Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Other Bourkes on board...continued. Lawrence Bourke and family
Above: Lawrence "Larry" Bourke who arrived from Tipperary with my Bourkes on board the Duchess Of Northumberland in 1841.
Of the twelve-perhaps more- Bourkes who arrived on the D.O.N in June of 1841, all were from County Tipperary, Ireland. Whether or not they were related is anyone's guess, as County Tipperary had a higher population of Bourkes than any other county in Ireland at the time.
It makes it even more difficult to determine relationships when I can't pinpoint place of origin of my Bourkes to anything more precise than "County Tipperary". I desperately need to know a townland or parish, but every avenue that is likely to give me this information has failed to do so.
When I first started dallying in the Bourkes some 25 years ago, I thought that perhaps Lawrence Bourke and his brothers may have been related to us because their movements were similar to my Bourkes...from Tipperary on the same ship;remaining in the Melbourne district for several years followed by locating to Kilmore.
Somebody back in the 1980s gave me a copy of a very intricate family tree belonging to this Bourke family, but when I couldn't find a relationship with my tree I put it aside. Now that I want to reference it again, of course I can't find it anywhere, despite turning the house upsidedown in search of it. I remember a few basic "facts"...Lawrence's father was John Bourke who came out to Melbourne and settled at Campbellfield. I think he was widowed by his wife,Margaret Meaney,back in Ireland.His sons Lawrence, John and Patrick also came out to Australia, as did daughters including Bridget,Ellen and Mary. I'm sure that the ship they were stated as having came out on was the Sophia in 1840 or thereabouts, as one of the daughters or grand daughters had 'Sophia' incorporated into her name. There was also mention of daughters(perhaps Lawrence's???) being sent back to Ireland to a convent near Cashel in Tipperary for their education.
I just wish that I could remember more, even if some of what was written has since been proved wrong. Following is what research has turned up about Lawrence Bourke and his family after their arrival in Australia.
According to the infamous misplaced family story, John Bourke, Lawrence's father, arrived in Melbourne c. 1840 on the ship "Sophia" (which I can find no sign of, except for a small vessel that took passengers to settlements along coastal Australia).His death certificate suggests that he had arrived in Victoria c. 1841, or late 1840.
In June of 1841, three of his sons and two daughters arrived in Melbourne on board the immigrant ship Duchess of Northumberland...Lawrence 26; John 24; Patrick 20; Bridget 18 and Mary 15.Of sister Ellen I can find no trace-there was a John and Ellen Burke on board the D.O.N, but they were aged 30 and 20, and had a seven year old boy called Edward with them.
There was an air of wealth about the Bourkes in their story, with talk about a beautiful property and huge home at Campbellfield, and daughters being sent back to Ireland for a convent education. This is totally contradicted by the information given in the shipping records, which state that Bridget and Mary, John Bourke's daughters,were a dairy maid and a house servant respectively, and his three sons were 'labourers'.Bridget could read, Mary could neither read or write, and the Bourke sons could all do both.
According to John Bourke Senior's death certificate, he was born in County Tipperary in c. 1785. At the age of 28, in c. 1813, John Bourke married Margaret Meaney in County Limerick. At the time of his death John had four living children and seven deceased-those whose names are known at the present time include Lawrence,John, Patrick, Ellen, Bridget and Mary.
John Bourke Senior must have married for a second time after the death in Ireland of his wife Margaret, as just before his death in Victoria he made a will that referred to "My wife Ellen." I will include a section of that will a little later.
POST SCRIPT: February 11, 2010.
I found it!!! Last night - totally by accident whilst looking for something else- I located the missing notes on the family of Lawrence Bourke. Some had been sent to me by a researcher of Lawrence, a lovely and very helpful lady by the name of Linda Weatherall, and others were sent to me by an old farmer, since passed away, from the Burramine district.
Linda's husband was descended from Lawrence Bourke's daughter Ellen, who married schoolteacher Michael O'Connor and moved with their family to Queensland in the early 1880s.In 1988, Linda sent me the following information about Lawrence Bourke's family:
"Family History as related by Ellen Evelyn McMunn(daughter of Ellen Bourke O'Connor)to her daughter, as she remembers it, April 1979.
Her grandfather was Lawrence Bourke who came as a free settler to Australia from County Tipperary, Ireland. He accepted a land grant in the state of Victoria where he farmed the land and took up politics, representative in Parliament for the district of Kilmore.
It is believed that he owned at least three properties, and gold was discovered and mined on at least one of these.
The family home was known as "Campbellfield" and was described as a two-storey blue stone building with stained glass windows, and peacocks and guinea hens roaming the grounds. The house contained a private ballroom, where my grandmother spoke of playing piano while her friends danced.
Seven children were born to the family:
JOHN: Married. Unknown if children. Died at age 28 after a fall from horse.
MARGARET LEWIS: Widowed and left with four children. Leased her valuable property and moved to Melbourne.
ELLEN: She married Michael O'Connor, a teacher at Devenish in the district of Benalla, Victoria, which was Ned Kelly Country in those days. They moved to Queensland to recover from the shock of being almost burned to death when her clothing caught fire at the fireplace and the house burned down.Both parents taught school at Gatton.
HANNAH MEAGHER: Married to a millionaire. She is the great-grandmother of current well-known Australian actor Jack Thompson.According to Ellen Bourke O'Connor's daughter Ellen Evelyn, Jack Thompson was adopted by his uncle. He knows he is adopted but doesn't Evelyn doesn't know if he knows of the circumstances, which were family gossip.
BRIGID: No information available.
MARY: (Teacher). Married Charles Beitz, farmer, and persuaded him to sell the farm and move to Southport, Queensland, a beach resort where they remained until their deaths. They had no children, but were God parents to Claire Frey (daughter of Ellen Evelyn McMunn)
SOPHIA: Unknown married name. Married a teacher and took over his position upon his death.
Because of conditions in the days of early Australia, all girls were taken by their mother and placed in a convent outside Dublin, Ireland, to be educated. It was run by the Sisters of Sacre Coeur(Sacred Heart), a French order, who insisted that students converse in French during mealtime, which resulted in them becoming quite fluent in the language. They were there for five years, spending their vacation times at a place called Cashel Castle, believed to be with relatives.
Ellen O'Connor (nee Bourke) had three children: John, Catherine and Ellen Evelyn. She died at age 88 in 1938.
JOHN AMBROSE O'CONNOR: remained single. Was Deputy State Insurance Commissioner of Queensland for many years. He was also a member of the foundation committee in 1907 of the Rugby League in Queensland. He died at age 92 in 1970.
