Of the five families which are the subject of this study, the Thompson family are the most difficult to trace to their early origins, except to say that they probably originated in Scotland; but the name Thomson (without the p) is the fourth most common surname in Scotland and is among the most common surnames in England. The addition of the p at least locates the family in England or Northern Ireland (where three quarters of the Irish Thompsons live). The name, meaning, of course, son of Thomas, is the same as the southern Irish MacThamais, or the Scottish McTavish or McCavish. These names are so common in Scotland and Ireland, as is the name Thompson, that it is extremely difficult to discover which of the Thompsons in Northern Ireland belong to our particular family. Thompsons exist in the thousands in Belfast, and more particularly in the small town of Lurgan, on the road from Belfast to Armagh.
The first record of a Thompson was John Thompson, in Scotland, in 1318. There was a John Thompson connected with the Abbey of Whitby in 1375, and a John Thompson, Scot, on the Plea and Memorial Rolls of the City of London in 1375. Unlike families that have names that can be traced back to a particular place, such as Hamer, or those that can be traced to a particular historical person, such as Cheney, it is not possible to say that the family had only one source; there must have been thousands of Thomases whose sons took the surname Thompson.
It was in the southern part of the County of Armagh in Northern Ireland, that our particular family lived. James Thompson was born at Newtown Hamilton about 1803, and his wife Jane, also born a Thompson (giving further proof of how common the name was in those parts), came from that district as well, although it has not been established where she was born in about 1804. Newtown Hamilton (sometimes spelt as one word without the capital H) is on the Tullyvallen River in the Fews Mountains about ten miles south of the city of Armagh and scarcely two miles from the border of County Monaghan which is part of Eire. It was settled in 1770 by a Scotsman named Hamilton who was given the task of bringing in Scottish immigrants to build up the Protestant population who would be loyal to the English throne. Most of the Scots who settled in Newtown Hamilton, however, had already been living in County Down, especially the area east of Downpatrick and on part of the Ards Peninsula. James I and his son Charles I had begun the conquest of Ireland and the unification of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, but it was Cromwell who had firmly established English rule in both Scotland and Ireland in 1650 and 1651. Scots were given representation in the English parliament (while continuing their own Scottish parliament), but not the Irish who were beyond the pale both literally and figuratively; the Pale being that part of eastern Ireland where the English had already established firm control. Some of the Irish led by Hugh O'Neill had resisted English rule but these rebels were expelled by 1607. Some Irish landlords were restored in 1660, provided that they gave allegiance to England.
The Fews Mountain area had remained a wild and unsubdued region with legendary history going back to the children of Lir and Cuchulain, legendary Irish rulers of earlier times. The Palace of Lur was said to have been on White Hill near Newtown Hamilton. The Restoration of Charles II in 1660 brought a temporary end to the firm union of Ireland with England that Cromwell had established. The Protestants of Northern Ireland were then left to fend for themselves, although the Protestant landlords whom Cromwell had established retained their power, and they were supported by the solid block of Scottish and English settlers whom Cromwell had brought in. When James II tried to restore the Irish landlords the Bloodless Revolution of 1688 replaced him with William of Orange and James's sister Mary. The Protestants resisted attacks from the Irish Catholics, their most famous battles being the siege of Londonderry in 1689 and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This was only partly a local quarrel between the native Irish and the immigrant English and Scots; it was also a defence of the Protestant regime in England; but the bitterness has remained ever since. The Protestants, with the might of England behind them, were the victors, and the Catholics were subjected to persecution and tyranny for many generations to come, and the English authorities were powerless to protect them, as they have been fairly impotent in recent times in keeping the warring factions apart.
Because they did not want any Irish competition in the market for cloth and cattle, the English in fact extended their subjection of Irish Catholics to Irish Protestants as well. That is when Irish emigration began - first to America; Catholics and Protestants began to leave in droves in order to escape English persecution of both an economic and a religious nature. These migrants once settled in America provided an important motivation for the War of American Independence in 1775 - 8. In Northern Ireland itself it was the Protestants who led the resistance against England at the same time. They demanded trade opportunities and a more democratic parliament and an end to religious restrictions. As part of the programme to subdue the Irish and at the same time to placate the Scots who were making similar demands in Scotland, further settlers were brought across from Scotland. A number of new towns were set up in previously uninhabited bogs and wastelands, still bearing names such as Newtown Hamilton and Newtown Butler. Farmers were established, leasing land from Hamilton, but the soil was shallow over the basalt and slate, and the struggle for existence was harsh. The smelting of iron was carried on in Newtown Hamilton. The town, however, had first been set up for quartering police and military personnel in barracks.1
The population of Newtown Hamilton is only about 600. This part of Armagh in recent times, being close to the border, has been very much IRA country. The town until recently, when peace negotiations have begun, was permanently guarded by barbed wire and British soldiers and, to go in, one had to have one's car searched. Unfortunately, this sectarian bitterness was often exported with emigrants to America and Australia. Joseph Furphy, the son of Methodist immigrants from Armagh to Victoria in 1841, says in his novel Such Is Life:2"When Australia was first colonised, any sensible man might have foreboded sorrel, cockspur, Scotch thistle, &c, as unwelcome, but unavoidable, adjuncts of settlement. A many-wintered sage might have predicted that some colonist, in a fit of criminal folly, would scourge the country with a legacy of foxes, rabbits, sparrows, &c.3But a second and clearer-sighted Jeremiah could never have prophesied the deliberate introduction of hydrophobia for dogs, glanders for horses, or Orangeism for men. Yet the latter enterprise has been carried out - whether by John Smith or John Beelzebub, by the Rev Jones or the Rev Belphegar, it matters not now. Someone has carried this congenial virus half-way round the globe, and tainted a young nation." 4
Irish farms were small and often boggy; farmhouses were one- or two-roomed dwellings of basalt, from which the houses around Newtown Hamilton are still built. This at least created a demand for stonemasons (an occupation followed by some members of the Loudon family, an off-shoot of the Thompsons). The floors in the houses were of earth and the roofs of thatch, with an outshot (or cailleach) to provide room for a bed, curtained off. Often the outshot was built over a byre where the cows were kept, helping to provide warmth for the house.
