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Feb 4 13 2:43 AM

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I'm going to post my first attempt.  If you have time, I'd love to hear your comments.  I'm on my ipad so can't attach a file - will include it as part of my post.


William Patrick Purcell
A shot split the night and William Patrick Purcell collapsed to his knees and fell forward.  He groaned momentarily and died.  Margaret Dawson mopped at the blood coming from his chest with her petticoat, but realising she could do nothing to help the man who had tried to help her, she ran to her neighbour's house fearing that the next shot form her husband's doubled-barrelled gun would be destined for her.
Thomas Dawson limped towards the body, and seeing the man to be dead, proceeded to the Meredith police station.
William Purcell was a baby in 1845, the year The Great Famine came to Ireland.  By 1848 when the potato crop failed yet again the dead in the country areas of Cork were being buried in the rags they were wearing or even left unburied in the houses. The starving were going to the workhouses just so they could have a coffin. Cork City was overcrowded due to the influx of the starving rural population looking for some relief.  Overcrowding and poor sanitation led to the deaths of thousands.
His father was dead and his mother, desperate to make some money to keep the two of them alive, became involved with a gang that scoured the city and removed the lead roofing from homes to sell and make ends met. Ellen faced the court in July 1848.  It was her second offence; the sentence - seven years transportation to Van Diemen's Land. 
The Lord Auckland left Dublin in late 1848 with 199 female convicts. William was one of 44 children on board and on arrival was placed into the Queens Orphanage in Hobart. Two years later he was discharged to his mother's care after she had married Robert Garrod, a fellow convict.   Ellen had just had her first child to Robert, the first of six.
Robert Garrod was a saddler and harness maker, which is the job that William took on. Robert, it seems wasn't the perfect husband and father as, in xxxx Ellen had been deserted, appealing to the court for help. William left his family and moved to Victoria at the age of about eighteen. 
Working as an itinerant saddler, he travelled about Victoria and married Elizabeth Jessie Bainbridge in Sebastopol, a small town near Ballarat, in 1867.  William had a reputation of being an excellent saddler, and a good musician and sportsman.  The couple, with their children, had lived in Meredith for several years.  The town was established on the track between Geelong and the Victorian goldfields and was an ideal place for a saddler to set up with its ongoing traffic of bullock drays and coaches, although once the railway opened that flow would have been stemmed somewhat.
By 1879, the Purcell family had grown to include seven children with another expected soon after that fateful night when William was murdered.  He had been drinking at the Royal Hotel. After two or three drinks he accompanied Margaret Dawson home to her house on the outskirts of town. She was very drunk, and William went to reason with her husband, Thomas, to let her in. The Dawson couple had argued earlier in the day when Margaret, already drunk, went in to town.
Margaret Dawson, and then William Purcell, knocked at Dawson’s door, demanding that he let his wife in. He didn’t, and was intimidated by Purcell’s violent knocking at the door, knowing him to be a strong fighter. The two moved away to the corner of the house. Dawson came out with his loaded gun and fired, intending to shoot them both.  William was shot through the heart; he was 34 years old.
Tragically, Eleanor Purcell, born two months after her father’s death, died at nine months of age.  But the rest of William's seven children all married and there are many of his descendants living today.
Bleh, I hate that ending. But I didn't want to end on a tragic note. Suggestions please!


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#1 [url]

Feb 4 13 6:05 AM

Hi Shell, love the first paragraph, you put me right into the action, well done. Can I ask about the overall project. Is this part of a larger story? Do you want this piece of writing to be a stand alone piece. I felt a little jolted out of the scene in the second paragraph and a lot of information is coming at me all at once. Then you put us a back in to the action. If this is is just your first chapter of your story perhaps you want to gradually give us this information. We don't need to know everything all at once. Very strong start Michele.  

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#2 [url]

Feb 4 13 7:20 AM

I think it just needs to be formatted differently so the first part is like a separate introduction or prologue. I see this a lot where the intro is a dramatic setting from later in the timeline to grab your interest and then goes back to the beginning of the timeline and eventually catching up to the point in the prologue. I think Nancy Goldstone did this in "The Lady Queen". But it's formatted to make it clear they are jumping back and forth in the timeline. Maybe it is formatted like that but it was lost in the copy/paste?

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#3 [url]

Feb 4 13 1:03 PM

Thanks for your comments, Lynn and Historychick.  It wasn't going to be part of a larger story, although I guess I could flesh it out and make it so.  It was easier to write about the murder itself as I had access to newspaper reports.  I can see what you are saying, Lynn, about all that information coming at you; those paragraphs do need more description, rather than facts.  Historychick - thanks I'll take the advice about the formatting.


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#4 [url]

Feb 5 13 10:13 AM

I love the first paragraph.  I agree with you, the last paragraph just doesn't fit with the rest.  I'm sure you'll find a way. 

You set the scene/situation well.  A little massaging and it will all come together great.

 Great start.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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