CATHERINE HANNAH JOSEPHINE O'CONNOR: Married Leslie Hawkins(teacher)and had three daughters- Kathleen Margaret(killed in 1936 after being struck by a motor cycle aged 22); Eileen (married Clarence Frederick Maloney) and Gwendoline Mary (married James Joseph Weatherall and had 2 sons and a daughter)
ELLEN EVELYN O'CONNOR: Born April 15, 1889. Lived in Brisbane. Widow of Samuel George McMunn since 1956.Had two sons and four daughters:John Stephen McMunn(accidentally electrocuted 1956); Francis Laurence (killed in a car accident 1946); Eila Mary; Claire (married American Jesse Frey and raised two daughters in Torrance, California); Rita Joan(married Brian Phillips, lived in the A.C.T) and Melle Celestine (died of asphyxiation in 1952).
This family history is solely from Ellen Evelyn's memory (she was 90 years old at the time), so we don't know how much of it is fact or fiction. The information about Ellen we know is correct, but as for the rest, we are not sure."
Thus ends the report of the memories of Ellen Bourke O'Connor's daughter.
As with any account of a family story passed down through generations, this account is full of both facts and fiction. For example, Lawrence Bourke's only son, John Bourke, did die young, but not from a fall from a horse...he died on the NSW goldfields as the result of an injury obtained in a one-sided scuffle.
Ellen Bourke O'Connor and her husband Michael did not have only three children- they had six born in Victoria and one in Queensland, but several died during childhood.
The story of Jack Thompson being Hannah Bourke Meagher's great-grandson has yet to be verified, but having watched the fantastic episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?" which dealt with Jack Thompson's family history (his birth name was John Hadley Pain), I could see no Bourke connections whatsoever. However, it is a very precise concept to come up with in a family story, so there very well may be a link in there somewhere that I just have to find.
UPDATE: I decided tonight to check the "Jack Thompson Legend", and again discovered there was fact mixed in with the fiction. Hannah Meagher was indeed the great-grandmother of a Thompson...Peter Thompson, Jack's adoptive brother! Hannah's elder daughter, Hanora "Nora" Catherine Meagher was married at St. Kilda in 1906 to a dental surgeon by the name of John Grattan Thompson. John was the son of school master John Henning Thompson and his wife Louisa Elizabeth Grattan, and had been born in Kew, Melbourne. Prior to his marriage, John had lived at Molina, 92 Charles Street, Kew, with his parents and sisters Mary Grattan and Isabelle Grattan.
Nora and John Thompson had two sons that I can find, the elder being John Joseph Meagher Thompson, born at Kew, Victoria, in 1907. The family lived at Malvern for years, and spent some time in Dandenong at 42 Langhorne Street.
John Joseph Meagher Thompson was Jack Thomspon's adoptive father. The following information about him was taken from the website http://about.nsw.gov.au/collections/doc/john-joseph-meagher-thompson/
"THOMPSON, JOHN JOSEPH MEAGHER (1907-1968), poet and broadcaster, was born on 20 December 1907 at Kew, Melbourne, elder son of Victorian-born parents John Grattan Thompson, dentist, and his wife Nora Catherine, née Meagher. Young John was educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and the University of Melbourne (B.A., 1929). In 1931 his grandfather paid his fare to London where, on an allowance of £2 a week, he endeavoured to make a name as a poet and novelist. Although he was unable to sell any of his novels, he published a collection of romantic lyrics, Three Dawns Ago (1935). After some time on a farm at Affpuddle, Dorset, he returned to London in 1937 and met Patricia Drakeford Cole; they were married at the register office, Westminster, on 4 June 1938. The couple moved in leftist circles—Patricia worked at Victor Gollancz's Left Book Club—and John supplemented his allowance by work as a film extra and photographic model.
With war looming, the Thompsons travelled to Perth early in 1939. John was employed as an announcer with the Australian Broadcasting Commission. He and Patricia joined the Communist Party of Australia: John later described Marxism as 'probably the last Christian heresy'. Sesame and Other Poems (Sydney, 1944) marked a shift from his earlier verse and included some political and Australian themes. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 12 December 1942, Thompson qualified as a radio mechanic and performed educational duties in Australia before being discharged from the army on 2 August 1945 to work as an A.B.C. war correspondent. He reported the Japanese surrender at Rabaul and wrote an account of the Indonesian struggle for independence, Hubbub in Java (Sydney, 1946).
Thompson settled in Sydney, and became senior feature writer and producer at the A.B.C. In 1946 he devised the popular literary programme, 'Quality Street', and in 1949 accompanied A. P. Elkin on an anthropological expedition to Arnhem Land. He spent six months in London in 1951, working under Laurence Gilliam at the British Broadcasting Corporation. Over the years, Thompson wrote, produced and narrated many radio documentaries, mostly on literary and historical subjects. He also reported on his travels in Australia, South Africa, India, and the Pacific islands. In 1961 he ran a course on broadcasting at Radio Malaya. He edited selections of his radio portraits of famous Australians, On Lips of Living Men (Melbourne, 1962) and Five to Remember (1965). His Bill Harney's War (1983) was published posthumously.
Tall, fair, blue-eyed and handsome, Thompson was a generous, self-effacing man who spoke with the patrician tones then favoured by the A.B.C. His career in radio overshadowed his poetry—which his wife called 'the guiding spirit of his entire life'—and he regretted not writing more. Largely traditional in form and characterized by reasoned clarity, Thompson's best work was shaped by his experience with the spoken word. His third collection, Thirty Poems (Sydney, 1954), won the Grace Leven prize. He collected many of his poems in I Hate and I Love (Melbourne, 1964). With Kenneth Slessor and R. G. Howarth, he edited The Penguin Book of Australian Verse (London, 1958). Assistant-editor (1959-61) of Southerly, he also edited Australian Poetry 1965 (Sydney).
In 1964 the Thompsons founded the Paddington Society to protect the Victorian character of the suburb in which they had lived since 1951. John was its president. Early in 1968 he retired from the A.B.C. Following an operation for a duodenal ulcer, he died on 19 July that year at St Luke's Hospital, Darlinghurst, and was cremated; his wife, and their son and adopted son survived him. A small fountain opposite Paddington Town Hall commemorates him. Colin Colahan's portrait of Thompson is held by the family."
This reference to his son and adopted son refers to Peter and Jack Thompson.
So...as happens so often with family stories, where there is smoke there is fire...an element of truth, but not quite 100 % on the money.
By the way, the second son of Nora Meagher and John Grattan Thompson was named Kenneth Grattan Thompson.He was one of two executors named when John Grattan Thompson died in 1953, the other being his brother John Joseph Meagher Thompson.
