Framing History- Elizabeth McArthur, Descendant of Devonshire Landed Gentry-3.

Here we continue the story of Elizabeth Veale, born 1766, and a descendant of Devonshire Gentry. She later married John McArthur and emigrated to Australia on the Second Fleet in 1790.

Elizabeth Veale was about 12 years of age when her mother remarried and moved away from Bridgerule.

It is believed that it was at this time, she moved into the household of the Rev John Kingdon. Although John and Jane Kingdon had several sons, they only had one daughter at this time.

The Rev John Kingdon was also from a landed family of Holsworthy. He was born in 1735, the eldest son of  Roger and Judith Kingdon. He began his education at Holsworthy and later is believed to have attended a Grammar School in Exeter, before going to Exeter College, at Oxford University. In later years, he was well known for his great scholarship.

John Kingdon was appointed Vicar of Bridgerule in 1765 but lived at nearby Holsworthy.

On 25 June 1766, the Rev John Kingdon married, Jane Hockin, of Okehampton, Devonshire.

Bridget Kingdon, their eldest child was born at Holsworthy in 1767 and was baptized there on 21 July.  The family moved into the Bridgerule vicarage, known as East Park, soon afterward. All their subsequent children were born there and baptized at St Bridget’s.

Elizabeth Veale had grown up in the village with Bridget Kingdon, and she was welcomed into the household as a suitable companion.

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St Bridget’s Bridgerule, Devon

John Kingdon also believed that girls should be well educated to run the family estates, while their husbands were absent, and so privately tutored his daughter, Bridget, and Elizabeth Veale. Not only to read and write well but also to study literature and sciences. She lived there several years before returning to the Hatherly home.

John Hatherly, Elizabeth Veale’s grandfather is known to have doted on his granddaughter and was preparing her for a ‘good’ marriage. Although Lodgeworthy in Bridgerule, was now in the hands of Edmund Leach, it had prospered and was intended for Elizabeth Veale’s dowry. Life was good on those Devonshire farms as Elizabeth Veale grew into womanhood.

Meanwhile down in Stoke Climsland, Edmund and Grace Leach had also prospered and they had had a daughter, Mary Isabella. She had been born in late 1780 and was baptized at All Saints Parish Church, Stoke Climsland on 14 January 1781.

However, when the American War of Independence ended in 1782, it changed life everywhere including those farming communities in Devon. Depression hit Britain quickly and severely with few markets, failing crops and increasing population by migration and immigration. Over the next five years disaster was to slowly engulf many families in that part of the country.

The result was that Edmund Leach gradually sank into bankruptcy, and had to sell all his property, including Lodgeworthy at Bridgerule, leaving Elizabeth Veale without any means for a dowry.

Elizabeth’s mother, Grace Leach, along with her youngest daughter Mary Isabella, returned to her father, John Hatherly’s home at Bridgerule, on the death of her mother, Grace Hatherly, in 1785. Her husband Edmund Leach remained at Stoke Climsland, where he died a pauper and was buried in All Saints Churchyard on 1 April 1791. His grave is unmarked.

In 1787, Elizabeth Veale was just 21 years of age when she met the dashing John McArthur. He was a tutor at the school where the young Thomas Hockin, a son of the Rev John and Jane Kingdon, was a pupil. He was invited by Thomas’s parents, to visit them at the Bridgerule vicarage. Thomas’s sister, Bridget was a close friend of Elizabeth Veale, and she too was invited to the vicarage to meet the charming young man.

Elizabeth Veale married John McArthur the following year at St Bridget’s, Bridgerule. The McArthurs left the parish soon afterward, and within a short time emigrated to the other side of the world.

Bridgerule Parish

Bridgerule, Devon. St Bridget’s on the hill with Vicarage.

In 1792,  shortly before her father’s death, Grace Leach married on 27 March, John Bond, a friend of her father, who had known Grace all her life.  Her father was ill and wanted someone, who could take care of her after he died. He died at Bridgerule and was buried in St Bridget’s Churchyard on 16 August 1792.

Elizabeth McArthur, when she heard her mother had married him, made a comment that leads us to believe that she thought him not socially acceptable, and her mother had married beneath her. Something Elizabeth’s mother thought Elizabeth had done when she married John McArthur.

