wall of his room and written by the deceased.


"May those who have sought my ruin be satisfied now. I have never injured any man, woman or child since the day I was born. If you want my life and dare not take it, I give it to you now. Be satisfied. Leave my wife and children in peace, you have got their breadwinner. Be satisfied now. What I have done to deserve this I do not know for certain. No man will be straight with me. Those who I have every reason to believe are at the bottom of it smile in my face and talk words of honey. Andrew, forgive me for causing you this trouble." W C Appleby

No explanation is forthcoming as to the people who were supposed to want his life and dare not take it. The police on investigation set down this and other details of the note to a disordered imagination.

The suicide was of a determined character. Deceased fired two bullets, one of which passed from the right side of the head to the left, where it made its exit. The second was fired through the centre of the forehead and is apparently lodged in the skull. The police found two cartridge shells and the one bullet that passed through the head.

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