The story of John Grattan Thompson's father, John Henning Thompson, is a remarkable one.Not only was he a very interesting man himself, but his grandfather was famous Scottish sculptor John Henning( 1771-1851). Following is an extract from an entry on John Henning as taken from the Oxford biographies website:
" Henning, John (1771–1851), sculptor, was born ‘a little after sunrise’ on 2 May 1771 at the rear of 56 High Street, Paisley, Renfrewshire, the eldest of the eleven children of Samuel Henning (d. 1809), a wright and architect, and his wife, Agnes Robertson. Originally from the Netherlands, the family moved from Ireland to Dumfries, where Samuel Henning's father, Alexander Henning, married Jean Harberson in 1747. After attending the commercial school in Meeting-House Lane, Paisley, under the writing master Ebenezer Macome, ‘the man of whom I learned the value of application’ (inscriptions on portrait medallions, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, and Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh), John Henning joined his father in 1784, when he ‘began to seriously handle the hatchet, saw, plane and other implements of carpentry’.
Having read about the voyages of James Cook, George Anson, and John Byron he decided, in 1787, to run away to sea, but this plan was thwarted by his mother's illness. He grew to maturity during a period of severe political unrest: his neighbour, Alexander Wilson, known as ‘the father of American ornithology’, was an ardent supporter of Thomas Paine. Following a fire in 1818 which destroyed the building that had housed his father's workshop, a hiding place was uncovered containing the minute book of the Paisley branch of the British Convention, of which Samuel was secretary.
In a manuscript letter sent to his brother-in-law, John Henning states that, in 1794, he was on a list of 185 proscribed persons in Paisley who were to be imprisoned for their political views. In later life, when he was in London, he continued to help the radical cause by selling the Weavers' Magazine, published in Paisley, and he also attempted to interest Princess Charlotte, daughter of George IV, in books on Scottish dissent while she was sitting for her portrait. These she read, later remarking, ‘Mr. Henning, I am not indulged with that kind of reading’.
On 7 September 1799 Henning married Katharine Sunter, and of their eight children Agnes Henning (bap. 19 Aug 1800), the eldest, married the artist Kenny Meadows (1790–1874), who later designed the fifth cover for Punch; Samuel Henning (d. 1832) assisted his father but concentrated on gem-engraving, receiving the silver palette in 1818 from the Society of Artists and exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1823 to 1831 and the British Institution in 1825–6; Archibald Henning (c.1805–1864) designed the cover for the first issue of Punch (17 July 1841) and a number of illustrations for Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851); and John Henning (1802–1857) assisted his father on the replicas of the Parthenon friezes (see below) and their application as building decoration, producing the classical reliefs on Decimus Burton's triple screen at Hyde Park Corner and the reliefs for the front of the Manchester City Art Gallery.
In 1799 Aubin's ‘Royal Museum’, a small collection of curiosities which included wax busts, visited Paisley. Henning was critical of them and a friend suggested that he try and do better himself. Shortly afterwards, on a visit to Edinburgh, he had the opportunity to visit the studio of Sir Henry Raeburn where he saw a portrait of General Macdowall, after which he ‘resolved to attempt a portrait myself, and try and model a head in wax’ (National Library of Scotland, MS 4946, fols. 9–10). First he modelled profile portraits in wax from life, but later worked from life-size sketches, completing medallions in his workshop. From wax originals he produced copies in plaster, bronze, or vitreous enamel. Under the patronage of Mrs Anne Grant of Laggan, Inverness-shire, he obtained a wide range of sitters, including James Watt, Sir Walter Scott, and Princess Charlotte. Josiah Wedgwood produced six of Henning's medallions—the duke of Wellington, Sir Samuel Romilly, Dugald Stewart, Sir Henry Brougham, the Revd James Graham, and Sir Walter Scott—as pottery cameos. In 1801 Henning moved to Glasgow, and by 1806 to Rose Street, Edinburgh. Here he attended life classes at the Trustees' Academy, where his fellow pupils included David Wilkie. In 1811 he moved to London, where he saw the newly arrived Elgin marbles and thereafter obtained permission to draw them, in spite of strong opposition from Benjamin West, the president of the Royal Academy. He spent over twelve years copying the Parthenon friezes and those from the temple at Bassai, introducing his own restoration for missing parts. He also copied nine of Raphael's tapestry cartoons depicting scenes from the Acts of the Apostles. Princess Charlotte requested him to prepare a miniature of the Parthenon frieze in ivory; at the suggestion of his son John he carved moulds of the friezes in slate at a height of 76.2 mm and produced plaster replicas at £31 10s. a set. As these were unprotected by copyright, they were pirated, and one dealer in Paris claimed in 1835 to have sold 12,000 copies. A larger version of the Parthenon frieze was used to decorate buildings such as the exterior of the Athenaeum in Pall Mall, London, and a medium-sized version for interiors such as the College of Surgeons in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, and Eastwood House in east Renfrewshire. During the last ten years of Henning's life he worked with the engraver A. R. Freebairn to produce copies of his medallions and the Parthenon friezes by using a ‘curious machine’, invented by a Mr Bates, which produced a remarkable three-dimensional effect. However, Freebairn died suddenly, and the scheme failed.
Despite all his success, he died in poverty. His death occurred on 8 April 1851 at his home, 8 Thorn Hill, Bridge Place, Caledonian Road, London; he was buried on the 11th in St Pancras churchyard, Finchley, Middlesex."
John Henning Senior was one of a family of eight daughters and three sons born to Samuel Henning and Agnes Robertson. His siblings were:
Margaret baptised May 23, 1773
Jean baptised March 15, 1776
Elizabeth baptised June 13, 1781
Agnes baptised May 16, 1784
Mary baptised May 16, 1784
Samull baptised January 7, 1787
Grace baptised April 9, 1789
Janet baptised April 24, 1791
Marion baptised September 12, 1793
Samuel baptised December 12, 1795.
All of these children were baptised in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland.
Samuel Henning Junior was a surgeon in Paisley, and in his will he left all of his estate to three of his sisters... Elizabeth, Agnes and Grace.
As discussed already, Samuel and Agnes Henning's eldest son, John, married Katharine Sunter.Their eldest daughter, Margaret Henning, married Paisley man Joseph Thompson. Both John and Margaret Henning married their respective spouses at Paisley in 1799. The marriage of Margaret Henning and Joseph Thompson on September 28, 1799, at Paisley Low Church, was noted as being an "Irregular marriage", and there is another entry for their marriage the following year: Joseph Thomson married Margaret Henning 11 February, 1800, Paisley High Church."
John Henning the sculptor and his wife Katherine had a large family of children, including the following:
Agnes Henning:Born 1800. Married artist Joseph Kenny Meadows.Died 1865, and husband Kenny died in 1873.Two daughters- Agnes born 1831 and Lucy born 1834.
