Monday 29 April 2019

Sergeant-Major James Grennan 1830?-12/1/1866

More mature New Zealand readers will remember that rural fixture of New Zealand life, the dog-dosing strip.  Its purpose, for those who don't know what it was, was to prevent the spread of the hydatids parasite by farm dogs, which could ingest it by eating raw or semi-cooked sheep offal and pass it on to sheep for the next part of its cycle.  It could also be ingested by humans, sometimes with fatal results.  It was a hydatids cyst that did to James Grennan of the Otago Armed Constabulary (late of the Connaught Rangers) what Russian bullets had tried and failed to achieve.

A bull broke away from a mob that was being driven into town a few days ago, and roamed at large in the neighborhood of York place, much to the alarm of the residents there. On Saturday the animal attacked a boy and hurt him rather severely; and this being reported to the Commissioner of Police, he yesterday morning sent Sergeant Grennan and a trooper to catch the beast and take him to the Pound, or else to shoot him. It was found impossible to do the former, and the bull was consequently shot by the sergeant.  -Otago Daily Times, 7/9/1863.

A good many persons had their lives endangered on Saturday afternoon, by the freaks of a wild cow which came from the hills at the head of Maclaggan-street, and rushed furiously along Rattray-street and Princes-street southwards. Pedestrians had to fly right and left to avoid the butting of the infuriated animal, but they did not always succeed. Just after entering Princes-street, the cow contrived to catch a man on her horns, but he slipped over without being tossed, and escaped with the tumble. Near the entrance to the Government Offices, she ran another man against the palings, and dashed furiously at him. Fortunately the brute's horns were long and had an unusual spread, and they passed on either side of the man's body, smashing the palings but not injuring him. Not choosing to renew the attack with the prospect of similar mischief to herself, she resumed her rush along Princes-street; but did not succeed in so nearly endangering the life of any other person as she did that of the man just named. Of course, a crowd of persons followed the beast, and some of them having prudently given information to the police, Sergeant Grennan and some others, followed also. Grennan took with him a loaded rifle. The cow had turned into a yard behind the Carrier's Arms, and there Grennan shot her as soon as he came into view.  -Otago Daily Times, 5/10/1863.

In the Provincial Council yesterday, The Speaker took the chair at two o'clock in the afternoon.
The House was crowded with men of the working classes.
Several notices of motion were given.
The Secretary of Public Works laid on the table the Caversham and Green Island District Roads Lands Bill.
Mr J. G. S. Grant attempted to address the Speaker, who ordered him repeatedly to sit down. Mr Grant did not obey the command, and was, by order of the Speaker, taken into custody by Sergeant Grennan.
The greater portion of the strangers then withdrew, stamping, groaning, and hissing, as they descended the stairs.
The Secretary of Public Works in reply to Mr Lloyd, said the Government had placed a sum on the Estimates for the purpose of repairing the Swamp road.
The Speaker announced that he had appointed Sergeant James Grennan Sergeant-at Arms to the House, and had given him a warrant authorising him to detain J. G. S. Grant in custody until further instructions.
In reply to Mr Lloyd, the Secretary for Public Works said he was inclined to think it would be advisable to erect a toll-gate at the entrance of the town from Anderson's Bay district.
In answer to Mr Lloyd, the Provincial Secretary said that as the General Government paid the salaries of Resident Magistrates and the general expenses, they claimed all fees and fines taken and recovered before the various benches of Magistrates in Otago.
Mr Adam consented to lay on the table the return moved for by Mr Mollison, of the various toll bars in the Province. They would be let by tender when the Turnpike Act was passed.
The Caversham and Green Island District Roads Lands Bill was read a first time, and ordered to be printed. The second reading was made an order of the day for the next sitting.
Mr Adam's motion for setting aside a portion of the Town Belt for the use of the Acclimatisation Society was agreed to.
Mr Vogel's motion for requesting L500 to be placed on the Estimates to meet the expenses of selling the waste and town lands by auction, was negatived.
The motion by Mr John Cargill, requesting the Superintendent to forward a copy of the report on the Volunteer Force to the General Government, and ask their co-operation, was agreed to.
Mr Vogel moved that the Superintendent be requested to disallow the Licensed Hawkers Bill.
The Speaker intimated that it had already been assented to.
Mr Adam admitted the oppressive nature of the 20th clause, and said the Government had not decided on the matter.
James Gordon Stuart Grant was placed at the bar of the House in custody.
After some discussion it was agreed to accept his apology for the contempt offered to the House, and the prisoner having apologised to the satisfaction of the House was released.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/7/1864.