Elizabeth, by this time, was in New South Wales far away, and no comfort or help to her mother.

Grace Bond’s youngest daughter Mary Isabella Leach, was only eleven years of age when her mother remarried. John Bond died on 16 July 1824 and Grace Bond died 22 June 1836 aged 89 years.

Mary Isabella Leach married Thomas Hacker on 22 January 1801 at Poundstock (Cornwall) and had a family of seven daughters. She later emigrated with some of her children and their families in 1852, to Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she died in 1858.

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Family Heirloom – The Chain-mail Purse

My mother, the fifth child and fourth daughter of Arthur and Harriet May Baxter was to be named ‘Margaret Alice’ in honour of her two grandmothers. Arthur’s mother had been, ‘Margaret Jane’, born 1858 to Gilbert and Ann Kennedy, and Harriet May’s mother ‘Alice’, was born in 1854 to Robert and Margaretta Sherwood.

 However when my grandmother,Harriet May went to register the birth of her new daughter, at the Murwillumbah Court House, she gave her the name ‘Margaret Nola’.

 Having grown up with the story of how my mother was to be named for her grandmothers, but only received the name of her paternal grandmother, I asked my grandmother, Harriet May, why the change?

 She explained to me that she and Arthur had originally decided to name their fourth daughter after the grandmothers because although by this time Arthur’s mother had eight granddaughters, only one had been given the first name ‘Margaret’ and that granddaughter had died in an accident as an infant. One other had Margaret, as a second name.

 Harriet May’s mother had eleven granddaughters by this time. Only one had been given the name ‘Alice’, but it was used as a second name. The maternal grandmother wanted the ‘new’ grandchild given the name ‘Alice’ as an only name, like herself. However, my grandparents had privately decided to use it as a second name.

 My grandmother called at the Murwillumbah Court house to register her new daughter, shortly after being released from the Newbrae Private Hospital. However, when it came to the actual registration my grandmother used ‘Nola’ as the second name. My grandmother had two nieces, one on each side of the family named ‘Nola’, and she liked the name.

 I asked my grandmother, Harriet May, again, why the change?

Her reply was that she and Arthur had been engaged shortly before her seventeenth birthday, but her mother was set against the marriage and would never give her consent and blessings.

Arthur and Harriet May were married a week after ‘Harriet May’s’ twenty-first birthday.

Although her relationship with her mother was quite cordial in most ways, she could never quite forgive her for withholding consent and blessings for the marriage.

 My mother first met her grandparents in 1928 when she, her mother and baby sister, Joan, travelled by train to Sydney for Harriet May’s parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary at Thirroul, on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Afterwards they went to Picton to visit Arthur’s parents, who had also celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary earlier in the year.

fhp000333 Left: My mother ‘Margaret Nola’ (left) with her Aunt Milly and cousins Phyllis and Heather, in the front garden of her paternal grandparent’s home, at Picton, October 1928

 

It was on this visit that Arthur’s mother,’ Margaret Jane’ gave her namesake granddaughter, ‘Margaret Nola’ a gift, in honour of the name. This was a small Victorian chain-mail purse, ‘to take her pennies to church in’. It was always one of my most mother’s prized possessions, and my sisters and I, when children, were never allowed to use it to carry our pennies to Sunday School and Church.

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My mother didn’t know if her grandmother Margaret, had purchased it as a special gift, or if it had originally been her prized possession as a child. I have not been able to solve this question either.

 By the way, there are thirty grandchildren on my maternal side. Seventeen are female and not one was named ‘Margaret’ or ‘Alice’, which was most unusual for the time.

PS: The ‘sixpences’ in the above photograph were used by my family for many years as the ‘pudding’ money at Christmas. They were kept in a little cigarette tin and wrapped in the calico cloth used to make the ‘boiled’ pudding for Christmas Day.

Oh! The funny stories and laughter those coins evoke each time I look at them.

 

 

Family Heirlooms -The Broach

We have all heard the traditional bridal rhyme, which details what a bride should wear on her wedding day to bring good luck to the marriage –

Something old,

Something new,

Something borrowed,

Something blue.’