Samuel Henning: Artist and sculptor. Died young of cholera in 1832.Was buried at St. Mary's, Lambeth, on October 5, 1832, aged 29 years.
Archibald Skirving (1805-1864) Born 3:30 a.m on February 18, 1805, at Edinburgh. Artist. Died July 4, 1864, aged 59.Was one of London's Bohemians, and the first illustrator of the magazine 'Punch'.Remained with 'Punch' until 1942, having contributed 17 cartoons to the first volume and several to the second.Married twice- firstly to Grace Campbell in London on 26 November, 1832; and secondly to Catherine Gilbrath at St. James, Clerkenwell, in 1846.Can find one child from his first marriage to Grace Campbell...Walton George Henning born 29 May, 1834, St. Pancras, London.Grace Campbell Henning died in March 1838, and was buried at St. Pancras on March 28, 1838.Second wife, Catherine Gilbrath Henning, died in 1873, St. George Hanover Square.
John Henning. Married Lydia Mahoney in 1826.Children included Margaret; Agnes; John; Charlotte; Lydia; Alfred and Jessie.
Margaret Ann b c. 1811. Married Joseph Thompson, her first cousin, on July 28, 1832, at St. George Hanover Square, London.
Joseph and Margaret remained in London, where Joseph took up a posting with the Oriental Bank Corporation.The couple had a family of eight children, two of whom, John and Isabell, did not survive.
In 1853 the family boarded the ship 'Madagascar' and sailed to Melbourne, where they arrived in June of 1853. According to 'Shipping Intelligence' as published in the 'Argus',on board were Mr and Mrs Thompson, Miss Agnes Thompson, Master John Thompson, Master Thomas Thompson and Mr. John Thompson", the latter a misprint that should have read 'Joseph Thompson'.
Eldest daughter Margaret Annie Thompson, remained behind in London as in 1853 she had married James Hannay. Born in 1827 in Scotland, James had served in H.M Navy, and was a published author. His father was David Hannay Esquire, of Carlinwark House, Kirkcudbright, and his mother was Elizabeth Affleck, the daughter of Captain William Affleck. James and Margaret had four children- David McDowall Hannay born December 25, 1853; Patrick Maxwell Hannay b 1859; Elizabeth Affleck Hannay born March 1, 1855 and Margaret Thompson Hannay born 14 September 1856.
David, Elizabeth and Margaret Hannay were all baptised at St. Marys, Islington, on October 8, 1855.
A notice appeared in Melbourne's Argus newspaper that reported Margaret Annie Hannay had died in London on December 29, 1865. Published on March 19, 1866, the death notice read:
"DEATH: On 29th December, 1865, at Tavistock, London, Margaret Annie Thompson, aged 33, wife of James Hannay esq, and eldest daughter of Joseph Thompson Esq, Oriental Bank Corporation, Melbourne."
Joseph and Margaret settled their family in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne. Their children in Melbourne were:
Joseph Drury Thompson born c. 1835
Agnes Thompson born c. 1840-41
John Henning Thompson b c. 1844
Thomas Kenny Thompson b c. 1846
Joseph Drury Thompson was aged about 18 when he arrived in Melbourne, and his younger brothers John and Thomas were 8 and 6 respectively. Agnes was almost 13.
John Henning Thompson, and presumably his brother Thomas,were amongst the first students to enrol in the new Melbourne Grammar School when it opened on April 7, 1858, John's enrolment number on the roll being 79.He had the honour of being Head of the School in 1859 and 1860.
During his time at Melbourne Grammar, John Henning Thompson played in the first documented game of Australian Rules Football. An online article on the history of AFL football stated the following:
"Melbourne Grammar played football against both St. Kilda Grammar and a number of men from St. Kilda in June and July 1858. Melbourne Grammar won the first and the second ended in fisticuffs. Dr. Bromby would not make the same mistake again: the school’s next opponent was not so easy or so rough. Over three Saturdays in August and September 1858 the lads from Grammar and Scotch College exhausted themselves playing a continuous game of football,probably under modified English Rugby School rules, among the gum trees north of the Melbourne
Cricket Ground. The spring sun threatened to make this winter game unpalatable, and the result was declared a draw - one goal each.
It was not, as is so often asserted, Australian Rules football that was being played; those Rules originated in May 1859.John Henning Thompson who was at MGS in 1858 wrote later: "Our football games had no rules at all. Tripping, elbowing, tackling, or anything else, was practised with impunity. I remember one tough little fellow who used to jump on the backs of taller boys and bring them down, and there were some who had more interest in counting the number of fellows they could trip than in trying to get the ball. There was no limit to the number of players, or to the duration of the game, and masters used to play together with the boys".
The two schools played again in 1859, then six times in the 1860s and 2 matches a year between 1870 and 1874. In 1864 they combined to play the Melbourne Football Club."
Upon completion of his schooling, John H. Thompson continued his studying at Melbourne University in 1861. In his first year he was first of the First Class and exhibitioner in Classics, and in 1862 he achieved the same with the addition of exhibitioner in History and Law as well as the Classics.In 1863 John was the first of the First Class and exhibitioner in Law. In 1864 he won the scholarship in History and Political Ecomony, and in 1865 he won the scholarship in Classics, and the Shakespeare Scholarship.
John Henning Thompson was on the staff of the Melbourne Grammar School from 1864 to 1875. During his period at Melbourne Grammar, John Thompson helped to shape the mind of young Alfred Deakin, who later became Australia's third Prime Minister. Walter Murdoch wrote a biography on the life of Alfred Deakin, and reported that in his later years Deakin wrote "To my admiration of him (Thompson) as a man I owe my first real endeavour to face my tasks".
Two online book exerpts, one written by Marjorie R. Theobald and the other by Alison L. Prentice & Marjorie R. Theobald, stated that Alfred Deakin and his sister Catherine attended a private girls' school in Kyneton which was run by the Thompson sisters, Louisa and Edith. The authors wrote that the sisters were the siblings of John Henning Thompson, but I can find absolutely no evidence of this being true...in fact a day's research has proved this to be definitely incorrect.
The death certificates of both of John Henning Thompson's parents record that their children were Margaret Annie,Joseph Drury, Agnes, John Henning and Thomas Kenny, with Catherine, John and Isabelle dying before their parent's deaths in the 1880s.
