A welcome addition to Trove has been the Weekly Times, Victoria’s favourite newspaper for country readers and still in publication. The editions at Trove cover the years 1869 to 1954 and with a rural focus, I anticipated its arrival. Familiar with the newspaper, I was sure the Western District would be well represented and I wasn’t disappointed. The photos alone are fantastic. I’ve found some great Hamilton photos and have shared those to the Facebook group I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria. Some from the 1950s have included faces familiar to many in the group.
There are also family photos and for Trove Tuesday I thought I’d share this lovely photo of Macarthur Pioneers Frederick Button Huggins and Frances Mary Trowell. Both born in Kent, England in the mid-1830s, they married prior to their arrival at Portland in 1856, settling at Macarthur two years later. Frances died in 1920 at Macarthur aged eighty-five and Frederick died in 1927 at Macarthur aged ninety-three.
During the 1880s, there was a mass exodus of families from the Mount Eccles district near Macarthur. They included the eldest children of Frederick and Frances Huggins, James, Agnes, and Frances Susan. With them was Henry Condon, husband of Agnes Huggins and my relatives Walter and Lydia Harman and their children. Tired of the volcanic stones from nearby Mount Eccles covering their selections making the land unfit for cultivation, they were in search of a fertile place with good rainfall, unlike the often drought prone southwest of the state. That place was Omeo in Victoria’s High Country and they settled there from the mid-1880s. Henry’s uncle John Condon had lived there since at least 1880 and when his first wife Mary Jane died in 1886, he married Frances Susan Huggins in 1888.
One of the fifty great-grandchildren of pioneers Frederick and Frances Huggins was the subject of a past Western District Families post. Witness for the Prosecution from 2011, includes the story of the suspicious death of the wife of the Omeo Methodist Rev. Ronald Griggs. Lottie Condon, a great-granddaughter of Macarthur’s Frederick and Frances Huggins was unwittingly involved. Lottie’s grandparents James Huggins and Elizabeth Skipworth, both from Macarthur, married in 1881 prior to their move to Omeo. Their daughter Frances Ethel was born in Macarthur and was only a small child when they moved. At the age of twenty-one, Frances Ethel Huggins married John Henry Condon, a son of John Condon and his first wife Mary Jane. In 1907, Lottie Elizabeth Condon was born at Omeo to John Henry Condon and Frances Ethel Huggins and twenty-one years later became mixed up in the murder trial of Rev. Ronald Griggs.
The Harman connection with the families continued with the marriage of Walter and Lydia’s daughter Susannah Harman to William Condon in 1898. Also, Susannah’s brother Henry was a good friend of Lottie Condon’s parents strengthened by their connection with the Methodist Church at Omeo and in 1928, he too became involved in the murder trial of Rev. Griggs.
To search the Weekly Times, you can follow this link – Weekly Times. If you would like to read more about Frederick and Frances Huggins’ great-granddaughter Lottie Condon and the murder trial of Ronald Griggs, follow this link – Witness for the Prosecution.
3 thoughts on “Trove Tuesday – Early Settlers”
Great story Merron. Another source for people from Co Clare.
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Thank you for the helpful reminder to recheck Trove. I had a lovely evening searching and found plenty to investigate further!
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