Poverty and the still pervading religious strife would have persuaded our ancestors to migrate to Australia about the middle of the nineteenth century. Rotten potatoes from 1845 to 1847 would have precipitated the move. Imagine the dismay of people who got up one morning to find that virtually their only supply of food - potatoes - had disappeared overnight with potato blight.
It is known from local records that William Loudon, the father of James and Samuel Loudon (or Lowden), two of our immigrant ancestors, leased 17( acres in the townland of Camly Macullagh, Newtown Hamilton, but it has not been possible to identify any holdings of the Thompsons. A farm of 17 ( acres, especially if they were Irish Plantation acres, was one that would not have kept the family in utter poverty. However, the Devon Report5indicates that there was much poverty and bitterness in Newtown Hamilton. There had in fact been a couple of murders there in 1841 arising from the conflict between landlord and tenant. A landowner named William Quin gave evidence to the Devon Commission set up to enquire into poverty in Ireland that his agent named Powell, who lived half a mile south of Newtown Hamilton, had been murdered by some farmers who feared eviction when Quin commenced drainage operations that would reduce the size of farms or even lead to some tenants' being dispossessed. This situation meant that it was very difficult to make improvements since the tenants resisted fiercely.
The Presbyterian ministers in Newtown Hamilton in 1843, the Reverends John West and Daniel Gun Brown, also gave evidence to the Devon Commission, in the course of which they told of a second murder in the district: a Mr McCreish acquired a piece of land from a neighbour in order to make a straight mearing (boundary), dispossessing the tenant in the process. He was attacked by a party as he was coming from Crossmaglin (sic) and was killed by being stabbed in the heart. There was no conviction of the murderer but it was thought that the same people were responsible who were convicted and hung for the murder of Powell. If the Hamers were escaping typhus in Bolton and the Peacocks were getting away from Chartist riots in Bradford, the Thompsons and Loudons also had good reason for leaving Newtown Hamilton.
The Reverends West and Brown gave several insights into the contemporary condition of Newtown Hamilton. There was a custom peculiar to that district by which farmers financed the buying of seed by buying meal from mealmongers at £1 (by what measure is not stated, but probably a bushel) and then selling it again for 12 or 14 shillings either back to the mealmonger or at the Newtown Hamilton market. The mealmonger also took back his seed at harvest, when the farmer might find himself losing most or all of his crop to the middleman for rent and rates, as well as paying what he owed to the mealmonger. The Presbyterian ministers said that Newtown Hamilton people were becoming poorer over the previous ten years, and were looking shabbier at worship. Labourers were even worse off than farmers, earning ninepence a day and having to find their own board, with no work available in winter. On the other hand, they reported that Lord Templeton, who owned the land between Armagh and Monaghan, allowed tenants more than £8 for drainage as well as the rights to slate and timber on their farms, and allowed them to build decent homes. Some of his tenants had 20 acres and more, and he paid the tithe, cess and draining costs. Mr Brown gave evidence before a further enquiry in 1852, and he also worked with Catholic priests and others in the Tenant Right Movement (thus earning the hostility of part of his congregation, but the opposition may have been due not so much to sectarianism as to the fact that the central leadership of this movement was seen as corrupt). Tenant right was the payment of a sum to the tenant when he was evicted if his farm was sold. However, this Ulster Custom, as it was called, was not given the force of law until Gladstone's Land Act of 1870; and fair rents were not obtained until the Second Land Act of 1881.
A further witness to the Devon Commission at Newtown Hamilton, Mr David Craig, a farmer with 40 acres (Irish Plantation measure), "in the parish of Newtown hamilton, the townland of Camly Macullagh, in the barony of Upper Fews, in the county of Armagh", reported that his landlord, the Earl of Gosford, drained 25 acres of the mountain land; but he complained that many small farmers were not told the rent until they went to pay it. He reported that he grew oats as well as Irish hayseed and rye grass (presumably for pasture), and used lime (that had to be brought in from Armagh or Dundalk) and animal manure as fertilisers.
The first of our Thompsons to venture forth was Agnes, also known as Nancy [JT23]. She had married Robert Flanagan in about 1848, when she was twenty years of age and he was thirty, and, after a short time at Greenock, in Scotland, they embarked for Australia. Large numbers of Irish people went across to Greenock looking for work in the shipbuilding yards there; but Robert and Agnes apparently were unable to find secure jobs. The local doctor in 1772 had described Greenock as "notoriously the dirtiest town in the west of Scotland." He went on to describe the living conditions: "The great proportion of the dwellings of the poor are situated in very narrow and confined closes or alleys leading from the main streets; these closes end generally in a cul-de-sac, and have little ventilation, the space between the houses being so narrow as to exclude the action of the sun on the ground. I might almost say that there are no drains in any of these closes, for where I have noticed sewers, they are in such a filthy and obstructed state, that they create more nuisance than if they never existed. In those closes where there is no dunghill, the excrementitious and other offensive matter is thrown into the gutter before the door, or carried out and put into the street. There are no back courts to the houses, but in nearly every close there is a dunghill, seldom or never covered in; few of these are cleaned out above once or twice a year; most of them are only emptied when they can hold no more: to some of these privies are attached, and one privy serves a whole neighbourhood." The account continues: "Like other towns in Scotland, Greenock has a large pauper population; the great bulk of these (I would say three-fourths) are natives of other places, having come here in search of employment, and from destitution, disease, and other causes, have been thrown a burden on the community... There are many who, though not claimants for public relief, suffer much, especially during winter, from want of food and fuel.... Typhus fever last winter carried off many heads of families and left their children destitute.” 6
There was a Royal Commission set up to examine the Scottish Poor Law in 1843; indicating that the problem had persisted into the 1840s when Robert and Agnes Flanagan tried their luck in Greenock. They wisely sought the alternative of migration to Australia. They arrived in Sydney on the Lady Peel on July 3, 1849. Their eldest daughter Jinnie [JT21] was born on the ship on the way out. Robert's Death Certificate says they were married in Greenock, Scotland, but Agnes's Death Certificate says simply "Ireland." The informant for the registration of the deaths in both cases was their daughter Margaret [JT23]. One would not expect her to be so specific in naming a town in Scotland if she had not clearly understood that this was what she had been told, no doubt by her mother. When she came to register the death of her mother twelve years after that of her father she had either forgotten or, having by that time lost her own husband and re-married, she was so bowed down by the cares of the world that she did not bother to take enough trouble; or perhaps her mother had put her right after the death of her father. Since all the Thompsons who had by now joined her on the Campbell's River were from Northern Ireland, perhaps it was easy to forget that her mother had been married in Scotland; but we cannot be sure where they married without actually seeing the record in the Marriage Register. Certainly the name Flanagan was Irish, not Scottish, and the Shipping Record indicates that Robert was born at Newtown Hamilton, even though this is contradicted by his Death Certificate. Perhaps Robert went first and Agnes joined him later and they were married there. We have no knowledge of what length of time they spent there, but the fact that their first child was born on the ship coming to Australia perhaps suggests that they had not long been married, and this would tend to favour Greenock as their place of marriage.
