On the 4th of April 1858, John Reading and Mary Ann McGinty were united in Holy Matrimony at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Oatlands, Tasmania. According to the register, John was a farmer and a bachelor, aged 38. Mary Ann was a Lady and a spinster, aged 17. The witnesses were John Gorman and Sarah Flynn.
Here’s the entry:
It was probably a very pretty wedding. The historic church of St Paul’s is a grand sandstone building, a place anyone would love to be married in. Here it is below.
The topic of Week 9 is Valentine and I struggled to find a good couple to write about. I’m sure there was plenty of love in my family tree, but life was so different back then, I just don’t think they thought about it that much. Generally speaking, the women needed to marry to have any kind of life at all, whatever their social sphere. The men needed to marry to have any kind of comfort in their life if they were poor, or to fulfil their social obligations if rich. No doubt love came into it, but looking at paper records for my ancestors doesn’t tell me much about their motivations.
John and Mary were my great great grandparents.
John was born in Tipperary, Ireland as John Reddan in 1820. This detail comes from later records. His father was Darby Reddan and his mother was named Bess. He grew up in a time of poverty and conflict and as an adult became a soldier. His name at attestation was recorded as John Redden.
He traveled to Canada with the 97th Regiment in about 1839. He spent ten years there. From the little bit I have read about the 97th Regiment and their experiences, it was very cold, very damp, very miserable. In 1849 John deserted, was excused, but then deserted again. He was found, charged with desertion and transported to Van Diemen’s Land as a convict. His transportation record is recorded as John Reddin. Upon receiving a ticket of leave after only two years, John became a constable in the Green Ponds region. He would have met ellow constable John McKinley, who was a transported convict from Donegal. He obviously also met John’s daughter Mary Ann.
John McKinley and his wife Alice came from Fermanagh in Ireland. A young couple with two toddlers and a completely clean record, they committed a crime together and were tried together. John was sentenced to transportation, Alice was deemed to have acted under the influence of her husband and was let off.
Alice committed another offence – larceny – days after her release. This time she was sentenced to transportation. It is very clear that the plan was orchestrated. They were transported on different ships a year apart.
Alice and her toddlers Mary and James arrived on the Waverley in July 1847. Both children survived the journey but tragically James died in the convict nursery at Dynnyrne – a place infamous for its disease and neglect of the children. Mary was sent to the Orphan School while her mother completed her sentence.
A fellow passenger on the Waverley was Sarah McTigue, aged 30 from Mayo, Ireland.
As Mary’s orphan school record shows, she was released to her mother at the age of about 7. The family was reunited as her parents completed their sentences. John McKinley became a constable and was stationed in Kempton.
Also in the region were two other convicts – Peter Flynn who was transported for manslaughter, and John Gorman who was a former soldier, transported for insubordination.
Peter Flynn and Sarah McTigue were married at Oatlands in 1850, while the new church was still under construction. The McKinley family probably attended that wedding. In 1850, Mary was aged about 8.
Mary must have grown up with John Reading around. He was a quiet man, not much of a talker apparently. He was 5 foot 7 with dark brown hair and blue eyes. I don’t have a description of Mary in her prime.
A mere 8 years later at the age of 17 – which can’t have been true, she was actually 16 or perhaps even 15 – Mary and 38 year old John Reading were married. The witnesses were Sarah Flynn (formerly McTigue) who made the crossing with Mary and her mother, and John Gorman, friend of John’s and a fellow soldier-convict.
John Reddan is recorded as John Reading and perhaps he was a farmer. Mary Ann McKinley is recorded as Mary Ann McGinty and she clearly presented herself well. ‘Lady’ is an unexpected status.
From all accounts, it was a very happy marriage. John committed one offense about twenty years later – after five days he closed the gate on a stray cow who had wandered into his paddock and accidentally branded the cow’s calf along with his own. Several character witnesses reported that he was a law-abiding man who participated in community life.
Twelve children were born to John and Mary. Their son Thomas was my great grandfather.
John died in 1893 in Kempton, aged 73. Mary moved in with her son Thomas and his wife.
My grandmother’s eldest sister remembered Mary McKinley who was her own grandmother and used to babysit her. She said she was a very old lady in a dark coloured dress who liked to talk.
Mary Ann Reading died on 13 Aug 1919 and was buried at St Peter’s Catholic Church Cemetery in Kempton. No headstone remains.
This prompt stumped me for weeks. My favourite ancestral name is Hester, but I have written extensively about my two Hesters already – probably because it is my favourite name. I didn’t want to write another Hester blog!
So I then chose Parsons Dudden, an ancestor with one of the coolest names imaginable. In the course of writing that post, I discovered that he wasn’t my ancestor after all. In the little Somerset village of Temple Cloud there were two girls named Elizabeth Dudden, one born in 1784 and one born in 1788. Somehow, I hit on the wrong one as the wife of my William Burleton.
I’m still not quite sure but it looks as though my Elizabeth Dudden was the daughter of George Dudden.
George is a good solid name, but not – to my mind – material for a ‘favourite name’ blog.
So who to choose? I have a lot of ancestors.
As I cast my eye over the various names – John, George, Thomas, Mary, Anne, Elizabeth – I just wasn’t inspired. And then I found her – a remarkable woman with a remarkable name.
This is a blog about the world of Fannie Rawlinson.
Fannie is my children’s 3 times great grandmother.
