Tuesday, 22 November 2016

An elusive great great grandfather

Where and when did he die? Patrick O’Dea migrated from County Clare, Ireland to South Australia in 1854 aboard the barque “Time and Truth”. He was accompanied by his wife Mary, sons Thomas and John and daughters Mary and Margaret.

Two hundred and forty one emigrants were aboard when the ship left Plymouth on January 11th 1854. There were 80 adult males, 88 females, 32 boys and 41 girls. During the voyage there were 4 births and 6 deaths. The captain’s report at the conclusion of the 4 month voyage on the 8th May 1854 provides some interesting insights into life aboard. He reports the conduct of the immigrants as very good with the only corporal punishment being “two boys put in irons for an hour for fighting.” General satisfaction was expressed with all aspects of the suitability of accommodation on board but he reported
The fresh potatoes failing at the end of 12 days after sailing. The quantity placed on board of the preserved potatoes proved insufficient to last the voyage. In other respects the provisions and water were ample and good.
In regard to the school provided on board for the children, he recorded that about 27 boys and 14 girls had attended, Margaret O’Dea at 8 years old may have been one of these girls.
The results of the tuition were exceedingly satisfactory. Several of the boys who could not form a letter or spell a word when they commenced, being able to write fairly and read fluently by the end of the voyage.
He also wrote to the Land and Emigration Commissioners to present the emigrants’ complaints about the depot at Plymouth where they were housed before departure. It appears there were several shady operators who sought to take advantage of the emigrants by promising certain services on the payment of extra fees. The complaints ranged from being compelled to purchase unnecessary goods, payment for sleeping at the Depot and payment for unfulfilled promises of “situations to be obtained”. Amongst the list of complainants was Patrick O’Dea who stated:
I, Patrick O’Dea was compelled to buy a blue shirt that I had no use for to the amount of 5s.6d. at the Plymouth Depot.
Patrick was listed as 42 years of age in the ship’s records putting his possible birth date as sometime in 1812. His wife Mary was listed as 40 years old putting her possible birth date in 1814.

What I know of their early years has been gleaned from their son John recalling their early days in South Australia on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary in 1913. It appears they lived near Kapunda for 8 years working as carters before obtaining land.

The early land records in South Australia yield details of land rented and purchased by several O’Dea males. The common practice of using similar names in families (Patrick, Thomas and John) makes it difficult to determine which land titles belong to which O’Dea family.

From his own recollections, son John and his family were farming at Pinkerton Plains by 1863. John was married in August of 1863 and took his bride to Pinkerton Plains. Here in September of 1864, Patrick lists his interest in blocks 359 and 360.

The first mention of the name Patrick O’Dea occurs in the land records with the transfer of a block of land in the Hundred of Mudla Wirra in 1863. Block 274 had been leased from John Coleman Dixon in February of 1863 for 10 pounds per annum for 5 years with the right of purchase for 80 pounds. In 1866 this title records the payment of the 80 pounds and the transfer of the title.

All the Patrick O’Deas in South Australia are listed under one entry in the SAILIS historical name indexes to the registers of transactions. Blocks of land accredited to the name Patrick O’Dea are listed in the Hundred of Tungkillo (near Adelaide) and the Hundred of Blanche (near Mt Gambier). Both these distances make it unlikely that all the listings under the name of Patrick O’Dea could be accredited to the same person.

In 1840 a family of O'Deas had arrived on the ship Birman. A large family of O’Deas with sons named Patrick, Michael, John and Thomas arrived in November 1849 on the ship Duke of Wellington. Another John O’Dea, with sons John, James and Michael arrived on the ship Constance in the same month.  The gates to confusion in registers were open.


There is no easily found or obtained death certificate for my gt-gt-grandfather Patrick. No reference is made to him in the official registers of deaths. This certificate of title for block 300 in the the Hundred of Mudla Wirra, lists Patrick, Thomas and John “all of Pinkerton Plains farmers” as joint holders of this 81 acre block. Could it be that the note below on the certificate of title refers to my Patrick O’Dea?

