Friday, February 26, 2010

Back to the siblings of Lawrence Bourke...

After a million sidetracks on the children of Lawrence Bourke and his wife Hannah Mulcahy, I can now return to the rest of his siblings - the other issue of John Bourke and Margaret Meaney of Tipperary.

I know nothing of those children who remained in Ireland, either through choice or by death, so I will deal with Lawrence's two brothers and three sisters who emigrated with him to Melbourne.

John and Patrick Bourke were younger brothers of can be seen above on the passenger list for the Duchess of Northumberland, John's age was given as 24 and Patrick's as 20.
Both brothers appear to have died prior to their father's death in 1853, as neither appeared in his will.
Patrick Bourke married Catherine Heffernan in 1846 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Melbourne.Like his brothers, Patrick farmed at Campbellfield and then the River Plenty near Melbourne.I have located three sons born to Patrick and Catherine...John Bourke born 1847, Campbellfield; William Bourke born 1849, Kilmore, and Cornelius Bourke, born 1852, River Plenty.
There is an entry in the baptisms register of St. Patricks, Kilmore, for William Bourke:
"William, son of Patrick Bourke and Catherine Heffrin. No birth date given. Baptised 19 November, 1849. Sponsors: Michael Heffrin and Mary Bourke."

On March 14, 1853, the following notices appeared in the Argus newspaper:

" DEATH: At his late residence on the Plenty, Mr. Patrick Bourke, formerly of Campbell Field, aged 29 years."
"The friends of the late Mr. Patrick Bourke are informed that the funeral will take place this morning (Monday) to leave his residence on the Plenty at eight o'clock and the Pilgrim Inn at 11 a.m. S.Crook, Undertaker."

(Coincidentally, there was another marriage of a Patrick Bourke to a Catherine Heffernan in 1863 0.

I have yet to search for what happened to Patrick's widow Catherine, or his children.

Of John Bourke, the other brother of Lawrence and Patrick,very little is known beyond the fact that he emigrated with them in 1841, and died prior to 1853.The most likely candidate for his death is the John Bourke who died in January of 1853. The notice in the Argus simply read:
"At the Harvest Home, Queen Street, yesterday morning, Mr. John Bourke, of Tipperary, Ireland, aged 28 years." - Argus, January 25, 1853.
This age differs from the age recorded in the burial entry:
"John Bourke, abode Melbourne, buried January 25, aged 33 years."

The Harvest Home was a Public House owned by William Cleary in Queen Street, Melbourne.

Now to the sisters of Lawrence Bourke...Ellen, Bridget and Mary.Bridget and Mary sailed on the Duchess of Northumberland with their brothers. Bridget was an 18 year old dairymaid from Tipperary who could read but not write, and her 15 year old house servant sister Mary could do neither.
I have not found when Ellen their elder sister emigrated. According to her death certificate, she also arrived in Victoria in c. 1841. There was an Ellen Bourke on board the Duchess of Northumberland who was roughly around the same age, but she was part of a family consisting of a husband, John Bourke,30, and a son Edmund, 7. I have a feeling that this may have been her father, John Bourke, and his second wife, Ellen, with his age either recorded incorrectly or deliberately given as much younger than he was so he could qualify for the assisted passengers scheme.
It is interesting (and frustrating!) to note that there are different passenger lists for the same ships, and that they offer conflicting information re. ages.For example, the actual image of John, Ellen and Edmund Bourke's entry definitely states that they are aged 30,20 and 7.
Another list for the same people, same ship, called the "Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923" on Ancestry, states their ages as Ellen 26; Edmond 7 and two Johns who are either 73 or 38.There is no mention of the 73 year old John on the D.O.N passenger list as used by the PROV.

Whatever the case, in 1841, Ellen Bourke married fellow Irish emigrant John Butler at St. Francis Catholic Church, Melbourne.There was a John Butler from Tipperary who had travelled with the Bourkes on board the Duchess of Northumberland, aged 22, but he was recorded as being a Protestant...would a Catholic-Protestant marriage have been considered let alone carried out in 1841?

Part of the notes given to me by an old Burramine farmer, and added to by an unknown descendant of this line, reads as follows:
" John Butler built the Red Lion Hotel at Kilmore. They allowed one of the rooms of the hotel to be used by Masons, and tradition has it that a priest foretold that grass would grow on the site of the hotel, which today has come to pass. Mrs Butler dropped dead at the foot of the stairs in the Red Lion Hotel, Kilmore."

I have no idea how much- if any- of this is true, but the latter may very well be as Ellen Bourke Butler died at the young age of 46 in 1864, and a coroner's jury concluded that the cause of death was "disease of the heart". The fact that there was a coroner's report means that her death was sudden and unexpected...and perhaps took place at the bottom of the stairs at the Red Lion!

There is some uncertainty about how many children were born to Ellen Bourke and John Butler. In the Victorian birth and baptism index I can find record of:
John Butler born 1842, Melbourne
Margaret Butler born 1843, Melbourne
Thomas Butler born 1846, Merri Creek
Catherine"Kate" Butler born 1847, Kilmore.
Michael Butler born 1849, Kilmore.

