Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Trove Tuesday: More about Dave Taylor

I was searching, with some success, the newspaper files on Trove for mention of my great-grandparents when they lived at Lismore, Victoria early in the 1900s. Just following rabbits down various burrows as you do.

Henry and Martha Taylor seem to have had a fruit and vegetable shop in Lismore - Henry was a market gardener - while maintaining a connection with properties at Ecklin South and Cobden.

One of the newspaper items I found was a letter from a soldier, local Lismore lad Patrick Leslie McGowan known as Les, written to his mother from Egypt and published in the local rag in August 1915. He was a soldier in the AIF in World War 1. Les is not a relation of ours but in his letter he mentions Henry and Martha Taylor's son, Dave.

I've previously written a blog post about Dave because he too served in WW1 but, unlike Les, he was killed in action in France. Les' letter adds a little more detail to Dave's story.

Dave Taylor
Dave sailed to Egypt on the 'Clan Macgillivray', arriving March 1915, and then immediately sailed to Australia and then back to Egypt as a Military Policeman (Provost) on the 'Ulysses'. Les McGowan had enlisted in April 1915 and also sailed on the 'Ulysses' from Melbourne. Like Dave he was a Military Policeman on the ship, and off and on throughout the war ( he also served as a shoeing smith at times), when he served at Gallipoli, France and India.

This is Les McGowan's letter in which describes the journey from Melbourne to Egypt and something of the life of a soldier in Eygpt. A month or so later both Les and Dave went to Gallipoli.

Les McGowan's letter published in
 the Lismore, Derrinallum and Cressy Advertiser
18 August 1915

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Elizabeth Ryland nee Withers

As mentioned in the previous post another of the Withers siblings came to Australia, the third of the children of John Withers and Susannah Cooke of Bristol, England. Joseph Withers and his sister Ann (Stone) arrived at Hobart, Tasmania in 1819. Over thirty years later their younger sister, Elizabeth, arrived in Victoria, Australia. It is not known whether Elizabeth went to Tasmania to meet her sister. Her brother Joseph later moved to Ararat, Victoria so they may have met.

John Withers was a tophat manufacturer and two of his sons, George and John stayed in Bristol and followed him into the business.

George and John Withers, hat manufacturers, 81 Castle St, Bristol in 1836
George and John Withers dissolving their partnership 1841,
 The London Gazette Vol 2 1841
Elizabeth Withers was born in Bristol about 1812 and married in 1849 in Clifton, Gloucestershire to David Brainerd Ryland. David was the son of a stationer who also conducted a post office and owned a circulating library. At 14 years of age he had been apprenticed to a chemist and druggist but appears to have been tied up with his father's stationer's business in 1851 when this advertisement appeared.

Bristol Advertisement, 1851

Elizabeth and David Ryland would have heard about Australia from their correspondence with relatives already there. Gold was found in Victoria in 1851 and several of Elizabeth's Stone nephews lived in Victoria. Her siblings, Ann and Joseph were living in Tasmania. David and Elizabeth Ryland decided to migrate and arrived in Melbourne, Victoria on 16 October 1852 on the ship Panama.

They firstly set up business in Melbourne as stationers but they were not successful so they decided to follow the hordes of people moving up to the goldfields. David had a go at gold digging but in 1855 when the position of School Master at a National School at Forest Creek goldfield (now Chewton) near Castlemaine. His wife, Elizabeth, was appointed as Work Mistress. National School fees came in part from the National Board of Education and in part from fees paid in advance by each child.

It wasn't easy. The schoolroom had an attached dwelling but it was all in extremely poor condition and, even though the Rylands ran a very good school, no extra funds for repairs or equipment were forthcoming. Parents weren't keen to send their children to such a place so attendances gradually diminished. The Rylands built a new school on their own land but then the National Board were reluctant to provide assistance. By 1860 things started to improve and David and Elizabeth had a better house to live in. In 1860 David was appointed Town Clerk of the Borough of Chewton.

David Ryland, Town Clerk Mount Alexander Mail 6 May 1863
There was ongoing correspondence to the National Board about the fact that some children attended school even though they didn't pay their fees and, because of the appalling living conditions on the goldfields, many children didn't go to school because they were ill. The death rate of children on the goldfields was very high. Elizabeth Ryland was dismissed by the Board because of the student numbers but continued to work at the school for no wages.

In 1862 the Common Schools Act was passed by the Victorian Parliament so the National Board and the Denominational Board ceased to exist, replaced by a Board of Education. The Forest Creek National School closed in June 1863.

In February 1864 David Ryland opened a new school at the rural community of Laanacoorie under the Board of Education. Laanacoorie is the area where Elizabeth's nephews were farming. As well as teaching David Ryland used his skills as a druggist and chemist in the area because there was no doctor nearby. In October 1868 he was appointed Deputy Electoral Registrar for the Marong Division of the Mandurang District and North-Western Province.

