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.

 

 

Carlton Congregational Chapel

After writing the post about the Joseph brothers, Moya Sharpe, a member of the Sorell Historical Society, asked if I could find any more information about the chapel I had written about in my post. Chris Wisbey and Sally Dakis now have the Carlton Congregational Chapel on their private property and on 10 January 2021, the chapel celebrated 180 years. Chris and Sally decided to hold a high tea on that date and invited members of the public to visit and join in the cucumber sandwiches and cup of tea in the afternoon. Thanks to Moya for the photo of her and Shirley Scott who can remember when the chapel was actually in use.

Here is my post from what I have learned. It will also be great as part of the One Place Studies #JanuaryLandmarks posts. Clicking on images or blue links will take you directly to the newspaper articles found in Trove digitized newspapers.

While researching for my post on the oldest gravestones in the district, I found that Rev Norman presided over the burial of Henry Morriss in 1838 at the Carlton Burial Ground. I am assuming this is the cemetery attached to the Carlton Congregational Chapel.

The first meeting to be held was advertised in January 1841 in The Courier newspaper in Hobart.

The Fourth Report of the Van Diemen’s Land Home Missionary and Christian Instruction Society mentions the chapel work was still in progress in February 1841. Reverend Alexander Morrison, who had been appointed to the District of Richmond, would preach in Carlton every fortnight. To read more about the report, click on the image below.

Many marriages in the 1850s and 1860s are mentioned as being at the Carlton, some at homes of  the bride’s father but not necessarily at the chapel. Upon more research Rev J Norman was a chaplain in Sorell district from 1832-1867, mainly Anglican churches rather than the Congregational.
MARRIAGES.
At the Carlton, on the 19th instant, by the Rev. J. Norman, Mr. A. Wyke Steele, third son of the late Lieutenant Steele, R.N., to Mary, second daughter of Thomas Manley, Esq. (19 May 1852)

The return of Ecclesiastical Endowments in Tasmania for the Church of England mentions in 1857 that a grant of 10 acres of land had been given in 1836 in Carlton for a church and it was also used for a school and burial ground. Does this relate to the congregational church or was there another church in Carlton?

The Home Missionary Society celebrated its 23rd anniversary and a report was read out. In 1858 a deputation of the committee had visited Bream Creek and Carlton, mentioning

it was with feelings of gratitude that the Committee were able to state that a new chapel was erecting at Bream Creek and the Carlton Chapel had been reopened.

MARRIAGES.
On the 17th instant, at Carlton, by the Rev. Mr. Miller, of Hobart Town, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Blackwood, of Cambridge, William Henry Thorne, to Charlotte, youngest daughter of Mr. William Morris. (17 May 1860)
MARRIAGES.
By special license, by the Rev. J. Norman, at Mr. Hazell’s, Carlton, on 17th October, Miss S. L Smith, youngest daughter of the late Dr. Smith, England, to James G Steele, Esq., seventh son of the late Lieutenant Steele, R. N., of the Carlton. (17 Oct 1860)
MARRIAGES.
On the 9th instant, at the residence of the bride’s father, Carlton, by the Rev. James Norman, Sorell, PHILIP, second son of the late Rev. Philip Palmer, M.A., to MARY ANN, fourth daughter of Mr. Ralph Dodge, Carlton, Pittwater. (9 Jan 1862)
MARRIAGES.
By Special license, at the Carlton, on the 12th November, by the Rev. J. Norman, Joseph, fifth son of Joseph Hayton, Esq., of Wood Brook, Sorell, to Anna Jane, seventh daughter of William Paterson, Esq., of Bream Creek, Tasmania. (12 Nov 1862)

In 1866, Reverend JP Sunderland, agent for the London Missionary Society in the colonies, visited the Carlton Chapel as well as many others while he was touring Tasmania.

In August 1867, five churches including Bream Creek and Carlton were formally received into the Congregational union and Mission of Tasmania. But by 1869, public meetings were being held  about the union and ministers from Hobart Town would attend to address the meetings.