There was a baptism entry for Michael Butler in the registers of St. Patricks, Kilmore:
"Michael, son of John Butler and Ellen Bourke. Born 16 October, 1848; baptised April 30, 1849. Sponsors:James Garrety and Margaret Cantwell.

According to their mother Ellen's death certificate, there was another daughter, Ellen Butler, born between Kate and Michael, and a son Lawrence Butler born c. 1854.This makes seven children who were named on Ellen Bourke Butler's death certificate, yet on the birth certificate of the only child I could find who was registered after the official 1853 compulsory registration date, "Unnamed Butler", the statement was made that other issue was "4 boys 3 girls living; deceased 3 children."

First born child John died prior to his mother's death in 1864.

Ellen's husband, former blacksmith, farmer and Red Lion publican John Butler, died less than a year after his wife. He wrote a will on December 30, 1864, and passed away on August 16, 1865.He nominated as executors and guardians of his children his brother-in-law, Lawrence Bourke, and another Kilmore publican, Philip Corboy.
At the time of John Butler's death, his surviving children would have been aged 22(Margaret);21 (Thomas); 19 (Kate);17 (Ellen); 15 (Michael) and 11 (Lawrence).
I have just downloaded John Butler's death certificate, and the informant was his brother-in-law, Lawrence Bourke. Lawrence wasn't overly-sure of the ages of his Butler nephews and nieces...he had Thomas the eldest at 21; Margaret 19; Kate 17; Michael 15; Ellen 14 and Lawrence 11.
There was a double bonus with the purchase of John's death certificate, as with it came the death certificate of his father, also John Butler, who died in Kilmore the month after his own son. I will post both certificates, as well as Ellen Bourke Butler's death certificate, in the blog entry following this one.

I have three very well-written books on the history of the Kilmore district, and the Butler family warrants mention in all three. From my favourite publication "Kilmore-Those That Came Before" by Heather Knight, Kilmore Historical Society, 2007:
" Sydney Street, Kilmore- by Athmos, Kilmore Free Press, 27 August, 1931:
I have now come to the Red Lion Hotel with the king of the forest standing boldly, aggressive, defiant and majestic on the centre of the parapet.Long years he has looked down upon the life of Sydney Street...
...Full well this hotel was known in the past for here Mr John Butler was the landlord, and during the elections it was from the balcony of this hotels candidates used to address the electors in search of parliamentary honors, and if some few who mounted the rostrum had to make a hurried exit-and leave their tall hats-what mattered it for were these not the stirring times of that long ago when around the booths pitched battles were fought and friend met friend in conflict?
...The family of Butlers were well known far and wide, and it was Miss Butler, a daughter, who became a religious and gave to Victoria the distinction of supplying the first native born nun for Victoria. His eldest son was a well known Government official. The yard was spacious, and a fruit garden at the rear was much appreciated by patrons of the hotel." pages 128, 129 'Kilmore Those That Came Before'.
There was also a footnote at the bottom of page 129 that read "In 1857 the Kilmore Examiner mentioned that Miss Butler of Kilmore had become a novice in the Sisters of Mercy Convent, 23 October, 1857."
This daughter of John Butler and Ellen Bourke was eldest daughter Margaret Mary, who had been born in 1843, so she would only have been 13 or 14 when she joined the Convent.Taking the name of Xavier, Margaret (or Sister Xavier) went to Wellington, New Zealand, in 1873.She remained there for the rest of her life, attaining the status of Reverend Mother at St. Mary's Convent, Wellington.

The Kilmore Free Press of July 9, 1908, stated: " Mother Mary Sherlock, who died at the Nicholson Street Convent of Mercy last week was connected with that institution since 1857. One of the first pupils of the establishment was a Kilmore girl, Miss Maggie Butler, daughter of the late Mr. John Butler, who was then proprietor of the Red Lion Hotel. Miss Butler joined the order and I believe later became Reverend Mother in a New Zealand Convent."

Daughter Ellen, known as "Nellie", married Charles George Holmes at Kilmore in 1879:
"Holmes-Butler- On the 10th inst., at East St.Kilda, Charles George, of Horsham, to Nellie, youngest daughter of the late John Butler of Kilmore." -Argus, 11 June, 1879.

I have located four children born to Nellie and Charles up to 1886(my Australian Vitals Index cd only goes to the end of the 1880s)...Lillian Gordon born 1881, Horsham; Charles born 1882, Horsham; Gertrude Nellie born 1885; and Gordon John born 1886.

In the old Bourke notes, there is a notation that Kate Butler married Joseph Rodwood, but I can't find evidence of this anywhere. Ah ha....a misprint- I just found Kate's death as Catherine REdwood,died Ryde, Sydney, in 1912, the daughter of Butler, aged 62 years.

The discovery that Kate's married name was REDWOOd not RODWOOD opened an avalanche of information.

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