To Catch A Thief

Well, well, well, what an exciting surprise. While searching the newly released digitised copies of the Mt Gambier paper, the “Border Watch“, I discovered that in 1877, ggg grandfather James Bishop was nabbed for horse theft and remanded pending trial.

I suppose the find was more exciting than surprising.   Why wasn’t I surprised?  Well, Jim was a drover and the article revealed he was also a dealer.  Many horses would have passed through his hands, probably unbranded. Being a drover/stockman I would doubt bookkeeping was a strong suit and after reading many Pound Notices in the newspapers of the time, a lot of horses were wandering the countryside.  Mix ups could easily happen.

SUMMARY OF NEWS. (1877, October 27). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77048847

I was, however, very excited with this new discovery. Enough to tweet about it!  To find some “dirt” is always exciting.  Why is it that we always get the most satisfaction from finding a record of an ancestor’s misfortune?  Criminal records, wills and obituaries are favourites of mine, but don’t forget inquests and asylum records.  Obviously some of the excitement is just because we have found something, anything, but it also makes the family member more interesting.  These finds give them character.  An extra dimension.

On the point of character, I would have assumed Jim’s was nothing but respectable.  A Harman/Bishop marriage (that of my gg grandparents) took place in the same year as the arrest with another in the years following. With the Harmans being self-respecting church people, I am sure neither would have occurred if there was any doubts about Jim.

I had to find the outcome of the matter.  I had thought of going to the Ballarat Archives Centre (PROV) where the Branxholme court registers are held (Series VPRS 4892 Court of Petty Sessions Registers).  This however was not going to shed much more light on the trial itself.  Surely there was more than one newspaper report.  Country newspapers reported on even the smallest of stories, and the fact James was remanded made it newsworthy.  Now that I had the date of the court case, I could narrow a Trove search down.  Believe me, this is a great help when searching a name like Bishop where a match to the Bishop of Ballarat is more likely than any members of the my Bishop family.

I narrowed down a search of “Bishop Branxholme” to 1877 and bingo, the top two matches were about James.  One, I had already found, but the other from the “Portland Guardian“, reported on Jim’s trial in November 1877 after his first court appearance.  While I had searched the same paper for the Bishops, I had not found this article.  The value of dates!  Oh and some knowledge too.  If I had of found the article earlier I may have picked up it was one of my Bishops but I would have been unsure which one.

The barter system was alive and well in the Western District in the 1870s with James trading a horse and £5 for a buggy.  The question was where did the horse come from and was it one of Mr Officer’s of Harton Hills Station

Upon questioning on this matter, Jim replied he did not know how he came to have the horse. Not a good start.

Evidence then moved to that of Constable Foster who arrested Jim in a plain clothes operation.  Who would have thought?  Jim didn’t .  When asked by the plain clothed Constable at Lower Byaduk, prior to his arrest, if he had sold mares at Branxholme lately, Jim said “…no, he had none to sell”  but added that Mr Madison had sold two colts for him at Branxholme.  As two of the four missing horses were colts, Foster arrested Jim and sent him to the lockup.

While incarcerated, Jim had plenty of time to think over his recent conversations and must have realised he said the wrong thing to Foster and raised it with him.  Jim told Foster he had thought he was “…one of Chalico’s men come to look after some of my horses, and this is why I told you I sold no mares at Branxholme.”

Then it became clear Jim was not a good bookkeeper, with him stating at the time of sale he did not get a receipt from Ted Lee the postman from whom he had bought the horse.  Then Ted was hurt, so Jim went to Belfast (Port Fairy) to get a receipt from Ted, but he was too sick.  Oh dear, things were not looking good.

At last, a savior.  Witness Samuel Taylor took the stand.  He had seen Jim and Ted Lee together with four horses.  Ted told Samuel he had sold the horses to Jim.  The horses were then agisted at Taylor’s property for the next fortnight.  Phew.  Case dismissed and Jim was off the hook.

BRANXHOLME. (1877, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63339852

So Jim didn’t go to jail, but if it wasn’t for Samuel Taylor’s evidence, he may have. I hope he had Ted Lee lined up as a witness.

