Molong Express and Western District Advertiser NSW
24 May 1924
SAD ROADSIDE FATALITY.
MR. J H. LEATHEM THE VICTIM.
Residents of Molong and district were shocked on Sunday, morning last when it became known that Mr. J. H. Leathem, part proprietor of the 'Express,' had died the previous night as the result of an accident.
Mr. Leathem drove to Manildra on Saturday morning in his sulky for the purpose of transacting business in that centre and left late at night on the homeward journey.
Mr. Alvin Packham, returning, to Manildra about midnight from Mr. P. Rubie's residence saw that an accident had occurred near the road-side about 9 miles from Molong, near Brymedura, and on making an investigation discovered that a horse was standing in a sulky, one shaft of which was broken, and the body of a man, apparently dead, lying close beside it.
Not recognising the victim of the accident, he returned to Mr. Rubie's house, and secured the assistance of his son. On returning to the spot, the body was recognised, as being that of Mr. J. Leathem. Mr. Packham hurried to Manildra and reported the matter to Constable Carr, while Mr. Rubie remained on the scene until help should arrive.
Constable Carr immediately communicated the sad news to Mr. Charles Leathem by phone, and then proceeded to the spot, while the latter gentleman and Sergeant Bool motored out from Molong.
The body was brought in and examined by Dr. Mollison, and then removed to the morgue, where, later in the day, a post mortem examination was made.
It was found that deceased had sustained extensive fracture of the skull, and that death had apparently been instantaneous.
The horse was addicted to shying, and it is believed that it shied and swung off the road, running the sulky over a heap of dirt and then up against a tree, overturning the vehicle and throwing the deceased heavily to the ground.
The body was removed to the residence of Mrs. P. Dunn (the mother of Mrs. Leathem) on Sunday afternoon, from whence the funeral moved on Monday afternoon for the Sacred Heart Church, prior to the sad journey to God's Acre.
The assemblage at the obsequies was an eloquent testimony to the worth and popularity of the deceased gentleman, every part of the district being represented in the long cortege, no class or creed of the community but was present to pay a last token of respect and esteem.
At the conclusion of the service in the Sacred Heart Church, Rev. Father Lawler, who was visibly affected, expressed in a few well-chosen words his deep sorrow at the death of a friend and 'his heartfelt sympathy for his family in their great sorrow.
The late Mr. Leathem, he said, was a good man, a consistent supporter of his church and in every sense a fine citizen. The town and district could ill-afford to lose one who had so ably done his duty and acted the manly part in life.
The cortege then proceeded to the cemetery, headed by the members of the M.U.I.O.O.F. and Hibernian Lodges, and the last sad rites of farewell, yet relieved by the silver lining of Christian trust in re-union beyond the grave, were performed by Rev. Father Lawler in the presence of an assemblage of relatives and friends that claimed but few dry eyes and even fewer hearts that did not mourn the passing of one who was known to, and held in affection, by one and all.
The late John Henry Vale Leathem, was the third son of the late Henry Vale and Marion Leathem, was born at Gundagai on May 31st, 1873, and was aged 50 years and 11 months.
He had resided in Molong since his boyhood days, and been associated with the 'Express' and its conduction for many years, and since 1919 in the role of part proprietor.
He was married some 20 years ago to Miss Harriett Ann Dunn, daughter of the late Mr P.Dunn, of Goanna Hill and of Mrs. Dunn of Bank Street.
Mrs. Leathem and her daughter Belle and son Regie, mourn the passing of a loving husband and devoted father, and to them and to his sisters and brothers the residents of the town and district will join with the Editor in extending deep sympathy in their great loss.
The brothers are Messrs. Charles (Molong), William (Mount Hope) and Frederick Leathem (Molong) and the sisters Mesdames J. Johnston (Dilga) and T. Doherty (Springside.)
The late Mr. Leathem was prominently identified with the public life of the town and a live and active supporter of all movements that had for their object the advancement of the district and the well-being of its people.
He was for a period an Alderman of the Municipality, and in that capacity rendered valuable service.
An enthusiastic member of the Committee of the P. and A. Association, his appeal at the recent smoke social for special donations towards the prize list for the 1925 exhibition met with a generous response from his audience, and his subsequent activities in the same direction has resulted in further substantial support being forth coming.
In many other ways and at all times he was willing to lend a ready hand to all worthy objects, and his tragic death leaves a gap in our communal life that will not soon be filled.