There are further discrepancies: Agnes's Death Certificate says she was 67 years of age when she died in 1895, which means that she was born in about 1828. One would expect the Shipping Record to be correct (although errors appear in other cases in our history), since Agnes herself would have provided the information. If, as the Shipping Record states, she was 23 on arrival in Sydney in 1849, then she was born in about 1826. Again, the only means of being certain is to check the record of birth back in Ireland, and this has not been done. Her mother, Jane Thompson, if the information on her mother's Death Certificate is reliable, was born about 1804. She had one older daughter Mary [JT1] whose birth date is not known but could have been as early as 1823, since she was married in 1841. The next child after Agnes was born in 1830. This gives considerable spacing between the first three children. The Shipping Record indicates that both Robert and Agnes Flanagan were born in Newtown Hamilton and that both were Presbyterians. However, Robert's Death Certificate, particulars for which were given by his daughter Margaret Gordon [JT23], one would expect at the direction of her mother, says that he was born at Monaghan, in the adjoining county. In the Shipping Record, his age is given as 30 and his occupation as that of ploughman. The occupation was probably given on advice that such a skill would be in demand in New South Wales. His parents were listed as Robert and Catherine Flanagan, both dead. Neither of them had any relatives in the colony. A tradition in one branch of the family says that they first went to a property called "Quandong" at Campbelltown where Agnes was employed as a servant. This tradition also associates them with "Parkhall" which was the mansion which Surveyor-General (by now) Colonel Sir Thomas Mitchell built for himself at East Bargo in 1842. The place still stands and is a monastery for the Society of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and is called "St Mary's". It has not been possible to verify the notion that Robert and Agnes Flanagan went first to Campbelltown or East Bargo, but it is an intriguing possibility, as we shall see when we come to look at the arrival of Agnes's brother-in-law, Samuel Lowden [JT1], who spent some time as a farmer at Bargo around 1859, when the birth of his son Thomas Loudon [JT14] was registered there. However, by that time the Flanagans were at Bathurst; their second daughter Mary [JT22] was born there on September 4, 1852. If the Flanagans had recommended Samuel Lowden to go to the Campbelltown district it was well after they themselves had moved on, if they were ever there. Evidence from Samuel's letters7 seems to indicate he did not know the Flanagans very well and therefore it is unlikely that he went to Bargo on their recommendation.
The Flanagans settled on a property called "Penrose" at the junction of the Campbell's and Macquarie Rivers which was still owned by one of their descendants, Michael Hunt [JT2363], up till 1986. Michael also bought the property on the other side of the Macquarie River originally granted to W C Wentworth for his part in discovering the way over the Blue Mountains. Michael lives on that side and sold the original "Penrose" on the south-western side where the ruins of the original Flanagan home with its convict-made bricks can still be seen. This property had been taken up by Robert Flanagan on February 2, 1869, but it is likely that he was farming it before that, since he was living at Bathurst in 1852 when Mary was born. The land was part of a parcel set aside for the Church of England from here to the Rockley Mountain, not to build churches on but as a source of income for the church. "Evernden", in the district known as Mountain Run towards the southern end of these glebe lands, one of the farming outposts from which the land was worked, was at one time occupied by Robert and Bella Peacock [WP2]. One of the deeds for "Clandulla", Wentworth's property on the north-eastern bank of the Macquarie River bears a Plan dated 1847 which shows the land on the south-western side as "Church land". The Church and School Charter was cancelled in 1837, but it must have taken some time for the government to dispose of the land.