The above named Patrick O’Dea died in either [or about] the months of June or July 1867 as appears by Declaration of Death (No.29845) produced to me and [----] the 4 day March of 1870 at Two o’clock P.M.
I am pursuing several avenues of interest to see if this Declaration of Death can be found and some of the mystery solved. If you an O’Dea descendant with more information I would be pleased to hear from you.

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Patrick O'Dea
Parents: unknown
Spouse: Mary or Margaret

Relationship to Carmel: Great great grandfather
  1. Patrick O'Dea c.1812 - ? - maternal great great grandfather
  2. John O'Dea 1835 - 1922 - maternal great grandfather
  3. Patrick Joseph O'Dea 1877 - 1919 - maternal grandfather
  4. Hannah Olive (O'Dea) Horgan 1912 - 2013 - mother
  5. Carmel
1. Crown land and Immigrants ship’s papers GRG 35/48/1854  9 Time and Truth State Records of South Australia, 2 September 2016
2. SAILIS – Historical name Index search 1858-1863 Letter O 
https://www.sailis.sa.gov.au/products/imageDelivery/historicalNameIndex/O/1858-1863/PRIVATE/4 viewed 20 October 2016
3. SAILIS – Certificate of Title Register book Vol 49 Folio 164 viewed 20 October 2016

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A building with memories

AlmaSouthNoticeThis sign outside the now abandoned Alma South School in South Australia holds few hints to the role it played in the life of my father and his siblings one hundred years ago.

Edward John Horgan and his sister Honora Mary were enrolled at this little one room school on the 28th April 1914. He was 5 yrs 11 months old and she was 7 yrs 4 months. The school register shows that neither had attended school before and that they lived three miles away. The distance from the school probably explains why Honora Mary had not started at a younger age. Now there were two children of school age, transport would be found for them.

This extract from the Alma South school register held at State Records SA details their birth dates, father’s occupation and shows they both started in J, the first grade in the school. Eddie completed Junior in 1915 while his elder sister moved up a grade.

register entry

This photo shows Eddie with his sister outside the school on their horse Beaver, accompanied by local children Lindsay McKenzie and Beryl Watts on the other two horses. There is no saddle on Beaver so a slow and steady progress would have been the order of the day. There were only 23 children on the register in 1914 with the average daily attendance shown as 16. As many would have ridden horses to school, one can only imagine the reluctance of some to set out on cold, wet mornings.
AlmaSouthLeaving for home

To find out more about school days at Alma South I turned to Trove where Nora Mary, as she liked to be known then, wrote in 1916:
We had Australia Day in Alma on July 26. The Alma South school children were dressed up to represent different nations. I was an Irish girl. …(she continues) I am in the second class at school. The teacher's name is Miss Dubois. (1)
Ellen M J DuBois had been appointed to Alma South school in 1911 and had commenced there in April of that year. She was still there in 1928.

At the beginning of 1917 the youngest Horgan child, Joseph, was enrolled at the school at the age of 6 years 9 months. I wonder if the three of them shared the ride on Beaver or if they took turns and walked some of the way.

In February of 1917 Nora Mary wrote of school days again to the Southern Cross newspaper:
We are busy at school knitting for soldiers. Both of us passed. Eddie is in the third grade. I am in the fifth grade. My little brother Joseph is going to school now. He is a pet of the scholars. (2)

collarboneIn April of 1918 a report on a school picnic for children’s day held jointly with the Alma North and Salter Springs schools, describes a variety of activities. Miss Du Bois had obviously done a good job managing to get a group of youngsters entwined in a Maypole dance.