Fannie’s family lived in the beautiful but cold hills of Ouse. Her great-uncle George had been one of those convicts of the early years who received a large grant of land upon completing his sentence. A lot of those early guys became quite rich by moving onto their own land in tough virgin bushland and establishing their own dynasty. One of those men was George Sweet Eyles (1819 -1895). George called his property Rocky Marsh, built a decent house and brought his struggling family out from England, giving himself a good support network and some trusted partners in the management of his property. George had listened and learned from everyone around him during his convict years. He also obtained a license as a publican and victualler, a business which rarely failed in early Tasmania.
Some of those family members included Fannie’s great grandfather John Eyles who died before she was born, some other great-aunts and great-uncles, and her grandmother Fanny, for whom our Fannie was clearly named.
Fanny Eyles was born in Bristol in 1827 and became the servant to a tripe setter named Peter Rawlinson, a man from Stockport in Cheshire. He was a man with his own business, with a wife and three children and a fourth on the way when Fanny Eyles first went there. This I have gleaned from census records. Peter’s wife was also Fanny – baptised as Frances Oldham. Frances Oldham died (maybe?) sometime after the birth of her fourth child, Alice Rawlinson. Our Fanny Eyles filled the empty place as mother to those children, and it appears she filled another empty place with her employer Peter. But he didn’t marry her. The women in this line never could pick a man who truly wanted them.
By 1853 Peter had just one child still at home. Peter, daughter Alice, and Fanny Eyles all took advantage of convict George Eyles’ sponsorship to Australia. This despite the fact that Peter and Fanny were still not married. Their daughter Mary was born in 1854 in Ouse.
Peter Rawlinson and Fanny Eyles were married on 24 April 1855 in Ouse, Tasmania probably as a result of family pressure. Two more children were born to the couple – Peter Edward Rawlinson in 1856, and Elizabeth in 1858 – mother to our Fannie.
There was a bit of fuss when 15 year old Alice Rawlinson moved in with 40-year-old George Eyles, the lord and master of Rocky Marsh. This comes from letters passed down the family.
George was a married man – he had married Sarah Kitchener in 1855, an ex-convict with an illegitimate son. But soon after their marriage she apparently became an invalid – possibly a stroke? The story which has come down is that she gave her blessing to George’s union with Alice Rawlinson, and she continued to live in the house with them and their growing family, with Alice caring for her. No further comment from me here.
George and Alice produced a large family, their eldest child born in 1861.
Those early properties were little countries of their own. Just after Alice moved in with George, her father Peter Rawlinson took off to Victoria, taking son Peter with him. It looks as though his rather forced marriage to Fanny hadn’t worked out. Perhaps he just couldn’t hack the Eyles household . Fanny raised the girls on her own, living at Rocky Marsh.
You can see that Elizabeth grew up without the influence of a church or neighbours. She didn’t have as much idea of money or men, just a rather stifling home life with a predominance of women and great-uncle George Eyles firmly in charge.
Rocky Marsh was a big step up for the family, but it was still just an isolated house in the wilds of inland Tasmania with no infrastructure and few neighbours. It suited the older, married members of the family. It was clearly not meeting the needs or wishes of the next generation.
Mary moved to Hobart and married Henry Stump in 1873. Elizabeth, it seems, went to Hobart too, where she entered into a relationship with an educated, well-connected young man from a wealthy and ambitious merchant family. Alfred James Morling was a year older than she was (18 when she was 17), His father owned at least eleven shops in Hobart and he had a guaranteed place in the business. His world was vastly removed from Elizabeth’s, but it’s likely that she didn’t know that. There’s no way that uneducated, convict-descended Elizabeth would be acceptable to the Morley elders.
Two children were born to Alfred Morling and Elizabeth – Albert in September 1876, and our Fannie on 12 Jan 1878.
A year after Fannie’s birth, Alfred married Mary Bush, a young lady from his own social background. Elizabeth was left with two children. She chased Alfred in court a few times for financial support, petitions which were granted by the court but quickly forgotten by Alfred. So Fannie never met her real father or her eight half-siblings.
Elizabeth then met Henry Dawson, and it seems she was onto something good here. Henry was a drayman who lived on Landsdowne Crescent in West Hobart. Elizabeth, Albert and Fannie moved in with him and they had two daughters, Harriet Lilly and Elsie Mary.
Tragedy struck. Henry Dawson died of albuminaris (dropsy?) in January 1884. Harriet died of diarrhea just one month later.
Somewhat broken in spirit, Elizabeth took her three little ones and returned to Rocky Marsh, where she met Edward Albert Bethel Triffett (the spelling he used).
Edward Triffett was the great grandson of James Triffitt, yet another of those early convict land grantees who achieved wealth and repute in their own dynastic worlds. He was five years younger than Elizabeth, but it was a lasting match. Edward and Elizabeth were married in Hobart in 1887, then settled in Hamilton for the birth of their nine children together. From this point on, Fannie had a stable home life.
Then Fannie became pregnant at the age of sixteen. Her daughter Evelyn was born on 12 Jan 1895, just a few days before Fannie’s seventeenth birthday.
Evelyn is my children’s 2 times great grandmother. I’d love to know who that father was. But I don’t. DNA tests suggest he might have been surnamed Day.
Two more daughters were born to Fannie, each with father’s name not provided – Annie in 1897 and Elsie in 1898. Just like her own mother, Fannie’s third daughter died as an infant – of teething, ‘nil’ medical attendant at either death or prior illness. Yet for some reason there was no inquest?
A month after Elsie’s death, Fannie married Sydney Edwin Bethel Daley. Note the similarity in name to her stepfather. The two middle names were a feature of the prolific Triffitt dynasty and each one served a function in identifying the family branch.
