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Elizabeth Ann Dart was born about November 1834, and was baptised on 6 June 1835 in Redruth, Cornwall.  Her parents were Christopher Dart and Elizabeth Cornelius.

Elizabeth was one of only four children as her father (a miner) died young.  She had an older sister, also called Elizabeth Ann(e) who was born, but also died, in 1833.  Her other two siblings were brothers who I know little about.

By the 1841 census Elizabeth’s father had already died and only Elizabeth and one brother are listed with their widowed mother.  The youngest brother died in 1838.  The family were living in Fore Street in Redruth, a short, hilly road which appears to be the main shopping street of Redruth.  They appear to be living with 13 other people (it’s hard to tell in the 1841 census as there’s no head of household noted), among whom was Marten Cornelius, age 35, mason, and his wife, Grace, age 40, and family.  It’s likely Elizabeth senior was related to Marten (a brother?).

In 1851, Elizabeth Ann was living with her brother and mother in Miner’s Row, just around the corner from Fore Street.  Her brother was a stone mason and Elizabeth was a tailoress apprentice.  The street was full of miners and stone masons.

In 1854, Elizabeth was living in Ford’s Row in Redruth, just down the road from Miner’s Row.  She married Edwin Stevens at the parish church in Redruth on 20 February 1854.

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St Euny church, Redruth

The 1850s was the gold rush era in Australia, and Edwin, being a miner, joined hundreds of others who emigrated from Cornwall, with his new wife Elizabeth.

They boarded the barque “Trafalgar” at Plymouth, Devon, on 6 March 1854.  Also on board was one James Cornelius, age 19, and wife, from Redruth.  I have no idea if he was a relative.  I think the Cornelius family was a large one.  The passengers experienced some heavy weather.

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South Australian Register, 29 June 1854

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Steerage, South Australian Maritime Museum

However, the ship arrived safely at Port Adelaide on 28 June.

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Port Adelaide in 1846

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South Australian Register, 25 July 1854

Gold had been discovered at Spring Creek, Beechworth in 1852, so Edwin and Elizabeth must have headed that way almost immediately.  This was where their first child, Elizabeth, was born in January 1855.  Two years later, their son, Edwin, was born there in March 1857.

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Gold miners, about 1858

More tantalising evidence that related Cornelius’ could also have emigrated to Australia is this advertisement (one of three in 1858) in the Murray and Ovens Advertiser:

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The next son, John, was born in Indigo in 1862 but had died in Binalong the following year.

By 1863 the family had moved over the border into New South Wales and were living in the newly renamed Young in New South Wales (previously Lambing Flat).  By this time the infamous Lambing Flat riots were long over, although the issue still simmered and there were bushrangers in the area, led by John Gilbert and Ben Hall.

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The Golden Age, 1861

Elizabeth gave birth to another daughter, Ellen.  However, gold was on the way out, so the family moved on to Cadia, NSW where there was a copper mine, something Edwin was more familiar with.  The next two children were born there:  John Dart in January 1865, and Emma in June 1867.  They still didn’t settle, moving on to the mining region of Icely, where the last four children were born: Lavinia in December 1869; Alfred in July 1871; Mary Ann in May 1873; and Louisa Jane in February 1875.  In October of that year, Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth, had married Lot Hammer.

Elizabeth had had 10 children, at least eight of whom grew to adulthood and married.  There is no further record of her.  The youngest child was just ten years old when Elizabeth died on 26 April 1885 in Orange, New South Wales.

 

Source:  cornwalls.co.uk/Redruth; Cornwall OPC database; Google; miningchurch.uk; Trove; theshipslist.com; wikimedia commons; guides.slv.vic.gov.au/gold/people; goldtrails.com.au; findmypast; family archives

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Edwin Vivian Stevens was born in Redruth, Cornwall in 1828, baptised on 27 October of that year.  His parents were George Facey Stevens, a parish clerk, and Honour Langdon.  He was one of five boys out of a family of eleven children.  An older sister had died before he was born.

Redruth was a town in a tin and copper mining region.  In 1801 it had a population of close to 5,000.  Redruth’s boom period was said to be from the 1730s to the 1860s when the population had doubled to over 11,000, but then dropped when copper mining went into decline and a lot of miners emigrated.

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Marker indicates Trevingey

In 1841 the family of twelve were living in Trevingey, Redruth.  Edwin, at the tender age of 13, was listed as a miner, as was his older brother, John, age 15 (copper miner).  It must have been a tough life.  As you can see from the map, there were a lot of mines.  It would be hard to pinpoint which one they might have worked in.

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Below is a view from Camborne looking towards Redruth in 1890.  Not a pretty sight.