At the end of this report it is noted:
An accident to Mr. and Mrs. Horgan's young son, who fell heavily in one of the races, marred the afternoon's proceedings. It was found that he had sustained a slight fracture of the collarbone. (3)

Whether this was Joe or Eddie is not known but it certainly would have been a painful ride home in the buggy over rough roads. Many of the dirt roads in the locale of their old home can still provide a somewhat bumpy ride in 2016. Several school picnics and gatherings were recorded in the papers of the times.

Another glance of life at school is provided by Nora Mary in November of 1918.

Our examination will be next month. I hope to pass into the VII. Grade. Isn't it lovely to think that the war is over at last? A lady came to our school on Wednesday to teach us how to spin wool. We will have five weeks' holiday at Christmas time. We have had three days' holiday this week in honour of peace. (4)
She spent another two years at the school passing what was known as the Qualifying Certificate at the end of Grade Seven in 1920. Eddie and Joe were still recorded as attending Alma South in 1921. There were only twenty-six to thirty children attending the school in those years between 1914 and 1921.

The school register I examined was used from 1883 until December 1921. The instructions for filling it in included a note at the bottom of the first page that read:

Should a new register be required before the old one is finished, it may be obtained with the permission of the Inspector on payment of 2s.6d.

This was written before 1883 when this register of pupils was commenced. One hopes the teacher did not have to pay for a new register 39 years later! State Archives notes that the location of admission registers for the school at Alma South after this date is unknown. (5)

Alma South School – September 2016

It is sad to see the state of the building now as time and weather wreak their damage. I would like to think that my father and his siblings had fond memories of this small school and the friends made therein.
View from outside – September 2016

Entry via the porch - inside the building the remains of a chalkboard adorn one wall. The roof timbers appear to be in good condition.
View of the side of school building showing significant deterioration

An interesting article in Weekend Notes has more information on Alma and Salter Springs as well as some other small towns in this region of South Australia.

1. 1916 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 1 September, p. 18. , viewed 03 Oct 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166422061 2. 1917 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 9 February, p. 6. , viewed 03 Oct 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166980769
3. 1918 'THE COUNTRY.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 23 April, p. 6. , viewed 03 Oct 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60351597
4. 1918 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 22 November, p. 15. , viewed 03 Oct 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166988853
5. GRS/13020 Admission Register, Alma South School, 1883 -1921 State Records of South Australia, viewed 2 Sept 2016

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Georgina and family leave Ngallo

My mother related the story of arriving in Hamley Bridge, South Australia as a young girl, helping her mother and older sisters struggle to carry their limited luggage from the train station. I set out to find a date and the circumstances of their arrival. A recent trip to attend a family wedding and visit my siblings in South Australia provided an opportunity to acquire a wealth of family related stories and photos.

Ngallo houseAfter the death of her husband Patrick Joseph O’Dea from influenza in 1919, my maternal grandmother Georgina Ellen O’Dea continued to live and work on the plot of land at Ngallo, in Victoria just over the border from Pinnaroo South Australia. The young couple had settled there in 1911. 

The house they had built, seen in the picture here, was home to the young family.  Georgina, aged 29 and now widowed, was mother to six children aged from 11 years to just 9 months old.

Michael James O’Dea, Patrick’s brother had married Ethel Bennett in 1918.(1) They were living on a block nearby with Ethel’s son Albert John Bennett (known as Jack or Jackie) who had been born in July 1917 to Ethel Richards and James George Bennett, (Georgina’s brother).(2)
James Bennett had died while on a visit to his sister and her family in September of 1917 when the baby was only two months old.(3) Michael married the widowed Ethel in October of 1918.

So in 1919, after Patrick’s death in August, the two young families living close by struggled to come to terms with the changed conditions. As Patrick had died intestate, near neighbours Edward John Kain and John Bernard Barry provided affidavits and surety for Georgina. Papers of administration (4) were issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria in November of 1919 and probate settled in October 1920 after the duty of £22/5/2d had been paid.