ROLLINGS—DODGE.—On Thursday, 11th February, by Rev. C. J. Brammall, at the residence of the bride’s father, Carlton, Robert W., eldest son of Mr. J. J. Rollings, Forcett, to Elizabeth, fifth surviving daughter of Mr. Ralph Dodge. (11 Feb 1869)
DODGE—KINGSTON.—On the 25th February, by Rev. R. E. Dear, at the residence of the bride’s father, William Thomas, third son of Mr. Ralph Dodge, of the Carlton, to Eliza, eldest daughter of Mr. Charles Kingston, of Sedbury, Bream Creek. (25 Feb 1869)

Some deaths were also mentioned about moving to the Carlton Burial Ground.

DEATHS
ROGERS.—On the 10th May, at Carlton, Emily Cockborne, the beloved wife of Mr. A. Rogers, in the 49th year of her age. The funeral will leave her husband’s residence, on Saturday next, the 15th inst., at one o’clock, for the Carlton Burial Ground. Sydney and Melbourne papers please copy. (10 May 1869)

There was a very descriptive write up of the 1870 anniversaries of the Carlton and Bream Creek chapels – looks like the ladies of the area were rivals in who could make the best spread for the visitors to their district. Also mentioned the danger of travelling on Dodge’s ferry with horses and carts. At the 1871 anniversary, over 150 people attended enjoying a meal, a service by Rev Dear and making connections with other locals, some from remote areas of the district.

In 1871 Reverend R.E. Dear preached at the chapel and gave great discourse on the origins of the Bible Society and how the money it gathers is dispersed. There was also a great description of the chapel and its surroundings. Click on the image to read more about the Bible Society.

According to the Mercury of 29 February 1872, Carlton Chapel was celebrating its anniversary on Tuesday, 5 March 1872, when a deputation from Hobart Town would be attending.

DEATH

In May 1872, there was an inquest into the death of Mr JA Luttrell. After the inquest was finished the body was removed to the Carlton Burial Ground.

By 1874, a public meeting about total abstinence was held at the chapel. This was then followed by a meeting of those wishing to join the GWCT – Grand Lodge of the Good Templars.

In the annual meeting of the Congregational Union and Mission of 1876, it is mentioned that the chapels in Carlton and Bream Creek are thriving often with attendance of 50-80 worshippers.

The 23rd anniversary tea for the Congregational Chapel, Carlton  was to be held on 13 November 1882.

The Carlton chapel was often used as meeting rooms as in July 1883 when a Bill to be brought before Parliament was discussed and voters were asked to collect signatures.

July 1888, Rev Mr Moorehouse becomes the new Congregational pastor for the Carlton and Bream Creek chapels but in May 1890 he is farewelled. At the November anniversary in 1888, the newspaper reports there are coaches available for visitors wanting to attend and they would leave Hobart at 8am.

The 1889 celebrations had lower number of attendees due to inclement weather.

A letter to the editor of the local paper appeared in December 1890, asking horse owners to think about their relatives who might be buried at the Carlton Burial Ground.

A church social was organized in August 1895, by Mrs McGuinness to help raise funds for re-shingling the church roof.

In May 1898, Mr Hebblethwaite takes over the ministerial duties in the district and a meeting was held where it was discussed about taking up a collection for the new preacher. Apparently, the new preacher was a great salesman as mentioned in the harvest service article in the paper in 1899.

November 1900 the members of the chapel were planning to welcome back the Tasmanian contingent from the Boer War which included two of the McGuinniss boys. The service was held on December 16 with Rev Crocker giving the service.

A concert was held at Carlton school in April 1903 in aid of funding the repairs for the chapel. It was well patronised mainly due to the efforts of Mrs Morris Joseph. December 1904 another concert held for repairs to the chapel, the main organizer this time being Mr McGuinniss sen.

In 1905, a silver wedding anniversary was mentioned. The golden wedding anniversary and the diamond wedding anniversary as well.

Transport to the annual tea meeting at Carlton now included the S.S. Seabird from Hobart in 1905.

In January 1910, a farewell social was held for Mr Albiston and a gift of sovereigns was given to him for his hard work in the district especially for starting the M.I.A in Carlton. Not sure if this is missing in action or another group.

