Author Archive

I am in few weeks behind in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and hopefully I will be able to catch up next week. This week was St Patrick’s day and I thought I would write about my first two possible Irish Ancestors who arrived in New South Wales as convicts. My 3x Great Grandmother, Mary Hanratty (alias Ryan) married John Shoulders on the 21st January 1851 at Armidale. Mary’s name on the marriage was listed as Mary Jane Ryan and had been given consent to marry by R G Massie, Esqr Guardian appointed under Act 2. Vic.No.13. As she was given consent to marry,  this leads me to think she was under the age of 21 and based on her age listed on her children’s birth and her death certificate, she was likely to be born around 1836.

I have not been able to find Mary’s birth but when she died in 1909 her death certificate showed that her father was ‘Arthur Hanratty’.  Her mother’s name is not listed. Arthur Hanratty married Ellen Hanratty in 1834 in New South Wales. Robert or Arthur Hanratty per Mangles 5 to Ellen Hanratty per Edward were joined together in wedlock by me this 19th day of September 1834 at Sydney. From checking the convict indents for Robert & Ellen, they were both tried at Monaghan, Ireland on the 7th August 1827. Robert was convicted of pick pocketing and Ellen for stealing money. Robert’s surname in the Convict index’s shows it as being Hauratly. In the convict marriage index’s, it shows that Ellen’s name was Eleanor Hanratty alias Moran.

Convict Indent for Robert is as follows:

  • Robert Hauratty alias Johnston (ref fiche 669 075 398 4/4013)
  • Arrived: 2nd June 1828 (note: not listed in the 1828 census) per Mangles 5
  • Native Place: Armagh Ireland
  • Trader: Carter
  • Offence: Picking Pockets
  • Where Tried: Monaghan Ireland
  • When: 7th August 1827
  • Received a certificate of Freedom 16/8/1834

Convict indent for Elleanor Hanratty alias Moran

  • Age 24 – catholic
  • Arrived per Edward
  • Where Tried: Monaghan Ireland
  • When: 7th August 1827 (note: Tried on the same date as Robert above)
  • Offence: Stole money

Now I cannot be certain if this Robert/Arthur Hanratty alias Johnston and Elenaor Hanratty alias Moran are Mary’s Parents but I think possibly they were. I have done a search for birth for Mary in NSW between 1830-1840, under all possible surnames (Ryan, Hanratty, Johnston and Moran), but to no luck. Both Arthur and Ellen spent a considerable time getting themselves into trouble. You can read more about Arthur here & here In 1849 Helen/Ellen Moran or Hanretty married a James Dicky. She was listed as a widow (though no death for Arthur/Robert has been found). Ellen died in 1864, her age listed as being 50 and was living at Branxton NSW. The informant on the death was James Thomson, coroner. An inquest had been held on the 30/3/1864 at Branxton. Verdict: Died by Being Suffocated in the mud and shallow water accelerated by Drunkenness. Variant spellings of the surname Hanratty, that I have come across so far: Hanratty, Hauratty, Heneratty, Henratty, Hayralty, Henritty, Handratty, Handrathy, Hanrathy, Henrighty, Hanretty, Nauratty. My Next post will be more about Ellen Moran and what I can find about her movements between her marriage to Arthur in 1834 and her death in 1864.

The below is a transcript of the will of Charles Patrick Dilworth, my maternal great grandfather.

Charles was born on the 30 Jul 1861 at Newtown, New South Wales and died 2 Mar 1946 at Boggabri, New South Wales.