Only Joseph, Agnes, John and Thomas sailed with parents Joseph and Margaret on the ship 'Madagascar' in 1853...there is no association with sisters named Louisa or Edith anywhere. Following are some exerpts from the articles mentioning the Thompson sisters and their private school:
" ...in her autobiographical note, published in 'Records of the Pioneer Women' towards the end of her life, Catherine Deakin herself records that she was for ten years a pupil at a school run by the Misses Thompson. She attended the school initially in the central Victorian town of Kyneton, and later when it moved to the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra in 1863. The Thompsons and their school appear briefly in J.A. Nauze's biography of Alfred Deakin, although the references are scattered and the reader needs to know about the sisters beforehand to make the connections.
La Nauze is intrigued by the fact that the future Prime Minister also attended their Kyneton school as a small boarder in the care of his sister, surely the foundation of the lifelong bond between them, although he gives no explanation for this remarkable family decision.
La Nauze provides evidence that the deakins held the Thompson sisters in high esteem, although he rarely mentions them by name.
We are told that the Deakins moved from Fitzroy to South Yarra in 1863 to be near Catherine's school rather than be near Alfred's school, Melbourne Grammar. He mentions that Catherine had "a good grounding at her school...and in music which was her forte."
La Nauze gives more attention to John Henning Thompson, a head prefect and young teacher at Melbourne Grammar, who was hero-worshipped by the young Alfred Deakin.
If he knew, La Nauze does not make explicit that John Henning Thompson and the proprietors of the South Yarra Ladies College were brother and sisters, though this proved a vital link in the search for the Misses Thompson.
There is a family tradition that Catherine Deakin was in love with John Thompson and that Alfred opposed the marriage, an intervention into his sister's life which preyed upon his mind in his last years.
Who then were the Misses Thompson and what is it possible to add to this fragile Deakin connection? Even by the standards of women's history the search is hard going.
Through their relationship to John Henning Thompson it can be established that they were the daughters of John Thompson, a London banker, and his wife Margaret (nee Henning), and that the family arrived in Victoria in 1856."
John Henning Thompson's father was JOSEPH, not John, and the family came to Melbourne in 1853 NOT 1856. Official sources also state that the four sisters of John Henning Thompson were Margaret Annie,Catherine, Agnes and Isabelle, with Margaret not emigrating to Australia as she married in England in 1853, and Catherine and Isabella most likley dying at a young age as there is no record of them having come to Australia with their parents. There is certainly no record of Joseph and Margaret Thompson ever having daughters named Louisa and Edith.The only Louisa Thompson associated with the family was John Henning Thompson's wife, Louisa Elizabeth Grattan, whom he married in 1875.
EUREKA!!!! Mystery solved, thanks to a will found on the brilliant Public Records of Victoria website. I had already checked the will of Joseph Thompson, but the only child he made mention of was his son John Henning Thompson, who was his sole executor and beneficiary.
There are dozens of Thompson/Thomson wills, as you can imagine, but for some reason the will of a Caroline Thompson, spinster of Brighton, who died in 1892, caught my interest. I had already trawled the National Library newspapers site for information on Louisa and Edith Thompson, finding nothing on Edith and a single death notice for a Louisa Thompson:
"DEATH: THOMPSON- On the 25th inst., at South Lodge, Were Street, Brighton, after long affliction, Louisa, daughter of the late Charles Thompson Esq of Hornchurch, Essex, England. Deeply and deservedly lamented.
FUNERAL: The funeral of the late Miss Louisa Thompson will leave her late residence, South Lodge, Were Street, Brighton Beach, for the Brighton Cemetery, this day (Monday, 30th inst.) at 2 o'clock." -Argus, January 30, 1888.
As the will of Caroline Thompson downloaded, I was delighted to see that her address had also been South Lodge, Were Street, Brighton, the same as the Louisa Thompson who had died four years earlier in 1888.
Caroline had made her last will and testament on April 21, 1892, and she died in her home at South Lodge on August 24, 1892.She made reference to her brother, Darius Charles Thompson of Squirrel's Heath,near Romford, Essex, England,and then made two bequests which sealed the case that this was one of the two elusive Misses Thompson...
"I give and bequeath to Miss C. Deakin my Chambers Encyclopedia(ten volumes). To Alfred Deakin Esq my large atlas."
Bingo!!! Caroline and Louisa Thompson were the daughters of Charles Thompson Esquire and Anne Stubbing, born at Hornchurch in Essex, in c. 1814 and c. 1821 respectively. Their siblings included:
Marianne born Hornchurch c. 1812
Darius (who was a dentist)b Hornchurch c. 1817
Harriet Susannah born Hornchurch c. 1803
Henry born Horchurch c. 1805
William George born Hornchurch c. 1809
The 1851 census shows three of the Thompson sisters living in Brook Street, St. George Hanover Square...
Caroline Thompson/ head/unmarried/35/ born Hornchurch, Essex.
Marianne Thompson/ sister/unmarried/39/born Hornchurch Essex
Louisa Thompson/ sister/24/ born Hornchurch
Eldest sister Harriett Thompson, aged 47, was visiting a maternal relative, Susannah Stubbing, who lived in Howard Place, Bethnal Green.Susannah was noted as being a 'fund holder', and Harriet an 'annuitant'.
Brother Henry Thompson was a master miller employing 4 men and living in Dagenham, Essex. His brother William George Thompson was also a miller, and still living at Hornchurch with his widowed father, 73 year old Charles, who was a 'landed proprietor'. Darius Thompson and his wife Ellen were living in St. Marylebone, London,aged 34 and 28, and Darius was a dentist.
In August of 1853, the ship 'Lady Flora' sailed into Melbourne, carrying on board Caroline Thompson, 34; Louisa 30; Harriet 38 and William 35. Their sister Marianne(also known as Mary Ann) had married in England and came out on the Lady Flora as 'Mary Ann Noble', aged 31, with her 32 year old husband Thomas Noble.I can't find the means by which brother Henry Thompson arrived in Melbourne, but he was still in Essex for the census returns of 1861 and 1871, so he came out much later than his siblings.
The ages given in the shipping records were totally incorrect-for example, Harriet, the eldest sister, was born c. 1812 and was 47 in the 1851 census...there was no way in the world that she could have been 38 when she boarded the ship 'Lady Flora'!
By 1857, the "Misses Thompson"- Caroline and Louisa- were advertising their private girl's school in the 'Kyneton Observer', and advising that their fees were 45 guineas per year. They had set up their school in a beautiful bluestone home called 'Lauriston House' in Piper Street, Kyneton, and remained there until 1863 when they relocated to South Yarra. From January 1863, the Melbourne Argus carried many advertisements for "Ladies College, South Yarra":
"Ladies' College South Yarra, opposite entrance to Botanical gardens. Principals the Misses Thompson, late of Kyneton. Classes resume January 20th inst.Prospectus on application."- Argus, January 15, 1863.