Now the excitement has subsided and I can continue to consider Jim Bishop an honest man.  But deep down inside, a small part of me is crying…I could have searched prisoner records!  Sorry Jim!

In The News – 8 February – 13 February 1901

I have an interest in the weather, not just for today or the coming weekend but also historically.  Participating in Melbourne University’s Climate History newspaper tagging project involving tagging Trove newspapers articles about weather events, it became evident the weather behaves in a cyclical nature.  If it has happened before it will happen again, droughts, floods and storms.

Taking my interests a step further,  investigating how weather events effected my ancestors can add greatly to their story. That is why the Victorian bushfires of 1901 are of interest as the Byaduk district, where many of my ancestors lived, was heavily affected.  The weather was similar to two days in my lifetime,  Ash Wednesday on 16 February 1983 and  Black Saturday on 7 February 2010. On each day, fires blazed across Victoria.  

The first reports of fire came through on 8 February 1901.  The following article from The Argus describes the weather of 7 February 1901.  The descriptive language takes the reader to that day.  The heat was oppressive, the wind was strong and dust storms crossed the state, causing an unnatural darkness.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires had sprung up throughout the Western District.  Early reports from Branxholme were tragic with one death, stock killed and houses lost.  I have family links to three families who lost their homes, the Millers, Storers and Addinsalls.  George Miller, a racehorse trainer, lost his house and stables and no doubt his horses.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

The two-day race meeting at Ararat was held in stifling conditions. A fire started at the course on the second day, with horses receiving burns.  Later the wind picked up and ripped iron off the grandstand roof, sending the ladies within running for shelter.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires started across Victoria including Warrnambool, Alexandra, Wangaratta, Buninyong, Yea and Castlemaine.

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14337694

The articles below report on homes lost at Byaduk, but hardest hit was Byaduk North.  My relatives were closer to Byaduk further south and while they were lucky not to lose their homes but terrifying anticipating the fire’s approach.  The fire travelled at a great pace, coming within a mile of my ggg James Harman’s property Mount Pleasant, on the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, reaching the properties of the Christie brothers just to the north. As well as James and his wife Susan Reed, my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman, and her father Reuben James Harman were living at Byaduk but lived further south again in the Byaduk township.  Numerous other family members lived in the area from the Byaduk Caves through to the Byaduk township.  

TERRIBLE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818069

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 – 1904), p. 2. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64452557

The Hamilton Spectator reported twelve homes destroyed at Byaduk North leaving just three remaining.  Most were close to the course of the Lyne Creek running to the west of the township. The Free Presbyterian Church was lost and the Byaduk North Hotel was under threat.  In the days after the fire, the hotel served as a refuge for the homeless.

BYADUK NORTH HOTEL c1906. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766487

BYADUK NORTH HOTEL c1906. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766487

The homestead of Richard Thomas Carty at Brisbane Hill, a large property to the north of the township of Byaduk North, was destroyed.  While running for the creek, after escaping the homestead, Mrs Carty’s dress caught fire was fortunately quelled.  The Cartys rebuilt and the replacement homestead Dunroe  still stands today.

"ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 9 February 1901 .

“ALONG MACARTHUR ROAD.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 February 1901 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226087594&gt;.

 

"THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES." Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907) 23 February 1901: .

“THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES.” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907) 23 February 1901: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761&gt;.

The fire burnt through the Monivae Estate with a large loss to fences and livestock and burnt within a mile of Hamilton.  On the other side of town, closer to the Coleraine railway line, the Hamilton Racecourse fell just short of the fire’s path.

"MANY FAMILIES HOMELESS." Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918) 9 Feb 1901: 18. .

“MANY FAMILIES HOMELESS.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 9 Feb 1901: 18. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198084151&gt;.

Other areas throughout the Western District felt the brunt of fire on 7 February 1901.  This photograph from Birregurra shows the devastation in that town.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

Portland was also under threat with fire circling the town.  The fire did not stop until it met the sea.

VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818536

Buninyong near Ballarat was one of the worst areas hit.

BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 9). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23853766

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

Macarthur had losses as did Princetown on the south coast.  At Timboon, bullock teams from the local sawmill were lost.

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54558042

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54558042

By 11 January, aid for the homeless was on the agenda and at Branxholme a public meeting was held to discuss such matters.  Authorities discovered the fire near Branxholme, which was probably the same fire to hit Byaduk, was accidentally started by a travelling tinsmith fixing a trough at Ardachy Estate.

THE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10534297

A meeting was called at Byaduk for 18 February 1901, and ggg grandfather James Harman donated £2 2/ to the fund for the homeless.

"BUSH FIRE BELIEF FUNDS." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 21 February 1901: .

“BUSH FIRE BELIEF FUNDS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 21 February 1901: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226090204&gt;.

The fire was so strong and relentless, old residents were drawing comparisons to Black Thursday almost fifty years earlier to the day on 6 February 1851.

TELEGRAPHIC. (1901, February 12). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 32. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32205605

Today and for the past few days, the temperature has struggled to reach 20 degrees. In 2009, the temperature was more than twice that.  Future summers will have days like today,  but there will be days again like 6 February 1851,  7 February 1901, 16 February 1983 and 7 February 2009.  It is the nature of the weather.  Let’s hope the devastation is not repeated.

Surname Saturday Meme: Names, Places and Most Wanted Faces

Following the lead of U.S. genealogist Thomas MacEntee and  in turn Australian genealogist Jill Ball, I decided to take part in this meme.  It interested me more than others I had seen, because not only would I get my names “out there”, I also got the chance to do a stocktake.  What an interesting exercise it was.  With some names, I did not have to look up the details as I knew them so well, others I had to refer back to my tree, and for one name, I had basically nothing.

It’s easy to develop favourite families, with some just oozing information making them more compelling to research.  The Harmans are an example of that.  The Riddiford line was probably my least favourite  and despite it being my family name, I tended to pass it by. When I did starting seriously researching them, I found loads of information.  This avoidance was probably due to them being 20th century immigrants and my history interests lie in 19th century Australia.  I had no choice but to delve into 18th and 19th century English history and I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot and I continue to do so.  I am glad I got over my previous mindset.

I also have more Irish links than I normally given myself credit for and I can now clearly see the branches I have been neglecting.

I have included the surnames of my great great grandparents, but I have taken the places and dates back a little further.  If not, I would have had entries with just a single place in Australia with no indication of where the family originated from.

To take part, just do the following at your own blog, then post a  link in the comments at Thomas’ blog post

1. List your surnames in alphabetical order as follows:

[SURNAME]: Country, (State or County, Town), date range;

2. At the end, list your Most Wanted Ancestor with details about them.

MY NAMES, PLACES AND MOST WANTED FACES:

BISHOP:  England (Dorset, Weymouth) 1825-1850; Australia (South Australia, Adelaide) 1850-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Byaduk)1854-1950

COMBRIDGE:  England (Huntingdonshire) 1833-1855;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong 1855-1935);  Australia (Victoria, Grantville) 1900-1950

DIWELL:  England (Sussex) 1825-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Casterton) 1852-1893;  Australia (Victoria, Hamilton) 1893-1940

GAMBLE:  England 1808-1840;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1840-1850;  Australia (Victoria, Colac), 1850-present

HADDEN:  Scotland (East Lothian) 1823-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1852-1865;  Australia (Victoria, Cavendish) 1865-1975;  Australia (Victoria, Hamilton) 1900-present

HARMAN:  England (Cambridgeshire, Melbourn) 1800-1854;  Australia (New South Wales) 1852-1857;  Australia (Victoria, Port Fairy) 1852-1863;  Australia (Victoria, Byaduk) 1863-present

HODGINS:  Ireland (Fermanagh) 1816-1853;  Australia (Victoria, Colac) 1853-1940

HUNT:  England (Middlesex, Poplar) 1834-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1854-1865; Australia (Victoria, Collingwood) 1867- ;  Australia (Victoria, West Gippsland) 1880-1936