Georgina continued to work hard to keep the dream of their own farm alive, but by 1923 she had taken the decision to return to Hamley Bridge to be near her deceased husband’s O’Dea relatives and her sister Mary Olive Bennett who had married Daniel Casaretto. They also lived in Hamley Bridge. A farewell function held on March 13th was reported in the Pinnaroo and Border Times.


Farewell Social.

On Tuesday evening. March 13th, the Ngallo Hall was again taxed to its utmost capacity with well-wishers of Mrs P. J. O’Dea and family, and Mr J. Burford, who are leaving the district.

Mr S. S Coburn occupied the chair, and referred to the loss that the district would sustain by the departure of their guests. He wished them every success and prosperity in their new sphere.

Mrs O’Dea was made the recipient of a parcel of stainless cutlery consisting of 1 doz table and 1 doz desert knives.

Mr M. O’Dea suitably responded on behalf of his sister-in-law and thanked them all for the many kind things said about them and also for their beautiful gift, which, he contended, would remind them of the many kind friends they had left in Ngallo and surrounding districts.

The sale of the farm, horses and cattle as well as all the implements followed on March 15th. The care of 640 acres with 10 horses and 21 cattle as well as the 100 fowls would have been quite a burden even with help from her brother-in-law and kindly neighbours.Ngallo sale 1923

The subsequent departure from Ngallo started a new period in the lives of this family. One wonders if the weight of the dozen table and dessert knives added significantly to the luggage burden being borne from the train station that day in 1923.

The children’s unmarried aunts in Hamley Bridge, Hannah Teresa and Margaret O’Dea were kind to their nieces and nephews. They were still living at “Clare Villa” caring for their elderly parents.

View of house known as ‘Clare Villa’, Hamley Bridge at 1st September 2016

clare villa

More of Georgina’s life is recalled in the post 50 years on.

1. Groom Given Name(s): Michael James, Last Name: ODEA, Bride Given Name(s): Ethel Last Name: BENNETT Marriage Date: 1918, October 09 SA marriages Book/Page: 277/538

2. Given Name(s): Albert John Last Name: BENNETT Birth Date: 1917, July 29 Gender: M Father: James George David BENNETT Mother: Ethel RICHARDS Birth Place: Adelaide SA births Book/Page: 3A/443

3. 1917 'Family Notices', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 6 October, p. 27. , viewed 11 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87412751

4. 1919 'Classified Advertising', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 1 October, p. 19. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4680369

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Influenza numbers

Advances in medical research bring us the benefits of modern medicines and I for one will be making sure that a ‘flu vaccine is on my to do list before next winter. My maternal grandfather Patrick Joseph O’Dea died as a result of the great flu epidemic that swept the world in 1918 and 1919. A dose of flu in our household prompted me to look at my family history records to identify any other victims of that epidemic.

There are 7 deaths I have recorded in 1919 and 3 of these were definitely from the effects of “pneumonic influenza’ as the epidemic was named at that time. Another three of the deaths all occurred in one Horgan family. I have not sought death certificates to confirm the cause of those deaths but two brothers in their thirties died within three months of each other and Julia their 71 year old mother died a mere six months later. If this was not from influenza then surely from a broken heart at losing Daniel and William, two of her remaining nine children, in the prime of their lives.

A sad case was revealed in Alma, South Australia, where John Edward Smyth aged 40 had been living with his parents and working the family farm. John was my paternal grandmother Elizabeth’s first cousin.
Mr.John Smyth, who has resided with his parents on the farm at Alma, was missed, and a search was made. He was found drowned in a tank, and it is supposed he was getting a drink of water, and as the day was hot he must have become giddy and fallen into the tank, which contained about five feet of water. He had an attack of influenza about three months ago, which left him very weak. He was highly respected by all who knew him. Much sympathy is felt for his aged parents, who have resided for many years on their farm at Alma. He is a brother of Mr. Pat. Smyth, blacksmith, of Alma. (1)
John Edward Smyth, 1879 – 1919 is buried at St Benedict’s Cemetery, Pinkerton Plains South Australia. His elderly father James aged 88 joined him in the cemetery just nine months later in July 1920. His mother, Catherine Smyth (born Mulvaney) was buried in the family plot at aged 65 in 1923.