"Ladies' College South Yarra, near the Punt.(Late residence of Col. Anderson, Jun). Principals the Misses Thompson late of Kyneton." June 19, 1863
Of the Thompson siblings who emigrated from Hornchurch, Caroline, Louisa, Harriet and William never married.Marianne had married Thomas Noble in England, but it appears that there were no surviving children born of the marriage.
Henry Thompson married in Essex before he left for Australia. The 1861 census return for England has the following entry for Henry:
Mill House, Dagenham, Essex.
Henry Thompson/head/married/55/ miller and farmer of 53 acres employing 3 labourers and 1 boy./ born Horchurch, Essex
Ann Eliza/ wife/44/ born Whitechapel, Middlesex
Robina/ daughter/5/ born Dagenham, Essex.
Also living with the family were three children of Ann Thompson's first marriage:
Edward Duncan/ son-in-law/19/ clerk to tea agent/born Middlesex
Jessie Duncan/ daughter-in-law/ 17/ b Middlesex
Louisa Duncan/ daughter-in-law/ 15/ b Middlesex
In 1871, Henry and his wife Ann were still at Dagenham, with Henry still a miller and farmer.Their daughter Robina Thompson was visiting with her aunt and uncle,Henry and Elizabeth Carter,of Stoke Newington, London.
By the 1881 census, Robina Thompson had married Edward Humphreys. His occupation was "income derived from dividends and interest", and he was 27 to his wife's 25.They were living in Romford, Essex, and had two children-Edward Charles aged 4 and Jessie aged 1.
Robina's parents, Henry and Ann, were still in Dagenham, Essex. Henry was 75, and his occupation was given as "Land estate agent- farmer of 30 acres employing 4 men."
In that period of time, the term 'son-in'law' or 'daughter-in-law' was often used to denote a stepchild that came to the family via the marriage to a widow or widower.
I have just located the arrival of Henry Thompson and his daughter Robina and her family...they arrived on the ship 'Iberia' in 1883. There was a mistake in the Ancestry transcription of Henry Thompson's entry...it stated that he was born c. 1787 and was 97 years old!! The Humphreys family consisted of 28 year old Robina, her 30 year old husband Edward; 6 year old Edward, 3 year old Jessie and 1 year old Henry.
Henry Thompson died in the same street- and perhaps house-that his teacher sisters lived in at the time of their later deaths- Were Street, Brighton. He made his will on July 20, 1885, and died on October 5, 1885, leaving property valued at 2,255 pounds.His executors were his daughter Robina Humphreys and her husband Edward, of Railway Avenue, Brighton. The document was witnessed by two of Henry's sisters, Caroline Thompson and Marianne Noble, both of Were Street, Brighton.
Henry had been predeceased by his eldest sister, Harriett Susannah Thompson, who had died in 1880 aged 77.She made her will on November 27, 1854, making her brother William George Thompson sole executor. Harriett was stated as being from "Horn Church, Essex, England, and then of Emerald Hill South Melbourne, and lately of Brighton, Victoria".
She left quite a considerable estate to her brother William, neglecting to mention any other of her siblings at all.Her real estate assets included a brick 4 roomed house containing a shop in Clarendon Street; land on the corner of Clarendon and Coventry Streets on which was built the Royal Hotel, which she leased for the sum of 216 pounds a year to a Mr.Read; another weatherboard cottage in Coventry Street; and moiety in a freehold brick house standing on 2 acres of land in St. Andrews, Brighton, in which Harriett had lived with her brother William.
The total worth of her estate was 3,872 pounds.
Harriett's death notice read:
"THOMPSON- On the 28th ult. at Upper Mount Macedon, Harriett Susannah Thompson of St. Andrews Street, Brighton, eldest daughter of the late Charles Thompson Esq' Hornchurch, essex, England. Home papers please copy."- Argus, Jan 1, 1881.
William George Thompson was the next of the Thompson siblings to die. He had made a will on December 31, 1880, making his executor his sister, Marianne Noble, widow, of Brighton.William passed away on March 17, 1882, and left his entire estate, worth 5,547 pounds, to Marianne. His death notice read:
" THOMPSON- On the 17th inst., at St. Andrews Street, Middle Brighton, William George, son of the late Chas. Thompson Esq, of Hornchurch, Essex, England. English papers please copy."- Argus, Saturday, March 18, 1882.
Louisa Thompson, one of the school principals, died on January 25, 1888, aged 67.She was followed by her two remaining sisters, Marianne and Caroline, in 1891 and 1892 respectively.
Marianne Noble's husband, Thomas Noble, an auctioneer,died in 1880:
"DEATH-NOBLE. On the 2nd inst. Mr Thos Noble, late of Emerald Hill and Brighton Beach, aged 60 years. Sydney papers please copy." -Argus, July 8, 1880.
Thus ends my little sidetrack into the history of yet another totally unrelated family whom I never-the-less found both fascinating and an important part of early Australian history.
Returning to the family of John Henning Thompson (who we now know was NOT related to the Misses Thompson who were principals of Ladies College at South Yarra)...
When I left John Henning Thompson he was still a Master at Melbourne Grammar School. In 1875 he resigned from Melbourne Grammar to purchase and establish the boys-only school Kew High School. From J.H Thompson's obituary as published in teh Argus:-
" Mr Thompson resigned from the Melbourne Grammar School and established the Kew High School on the site now occupied by Trinity Grammar School.He met with remarkable success and for many years his school flourished. The success of Kew High School, like other private schools, depended almost entirely on the personality of its headmaster. Gradually as Mr Thompson increased in years, he found himself confronted by the growth in interest in the public schools with their strong old boys societies. In 1909 he retired, and his school became merged with Trinity Grammar School.
Perhaps Mr. Thompson's greatest pride was that he was one of the founders of the Head of the River Boat races and of the combined sports which are now the leading sporting fixtures of the public schools year in Victoria.
Mr Thompson was president of the Old Melbournians in 1928, and for many years was president of the Classical Association. In 1934 his old pupils presented a memorial bust, the work of Mr. Paul Montford, to the National Museum, and it was unveiled in the Stawell Gallery on October 17, 1934. Mr Thompson is survived by two daughters, Misses Isabella grattan Thompson and May grattan Thompson, and one son, Mr. John Grattan Thompson.
The funeral, which will be private, will take place from his home, leaving at 11 a.m today for the Fawkner Cemetery." -Argus, Friday, June 5, 1936.