JELLY:  Ireland (Down, Drumgooland) 1815-1845;  England (Lancashire, Manchester) 1845-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Casterton) 1854-1900

KIRKIN:  England (London, Lambeth) 1859-1940;

MORTIMER:  England (Berkshire, White Waltham) 1823-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Cavendish) 1865-1930

PIDDINGTON:  England (Buckinghamshire, Cuddington) 1700s-1880

RIDDIFORD:  England (Gloucestershire, Thornbury) 1600s-present; England (Buckinghamshire, Cuddington) 1846-present;  England (London, Lambeth) 1896-1913; Australia (Victoria, Ballarat) 1913-present

WEBB:  England (Surrey, Clapham) 1845-1878; England (London, Lambeth) 1878-1900

WHITE:  England (Kent, Broadstairs) 1857-1876;  Australia (Victoria, Grantville) 1876-1950

WYATT:  ???

MOST WANTED ANCESTOR:

When I started this I thought my most wanted ancestor would be gg grandmother Mary Jane HODGINS.  She was born in Ireland around 1849, immigrated with her parents West HODGINS  and Martha BRACKIN in 1853 aboard the “Marion Moore” . She married Matthew GAMBLE in 1871 at Colac.  That is all I know except for the accident which saw Mary Jane loose the top of her finger, as mentioned in the post Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses.

However, when I looked at the completed list it seemed clear it had to be Jane WYATT, another gg grandmother and second wife of Herbert John COMBRIDGE.

I had previously found a birth for a Jane Wyatt born 1882, St Arnuad but this did not really add up, mainly because my Jane Wyatt married Herbert Combridge in 1895 in Gippsland.  If I searched the Australian Death Index 1787-1985, I find the death of Jane COMBRIDGE in 1909 at Grantville but with no approximate birth year or parents.

As I was writing this post, I decided to have a look around for Jane again.  I checked for people researching Combridges at Ancestry.com and found a reference to Jane’s birth in 1873.  I searched again with this birth date and that threw up something interesting.  There is a Jane Wyatt listed on the Victorian Index to the Children’s Register of State Wards, 1850-1893.  Her birth date is given as 1873, but no birth place.  This could be my Jane and it could explain the lack of parent names  and birth year on the Death index.

So, thanks to this exercise, I may have come a step closer to finding Jane Wyatt, but if she was a ward of the state, I may not be able to find anything else about her.  So if anyone has information on Mary Jane HODGINS and her family, I would love to her from you!

The Leader of the Pack

When I think of my ancestors, the first name that comes to mind is James Harman.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because if I was to a pick a leader of my ancestors, the boss or the chairperson,  I think It would be James.

In the 15 years or so I have got to know my ggg grandfather, I have imagined him as organised, official and proud.  He was a leader in the church and the farming community speaking up for what he believed.  I can just  imagine him standing before my other ancestors, organising and guiding them.  Who would be his deputy?  I would think either of James’ brothers Jonathon or Walt who, in their own activities in the community, were of  the same mould.

James was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1830, the son of Joseph and Sarah Harman.  He married Susan Reed of Whaddon on August 15, 1852 just two months later on October 20, 1852 they set sail aboard the “Duke of Richmond” bound for Portland, Victoria, Australia.  They spent time in Port Fairy before settling at Byaduk in the early 1860s.

At Byaduk, James was involved with the church, served on the first committee of the Byaduk State School at the age of 81, and farming activities such as ploughing competitions and the Farmers Union.

James and Susan had 10 children from 1854 to 1875, five boys and five girls.  Even that was orderly.

Reuben James   Birth: 1854 in Port Fairy, Victoria  Marriage: 1877 in Byaduk, Victoria to Elizabeth BISHOP Death: 05 Jan 1937 in Ballarat, Victoria.

Alfred   Birth: 1856 in Portland, Victoria  Marriage: 1883 to Louisa NEWMAN Death: 06 Nov 1922 in Byaduk, Victoria.