In August 1919, the Chapel was used for a Welcome Home event for returned soldier Corporal C McGinnis A.I.F.

 

In 1938, the centenary of congregationalism in the district was celebrated and there was a very interesting write up in the local paper. This included photo of the church, a history of the church including preachers but also information on the local supporters and workers in the church.

Local pioneer, Mrs Joseph, mentioned often in the anniversary tea articles, celebrated her 80th birthday in June 1938.

But on 10 January 1941, the centenary of the actual church was celebrated and articles in the paper mentioned that land was given by Mr Hugh McGuinniss to erect the church and that Reverend Dear was the first resident pastor.

Readers: Have you or a family member had something to do with the chapel? Did you attend the high tea last week?

Cemeteries in the district

The Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. has transcribed and photographed headstones of 800+ cemeteries in Tasmania and much of this information can be found in TAMIOT. Here is a list of the CDROMs available for purchase – I use mine on my desktop using Windows 10 without any problems.

Hobart Branch put together the series of three CDROMs of all the cemeteries in the Sorell District in 2004. The information on the CDROMs is not necessarily found on the internet. For each cemetery, they include a description, plan of the graves as well as names on the graves. Most also have images of the gravestones with a transcription and plot number. Many of these cemeteries have had further burials since 2004 when the CDROMs were created.

The One-Place Studies group often do statistical posts so I thought I might do one today about the local cemeteries with information gained from the CDROMs.

Name of Cemetery No. of graves Earliest grave Most common surnames
Carlton River Congregational 20 1838 Henry Morriss Dodge, Steele, Thorne
Copping General 359 1884 Sarah Copping Allanby, Alomes, Brown, Burdon, Copping, Dransfield, Franklin, Gillie, Jacobson, Kingston, Richardson, Swan, White, Woolley
Dunalley General 264

1870 John Clark

1870 Emma Lester

Bird, Button, Fazackerley, Hildyard, Hyatt, Murphy, Rattenbury, Spaulding, Wiggins
Forcett – Lewisham 199 1876 Charlotte Jones Alomes, Clark, Dodge, Gangell, Long, Reardon, Rollings, Young
Marion Bay at Bream Creek 55 1852 Ann Dunbabin  1852 Louisa Ann Kingston Dunbabin, Kingston
Henry Street, Sorell 446 ** 1828 Charlotte McGinniss Allanby, Bellette, Duncombe, Featherstone, Gatehouse, Hayton, Newitt
Scots Uniting, Sorell 89 ** 1847 Hugh Taylor Denholm Denholm, Hean
St Thomas, Sorell 124 ** 1865 Thomas Wright Bresnehan, Butterworth, French, Montgomery, Wells
St Georges, Sorell 718**  ## 1829 Elizabeth and Susannah Walker – sisters Bellette, Bidgood, Braithwaite, Davis, Featherstone, Jones, Kean, Newitt, Peacock, Phillips, Reardon, Schofield, Walker, Wiggins

** Some women mentioned twice with both maiden and married name.

## Also includes memorials

Many of the cemeteries also had plots with unknown names and dates due to deterioration of headstones.

Readers: Do you know of a relative buried in one of these cemeteries earlier than that mentioned on the CDROMs?

St George’s Church

Building the church:
St George’s Church provide a link with the past that we cannot ignore. British settlers began to farm in the area (originally know as Pittwater) in 1808. The first service at Sorell is recorded that the famous Reverend Robert Knopwood nicknamed Bobby at an enquiry conducted by Thomas Bigge. The first headquarters meeting was held in a barn. Many people attended, both free and convict as well as a few children. This was in 1820 in the following year the church was completed they decided to use it as a school house.  But in 1823 when the report was submitted it was found that the recommendation had been omitted.

Everyone who died at Sorell prior to 1823 were taken to the St Davids cemetery in Hobart. On the 7th of March 1823 the Reverend Samuel Marsden under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury  consecrated a parcel of land and set it aside for ever as a cemetery.
In the month of April of that year the Reverend Knopwood had retired after 19 years to live on his farm at Clarence Plains but he also continued to serve faithfully the church.