Dillworth Charles Patrick late of Boggabri in the Sate of New South Wales Retired Farmer

This is the last will and testament of me Charles Patrick Dillworth of Boggabri in the State of New South Wales retired farmer. I give and bequeath to my daughters Mary Winifred Jerrett, wife of Bertie Thomas Jerrett, Catherine Gladys Baker, wife of Herbert Baker, and Josephine Roser, wife of George Eric Roser a sum of one hundred and twenty pounds each absolutely and beneficially. I give and bequeath to my son James William Dillworth, a sum of fifty pounds absolutely and beneficially. I give devise and bequeath to my daughter Clara Margaret Giles wife of Alfred Giles absolutely and beneficially my land with house and all improvements thereon where I now reside and which comprises four acres thirty three and one half perches or thereabouts and which is the land comprised in certificate of title registered volume 4741 folio 150. I give devise and bequeath the rest residue and remainder of my estate unto my daughter Clara Margaret Giles absolutely and beneficially and in addition to any other device or bequest to her under this my will and I appoint my daughter the said Clara Margaret Giles sole executrix and trustee of this my will. I hereby revoke all former wills and testamentary writings by me at any time heretofore made and do declare this only to be my last will and testament. In witness, I have to this my will set my hand this twenty second day of March in the year one thousand nine hundred and forty five.

C P Dilworth

Signed by the said Charles Patrick Dilworth so and for his last will and testament in the presence of us both present at the time who at his request in his sight and presence and in the sight and presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witness: H G Mitchell JP, Bank Manager Boggabri. Stan Warburton Solicitor Boggabri

11th April 1946. On this date probate of the last will of the above named deceased was granted to Clara Margaret Giles the executrix named in the said will. Testator died on the 2nd March 1946. Estate Sworn at the sum of £935:13:net

Not sure of the reason why Clara was given the bulk of the estate but I’m assuming it was because she was the oldest living child at the time of Charles death. Charles eldest two sons Charles (1890-1890) and Dennis Joseph (1891-1944) had pre deceased him.

When I was searching the immigration lists for my 2nd Great Grandmother’s arrival to New South Wales in 1853, I discovered from the shipping record that she had an Uncle Peter already living in the colony. From this I was able to establish other connections and arrivals.

The family arrived in the following order:

  1.  James Quirk arrived in New South Wales on board the Ship Victoria, on the 2nd September 1849. He was aged 25, read, farm labourer and Roman Catholic. Parents: Peter and Catherine, living St Johns Well.
  2. Margaret Quirk arrived in New South Wales on board the Ship Victoria, along with her brother, on the 2nd September 1849. She was 21, Roman Catholic, could neither read nor write. Parents Peter and Catherine
  3. Peter Quirke, his wife Mary and children arrived on the ship Neptune on the 18th February 1852
    • Peter Quirke, age 48, farm labourer, St Johns Kilkenny, Parents, James & Ellis Quirk, both dead. Roman Catholic, can read and write. A son James was living in Surry Hills and a daughter Margaret working (unable to read). Paid 13pds for self and family
    • Mary Quirke, age 38, dairy woman, St Johns Kilkenny, Parents Thomas & Mary Connelly both dead, Roman Catholic, neither read nor write. A 1st cousin Pat Heffernan (?) residing somewhere in Sydney
    • Michael, age 20, Ploughman, St Johns Well *shipping record says ‘father and mother on board’. It’s noted though that Michael’s mother was Catherine, Peter’s first wife. Catherine died around 1831-1832.
    • Thomas, age 18, Farm Labourer, St Johns Well
    • John, age 15, Farm Labourer, St Johns Well
    • Nicholas, age 13, Farm Labourer, St Johns Well
    • Peter, age 10, St Johns Well
    • Mary, age 3 ½ , St Johns Well
  4. Patrick Quirke arrived in New South Wales on board the David McIver on the 23rd December 1854, aged 19, Kilkenny County, Kilkenny, Parents John and Catherine, father dead, mother living Kilkenny, Roman Catholic, neither read or write. An Uncle Peter Quirk, farm labourer, living Pitt Street
  5. Mary Quirke arrived in New South Wales on board the Athenian, 15th December 1853.She was aged 21, could Read, roman catholic, here parents were listed as John and Catherine, father dead, mother living and she had an Uncle Peter living in Sydney. (source: Reel 2137, [4/4791]; Reel 2464, [4/4928])
  6. Catherine Quirk (nee Slattery), with her two daughters and nephew arrived on board the ship Matoaka 22nd January 1857.
    • Catherine Quirk, age 46, housekeeper, Clomnel, County Tipperary. Parents, Patrick & Mary both dead, Roman Catholic, neither read nor write. A son and daughter, Patrick and Mary, living Sydne
    • Margaret, 17, St Johns Kilkenny, John and Catherine, father dead, mother on board        Roman Catholic, neither read nor write.
    • Catherine, 15, St Johns Kilkenny, John and Catherine, father dead, mother on board, Roman Catholic
    • James Quirk, age 5, Nephew to Catherine. St John’s Well Kilkenny, parents; Nicholas and Margaret residing in Sydney. Roman Catholic. * I have not been able to find when Nicholas & Margaret arrived in NSW but as the shipping record for James, indicates his parents were already living in Sydney prior to 1857, I suspect their arrival to be around 1852-1853, probably leaving baby James shortly after his birth.
  7.  Thomas Quirk, his wife and daughter, arrived on the Nile, in 4 May 1861 and had arrived from England, where they had been living.
    • Thomas, age 39, St Johns Kilkenny, Read and Write
    • Johanna, age 37, St Johns Kilkenny, Read and Write
    • Maryann, age 14, Liverpool, Lancaster, Read and Write