Isabella   Birth: 1857 in Port Fairy, Victoria Marriage: 1885 to Stephen WARD Death: 02 Aug 1886 in Port Fairy, Victoria.

George Henry   Birth: 1860 in Port Fairy, Victoria Death: 1861 in Hamilton, Victoria.

Julia   Birth: 1861 in Muddy Creek, Victoria  Marriage: 1882 to George HOLMES Death: 20 Dec 1896 in Casterton, Victoria.

Martha    Birth: 1863 in Byaduk, Victoria Marriage: 08 Nov 1888 in Hamilton, Victoria to Frederick Charles HUGHES Death: 28 Dec 1960 in Hamilton, Victoria.

Henrietta   Birth: 1866 in Byaduk, Victoria. Death: 1952 in Hamilton, Victoria.

Albert    Birth: 1868 in Byaduk, Victoria Marriage: 1907 to Emma CARMICHAEL Death: 26 Nov 1927 in Byaduk, Victoria.

Alice   Birth: 1871 in Byaduk, Victoria Marriage: Dec 1896 in Macarthur, Victoria to William James McLEAN Death: 21 Jun 1927 in Hamilton, Victoria.

George    Birth: 1875 in Byaduk, Victoria Marriage: 1908 to Hilda May HILL Death: 25 Sep 1947 in Hamilton, Victoria.

It was reading James’ Will, written in 1914, that really defined him for me.  In great detail,  he had carefully considered his beneficiaries and ensured that Susan and his spinster daughter Henrietta would be looked after once he was gone.  It also offered information of James’ property and farm related assets.

The first of James’ last wishes was that his watch and chain be passed on to his grandson, Albert Lionel HARMAN, the eldest son of George HARMAN.  Daughter Henrietta was to receive the furniture in the  house and all household effects.   She was also the beneficiary of James’ poultry.  He  made provision for Henrietta to stay in the house with James’ grandson Charles, only son of  Isabella who died when Charles was a baby.

Farming implements, including a chaff cutter and a set of harrows, were left to son Alfred.  He would also receive two horses and their harness, a number of sheep and half of the grain and hay on the farm at the time of James’ death.  James had a contingency if there was  no grain or hay on the property at the time of his death.  If this was to happen, Alfred would receive £30 instead.  There were conditions for Alfred however. He had to undertake to give his mother Susan 15 shillings a week and give £100 to each of his sisters, Martha and Alice within a year of his father’s death.

Reuben and Albert shared in a large amount of James’ land at Byaduk and Lake Gorrie, near Macarthur.  The description of the property at Byaduk known as the “House Paddock” gives some idea of the out-buildings that existed but also James’ methodical approach to such matters.  It read:

“…commencing at the junction of the Hamilton to Byaduk main road with the Louth road running southerly along the said main road to the entrance gate thence Westerly along the wire fence to the corner of the stack yard and including the woolshed and barn thence Northerly along the wire fence to the Louth road thence along the Louth road easterly to the commencing point.”

The  partnership of James and Susan Harman was to come to a rapid close in 1916.  On April 10, Susan passed away aged 86.  Just over four months later on August 14,  James himself died also aged 86.  Together they had left England as newlyweds, settled themselves in Victoria before starting their large family.  They had seen births, deaths and marriages as their family extended and together they witnessed the growth in the country they had arrived in over 60 years before.  It seems right they went so close together after 64 years of marriage.  They were buried side by side at the Byaduk cemetery.

Jim’s Gone A-Droving

In the 1970s, I visited a Western District drovers’ camp with my father.   I remember the weathered stockmen, their battered caravan and wiry dogs.  It was not uncommon in those days to drive up behind a mob of sheep being slowly moved along the grassy roadsides.

Then, drovers moved stock to find feed when grass was scarce, but in the early years of settlement, the only way to get stock to and from market or from the ports was to use a drover. Known for their hard-drinking and foul mouths they were often away for months at a time.

My ggg grandfather James Bishop was of those hardy breed.  He herded cattle from Adelaide to the Western District and moved sheep for the local stations for around 30 years.