Robert Flanagan bought 1000 acres of land for £1000 at Dunkeld, on Back Swamp Creek (Parish of Malmsbury, Portion 130) in April, 1865, when his address was given as "Campbell's River near Bathurst, farmer." This suggests not only that he had been farming the land set aside for the church for at least four years before he bought it, but also that he had been fairly successful. How long he had been living there has not been established. On March 25, 1870, he leased the Back Swamp Creek property to Matthew Adlam of Mount Pleasant. This gives further evidence that the Flanagans did not live on the larger property - the one at Dunkeld - but continued to reside on the much smaller, but much more valuable, land at "Penrose", which was only 258 acres but was largely river flats. This was still the address given when their daughter Margaret [JT23] married David Gordon on March 26, 1879. The Parish of Malmesbury Map shows two lots adjoining the 1000 acres at Back Swamp Creek, owned originally by Peter Hume (Lots 33 and 59). Robert Flanagan must have bought these as well, since his Will leaves "Hume's Farm at Back Swamp" to his wife Agnes; the 1000 acre property at Back Swamp went to Mary [JT22], who had married Samuel Short Hunt, who later acquired further adjoining blocks Lot 77, 1908; Lot 39, 1914; Lot 136, 1915. The Back Swamp farm became known as "Huntleigh" and was left by Robert Flanagan in his Will to Margaret Hunt and her unmarried sister Jinnie Flanagan [JT21]. By Robert Flanagan's Will "Penrose" passed to his youngest daughter Margaret, whose first husband David Gordon helped farm the property and lived there with his wife and family. After David Gordon died in 1892 Margaret re-married Wat Hunt, S S Hunt's brother. Jinnie Flanagan the eldest daughter [JT21], who did not marry, got £1200. Jinnie died in 1921 and presumably left her share to her sister Margaret Hunt who, in her Will, divided the property equally between her three daughters and her two daughters by her first marriage (whose husbands were by then dead), and bequeathed "Penrose" to her daughter by her second marriage, Margaret De Vere (Bon) Hunt. However, Margaret Hunt [JT23] sold both "Hume's Farm" and "Huntleigh" in 1925, four years before her death. Bon Hunt sold "Penrose" in 1961 to her brother Wally Hunt [JT236], and in 1964 it passed to his son Michael [JT2363] who sold it in 1986.
The parents of Samuel Short Hunt and Wat Hunt lived at Evans Plains. Samuel Short Hunt and Mary lived for much of their lives at Back Swamp. Samuel gained a reputation as a Local Preacher in the Wesleyan Church in the Bathurst Circuit, and was associated in particular with the churches at White Rock, Evans Plains and Queen Charlotte's Vale.
Less than three years after her arrival in NSW Agnes Flanagan no doubt encouraged her parents to emigrate with their remaining children. James Thompson, 49, farm labourer, and his wife, Jane Thompson, 48, and their five other children - Margaret, 22, house servant; Eliza, 19, house servant; Robert, 16, farm servant; James, 13; and Hans, 9 - sailed from Liverpool on the Irene and arrived in Sydney on October 16, 1852. The Shipping Record, besides giving their names and ages, indicates that the parents were both born at Newtown Hamilton; that they belonged to the Church of Scotland; that both could read and write; and that their health was good. Unfortunately, on this occasion there is no column to record whether they had relatives in the colony or we might have learnt the whereabouts of the Flanagans at that time. The Thompsons were assisted migrants; they had paid £15 for the transport of the whole family. Their eldest daughter Mary [JT1] who had married Samuel Lowden back in Newtown Hamilton was dead. It can be assumed that the family went immediately to join the Flanagans at Bathurst, despite speculation that they might still have been at Campbelltown. Listed among the unclaimed letters at Bathurst Post Office in the Bathurst Free Press on October 16, 1852 - the day the Thompsons actually arrived in Sydney - is one for James Thompson. There was another James Thompson at White Rock at a later date; but it seems safe to assume that this was our James Thompson and that the family intended to go immediately to Bathurst.8
From that point on there is an odd gap in the record: nothing further is heard of James Thompson Senior. No record of his death has been discovered in the Registrar-General's Office and there is no headstone bearing his name alongside his wife and the rest of the family in the Bathurst Presbyterian cemetery. The fact that Jane Thompson's unquiet spirit roamed the family home, "Fairview" for more than a century beyond the date of their arrival at Campbell's River perhaps adds an intriguing quality to the mystery of what happened to James Thompson. It can only be assumed that he died shortly after immigration. There are many references to his widow Jane who was fondly recalled by many of the family as Grandma Thompson, and many references also to her surviving children; but her husband James fades out of the story immediately after their arrival in Australia.
It is known that Jane Thompson lived for the rest of her life at "Fairview" on the Campbell's River. Her sons Robert and James were only 16 and 13 when they arrived, but they would have got jobs fairly soon afterwards working for local landowners such as the Streets and the Lees. The gold rush in the Bathurst district was still in full swing and farm labourers were scarce. The daughters, Margaret and Eliza, 22 and 19 respectively, and described as House Servants in the Shipping Record, would have gone into domestic service, an area in which jobs were also plentiful. They would all have had the responsibility of being breadwinners for their mother in those days before Widows' and Old Age pensions. Some members of the family say that Robert Flanagan was at first a carrier with a team of horses and he too would have contributed to the care of his mother-in-law. The Flanagans had such financial success fairly early that one wonders whether Robert had gone gold digging but we have no evidence of this one way or the other. The Thompsons were a close family, probably sharing the same house at first with the Flanagans, and living close to one another after James acquired a house for his mother at "Fairview". After he was married in 1864, Jane's grandson James Loudon and his family lived on part of the Thompson farm down near the river. This also supports the theory that the Thompsons were actually occupying the property before James Thompson bought it in 1869. Robert married a Bathurst girl and was farming at Georges Plains before many years were out but does not seem to have owned a farm. James Thompson Junior [JT6] bought Lots 198, 200 and 201 on the Campbell's River when the church lands were auctioned in 1869. The last two lots were separated from "Penrose" by a road going down to the junction of the Campbell's and Macquarie Rivers, while Lot 198 was off the Bidgeribbin Road which goes down to a ford across the Campbell's River which was the original route from Sydney to Bathurst.9 When James Thompson died intestate in 1888 this property passed to his sister Agnes Flanagan as next-of-kin, and thence to her daughter Margaret Hunt, and was farmed in conjunction with "Penrose". The rammed earth house in which the Thompsons lived on Lot 198 and where Jane Thompson died (called "Fairview") was at various times lived in by branches of the Hunt family, her descendants, who report that it was haunted by the ghost of an old lady in white lace which they took to be the ghost of Jane Thompson. It was last seen in 1971. Jane died on July 4, 1881, at the age of 88 (according to her Death Certificate) after a long illness lasting many years. James, who registered the death, gave her address as well as his own as "Fairview", Lagoon. There is a discrepancy as to her age as between the Shipping Record and the Death Certificate. If she was 48 when she arrived in 1852 then she was born in 1804 and was only 78 when she died in 1881. "Fairview" was closer to White Rock than The Lagoon, but the barrier of the river gave the family a more convenient connection with Lagoon, especially when the river was up. The house was already on the property when James bought it in 1869, but if, like the Flanagans, he was farming the property before he actually bought it, it is possible that he built the house. He was 31 in 1869 and must have already been fairly prosperous, like the Flanagans, in order to have been able to amass the capital required to buy the farm.