Sydney Daley was the son of Isaac Daley and Maria Triffitt. Maria was the sister of Fannie’s stepfather Edward. (A generation back and Issac Daley was the son of Owen Daley and Susan Triffitt – the sister of Maria and Edward’s father John Frederick Triffitt).
Five children were born to Sydney and Fannie. They lived in Ouse.
But during their lifetime, there were also a couple of sons whose paternity is ascribed to other men. So perhaps it was not a happy marriage. The two – possibly three – sons were born too recently to be named here. They are all deceased now but their families may not know. Also – their eldest child Annie is registered with father’s name ‘unknown’ despite the marriage.
Sydney died in 1946 and Fannie passed away in 1953. She was known to her grandchildren as ‘Granny’ and was very much loved for her warmth and for the treats she gave to all the children in her world. Her last home was in Gatehouse St, Moonah.
Fannie was buried at Cornelian Bay, incorrectly recorded as ‘Fanny’ Elizabeth Daley, but I haven’t found a headstone.
Once in a while, a census entry captures something more than just names. Sometimes we get an actual glimpse into the lives of our ancestors, as happened with this particular census entry.
One domestic household in Muddles Green was buzzing with activity on census night, 6th June 1841. The wheelwright’s wife was in labour and the family was primed for action.
Mrs Frances Guy was clearly at her time. The wheelwright’s mother and sister had both come to stay, most certainly in readiness for this night. The wheelwright was Silas Guy and this was their eighth child, about to enter the world.
The hamlet of Muddles Green in the English county of Sussex was a very small place filled with the remnants of grandeur from a bygone glorious age. The industrial age churned into motion elsewhere in England but this tiny collection of cottages was not impacted one bit. It was a forgotten pocket of 18th century gentility in a world of coal dust and economic upheaval, populated by locals whose families had been there pretty well forever.
Life was definitely slow here in Muddles Green. The houses were old and sturdy, the industry was agricultural. It was half a mile from Chiddingly, which was five miles from Hailsham, which in turn was ten miles from Eastbourne.
It was the home of one branch of my ancestors for a couple of centuries.
My 5x great grandmother was Mary Guy. She was born in Chiddingly as Mary Funnell, daughter of Thomas Funnell and Mary Hoad.
Mary grew up at ‘The Park’ in Chiddingly, a small manor reputed to once have been the home of the Sackville family (attached to British royalty). The Funnells were a yeoman family, still important in their little community but no longer holding the wealth they once had known.
The Guy family of Muddles Green, on the other hand, were very wealthy and leased most of the land around, plus living in some of the remaining manor houses.
Thomas Guy of Muddles Green married Mary Funnell of Chiddingly on 27 July 1779 and they settled at Muddles Green. Their marriage united a respectable family with money (the Guy family) with a respectable family of antiquity and local repute. You couldn’t ask for a more advantageous circumstance. The children were baptised in Chiddingly, including Mary (born 1779), Philadelphia (born 1783) and Silas (born 1803).
The children grew up. My 4x great grandmother Philadelphia married and moved away. Her sister Mary married Thomas Newnham. Her brother Silas married Frances Eyles. There were seven other children who by 1841 had married and moved on.
My 5x great grandmother Mary Guy was eighty one years old when her youngest granddaughter was born on census night. Her eldest daughter was sixty. Mary Newnham was probably the real help here. I can imagine her rushing about with young Miriam Deacon, the 15-year-old servant girl listed in this census, boiling water, folding blankets, soothing her labouring sister-in-law. Grandma Mary perhaps was watching the other children, assisted by twelve year old Granddaughter Mary.
Three Mary’s in one household! It must have been confusing.
Being the eighth child, I’m sure the whole business was dealt with quickly and as calmly as could be. The newborn most likely made her way into the world, took her first shaky breaths, gave her first tremulous cry and was swaddled warmly in a blanket and passed to the waiting arms of her exhausted mother. I imagine it went that way. Miriam the servant girl would have gone to make a pot of tea while the children came to see their new little sister.
Finally, within an hour of the little one’s arrival, someone sat down to write up the census record.
The census records the new baby as being a daughter of no name, aged one hour.
From my vantage point in the future, I know that she will be named Clara Jane Guy. I also know that she will grow up, get married, and become a mother to her own little ones. But that is all in the future for census night of 1841.
In 1900 at the age of seventeen, my great grandmother Hester Brown became the mother to her eight younger siblings. She was well able for the role. Hester was a warmhearted girl with the ability to turn a house into a home.
For the next three years, Hester looked after the family while her father worked as a farm labourer. She wasn’t alone in the task. Hester had some maiden aunts – Hannah and Esther Cox. The aunts helped a great deal. They showed Hester how to cook and grow vegetables in her garden.
In 1903, Hester married a widower with an eight year old son and a five year old daughter. Thomas Reading was twenty years older than she was. She moved from her father’s house with eight younger siblings, to her own house with its ready-made family. Hester then had nine children of her own.
Thomas and Hester lived at Apsley on a property called Parki. The house isn’t there any more. They lived in a two bedroom house, Thomas and the boys in one room, Hester and the girls in the other. Money was scarce.
Hester had a recipe book which did not come down to me, but I remember some of the recipes. There was rhubarb trifle and rabbit stew. Grilled bracken fern was had with every meal. They had one milk cow and several pigs, but Thomas used the pigs to clear blackberries so it was rare to eat pork. They had a lot of chickens and ate eggs for breakfast every day. The boys took scones to school for lunch, but they rarely had butter. Hester tried to grow berry fruits but their house had no attached water so in dry times the plants died. She did have a successful lemon tree.