One eveneing David Ryland died suddenly 23 July 1871 at the home, of an aneurysm of the aorta, at the age of 51. Over five hundred people attended his funeral.

Death notice, Mount Alexander Mail  25 Jul 1871

After David's death Elizabeth lived with her nephew, Edward Stone, at Laanacoorie. Seven years later, in May 1878, she was admitted to the Kew Asylum, Melbourne because she'd been found 'wandering at large'. On the admittance file she was noted as 'temperate and quiet', that this was her first attack of lunacy but that it had lasted for two years. The doctor testified that she had dementia and was said to be destructive. Her nephew, Edward, stated that he was unable to attend to her because 'she leaves my house at all times of the night, and goes away in the bush. I am willing to pay anything reasonable while she is in the asylum'. Edward and his wife Chrissy had a young family of six at the time. [Edward's brother Joseph and his wife Margaret also lived in the area. Also their brother Alfred and his wife Sophie and their sister Lucy and her husband William Field.]

Elizabeth was admitted to Kew Asylum on 11 May 1878 and died there in 1881 aged 69 years. Her brother Joseph died the same year. Their sister Ann Stone had died in Tasmania in 1856 following a stroke.

Reference: A journal article 'A Schoolmaster in Goldrush Victoria: David Ryland at Forest Creek 1856-1863' by Alex Stone in Victorian Historical Journal Vol 58, No. 1, March 1987. And also the asylum admission papers.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Whither Catherine Withers nee Scott

Joseph Withers is my husband's 4th great-uncle or, to put it another way, the brother of his great-grandmother's grandmother. Either way it takes us back two centuries.

Joseph was born in 1805 in Bristol, England. His parents were John Withers, a hat manufacturer, and Susannah Cooke. Joseph had six siblings including Ann who married Thomas Stone and migrated to Hobart, Tasmania. Their story can be found at this webpage. Joseph's brothers, John and George, stayed in Bristol and continued their father's hat manufacturing business and his younger sister, Elizabeth, married David Ryland and migrated to Victoria, Australia in 1852 but that's another story. This post is about Joseph.

Two hundred years ago Joseph Withers, his sister Ann and her husband Thomas Stone sailed from Portsmouth on the 11 June 1819 in the David Shaw heading for Sydney, New South Wales as free settlers.

The journey took four months, a long monotonous journey with only one port of call, St Jago (now known as Sao Tiago), a small island of the Cape Verde group of the west coast of Africa. Their intended destination was Port Jackson but the long journey had taken toll of Ann’s health and she was expecting their first child.

When the David Shaw berthed at Hobart Town the three young people applied to Lieutenant Governor William Sorell for permission to land and settle there. This was granted and the Lieutenant Governor reported his actions to Governor Macquarie in Sydney in a dispatch:

Mr. T. Stone and Wife, and Mr. Withers, his brother-in-law, brought no letter from the Secy. of State, and I was therefore doubtful of the propriety of allowing them to land here; but upon considering the hardship which they might feel and represent of being forced from hence at the end of a long voyage without any charge, I judged it best to accede to their application and to report their situation to Your Excellency.
It does not appear from these persons coming out that any restriction exists, and if the only means of preventing those who venture to this Country without the Secy. of State’s Authority, be that of sending them away on arrival, it would be one which in many cases would be impractible and in most involving questions which would be painful to the Chief Colonial Authority. Should Your Excellency disapprove of the permission to land, which I gave to Mr. Stone, I request to be honored with your instructions.

Less than a month after arriving in Hobart Town the following advertisement appeared which shows that Joseph Withers had found accommodation and was ready to set up in business.

Hobart Town Gazette, and Southern Reporter November 13, 1819
The Public are respectfully informed, that J. Withers, recently from England, has commenced his Business as a Cooper, at a new brick house in Bridge Street, corner of Liverpool Street, where every Article in that Line will be made in the neatest Manner, and on the most moderate Terms,—Tubs, Buckets, Pails, Churns, &c. ready made,—Jobs, and Work by the Day, performed reasonably.
N.B.—Old Casks, Staves, Iron-hoops, &c. bought, or taken in exchange.
In 1827 Joseph was the licensee of the Druid Hotel in Argyle Street, Hobart but may not have been there long because in the early 1830s he appears to have  been a crew member on whaling ships along the east coast of Australia. He was on the Dragon in February 1831 (listed as a cooper) and the William the Fourth in February 1833 (listed as crew) bound for Twofold Bay in New South Wales.

At the age of 39 Joseph married for the first time. On 24 January 1840 in St Davids Church, Hobart Town he married Hannah Mathews (nee Hurst). Hannah, aged 29, was a widow with two young boys, John aged seven and James aged two. She must have been illiterate because she signed the church register with a cross. Her husband, James Mathews, had died in 1839. [There was a man called James Matthews murdered in Argyle St, Hobart in March 1839. He may have been her husband.]