JANE THOMPSON'S SISTER, MARY CLUGSTON, arrived in Sydney on the Himalaya on March 3, 1865.10 The Shipping Record shows that she was a native of Newtown Hamilton, that her parents were Robert and Agnes Thompson, both dead, and that her sister Jane Thompson was living on the Campbell's River, Bathurst. She was accompanied by her daughter Jane Hannan, 27, and Jane's four children (Mary, 9, John, 7, William, 4, and Jane, 2). The children were described as natives of Oswego, New York State, USA. Jane is described as foreign, and she is listed under the heading of "Widows and families". From this it can be deduced that Jane had earlier migrated to America and had become an American citizen by marriage; but after her husband had died she had returned to Ireland with the children and now migrated to Australia with them and her mother to join her mother's sister. She later returned to America with the children.11
ROBERT FLANAGAN DIED ON SEPTEMBER 24, 1883, at the age of 65, apparently having been struck by lightning. There was an inquest, a report of which in the Bathurst Times gives the deposition of his son-in-law David Gordon who had married the third daughter Margaret [JT23] in 1879 and lived with the family at "Penrose". David Gordon recounted that on September 24 Robert Flanagan went up the river at about half past one after dinner to mind the cows - the property could not have been adequately fenced as late as 1883; at three o'clock there was a severe thunderstorm and, when Robert Flanagan did not return, David Gordon put on his overcoat and took his father-in-law's overcoat to him. He found him lying on the ground dead. He went home and reported the tragedy; a man named Charles McAllister who was ploughing for Robert Flanagan brought a cart and helped David Gordon take the body back to his home. Dr Cortis who performed the post mortem examination found all Robert Flanagan's organs to be perfectly healthy and could not account for the death. The jury found and the Coroner, Benjamin Lee, recorded on the Death Certificate that Robert Flanagan met his death from natural cause, probably by lightning. His estate was valued at £5452. All his property passed to his wife except for £1200 to each of his daughters to be paid after their mother's death. Agnes Flanagan died twelve years later at "Penrose", on September 30, 1895, of "apoplexy". Like her husband she was buried in the Presbyterian portion of the Bathurst cemetery, the ceremonies being conducted by their friend and pastor, Rev Dr A C Geikie.
Robert Flanagan and James Thompson both had considerable and fairly swift material success, with or without the luck of gold digging; but their families were shadowed by the grief of their early deaths. Some of them also experienced the loneliness of spinsterhood or early widowhood. The Flanagans' eldest daughter Jinnie [JT21] did not marry, and died from cerebral thrombosis at White Rock on August 9, 1921. Her Death Certificate says she was 70 years of age but, in view of the fact that she was born at sea when her parents were sailing from England to Australia in the first half of 1849, she was 72.
The second daughter Mary [JT22] married Samuel Short Hunt, and they had no children.
The third daughter Margaret [JT23], on March 26, 1879, married David Gordon, son of David and Matilda Gordon who had come out on the Lady Peel with the Flanagans and had obviously kept in touch. David Gordon Senior owned land (Lots 63 and 141) near what is now the Pits area on the Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, and was at different times an Elder of the Presbyterian Church, Bathurst, and an Alderman of the first Municipal Council elected in Bathurst in 1863. At one time he conducted the Welcome Inn, on the corner of Rocket and Bentinck Streets, Bathurst, not far from where William Cheney conducted the Jolly Hurler.12 His wife's sister and her husband, Alexander Crilly, had founded the Hibernian steam flour mill in Havannah Street, Bathurst (later Crago's Flour Mill) and was also an alderman of the first Municipal Council in 1863. Perhaps David Gordon was associated with him in this venture or at least he gained some experience with him in flour milling which enabled him later to set up a mill at Moorilda, then called Teapot Swamp, near Barry. This was the mill that George Stiff became manager of after severing his connection with James Boyd's Mill at "Rainham". It is said that Michael Hamer, who had worked with George Stiff at "Rainham", also worked for David Gordon in setting up the Mill at Teapot Swamp. It was here that George Stiff was killed in a particularly nasty accident when his clothing became caught in a driving belt in May, 1879. The remains of the mill at Teapot Swamp still stand, the single storey section being used as a residence. The Shipping Record for the Lady Peel says that David Gordon's wife had relatives in the colony: "two sisters, Ann Jane and Catherine Purveyance, living in Bathurst." They had emigrated in 1840. It was Catherine who married Alexander Crilly. David Gordon Junior died of peritonitis on February 16, 1892, at the age of 36, after thirteen years of marriage. Margaret Gordon re-married Wat Hunt two years later and had two further children. Wat Hunt and Samuel Short Hunt's sisters Agnes and Frances later married Bob Loudon [JT118] and James Thompson [JT51] respectively.
MARGARET THOMPSON MARRIED ABEL SCHOE, who was born at Brual, Hanover, in Germany. They were married on February 24, 1857, at St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Sydney less than five years after the Thompsons had arrived in the colony. Whatever her parents' views on marriage to a Catholic, there was obviously no religious impediment in this instance. The Marriage Certificate says that Abel was a labourer, aged 26, and she was a servant, aged 22, and both resided at Parramatta Street, Sydney. She had either stayed in Sydney or had returned to Sydney to get employment. After their marriage they lived at Petersham for many years where most of the children were born but later moved to Cobar and then to Bathurst, living at first at White Rock. After Abel died his widow lived in Piper Street, Bathurst, for 33 years.