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By 1851, Edwin’s father had died.  Six of the children were still living with Honour in Trevingey, but the youngest was 16, so no great burden (by then anyway).  Two of Edwin’s brothers were no longer at home.  Edwin (age 22) and the remaining two brothers were listed as copper miners.  The sisters were involved in clothes-making.  Included in the 1851 census is Honour’s granddaughter, Emma Stephens, age 8.  I have not been able to find out who her parents were – the father either John or William (common names).

Edwin married Elizabeth Ann Dart on 20 February 1854 in Redruth.  About two weeks later they were headed for Australia.  Another researcher said that three of Edwin’s brothers also emigrated to Australia but I have been unable to find out when.  So it may be that John had already gone to Australia and invited Edwin to join him, or Edwin decided to join the many wanting to try their hand at finding gold in Australia’s south-east.  Either way, Edwin and Elizabeth left Plymouth on 6 March on board the “Trafalgar” and arrived at Port Adelaide on 28 June.

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Adelaide Times

From then I can only follow the couple’s movements from where the children were born.  The first, a daughter, was born in January 1855 at Spring Creek near Beechworth in Victoria, a long way from Adelaide.  A son was born in 1857 in Beechworth.  Beechworth was famed for its gold-mining.  Its heyday was shortlived, between 1852 and 1857.

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Marker indicates location of Beechworth

The family stuck around, the next child being born in Indigo in 1861.  Indigo appears to be a region which includes Beechworth, so hard to identify where exactly the boy was born (perhaps Indigo valley).  From there the family headed to Binalong, New South Wales, where the child died.

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Marker indicates location of Binalong, NSW

The following  year they were in Young, New South Wales, a day’s walk to the north-west of Binalong.  Here another daughter was born in 1863.  Gold had been discovered there in 1860, when it was known as Lambing Flat (known for the anti-Chinese riots).  It was renamed Young in 1863.

The family didn’t stop there.  They moved on to Cadia, New South Wales (about 20 km south of Orange), where a copper mine was opened.  The next two children were born there in 1865 and 1867.

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The next four children were born at Icely, another mining district close to Orange, from 1869 to 1875.

Edwin’s wife, Elizabeth, died 10 years later in 1885 at the age of 51.  Edwin remarried six years later, marrying Cecilia Dawson in Orange on 4 February 1891.  I have no information on her at all.

If Edwin and Elizabeth hadn’t had so many children (10 in total), I wouldn’t have been able to track their movements across the south-east of Australia from Adelaide to Orange.  The information is otherwise scant.

Edwin died in Orange on 29 November 1908, age 80 (although a brief death notice gave his age as 82) – a pretty good age for having worked in mines most of his life.

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National Advocate, 30 November 1908

 

Sources: Google maps; localhistories.org; findmypast; cornwallinfocus.co.uk; cornwallheritagetrust.org; Trove; theshipslist.com; wikipedia; bonzle.com;

Mary Grunsell was born in 1836 and baptised on 4 September in Overton, Hampshire.  She was the youngest child of John Grunsell and Sarah Exel.  The couple’s eldest child, Elizabeth, died the same year Mary was born.  The other three, that I know of, were boys (five children seems a small family for the many my ancestors had).

In 1841 the family (except the eldest) were living in Southington.  Mary’s father was a journeyman tailor.  Southington was a tything of Overton.

In 1851 Mary, at age 16, was working as a house servant for the Chamberlain family in Basingstoke.  Charles Chamberlain was a 39-year-old plumber from Surrey, and lived in Cliddesden Road with his wife and four children.  Mary’s mother lived next door to Charles Kercher in Overton.

The heavily pregnant Mary married Charles Kercher, a labourer, on 5 June 1852 at St Mary’s church, Overton.  On 14 July her first child, Elizabeth, was born.  The following year Mary’s brother, Thomas, emigrated to Australia with his wife.  Mary’s first son, Charles, was born in 1854.  George was next, born between July and September in 1856, but he died sometime between October and December.  Two years later, in 1858, Mary gave birth to William.

By this time Thomas Grunsell and his wife had three children (and his wife pregnant with another) and must have offered to sponsor his sister to join them in New South Wales.

As stated in the last post, Mary and Charles and their three children sailed for Australia aboard the “Queen of England” in March 1859, arriving in Sydney on 8 July.  Their young son, William, had died on the voyage.

Mary’s next son, Arthur, was born on 25 February 1860 in Goulburn (Australia’s first inland town, established about the 1830s), so Mary must have got pregnant towards the end of the voyage.  They must have moved to Tirannaville shortly after that, as Mary’s daughter, Alice, was born there on 27 August 1861.  Perhaps by then Charles had found the job as gardener to Mrs Gibson at Tiranna House.

Two years later, Walter Henry was born on 31 July 1863.  Another son, Alfred Henry, was born on 19 July 1865.  Edward James was born on 8 December 1867 and the final child, Edwin George, was born on 28 March 1870.  Mary had given birth to ten children, eight of them surviving.  She was just 34.