Mary Quirke was my 2nd Great Grandmother. She was baptised on the 12 Aug 1832 at Johns Well, St Johns, Kilkenny Ireland to John Quirk and Catherine Slattery.

Name: Mary Quirk      Date of Baptism/Birth:          12-Aug-1832

Address:          Johns Well       Parish/District:           ST. JOHN’S

County            Co. Kilkenny                Denomination:           Roman Catholic

Father:            John Quirk       Mother:          Catherine Slattery

Informant 1:   William Quirk  Informant 2:   Mary Quirk

Mary arrived in New South Wales on board the Athenian 15th December 1853 (source: Reel 2137, [4/4791]; Reel 2464, [4/4928]). She was aged 21, could Read, roman catholic, here parents were listed as John and Catherine, father dead, mother living and she had an Uncle Peter living in Sydney

On the 10th March 1857, Mary married Joseph Dilworth, a widower who had 6 young children. His first wife Elizabeth had died in December 1856.

Mary and Joseph had 6 children of their own:

  • William (1857-1877)
  • Lizzie (1859-1937): married Walter Rodd
  • Charles Patrick (1861-1946): married Margaret McCormack * my great grandparents
  • John James (1865-1929): married Maria Donnelly
  • Ruth Catherine (1866-1939): married John Rice Smith. On their marriage certificate, her name is listed as Catherine Margaret. Her Birth is registered as Ruth Catherine.
  • Maryann Margaret (1868-1939): married Francis McGuire. On her death certificate her name is listed as Margaret Catherine. Her birth certificate though shows her name as Maryann Margaret. Her marriage certificate says her name was Margaret and she was given consent to marry by her mother.

It appears that by about 1870, Mary had begun a new relationship with Michael Melvyton (1844-1925). Mary and Michael had 3 children:

  • Charlotte (1872-1950): married John McGinnity
  • Maryann (1873-1925): married James Bennett
  • Michael (1875-?): married Ada Sophia Curtin

Mary and Michael did not marry until 29th December 1887 at Gunnedah. On the marriage, Mary used her maiden name of Quirk.

Mary died on the 10th November 1911 at Boggabri. She is buried with Mary Catherine Dilworth who died 23rd October 1919. Her parents were Michael & Winifred. I have not been able to establish what the relationship is between the two.

John Baldwin is my 3x Great Grandfather. John was born 27th March 1805 and baptised 21 April 1805 (source: Suffolk Baptisms East Sudbury Deanery 1754-1812)

John’s parents were Samuel Baldwin and Mary Warren.

In 1825, John at the age of 18, enlisted in the 40th Foot Regiment at Colchester on the 15th November 1825 and spent 20 years and 284 days in service, during which period, he spent:

  • 11 years and 11 months in the East Indies
  • 1 year and 11 months in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.

Unfortunately John’s military records do not show when he was in NSW and VDL, so it is hard to establish a true timeline, but my guess is probably during the late 1820’s.