The girls were given sheep’s tongues and sheep liver to eat, to ward off anaemia, and they made soup from the hocks. The sheep belonged to the owners of Parki who occasionally employed Thomas, but much of the time the family was self-sufficient on their own lease-farm. Although self-sufficient, they sometimes went hungry. They then went out to catch rabbits. Rabbits were plentiful in that decade in Tasmania.
They ate tapioca when there was nothing else. To the end of her days, my grandmother hated tapioca pudding from eating it so often in her childhood.
They may have hated the food, but the nineteen children that Hester fed in her mothering years all became healthy, long-lived adults. Hopefully someone still has her recipe book, it would be very interesting to see.
The 18th century in Limerick is truly fascinating to study. After the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Cromwell came in with the New Model Army and did his thing. Fifty years of fighting ensued, culminating in the Limerick Siege of 1691. After this, Irish Catholic Ireland returned to British Protestant control and matters sort of quietened, at least as far as England was concerned. The decades passed with rebellion flaring up in small pockets across Ireland constantly, like the aftermath of a forest fire that is still too hot to completely die out.
This was the world of my 6x great grandmother Dorothea, who lived till her 95th year.
I chose Dorothea because she lived at a time when women did not commonly reach her years, especially not a woman who raised a family as large as hers. She qualifies in the theme of ‘longevity’ as one of the longest living of my ancestors. I should warn you all – this post probably qualifies also on the grounds of its own length. There was a lot to put in.
It is easy to be satisfied with the dry basic record one gets through peerage records and military notices, but as I sat down to write this post, I was determined to get beyond this. Those ancestors of mine were real people who lived full lives that I would love to know about. Dorothea was born in Limerick and died in Cork, but she experienced a lot between those two events.
So I asked myself, what was life really like for Dorothea?
She grew up in a place justifiably proud of its role in the war against Protestant Britain. The greatest resistance to British rule came from the city of Limerick, which was attacked and besieged again and again between 1641 and 1691. The fortified garrison was an inspiration and a symbol of strength to the Irish armies. Even Thomas Leland, a man firmly set against the “Romish” barbarians, refers to Limerick in his ‘History of Ireland’ (1814), as ‘the great and final refuge of the Irish’ (1).
The citizens of Limerick city knew just how to survive a siege. In 1691 they settled themselves in as so often before, repelled attacks, patrolled and repaired heroically and masterfully. They nearly won the war, too, but starvation and disease broke them just a few days too soon. They came to terms with the aggressors shortly before a French army arrived with new resources for the Irish resistance. The entire history of Ireland could have been quite different had they lasted another week. As it was, the 1691 Treaty of Limerick became the guiding document for the Irish people.
This event and its aftermath were defining features in the lives of everyone who lived in Limerick county in the following decades. The treaty itself was memorialized in stone and set into main square of the city.
After the treaty, a lot of influential men of Ireland were attainted and removed from their positions. Reparations were nothing to do with religion but entirely based on which monarch each person had allied themselves with. Irish troops were given the option of emigrating permanently to France. The historian Maurice Lenihan (1866) states that about 21,000 soldiers took up the offer and left Ireland without their wives and children (2). His history includes poems and songs of woe, apparently composed at this time.
Very heavy restraints against Catholics were introduced too. They were basically under curfew, not allowed to leave their district or entertain guests. The restrictions were deemed a betrayal perpetrated against the Irish, definitely not a condition referenced in the Treaty of Limerick. Daily life resumed, but tension was constant.
All of that occurred fifty years before Dorothea was born, but by 1744, Limerick was still trying to recover.
Dorothea’s family were Protestants, so she was not impacted by the Catholic restrictions. But she was still born into a climate of suspicion and danger. Most likely she was never allowed to wander alone. The servants were probably what was known as retainers – multi-generational family servants on unofficial tenure. There was no knowing when war would erupt again, when a new administration would look over the business and private activities of every family to seek out ‘traitors’. It mattered very much whom one associated with, whom one was seen with, who was seen coming to one’s door. Dorothea undoubtedly led a heavily sequestered childhood, only associating with trusted family and friends, only playing with the children who it was safe for her to know.
The obvious result here is a lot of intermarriage within a small social circle. This part of my family tree is more like a family spiderweb with tendrils flying everywhere, hooking on to other strands in complex and confusing ways. The strands never came too close for comfort, but there is a noticeable amount of pedigree collapse. Dorothea is right in the middle of that.
The Hunt family had lived in the county of Limerick for a hundred years by the time of Dorothea’s birth. Her great grandfather was Vere Hunt, an officer in Cromwell’s army who received extensive lands around the garrison city of Limerick in the 1640s (3). His son Henry, her grandfather, married Aphra Aylmer of Croagh in Limerick, a land-owning family who had been there apparently long before Cromwell’s arrival. In later years, the Aylmers declared a strong tradition of support for Irish independence, but they seem to have avoided any penalty after the Limerick siege.
Thus the children of Henry and Aphra, including Dorothea’s father Henry, were quite wealthy and well-connected. Henry Hunt the younger was a privileged young man of good prospects when he married Margaret Widenham in 1730. It was on the occasion of his marriage that he bought the large house and property at Friarstown, where Dorothea was born in 1744.
I don’t actually know how many children there were in Dorothea’s family. The peerage books all mention Vere, the eldest. The GUI Landed Estate Index (3) says that his third son Henry lived at Clorane in Ireland. So we have Vere, an unidentified second son, Henry – and somewhere later on comes Dorothea. There were probably a lot more.
