William STUART, my great-great-Grandfather, claimed to have been born in Glasgow, Scotland, circa 1839 to William STUART and Mary COLSTONE. To date I do not know much about William Senior or Mary, nor do I know if they had other children. According to William Junior's marriage certificate his father was a blacksmith.
William junior arrived in Australia, possibly Melbourne, prior to 1863. On 24 October that year he had made his way to the goldfields of Bright and there married Maria EDWARDS. William was 26 and Maria only 17 years old.
I had not had any luck at all until recently in finding out when either William or Maria arrived in Australia. I believed, however that Maria was likely to have arrived with her parent s or perhaps with an older sibling simply because she seemed very young to have come out by herself. Her marriage certificate did give me some details.
Maria had been born in London, Staffordshire, England, circa 1846-1849 to Joseph EDWARDS, a carpenter, and Ellen DEAN. I searched the Victorian Death Indexes without success in an attempt to locate Joseph and Ellen EDWARDS. This raised more questions, if Maria came out with her parents what happened to them and where did they go? Again the marriage certificate gave some information because it stated that the "Consent of the bride’s mother obtained in writing." This suggested to me that at the time of her marriage Maria's father was either not around, and was perhaps dead, or didn't approve of the marriage. But it also suggested to me that Ellen at least was in Australia but didn't attend the marriage. There was one more clue on the marriage certificate although I did not know how much credence to put in it at the time.
William and Maria married in the house of Charles LUND according to the rites of the Wesleyan Church. The ceremony was witnessed by Charles LUND and by Alice LUND. The marriage register shows Alice's signature written as Alice EDWARDS. EDWARDS is then crossed out and LUND written in after it. I wasn't sure whether this was just a mistake by the Registrar or whether Alice and Maria were related.
The answer came in a letter from Margaret STUART of 8 Ponto Close, Maroona, Cairns, Queensland, William and Maria are her great-Grandparents. She told me that Maria came out as a little girl and that Alice was her sister. A check of the shipping records at the Public Records Office here in Melbourne finally gave me one of the answers I had been looking for.
On 16 August, 1857, the vessel Shalimar, sailed from Liverpool, on board along with many other Assisted Immigrants were William JONES, a Baptist Blacksmith aged 29, his wife Ellen aged 25, andher three children to her first husband Joseph EDWARDS. They were Alice aged 11, Maria aged 8 and William aged 4. William JONES had a Job to go to in Geelong as a blacksmith at which he was to earn 12/- per day. They came to a thriving colony still in the grips of gold fever and the journey was a long one and not without difficulties.
Geoffrey SERLE in his book The Golden Age gives a marvellous insight into the times in which William, Ellen and the children arrived in Victoria and this account would not be complete without some reference to it and to other books on the times.
In 1849, Melbourne was a city of 23,000 people. In 1852 gold was discovered at Ballarat but initially news of the discovery in Britain had little impact on the numbers of people wishing to emigrate. "The most adventurous had already been drawn off to California ; other potential migrants to Australia were alienated by the stigma of convictism and the difficulty of obtaining land; certain news of lasting riches was needed before men would undertake the arduous and possibly irrevocable journey to the Antipodes...". But in the years to 1860 the population of Victoria increased tenfold largely in response to the lure of gold. Some 290,000 people, or a total of 55 per cent of the entire number of people who left Britain and Ireland for Australia and New Zealand, arrived during the years 1852-1860. Many of these immigrants came without any form of government aid but some like William and Ellen and their family came with the help of the government and they travelled on the ships like many others in steerage.
"Shipboard life was hard enough, even for the few cabin passengers who were waited on in luxury. Conditions in the crowded steerage were, as one of the toughest of migrants said, a good breaking in for those who intended to rough it on the diggings. Passengers were issued with rations which they had to prepare for themselves. A typical issue was salt junk (which some towed over the side in order to reduce the salt content), soup, tinned meat, preserved potatoes, flour, currants, plums and suet. Little control was exercised over the passengers : only public opinion could protect women from the wanton, and provide sanctions against the excesses of drunkards. On the ships on which state and assisted emigrants travelled, families were sent with the parties of girls, and the married men were expected to act as constables and guardians of morals. But even on the on the best ships part of the voyage was always a nightmare. A historian of shipping has remarked that the fast-sailing, fully-rigged was perhaps the most dangerous and uncomfortable ever invented. great risks were taken by some skippers on the australian run in their craze for speed. The most notorious of them, 'Billy' FORBES of the Marco Polo, proclaimed his slogan as 'Hell or Melbourne', and on his record run in 1852 he showed his passengers hell enough. In 1854 the James Baines made the run from Liverpool in sixty-three days. The situation in rough weather on such ships was succinctly summed up by one victim :
'everybody ill, everybody groaning, all the women whimpering, all the children crying'." And a storm was enough to try the bravest man's courage :"Whatever may have been the mental agony in the saloon on these occasions and the suffocating physical torture in the emigrant 'tween-decks' on the sea-swept deck above them where mates screamed commands and were inaudible and men struggled waist-high in water amidst a welter of ruined deck-houses, squealing pigs and dangling spars, one thing was unquestionably essential to salvation and that was a clear brain, stout heart and strong arm."
But boredom was far more common than the brief periods of excitement and danger. The passengers time was occupied by concerts and cards, quarrels, arguments and gossip. It must have been extremely difficult on those with young children because the long trip frequently took at least ninety days.
When the ships finally dropped anchor in Hobson's Bay or on the banks of the Yarra River, the captains were generally eager to off load their passengers as quickly as possible. They were warned that gold fever would also strike their crews and so were anxious to turn their ships around and head off for Europe once again.
SERLE describes the scenes that greeted the settlers in 1852 -
"Some illusions die hard; but the trials, before they even started for the goldfields, of the thousands who arrived in September and October 1852 must have prepared them for the worst. Their first impressions of the colony were of rudeness, cruelty and greed of the sharks profiting from their helplessness : one demanded a guinea to put them ashore, another demanded several pounds for luggage to be delivered in the town or dumped at random on the Yarra wharf. Every inch of floor and almost every table and bath in hotels and lodging-houses were occupied. Those who had tents hastened to pitch them, while others constructed primitive gunyahs along the river, in the eastern and western market reserves, or in the scrub between beach and town. Many were landed late in the day or at dusk with no food or shelter. Hundreds at a time spent a night or more on the wharves among barrels and bales, making shelters from planks and baggage and blankets. More than one child was born in such circumstances. It was no drier or warmer than usual that late winter and early spring and in October and November an epidemic of influenza and colds swept through the colony."