Tragically, Charles died of strychnine poisoning just one year later.  Mary’s two eldest were teenagers (17 and 19) but she still had six children to take care of, the youngest only a year old.  I have no idea what she did to survive.

Mary’s eldest, Elizabeth, married George Snow in 1875 in Tirannaville.  The next eldest, Charles, married in Goulburn in 1876.  Arthur married in 1884 in Goulburn and Alice married Philip Thomas in Sydney in 1885.  Walter never married and appeared to live with his mother in George Street, Goulburn.  I imagine that Mary moved to Goulburn sometime after 1875.

In 1895 the second youngest, Edward, married in January to Lavinia Stevens.  Four months later, his younger brother, Edwin, married.  The last of the sons married in 1897 (Alfred to Emily Hall).  Just one year later, Walter died of consumption.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 8 November 1898

Two years later Mary herself died, on 16 May 1900, age 64.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 17 May 1900

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 17 May 1900

In her will, Mary left a total of £1,157, quite a substantial sum, so she did alright.  She left a larger chunk (£236) to her eldest son, Charles, who must have provided for her.  To her other sons she left equal amounts of £136.  To her grandchildren she left £10 each and to her daughters-in-law £20 each.  It appears that Mary had properties in George Street and Ruby Street (houses built by her sons) which she had rented out.  She left a houselot of furniture (for two bedrooms, parlour, dining, and kitchen) and such things as pictures, ornaments and sewing machine.

She was buried alongside Charles in Tirannaville cemetery.

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Sources: wikipedia; family archives; Trove

Charles Kercher was born in 1830 in Overton, Hampshire.  He was baptised on 14 March, the baseborn son of Frances Kercher.  Frances Kercher married Joseph Beale just two months later, so I can only assume he is the father.  We’ll never really know.

Overton is a large village to the west of Basingstoke.  The region has been inhabited for thousands of years but the village developed about the 10th century.  The river Test runs through it.  Alongside the river were corn, fulling and silk mills.  The region was primarily agricultural.

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Overton was involved in the Swing Riots.  In November 1830 there was rioting in the village as agricultural labourers demanded money, food and higher wages, so it was not an easy time.  Joseph Beale, a labourer, may well have been one of the rioters.

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By 1841, Frances had had another six children, so she had seven children under the age of 12 by the time of the census.  Charles’ surname is listed as Beale, along with the other children (four boys and two girls).  The family lived next door to Frances’ brother, Charles, and his family in Bridge Street.  The street is full of agricultural labourers.

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Google streetview of Bridge Street

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Bridge Street in 1915

Charles’ mother died in 1844, so Joseph was left to bring up six children (another had been born in 1842).  Charles appears to have kept the Beale surname and in 1851 was listed as a railroad labourer in Southington.  In the same area lived widow, Sarah Grunsell, with her youngest son.  Sarah Grunsell’s daughter, Mary, must have met Charles several times.

They married on 5 June 1852 at the parish church in Overton.

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St Mary’s church, dating to the 12th century

Interestingly, on the marriage certificate, Charles now called himself Charles Kercher, but listed his father as Joseph Beale.  The witnesses are not family members.

Mary was heavily pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Elizabeth, in July 1852.  In 1854, a boy, Charles, was born, then in 1856 another boy, George.  George died as an infant.  In 1858 another boy, William, was born.

Mary’s brother, Thomas, had emigrated to Australia with his wife in 1853.  There must have been some correspondence, Thomas encouraging his sister and family to join them.  He paid £15 for their passage over.  So on 18 March 1859, Charles, Mary and their three children boarded the “Queen of England” at Liverpool and sailed for Sydney.  The passage took just under four months, but, sadly, William died on the journey.  He was one of four that died on the voyage.  The ship arrived in Sydney on 8 July 1859.

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Thomas Grunsell was living in the Goulburn/Tirrannaville area, so that’s where the family headed.

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Charles and Mary’s next child, Arthur, was born in Goulburn, NSW in 1860.  The next five children (one girl, four boys) born between 1861 and 1870, were born in Tirannaville just to the south of Goulburn.  Charles became a gardener to Mrs Gibson at Tiranna House.

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Tiranna House in 1865

I have no other information for Charles other than his tragic death on 25 March 1871.  He died of strychnine poisoning.  The verdict was suicide but there’s no evidence that he wished to kill himself.

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Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1871

What’s weird is that it seems to have been the way to end one’s life in Tiranna:

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Sydney Morning Herald, 1859

Strychnine was used for pest control, but it’s a horrible way to die.

That left Mary with six children under 12 to care for.  Her two eldest were near enough to adults so could help out.  I turn to Mary next.

 

 

Sources: wikipedia; family archives; overtonparishcouncil.gov.uk; Google; overtonpictures.com; powerhousemuseum.com; Trove