Dorothea’s position in society was the same as that of the lower aristocracy in England. She was well-born, well-connected, her family had a tradition of local rule and hereditary manors and they had money. But in other ways, her life was quite different. She had a knowledge of cruelty and danger that her British counterpart lacked – no matter how sheltered her life was, this could not have been avoided. The atrocities of the 1641 Rebellion were barely out of living memory, the sieges had been experienced by people she knew, and the city of Limerick still bore many scars of battle in its buildings and walls that she would have seen any time she visited the city.
Most likely there were fewer governesses of quality to teach her to dance, to play the piano and to speak French like a princess. There were no hunting parties, no London season, no Hyde Park to go to in a carriage. She daily witnessed the regiments stationed permanently on guard at all public areas of Limerick city, keeping the peace in a way that was not required in England. There were very few bridges, very few roads.
She probably had lots of things though – Limerick’s shipping port was very active with trade. There might have been silks and jewellery and books, writing compendiums and lip paint, if her parents approved. She may have had a doll’s house, she may have had a hobby horse. But childhood was short in 1750 when children were thought to be mini-adults, children in a physical sense only.
In a family of civic importance, the public duties may have started early. It was common for the daughter of a prominent townsperson to pass medals to soldiers in military ceremonies, to present business awards while standing beside the town mayor, and at other times to sit quietly – with an expression of interest and respect through interminable speeches by businessmen who loved an opportunity to demonstrate their oratory skills.
The Irish class system was also different to England’s. The Irish aristocracy lived more familiarly with their clans, not seeing themselves as unreachably superior. There was class mobility. Ireland in that century operated more on a patronage system, something England was trying hard to stamp out. Positions of importance in Ireland were available to any man with the right skills who was verified by someone of suitable authority. If that person met with trouble, their patron and his friends would come instantly to their aid. It seems that if the person failed in their trust, the one who had vouched for them was obligated to take the blame and repair the damage, so the whole business was taken very seriously. The entrenchment of societies such as Freemasons was a natural progression, as were the banditry fraternities such as the White Boys and the Rockites.
To be a Protestant in the 18th century in Ireland was almost a guarantee of a comfortable life, financially speaking. To be landed gentry gave even more privileges. It would have been hard for a landed Protestant not to succeed in all ways; financially, in his career and in his land acquisitions. England desperately needed the Protestants to stay, to take charge so that the Catholics could not gain dominance. After the wars, many English landowners had moved on. They went back to England, to Barbados or to Virginia where it was safer. England threw a lot of incentives and resources at those who stayed.
The British Protestant settler in Ireland braved the emotionally charged threat of the disenfranchised Irish. They weathered the deprivations of war-ravaged agriculture and the absence of infrastucture. The benefits might be great, but the risk was that a raging mob might charge into your house and slash everyone’s throats at any time, or one might be shot dead by snipers on the way into town. It did happen. This was a scenario that no genteel English young lady had to face.
John Ferrars’ history of Limerick adds colour to the years of Dorothea’s childhood. His history was based on the manuscripts of the Reverend James White, a long time favourite of mine. I’ve read John Ferrars’ book many times now.
Dorothea was fourteen at the time the ship blew up.
Dorothea was sixteen years old and probably attended, since her parents were important members of local society.
In 1762 when Dorothea was eighteen, the White Boys first appeared in Limerick, perhaps an indication that many people were experiencing tough times. The White Boys were a society of rebels/bandits who attacked the Protestants and those who worked with them, in revenge for atrocities committed against the Irish Catholic. Some of their acts were very vicious.
When she was aged nineteen, Dorothea married twenty-four year old George Bowles (Boles), a cornet in the 7th Light Dragoons who was stationed at Limerick at the time. He was a distant relative of hers.
The relationship finder actually found fifteen different ways in which George and Dorothea connect, but these are the closest. Dorothea’s great grandfather Thomas Maunsell was the brother of George’s great grandmother Aphra Maunsell. The relationship was barely worth noting, but it meant that George was safe for Dorothea to know, and that it was safe for the two families to be united.
George was a son of the respected Boles family. According to Burke’s Peerage, the spelling of his name was entered erroneously on his commission papers and he decided it was simpler to keep it. It is also possible – subtly implied by Burke, I think – that he chose the more English spelling deliberately but allowed the story to proliferate to save his family’s pride. After all, some of the Boles family had lost their privileges by taking the wrong side in 1691. It might have been prudent to not remind his senior military officers of the connection, in any way. I’m just speculating here.
They married in Limerick on 13 November 1764 and moved to the Bowles family property of Mount-Prospect in Curriglass, Cork. This is where their children were born.
Burke’s Peerage and the GUI Landed Estates both state that George and Dorothea had three sons. This is true. They also had nine daughters, something which is rarely mentioned. This was actually a large family.
There is a gap in children between Henry and Anna which I can’t yet explain. I do know, however, that George Bowles purchased a commission as Lieutenant in 1767 (6). It was announced in Military Notices as follows:
War Office Feb 14, 7th Regiment of Dragoons, Cornet George Bowles to be Lieutenant, vice Lieut. Samuel Bayley, by purchase.
He then exchanged from full pay to half in 1769 (7).
George was appointed a Justice of the Peace in Curriglass sometime before 1770. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Tallow in 1776. Curriglass and Tallow are geographically very close to each other.
In the 1790s when Dorothea was aged about forty eight, the family travelled to India where George was referred to as ‘General George Bowles’ (8). While in Bombay, India in 1792, Dorothea’s daughter Dorothea was married to Major Henry Oakes. It seems that the whole family were there at that time.
Perhaps he really was a General, but there is usually enough documentation regarding military Generals to confirm it. I’m not convinced, I suspect someone was making an advantageous marriage sound even grander.