The following exerpt was taken from a very interesting article published online:
From " Martin Howy Irving: Professor, Headmaster, Public Servant"
Copyright © John Stanley Martin
THE UNIVERSITYOF MELBOURNE The History of the University Unit http://www.history.unimelb.edu.au/huu/
"Edward Ingle B.A., having come over from Hobart to begin a first-class boys’ school, opened his Kew High School in a private house in Cotham Road in February 1872. As the number of enrolments increased rapidly, he soon moved his academy to Charles Street. Ingle tragically died of typhus in 1875 and his school was bought by J. Henning Thompson M.A., one of Irving’s very bright students at the University of Melbourne from 1861 to 1865 and,until his move to Kew, was the second master at Melbourne Grammar School between 1864 and 1869. Even before finishing his degree,
Thompson started teaching Classics at Melbourne Grammar School.
Under Thompson’s highly competent control, the Kew High School prospered and very soon became a rival to the neighbouring Hawthorn Grammar School. In 1908 Thompson retired and the buildings were leased by Trinity Grammar School."
And from http://www.sirgeoffreysyme.com.au/contents/kewhigh.html bCopyright © 2005 Dr Veronica Condon. All rights reserved.
"Kew High School was founded in 1872. It began in a house on the corner of Mary Street and Cotham Road, Kew, but within a few months it was moved to 7 Charles Street, Kew, just off Wellington Street. The first Headmaster, Ernest Ingles, B. A., died three years later, in 1875, when he was only thirty-two and John Henning Thompson, M. A., succeeded him.
The school was really formed by Henning Thompson. He was English, born in London, and his family came to Melbourne in 1853, when John was ten years old. His father was a cashier at the Oriental Bank. Until their house was built the family had to live in a tent on a block of land their father had bought in Arthur Street, South Yarra. John began his schooling at the co-educational Presbyterian school in Punt Road, South Yarra, but he longed to be the first pupil at Melbourne Grammar - because his father had promised he could go there. Though he was not the first pupil at Melbourne Grammar, he was amongst the first. John Henning Thompson was very successful at the school. He was good at a work and sport and he matriculated, did an Arts degree at Melbourne University, majoring in Classics, and returned to Melbourne Grammar as a master. He had been Second Master at Melbourne Grammar for only a few months when he accepted the post of Headmaster of Kew High School. He was then thirty-two years old, handsome, "with the form of an Apollo.” He was an idealistic man, described by one of the Old Boys of Kew High School as a "God-fearing English gentleman who understood boys ....... he despised anything mean, wicked or untrue”. The school motto, Instanter Operare, and the School song "The Reaper" probably give some idea of the educational aims of Kew High School. The Reverend G. W. Torrance wrote the music, but Henning Thompson wrote the words of the song.
"When the Reapers sally forth at dawn,
With tears of joy the dewy morn,
Welcomes the toiler,
Bearing sickle for the golden grain,
winds on upland, hill and glen,
With laugh and rapture ringing."
There is a some what repetitive chorus, another verse, and then the final verse, which is to be sung softly and slowly, presumably with great seriousness,
"And life is but a Reaper's day.
Chequered with rainbow glory,
Clouds, storms and tears. So pass away
Youth and old age hoary.
The sickle firmly grasp we then,
Reap for God's garner, Reap - like men,
And nobly end life's story."
John Henning Thompson had married Louisa Elizabeth Grattan in 1875, the same year that he started as Principal at Kew High School. The notice in the Argus of April 14, 1875, read:
"MARRIAGE. THOMPSON-GRATTAN. On the 10th inst. at Christ Church, South Yarra, by the Reverend Dr. Bromby, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Guinness, John Henning, third son of Joseph Thompson Esq, Arthur Street, South Yarra, to Louisa Elizabeth, third daughter of the late Thomas Grattan Esq, Rathvilla, Kings County, Ireland."
Out of sheer curiosity, I had a quick scout around the Grattan family history, and again found a fascinating family.Originating in Ireland,the Grattans were a family of clergymen,politicins, authors, doctors and 'gentlemen'.
Peter Thompson's great-grandmother was Louisa Elizabeth Grattan, daughter of Thomas Grattan and Isabella Fisher. Louisa was born c. 1839, Kings County, Ireland, and had an elder sister, Isabella, b. c. 1837, and a younger brother Thomas Arthur who was born in 1851 Philipstown, Kings Co, Ireland (Daingean, Co.Offaly, IRL) .
Louisa's father, Thomas Grattan Snr, died in 1857 at Carbury, Westmeath, Ireland, and the following year, his widow, Isabella Fisher Grattan, and her three children emigrated to Melbourne on the ship 'White Star', arriving on November 2, 1858. Isabella was noted as being 42 years of age, and her children Isabella, Louise and Thomas were aged 21, 19 and 14 respectively(although these ages are a little bit 'off', as usual with shipping records!)
Going back to the Irish Grattans for a moment...this Grattan family descended from the Reverend Patrick Grattan,DD,(1630-1707) of Trinity College, Dublin, Rector of Cappaghin, Derry, and his wife Grissell Brereton who had married in 1669.
This couple had seven sons,three of whom were Reverends, one of whom was a Reverend and schoolmaster, one who was a Doctor and one who was Mayor of Dublin:
* Henry Grattan: eldest son b Garrycross, County Cavan.Married Bridget Flemyng, and died in 1726. Henry's grandson,by his son James (who was Recorder of, and M.P for, Dublin) and wife Mary Marlay, was the famous Irish statesmen Henry Grattan(1746-1820, buried Westminster Abbey)
* James Grattan,MD: born c. 1673. Married Elizabeth Tyrell. From this couple comes the line of Peter Thompson of Sydney, film critic and journalist. Their son, Dr. John Grattan, married Hannah Colley(who was a relation of the Duke of Wellington). Their children were William(1744-1798); Dr. Thomas Grattan(1749-1841); John Grattan(1752-1752); Arthur (1753-1757) Colley Grattan(c. 1754-c. 1815);Richard (1754-1754);and Arthur Grattan (1759-1801).
Thomas Colley Grattan(1791–1864), famous journalist and novelist, was born in Dublin, a younger son of the above Colley Grattan, a Dublin solicitor, later coroner of Kildare, and his wife, Elizabeth Warren. His father was a second cousin both of the Irish parliamentary leader Henry Grattan and, through his mother, Hannah Colley, of Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington.
Youngest son, Arthur Grattan, married Rosanna Odlum in 1791. Rose was the daughter of Henry Odlum and Elizabeth Paine. Their children were Roseanna; James; Elizabeth (1792-1830); Hannah (1794-1801; John (1795-1871) and Thomas (b 1793, Monasterois, Ireland). It was this last Thomas who married Isabella Fisher and became the father of Louisa Elizabeth Grattan, wife of John Henning Thompson.
* William Grattan: born c. 1692.Clergyman. Married Sophia Gore. Died in 1719 aged 47.Rector of Tullycleagh.Sophia was the youngest daughter of Sir William Gore and his wife Hannah Hamilton.