John married Sarah Reason on the 26 Nov 1826. They had one son John Baldwin, born Jan 1827 at Bures St Mary Suffolk but died in June 1827. He was buried on the 27th June at St Bartholomew, Groton Suffolk. As I type this, it’s the first time that I realised John Junior was born just a couple of months after they were married.

Was Sarah alone when her baby son died? Sarah was born in Groton so maybe she went back to her family whilst John was away.

I have not found any record of the birth of John and Sarah’s two daughters Susan & Mary. The family are not in the 1841 census but do appear in the 1851, 61 and 71 census. My guess John and Sarah were in India during the 1841 census.

John was discharged on the 24th August 1846 due to medical reasons. His Chelsea pensioner medical report shows ‘Chronic Rheumatism, chronic affection of the chest combined with general debility caused by service in a tropical climate’.

On his discharge also, his character is listed as ‘it appears that his general character and conduct has been very good and that he is in possession of two (2) good conduct medals”. I have today just found a reference to Good Conduct awards at the National Archives Series WO 102/10 (Long Service and Good Conduct Awards, Registers. Royal Artillery. C10065 Armed Forces (General);C10092 Army). I downloaded the document but could not find anything conclusive for John though there are a couple of John Baldwin’s listed but not sure if they refer to my John or not.

John is in the 1851 census living at Matting Lane, Lamarsh, Essex, with this wife Sarah and two daughters, Mary and Susan,

John is listed in the 1861 census living at Sudbury Road, Bures St Mary, Suffolk, with his daughter Susan (age 17).

John is listed in the 1871 census living at Assington, Suffolk with his daughter Mary and her husband James Rice.

John died of stomach cancer on the 28th June 1871

William McCormack was born around 1852 in Wollombi New South Wales to Dennis McCormick and Mary Fitzgerald.

Dennis & Mary were my 2 x great grandparents. William was the brother to my Great Grandmother Mary McCormack.  William did not marry.

William died at the age of 26 on the 20th October 1878 from burns he suffered when he fell into a fire.

Reading through the reports in the Maitland Mercury on the 15th February 1879 , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18917698, suggests that some people believed that Thomas’ had been neglected whilst in the hospital and by hospital staff and that a magistrate inquiry should occur.

Letter to the Under Secretary the department of Justice from the Coroner dated 21st October 1878.

“On the 3rd of October, William M’Cormack, was admitted as an in-door patient of the Maitland Hospital, suffering from severe burns on his left side ; he remained a patient of the hospital until the 20th October, on which dav he died, and was removed from the institution, the visiting surgeon giving a certificate as to the cause of death, was,, severe burns. No report of the death was made to the police, and no report was made to me of the death until this afternoon, and then by one of the surgeons of the Hospital, from inquiries instituted by the police, I find it was the intention to inter the body to-day at four o’clock, at Cessnock, so that no time was left for me to institute proceedings before the interment. Rumors exist that the deceased was not kept clean while in hospital, and some correspondence has taken place in the local Press, and the necessity of an investigation into the management of hospital affairs, hence the reason of my submitting the case. I do not think any good could be obtained by ex-huming the body, but if thought desirable I could institute a magisterial inquiry. Awaiting your instructions in the case”

The undersecretary replied suggesting that a Magisterial Inquiry would ‘perhaps be sufficient to satisfy the public”

Constable Dunshea of Lochinvar was called upon to gather statements from the family and witnesses.

Statement of Denis McCormack October 28 1878 (Father of William)

Denis McCormack stated, that on the 1st of October between nine and ten o’clock p.m, he heard a noise which caused him to go the fire in the paddock, facing the house, when he saw the deceased on the fire and very much burnt. He lifted him up and pulled him off and brought him home. His right side was very much burnt.

Statement of Mary Ann McCormack October 28 1878 (Mother of William)

Mary Ann M’Cormick, wife of Denis M’Cormick, states that her deceased son William M’Cormick was well treated and every care taken of him while in the Hospital before his death, and the doctor attended him regularly every day, and did all that’ could be done for him, and the matron and attendants gave him every attention and were very kind to him, and the Rev. Father McCormick visited every day up to the time of his death, and that she has no fault to find with the Hospital Authorities whatever.