I haven’t found another mention of George Bowles anywhere. Although many sites say that he died at Tallow, I am beginning to think he actually died in India. This is based on his daughter Harriet’s marriage in Bombay in the year of George’s death. Why would the family still be there if he wasn’t?
George died in 1802 – supposedly in Tallow, Waterford – leaving Dorothea as executrix of his will. Dorothea returned on a date unknown to Mount-Prospect, where she lived comfortably surrounded by extended family including her Widenham cousins.
In 1830 when Dorothea was 86, the property was advertised to let (9). I don’t know where Dorothea lived during this interval . The house being new is a surprise also. After George’s death, the property was inherited by Dorothea’s son George, but given to Dorothea for her use through her lifetime. Maybe George the younger or his wife were not willing to live in an outdated place? Or maybe they did preferred to live in their own way, separate to Dorothea.
The ‘Mrs G Bowles’ referenced in the advertisement could have been either Dorothea or her daughter-in-law.
TO BE LET FOR A SHORT TERM
The HOUSE And DEMESNE of MOUNT-PROSPECT, with OUT-HOUSES and an excellent GARDEN, near the village of CURRIGLASS. The House is a new one, and fit for the reception of a large family.
Applications to be made, if by letter (post-paid) to Mrs G. Bowles, Mount-Prospect, Tallow.
About the only other reference I have found to Dorothea in her own right is a court appearance she was required to make in 1833 regarding the particulars of a lease of land which had been allocated in her husband’s will thirty years earlier. She was aged 89 and probably did not actually appear in person.
Dorothea passed away in Ahern, Rathcormack, Cork in 1838. Unfortunately despite all the searching I have not located her actual death date, simply the probate record which gives the year and location of her death.
Thus ended the life of a woman who saw a lot in her time, who birthed twelve children, travelled to India and spent thirty years in widowhood managing her own affairs. Even this long blog post just skims the surface of her life, but it is a closer and hopefully an illuminating look at someone who is entered in all the peerage records only as ‘Dorothea, daughter of Henry Hunt of Friarstown, county Limerick’.
(1) The History of Ireland from the Invasion of Henry II by Thomas Leland, 1812 via Google books https://books.google.com.au/books?id=UAVaAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA364&dq=history+of+limerick&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKnd6O3tjYAhWGybwKHQKKBTw4KBDoAQhRMAg#v=onepage&q=history%20of%20limerick&f=false
(2) Limerick: its history and antiquities by Maurice Lenihan, 1866 via Google books https://books.google.com.au/books?id=YwwHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=history+of+limerick&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFttDB3djYAhUGbrwKHQfKBZ0Q6AEINDAC#v=onepage&q=jonathan%20&f=false
In the 1850s, three convict brothers surnamed Dillane completed their term of servitude and were let loose on south-eastern Tasmania as new settlers. They settled on the eastern bank of the Huon River in a heavily wooded, very hilly area. It was almost inaccessible from Hobart Town, the colony’s main town. There was a push to open up this region but the difficulty of access was a major obstacle.
The Dillane brothers grew up along the western border of Limerick in Ireland where the war against the British invaders was still going strong. Roads, bridges and shops had never been part of their world. Nor was oversight by local authorities. Their new home suited them very well and they made a roaring success of it. They cleared some land but only what they had to. They didn’t worry too much about property boundaries. They worked hard, married second wives and raised large families.
Two of those Dillane brothers were the grandfathers of Edward (Ned) Dillon pictured here in the photograph I have chosen to feature. Ned was my great grandfather. It is the only picture I have ever seen of him. I don’t know who took this picture, but it was taken in his later years probably at Gardners Bay.
Transportation had transmuted the surname Dillane to Dillon, and it never changed back. Therefore, Ned was Edward Dillon from birth.
By the time of Ned’s birth there were 44 Dillons in the Huon. This count does not include the family of Ned’s aunt Johanna Dillon who had become Mrs John Thorp. If we add the six children she had produced by the year of Ned’s birth we have a total of 50 Dillons where a mere twenty years earlier there had been 3, all still living in that one isolated corner in the Huon. It’s quite astounding. Apart from a few tragic early deaths, the family were healthy and vigorous.
Fifty individuals and only about twelve Christian names among them, but while from a distance the duplication of names is daunting, at the local level there was much less confusion. To illustrate this, here’s a map of the area they lived showing Ned’s birthplace, Gardner’s Bay.
On the map the distance looks quite small, but even when I was a child it still took an hour and a half to travel that 60 kilometres. The road to Hobart was a windy, narrow hill-hugging sealed track involving much cooperation where one car met another coming the other way. Just over a century earlier when Ned was born, the way to Hobart town involved taking a boat up the Huon as far as Franklin and travelling up from there. It wasn’t travelled much. They were quite self-sufficient.
By modern standards the above map looks like a small area, but even this map encompasses a much larger world than that of Ned Dillon. He lived very much within one community. The background of the photograph shows his world.
I couldn’t find a good map of the region in the public domain so I made my own. It’s a bit messy, but it perfectly shows the world of Ned Dillon. The watercourses are labelled in blue, the land in white. The distance from Gardners Bay to Cygnet (formerly named Lovett) is just under 10km, or about 6 miles. At the time of Ned’s birth, Lovett did not exist. There was a small administrative township there named Port Cygnet.
Edward Dillon was born on 18th Nov 1878. His father John Dillon was the son of the convict Edmund Dillane to his first wife Maria Woulfe. John was still a child when his father was transported, but he, his brother Edmund and his sister Johanna joined their father a few years later.