A disgraceful scene lately occurred in the Assembly of the Provincial Council of Otago at Dunedin. Mr. J. G. S. Grant (the self-styled advocate of the working man's cause, the only scholar in the Southern Hemisphere, and the only man in the nine Provinces fit to stand in the Governor's shoes!) mustered a strong body of the "unwashed," and entered St. George's Hall for the purpose of presenting a petition on their behalf. The Daily News (Dunedin) has the following paragraph on the subject: — "In the Provincial Council yesterday, the notorious J. G. S. Grant came to grief, and in one short hour learnt by experience the emptiness of the frothy popularity he had laid himself out to obtain. It appears by his own statement, that he volunteered to head its demonstration and beard the Council in its den, provided always that his adherents would not allow him to be seized and swallowed whilst in the performance of his self-imposed dangerous errand. Like the non-combatant Quaker, who threw an enemy into the sea that was attempting to board his ship, with the remark, 'friend; Thou art not wanted here,' so did the hero of the hour breathe peace, but endeavored to incite disturbance. The crowd were to be peaceable, but were not to allow him to be 'seized.' A tacit understanding on this head having been come to, Grant marched boldly to the attack, and commenced by addressing his followers, and ignoring the Speaker. When called to order, he said he had a memorial to present, and on refusing to hold his peace, the Speaker handed him over to the tender mercies of Sergeant Grennan, who forthwith locked him up. An appeal was made by the captive to the braves who had promised not to permit 'seizure,' but it was unheeded, and he was ignominiously marched off, the colossal sergeant evidently having a most pacificatory effect on the popular mind. The upshot was, that Grant was incarcerated, and no one attempted a disturbance on his behalf. He was subsequently brought up, and gladly saved his bacon by adopting a most abject apology, written for his special behoof, by members of the Council. As might be expected, he complained bitterly of the ingratitude of his friends, and intimated his intention of deserting them, as they had deserted him in his need, and, in future, attending to his 'duties.' What those 'duties' are, he best knows; but the working men will be largely the gainers by his secession from their cause, and it is to be hoped he will not recant."   -Southland Times, 14/7/1864.