Mary also visited the council chambers on the 5th November and made a further statement about the treatment of her son whilst he was in the hospital.

She had stated that William was “subject to fits, during one of which he fell into the fire and was so severely burned that he had to be removed to the Maitland Hospital.”

She also stated that “he was well and kindly treated by the Doctor, Miss Morrow, and all connected with the place and that his clergyman visited, him every day. She further stated that she remained in the Institution with her son nearly all the time he was there, and during her absence her daughter was allowed to remain with him’.

On the 8th November 1878, the undersecretary advised that the papers showed no ground had existed in respect of the treatment of William. Therefore no inquiry was to be held.

William is buried at Branxton Cemetry

 John Robin Harris – Wine Merchant & Gentleman of Arms

General Information:

John Robin Harris was born 18 Sep 1818 St Peter’s Port Guernsey, Channel Islands. John was the brother of my 3x Great Grandfather – Pierre George Harris (also Known as Peter). Their parents were Pierre Honney Harris and Anne Tostevin

John married Susan Mary Kaines of St Peter Port in 1839. John and Susan sailed to Adelaide in 1839 on the John. He was a wine merchant but also a soldier in the Royal Guernsey Militia Artillery and the Kent Rifle Volunteers. He sold his Vintners business to his brother-in-law, John Henry Kaines, in 1855 and returned to England. He was appointed as one of the honorable Company of Gentlemen-at-Arms, a bodyguard to Queen Victoria. He died in Blackheath, Kent in 1870.

Other notable information as found on Trove:

From the South Australian Register

1852: John Robin Harris was charged on the information of the Inspector of Nuisances with suffering a goat to be at large in Currie Street, on the 30th June.

Wednesday 16 November 1853: John Robin was fined £1 for causing obstructing the footpath in King William Street by placing goods there.

In 1854, John along with his brother were granted Shopkeeper licenses.

  • Peter George Harris, wine merchant, Leigh street. .
  • John Robin Harris, wine merchant, King Wil liam-street.

Thursday, August 19, 1858.

South Australian Colonists: The following is from London Gazette of June 15. The gentleman referred to is Mr J R Harris, late wine merchant of this city “St James Palace June 11, The Queen has been pleased on the nomination of the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot, to appoint John Robin Harris Esq, late First Lieutenant Royal Guernsey Militia Artillery to be one of Her Majesty’s Hon Corps Gentlemen of Arms, Vice Phillip Solomons Esq Resigned

From Wikipedia – a Gentleman of Arms is described as being: “Her Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms is a bodyguard to the British Monarch. Until 17 March 1834 they were known as The Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners”.

In the 1861 Census, John Robin & his wife Susan are living at Kidbroke Kent with two daughters (Alice & Lela). They also had a two maids and a cook

John died on the 19th September 1870 at Kent England. His will was dated 17/10/1870 and he had effects of under £4000, which was left to his wife Susan Mary Harris of 3 Upper Street, Germans Terrace.

I have not written on my blog in a while, in fact not since July 2012,  but I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Though in some weeks I might take a little bit of a different tack and concentrate on a particular surname where there are particular brick walls and also those ancestors who were born in Suffolk England.

Mary Stow

This week, I am writing about Mary Stow who was born about 1753 in Polstead Suffolk.  She married Samuel Baker at Polstead on the 9th October 1775. This is all I know about her.

Their children were:

  1. Mary Baker 1776-1776
  2. Samuel Baker 1778-1778
  3. Samuel Baker 1780-1852
  4. James Baker 1789-1863 (my 4x Great Grandfather) – his son Samuel being my 3x Great Grandfather.

I have found a possible baptism for Mary in Polstead on the 14/1/1753 to a Jacob and Bridget (nee Harding) on Family Search but not sure if this is my Mary or not.

Also, I am trying to determine if Clement Stow who was born around 1755 and married Ann Willis, is related to Mary, possibly maybe her brother (?), as two of James Baker’s (above) sones married two sisters with the surname of Stow.