Mary Teresa Dillon was born in Glazier’s Bay on 15th April 1860, the daughter of convict John Dillane and his second wife Bridget Behan.
Mary was aged 17 when she married her 35 year old cousin on 11th May 1877 at Port Cygnet. Their first child John was born four days later. The family then settled at Gardners Bay where the rest of their children were born.
Ned had no chance to meet his older brother. Young John died two months before Ned’s birth. A new brother John was born just after Ned’s second birthday.
The children kept coming, in the usual Dillon way. Andrew, Christopher, Bridget, Johanna and Mary had been brought into the world by Ned’s twelfth birthday. The family were orchardists and Ned worked on the property from a young age with all his cousins. Very frequently, the Dillons all worked together. There were certainly enough of them, they didn’t need to bring in outside labour.
It was all shaken up when Ned’s father died on 26 October 1891 leaving a rather large young family. Ned took over as the man of the house, working full time on the family’s farm. He was sixteen when his mother, then aged 35, remarried. I’ve had a lot of trouble finding her second husband. The oral history in the family – which I’ve grown up knowing – is that Mary Dillon married Pretty-boy Cowen. The place is full of nicknames. A search in the vital records show him to be Albert Cowen aged 20 at the time of marriage, but there is no birth record for an Albert Cowen of similar age.
I suspect his birth is the one registered as Alfred Cowen in Gardners Bay 13 Aug 1874, son of Joseph Cowen and Harriet Devereaux.
Ned became an adult and met his future wife. Well, in that region it doesn’t make sense to say that. They all grew up together. He was probably around when she was born since she was nine years younger than he was. Patience Victoria Bone was born on 16 April 1888 in Garden Island Creek, but by her teen years her family had moved to Port Cygnet. At the time of their marriage Ned was 25 and Patience was 16.
Patience’s father Richard was the son of James Bones and Mary Ann Cowen. Mary Ann was the sister of Joseph Cowen, probable parent to Mary Dillon’s second husband. So Mary’s second husband was probably the cousin of her daughter in law’s father. But now I’m getting distracted. Back to Ned!
Ned and Patience were married on 11 September 1904 in Cygnet, which had finally come into existence as a proper town. They settled at Gardners Bay where Ned was an orchardist and small fruits farmer. It seems to have been a happy marriage. My grandfather remembered Patience as being an ‘unusual’ woman, one with a quirky sense of humour and a love of novelty. Eight children were born to Ned and Patience between 1905 and 1922.
Patience was tragically struck down by an inherited health condition and died at the age of 41 on 05 Feb 1930, leaving Ned with his young family. He did not remarry. He continued farming until a year or two before he died when he moved in to Cygnet. The 1954 electoral roll is the last one to show him living at Gardners Bay.
Ned passed away on 12 Apr 1958 in Cygnet and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery there. He was a quiet man who lived a very quiet life, but having a photograph keeps him with us a unique individual.
The little township of Bethanga in north Victoria (Australia) was in its boom years when Emily Morey was born in 1887. She was the fifth child in her family, with two elder brothers and two elder sisters.
Her proud parents were William and Fanny. At the time of their marriage, William had been a drover and Fanny a domestic servant, but now they were settled into farm life with William taking labouring work where he could find it. Bethanga was a mining town and in the 1880’s there was great hope of a big lode somewhere in the hills, just waiting for the right prospector to find it. Inns, boarding houses and eating establishments lined the main street and many new homes were still popping up on the farmlands around the town. Churches were opened and the burning issue in town in the year of Emily’s birth was the proposed site for a much needed official state school.
The topic for this week’s #52Ancestor blogging challenge is ‘Start’ and Emily (Stella) Morey was the one who got me going on what has been almost a lifetime of family research. She was my great grandmother in a direct maternal line, known to us all as ‘Ma’. She passed away in 1984 when I was in high school. Stella taught me through stories which brought the past to life for me that behind every dry name and date was a whole world that someone had lived. Not only that, but when I came to research her I found that her personal story bore very little resemblance to the individual who emerged from her vital records. It was a salutary lesson to look beyond the official account whenever possible.
The confusion begins with her birthday. Nobody ever knew, she told us, if she was a winter baby or a spring baby since she was born at midnight on the 31st August – or maybe it was just past midnight on the 1st September? Through the years, both dates had been used on various official documents. She also lost a year in age somewhere, believing herself to be born in 1888.
The official birth registration gives her a birth date of 27th August 1887, but the birth was not registered till a few days later so we can’t be completely sure. I have placed the official date in my tree, but were she alive I suspect she would dispute this vehemently.
The next confusion is her name. Registered and baptised as Emily, she quickly became known as Stella. She told me that it was because she had a cousin of the same age named Emily and so one of their names had to change. I have not yet discovered a cousin named Emily. Another relative says she used to help care for some children and they had difficulty calling her Emily. I only learned her true name in the first place by looking at the family bible with her. It was never used.
Stella’s birth family did not make it into many records, but some aspects of their lifestyle can be inferred from the little that exists. They moved often, but stayed in the same area, the mining and farming district which had spread out from the banks of the Murray River. Stella’s brothers William and Charles were born in Bethanga in 1880 and 1881. Frances was born in Granya in 1883, and Louisa was born in Lockhart in 1885. Come 1887 and the birth of Emily (Stella), the family was back in Bethanga.