Earlier in the year another branch of the same family also suffered loss from influenza. James Leo Byrne had married grandmother Elizabeth's younger sister Margaret Smyth in 1898. They had been farming at Lameroo in South Australia for some years before extending their interests into Queensland in about 1910. The two reports that follow appeared in the local Darling Downs newspapers of the time.
Macalister and district have sustained a severe loss in the death in Melbourne of Mr. James Byrne, who fell a victim to the pneumonic influenza. Mr. Byrne, who came from South Australia about nine years ago, was on his way to visit that State on business, when he  contracted the disease which led to his death. He was engaged in farming pursuits at Apunyal, and his death is a severe loss. (2)

The many friends o£ Mr. Jas. Byrne (Apunyal) will be sorry to hear of the death of that highly respected gentleman. It seems that while journeying to attend to business in South Australia he contracted pneumonic influenza which was the cause of death. Mrs. Byrne and family have the sympathy of a large circle of friends as the Byrne family are widely known and highly respected. (3)
James Leo Byrne 1863-1919, was 55 when he died. His wife Margaret born in 1873 lived until 1936 and died at home in Lameroo, South Australia, aged 63.

The seventh death I have recorded is that of an infant just 2 months old. Jack Corfield was born to my brother-in-law’s grandparents in October of 1919 and died just 2 months later on Christmas Eve. The end of a sad year for many folk.

1. 1919 'COUNTRY NEWS.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 7 November, p. 3. , viewed 02 Aug 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108285798
2.1919 'PERSONAL.', Warwick Daily News (Qld. : 1919 -1954), 23 April, p. 4, viewed 25 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175740209
3. 1919 'MACALISTER.', Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), 21 April, p. 6. , viewed 02 Aug 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article182942245

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Trove Tuesday Honner

The approaching wedding of a nephew with the surname Honner had me scurrying to Trove to see if there were any reports of the details of weddings of his ancestors. His great grandparents John Aloysius Honner and Mary Langford were married in 1893 in Maitland, South Australia, and the newspapers reveal a wealth of information about the lives of this couple.


The Honner family had arrived on Yorke Peninsula in 1875 when John was about 13 as this extract from an account about the prosperity of Maitland in 1952 records.
There were some epic pioneering stories. Richard Honner, of Yankalilla, who had seven sons, first took up land at Brentwood. Edward, aged 12, and John, 13, each drove a four - bullock team from the old home, through Adelaide, to the new property. [a distance of approx 280 km] For the feat, each was presented with an English lever and key watch. Mr. R. C. Honner, of Arthurton, now has one and Mr. R. F. Honner the other, and both still go. Mr. Edward Honner, now 88, is living in retirement in Maitland. 

1952 'ITS PROSPERITY IS EVERYWHERE', News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), 24 September, p. 12. , viewed 26 Jul 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130867619
The 1943 account of the celebrations held for their golden wedding anniversary add more detail to the story.
More details about this family's life were found in the obituary later that year when John died in October.
Mary (Langford) Honner outlived her husband by 13 years and died in 1956. They are both buried in St Agatha’s Catholic cemetery, in Arthurton.

The next generation back

Some details from the papers about my nephews’ great-great grandparents Richard and Sarah Honner  who married in 1856, can be found in these articles. The first is the account of their diamond wedding celebrating 60 years. The fuzzy picture below was taken on that occasion in 1916. The next two articles are obituaries which contain extensive details about their lives and the lives of their children.
60th wedding anniversary of Richard and Sarah Honner

My nephew's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year so he has many years to catch up on to emulate those who came before him. Best wishes Richard and Rebecca.