A strange scene had occurred on June 8th in the Otago Provincial Council. A Mr. J. G. S. Grant had persuaded a large number of working men to accompany him to the Council Hall where he promised to appear in the character of their advocate and warm supporter. The Hall, we are told, was crowded with men of the working classes. During the giving of the notices of motion, Mr. Grant, who had occupied a side seat in the body of, the Hall, removed to a central spot behind the Speaker's gallery, when the following scene occurred: 
Mr. Grant (who turned and addressed those who filled the body of the Hall): I am now going to present your most peaceful and respectful memorial -
The Speaker: Order! order! 
Mr. Grant: Your Honor 
The Speaker: Sit down, Sir. 
Mr. Grant: Your Honor, I'm going 
The Speaker: Sergeant-at-Arms, take that man into custody. 
Mr. Grant (addressing the strangers): I am in the pursuit of my duty, and I call upon you to protect me. 
The Speaker: Sergeant-at-Arms, remove him from the Hall, and detain him in custody below until further orders. 
Mr. Grant was led out by Sergeant Grennan. There were hisses from some of the strangers, and nearly the whole of them at once rose, and left the Hall, stamping and groaning as they descended the stairs. 
The Speaker: Are there any police officers present? If so, let them mark any one who is making a noise, and I will summon him to the bar of this House for contempt. The fine is £20. I call upon all loyal and well-behaved citizens now present to mark all those who are making a disturbance, and to report the same to me. 
The conduct of the Speaker was worthy of all praise. Strong in the consciousness of constituted authority, he vindicated at once the dignity of the Council, and showed his appreciation of the orderly tendency of the multitude. The conclusion of the matter was that Mr. Grant made the following apology:
"I, James Gordon Stuart Grant, hereby express my deep regret that I should have been guilty, in the opinion of your House, of contempt; and hereby offer my sincere apology for this offence, and promise not to offend again." 
To which the Speaker replied: — "Then I have nothing more left, but the agreeable duty of releasing you from arrest. I would just say that I most sincerely hope that for the future you will set an example of loyal obedience to all the inhabitants of this town. Sergeant-at-Arms, release the prisoner." 
The following address to the Speaker was carried with loud applause: "That this Council desires to express its approval of the conduct of Mr. Speaker in regard to the removal of a stranger from the Gallery in attempting to obstruct the business of the Council, and resolves to uphold the authority of Mr. Speaker in securing the deliberative character and dignity of this House."  -New Zealander, 24/7/1864.

The career and "duties" of Mr Grant will be related in his own story - he is certainly a character deserving of a full description.

Thursday, 23rd November; (Before A. C. Strode, Esq., R.M.) 
Disorderly Conduct. — Margaret Smith and Linda Macfarlane were charged with disturbing the public peace by fighting in Stafford street. They pleaded guilty, and were each fined L3 and costs. 
Robert Turner was charged with having used threatening and abusive language in Great King street, on the night of the 17th instant. On that day Constable Mally had occasion to serve a summons on the defendant for crossing the footpath with his horse. In the evening the defendant came to the station and asked if the constable was off duty now, and invited him to come out and fight, and see who was the better man. He held up a whip in a threatening attitude, and said, "I will be your destruction, or you will be mine." Sergeant-Major Grennan corroborated the constable's evidence. The Magistrate characterised this as a most unprovoked attack upon a constable, and fined the defendant L5 and costs, or two months' imprisonment with hard labor.   -Otago Daily Times, 25/11/1865.

Southern cemetery, Dunedin.

The funeral of the late Sergeant-major Grennan, of the Police Force, will take place this afternoon; the procession leaving the station, Greet King street, at three o'clock. The members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade will attend — this mark of respect having been on several previous occasions paid by each of the two bodies, which have necessarily to work together, when the Brigade's active services are called for. The different bodies of Volunteers will no doubt be strongly represented; musters being called officially by advertisement. The open hearse will be preceded by a band, under the leadership of M. Fleury (playing the "Dead March") it being requested that those amateurs who are willing to assist, should meet that gentleman this morning. There will be a firing-party; and the ensign, which will be the pall, will be borne by four officers who were comrades of the deceased, in the British army in the Crimea, as well as in the Otago Police Force. We mentioned on Saturday that some doubt existed as to the immediate cause of Grennan's death. On Saturday, a post-mortem examination of the body was made by Drs Hardy and Alexander; and it was found that death had resulted from an effusion of serum into the ventricles of the brain, which was caused by the pressure of a hydated tumour in the substance of the brain.  -Otago Daily Times, 22/1/1866.