The correspondent from the Sydney Morning Herald wrote -
"...that a worse regulated, worse governed, worse lighted, worse watered town of note is not on the face of the globe; and that a population more thoroughly disposed, in every grade to cheating and robbery, open and covert, does not exist; that in no other place does immorality stalk abroad so unblushingly and so unchecked; that in no other place is the public money so wantonly squandered without giving the slightest protection to life or property; that in no other place are the administrative functions of Government so inefficiently managed; that, in a word, nowhere in the southern hemisphere does chaos reign so triumphant as in Melbourne."
By the end of 1852 Governor LATROBE had built two immigrants homes, and these along with another built at South Yarra, a Wesleyan shelter, and the CHISOLM's reception centre, helped alleviate the problems for some of the new arrivals. In 1853 10,000 migrants sheltered in these five institutions. But still the numbers of arrivals outstripped the provision of shelter. 'Canvas Town' on the west side of St. Kilda Road held 7,000 people paying five shillings per tent per week and living in squalor. In the summer of 1852-53 disease swept through claiming many victims.
"The city that greeted new arrivals late in 1852 was an assorted jumble of rough houses and business premises set out along partially-cleared long paddocks that passed for streets. The population of 30,000 at the time of discovery of gold had doubled by the end of 1853, and the town was bustling with businessmen, traders, newcomers and miners returned from the diggings -some rich and bragging - others disillusioned and destitute. The thoroughfares were busy with wagons carting goods from harbour to warehouse, and with clumsy, two wheeled bullock-drawn carts sinking deep in the dust (or the mud), heading for the diggings with supplies that could command outrageous prices. The bullock drivers wore big, shapeless, felt hats over long, unkempt hair, and their faces weer almost as red as their flannel shirts. Their trousers were tucked into long, solid boots,and as they proceeded slowly along King Street or Bourke Street they swung their whips over the backs of their sixteen beasts shouting encouragement and swearing at the beasts."
By mid-1852 Melbourne was a boom town with building proceeding at a great pace fed by the gold and entrepreneurial riches that poured into the colony. Over one thousand buildings, many constructed of stone, were built in the city alone in the first half of 1853. In the suburbs thousands more "were thrown together of any and every material - rough planks or corrugated iron - for bricks and stone could not be supplied fast enough."
This was probably the city as it would have been known by the young William STUART but I still do not know the exact date of his arrival. The mystery of his arrival is discussed later.
William and Ellen JONES, and Ellen's three children, Alice, Maria and William EDWARDS, were to settle in Geelong. It was there that William JONES was to begin his trade as a blacksmith earning 12/- per day. Geelong also had benefited from the gold boom and was described in 1850 by Henry PARKES thus -
"It is situated at the head of Corio Bay on the side of a gently rising hill, and is formed of streets partially built, and like those of Melbourne somewhat spacious and laid out with great mathematical regularity...The other side of the hill is in a state of nature little different from the time when it was only trodden by the native blacks; being invitingly green and thinly studded with trees, it has much the appearance of a nobleman's park in the old country...The country round Geelong is very delightful and very much like England...There is a bank of land running out for the distance of 16 miles...which is all occupied by agricultural farms. their rich green wheat fields sloping down to the sea all the way we went 'burst like a vision of delight' on my eyes which have not seen such a sight since I left England." (Letter to Mrs. PARKES, 14 October, 1850, Parkes Papers, A934)
It is in Geelong that the story becomes a bit muddled again. Although at the time of their arrival William was only 29 and Ellen 25, there is no record of them having any children born in the Victorian Birth Indexes(VBI). Interestingly there is a William JONES recorded in the Victorian Death Indexes(VDI) as having died age 26 in 1857 and another having died aged 28 in 1858. I mention these for a good reason. Was the reason William and Ellen JONES had no children because William died? Did Ellen then remarry? So far I have not been able to find out but there is one curious coincidence that is worth mentioning.
I know that in 1861 Alice EDWARDS married Charles LUND and they had several children which I shall mention later in the text. But the Victorian Birth Indexes several children born to John LUND and Ellen DEAN -
1. Jonathan LUND born 1857 ,Geelong VBI 15261
2. Francis LUND born 1862 ,Lint. VBI 3194
3. Sarah LUND born 1863 ,Lint. VBI 15289
4. Sarah Alice LUND born 1866 ,Steiglitz VBI 24316
5. Allan Dean LUND born 1869 ,Steiglitz VBI 11881
To date I have not purchased any of the relevant certificates but the coincidence is intriguing and I cannot help wondering if this is the Ellen DEAN I have been searching for. I have not found the details of an Ellen JONES nee EDWARDS nee DEAN in the death indexes so the proposition is an attractive one. So for the time being the tale of Ellen must remain a mystery but the story of two of her children continues.
AND THEN TO THE GOLDFIELDS
In 1853 gold was discovered on the Buckland River and Beechworth became a thriving center on the rich alluvial diggings of Spring Creek, Woolshed Creek, a few miles to the north, and Three Mile Creek in the south. By December 1856 the area had a population of 16,000 people having grown by 10,000 in the previous twelve months. As with most of the rushes to new areas this one wasn't without tragedy. "In this very narrow and steep valley which hardly saw the sun, there was indeed a dragon guarding the treasure. More than a thousand, perhaps died form typhoid, and the valley was so thickly studded with graves that the river seemed to run through a church yard."
The trip from Melbourne was also a long hard one for the aspiring diggers. From Beechworth the diggers travelled the Buckland Gap descending 1200 feet to the Ovens River Valley. "The Gap was heavily timbered and littered with wrecks of drays, dead horses and broken boxes, all testifying to the dangers of the descent. At that time it was the only route open to the rich Buckland River diggings opened by the American, Henry PARDOE in 1853."
"The track along the north side of the Ovens Valley and across Myrtle Creek (now Barwidgee Creek) was also used by the diggers moving between Beechworth and Omeo, where gold had been discovered in 1852. A few miles along from Myrtle Creek they arrived at Happy Valley, where some 2,000 diggers were busy on bed and bank claims on the water course extending to the north-east. The route to the Buckland diggings followed the river another 15 miles before turning south down the narrow Buckland River valley to which 6000 gold seekers had rushed in two years earlier."