Jim was born in Dorset in about 1825.  I am still to find how he came to Australia, but I first catch up with him in this country when he married Sarah Hughes on October 26, 1852 at Adelaide.  They had one child in Adelaide, Mary Elizabeth, but she died aged two.

James and Sarah then moved to Ararat, where James tried his luck on the goldfields.  Charles was born in 1856 in Ararat, followed by my gg grandmother Elizabeth on September 12, 1857.  Her birth certificate shows James’ occupation as a miner.  James and Sarah had one more child at Ararat, George in 1859.

Not long after, the Bishops moved back to South Australia with two children born in Mt Gambier.  Peter Fraser mentions in Early Byaduk Settlers that James Bishop went to Byaduk around 1865.  This is backed by the birth of Mary Bishop at nearby Macarthur in 1865.   In 1870, Jim selected 16 acres of land at Warrabkook between Byaduk and Macarthur.   Robert, Louisa and Alice were born at Macarthur and William was born at Byaduk.

CHILDREN OF JAMES BISHOP & SARAH HUGHES

Mary Elizabeth – Born:  1853 Adelaide, SA.  Died:  1855 Thebarton, SA

Charles – Born:  1856 Ararat, Victoria.  Died: 1916 Macarthur, Victoria

Married:  Sarah DANCER

Elizabeth– Born: 1857 Ararat, Victoria.  Died: 1890 Byaduk, Victoria

Married:  Reuben James HARMAN

George – Born: 1859 Ararat, Victoria.  Died: ?

Married:  Mary HUGHES

Harriet – Born: 1860 Mt Gambier, SA.  Died: 1922 Merino, Victoria

Married:  James ELSTON 1882

Ellen– Born: 1862 Mt Gambier, SA.  Died: 1931 Byaduk, Victoria

Married:  Frederick Watson HINDES 1885 Married:  Abraham CLARKE 1905

Mary– Born: 1865 Macarthur, Victoria.  Died:  1889 Byaduk, Victoria

Robert– Born: 1867 Macarthur, Victoria. Died: 1945 Port Fairy, Victoria

Married:  Edith HARMAN 1901

Louisa – Born: 1870 Macarthur, Victoria.  Died:  1915 Strathmerton, Victoria

Married:  Jonathan Thomas REEVES 1892

Alice – Born: 1872 Macarthur, Victoria.  Died:  1894 Byaduk, Victoria

William James – Born 1874 Byaduk, Victoria.  Died:  ?

Peter Fraser tells of  Jim droving cattle overland to the Adelaide market and I have  found several references to Jim’s droving in The Argus.  “Pastoral Intelligence” notes in The Argus updated readers on the weather, crops and stock movements, among other things.  Jim is mentioned on August 4, 1890  droving fat cattle from Muntham, between Coleraine and Casterton to Warrnambool.  The same article mentions the weather as being very cold with constant heavy rain over the previous 24 hours.   Tough conditions for a drover of any age, but at 65 Jim must have found it incredibly tough.

A month after the Argus article, Jim’s eldest daughter Lizzie (Elizabeth) died of consumption (TB) aged just 33.  Only a year before, daughter Mary also died at age 24.  Of 11 children born, Jim had lost three of his daughters.  Also, his wife of 33 years, Sarah,  died in 1885 at only 51 years.  Another daughter, Alice, died before Jim’s own death.

Jim just kept droving.  In October 1892, he was moving cattle from the property of the Powers at Byaduk to Framlingham near Warrnambool this time in humid conditions.  Two months later he was moving heifers during a cold December.

PASTORIAL INTELLIGENCE. (1892, December 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8493210

The last article I find about Jim is on February 15, 1893.  He had taken horses from William Melville’s Weerangourt station at Byaduk through to Ballarat.

Jim died just two years later in 1895 at Hamilton, aged  70, leaving behind four sons and three daughters.