 Bride Bride Parents Groom Groom Parents
Hannah Stow (born 1825 – Polstead) John Stow & Mary Boar Thomas Baker (b1824  Boxford) James Baker & Sarah Westrop
Esther Stow (born 1828 Polstead) John Stow & Mary Board Henry Baker (b 1826 Boxford) James Baker & Sarah Westrop

Clement Stow

Clement was born in Polstead in about 1755. He married Ann Willis on the 2/9/1773 at Polstead (251 Clement Stow, of Polsted, 18 years, s. m., & Ann Willis, s. w., of same, at same. 2 Sep., 1773)*

I do have both the East Sudbury Deanery 1754-1812 and West Dearnery 1754-1812 Baptism Indexes, (both available from  Suffolk Family History ) but I have not been able to find Clements’s baptism on either CD nor can I find it on Family Search.

I obtained the death certificate of a Thomas Showler who died in 1860 at Cooma NSW in the hope that maybe it would show if he was the Thomas Showler, who was born in 1797 Aylesbury Buckinghamshire,  who was the cousin of my GG Grandfather John Showler/Shoulders.

The Thomas Showler listed on this death certificate was listed as being of ‘about 50’ years of age, which would make his birth around 1810 but the informant could have just guessed his age. His parents were unknown and he died on or about the 7th November 1860. I’m not sure if this death certificate is for my Thomas Showler. This is another death recorded for a Thomas Showler at Liverpool Asylum in 1897 listing the parents of William and Amelia. I did a search of the NSW Birth Indexes and there is no birth for a Thomas Showler (or variants) to a William or Amelia. So I wonder if this death is the correct one, though the names of the parents do not match.

Now when I look at the death certificate for Thomas Showler who died in 1860, I was rather amused so see the cause of death being: “Exposure to cold whilst in a state of nudity being at the time labouring under temporary insanity”. The informant was Robert Dawson, police magistrate, Cooma.

Under Other comment was:  ‘This man was well known in the district as ‘Tom the Groom’ and generally supposed to be of unsound mind’.

I’ve done a search on Trove, to see if there are any reports on the death to see if there was any other information but no such luck.

The Thomas I am looking for received a ticket of leave in 1838 in Goulburn. According to the convict indents he was married before he arrived in NSW in 1831.

I am only able to find one marriage for a Thomas Showler to a Hannah Beckett in 1818. Checking the Baptism records for Aylesbury, it appears that Thomas & Hannah had no children.

Now to make things unclear, another Thomas Showler was born in 1798 in Aylesbury (both Thomas’s were cousins). The second Thomas died in 1832, within days of his father William and his grandmother Elisabeth. They were all buried on the 2nd March 1832. A few websites I found indicated that an outbreak of Cholera in Aylesbury killed 50 people.

Hannah Showler (nee Beckett) is listed in the 1841 census as living with a Richard Holt and two of his children from his first marriage. Richard & Hannah later marry in 1848 and Hannah is listed as being a widow. So was she the widow of the Thomas that died in 1832 or was she the ‘widow’ of the Thomas who came to NSW as a convict?

As noted in my earlier post today, I found some newspaper reports in 1903 in relation to the attempted murder of Ellen Heber by John Heber. Throughout the reports below, it indicates that Ellen was afraid of her husband and that she believed he would kill her one day but refused to take any action against him, even after the attempt to kill her. There are other reports throughout the 1890’s with John being charged with various offences, such as drunkenness & indecent exposure.

John Heber and Ellen McCormack were married in 1884 at Lochinvar, New South Wales.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) issue Thursday 2 April 1903

ATTEMPTED WIFE MURDER.  HUSBAND USES AN AXE AND A RAZOR CUTS HIS OWN THROAT.

WEST MAITLAND, Wednesday

A terrible sensation occured at Pelaw Main, colliery town nine miles south of Maitland, this afternoon, when John Heber, a miner, attacked his wife with a tomahawk, indicting dreadful wounds to the head and face. He also cut her throat with a razor, and then cut his own throat. He was arrested by Constable Smith and brought to Maitland hospital in a weak state, but his wounds are not of a fatal nature. Mrs. Heber is in a very weak state from loss of blood. No hopes are entertained of her recovery. The couple resided in Maitland for some time, and Mrs. Heber had complained to the police of his treatment, but refused to take any action to have him restrained.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954)  Friday 3 April 1903

ATTEMPTED WIFE MURDER. ASSAILANT OUT OF DANGER.