*Sir Richard Grattan: Merchant. Appointed Lord Mayor of Dublin and knighted.
*John Grattan: Clergyman. Born c. 1680. Died April 21, 1754, aged 74. Prebendary of Clanmethan.
*Robert Grattan: born c. 1675.Clergyman. Died 1746 aged 71.Prebendary of St. Andrews.
*Charles Grattan: 7th son. Clergyman and Master of the Free School at Enniskillan.
The seven Grattan brothers have many mentions in various books. "A history of the city of Dublin, Volume 1" By Sir John Thomas Gilbert, states:
"Anthony Gratan, or MacGratan,appointed church warden of St. Johns in 1641, and apparently the predeessor of Dr. Patrick Grattan,whose grandson James Grattan was also a resident in this street,resided in Fishamble Street,1643.
Dr. Patrick Grattan, admitted a Senior Fellow of the University of Dublin in 1660, is described as a venerable and well-beloved clergyman, the father of seven sons, to all of whom he gave a liberal education,and, at the same time, says Dr. Delany, "as I have often heard the old Bishop of Clogher declare,kept hospitality beyond both the lords who lived on either side of him, though both reputed hospitable.One of these brothers was an eminent physician, another an eminent merchant, who died Lord mayot of the city of Dublin: the youngest was a first a Fellow of the College of Dublin, and after master of the great Free School at Enniskillen. The eldest was a Justice of the Peace,who lived reputably upon his patrimony in the country. The three other brothers were clergymen of good characters, and competently provided for in the Church.Two of them Swift found in his cathedral; nothing was more natural than that he should cultivate an acquaintance with them.
...The Grattans had a little house, and their cousin Jackson another, near the city, where they cultivated good humour and cheerfulness, with their trees, and fruits, and sallets;(for they were all well skilled in gardening and planting, and kept hospitality after the example of their fathers.
The opinion which Swift had of the Grattans will be best judged of by the following little memoir:- When the Lord Carteret came to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, Swift asked him "Pray my Lord, have you the honour to be acquainted with the Grattans? Upon my Lord's answering that he had not that honour; Then, Pray my Lord, take care to obtain it; it is of great consequence;the Grattans, my Lord, can raise ten thousand men."
The hospitality is chronicled in one of Dr. Sheridan's poems, commencing:
"My time, O ye Grattans, was happily spent,
When Bacchus went with me, wherever I went
For then I did nothing but sing, laugh and jest,
Was ever a toper so merrily blest!"
James Grattan, who continued to reside in Fishamble Street till 1757, was appointed Kings Counsel in 1747; and his son, the famous Henry Grattan, was baptised in St. Johns Church on the 3rd of July, 1746."
This friendship between the Grattan sons and famous Irishman Dean Jonathan Swift I find fascinating. Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Irish satirist, essayist,poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin. Most people of my generation know him for his most famous work, "Gulliver's Travels".
Whilst being on intimate terms with all of the seven Grattan brothers, Swift was apparently closest with James, a medical doctor; John, a clergyman; Charles, whom Swift called 'The Critic', master of the school at Enniskillan, and Richard, who was knighted, and Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1735.
Robert and John Grattan were executors of Swift's will. The will in question is quite famous for its humour, and stated in part:
" I bequeath to the Rev Robert Grattan, Prebendary of St. Audeon's, my gold bottle-screw, which he gave me, and my strong box, on condition of his giving the sole use of the said box to his brother, Dr. James Grattan, during the life of the said Doctor, whom hath more occasion for it, and the second-best beaver hat I shall die possessed of", and
" I bequeath to Mr John Grattan,Prebendary of Clonmethan, my silver box in which the freedom of the city of Cork was presented to me,in which I desire the said John to keep the tobacco he usually cheweth, called pigtail."
Isabella Fisher Grattan, the widow of Thomas Grattan, made a monumentous decision when she emigrated to Australia with her two daughters and son the year following her husband's death.She live for 23 years in her new country, witnessing the marriages of her daughters Louisa and Isabella Victoria to brothers John Henning Thompson and Thomas Kenny Thompson in 1875 and 1881 respectively. In fact, she only just made the marriage of her elder daughter Isabella...Isabella Victoria Grattan married Thomas Kenny Thompson on February 5, 1881, and her mother Isabella Grattan died on February 13, 1881.
"DEATH: Grattan. On the 13th inst., at Glasgow Cottage, Chapel Street, South Yarra, Isabella, widow of Thomas Grattan, late of Rathvilla, Kings County, Ireland, 63 years." -Argus, February 16, 1881.
Only son Thomas Arthur Grattan had an interesting life.He found a job working in Customs House in Melbourne and then joined the Militia to come to NZ and fight in land wars 1863 under Col.Pitt in the 1st Waikatos. He arrived Auckland on the "Star of India" on the 12th of September, 1863.(In a coincidence, my own g-g-g grandfather, Anthony Edward Corvan, also joined the 1st Waikato and sailed to New Zealand on the same ship as Thomas Grattan) He served for 3 1/2 years after which he joined Col. McDonald Native Company (Te Ranga with Arawas), serving in East Coast and other places in the chase for Te Kooti.
Thomas Grattan tried his luck on the Thames goldfields with no success, and then moved on to Tirau gum digging. From there he travelled to Auckland, then Hamilton where he was Sergeant in the Armed Constabulary, in charge of KihiKihi Constabulary.
He married Ellen GORTON ( b 26 Nov 1857, Otahuhu NZ)on 13 Apr 1880. They had a large family of children:
Isabella GRATTAN b 18 Sep 1880 Waihau, NZ, d 1926 at Hamilton East. Married Alfred Montgomery ST GEORGE.
Ellen GRATTAN b 2 Dec 1882, Waihau, NZ, married Albert George YARDLEY.
Louisa GRATTAN b 6 Apr 1885 at Te Aroha, Married William Burns SMITH.
Jane GRATTAN b 28 Mar 1887 at Te Aroha. Married Patrick Hogan. 6 children.
Henry Parnell GRATTAN b 17 Jul 1889,in Te Aroha.
Thomas Arthur GRATTAN b 22 Sep 1891 at Te Aroha.
John GRATTAN b 1894 at Te Aroha.
Maud GRATTAN b 1896 at Te Aroha. Died 6 Mar 1993 at Te Aroha. Married James DOWLING, 7 children.
Edward James GRATTAN b 3 Dec 1899 at Reidston, NZ, died 14 Nov 1967 at Te Aroha. Married Ruby ORR, 3 children.
So much for me doing a brief rundown on the Grattan family that was associated with John Grattan Thompson's family...they are such a fascinating lot that I could have written a book on them!