The rush to the Buckland Valley followed the pattern of rushes on alluvial diggings everywhere. There was no permanency, with each new discovery those with poor claims upped camp and moved onwards. "In 1856 a rush to Barwidgee Creek created a settlement of 400 people at the future site of Myrtleford by the end of the year...Myrtleford was named, surveyed and sold in 1859." Still the new diggings continued to open - Morses Creek in 1860 and Growlers Creek shortly after in 1861-62.
Serious mining began at Bright in the late 1850's when quartz reefs were discovered. These required significant investments of capital and equipment and with that investment came the development of permanent settlements with the corresponding commercial and civic infrastructure.
Robert Holden STONE was appointed civil engineer and surveyor of the Buckland Division of the Beechworth Mining District in 1860 and in his first report said -
"The most important and flourishing part of my District is the Ovens River and morses and Growlers Creeks, where within the last eight months no less than twenty-nine quartz reefs have been discovered, most of them of great apparent richness..."
"The naming of Growlers Creek is obscured by time. A story tells how one Bob WILLIAMS tried to keep a small pocket of auriferous groung to himself and when asked how things were going, his invariable answer was a growl, 'Juss makin tucker; goin to clear out termorrer.' He became known as 'Bob the Growler', and by 1858 the settlement at the junction of Morses and its easterly tributary was known as Growlers Creek...Perhaps a more promising source of the name might be Robert Henry GROWLERS, recorded by I.D. WALKER as a mounted constable and one of the earliest in the district."
The Pioneer Reef was discovered at Morses Creek in 1858 and the first quartz battery was erected in the latter part of that year. But to confirm "...that civilisation really had arrived at Morses Creek, G.A. Newton's store was prepared to supply all the 'wants of the fair sex...from ostrich feather to shoe tie, and from full blown crinoline to plain print dress.' By the end of 1859 the new settlements could boast a crushing machine, a bank, butchers, bakers, stores, public houses and many dwellings, but their were deficiencies, as succinctly recorded by the Advertiser :
'...what we want most we cannot get, namely a Post-Office, Court -house and Wardens Office, the nearest Post-office being on the Buckland, about twenty-five miles from here.' Ovens and Murray Advertiser 29 October, 1859
Alice EDWARDS had married Charles LUND in 1861  but I do not yet know where they married. Certainly by 1862 they were resident at Morses Creek for it was there that their first child was born. They were to have another eight children in the area -
1. Charles LUND born 1862 Morses Creek VBI 14853
2. Ellen LUND born 1864 " " VBI 10511
3. Evalina LUND born 1866 " " VBI 10057
4. Beatrice Ellen LUND born 1871 Growlers Creek VBI 09397
5. Thomas Edward LUND born 1872 " " VBI 23618
6. Byron James LUND born 1877 Wandiligong VBI 9330
7. Ernest LUND born 1879 " VBI 23604
8. Amy LUND born 1882 " VBI 09721
9. Alice Maud LUND born 1884 Maud(?) VBI 1351
Sometime prior to 1863, Alice's sister, Maria, arrived in Bright.
THE KILCUNDA WRECKS
So we know when the EDWARDS side of the family arrived, but what of William STUART. One story which has been handed down comes to me from Mick BANFIELD, who states that William claimed to have been shipwrecked near Kilcunda on the south-west coast of Gippsland.
We know that William arrived in the colony some time prior to 1863 because it was in the October of that year that he married Maria EDWARDS at Morses Creek. When William died in 1901, aged 63 years, his son-in-law James DAVIDSON (husband of Alice STUART) stated on the death certificate that he had been 40 years in Victoria, which therefore gives an arrival date of about 1861. There is no way of knowing if this is accurate or not, however if we assume that he was at least 15 or 16 years old when he left Scotland, given that he did not come out with his parents, then the arrival date may have been as early as 1855.
Jack LONEY's book Wrecks along the Gippsland Coast lists many shipwrecks along that coastline but only gives five possible ship wrecks along that stretch between Cape Patterson and Cape
1855"The schooner GREYHOUND, 61 tons was believed lost near Tarwin"
1856"The Schooner NAUTILUS was wrecked on the beach near Cape Liptrap on January 15th during a voyage from Melbourne to Western Port for stone.
Strong winds blew her off course and left her high and dry on the beach. Four of the crew managed to cross the ranges after three days travel and reach Port Albert, the master and one woman passenger remaining at the wreck.
The men were received with suspicion, due to the fdact that convicts were known to escape by boat fron Van Dieman's Land, but after they produced a letter from the captain addressed to his agent, Mr. Raven, of Melbourne, help was sent."
1858"The brig RIVER CHIEF, 145 tons, sailing between Melbourne and Newcastle was lost near Western Port in February, when a gale blew her ashore. Captain JAMES, in a last desperate attempt to save her, ordered the masts cut away but after a long battle she struck and soon went to pieces."
1858"Mystery surrounds the last movements of H.M.S. SAPPHO a brig, which disappeared on the final stages of a voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Sydney in February.
Her disappearance is recorded in Shipwrecks Along the Great Ocean Road, but the report that the master of the schooner, Little Pet, had seen two masts projecting from the sea between Cape Liptrap and Glenis Island, near Wilson's Promontory, and some gratings which could have belonged to a vessel of her type, were found washed up on Flinders Island more than a year later, indicates that she may have foundered off the Gippsland coast.
Despite rumours to the contrary, none of her crew of more that 50 were seen again.
Details: Built 1837. Length 100.5 feet; beam 32.3 feet; depth 15.16 feet; 16 guns."
1862"The ocean successfully secreted the remains of the tiny Tasmanian schooner REINDEER for thirty-five years.
A vessel of 18 tons, built in Tasmania, she traded around the coast for a few years before leaving Melbourne for Hobart in company with the ship Caroline on September 14th.
Both vessels cleared the Heads together, and a few hours later when the Caroline ran into Westernport the Reindeer was seen standing towards Cape Paterson, hugging the land. She was not seen again.
H.M.V.S. Victoria searched for her without result, but the wreckage found on the Kent Group in 1863, identified as part of her hull, gave rise to the belief that she had foundered.
However, remains of the Reindeer were discovered near Cape Liptrap in 1901."
So perhaps it was one of these ships which William arrived on, or maybe it was another yet to be named. I've checked the index to Assisted Immigrants at the Public Record Office without success and so have come to a dead end at this stage as far as finding a specific date for his arrival.
WILLIAM STUART'S SECRET
Most families have rumours or legends of secret wealth or nobility. In the case of Australian families the origins of these were probably due to our convict past where it was not the sort of thing one spoke of. Certainly, until recently, a convict ancestor was not something to boast about. I suspect that it was because of these mirky origins that people tended to look at the opposite end of the social spectrum to explain gaps in the family lineage.