On Friday morning last there died in Dunedin a military hero of more than passing note in our far-off island of the Sea. James Grennan, Sergeant-Major in the Otago Police Force, had been a Serjeant in the 88th, the world renowned Connaught Rangers, and was present with his Regiment throughout the greater part of the Crimean war. At the memorable siege of the Great Redan, Grennan received a severe bullet shot in one of his lungs, the bullet passing out at his back. From the effect of this he never ultimately recovered, although it was not the cause of his death, that having proceeded from fluke in the brain, as ascertained by post mortem examination. Sergeant Grennan, in the course of the campaign, more than once displayed the greatest heroism. He was once sent to place a sentinel at his post of duty. The sentinel was shot dead, and the gallant sergeant, making his way back, was surrounded by five Russians. Three of them he slew, and the remaining two he forcibly dragged within the French lines, where he was received with great cheering on the part of our noble allies. This deed alone reminds one of the fine old Scottish ballad of 'Barthram's Dirge.' At another time, he ran back from his company, and bore off on his shoulders the body of his severely wounded captain, and this amidst a shower of balls and bullets from the ferocious Muscovite enemy. James Grennan was an unassuming, modest man; and not very many in Dunedin knew, until he died, that we had such a soldier in our midst. His medals and clasps were of course numerous, and many will remember him as Sergeant-at-Arms in the Provincial Council Hall: — the tall commanding figure, with the left breast decorated with no less than three grateful country's acknowledgements of his warrior deeds. He was Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France, wore the Order of Turkey, and what, to him, was prouder than all, the glorious Medals and Clasps of his native land. He has died at the early age of 38 years, and this afternoon he has been worthily buried with every honor and respect due to such a hero. The members of the Police Force, who also furnished the firing party of twelve; the Volunteer Fire Brigade; the Rifle Artillery and Volunteers; and also the Naval Brigade and Light Horse, mustered in large numbers. The band played the 'Dead March in Saul;' the streets were lined by thousands; flags in the line of route were half-mast high; four officers of the Otago Police, who had gone through the Crimean war, bore the body, which was covered with the British ensign, to the grave. Three volleys were fired, and James Grennan, the quiet, unobtrusive man and heroic soldier, now sleeps near to a brother hero, Sergeant-Major Garvey, who perished in a snow-storm in this province about two years ago. Grennan and Garvey were two of the brave band of twenty who alone, out of the whole British army, received the Legion of Honor during the Crimean war. I may mention that the funeral cortege extended from Dowling Street to the Post office.  -Bruce Herald, 25/1/1866.

Social and Domestic
A monument, subscribed for by the members of the Police force, and some others, will shortly be erected over the grave of Sergeant-Major James Grennan, whose body, it will be remembered, was interred in the Roman Catholic portion of the Cemetery, beside that of his predecessor in the force, Sergeant-Major Garvey. The latter lost his life while engaged on duty up-country during a severe snowstorm; he was, like Grennan, a Crimean soldier; and the two were included in the twenty men of the British army who received the Cross of the Legion of Honor. His comrades caused a handsome monument to be erected over Garvey's grave; but we believe that the stone of which it is composed has already suffered greatly from exposure, and it is intended that the new monument shall be to the memory of Garvey as well as of Grennan. This monument will consist of a polished Aberdeen granite column, resting on a a square bluestone base, and surmounted by an urn. Its whole height will be 13ft.; and its cost will be over Ll30. The monument is being executed by Messrs Marsh, Grout, and Simmonds, of Melbourne and judging from a sketch, it will be an effective work.  -Otago Daily Times, 20/7/1866.

Mr Godfrey is now proceeding with the monument to the memory of Sergeant-Majors Garvey and Grennan, which the Otago Police Force intend to have erected in the Dunedin Cemetery, and which we have before described. The draperied urn, which is to surmount the monument, is 2ft 3in high, finely shaped, and simply decorated with the leaves of ivy and of laurel. The falls of the drapery are freely and effectively arranged, and its execution is another example of the ease and boldness with which the Oamaru stone can be cut. With the exception of the base, which will be of Port Chalmers bluestone, the monument will be wholly of  Oamaru stone (as it has come to be called), of the best quality, which happens to be procurable much nearer to Moeraki than to Oamaru.  -Otago Daily Times, 7/6/1867.

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