Their son Robert Schoe [JT33] married Clara Ward, one of the eleven daughters of William and Mary Ward who had a 35 acre farm in Firzgerald's Valley. Clara's parents came to Australia from Devonshire in 1850. Clara was born in 1861 at Black Rock, Georges Plains, the site of an early Government Stock Station. Eliza Schoe [JT32] and Queenie Callaghan [JT34], whose husband died ten days after they were married, lived together for many years at 138 Lambert Street, Bathurst, in one of a row of two-storeyed terraced houses. Agnes Schoe [JT35] married Harry Clifton and lived in Bathurst; Harry was variously a shoe salesman and an undertaker. They lived for some time at Cobar and then moved to Brewarrina. Harry used to ride a penny farthing bicycle and he won many trophies for cycle racing. Abel Schoe Junior [JT37], who married Ellen McClymond, was a carpenter in Bathurst all his life. William Schoe [JT38] went to live in Hobart where he was a linotype operator for the Hobart Mercury.
ELIZA [JT4], JAMES [JT6] AND HANS THOMPSON [JT7] did not marry. Robert Thompson [JT5] married Bridget Loneragan, of Bathurst, a Catholic. Of this marriage the sons were brought up Presbyterians and the daughters Catholic. If one of the reasons the Thompsons left Newtown Hamilton was to escape religious feuding, the new generation in Australia was finding a way to compromise. It was certainly better than shooting one another in a way that continued to happen until recently near the border with County Monaghan. Robert and Bridget had four children, the girls confirming their Catholicism by marrying an O'Kelly and a Considine and the boys remaining strictly Protestant by marrying a Hunt and a Sweetnam, both daughters of staunch Wesleyan families. They lived at Georges Plains, but it is not known exactly where. There is evidence in the Minutes of the Abercrombie Shire that a Robert Thompson, possibly our Robert Thompson, worked, with a horse and cart, for the Abercrombie Shire in 1907. He would have been nearly 70 years old at that time. The Hunts were descended from an Anglican clergyman, Rector of Medmenham, near Henley-on-Thames, but the first Australian settler from this family, Aubrey de Vere Hunt, of Evans Plains, was a keen Wesleyan, perhaps because his wife, Charity Gibbs Short, was of Wesleyan stock. John Joseph (Jack) Thompson [JT52] married Myra Selena Sweetnam, a member of a pioneering Wesleyan family from Dennis Island, just beyond Georges Plains. Her ancestor William Sweetnam came to Australia in 1837 as a blacksmith, from Chillenstone in Kent, settling first on the western outskirts of Sydney. He then came to Bathurst where he worked for a short time with Hawkins at "Blackdown", Kelso, before taking up a property at Dennis Island. Their son Athol Thompson [JT521] married Gladys Bell [AH721], grand daughter of the Joseph Bell and Sarah Hamer, who lived only about a mile from Dennis Island (at "Limbournes", Cow Flat). Athol grew fruit and tomatoes at Wedderburn, for sale at the Sydney Markets. Their son John Thompson [JT5211] studied Forestry and Agricultural Science at Sydney University, and worked variously with the CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture. He gained a Ph D and worked as a research agronomist, spending several periods overseas, the longest being three years in India. His son Bradley Thompson [JT52111] is a technician with a television station, and Jim Thompson [JT52112], having gained a degree in Zoology at the University of NSW, works in zoological research studying koalas in Queensland.
THERE ARE DEEDS OF A LAND TRANSACTION that show that part of the Flanagans' section of "Penrose" was transferred in 1894 to James Thompson [JT51] and his brother Jack Thompson [JT52], sons of Robert, as tenants in common.Then Margaret Hunt [JT23] borrowed money from her cousin Jack Thompson in 1919, mortgaging her farm to him, the mortgage being discharged in 1925. To complicate matters, James Thompson [JT6] died suddenly on July 23, 1888, and did not leave a Will. Another inquest had to be held by the same Coroner less than five years after Robert Flanagan's inquest. Eliza Thompson [JT4] had also died in the meantime - on January 28, 1885. According to the report in the Bathurst Times, evidence was given that James Thompson met with an accident at Campbell's River which resulted in a broken leg. He was not taken to hospital but to the Park Hotel in Bathurst13where Dr Machattie was called to set the leg. Abel Schoe [JT37], James's nephew, who lived with his mother Margaret Schoe [JT3] in Piper Street and was sixteen or seventeen at the time, went to stay with his uncle at the hotel and slept in the room with him for three nights. Abel reported that on the third night his uncle had slept well, but at ten past seven in the morning he got up and found him breathing heavily. He got him a drink of lemonade which seemed to make him better. Uncle James said he thought he had caught cold during the night. Abel left to go to work - he was apprenticed as a carpenter - and a man who was living at the hotel came in to look after James Thompson. The wife of the licensee, Mrs Annie Cashman, gave evidence that shortly afterwards this man called her in because the deceased was breathing heavily. He asked her to turn him on his side, which she did. She gave him a little brandy and raised him in her arms and he died in that position. He had complained of intense pain in his lungs and back. She had sent for Dr Machattie at 7.15 am but when he arrived at about 8 am he found the patient dead. He made a post mortem examination and found that death was due to fatty degeneration of the heart. James Thompson was very stout but had never complained of, nor been examined for, a heart condition. The Death Certificate records that he had been born at Altnamachin, a small village three miles west of Newtown Hamilton on the border with County Monaghan. The informant was James Schoe [JT31].14
ROBERT SCHOE [JT33] MARRIED CLARA WARD of Georges Plains. Like his uncle Hans Thompson, he became a prison warder at Bathurst, and rose to the level of Deputy Governor of Goulburn Gaol. His son James Schoe [JT331] trained as a carpenter with his uncle Abel Schoe and later took a job on the Railways.