William also had a secret, his great-Grandson Phil SMITH, had heard tales of royal blood when he was a lad. He recalls that his Grandmother Mary had a large brooch in her possession which was a family heirloom. It was similar to the type used to clasp the traditional tartan sash at the shoulder. Unfortunately no-one knows where that brooch now is.
On 22 April, 1988, Ruth HENDRY, wife of Richard who is also a great-grandson of William, wrote to me -
"Richard says that his mother's Grandfather, William STUART, has a secret which he was going to divulge to his family on his death bed. The time came, the family gathered round, the old man changed his mind and died without telling them what the big secret was. Has this piece of family hearsay reached you at all? The NZ lot were sure it was that they were descended from the Royal STUART's - except Dawn, who thought it more likely that he was going to tell them they had aboriginal blood in them. Dawn remembers her Grandfather John (William's son) and she swears that the older he got the more aboriginal he looked. I find that hard to believe looking at the certificates I have."
Neither of these stories appears likely but one told by Mick BANFIELD may be a little closer to the mark.
William supposedly travelled to the colonies in the company of Roger TICHBORNE and spent a couple of years roaming Gippsland. William was a blacksmith, and the son of a blacksmith, and so he would probably have had no trouble finding work in what was then a true frontier.
By the late 1850's the mountainous areas around Omeo had been utilised by cattle farmers for about two decades. "James MacFarlane, the first to this part of the state played an important part in the opening of the Omeo district. He is described as an overlander but little is known of him prior to his arrival at Goulburn, N.S.W. and his subsequent depasturing of cattle on the Monaro, before moving stock to macFarlanes Flat and taking up Omeo B (Mt. Pleasant Station), and in later years Tongeo Mungie, Bindi and Tom Groggin. Although holder of these runs, MacFarlane never lived on the properties, but kept managers there, amongst whom were John HIGGINS (known also as Sheean), Matthew MacAllister and Bill Wallace. He ran upwards of 5000 cattle at Mt. Pleasant, he had two stockyards of six acres each, a cow paddock enclosed by a nine mile long post and rail fence, and an extensive bull paddock similarly enclosed."
According to the Victorian Mines Department, Gold was officially discovered at Omeo in January, 1852. John REID, a Californian who arrived in 1851, was one of the first to arrive in the area and wrote -
"We remained about three weeks at Red Hill, then bought horses and started on a prospecting trip, and in about five weeks reached Omeo, East Gippsland, and camped on the swamp on Livingston Creek, as now known. We went out on the plains. There were eight in the party, MILLER, DEAN, J. LOVE, Beefy, Little Beefy, Jimmy BLOOMFIELD, Pike, and myself. We saw a bullock and killed him, not knowing that there was any settlement near. While killing the bullock, Tom SHEAN and Joe DAY rode up, and informed us that we were at Omeo. This was in 1853. They would not take
payment for the bullock, but helped us skin the beast, and told us to make for their hut and stockyard, up the Morass Creek. We camped on the Morass Creek for some five or six weeks, and prspected around, and obtained a little gold, but could not master the water, nor was the gold payable. We then went further up Livingstone Creek, and started prospecting just below the present township. The sinking was about twelve feet to fourteen feet, and we obtained about forty ounces of gold per day on an average. Part of the men werealways away procuring provisions, such as flour, etc., which were brought by a small vessel from Tasmanina. This was the first gold found at Omeo, and we used to go to Port Albert for provisions.
We built a log cabin, and put up a water wheel, and cut a tail race, and we stayed here about ten months. Three months after finding gold we went to Yackandandah to get provisions, tools, and outfit. On our return twenty or thirty miners came back with us, and later on quite a rush set in, and from 200 to 300 men were at work there before we left for Monaro. Gold brought three pounds twelve shillings per ounce. at first the Omeo gold was sold in Beechworth for four pounds per ounce, but storekeepers who got this price had to refund.
On one trip coming back from Port Albert we escaped Tongio Hill by coming up Swift's Creek (now so called), and had a blackfellow for a guide. Blacks were numerous in Omeo then. We prospected the creek later on. There were three of us, and we set in near present Tongio West Township. The sinking was about fourteen feet down, and the washdirt from four to five feet deep. We made about three to four ounces of gold per man per week. Then a rush set in from Omeo. This was the first gold got in Gippsland."
By the time William STUART had arrived in the area in the late 1850's, early 1860's, the creeks and streams on that side of the divide were becoming as crowded as those on the north near Bright and Beechworth. "In 1860, one hundred miners were working the terraces around Doctor's Flatwhere James McLEOD, one of the earliest diggers in the district, was making ten pounds a week, or about four times the wages of the day. Quite a rush of Chinese, from the Buckland River and Omeo, came onto the Tambo River below Swift's Creek, with some as far down as Tambo Crossing below the mouth of Haunted stream."
BALLARAT HARRY AND THE TICHBORNE MYSTERY
Our Victorian Highlands are rich in folklore and legends, many of which date from the mid nineteenth century when the young William STUART was wandering those mountain areas with Roger TICHBORNE. The story of Tichborne has been subject to much speculation and FAIRWEATHER gives one such version which has its culmination on the banks of Haunted Stream now known as Stirling. He writes -
"..., the area grew into a prosperous mining field, but only after wildly fluctuating fortunes. The name, Haunted Stream, has intrigued many people as to its origin, and even local residents are somewhat vague as to the details of the murder committed there about 1854. For that they cannot be blamed, for so many versions are given that, without research into the matter, only confusion could follow, for the scene of the murder has been given as on the head of the Dargo River, on the headwaters of the Haunted Stream, and as far down as where the stream flows into the Tambo River. All of these versions have been given by people who profess to know the facts.
In the very early days on the Haunted Stream, I understand that people were not too sure which stream was the haunted one, the one so named, or the Wentworth River. To me, that adds up fairly well, because for diggers working on Livingstone Creek it was only a short distance across onto the fall into the Wentworth, or across the Haunted stream. But it is not likely the murder took place any lower down the stream, for, while gold may have been foung there at an earlier date, the rush to that area took place in 1885, which would indicate the field had not been discovered at the time of the murder in 1854.
The man murdered was known as Ballart Harry, who, according to Stirling Lore, was using the name of Harry BLOOMFIELD. He could possibly have been the Jimmy BLOOMFIELD who came to the Omeo diggings in 1853, with the names having been confused over the years, but there is nothing to definitely link the two men together. From the different versions I have found in old newspaper files, the following story emerges as the most likely to be true.