For many traditional modern brides the ‘something blue’ usually takes the form of a ‘garter’. It certainly did in my case, and after my marriage I lent it to my sisters and some friends, so it was ‘borrowed’ as well as ‘blue’. However it was always returned, and I still keep it with ‘my’ wedding dress today. (By the way, I made my own wedding dress, and embroidered the Chantilly lace with thousands of seed pearls, which took me nearly a year to complete, and it was only finished a few days before the wedding).

I do not know what the item of ‘blue’ was for my maternal aunts’ or mother’s wedding, but I do know what the ‘old’, ‘new’ and ‘borrowed’ were.

The ‘something new’ for each of the five brides, who wore the family heirloom wedding dress was satin ‘ underwear,’ which had been carefully stitched and embroidered by each bride as part of their trousseau some months before, and had been carefully laid aside for the occasion.

The ‘something borrowed’ for each of the five brides who wore ‘the wedding dress’, was a long, hand- embroidered Brussels net veil, which was caught high on the head with a halo or half circlet of flowers.

When my mother’s eldest sister was married in 1937, she borrowed this veil from her closest and life- long friend, Arlie, who had married the year before. Subsequently each of the brides ‘borrowed’ it for their wedding, but each time it was returned to Arlie.

Now we come to the ‘something old.’ This was a gold ‘broach’, which was worn at the neck of the lace collar on ‘the wedding dress’ for each of the five afore mentioned brides.

‘The broach’ was not only worn by these brides, but the other daughters, and many of the granddaughters and great-granddaughters of Arthur and Harriet May Baxter.

Some of the brides choose to wear it as ‘a broach’, others as ‘a pendant’ and still others as a ‘bouquet ornament’. A true family heirloom.

The broach is a small circle of gold, enclosing a branch of delicate moulded gold leaves and petals. It is reputed to have been owned by a grandmother of Harriet May Baxter, and therefore a great-grandmother of the original 1937 bride and her younger sisters.

Although the details are sketchy, it is believed to have been fashioned from small gold nuggets found on the Lambing Flats (Young) goldfields in the early 1860’s.

The grandmother (and great-grandmother), is believed to have been Sarah Bell (nee Sargent), the daughter of immigrants, Thomas and Ellis (Alice) Sargent. Sarah Sargent married George Bell in 1844.

This couple had settled in Picton and raised a family of five sons and three daughters.

Sarah Bell died in 1865 and the broach passed to her eldest daughter, Harriet. When Harriet Bell died it passed to her younger sister, Emma.

Emma Bell died in 1936, and when the original Bell family home was dispersed, the broach was passed to Harriet May Baxter (nee Bell).

When her eldest daughter married a few months later in 1937, this broach was chosen as the ‘something old’.

The Broach

As I mentioned before it was also chosen as the ‘something old’ by many other subsequent family brides.

This heirloom remains in the family today, but not on the same branch as the heirloom wedding dress.

Educating Nola – Managing the Daily Tasks.

I’m back on track for the Blogging 101 course, although probably not quite able to feel comfortable with all the tasks.

Today’s task was to work on my ‘About’ page. I have looked at my information on this page encapsulated in one paragraph. I have always been a very private person, and have never liked talking about myself, so found this task rather difficult. I feel I have captured the spirit of this task in this one paragraph, as it tells how I got interested in my family history, which I’m actually blogging about.

I also need to see if I can add a ‘widget’ or two to my blogs. Must to go back to the ‘how to’ instructions for that one. Our instructors, or team leaders are very helpful and patient, which is just as well with technologically challenged students such as myself.

However, I have tried to follow the course section by section, and have started a new blog from the beginning at http://nolamackey2.wordpress.com/ for my ‘local history’.

I have developed a deep interest in the history of the Clarence River District, in northern New South Wales over many, many years,although we have no family connections here. For nearly fifty years I have been researching, collecting documents, and writing about the area, and have published numerous books on various topics.

I have written much more about myself on my ‘about’ page on my new blog, but probably need to edit that down and rearrange it all, as it is a bit like a CV, which we were advised to avoid. I will look at that over the next few days, to see if I can get that down to succinct paragraph or two, too.