William Morey’s large birth family was nearby, so Stella probably knew many of her cousins. Her father had been born in the goldfields of New South Wales, and he knew no other home than rural Australia. Fanny, on the other hand, was an orphan from England, raised to be say her prayers, do her work diligently and to appreciate refinement enough to take a domestic position with a good family. From all accounts she took to motherhood like a duck to water. She loved her brood of youngsters and everyone knew her as a happy, warmhearted women. Fanny was heavily involved in the local church and all her children attended church also. As a child in a large family who were just one step up from itinerant, Stella was quite fortunate in having stable, healthy parents who cared about the future of all their children. Certainly, she never perceived any lack in her own childhood.
Three more sisters were born over the next decade, named Rachel, Amy and Olive. Stella was eleven years old when her youngest sibling was born and died within just a few weeks. Matilda Mignonette Morey was the only child lost to William and Fanny and her death came as a shock to them all.
In the years of Stella’s childhood, Bethanga changed. The big gamble had not paid out for either businesses or miners. Despite some moderately successful mines, most townspeople had not become rich. Some residents were even beginning to move away. In 1895, the mail service was reduced from a daily delivery to one every third day. Funds ceased to be available for local repairs. In the late 1890s, Australia was moving into a time of financial recession and the rural towns were beginning to feel it, especially where the occupants had relied too heavily on credit.
Stella had her fourteenth birthday in 1901, Australia’s year of Federation.
Stella’s movements through her teen years are still unknown, but her parents can be found on the electoral roll in 1903, 1905 and 1906 still living in Bethanga. The two boys, now young adults, were living at home so it is likely that the girls were there also.
Bethanga suffered a few bad setbacks at this time.
20 Aug 1904
A great crash in the mines occurred on Friday when between fifty and sixty men were dismissed without respect to persons. Married and single had to go, and things look very black for the present.
Some are gathered on one street corner, some on another, asking where they’ll go, what will they do, and so forth. Hard luck seems to stand in the way. The only thing is to keep smiling and hope for better days to come. (1)
Things did not improve in the town.
09 December 1905
from our own correspondent.
Once again we are led to believe that the unsatisfactory state of affairs existing in Bethanga at the present time will be brought to a close. The A.M. A. are now taking steps on behalf of the miners to obtain wages due to them over 12 months ago. The liquidation has now to take final steps in regard to winding up affairs.
If this had been done in the first place, who can say but that Bethanga would have by this time been on its feet again. There is one thing about the Bethanga people — they all have a large stock of hope, otherwise they — especially the business people — would have begun fishing long before the season was open. (2)
There were other problems too. Cattle were mysteriously dying and crops were failing. These issues at first were deemed to be local farming problems but in 1907 were found to be due to serious pollution from the mines in some of the local watercourses.
Finally, sometime around 1907, the whole Morey family left town and moved north to the Snowy Mountains to make a fresh start as a share farming family in a community called Manus.
MANUS, NEW SOUTH WALES
MANUS (Letters to Uncle Jeff)
14 December 1906
Dear Uncle Jeff, — Manus is a station situated on the Manus Creek, four miles from Tumbarumba, where sheep raising is still carried on. But of late the owners have gone extensively into the cheese making industry, which is now a flourishing concern. The factory, also belonging to the station, is a fine building, situated on the creek near the Manus bridge.
Milk is supplied by a number of dairy farms, each milking a large number of cows at present. And one of the dairies has of late been installed with milking machines, which are said to be a vast improvement on the old style of milking.— D. HASH. (3)
The Children’s Page in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express is a source of rich local information like no other, and a great asset to researchers of the greater Albury region which includes both Bethanga and Manus. The letters were actually written in school under the auspices of a teacher, but the content was something of relevance to the child. This letter manages to describe perfectly the situation at Manus just before the arrival of the Morey family.
Manus Station was established by Robert McMicking in 1856 and even in the 1970s the McMickings were remembered as important people in Manus. On each visit to the district we went to see the McMicking graves. I assumed as a young child that they were related, but they are not. However, their influence on my family was so great that the next generation took on as much reverence for them as their forebears had felt.
In about 1900 Robert McMicking suffered a serious illness which left him invalided. Unable to focus on the labour-intensive sheep industry, he built a cheese factory and introduced dairy share-farming to ensure a supply of milk. The new operation required a large number of new workers. The call must have gone out somehow, because William Morey and his family took heed, as did several other farm workers from the Albury region.
At the age of 20 Stella lived at Manus and worked as a dairy maid. I don’t recall her talking of the milking machines, but she spoke of going to work in a stiff morning frost just before dawn. Here she met Burley Peard, a farm worker from Albury who travelled regularly to Manus on his bicycle to work on the property. Burley was 28, a quiet man, a very hard worker who made a success of almost everything he touched. He probably came to Manus first to observe either the cheese factory or the milking machines. Stella had something to do with his decision to remain.
It was less than a year after they met that Robert McMicking passed away, and a suggestion was made that Manus be selected for a ‘closer settlement scheme’, which meant opening up land in 100 acre lots rather than the expansive stations of the 19th century.
Burley Peard and Stella Morey were married on the 18th November 1908 in the little church of St Judes at Tumbarumba. They settled on land at Manus and called their property ‘Toronto’.
The eight share-farming families who moved to Manus in circa 1908 have remained very close to this very day. Most if not all of them are now connected by marriage. They came from very different places but forged a permanent community which has seen a little village grow up in Manus, and also watched that village disappear. William and Fanny’s house stood for decades after their demise, unoccupied, but has finally fallen down. Burley and Stella’s house still stands but in a partially dismantled state.
Only two children were born to Burley and Stella, one of whom was my grandmother. They lived at Toronto from 1908 until Burley’s death in 1974, after which Stella moved in with her son and daughter in law in a neighbouring property.
Stella passed away on 6th July 1984 in Mannus, and is buried in the Tumbarumba Cemetery.