The St Georges Church commenced in 1826 at the request of the Reverend William Garrard to rebuild the Church because of its dangers. The builders were set off to do this job and the cost of it all amounted to 800 shillings and 108 shillings for the carpentry work. In 1827 the church was completed all the masonry and materials being furnished by convict labour. The ultimate price of the building was £1,450. The church was built for 600 people, having galleries on three sides to accommodate convicts on muster days.

The first churchwardens were Mr James Gordon P.M of Forcett House and Captain W.H Glover J.P of Horsecroft, Sorell. Mr Gordon and his wife are buried at St Georges cemetery. The year 1832 saw the departure of the Reverend Garrard and the arrival of the Reverend James Norman who served the parish faithfully and well for 35 years. A letter written to J.Morgan, Esq police magistrate dated 9th of April 1835 is continued in the parish file and is in a good site of preservation.

In 1879 the church was pronounced unsafe and the Presbyterians most graciously offered the use of their church in which Anglicans worshipped until 1884 when the new one was built on the same site. It was built to accommodate 215 people at the same time.  Reverend C.J Brammel was in charge of the parish. Services were held at Orielton, Wattle hill, Nugent, Kellevie, Bream Creek, Dunalley, Carlton, Forcett, Green Hill, Port Arthur,  Cascades, Impression Bay and Wedge bay. Mr Brammell resigned in 1894 after 26 years of service.

On Tuesday 23rd of October 1883 the foundation stone of the new church of St George at Sorell was laid by Bishop Sandford. The bishop celebrated assisted by the Reverend C.J Brammell and Canon Mason and Mr Woolnough who walked from Bellerive and arrived a little after 12:30pm. The proceedings commenced with the 100th psalm, the bishop then standing on the stone delivered an impressive address founded on the words (Do all in the name of lord Jesus). The sum of forty pounds was laid on the stone.

The land and its rectors:
The land grant for the Church consisted of four acres, three roods relating to the area generally know as St George’s Square. The Church is surrounded by Gordon Street, Fitzroy Place, Parsonage Place and Sorell Rivulet. There was also a further eight acres and eight perches surrounded by Pelham Street, Cole Street and the Sorell Rivulet. From speaking to a man with a lot of information, we found out that the Church used to own from the creek near Coles to the hall in Gordon Street.

The original parish took into Coal Valley and the East Coast as far as Bicheno. It was reduced by the formation of the Parishes of Richmond in 1835 and Buckland in 1846. From 1950 the rector also looked after the Parish of Richmond. The Longest serving Rector was the Reverend James Norman from 1832 until 1867.

Conserving the church:

The Church is made out of Stone, corrugated iron and has a gothic style according to some. In the last five years it has had conservation work done with the foundations, and replastering costing around $44,000. The condition is fair and the integrity is intact. The dimensions of the church are 34ft with a depth of 64ft and a height of 18ft.

St.Georges church has a high pitched roof, the windows are tall and multi-paned.  There are some structural difficulty and has bad stone deterioration around the base.

Interviewing Andrew Lake

At the moment there is one minister by the name of Andrew Lake. We interviewed Andrew Lake and found out this information:the busiest days of the year are Christmas and Easter, the church is always open on Christmas and Easter day. They have one church bell, which is rang so people know church is starting. The church has about two weddings and seven funerals a year. The decision to build a church probably came from Governor Arthur. He designed it to be big enough to fit everyone in the area including the convicts. The main feature of the church is probably the large Amber windows. There is more than one St. Georges church in Tasmania. Roughly 100 people are buried in the cemetery and about 100 in the columbarium. A Columbarium is place where ashes are placed. Andrew Lake has been the minister for four years.

This report was by two different groups of students: Maddi and Sam, Nicola and Bronte.

SOURCES:
Andrew Lake – Phone Interview- 9/7/08

I found the information in a book called ‘Sorell Heritage Study Site Inventory Volume 5’

There is a book called The Shocking history of Sorell by Robert Cox, Sorell Library has a copy for reference but no borrowing.