HANS THOMPSON [JT7] WAS A WARDER at Bathurst Gaol. His Death Certificate, dated January 13, 1918, states that he had independent means, but it is difficult to know the meaning of that. Perhaps he was simply seeing out his old age after retiring from the position of warder by using the money he had saved or inherited from his brother James's estate or from his sister Agnes Flanagan. He had had chronic nephritis for twelve years. The photo of Hans Thompson facing p 133 and the photo of Margaret Gordon [JT23] facing p 130 show the prominent nose that was a feature of the Thompson family and was inherited by a number of branches of that family, including the Loudons. In the Hamer family [JT119] it was compounded by a similar inheritance from other sides of the family. There was an old man named Rumsey who at one time lived in the cottage owned by the Shute family next to the Methodist Church on the Vale Road and, as people arrived at church by sulky in the 1930s, he stood at his front gate in his best Sunday clothes, including homburg, and, in his second childhood, gave a running commentary on people at the top of his voice. As the Hamer family approached in their sulky he shouted: "Ah, look! Old Loudon's nose. Seeeeee." It is probable that James Loudon, whose nose Old Rumsey was so impressed by, was suffering from roseacea, a skin complaint that sometimes results in a bulbous nose. This condition is hereditary, and has manifested itself in a few of James Loudon's descendants, including his son Jim [SL14]. Paradoxically the Loudons characteristically have had a very smooth complexion, un-wrinkled even in old age. We can also conjecture that another legacy James Loudon left his descendants was a tendency to manic depression, which fortunately has affected only a few, but sufficient, along with tales about James's erratic behaviour, to raise the suspicion that this affliction may run in the family. Sadly, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, virtually nothing was known about this distressing condition, and James would have been dismissed as simply a cantankerous and difficult old man.
ROBERT THOMPSON'S ELDEST SON, JAMES THOMPSON [JT51], married Frances Hunt of White Rock in 1894. His cousin's son Bob Loudon [JT118] married her sister Agnes Hunt in 1902 and in about 1912 moved to Valla, near Brooklana in the Dorrigo district on the north coast of NSW, to begin timber cutting and farming in undeveloped country.15 James and Frances Thompson went to join them.
The Thompsons had a property there called "Runnymede" and had seventeen children.
Many of the descendants of the Hunt family bear the names of the families from which they are descended - the Shorts, Rolfes and Gibbs. The name de Vere is also common in this family: this dates back over 800 years and is taken from the line of a nobleman of the Norman Conquest from which the family indirectly traces its descent. Isobel de Bolebec from whom the Hunts are descended was the widow of Robert de Vere, third Earl of Oxford, who built Medmenham Abbey in 1160. After his death she married the Hunts' forebear. The name Aubrey de Vere is first recorded in the twelfth century; the Christian name Aubrey is still common in the Hunt family. Fanny Thompson was a striking looking woman and was said to have had very high intelligence. Her eldest son Rolfe Thompson [JT511] served in France in the First World War and was wounded. He married Frances Allard who was the Postmistress at Brooklana, in 1922, and they settled on a property at Wanona Headland, near Urunga, where he carried on dairying and tomato growing. He returned to timber cutting at Upper Bobo in 1931.
MARGARET FLANAGAN'S AND DAVID GORDON'S ELDEST DAUGHTER Florence Gordon [JT231] in 1921 married Peter McKenzie, a member of a pioneering Scottish family at Tuena. This family had settled at "Wallbrook", Burraga, in 1840, and moved in 1857 to "The Junction" on Tuena Creek near where it joins the Abercrombie River. The Gordon family still owned a property at Moorilda (and still do), and this was where Florence Gordon met Peter Mackenzie. The McKenzies were associated with their friends the McDonalds, from Laggan, in overlanding a mob of cattle from Laggan and Hobby's Yards via Dubbo, Charleville, Burketown and Katherine to Fossil Downs in the Kimberley region in Western Australia between 1883 and 1886, at the same time as Patsy, Jerry and Michael Durack (also from the Goulburn district) performed their famous overlanding expedition. The bullock waggons they took with them were said to be the first vehicles to cross Australia. On their three year journey they faced the hazards of flood, drought, bushfire, dingoes and crocodiles (which took some of their cattle), hunger and fever. The McDonalds established Fossil Downs Station, over 800,000 acres, one of the biggest cattle stations in Australia. The McKenzies returned to New South Wales.
Flo and Peter McKenzie settled on a property called "Ravenswood" at Coonamble. Flo returned to White Rock for the birth of each of her first four children. After that they moved to a sheep station called "Cresline" at Coonamble. Their son Wal McKenzie [JT2313] continued "Cresline" after his parents. In the 1920s in this remote area the children were taught by governesses. P G McKenzie [JT2312] attended Bathurst High School, staying in Bathurst with relatives on the Gordon side. The younger children did lessons from the Correspondence School. Wal went to Bathurst High School for one year, while Anne [JT2314] attended Presbyterian Ladies' College at Orange as a boarder and then went to PLC, Pymble. She became an Occupational Therapist but practised only for one year before marrying Bob Webb and settling at Webb's Siding, Narromine. Sandy McKenzie [JT2315] attended Dubbo High School, with private board in the town.
Tess Gordon [JT232] married Bob Colwell; and settled on a property called "Colrose" adjoining "Cresline". Bill McKenzie [JT2313] and P G McKenzie [JT2312] later bought "Colrose". When Bill married he returned to "Ravenswood" and his parents and Sandy also went back there later on. Peter McKenzie [JT2312] served in the AIF in the Middle East in the Second World War. Wal McKenzie [JT2313], who had had several serious accidents which resulted in a game leg, worked in the Cowra Prisoner-of-War Camp, where he was a close friend of the West Australian novelist and poet Kenneth Seaforth Mackenzie, who was unrelated to him. Both were at Cowra when the famous break-out of Japanese prisoners-of-war occurred. Kenneth Mackenzie wrote a novel based on this event entitled Dead Men Rising.