Ballarat Harry did well on the gold fields, and was known to have some three or four hundred pounds on him, with some versions of the story saying that it was in gold, and others that it was in notes. Constable GREEN, who was wounded in the Swift's Creek gold robbery, interviewed armstrong, one of the men concerned in the murder of Cornelius GREEN, the gold buyer, and obtained this story from him. Tom TOKE was a notorious criminal credited with seven murders. On the four occasions on which he looked like paying for his crimes he turned Queen's evidence, knew that Harry had the money, and invited ARMSTRONG to join a prospecting party, the plan being to kill Harry and take the money. This ARMSTRONG agreed to do, but later changed his mind, and declined to go. TOKE then offered him one hundred pounds of the money, if he would say nothing of what was planned.
TOKE and Ballarat Harry then rode off together, and TOKE later explained to ARMSTRONG how he had tomahawked Harry while he slept. He then burned the body, ground the bones to powder, and scattered them over a wide area of bushland. According to that story, the deed was done on the fall into the Dargo River, but it must also be considered possible that TOKE gave the scene of the murder at a place far from where it actually happened, lest ARMSTRONG should at any time tell what he knew, thereby protecting himself from possible retribution. TOKE never paid the penalty for any of his murders, but was eventually sentenced to seven years in Beechworth gaol for horsestealing, and died as an inmate of Beechworth hospital.
Ballarat Harry's real name turned out to be Roger TICHBORNE, a member of a wealthy family in England. Following the murder, an enterprising gentleman from southern New South Wales, who had known Harry well and learned a good deal about the family in England, decided to impersonate Harry to claim his share of the family estates in England. He had been able to obtain certain letters and documents belonging to the dead man, and presumably bore some resemblance to him. When he presented himself to the TICHBORNE's he was accepted, but Harry's girlfriend was the stumbling block. Young couples go places together, and in this case, the young lady was suspicious. It was not long before her suspicions were proven, and the claim to the family estate was lost.
So far as the Haunted Stream is concerned, I attach considerable importance to the fact that it was named very early in the history of the area, when people who should have known the facts were still around. A person who signs himself as 'an old identity', writing in the 'Bairnsdale Advertiser' dated 24/10/1895, stated there that the Haunted Stream was named because of the murder of Ballarat Harry on its Headwaters."
When word came that the TICHBORNE's were looking for an heir, William told his family they would never find him. He then went on to tell them the story of how he came to the colony in the company of Roger TICHBORNE, travelled with him through Gippsland and buried him on the banks of Livingstone Creek after he had been murdered by blacks. Interestingly the headwaters of Livingstone Creek flow from the same ridge but in the opposite direction to the headwaters of Haunted Stream. Also, perhaps coincidentally, William claimed to have been born in Stirling, Scotland and the township of Haunted Stream later became known as Stirling.
Although ARMSTRONG claimed that TOKE had murdered Ballarat Harry, no body was ever found and nobody was ever charged with the murder. Neither fact is too surprising given the remoteness of the area and the fact that little if any formal law enforcement was established. As with most gold rushes, the miners tended to arrive long before any police force or constabulary were entrenched on the fields.
So the question arises - was Ballarat Harry really Roger TICHBORNE or were both men separate people who met similar ends in the same area. It is easy for facts of this type to become obscured with time. There is of course one other possibility which has been canvassed by Mick BANFIELD, and that is; was William's emphatic statement that TICHBORNE would never be found due to the fact that he had buried him or because he was in fact Roger TICHBORNE and buried only the name on the banks of Livingstone Creek? The question was partly answered in an article by Jack LONEY published in the Geelong Advertiser on Saturday, April 13, 1991.
SOME OF THE ANSWERS
"Victoria has been home for the white man for less than 200 years, but already most of its early pioneers have been forgotten, many aspects of its heritage clouded by doubt, and romantiicsts have created fictional stories often loosely based around historical fact, now believed to be true.
Thus, in the maritime field we have highly imaginative versions of Benito the pirate's treasure at Queenscliff, vague tales of the mysterious Mahogany Ship near Warnambool, and the lesser known association of the wreck of the schooner Osprey at Lorne in 1854 with the famous Roger TICHBORNE, heir to the TICHBORNE fortune, whose disappearance gave rise to one of the most colorful law suits in English history.
Henrietta Lady TICHBORNE, a rich elderly widow had doted on her son Roger from his birth, and as he passed from babyhood to boyhood, into youth he became progressively more irritated by his mother's well-intentioned but often imprudent attitude, avoiding her more and more as he grew older so that their encounters became occasional and brief.
In 1854 at the age of 25, Roger set out to roam the world to escape his mother's attention, and apparently disappeared at sea in the ship La Bella, the only clue to his last moments being a vague rumour that he may have been with a group of survivors from the ship, picked up by a ship named Osprey, possibly bound for Australia. Several vessels of that name arrived at Australian ports during 1854, but no report of wreck survivors on board them appeared in the press or was published in official documents.
When word of Roger's disappearance reached England Lady TICHBORNE's grief was almost overwhelming, nor did it diminish with time. She declined to accept the fact of Roger's death, and nourished a hope - which soon became a firm belief, that he was still alive.
She inquired after him from every sailor she met and had her gardens lit every night with Chinese lanterns in expectation of his unannounced return. Then, about a decade after he disappeared
she commenced advertising for information about Roger in countries around the world, and offered a large reward to anyone able to assist.
At Wagga Wagga in southwestern New South Wales an obese 25 stone giant named Arthur ORTON, originally a slaughterman from Wapping in the British Isles, who had been in Australia for about 13 years, answered her advertisement, claiming to be her long lost son.
Roger had been refined and well educated, but ORTON, who had drifted around the world and followed several gold rushes in Australia, was almost illiterate. Somehow he obtained sufficient money to enable him to return to England to meet Lady TICHBORNE.
Roger had been of trim and slender build but Lady TICHBORNE accepted the imposter as her son, although he refused to talk to her about his life abroad and seemed rather hazy when asked to recall lfe as a child. As far as Lady TICHBORNE was concerned the TICHBORNE heir was home and she immediately arranged for him to receive an annual allowance of 1000 pounds, a considerable sum in those days. However, not everyone accepted him. Roger's former fiancee openly denounced him and so did his closest friend and executor of his will.