Hannah and Joseph Withers had four children: Joseph (1841), Benjamin (1843), James Frederick (1844) and Hannah (1846 who died at four weeks).

The Courier 8 Feb 1845

The family was living in Argyle St, Hobart and Joseph was working as a cooper when Hannah died 26 May 1847. She was only 36 years old but her death certificate said the cause of her death was angina. Her two boys were under six years of age and her three Mathews sons were still young. Joseph may have had sive boys in his care.

Six months later, in October of 1847, a convict called Catherine Scott asked for permission to marry Joseph Withers. Her application was approved on 23 October 1847 and two weeks later, 8 November 1847, they married at St Johns, Newtown. [The witnesses to the wedding were Benjamin and Eliza Hurst. Hurst was the name of Joseph's first wife so there is a good chance that Benjamin was her relation. Unfortunately in August 1858 Benjamin accidentally drowned and his body was found floating in Constitution Dock. He was a keeper of a public pound in Argyle Street and his wife, Eliza, took over that job after his death.]

Catherine Scott was about 22 years old and Joseph was about 47 when they married. Catherine was born at Burslem in Staffordshire in about 1825 and was working as a housemaid when, in August 1843, she was convicted of larceny, stealing money from a person, and sentenced to 10 years. She was transported to Tasmania from Woolwich on the Angelina and arrived 25 August 1844. After marrying Joseph in 1847 she was granted a Ticket of Leave on 29 August 1849 - a document, based on good conduct, allowing certain freedoms to convicts before the end of their original sentence. On 30 April 1850 Catherine was recommended for a Conditional Pardon and this was applied on 13 August 1851. Catherine was now free but was not allowed to return to England. There is no further record of Catherine at all that I can find. What happened to her?

Meanwhile Joseph must have been finding it difficult to keep his business viable. He appears to have been bankrupted in 1849.

In the 1850s, 1859 possibly, Joseph and his three sons moved to Ararat, Victoria. When he died there in 1881 at Ararat he owned several small blocks of land and his house was on a larger block. He worked as a gardener (not a cooper).

His sons all stayed in Victoria. Joseph (2) never married and died at Ararat in 1879 at the age of 38. Benjamin married Margaret Wilson at Ararat in 1864 and died in 1926 in Preston, Victoria aged 82. James Frederick married Phyllis Wilson at Ararat in 1876 and died there in 1899 aged 54. (Phyllis Wilson and Margaret Wilson were sisters, born in Scotland). Both Benjamin and James had children so there are a number of descendants in Victoria.

There are four newspaper articles that describe the location of Joseph's property in Hobart. The final one is particularly intriguing.

12 perches of land in Hobart Town, Launceston Express 30 May 1839
The Courier (Hobart) 11 Aug 1843
Launceston Examiner 19 June 1852
Launceston Examiner 10 May1882
This is the year after Joseph's death and it appears that
 Benjamin Withers, James Withers and a
William Mathews are claiming title on land in
Campbell Street, Hobart. Richard Hurst may have
been a relative of Joseph's first wife, Joseph Stone
is his sister Ann's husband but why would the
Ann Withers be listed as Ann Withers rather than Ann Stone?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A convict-free colony please

Unlike every other state in Australia except Victoria South Australia was not founded as a convict colony. In 1834 the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act that decreed that the new colony would be convict free and in 1836 the first ships arrived with government officials and new settlers.

At some time in the early years of the settlement my husband's 4th great-uncles, Alexander and William Honeyman, travelled to Adelaide by ship from Tasmania. The brothers were born in Falkirk, Scotland and had travelled to Sydney, New South Wales in 1821 with their mother to join their father. (There is much more to this story but I'm cutting to the chase.)

The father had died by the time the family arrived and both boys were placed in an orphanage when their mother remarried. Details are vague but it appears that the boys later joined whaling ships that sailed out from Sydney and Hobart.

In February 1845 there was a petition, a memorial signed by South Australian residents, asking for a guarantee that the state of South Australia would remain convict free and it was published in the newspaper together with the names of the signatories.

South Australian 14 February 1845
On the list is one of the brothers, Alexander Honeyman, who was living at Port Adelaide at the time.

The irony is that the father of Alexander and William (and their sisters Annie and Margaret) was a convict!! William Honeyman Snr was transported to New South Wales in 1816 for robbery. And their older sister Annie had married a convict in Tasmania in 1828 (and died in childbirth the same year).

I suspect that if Alexander and William had been told that their father was a convict (he was in prison and then transported when the boys were just toddlers) they would not have talked about it because in those days a convict background was shameful.

There must have been a lot of people with secrets in the early days of colonisation.


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