As well as sharing our own family histories on my original blog, I now plan to share some of my huge local history collection, on this new blog, starting with some stories from women’s perspective, concerning World War I.

These blogs I plan to present as a serial, over the next few weeks or so.

It is the story of two sisters, who found themselves trapped ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ in Berlin at the beginning of World War I.

See you all somewhere in cyberspace soon.

Australian World War I Battlefields Tour – Polygon Wood

Polygon Wood – Now there is a name that brings an emotional lump to the throat.

This area is about eight kilometres east of Iepers, and is approached from a small road off the main Menin Road.

We could see the 5th Australian Divisional Memorial through the trees, as we got off the bus, but we visited the Polygon Wood Cemetery first.

The Polygon Wood Cemetery was irregularly used as a front line cemetery between August 1917 and April 1918, and then again towards the end of the war. It is now a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Many of the identified burials were for those who served with the New Zealand Infantry Forces. There was also a lone German grave in this cemetery, which we thought was rather unusual. The Battle of Polygon Wood took place on 26 September 1917.

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There was a walled avenue, which led from this cemetery to the Buttes New British Cemetery, which is located below the Australian 5th Division Memorial.

This cemetery was made after the war when a large number of graves, mostly from 1917, were brought from the battlefields around Zonnebeke.

Also standing here is the Butte New British Cemetery (New Zealand) Memorial, which commemorates nearly 400 New Zealand soldiers, who lost their lives around Polygon Wood in 1917 and 1918, and who have no known grave.

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Overlooking this quiet sanctuary was the Australian 5th Division Memorial.

The Memorial was a grey stone obelisk, which stood upon a long elevated bank known as a ‘butte’, and is approached by a steep flight of stairs, which were extended some years after the Memorial was erected, in 1919. This is ‘Australian’ land acquired by the Division after the war.

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There were several story-boards located here, which we spent some time reading.

More information can be found at –

http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/zonnebeke/fifth-australian-division-memorial/battle-of-polygon-wood.php

The 5th Australian Division was formed in Egypt in February 1916 after the withdrawal of Australian troops from Gallipoli. When the first Australian troops were sent to France to serve in trenches along the Western Front, some battalions were left in Egypt for further extensive training.

However, by July 1916 all the Australian Infantry Forces had arrived in France, the 5th Division being the last to arrive, took their place as re-inforcements at Armentieres.

It was from here the 5th Division, the most inexperienced as far as battlefield action goes, found themselves at the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. This attack was poorly planned and was not fully executed, or supported as it should have been, by the British forces, which resulted in the greatest loss of life of Australian soldiers, in one day, for the whole war . There were over 5,500 causalities, including 400 prisoners. The 5th Division was totally incapacitated for several months and were not ready for combat again until October 1916. We were to hear more about this horrendous battle from our Tour Guide, Pete Smith the following day, when we visited the new cemetery at Fromelles.

We then boarded the bus and took the short drive to the Hooge Crater cafe and museum, for a late lunch.

Australian World War I Battlefields Tour- Iepers

The second day of our tour began with a walking tour of this beautiful medieval city. Perhaps I need to fill you in on a bit of history of this place first.

Ieper is an ancient town located in the Flemish province of West-Flanders (or Vlaanderen). When World War I was declared in August 1914, it was known by its French name, Ypres.

Soon after the declaration of war and the German mobilisation, more than 8,000 German soldiers passed through Ypres on the 7 and 8 October 1914, on their ‘push to the coast’.

Within a few days French and British soldiers arrived in the town to set up a blockade to stop the full-on German offensive, as they realised the strategic importance of the town.

It was the British soldiers who first called it ‘Wipers’, which was a much easier name to pronounce. They were there for four long years from October 1914 to November 1918.

This town was the focus of German operations in the north west, as they tried to recapture it. However, despite major offensives and severe artillery shelling, which reduced the town to rubble, the town never fell into German hands during the war.

This town was also the main staging post for allied forces before they went out to fight in the surrounding area, known as ‘ the Salient,’ which is a battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory .

Every allied soldier fighting in Belgium most likely would have passed through this town, at some time.