But many were swayed by Lady TICHBORNE's confidence, and so old servants, old acquaintances and old tenants on the estate, somewhat bemused and bewildered after so many years joined in supporting his claim, and public recognition gathered strength.
ORTON, spurred on by the success of his deception commenced Chancery proceedings to displace the current holder of the TICHBORNE title, and to establish himself by legal order in his stead.
After Lady TICHBORNE died in 1868, ORTON brought an action in 1871 to recover estates. The court case dragged on over many months and after several lawyers had exposed him as a fraud, the case was dismissed and he was charged with perjury.
His trial began in April 1873 and in February of the following year he was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years penal servitude. Ten years later he was released and eventually published a full confession of his deception in a London newspaper in April 1895. Three years later Arthur ORTON was dead.
And now we discover how easily legend and hearsay often becomes accepted as fact, and time aggravates and accentuates the mystery.
On June 18, 1854, the year that Roger TICHBORNE disappeared, the three master schooner Osprey was driven ashore and wrecked without loss of life near the mouth of the Erskine River at Loutit Bay, known today as Lorne. She had been built at Bristol, England, in 1834 and after arriving in Australia in 1843 was registered first at Hobart Town, then Melbourne, Sydney and finally at Geelong in 1853 where she was placed in the timber trade to the Otways.
It is significant that although the Osprey had not ventured beyond Australian waters for more than a decade, after she was wrecked, a few with little concern for the truth linked her with TICHBORNE. Although no lives had been lost when the Osprey went ashore others floated the idea that he might lie buried in an unmarked grave in the sandhills of Loutit Bay.
The beach at Lorne has been the graveyard of several ships, and for years, when their remains were regularly uncovered by rough seas, some with only a smattering of Victorian maritime history linked the wreckage with the Osprey and Roger TICHBORNE.
As recently as 1959 this possiblity was represented in an article which appeared in the Victorian Educational Magazine.
Now, after almost a century and a half the mists of time which rolled in and obscured the facts have been swept away, and it is certain that the Osprey, wrecked at Lorne had no links with Roger TICHBORNE. However, the mystery of his disappearance at sea remains."
And so it seems that if William STUART had been born circa 1839, he must therefore have been about 10 years younger than Roger TICHBORNE who was born circa 1829. It is still a possibility, however, that William and Roger did come to the colonies aboard the same ship and that they travelled together for a while. There was some suggestion that for ORTON to have had any chance of carrying out his hoax he must have known the real TICHBORNE and may in fact have met him on the goldfields.(Endnote [i])
THE BRIGHT YEARS
By the early 1860's the goldfields around Bright were as busy as any in Victoria and were also as wild and difficult a place to live. In December, 1860 the following letter was published in The Advertiser -
' I found the Morses Creek boys here as I expected, but they have done little yet. I am now on a claim adjoining Park's, but I have got no prospects yet...It is a hard place to do anything when a man has no money, for it is next to impossible to get a job; and grub has to be packed 27 miles. It is a bad old place. I think I will come to Morses Creek about New Years Day if I can; but I don't want to lose too much by coming here. J.H.S.'
Again the pattern followed on alluvial diggings elsewhere was to be repeated here. The alluvial and race miners were soon to be replaced by those who had the capital to import and run the crushing batteries essential to extract the gold from the local quartz. With that capital came the money and expertise to construct true towns. The twin settlements of Growlers Creek and Morses Creek were no exception and they began a period of rapid growth, "with storekeepers and publicans providing amenities a little in advance of the needs of the population. There was some confusion at times as to the locations being described: the administrative and commercial area of Morses Creek was at the junction of the Ovens River and Morses Creek. The settlement in the vicinity of Bells Gully and Dunphy's Hill also was called Morses Creek, but this area later became part of the townships of Growlers Creek and later again of Wandiligong."
By 1861 the population in the Buckland Division was 3170 of which 1600 were Chinese. In 1862 this had grown to 3970, including 3000 most of whom were working the alluvial diggins on th Buckland.
One measurement of civilisation is the number of hotels in a town and there were several built and flourishing by 1860. One of these was the Royal Hotel on Growlers Creek which was advertised by Mr. A. ROY in October 1860, "but then another canny Scott, Alexander Steele CATHCART, came upon the scene. There is some mystery as to the part taken by ROY and how SMALLWOOD lost possession of his 'Big Folly': perhaps he got himself into debt completing the large building. He was reluctant to allow CATHCART assisted by Mr. KINCAID, to take over in August 1861, but he got no sympathy from The Advertiser.
Alexander Steele CATHCART's grandson was later to marry a granddaughter of William STUART and Maria EDWARDS, and it is probable that he and William were at least acquaintances during those years.
In September of 1861 CATHCART hosted a grand opening ball at the Royal Hotel. "His grand advertisement for the opening enticed the ladies of the district to attend with assurances that without their presence,
'the best decorated ballroom becomes a blank, the sweetest music falls listless on the ear and the rarest viands on the supper table lose their zest and flavour.'
Rumour had it that in anticipation of the event one enterprising lady chartered Nye and Hooper's mail coach to bring dressmakers from Beechworth. Dancing pumps and light vests were said to have doubled in value and every yard available of crinoline had been acquired for the occasion. It was further alleged that the supply of crinoline was so short of demand that,
'some parties on the creek have set watch on their water butts, as they are afraid of the hoops being clandestinely removed and converted into expanding, instead of contracting purposes for which they were originally designed.'"
In 1862 T.H. DUNCAN and John DARBYSHIRE surveyed the settlement of Morses Creek and it became the Township of Bright in August of that year much to the chagrin of some of the locals as evidenced by Lewis KINCHELA in a letter to The Advertiser -
"It has been rumoured here today that the township was gazetted...we have not been forgotten by a beneficient government in a far more important matter; they have been and christened us! And what, in the name of all that's ridiculous do you think our new name is to be? Bright! Instead of Morses Creek, we are henceforth to call this place 'Bright'; we shall expect next to hear of Growlers Creek being christened 'Brighter' and the Buckland 'Brightest'."
The summer of 1863 was a long hot one and as late as "March the sluicers and mill owners were complaining about the dry season and the lack of water for mining. The rains finally came in May, enabling the mills to start crushing after a long term of idleness, and then there was an abundance of water; Wallace's dam on Morses Creek was washed away and all the alluvial claims at Bright were flooded...There was another dry summer in 1864/65, when little rain fell from November to March, by which time there was little feed for livestock. The weather was very hot and oppresive, with bushfires in the hills around Bright."