The McKenzies gradually added more land to their holdings at Coonamble. Sandy McKenzie [JT2315] carried on at "Ravenswood" and the parents retired to Bathurst in 1954, to live next door to Flo's stepsister, Bonnie Ambrose [JT237] in Peel Street. Sandy McKenzie sold "Ravenswood" in 1967 and bought "Walla Walla Station". Bill McKenzie [JT2311] sold "Colrose" in 1968 and retired to Clifton Gardens. Wal McKenzie and his wife Joan [JT2313] retired to Coonamble township in 1984.
David and Margaret Gordon's son Roy Gordon [JT233] married Sue Short, a descendant of a prominent White Rock family which has connections with the Thompsons and Peacocks at various points. They were also related to the Gunnings, one of whom married Maude Peacock [WPK5]. Roy Gordon's daughter Madge Gordon [JT2331] married Harold McKellar, and her sister Agnes Gordon [JT2334] married Leslie McKellar, members of a family of Scottish settlers at Hobby's Yards who had been associated with the McKenzie family from the 1840s. The family still lives on the property known as "Illoura" at Hobbys Yards. Ross Gordon [JT2333] married Daisy Gunning from White Rock. David Gordon [JT235] married Margaret McSpedden, a member of an old family from The Lagoon.
Winnie Gordon [JT234] married Kenneth Glasson, a descendant of Richard Glasson who, with his brothers and sisters, settled at the Cornish Settlement (now called Byng), near what is now Orange, in the 1830s. The eldest brother John was the first to arrive - in 1830- and he acquired a property which he called "Newton" and later "Bookanan" (still occupied by a descendant of the Glasson family, William Hawke). John married in 1834 and moved to Young and then took his family to New Zealand in 1837; and other members of the family carried on "Bookanan". Several of them became established in various parts of the Orange district. Richard arrived with his wife Emma and sister Mary in 1838. He first built a house called "Willow Cottage" on his brother John's farm, and then bought a property on the Lewis Ponds Creek at Guyong in 1852, which he called "Godolphin". Mary Glasson became school mistress at Guyong. Richard and Emma had eighteen children, two of whom, Kenneth and Horace, married members of the Gordon family. Many years after Kenneth died in 1954, Winnie re-married John Wark, her childhood sweetheart, when she was 90 years of age; she lived a further four years. Winnie's daughter Betty Glasson [JT2341] served as a nurse with the AIF in New Guinea in the Second World War. Her brother Jack Glasson [JT2342] also served in the AIF in New Guinea and was wounded. On return to civilian life he worked as a Postmaster and later in life he lost a leg as a consequence of his war wounds. Viva Glasson [JT2344] was also a nurse and ended her nursing career as Matron of the Bathurst Maternity Hospital. Her daughter, Elizabeth James [JT23441], is a history teacher at Pittwater Grammar School, Mona Vale. Winnie Glasson's youngest child, Warren Edric (Dick) Glasson [JT2345], was a navigator with the RAAF in the Pacific in the Second World War and on return to civilian life became a shearer.
VERA SCHOE [JT3311], GRAND DAUGHTER OF MARGARET THOMPSON, was born at East Maitland, which suggests that her father (James) worked at the Gaol there. She worked as a clerk in a hardware store in Maitland until she married John Dixon in 1941. Their son Graeme Dixon [JT33111], following early education at East Maitland Primary School and Maitland High School, trained as a teacher at Newcastle Teachers' College, and is Principal of the Primary School at Gundagai. He has previously served at Ashfield Central School, McIntyre Primary School and Barraba Central School; as Principal at Lake Keepit Sport and Recreation Centre and as Assistant Principal at Bulahdelah Central School. He is a Life Member of Apex, a member of the Board of Directors of Gundagai District Hospital and a Justice of the Peace. He has been active in water- and snow-skiing and canoeing; and for hobbies is interested in signwriting and computers.
William Schoe's eldest son Sydney Schoe [JT381], operated the lift span of the floating bridge over the Derwent River in Hobart. His second son, also William Schoe [JT383], served in the AIF in the Second World War, and was killed in a shooting accident at Plenty, Tasmania, in 1951, at the age of 40.
Harold Clifton [JT352], second son of Agnes Schoe and Harry Clifton, married Grace Howard, a member of an old Bathurst family that has other connections with the Thompson and Peacock families. He was a carpenter who trained with his uncle Abel Schoe. Besides the three sons listed in the Family Tree, Agnes's Death Certificate indicates that she had one son deceased.
1 Perhaps this was how Samuel Lowden met his second wife, the daughter of an artilleryman. See p.144.
2 p 71, 1945 ed.
3 He might have added Joseph Smith's hares.
4 As an aside, it is interesting to speculate whether Furphy had read a remarkably similar piece from an essay called "An Hypocrite" in Overbury's Characters (1614): "For if among sheep the rot; among dogs, the mange; amongst horse, the glaunders; among men and women, the Northone itch, and the French ache be disease; an hypocrite cannot but be the like in all states and societies that breed him."
5 British Parliamentary Papers, Vol 19, 1845.
6 Chadwick, E : Reports on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Scotland, in British Parliamentary Papers, 1842.
7 See pp 147.
8 This family lived on the other side of the Macquarie River. Two of this family married into the Johnson family whose descendants married Peacocks at a couple of points.
9 There are still the remains of a Cobb and Co coaching station on "Wonalabee", originally "Mount Tamar", closer to Bathurst, indicating that this route was still in use in the second half of the nineteenth century, despite the building of alternative routes on the other side of the river - Surveyor Lockyer's road through O'Connell and Major Mitchell's road which more or less followed the route that is still used.
10 Additional research on Mary Clugston has been done by Bob Loudon [JT1164].
11 See letter from Samuel Lowden to Jane Loudon p 155.
12 See p. 179.
13 See p 53 for comment about the custom in the nineteenth century of preferring a hotel to a hospital in case of illness or casualty.
14 One expects that the post mortem examination would have included an examination of the lungs, but knowledge of blood clots may not have been very extensive at the time: the symptoms in fact suggest that James Thompson had suffered a blood clot in his broken leg which shifted to the lungs.
15 See p 170.
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