WEST MAITLAND, Thursday.

John Heber, who murderously assaulted his wife at Pelaw Main yesterday and cut his own throat, is now out of danger. His wife was brought to Maitland Hospital to-die, and still lies in a critical state, although the doctors now entertain a hope of recovery. She recovered consciousness prior to her depositions being taken this morning.

Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907)

Wednesday 8 April 1903

Sensation at Maitland.

A sensation was caused at the mining town ship of Pelaw, a few miles south of Maitland, on Wednesday, by a man named John Heber, who attempted to kill his wife, afterwards cutting his own throat.

It is said Heber and his wife had not lived ‘ too happily, the man continually finding fault with his wife. They had lived in Maitland, and there on one occasion the police interfered to protect her from his violence. Mrs. Heber had stated to different persons that she was afraid of her husband killing her some-day, but she would take no action against him when advised to do so.

Heber was In Maitland, and he reached home, lt is said, under the Influence of drinks   At about 5 o’clock he quarrelled with his wife and during the altercation he rushed at her with a shingling-hammer. It is believed that he first struck her with the blade and then with the head of the hammer. A knife and razor were also used. The woman has a dreadful gash on the right side of her head; and of number of contused wounds on the head and face.

After tho murderous assault on his wife, Heber used either the knife or the razor in inflicting gash on his own throat, about 31n long, but it is not thought to so serious, as no artery was severed.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Friday 24 April 1903

INTERCOLONIAL NEWS.

By Telegraph

New South Wales.

Sydney, Friday.

John Heber, a miner, was charged at the West Maitland Police Court yesterday with inflicting grievous bodily harm on his wife, whom he   recently tried to kill. The woman refused to give evidence, but Heber’ was committed for trial on other testimony. Ball was refused

Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907) Wednesday 29 April 1903

The Pelaw Main Sensation.

In connection with the sensation which occurred at the new mining township, Pelaw Main, to the south of Maitland, at the beginning of the month, John Heber, on remand, was charged at the Maitland Police Court with maliciously wounding his wife, Helen Heber, with intent to do grievous, bodily harm.

The medical evidence-was that Mrs. Heber had been severely handled, and rendered unconscious; that she had sustained severe incised wounds on the head, and her face was much – bruised and swollen.

A shingling hammer, and a blood-stained, brick, with which the Injuries were caused, were produced.

The accused’s wife, who appeared in court with her head swathed in- bandages, declined to give evidence against her husband.

Heber, who was greatly agitated and continuously paced up and down the dock had nothing  to say, and was committed for trial at the  Quarter Session at East Maitland on June 16. Bail was refused’.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Friday 19 June 1903

The Maitland Quarter Sessions were resumed this morning before Judge Fitzhardinge. John Heber was convicted of maliciously wounding his wife, Mary Heber, at Pelaw Main on April 1, and was sentenced to 12 mouths’ imprisonment, at the expropriation of his sentence to enter into security of £40 with two sureties of £10 each, to be of good behaviour for a further period of three years.

It appears from the above and later reports that John did a lot of drinking and was violent when doing so. I’ve also noticed from reviewing WW1 service records for John & Ellen’s 3 sons (Augustus, Laurence & Vincent) and along with their cousin Joseph, they were all charged and convicted of drunkenness, disobedience, absent without leave and disorderly conduct throughout their service in WW1.

John’s father, Paul Heber died in 1892 and from reading the report of his death, Paul was well received in the community and his mourned by many.

“Mr. Heber was an old colonist – one of the hardy pioneers of the land – and a man who has laboured long and diligently in this part of the colony. He was a native of Germany, and came to this colony 38years ago – when he was only l8 years old – and he has reared a large family of sons and daughters, who now, with their mother, mourn his sudden death.”

John Heber died in 1918. There are no reports listing his death or a funeral notice.

Ellen Heber died in 1949 at the age of 86