"Late in 1864 a severe attack of deep lead fever struck the Bright goldfield; in February 1865 there was a report of four engines and pumping plant being carted to Growlers Creek from the Indigo Division. The fever soon was so severe that some said that all alluvial ground was registered beyond Harrietville as far as Mrs. MORELL's shanty at Mt. Freezeout on the Dargo Track. That was admitted to be a slight exaggeration, but by mid-1865 all of the Ovens from Brady's station at Porepunkah for 24 miles up to Harrietville was pegged."
Alexander CATHCART continued to prosper and sold the Royal Hotel to R.P. (Big Dick) JONES in June of 1865. In August of that year CATHCART and MCBRIDE paid 450 pounds for the Alpine Hotel which they bought from James SPALDING who only a year previously had bought it for less than half that amount. "In November 1868 Alex CATHCART, who had the building shifted and reerected in Bright, put on an opening ball and supper, hiring a brass band for the occasion."
In 1865, William and Maria's first child Alice was born. In 1866 they had a son William Thomas who died as an infant and then in 1868 another son was born whom they also named William Thomas.
In 1869 disease swept the district. "...the newspaper said in July that there had been more interments in the past six months than in the previous two years. Most of the deaths occurred among the children and scarlet fever and whooping cough were the prevalent diseases. A very sad case was quoted of Mr. J. ARMSTRONG who lost a child early in the year through poison administered in mistake by a nurse. In July he returned from the funeral of his second child only to find his third, and last remaining, child expiring...Early in 1871 diptheria struck; at Freeburgh one victim was the mother of six children. A plaque on the hillside of Freeburgh commemorates the decimation of the DIBBIN family about this time. In the following year the SMITH family of Boggy Creek lost six of their seven children from the disease."
It seems that both the STUART and LUND families escaped these times largely unscathed. They had survived the decade of the sixties and watched the frontier mining settlement grow to a "...well established community that had stood the tests of mining speculation, the great losses of the deep lead failure, and the investments, profits and false hopes of the numerous reefs in the hills. By 1869, with family homes established, orchards and flowers planted and many children born, Bright and Growlers Creek had become home. Many who had come seeking a quick fortune and a fare home to the old country now made their commitment to their new country, and were content to see their children grow and prosper as Australians...The commitment often came after great hardship and sacrifice, with losses of loved ones and children to diseases that could not be fought. Women found the climate harsh, and the life of a miner was dangerous and difficult. Despite these things there was a positive spirit in the community."
Over the next nineteen years William and Maria had eight more children -
Amy Bruce born 1870 Growlers Creek
Joseph born 1876 Morses Creek
John born 17 January, 1878 Shire of Bright
Mary born 9 August, 1879 Buckland
James born 1881 Buckland
Agnes Maria born 1883
Charles Gordon born 1885
Ellen Elizabeth born 1889 Shire of Bright
The gold mines of Bright were never again to reach the heights of production of the 1860's. "There were no more treasure troves such as the Elgin, and the large orebodies of the Oriental and Pioneer were about worked out, but there was still gold for the energetic and the enterprising men who continued to search for it and mine it."
OVER THE MOUNTAINS
Some time between 1889 and 1895, William retraced his steps back across the ranges and returned to the Tambo Valley where numerous small mining communities had sprung up. The motivation for the move was probably that he went where the work was. In the 1890's the large mines in the valleys around Omeo were in full production.
By 1870 on that side of the ranges, the alluvial mines were all but finished, but fortunately for the settlements in the Tambo Valley 21 quartz leases had been applied for by 1866 and by 1870 Tongio West had followed the pattern at Bright and could be called a town, consisting of numerous houses, at least two hotels, one of which was two storeys, and a bakery. The first Post Office opened in 1889.
Cassilis a few short kilometres up the valley was officially called a town in 1889. On a map dated 1895 are shetched the locations and owners of the houses at Cassilis. One toward the northern end of the town is marked STUART and I believe this was the home of William and Maria (see Figure 8).
As with Bright the townships of Long Gully also sufferred from outbreaks of disease with many small children dying as a reult of typhoid in 1894. "Poor sanitation in almost all of the early towns caused them to suffer periodically from outbreaks of scarlet fever and typhoid. With most people living close to streams, and all toilets being either the pit type or the pan closet, there was inevitably some seepage into the streams. In a dry time, when some people needed to augment their household water supplies with creek water, from creeks which could be reduced to water holes, was when the trouble flared up. The Omeo Standard of May 1895, reported five deaths from diptheria at Swift's Creek, three from the CLARKE family, and two from the MCLEODS, and a week later, one death at Nugong."
FAIRWEATHER describes several incidents in which 'Mrs. STEWART' features as a nurse. Mick BANFIELD assures me that this was in fact her Grandmother Maria.
"The twin towns were dependent on the doctor from Omeo for care in cases of serious illness, but two local women acted as midwives and general nurses for lesser complaints. The fact that Mrs. WARD rode her pony around her rabbit traps did not mean that she was any less efficient in her care of the sick. Mrs. STEWART was the other lady who could be seen doing the rounds of her patients in good weather or bad. At night time, often in the wet, she rode with a lantern slung on each side of her pony. She had a very fine record, for she seldom lost a patient. She kept a boarding house until it was burned down on 30/11/1897. Those two women did a wonderful work, being available at all times, and acquiring a knowledge and skill to cover most occasions. Those were the days when most babies were born at home, with the assistance of the midwife. However, difficult births took a tragic toll of young life, with early cemeteries bearing mute testimony to the young mothers who died in childbirth, and to the deaths of very young children. While the midwives were at times blamed for some deaths, it must be remembered that hospitals of the day had a record only slightly better."
Death was commonplace on the minefields and Maria STUART was often called upon to lend assistance where possible.
In 1887 the Warden Gold Mining Company was formed and over the ensuing years experienced the usual ups and downs of the goldfields. "The company had one very great disadvantage, and looking back with hindsight, it is hard to understand that no effort was made to correct the position. The mine was over a high ridge to the east of Cassilis, while the battery was at the mouth of the gully which headed on the opposite side of the ridge. To get the ore to the battery, it was sleighed up the hill to the top of the ridge, then tipped down a chute into the gully head, from where it was carted in drays to the battery. That may sound simple but the hill up which the ore had to be sleighed was so steep that the horses could only go a few yards at a time, and then spelled, which made it a very slow job. Then the chute down which the stone was tipped was made of wood, which in the summer time opened up in large cracks, through which some of the gold would surely have been lost."
