Constable Christian SEIDTZ
29 April, 1861
The constable is believed to have drowned in the Clarence River at Grafton while trying to save the life of a young boy (eleven-year-old Daniel Forde) who had fallen into the water at a spot nearly opposite the constable’s house. The Sydney Morning Herald dated 15 May, 1861 printed the following article in relation to the inquiry into the deaths of the constable and young Daniel Forde.
MAGISTERIAL INQUIRY – Upon the bodies of Daniel Forde and Christian Seidtz.
James Hovenden, Chief Constable, stated: About noon I met the deceased boy (Forde) near Pound Street; carrying meat on horseback; shortly after, one of his brothers informed me that he had been thrown from his horse into the water in Pound Street; I procured the drags and went to the spot to endeavour to recover the body; medical aid was in attendance when the body was found, about three quarters of an hour afterwards.
Solomon Cooper sworn : I knew the deceased Christian Seidtz; about noon on Monday my wife called my attention to someone crossing a flooded part of Pound Street, near my residence; I ran out and saw a boy struggling in the water; Seidtz, who lived opposite, came out of his house and plunged in to assist the lad, and sunk immediately; I never saw him rise after he went into the water; I gave an alarm and Richard Barrett immediately swam out; Mr. Sanders and myself did all we could, but not being able to swim could not go out of our depth; the water was about ten feet deep; the body was not recovered for about three-quarters of an hour; Dr. Little saw the body but could not restore animation.
Carl Meyer, sworn, stated: I live in Pound Street, near the deceased’s place; I heard Mrs. Seidtz call out that her husband was drowning; I ran up and saw a lad struggling in the water, and his horse by the side; I could not see Seidtz for some time then his face showed for a moment and disappeared; I could not swim; I gave information to the chief constable; every effort was made to rescue the deceased.
The deceased, Seidtz, was a man much respected; a native of Germany; and had been three years in the Grafton police force, during which time there was no complaint against him. He was a remarkably fine-made man, thirty-five years of age; and a very sober industrious person. This sudden event has left his unfortunate wife and four young children totally unprovided for.”
At the time of his death the constable was 35 years old and was stationed at Grafton. He is sometimes recorded as ‘Seitz’ or ‘Leitz’