I can imagine several of our family heroes marching out at night, to their positions in the trenches, batteries and observation posts. Most of the troop movements were at night, because there was some advantage to travelling under the cover of darkness, in such open and flat country. The enemy was not easily able to observe the size and position of troops, and then bombard the area with artillery and bombs.

With the centenary of World War I, there is so much material on-line that literally ‘puts you there’, such as this film.

The film deals with the participation of the Australian troops in the Third Battle of Ypres during the autumn of 1917. The scenes include Australians preparing for the attack; being reviewed by Sir Douglas Haig before going in to action; shells falling amongst the ruins of Ypres and then shows the battlefields over which Australians fought and incidents connected with the fighting.

http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/ieper/a-walk-around-ieper/ruins-of-ypres-1917-movie.php

Today it is difficult to image there was so much destruction here, and how everything was painstakingly restored after the war, right down to the cobblestoned streets. In fact the whole city is a memorial to World War I

From the moment we got off our bus at our hotel, we could feel a special atmosphere about the place. It took me a while to work it out. There was a busyness, but not the loud brashness of many tourist places. The people we met were welcoming, but not patronising. In many places on our travels throughout Europe, the people smiled and rushed out to greet us, but we knew they were looking for our ‘tourist dollar’.

At Iepers it was different. There was a quite respectfulness, as if they knew why we were there, especially as our Australian accents soon announced us. Everyone we met wanted to help us understand and to know, what had happened there all those years ago.

However, I must point out the place was not silent and morbid. In fact when we arrived in the hotel restaurant for our dinner, there were obviously several celebratory parties in progress, including a large school group.

Perhaps you could say there was a certain ‘joyfulness’ about the place too. I don’t really know why, but maybe it is an appreciation of the sacrifice of all those thousands of soldiers, from all over the world, all those many years ago, so that their city could remain in existence, and be reclaimed and rebuilt.

After a wonderful dinner and a good nights sleep, we were ready to begin our walking tour of the city.

We started our tour not far from the hotel at St Jacobs Church. (below).

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If you look carefully you can see the original doorway and footings of this medieval church which survived the war, but everything above the door was rebuilt.

We then proceeded to a section of the city wall ramparts, where actual shops had been built into the earthen bank. This area was also used as allied headquarters during the war.

We then visited the Menin Gate. Nothing I can write, can do it justice, but I will try, with a separate blog or two soon.

After a very emotional visit to the Menin Gate, we proceeded along the main street until we arrived at the Great Market Square. It was a huge cobblestoned area, surrounded by beautiful Gothic buildings faithfully and painstakingly restored after World War I. The Gemeentehuis, or Town Hall is one such building. (Below).

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The weekly markets were taking place in the Square and it was interesting to wander through the stalls. We found them similar to what we could expect to find at city markets back home, and it gave us a comfortable familiar feeling, as the grey over-caste sky gave way to warm summer sunshine.

We headed for the huge inspiring Gothic building, which took up nearly half the square itself. It was the Lakenhalle or Cloth hall.

So much about the history of this building can be found at-

http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/ieper/a-walk-around-ieper/cloth-hall-lakenhalle.php#

This beautiful restored and refurbished building is the ‘Jewel in the Crown’, for the city for the World War I Anniversary celebrations. Lots of information can be found here.

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/museum-in-flanders-fields.htm

Within this building is the In Flanders Fields Museum. This museum is spread over two floors and is an incredible place. It uses all the modern technical equipment to tell the story of the war, not only from the city’s perspective, but all those who endured those terrible times. Although the history was well told and illustrated, I found it crowded, gloomy and very oppressive, as it is painted all black inside with little light, except for a cold reflected light from the display cabinets and strategically place down-lights..

A large shop can be found on the ground-floor, where I was able to purchase many gifts and books, which will add to my knowledge and understanding of this very special city, and its surrounding villages.

I was pleased to get outside and have a quick morning tea at one of the many pavement cafes, on the edge of the Square, before we returned to the hotel to join our group to begin our bus tour of the Ypres Salient.

As we boarded the bus the sunshine had deserted us again. Our next stop would be the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood.