Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Friday, 30 October 2015

James Ward Clarke b. 1884 d. 1884

James Ward Clark b. 1884 d. 1884

I was poking through the Geelong Eastern Cemetery records recently looking for burial records of the Tamo clan. I found a grave with four people in it.  One person was Stephen Tamo's first wife Agnes, buried with their baby daughter Agnes Smail Tamo. Elizabeth, Stephen Tamo and Ellen Clarke's infant daughter makes three. And also buried in this grave was a James Ward Clarke.

Never having heard of James Ward Clarke before, I set about researching.  He was buried on 13 June 1884, at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. I found his birth details in the index.  Year: 1884, the same year he died.  So James Ward Clarke was an infant.  Mother's name: Johanna Clarke.

Johanna Clarke is Ellen Clarke's sister.

Father's name: unknown

So Johanna refused to name the baby's daddy but with such a specific name as James Ward Clarke I figured there was a strong likelihood that the daddy's name was James Ward.  Was there a James Ward in Geelong at that time?

There certainly was.

Now I must preface all this research about James Ward with the disclaimer that the only basis I have for searching him is the baby's name.  There's no real proof.  But here is what I have found out:

James Ward was born in Geelong in 1863 (Johanna was born in 1864.)  His father was Michael Ward and his mother was Ann Holt. This made James 21 years old and Johanna 20 years old when baby James Ward Clarke was born and died in 1884.

My search turned to Trove and the Geelong Advertiser, in 1884, the year the baby died.  I didn't find the baby's death notice.  What I found was that James' father Michael Ward had died in December of that year.  What a tragic year that would have been for James!  His son James Ward Clarke died in June 1884, and his father Michael Ward died six months later in December 1884.

Next I searched the death index for James Ward, and was surprised to find that he died  on 1 October 1887, just three years later.  He was only 25 years old.  I wondered why such a young man died, and in what circumstances. I went back to Trove and found James Ward's death notice in the Geelong Advertiser.

I also wondered what Johanna had been doing at that time.  I found out...Johanna had married Edward William Kellaway on 11 June 1887.  So James Ward had died only three months after her marriage to somebody else.

I go back to the Geelong Eastern Cemetery once more and find the burial of James and his father Michael and his mother Ann all in the same Roman Catholic grave.  Ann had died only two years after her son.

Next step - go to PROV and see if there was an inquest into James Ward's death.  Any other suggestions or comments from readers gratefully received.

Historically yours,
Valerius Copernicus.

Thanks to Tania Shalders for providing the Kellaway marriage date information.
Citation for James Ward death notice:
Citation for Michael Ward death notice:

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Clarke Descendants

Just to make sure it is REALLY hard to figure out my family tree, I've discovered that some cousins married the same bloke.

My great great grandfather Patrick Clarke (who married Louisa Salter) had three brothers and three sisters. One of his sister's names was Johanna Clarke, who married Edward William Kellaway.  One of their children was SARAH ELLEN KELLAWAY, called Nellie.

Another of Patrick's sisters was Ellen Clarke who married Stephen Tamo.  One of their daughters was ALICE OLIVE TAMO.

So Nellie Kellaway and Alice Tamo are first cousins. My great grandmother (Gran) is another first cousin of theirs.

 I found the marriage of Nellie Kellaway to a FREDERICK GEORGE ANDREWS in 1909. Electoral Rolls describe Fred's occupation as being a Railway employee. Unfortunately in 1915 at the age of 27, Nellie died, leaving behind Fred and four small children. Fred describes her death as being "a patient sufferer at rest", and thanks are given to the doctor in the Williamstown Advertiser.

A year later in 1916, an "IN MEMORIUM" piece is put in the paper by her husband Fred, mother Johanna, brother, sister and cousins, one of them being ALICE TAMO.

I discovered Nellie's burial in 1915 in the Williamstown Cemetery and Fred's burial there 42 years later in 1957.

Later on in my search I found the marriage of Alice Tamo to FREDERICK GEORGE ANDREWS in 1917.   I must admit it took me a while to twig that Alice had married her cousin's widower, and I guess she must have taken on the raising of her four small cousins once removed too.  A look at the Electoral Rolls at this time seems to confirm it - this Fred Andrews is also a Railway employee.

Alice dies in 1961, and is cremated and buried in Altona.
I don't know if Fred and Alice had children as the historical birth index stops at 1914.  But I do hope they were happy, raising Nellie's children and spending the next 40 years together.

Historically yours
Valerius Copernicus

Memorial article:
Death Notices:

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Ellen Tamo nee Clarke

Firstly, let me thank all those people who have expressed their love and concern for me whilst I have been so sick with pneumonia for the last two weeks. While I've been stuck in bed, I've tried to do a little more investigating.  So here's what I found out....

My great great aunt Ellen Clarke married Stephen TAMO in 1876 and lived in Malop Street, Geelong.

A court case was reported in the Geelong Advertiser in October 1885.  The article was called "Life in Malop Street East."

Three women who also resided in Malop St. east were the defendants.  One of them was called Mrs. Jessie McDonald who was charged with being the "occupier of a house frequented by idle and disorderly persons, having no lawful visible means of support."  In 1885 terms, running a brothel.

A couple of local constables had been given the duty of observing the house, and gave evidence. Constable Croucher deposed that he had seen quite a few men get admitted to the house, and named many of the men's names.  He had visited the house sometimes in the company of Constable Overend, and even had a glass of beer there. Mr. Toohey the prosecutor mentions that " it is usual for constables when going into these kind of houses to be asked to shout."  Mr. Dwyer responds incredulously "At two shillings a bottle?"  Constable Croucher says "The woman asked me to shout beer."  Constable Croucher also mentions in his evidence that he knows the neighbours around the house (including my TAMO relatives) and a Mrs. Miller, who seems to be the main complainant.

There seems to be a lot of different accusations flying around, including that the constabulary got drunk and did some name calling.  All the men who were named were incredibly surprised to find out that the house was, in fact, a brothel.  Not one of them had gone for an improper purpose.  Some had just gone to find others and happened to be there.

One of the men named was interesting to me.  His name was Henry Martini, and one of the girls goes into the bedroom with him and calls out, referring to him as Jack. A Jack Martini was well known to our family, but I don't know if this man is the same Jack Martini. Anyway, Martini deposed that the police were lying and he didn't know that the defendant's house was a bad place.

Mr. Pardey J.P. states that he "cannot see any reason why such a large number of respectable young men should have been brought here and accused of being idle and disorderly persons.  They have been ruthlessly and unmercifully brought to the court to try and prove a case for the police."

The bench decides that the case has not been proven that the people who frequented the house were not idle and disorderly. The court then turns its attention to Mrs. McDonald.

Constable Croucher swears that he had a conversation with Jessie McDonald, telling him that she was making a good living with the other two girls.

Mrs. Miller, the main complainant, was blind and lived with her daughter near the McDonald house, and had often been woken by drunken men banging on her door asking for Jessie.  Mrs. Miller said: "Mrs. Tamo lives near me; she is a respectable person."

Stephen Tamo deposed: "that he resided close to the defendant's house for eleven years.  He had no reason to complain of the conduct of Mrs. McDonald.  He had a family, among whom were daughters.  To Mr. Toohey - He had seen a man and woman sitting in the house when he went there to complain of some fowls having been poisoned.  He had never heard any rows in the defendant's house.  He did not know if the house was a brothel.  The defendant, he believed, was the wife of Jimmy Whitely.  He knew Whitely for six or seven years.  He had frequently seen him in Geelong.  He had signed a petition stating that he did not consider the defendant's house a nuisance."

James Whitely then deposed that he was a butcher and married to Jessie, supported his wife and had a house for her.  There seems to be more to the story though. "To Mr. Toohey - I have been working at Allen's for five weeks.  I reside at Tamo's.  I was married to the defendant by Mr. Couves this morning.  In the presence of Mr. Tamo and the girl Giles [one of the other defendants]. I slept at the defendant's house last night.  I do not know what is being done in the house, but I have been supporting the defendant."

Confusingly, the court rules that despite it's previous decision that no disorderly conduct was proven and the people were not idle and disorderly, Mrs. Jessie McDonald is guilty of being the occupier of such a house.

The court is immediately notified that the case would be appealed.

This isn't the end of the story however, Less than two weeks later, Ellen Tamo would take proceedings against Jessie McDonald for using insulting words in a public place.  More on that in the next article.

Historically yours,
Valerius Copernicus

Trove Citations
Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
LIFE IN MALOP-STREET EAST. (1885, October 13). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), p. 4. Retrieved October 24, 2015, from
MLA citation
"LIFE IN MALOP-STREET EAST." Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926) 13 Oct 1885: 4. Web. 24 Oct 2015 <>.
Harvard/Australian citation
1885 'LIFE IN MALOP-STREET EAST.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), 13 October, p. 4, viewed 24 October, 2015,
Wikipedia citation

{{cite news |url= |title=LIFE IN MALOP-STREET EAST. |newspaper=[[Geelong Advertiser |Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926)]] |location=Vic. |date=13 October 1885 |accessdate=24 October 2015 |page=4 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}

Friday, 9 October 2015

What's in a name?

If you haven't already gathered by now, my genealogical passion centres around the puzzle of one particular branch of my mother's family tree.

My great great great grandmother was born Elizabeth Armstrong in Adelaide, South Australia in 1842.  When Elizabeth was about 8, her father John Armstrong (a black African man) died. A year later, her mother Janet (a Scotswoman) married James Salter (an Englishman) and so Elizabeth's new surname was SALTER.

The new blended family moved to Chewton, Victoria shortly after the wedding, in early response to the goldrush in the Forest Creek area.

Elizabeth Salter grew up and married a miner, named Sims CUMIS.  Sims' birthplace is listed as the Cape of Good Hope, Sth. Africa, so he is also potentially dark skinned.  The couple married in 1864 in Chewton and over a period of ten years had five children; Robert, Louisa, Ellen, James and John.

All five children were given the surname of their father, (spelled either COMES or CUMMIS as per their birth certificates). The last child was born in 1875 with that name. But as the children grew, they rejected the CUMIS name and adopted different surnames, either Armstrong or Salter, their mother's maiden surnames. And despite their marriage and five children, Elizabeth was primarily known as Salter, not her married name of Cumis until the day she died.

In fact, at her death inquest in 1896 it is noted by witness Henry Matthews that:

                      I have seen the body now lying dead and identify it as that of Elizabeth Cummis otherwise known as Elizabeth Salter.  I have known her between 5 and 6 years.

Chewton policeman Constable Luke swears:

                    That at 2.21 pm today Elizibeth Comas, otherwise known as Elizibeth Salter, aged 50 years died in her hut at Chewton.

Her death is also reported in the local newspaper, the Mount Alexander Mail:

                     An old identity of Chewton, named Elizabeth Cumas, but better known as Elizabeth Salter, died suddenly at her hut on Sunday afternoon at 2.30 o'clock.

I have written previously about Elizabeth's different surnames in the article "Elizabeth gives me a headache."

Their children all reject the CUMIS name they were born with too.

Robert Armstrong Comes dismissed the Comes and became Robert Armstrong.  He married in Chewton, moved to Charlton in Victoria, and eventually moved his family to Queensland.

Louisa used the name Louisa Salter when she married in Geelong and one of her descendants is me. Her nickname was Blossom because of her dark skin.  Her married name was Louisa Clarke.

Ellen -we are still investigating and have no definite clues as to her  (see my previous blog on this search.) At this stage we theorise that she married and changed her name. Louisa's daughter was called Ellen.

James became James Salter Armstrong, moved to Kerang and served at Gallipoli and the Western Front in World War 1.  His nickname was "Snowy" in that ironical Australian way because of his dark skin. One of Robert's sons, named James after his uncle, sadly died at the Western Front.

John used the name Armstrong but his burial details in Cobram state: also known as George Saulter. Trying to find more details in Cobram.

 No-one knows what happened to Sims after the birth of his last child in 1875. We do know he also used the name William instead of Sims. We have no death certificate for him. Nothing. The puzzle is this: WHY did the wife and children of Sims Cummis reject his name?

Historically Yours,
Valerius Copernicus
Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
ITEMS OF NEWS. (1896, June 2). Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), p. 2. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from
MLA citation
"ITEMS OF NEWS." Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917) 2 Jun 1896: 2. Web. 10 Oct 2015 <>.
Harvard/Australian citation
1896 'ITEMS OF NEWS.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 2 June, p. 2, viewed 10 October, 2015,
Wikipedia citation
{{cite news |url= |title=ITEMS OF NEWS. |newspaper=[[Mount Alexander Mail |Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917)]] |location=Vic. |date=2 June 1896 |accessdate=10 October 2015 |page=2 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Harriet Cadwallader nee Sloane 1839 - 1920

Welcome to Robert Armstrong's descendants!  

You are descendants of Elizabeth Salter's son Robert, and I am a descendant of Elizabeth Salter's daughter Louisa.

Today I thought I would write an overview of Elizabeth Salter's older half sister, Harriet. Harriet and Elizabeth shared the same mother JANET.

Harriet SLOANE was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1839, the same year her parents and (probably) her older brother John came to Australia from Scotland.  I have written about the ship, the Katherine Stewart Forbes which the family travelled out in.  It is possible that Janet was pregnant with Harriet on the voyage.  Harriet's father died and then her mother Janet married John ARMSTRONG, giving birth to Elizabeth in Adelaide in 1842.

In late 1851/early 1852, Janet moved her family to Chewton near Castlemaine in Victoria in response to the gold rush in the Forest Creek/Mount Alexander area.

In Chewton, Harriet married William CADWALLADER, the local Blacksmith in 1857.  William Cadwallader bought land in the first land sale in Chewton in April 1860. The Cadwalladers went on to have six children who were all born in Chewton.  Their names were Sarah, Janet, William Sloane, Emily, Harriet and William Robert Cadwallader.   Sadly, William Sloane Cadwallader died at the age of 11 months, and was buried in Chewton Cemetery on 13 January 1865. His Death Notice appeared in the Mount Alexander Mail:

 As the Cadwallader family grew more prosperous, William also bought land in Talbot/Amherst about 70km west of Chewton.  He eventually died and was buried there in 1885.

Harriet and Elizabeth's mother Janet died in 1887 and was buried with her 11 month old grandson in Chewton.  A decade later, Elizabeth would also be buried in this grave.

Harriet moved to Bendigo, and lived until she was 81 years old.  She died in 1920 and was buried in Bendigo Cemetery.

 Thanks to Trove for allowing the reproduction of the article on William Sloane Cadwallader's death, cited as below:
Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
Family Notices. (1865, January 16). Mount Alexander Mail(Vic. : 1854 - 1917), p. 2. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from
MLA citation
"Family Notices." Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917) 16 Jan 1865: 2. Web. 4 Oct 2015 <>.
Harvard/Australian citation
1865 'Family Notices.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 16 January, p. 2, viewed 4 October, 2015,
Wikipedia citation
{{cite news |url= |title=Family Notices. |newspaper=[[Mount Alexander Mail |Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917)]] |location=Vic. |date=16 January 1865 |accessdate=4 October 2015 |page=2 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}