William STUART's health failed and he moved to Bairnsdale to live with his daughter Alice and her husband James DAVIDSON where he died on 24 October, 1901. I don't know if Maria moved with her husband at this time but certainly by 1903 she was back in Cassilis where she continued her nursing.
"In March of 1903, a fifteen-year-old lad by the name of Richard CONNUP was employed at the battery, doing oiling and other light jobs. It so happened that other staff were out of the engine room for a short time, when they suddenly heard a regular thumping noise, not usually heard at the plant. Thinking that some part of the machinery had broken loose, they hurried inside, ready to close the plant down. They were horrified to find young CONNUP going around and around on the overhead shafting, the thumping they heard had been his legs hitting the roof as he went over the top. The machinery was stopped and the lad lowered to the floor. What assistance could be given to him was given, and he was taken to Mrs. STEWART's, while the doctor was called form Omeo. When he arrived, he did what he could for the boy, but his legs were badly knocked about. Though in great pain, and suffering from shock, he bore up well, seeming to make some recovery. But on the third day his condition deteriorated, and he passed away."
Maria had watched several of her children marry in that isolated valley and presumably had been the attending midwife at the births of several of her grandchildren. But life was not without tragedy. FAIRWEATHER tells the story of William NAYLOR, husband of Agnes Maria STUART, who died on 23 March, 1907, aged only 31 years and leaving his wife and four small children behind.
Mining is a dangerous job, even more so a century ago than it is today, and accidents were common. "Miners were trained to handle explosives in a safe manner, but it was one thing to train them, and another thing to be certain that they observed due precautions. A miner by name of NAYLOR made a practice of clamping the detonator onto the fuse with his teeth, ignoring regulations, and the special crimping tool always provided for that job. The day surely came, when a detonator exploded in his mouth, blowing the top off his head, and injuring his mate. The detonators of the time contained fulminate of mercury, which needed to be handled very carefully. Should it become damp, it became much more dangerous, and could explode at only a slight knock. For this reason they were usually packed in sawdust, to keep the damp from affecting the explosive."
FAIRWEATHER writes of yet another accident where Maria was called upon -
" Another accident happened in the mine when a lad was taken on to truck stone out. Nicknamed Pills, because he had for a time worked in the chemist's shop, he was not enamoured with his new job. He didib't like work underground, and especially so as he started the job on night shift. Some took this to mean that he thought that it would not be so dark in the mine on day shift, but it could merely have been that he just did not like going to work in the dark.
To fill the truck, it was necessary to position it under a chute, with a trap door which, when opened, allowed the stone to run down into the truck. It was quite a stretch across the truck, to reach the door of the chute, and the lad none too energetic. As he leaned across, a large stone came down the rise above the door, breaking it open, and sending a stream of stone into the truck. It came so fast that he did not have time to pull back, and some of the stone caught his private parts against the top of the truck. His cries soon brought two or three men, who removed some stones to release him. They inspected his injuries then debated what they should do with him. It was considered too far to take him to Omeo, so they decided to take him down to Mrs STEWART, the local midwife, and general nurse, who was called upon to care for all sorts of sickness and injury. So down to Mrs. STEWART he went, to have his wounds dressed and bandaged. One might be permitted to wonder how the knid souls who took him down described his injuries to the good lady, or did they just push him through the door and hurriedly depart, leaving him to make his own explanation of the nature of his injuries. The lad was the centre of many jokes for weeks afterwards, as the hard cases of the town enquired after his welfare in the most intimate manner."
By the time of the First Wprld War most of the gold had already been taken from the mines of Long Gully and in 1916 the Cassilis Mine finally closed. The gradual exodus of people from the town increased, because without the mines there was nothing to hold the people in the valley.
"Some small time mining did continue, but even that gradually faded out. The dredge worked in Swift's Creek until 1924, providing work for a few men, but for Cassilis and Tongio West, the golden life blood had ceased to flow. WINTER's store closed at the beginning of 1927, when an auction sale of the remaining stock and of all the buildings was held. The only two business houses left in Cassilis were DUNNIN's wine saloon and LOWES store, which at that time, 1927, housed the post office."
The STUART family joined the exodus and it was then that the family began to scatter and lose contact. Some moved across the Tasman to New Zealand perhaps having inherited the wanderlust of William STUART. Descendants of that branch now also live in the United States. Others recrossed the ranges to the Bright region and some to Queensland. Most however, found their way to Melbourne, and it was there on 7 July, 1919 at 53 Cardigan Street, Carlton, where Maria died aged 71 years.
[i].The Tichborne Heritage
"Way back in the 13th Century, the aged Lady Mabella TICHBORNE pleaded with her husband for money or land that might be used for an annual charity to the poor of the village. He cruelly granted her just as much land as she could encompass carrying a lighted torch - this to a lady partly crippled and on her death-bed!
To his chagrin, and everyone's amazement, she crawled around a field of 23 acres. Her final words on this subject were devastating. Should her bequest be discontinued, then would seven sons be born, followed immediately by seven daughters. Thus would this branch of the family die out; and, for good measure, the house itself would fall down.
'The Tichborne Dole' was maintained until 1794, and then it ceased. Slowly but surely the strange prophecy came true in all respects. The house had to be restored; there were seven daughters and no son. Thus it was that the Hampshire estate passed to the TICHBORNE's of Frimley. The 'Dole' was quickly resumed.
Close to the house, and beside the road between Alresford and Cheriton is a large field. It is known as 'The Crawls".
The Church is of an even earlier date. It is on a hilltop with splendid views, and is unusual in that it is shared by the Roman Catholic and the Established Church. The family have remained constant to Roman Catholicism. Two brothers, Nicholas and Thomas TICHBORNE were martyredat Tyburn in the reign of Elizabeth I.
There is a charming memorial of 1619 to little Richard TICHBORNE, aged 18 months. It is said that a gipsy woman cursed the child when she was refused food at the house - foretelling that he would drown on a certain day. In spite of the servants being ordered to keep well away from the river, in an unguarded moment Richard fell from his carriage and was drowned in a puddle.
The Frimley descent came from Sir John WHITE of Aldershot, who was granted his Manor by Queen Mary TUDOR. His grand-daughters, Helen and Mary, both married into the TICHBORNE family. Sir Walter, Mary's husband, succeeded to the Frimley estate in 1602."(DABNER, Ralph; Root and Branch, West Surrey Family History Society, Vol. 13 no. 1, Summer, 1986, p.15-16)