Oldest headstones

After reading my post summarising the information about cemeteries in the district, Melinda who is a member of the Sorell Historical Society, asked if she could use the post in the Pitt Water Chronicles Book 3 which is being organized at the moment. Of course I said yes but said I would try to get some photos to go with the post.

So on Sunday I headed out to take photos of the headstones and learn a bit more about the person buried there.

Carlton River Congregational has very few headstones still visible. But checking on the Libraries Tasmania Family History Portal, then going to the Tasmanian Names Index I looked for the death of Henry Morriss in 1838. From research I know the first public service of worship at the church was in 1841 so maybe this burial was somewhere else. But the minister James Norman specifically mentions the corpse being the first to be interred at the Carlton burial ground. Click on the images or blue links to see original digitized records.

Henry and his older brother Robert were orphaned when he turned 14. Their father had been a constable at the Carlton but hanged himself.  Henry was not at school at age 14 but his brother could read and write. The boys were Protestants.

Copping General Cemetery has a lot of headstones still in good condition. Sarah Copping was the widow of a mariner and lived a very healthy 98 years before her death in 1884. The cause of death was old age and debility. The informant was C Brammall the incumbent of Sorell. A short biography of her life is mentioned in the newspaper of the day.

Dunalley General Cemetery has two old headstones from 1870. Just inside the cemetery gate, John Clark is mentioned on a huge grave along with many other members of the family while Emma Lester is in a child’s grave at the furthest corner of the cemetery.

John Clark was a farmer who died aged 70. The reason given on the death certificate was disease of the heart accelerated by excessive drinking. Some words in brackets underneath that but I could not read them. From my research I found that John had purchased the land where the Denison Canal is now and John and his son-in-law George Scrimger eventually built a small pub where the Dunalley Hotel is now.

Emma Lester at age 6, died of cachexia which is the weakness and wasting of the body often due to chronic illness. It can also be caused through lack of food. She was the only daughter of William Lester of Fulham, East Bay Neck.

Forcett-Lewisham cemetery has many headstones, the oldest of which is Charlotte Jones. She was the wife of James Jones, a licensed victualler, and she died of erysipelas which is a swelling of the limbs. Charlotte was only 42 years old when this happened. She had given birth to at least seven daughters. Some members of the family must have moved to New Zealand as this was mentioned in the death notice in the paper.

Marion Bay at Bream Creek has two headstones for 1852. They are about three headstones apart.

Ann Dunbabin’s death was not found in the Tasmanian Names Index until I searched with just the surname and there she was as Nancy Dunbabin. She was 33 years old, the wife of a farmer and the informant was Charles Kingston from Bream Creek.  There was no mention of her death on Trove newspapers. But searching for the Dunbabin family at Bream Creek, I find she was the wife of John Dunbabin; they had both been convicts and married in 1839. She was Ann Eccles and the couple had six children.

Louisa Ann Kingston died 7 April 1853 according to the death certificate on Tasmanian Names Index. The informant was Rev James Norman. Louisa was only 12 months old and the daughter of a farmer. She died of dysentery. Yet when we look at the headstone, it says she was 2 years old and died September 1852. There was a female child born to Charles and Elizabeth Kingston on 27 January 1851 – is this Louisa Ann mentioned on the headstone?

Henry Street, Sorell is the oldest cemetery in the district and many of the original settlers are buried here. The oldest is that of Charlotte McGinniss who died in 1828, of an unknown cause. She was the wife of Hugh McGinniss senior who donated the land for the Carlton Congregational Chapel in 1838.  From research of other family trees, it is noted that Charlotte was born Hall, married George Simpson, was then transported to Norfolk Island as a convict. While on the island had a relationship with William Dodge and had three children by him.  She then had a relationship with Hugh McGinniss. Hugh and his partner, with six children, arrived in Hobart Town aboard the ship Estramina from Norfolk Island in June 1808. Their daughter Elizabeth was born a month later. In 1810 Hugh and Charlotte Hall were married by Reverend Knopwood.

Scots Uniting, Sorell has the headstone of Hugh Taylor Denholm who died in 1847. Born in 1845, he was the 5th child of Alexander Denholm the Younger and Clementina Elizabeth Taylor who married in 1836. Hugh died of convulsions but I have not seen his death certificate in the Tasmanian Names Index. This information was found online on page 86 of a book written by Bernard Denholm.

St Thomas, Sorell is the burial place of Thomas Wright in 1865. I could find nothing about this family other than the death notice of his daughter Margaret in 1929. This might be because they were Catholic and those records are not openly available online. His wife was Julia Kennar Wright and she is also mentioned on her daughter’s death notice. There is mention though of a Julia Kennar having 21 acres of land at Bagot, Buckinghamshire in Tasmania in 1872. Is this the same Julia and where is Bagot located?

St Georges, Sorell has the burial of two Walker sisters in 1829, Susannah and Elizabeth. Susannah buried on 1st February aged 20 months, then less than three weeks later Elizabeth buried on 19 February aged 22 days. How the parents John and Nancy Walker (nee Ann Wiggins) must have suffered over those three short weeks with the deaths of their first two daughters.

Readers: Do you have any more information about these people buried in the district of Sorell? Please leave information in the comments area of this post.

 

 

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One thought on “Oldest headstones

  1. My great great grandfather and great great Grandmother William and Alice Clifford (Alice’s mother was Lucy Ann Kingston) – they are buried in the very old Bream Creek Cemetery- the pioneers graveyard or the first settlers I can’t remember – right out the back of bream creek. William had a lot to do with Pitt water and was very well know man in the Bream Creek – Sorell community’s.

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