 


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

You have found your ancestor’s date of death, but you are wondering how they died.  You could buy a death certificate, but a certificate for all relatives can be a costly business.  Newspapers are the answer.  With the growing number of Australian newspapers available to search at Trove, there is a good chance you may find an article on your relative’s demise.  In turn, it may lead to an obituary which can also be a wealth of information, but I will discuss those in a future post.

When I began reading old newspapers, I was amazed at the number of deaths and accidents reported, compared to today’s papers.  It seemed even the smallest of accidents could make newspapers right around Australia.  Death reports were explicit and sparing little detail.  However, despite the nature of these reports, I do find them intriguing reading and they can show when, where and how a family member died.  Also accident reports show information that you may never have found otherwise.  I may never have known that my great great grandmother lost the top of her finger or my great great aunt was bitten by a snake.

Horse related accidents were naturally common whether  falls or buggy accidents.  As the years passed, motor cars where the culprits, with many stories of them rolling or hitting trees.  The increasing number of  motor cars also caused some problems for those still using horses as their main source of transport.  Fire was also a common cause of death or accidents.  Candles, coppers and fire places all increased the risk of burns.

Following are some examples of deaths and accidents involving my family members found in the papers at Trove:

Charles Bishop worked at Weerangourt Station, Byaduk,  but I found he also died there.  While chopping wood in 1916,he suffered heart failure and died at the age of 60.   I found this reported in four newspapers.

I feel sorry for poor James Elston.  He died at only 21.  The first article I found on him was in 1901, eight years before he died.  James had broken his leg, but this was the fifth break in two years.  He was sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  The Barrier Miner published in Broken Hill reported the accident as a possible record breaker.

A Marino Boy Puts Up a Record. (1901, August 29). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888-1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44302344

In March, 1908, James was back in hospital.  He had been thrown from a buggy and fell on a fence.  As a result he fractured his spine between the shoulder blades and was crippled, his condition critical.  In January 1909, it was report that James had succumbed to injuries at the Hamilton Hospital.

Robert McClintock died from heart strain and tetanus as a result of chasing a fox.  This was in 1913 and Robert was only 18.  I decided to search Trove with the phrase “chasing a fox” and it threw up many articles about  deaths and accidents incurred while chasing foxes.  Some had fallen from horses, others accidentally shot by themselves or others died  the way of Robert McClintock.

Jane Diwell’s death in 1909 demonstrates the dangers women faced doing simple housekeeping tasks.  Married to Samuel Hazeldine,  Jane was in a back shed at their home in Murtoa boiling up beeswax and turpentine, when her clothes caught fire.  Despite desperate attempts by her husband to save her, she died from her burns.  Samuel received severe burns to his hands.

Frederick Hazeldine of Murtoa, was watching the eclipse of the sun in 1910, when the 10 year old slipped off a fence and broke his arm

Frank Coulson was only 17 when he met his fate in 1935.  His body was found near Digby.  He had sustained a fractured skull and his pony’s saddle and bridle were lying close by.  Different articles tried to offer and explanation to his death from having been kicked in the head by the pony or haven fallen awkwardly as the pony jumped a fence.

George Gamble lost his life after a cave in at the Colac Brick Works in 1910.  He was dug out but later died at the Colac Hospital,

Mary Jane Hodgins(Mrs Matthew Gamble, below), my great great grandmother,  lost the top of her finger in an accident involving a horse.  Notice that this took place in Colac, Victoria, but was reported as far away as Maitland, New South Wales

GENERAL NEWS. (1877, September 1). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843-1893), p. 7. Retrieved June 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18829977

In 1906, Amy Margaret Bubb, Mrs Benjamin Combridge, was bitten by a snake which had hidden in a mattress.  Her daughter Amy was darning the mattress and noticed something she thought was mice, moving inside.  She called her mother who hit the mattress and was bitten by a black snake on the wrist.  Young Amy ran to the neighbours’ house almost a kilometre away through paddocks and returned with a Mrs Arklay.  By this time, Amy snr’s arm was black.  Mrs Arklay made an incision and drew black blood from the wound which saved Amy.  This article ran in Tasmania and Adelaide as well as The Argus.

I had known that my great, great, great grandfather William Diwell had died in a fall at the Merino Flour Mill in 1871, but I have since found that he was severely injured three years earlier.  In 1868, the Merino school-house verandah was falling down, so William volunteered to remove it.  Part of the verandah fell on him and his was pulled out suffering a severe head injury.  By all accounts if the full verandah had of fell on him he would have been crushed to death.  He was 43 at the time and I think he may have been lucky to make it 46 when he did die.

The most gruesome article I have ready about one of my family members, is that of my great, great, great grandmother Ellen Barry, Mrs Gamble.  Ellen was a feisty Irish woman, often in the courts and rather fond of a drink.  One night in January 1882, Ellen was home alone in her cottage in Colac, when a fire broke out.  The next day, the coroner found that due to Ellen’s propensity for a tipple, it was most likely she had knocked a candle which started the fire.

A WOMAN BURNT TO DEATH. (1882, January 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 8. Retrieved June 5, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11530343

These few examples prove how much you can find out about  your ancestor’s death, not to mention their life before death.  If you are using Trove, it is useful to search  all the papers available because as Mary Jane Hodgins’ accident  shows, incidents can be reported interstate.  You can use filters to narrow your search down, particularly if you have a specific date.

In a future post I will share some of the other articles I have found which don’t relate to my family, but show the value of these stories in developing an understanding of  how precarious life could be for those living in the 19th and early 20th century.  We can also learn how death was considered in those times by the style of writing and the depth of description.  Most importantly for family historians, our ancestors become more than just a one-dimensional date on a page.

The Harmans of Byaduk

I grew up in Hamilton, with Byaduk only about 20 kilometres from my home.  I passed through it on trips to coastal Port Fairy, visited the nearby dormant volcano Mt Napier with school and heard stories about the Byaduk caves.  Never for a minute did I know that I had any link to the small town with its drystone fences and rocky paddocks.

I  had heard of the Harmans from the conversations of my great uncles and aunties,  but when I asked who they were Nana would just say they are “cousins”, so I figured they were not that closely related.  It was not until I started finding out more about my family tree and Nana told me all the names she knew, I discovered that her mother Sarah was a Harman.

My Great Grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman

When first researching, I would look through records for certain family names and would often come up with very little. That was until I started on the Harmans.  There was loads of information and they soon became my favourite family, and not just for the ease of researching them.  I discovered an upstanding, religious family that always dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.  A family that got involved in the community whether it be building schools, ploughing competitions, the Methodist church or the Farmers Union.  Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s,  they were a well known family in the district.

Coming to Australia in three separate groups, Joseph and Sarah Harman and their mostly grown up children, reunited in Port Fairy during the mid 1850s.  They established themselves in the town, but with the land opening up in 1861 they moved to newly settled Byaduk around 1863.  Joseph was the first boot maker in the town, while  sons James, Jonathon and Reuben began farming the stony land.  George, who was second eldest, seemed to have no wish to farm and by the late 1860s had returned to Port Fairy where he worked for the local council.

The family grew and by the turn of the century another generation of Harmans were raising families with the union of marriage linking them to other well  known families in the district, including the Kinghorns, Bishops and Olivers.  The family was also beginning to branch out to other parts of the state, including Gippsland. In 1907, three members of the Harman family appear in a photograph of Byaduk pioneers, James, Jonathan and Reuben’s wife Elizabeth.

Byaduk Pioneers 1907

I eventually left Hamilton and did not return to Byaduk until the 1990s to visit the cemetery.  By this time I knew something of the Harman’s standing in the community but had not realised that there was so much recognition of it.  While not that surprised to find a road named after them, I was surprised the Byaduk Caves had names Harman’s Cave No 1 and Harman’s Cave No 2 and that the volcanic lava flow that runs from Mt Napier to Byaduk is called “Harman Valley”.  Also the Byaduk area has been recognised as part of the Kanawika Global Geopark

The Harman Valley, Byaduk

The name of Harman is not common in  Byaduk today but I am proud that ongoing recognition of their presence there is ensured.