What the Butler did

A collection of writing by Brother Tony Butler

Chapter 8 John James Whittaker – his Whittaker and Peter(s) ancestors June 25, 2015

THE WHITTAKER FAMILY – The Back Creek Push

John James Whittaker

John James Whittaker

JOHN JAMES WHITTAKER – my grandfather, Jack, Pop Whit – was a colourful enough old character but not a man I could claim I was close to or knew well. He kept to himself as far as I was concerned and was eccentric in some ways. I once told him he was on fire, the conflagration having started in his pocket, the result, he explained, of friction between a box of matches and a piece of copper wire; but maybe it had been lingering there for some time from his old pipe, the reluctant smouldering of which never seemed to take fire, except perhaps this once. The only time I can recall him bestirring himself was to wallop me for calling my sister something ungallant like “you bloody bitch”. That has often amused me as I think of him with the teams of horses he dearly loved and whom he worked with from the age of twelve: he could not have been so polite with them.

He was old when I first became aware of him in the mid-1940s, and he was in his late sixties. He once encouraged me to eat a raw onion he had dug up in the garden at 41 Boundary Street on an occasion when we were visiting from Stanmore or Kensington. Needless to say I suffered a very bad night.

Later on our family moved to 41 Boundary Street, Darlinghurst: he stayed on in the front room which was an old man’s delight as only an old bushman could make it. There was, however, an undoubtedly real quality in his family, obvious in the pictures of himself, his brother Albert and especially his sisters – they were very fine looking young people. The more I have delved into his history, the more I realise why this was so. Later Pop moved next door to 43 Boundary Street where his wife, Gladys, had moved some time before; and the front room of 41 was redecorated as a lounge room.

Pop Whit, or Grampy as we sometimes called him when we were younger, never seemed to have an ordinary job. I knew him as a man who carried a vacuum cleaner about on his back and did cleaning jobs in various places around Paddington; he was an odd job man, and I do recall it being said that even at his age he could still charm the women of Paddington who seemed to have lavished bread, butter, tea and warmth upon him – some humour in the telling.

Boundary Street Garage

Boundary Street Garage

Years before I knew him had a garage somewhere near 156 Boundary Street near Comber Street, just below where our friends the McNultys lived, but it was burnt down, some say – as people do – under peculiar circumstances.

Jack Whittaker's Team of Horses

Jack Whittaker’s Team of Horses

Otherwise, as far as I know, he spent his early years with a team of horses carting timber and wool. On his death certificate he is described as a carrier. There are pictures of Pop with his team in Condobolin and I recall hearing tales of how he had been sent out on the teams at the age of twelve, the old days out at Bogan Gate and Parkes, incidents where horses would not cross haunted bridges after dark and Pop having to go home the long way round. I suspect that life was tough for John James as a youngster, though the three photographs I have of him up to his marriage show a fine looking man always smartly, not to say elegantly, dressed.

His father, John senior, seems to have been a handsome man: the picture of him on his memorial card is of a good-looking man, rather like Ned Kelly, with piercing eyes and a strong black beard. His wife, Elizabeth Stephens, looks to be a strong woman, tough, not much truck with sentimentality but I suspect with more than touch of wit. My mother recalls her with affection and a Scottish burr, and Mum’s brother, Doug, said that she always made them welcome. Her husband John having died 9 July 1910, a week before my mother was born, Elizabeth came to be known to Honor and Douglas as Granny Smith, as she married William Smith in 1917. In my original 1985 account I wrote “Where the Scottish burr came from I don’t know: there was no Scottish in her immediate ancestry”. How wrong I was, as the story of her family, which I have since discovered, will tell.

The marriage between John Whittaker (senior) and Elizabeth Stephens, about which I know little, for I never heard Pop or Gladys (who told us many things) or even Mum or Doug, say anything about them – to my great regret, as is so often the case in writing family histories – produced eight children, of whom more later.

John Whittaker Senior

John Whittaker Senior

John Whittaker, John James’s father, was born, according to his baptismal certificate, in Gosford NSW, 4 October 1848. His baptism was registered in the parish of St Andrew’s in the county of Cumberland – St Andrew’s Church of England Cathedral in Sydney. His father’s name was given as Peter Whittaker and his mother’s name as Margaret – maiden name not recorded.[1] Apart from their “abode”, Druitt Street, and his profession, sawyer, I knew nothing about them when I first wrote, but now much more of the Whittaker family story can be told, thanks to the ongoing discoveries of many people in this age of interest in our Australian family histories and the internet.

In 1878 John Whittaker married Elizabeth Stephens: they were wedded in St John’s Anglican Church, Young, 14 March, in the presence of F.D. Peter and Barbara Peter.[2] Elizabeth signed with her mark. John’s normal place of residence was given as Back Creek, Cowra, and his occupation as sawyer. I presume he was a bachelor, but the word “Young” appears by mistake on the “Conjugal Status” column. Elizabeth was described as a spinster, living at Cowra.

Elizabeth Stephens Whittaker

Elizabeth Stephens Whittaker

I include here some information about Grace Peter’s family background.

Grace Peter was the daughter of Finlay Duff Peter and Elizabeth Paterson Bruce. She married Henry James Stephen in 1858.  Their daughter Elizabeth Stephens [sic] married John Whittaker and one of their sons, John James Whittaker, was my mother’s father.  There is some confusion over the names Peter and Stephen because at some time in the Nineteenth Century the names became Peters and Stephens.

The following material is based on information provided by Meg Laws for my nephew Wayne Davey as part of his ongoing research into the family history. Meg Laws explains her connection to the Peter family thus: “My husband Charles Reuben Laws is the great-grandson of Elizabeth Bruce Peter, daughter of Finlay Duff Peter and Elizabeth Paterson Bruce. She married William Swift in 1865 and they had five children.”

Finlay Duff Peter, son of David Peter and Jean Miller, married Elizabeth Paterson Bruce, daughter of William Bruce, 13 March 1831. Their marriage was recorded in the Old Parochial Register of Banns and Marriages for the Parish of Stirling, Scotland.  Finlay’s occupation was given as weaver.

They had seven children: David, Jane, Grace (our ancestor), Marion, William Alexander Bruce, Elizabeth Bruce and Margaret. At some time during the late 1830s they migrated to Australia.  After the birth of their eight children they separated or divorced.

On 16 August 1873 Finlay remarried as a “widower” in Young NSW, according to the rites of the Church of England. He married a widow named Barbara Bartier who already had a number of children.  His occupation was given as veterinary surgeon.  He died in Young 21 April 1884, his occupation given as veterinary surgeon.  None of his children was mentioned on his death certificate.  No issue was noted for either marriage, though Barbara Bartier (the second wife) was recorded as his wife.

 

Finlay was certainly no widower when he married Barbara Bartier because his first wife Elizabeth Paterson [Bruce] Peter remarried some years after Finlay. She married James Patterson, a publican, at Wilcannia, 28 October 1881 according to the rites of the Church of England.  She died at Wilcannia 27 January 1891 aged 85 years.  Her tombstone, however, gives her age as 81 years.  Her death certificate states that she had lived in Australia for 52 years, which would mean they came out from Scotland about 1839.  There was no issue from her second marriage.

Only the living children were mentioned on her death certificate: David, Jane, Grace, William Alexander, and Elizabeth (Margaret had died 22 June 1872 in the District of Sandhurst, Victoria. Marion had died soon after her birth in 1840.)

Currently the only information I have about the eight children is as follows (thanks to Meg Laws).

David Peter was born about 1834 and married Elizabeth Duggan at Burrangong in NSW 3 November 1861 according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. They divorced about May 1892.  No death date is known.

Jane Peter was born about 1837. She may have married a William Beaumont at Wagga Wagga in 1852.

Grace Peter was born about 1839 and married Henry James Stephen(s) 8 October 1858. The Elizabeth at her wedding was probably her mother, because of her age and as her sister Elizabeth would have been too young to be a witness in 1858.  [Referring to Grace Peter and Henry Stephen’s daughter Elizabeth, my own history says: “Elizabeth Stephens was born at Back Creek (Bendigo) Amherst, Victoria, 13 September 1859.  Her father’s name is given as Henry James Stephens, his occupation miner, his age 22, his birthplace London.  Her mother’s name is given as Grace Peter; she was 19, and was born in Sydney, N.S.W.  Their marriage took place in the Presbyterian Manse, Sandhurst (Bendigo) 8 October 1858.  Henery (as he signs himself) James Stephen (there is no ‘s’) was 21 years of age, which makes his birth year 1837; he was born in Stepney, London, and his parents were Henry James Stephen, a sailor, and Euphemia Miller.  He was a sawyer.  His wife, Grace Peter, a spinster, was born in Sydney in 1839.  Her parents were Finlay Peter, a blacksmith, and Elizabeth Bruce.”  According to her marriage certificate, Grace Peter was born in Sydney in 1839.]

Marion Peter was born 1840 and died the same year.

William Alexander Bruce Peter was born 2 May 1845. His family always claimed that he was born on board ship three days out from Sydney.  It is also claimed that the birth was registered at Strawberry Hills Post Office (Surry Hills), Sydney NSW Births Deaths & Marriages do not have a record of the birth.  William married Alice Brown at Wilcannia on 5 September 1878.  He died at Wilcannia 20 September 1909.  His father’s occupation is recorded as hotel keeper on both his marriage certificate and his death certificate.

Elizabeth Bruce Peter was born 1846, her mother giving consent to the marriage as Elizabeth as she was 19 years old.  However, on her mother’s death certificate it is claimed that Elizabeth is 41 years of age in 1891.  Elizabeth Bruce Peter married William Swift, a cook, at Bourke, 11 December 1865 (aged 19).  He was licensee of “The Finger Post” hotel at Walgett from 1870 to sometime in 1873. Elizabeth later married Francis Burns, a bachelor, 24 August 1878 according to the rites of the Church of England.  She had several more children to Francis Burns.  Elizabeth Bruce [Swift] Burns died in Dubbo 27 September 1923, aged 72 [sic] which puts her birth about 1851.

Margaret Peter was born about 1848 in Sydney NSW. She married Henry Tupper in Bourke 15 April 1867 and died aged 24 years in Victoria, 22 June 1872.  The informant was Margaret’s father-in-law (a miner, like her husband) who stated that Margaret’s father was William Peter, chemist, and that her mother was Jane Peter, formerly Bruce.  This information is incorrect as we know that she was is in fact the daughter of Finlay Peter, a veterinary surgeon, and Elizabeth Bruce, as her marriage certificate states.

Let us return to Elizabeth Stephens. She was born at Back Creek (Bendigo) Amherst, Victoria, 13 September 1859.  Her father’s name is given as Henry James Stephens, his occupation miner, his age 22, his birthplace London.  Her mother’s name is given as Grace Peter; she was about 19.  Their marriage took place in the Presbyterian Manse, Sandhurst, 8 October 1858.  Henery (as he signs himself) James Stephen (there is no “s”) was 21 years of age, which makes his birth year 1837; he was born in Stepney, London, and his parents were Henry James Stephen, a sailor, and Euphemia Miller. He was a sawyer. His wife, Grace Peter, a spinster, was born in Sydney in 1839. Her parents were Finlay Peter, a blacksmith, and Elizabeth Bruce. The celebrant was James Nish and the witnesses were Fred, John Fleming and Elizabeth Peter, probably Grace’s sister. You can read more about Grace Peter’s family background in the chapter entitled”More About Grace Peter”.  “Henery” is a gentle, benign, nice-looking man, with a good head of hair parted in the middle, and a rich beard; Grace, on the other hand, looks rigid, puritanical, tight mouthed and stern about the eyes. I have photos of them which I took at Easter 1971 from portraits in the possession of Ted and Doll Oppy (our John James Whittaker’s sister): they were touched up photographs, for I have a photograph of Grace Peter in the same dress.[3]

Henry Stephen(s)

Henry Stephen(s)

Grace Peter(s)

Grace Peter(s)

It is time to turn to the Whittaker story, to the forebears of John senior and his parents Peter Whittaker and Margaret Wall – for that was her name.

In 2008 my nephew Wayne Davey uncovered our Whittaker origins.  Thanks to his researches we can identify not only John Whittaker’s parentage but also his siblings’ names, and the history of the Whittaker forebear who came to Australia.  Let us go back to Peter Whittaker’s origins, his parents and where they came from, and thus get the Whittakers into Australia.

At this stage we can go no further back than Peter’s father, David Whittaker and mother Jane Mary Walsh (or Welsh, but we will stay with Walsh).

In earlier days it would have been an embarrassment to relate that both David and Jane Mary were convicts, but that is all water under the bridge, and if, as a “dinky di Aussie” you haven’t got a convict in the family you should dig till you find one.

David was born in 1775 and was a resident of Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire.  On 18 July 1801 he was charged thus: “David Whitaker [sic] aged 26 years of Halifax in the West Riding, shopkeeper, committed the 25th day of April 1801, charged upon the oath of John Bairstow of Thornton in the said riding, corn dealer, on suspicion of feloniously forging and altering a certain bill from fifteen pounds to fifty pounds which said bill was drawn by William Fox for Messrs Samuel Jones, William Jones, William Fox and Co., for fifteen pounds payable at two months to John Deardon on order and drawn upon Messrs Jones, Loyd, Hulme and Co Bankers, London.”

Transported for life to NSW, David left London, England, Thursday 23 September 1802 and arrived at Sydney Cove, NSW 11 March 1803, per Glatton under Captain James Colnett RN.

According to the Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825 (State records of NSW) he was listed to receive a land grant 10 September 1818.  He was “On list of persons for whom grants of land have been handed over to the Surveyor General for delivery with amount of fees to be charged” 5 March 1821, and “On return of allotments in the town of Parramatta” 5 April 1823.

He married Jane Mary Walsh (Welsh) 13 November 1820 in Parramatta.  A mantua maker by trade (ie, she made female garments – mantles, bodices or dresses), she was born in Ireland in 1794 or 1795.  She fell foul of the law and was tried for stealing some handkerchiefs, in Dublin, August 1815, and sentenced to transportation to New South Wales for seven years.[4]  She sailed on the Canada, in the company of 88 other females, leaving 21 March 1817 from Cork, Ireland, arriving in Sydney, via Rio, 6 Aug 1817.  She obtained her certificate of freedom 29 January 1823.

David Whittaker and Jane Mary Walsh had nine children: Peter, Susan, Charles, John, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Harriet and Phoebe.  David Whittaker died 2 January 1850, Jane Mary died 18 August 1866, both in Maitland, New South Wales.  Some details of their lives in Maitland follow later.

It seems, however, that Peter was not the son of David Whittaker.  Once again I am indebted to Wayne Davey for the information that follows.[5]  The evidence suggests that, while Peter was the son of Jane Walsh (or Welsh), his father was probably an Irishman whose identity may well continue to remain unknown.

As far as can be reasonably ascertained, Peter Walsh/Welsh/Whitaker/Whittaker was born in Ireland somewhere around 1815 – the year is uncertain, as various documents would suggest other possibilities ranging from 1814 to 1816.  Wayne writes: “It is clear to me that Peter is not the child of David Whitaker/Whittaker, but later in life took the surname Whittaker.  Peter’s real father I think will never be known.”

Let us turn to the offspring of David and Jane Whittaker.

What follows is a selection of the material uncovered by Wayne Davey concerning David and Jane’s children from the records of the time.  As is often the case in researching these times, the information is confusing and conflicting.  I record it here as I received it from Wayne.

“The NSW & Tasmanian Australia Convict Muster 1822 records David Whittaker, transported on the Glatton for life, as a labourer living at Parramatta and having five children: Peter b. about 1817, Charles b. about 1819, Hannah b. about 1821, David b. about 1824, Mary b. about 1825, Ellen b. about 1826 and Elizabeth b. about 1831.  [That could not be so if these are the records are from the 1822 Muster.]  It appears that in 1822 David had five children, but as can be seen from the known children’s birth dates, Peter is probably the six year old, making him born about 1816.  Hannah would probably be the one year old, Charles older still, and I don’t know who the other two would be.  I originally couldn’t find any records of his mother Jane in this muster, but she is recorded elsewhere as Jane Welsh of the Canada, wife of D. Whittaker, Parramatta.

“The 1825 General Muster M-Z has the following recorded: ‘Whitaker David, Glatton, L[ife], Residence Parramatta; Peter, 10, son of D. Whitaker Parramatta; Charles, 6, son of D. Whitaker Parramatta; Hannah, 4, daughter of D. Whitaker Parramatta’.[6]

“This makes Peter born about 1815.

“On a different page of the 1825 General Muster M-Z is recorded: ‘Whitaker David, son of D. Whitaker Parramatta; Mary, 1, daughter of D. Whitaker Parramatta’.  I am guessing that these two children (David and Mary) were at another location, but I am unable to find any record of their mother Jane for this muster.

“The NSW & Tasmania Australian Convict Muster of 1825 has Peter recorded as Peter Welsh arriving 1817 on the Canada, aged 11.  This would make him born about 1814.”

In the New South Wales census for 1828, District of Parramatta, No 332 we read:

David Whitaker, 60, Glatton 1803, Protestant.

Jane, 31, Canada 1816, wife of above.

Children:

Peter Walsh, 13, Canada 1816, son of Jane;

Charles Whitaker, 8, son of David;

Anne Whitaker, 6 daughter of David;

David Whitaker, 4, son of David;

Mary Whitaker, 3½, daughter of David;

Ellen Whitaker, 17 months, daughter of David.

This makes Peter born about 1815.  Anne is presumably Hannah.

Wayne has noted material from other records but it adds no further clarification.  However, it is worth adding the details from Peter’s NSW Death certificate 1897/011505:

Date of death 16 December 1897 Back Creek Cowra

Age: 81 years

Father’s name: David Whittaker

Mother’s name: Unknown

Where born: Parramatta NSW

Marriage: 21 years to Margaret WALL

Six children alive: Susan 56, Charles 52, John 50, Elizabeth 48, Mary 45, Phoebe 43. Two deceased: one male, one female, unnamed.

This would make Peter born about 1816.

Before I present an account of some of the many offspring of David Whittaker and Jane Mary Walsh, I will give some account of their lives as far as we know any details.[7]

Later life of David and Jane Whittaker

Currently we do not know any further details of the life and family of David Whittaker and Jane Mary Walsh in their Sydney years.  We do know that in 1829 three of their children, Ann (Hannah), David and Mary were placed in an orphanage.  There are several documents relating to this, with Whittaker spelt with one and two t’s.  One document states “Their mother had no visible means of support and had seven children.”  It is not clear who the seventh child is.  Jane is referred to as Anne in all these documents.

At some stage David and Jane moved to Maitland.  I am not sure whether they followed son Charles, who seems to have made quite a career for himself in Maitland, or whether Charles followed his parents – I guess the former was the case.  From what follows, it is clear that while David seems to have been settled, his wife Jane was far from settled.  We can only guess what lies behind the following information gleaned from The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser.

Wayne writes: “David Whittaker spent the last years of his life living with his son Charles and his family in East Maitland NSW.  Charles was somewhat of a businessman and owned a number of different pubs in Maitland, one being the Red Lion, which has been fully restored and is today a B&B.  The Maitland Mercury has numerous articles relating to Charles and his businesses.

“David Whittaker is recorded in the Maitland Mercury on October 1846 as being the complainant of an assault.  He is described as “upwards of 75 years” (making him born about 1771).  A death notice in the Maitland Mercury 2 January 1850 stated: “At the residence of his son, Charles Whittaker, East Maitland, on the 1st Jan, Mr David Whittaker, in the 83rd year of his age. Mr Whittaker has been 47 years in the colony, and his loss is lamented by a numerous circle of relatives and friends.”  David’s death in the 83rd year of his life would make his date of birth 1766 or 1767.

“As for his wife Jane Whittaker (née Walsh), I have located a NSW death certificate for a Jane Whitaker who died in custody at the Maitland jail 17 August 1866.  Her death certificate has indications that it may have been our Jane.  It records her as born in Dublin and her age given as 70 years, making her born about 1796.  Unfortunately there is no record of a spouse or children on her death certificate.”

Jane’s story is not a happy one.

 

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser all too frequently tells of her sad state: Tuesday 17 October 1865 “Protection – Jane Whittaker was brought before the bench at West Maitland yesterday, having been taken into custody for protection still being in an unfit state to be at large, she was remanded to the East Maitland goal.” Thursday 26 October 1865 “Protection – Jane Whittaker was brought before the bench at East Maitland, on Tuesday, having been taken into custody for protection. She was still in an unsafe state to be at large, and was remanded to the goal for one week.”  Thursday 2 November 1865 “Protection – Jane Whittaker, who had been confined in goal for medical treatment, having been taken into custody for protection, was brought up before the bench at East Maitland on Tuesday. Being still in an unfit state to be at large; she was sent back to goal for medical treatment.”  Thursday 9 November 1865 “Protection – Jane Whittaker, who had been taken into custody for protection, was brought before the bench at East Maitland, on Tuesday, and discharged.”  Saturday 11 October 1865 “Vagrancy – At the East Maitland police court, yesterday, Jane Whittaker was convicted of vagrancy, and sent to goal for three months.”  Thursday 17 May 1866 “Vagrancy – Mary [presumably Jane] Whittaker, for vagrancy, was sent to goal for three months, by the bench at East Maitland, on Monday.”

Finally and sadly: The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser Saturday 18 August 1866Death In The Gaol – Yesterday morning an aged woman, named Mary [presumably Jane] Whittaker, died in the goal, East Maitland. She was received there on the 14th May last, under sentence of three months’ imprisonment, for vagrancy. She was then in a very infirm state, being upwards of 80 years old, and scarcely able to walk. She was at once placed under the care of the visiting surgeon, and regularly attended to up to the day of her death. Death was the result of extreme old age, and at the inquest held yesterday by Mr Thomson, district coroner, a verdict to that effect was returned.”

 

David had his fair share of attention from The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

 

Wednesday 21 October 1846 Assault – Mr. William Burne appeared on summons yesterday, at the police office, to answer the complaint of David Whittaker for an assault. From the evidence of Whittaker it appeared that Burne had come to complainant’s house and called him an old rogue. Complainant answered “then there are two of us,” and immediately he received a blow in the face, which hurt him severely, cutting him on the cheek and above the left eye. He could not see what the blow was inflicted with, but thought it must have been from defendant’s fist. Complainant was upwards of 75 years of age. In his defence Mr. Burne stated that complainant had been very abusive and threatening to his (defendant’s) children, and he had gone out to remonstrate with him, when he got into a passion, abused defendant by calling him opprobrious names, and ultimately concluded by banging the door in defendant’s face in a most insulting manner. Defendant had then pushed the door open, and in his doing so had struck the complainant with an edge of it, and so cut his face. It had been purely accidental, and he, at the time, had expressed his regret for it. The bench thought the assault one of a most serious nature, having been committed on so aged a man, and sentenced him to pay a fine of £5, or in default to be imprisoned for two months.

 

And finally for David, the Australian Whittaker patriarch, as we have seen: The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Wednesday 2 January 1850: At the residence of his son, Mr. Charles Whittaker, East Maitland, on the 1st Jan., Mr David Whittaker, in the 83rd year of his age. Mr. Whittaker has been 47 years in the colony, and his loss is lamented by a numerous circle of relatives.

Charles Whittaker – first born son of David Whittaker and Jane Mary Walsh.

I cannot pretend to have a complete account of the story of David Whittaker and Jane Mary Walsh’s first born son, Charles Whittaker, the Maitland businessman, but here follow some details for the sake of completeness.  Charles Whittaker was born 12 April 1819 and died 24 October 1903 at “Charlesville”, Alma Street, Ashfield NSW, having moved, presumably after many years in the Maitland district, to Sydney.

Charles Whittaker was, in the words of Bruce Morrison, “a bit of a lad with two marriages and a fling on the side”.  His treatment of his son Augustus, described as an “imbecile”, makes sad reading.  Charles and one of his wives, Rebecca, kept Augustus confined in a cow and though they were charged in Court, they were found not guilty as they were unable to afford to look after Augustus.  The lad was described as very dirty, dressed in filthy clothes, offensive smelling and sleeping on a piece of old carpet.  Augustus died in 1870 aged 22 years.  His death was registered at Gladesville, probably the Gladesville Asylum.

Charles’ first marriage, 17 October 1842 at St Andrew’s Church of England, Sydney NSW was to Ann Maria Bayliss, born 1823, died 1853.  There were five children:

  1. Phoebe Maria Whittaker born 1843 died 06/07/1860 East Maitland NSW
  2. William David Whittaker born 1845 died 1847
  3. Alfred John Whittaker born 1848 died 1848
  4. Augustus Charles Whittaker born 26/08/1849 died 1870 Gladesville NSW
  5. Alfred J. Whittaker born 1852 died 1852

With Margaret Salisbury there was one child:

  1. Victoria Adelaide Whittaker born 5 September 1854 Maitland NSW

Charles married, 14 February 1858 at St Phillip’s Church, Sydney, Rachel Rebecca Morrison (née Goodwin) born 1835 died 19 September 1928 Ashfield NSW.  Their offspring:

  1. Blanche A. Whittaker born 1858 died 1929 Ashfield, Sydney NSW
  2. Alma England Whittaker born 1860 Maitland NSW died 18 October 1860 East Maitland NSW
  3. Maud M. Whittaker born 1862 Maitland NSW
  4. Alfred John Morrison Whittaker born 1864 Maitland NSW died 05/12/1926 Caboolture, Qld
  5. Andrew Goodwin Whittaker born 1867 Maitland NSW, died 1942 Ashfield, Sydney NSW
  6. Charles Gregory Whittaker 1875 Maitland NSW died 04/05/1932 Cloncurry Qld
  7. Violet Payten Whittaker born 1880 Murrurundi NSW died 1960 Ashfield, Sydney NSW

These details suggest that Charles moved between Maitland and Sydney.

Let me return to the children of David Whittaker and Jane Walsh with the emphasis on Peter Whittaker.

 

Whittaker Descendants

 

Here follows what I believe to be an accurate account of the children of David Whitaker and Jane Mary Walsh as compiled by Bruce Morrison.[8]

David Whittaker b. 1775 Halifax, Yorkshire, England; d. 1 May 1850; m. (Jane) Mary Walsh (Welsh) b.c. 1794 Ireland, 13 November 1820, Parramatta NSW.

  1. Peter Whittaker [son of (Jane) Mary Walsh (Welsh)] b.c. 1815-17, d.16 December 1897, Back Creek, Cowra NSW; m. 16 April 1847 Margaret Wall b. 1820
  2. Susan Whittaker
  3. Charles Whittaker b. 12 April 1819, died 24/10/1903 “Charlesville”, Alma Street, Ashfield NSW
  4. John Whittaker
  5. Hannah Whittaker b. 26 December 1821, Parramatta NSW, d. 19 June 1920, Gosford NSW.
  6. Elizabeth Whittaker b. 1831
  7. Mary Whittaker
  8. Harriet Whittaker

What follows concerns only the offspring of Peter Whittaker and Margaret Wall – not, strictly speaking, Whittaker offspring.  However, that is the name by which they are all known.

Peter Whittaker married Margaret Wall, 16 April 1847.  He died 16 December 1897, Back Creek Cowra.  Margaret Wall was born in 1820 in Maryborough, County Cork, Ireland.   Their offspring:

  1. Peter b. 22 January 1840 Sydney NSW, chr. 17 August1840 St Philip’s Sydney, d. 27 June 1880 Back Creek, Cowra, m. Ellen (Helen) Caroline Beech[9] b. August 1839 Devonshire, England, m. 8 December 1859, d. 30 March 1907 Back Creek, Cowra
  2. Susan b. 10 December 1841, Richmond River NSW chr. 8 May 1844, Clarence River NSW
  3. Charles b.1842, d.1923, m. Margaret Jacob 1850[10]
  4. John [our concern in this chapter] b. 1848, d. 9 July 1910, m. Elizabeth Stephens 14 March 1878
  5. Elizabeth b. 21 November 1850 Gosford NSW
  6. Mary b. 1 November 1863 Gosford NSW
  7. Phoebe b.1857, d.1944, m. James Bell (several offspring including Lilly Bell m. John Fing)
  8. William Henry b.1860, d. 23 September 1917 Cowra NSW, m. Mary Louisa Gubbin b. 1878 Condobolin NSW, m. 1898 Cowra NSW, d. 23 April 1922 Cowra NSW (parents: William Gubbin and Mary Whittaker)[11] Offspring: Roy Gold 1900-1901, Cecil Harold Thomas 1902-1955,Dolly Edna 1904-1987, Ruby Mary 1906-1991, Ivy Irene 1909-1963, Raymond William 1911-1964, Una Mary 1917-1917 (aged 5 weeks)
  9. One male deceased.[12]

I now include the offspring of Peter Whittaker and Ellen Caroline Beech (or Bucknell), of Charles Whittaker and Margaret Jacob, and of John Whittaker and Elizabeth Stephens (my ancestors).

Peter Whittaker and Ellen Caroline Beech (or Bucknell) had nine children:

  1. Charles Robert, b. 29 December 1860, m. Bridget Mary Walsh b.c. 1855, 1 February 1887, Cowra NSW.
  2. William b. 1864
  3. Alfred b. 4 July 1866, m.(1) Alice McSpadden 15 December 1893, (2) Matilda Green
  4. Maria Theresa b. 29 November 1868
  5. John James b. 21 November 1870
  6. Peter b. 4 January 1873
  7. Phoebe b. 1875, d.1944
  8. Octavius (the eighth child, hence Octavius) b. 1877 d. 3 April 1959 Cowra NSW, m. Hannah Elizabeth Ranson b.c. 1881, d. 12 June 1966
  9. Margaret b. 1878

I add here some notes about the death of Peter Whittaker, the first son of Peter Whittaker and Margaret Wall, the older brother of my great grandfather John.

Australian Town and Country Journal

Saturday 3 July 1880

Supposed death through drinking deleterious liquor

Cowra, Monday – Peter Whittaker, a respectable farmer of Back Creek, four miles from Cowra, died suddenly last night.  The cause of his death is reported to have been deleterious liquor.  He was a steady man; was known to have called at a public house in the course of the last week, where he drank somewhat freely, and went home.  He then complained of a pain in the region of the liver, and was confined to bed, and had been vomiting and was otherwise seriously ill till the time of his death.  This is a case which requires investigation and a coroner’s inquest should be held. Deceased leaves a wife and nine children mourning their loss.

Cowra, Tuesday – The Grenfell coroner, who was wired for by the police to hold an inquest on the body of Peter Whittaker, could not attend.  A magisterial inquiry has just been held, but is further adjourned till tomorrow, when the services of a duly qualified practitioner from Grenfell will be made available for the purpose of holding a post mortem, when the cause of death will no doubt be ascertained.  Six witnesses, including a publican, have already been examined.

Cowra, Thursday – The inquiry into the cause of the death of the late Mr Whittaker is completed.  Dr Slade, of Grenfell, performed a post mortem.  Whatever other caused may have tended towards the death of Mr Whittaker, it was found that several of his ribs were broken. The evidence disclosed the fact that a powerful man named Brien had struck [the] deceased at Chiver’s public house.  A warrant was issued for Brien, who is now in custody.  The matter will be further investigated at the police court.  The funeral took place yesterday amidst the lamentations of the poor widow and children and a large circle of relatives.  The cortege was a very large one and the sad affair cast a gloom over the district.  Public sympathy for the family is largely expressed.

Charles Whittaker and Margaret Jacob[13] had eleven children:

  1. Charles b. 10 September 1871 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 4 March 1934 Cowra
  2. William Henry, b.1893 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 14 February 1901 Back Creek, Cowra
  3. Robert John b. 1876, d. 23 May 1930 Back Creek, Cowra
  4. Margaret b. 1879 d. 8 March 1933 Paddington, Sydney; m. James Henry Butler, b. c. 1866, m. 13 June 1900 Back Creek, Cowra, father Dennis Butler.
  5. Herbert Ernest b. 1880, d. 17 December 1882 Back Creek, Cowra
  6. Arthur Peter “Tib” b. 1882, d. 2 September 1968 Sydney NSW
  7. Mary “Polly” b. 14 October 1884, D. 23 June 1966 Parkes NSW
  8. Emma Evylyn b. 26 January 1887, d. 7 August 1967 Sydney
  9. Albert b. 20 August 1889 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 9 March 1893 Back Creek, Cowra
  10. Maud Esther Maria b. 18 September 1891 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 15 April 1955 Back Creek, Cowra
  11. Albert Herbert “Tom” b. 11 May 1894 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 24 October 1934, Cowra

When Charles Whittaker, the third child of Peter Whittaker and Margaret Wall, died, he was accorded an obituary in the Cowra Free Press, Tuesday 8th May 1923.

The Late Mr. Charles Whittaker, Senior

Sixty Years In Cowra District – Another Hardy Pioneer Gone

After a residence in this district of over sixty years there passed away on Sunday evening at his residence, Edlington, Back Creek, Mr. Charles Whittaker, a gentleman who had done more than his share of the pioneering work hereabouts.

The late Mr. Whittaker, who was born at Richmond on the Hawkesbury River, on April 14th, 1846,[14] was a son of the late Mr. Peter Whittaker.  In his early days he followed the occupation of a timber-getter.  When only a lad he came to this district and went to Back Creek, eventually settling on the fine property which he owned at the time of his demise, some 63 years ago.  For many years he was a carrier, but of late years he followed farming pursuits with a great measure of success.  He was a great lover of a good horse and during the early days raced “Elastic” and won many races.  In fact in those days no race meeting in the district would have been complete without at least a couple of “Charlie” Whittaker’s horses.  Of recent years he also bred some good ones, the descendants of that great mare “Merrcillaux”, “Aragain”, “Marvel Lawn”, “Irish Marvel”, “Rheumatique”, and others.  He was of a kind and sympathetic nature and if he knew a human being or animal was in pain he would do his utmost to relieve them.

He married Miss Margaret Jacobs, daughter of the late Mr. William Jacobs, who survives him.  He leaves the following family: Messrs. Charles, Robert, Arthur P., Albert H., Mesdames James Butler (Sydney), W. Thompson (Parkes), J. Davidson (America) and W. Gray (Cowra).  Three sons predeceased him.  There are also eleven grandchildren.

The funeral took place to the C of E Cemetery today, Messrs. Poignand and Murray carrying out the arrangements.  We join the many friends of the bereaved widow and family in tendering our sincere sympathy in their recent great loss.

And so we come to John Whittaker and Elizabeth Stephens.  John was born 4 October 1848 in the parish of St Andrew’s, Sydney.  Given that many of the Whittaker family of this generation were connected with Back Creek, Cowra, I am unaware of how John’s family came to be in Sydney.  However, a glance at the places where his siblings were born must give some clue as to the wanderings of their parents.  Peter was born and christened in Sydney NSW, chr. 17 August1840 St Philip’s Sydney, and died Back Creek, Cowra.  Susan was born Richmond River NSW and christened Clarence River NSW.  Charles was born Richmond River NSW, christened Clarence River NSW, and died Back Creek, Cowra.  John was born in Sydney 1848, christened at St Andrew’s Sydney, and died 1910 Sydney.  Elizabeth was born 1 December 1850 Gosford NSW; Mary was born 1 November 1863 Gosford NSW; Phoebe was born 1857, d.1944, places unknown; and William Henry born 1860, died 23 September 1917 Cowra NSW.  Richmond River, Clarence River, Sydney, Gosford, Cowra – the peripatetic Peter Whittaker is listed as sawyer on all the children’s certificates.[15]  The Whittaker family were often associated with timber either as loggers, sawyers or carters, these occupations being common among some of the Whittakers at least, my grandfather John James included.

John Whittaker and Elizabeth Stephens had eight children:

  1. John James (my mother’s father) b. 14 July 1878, Back Creek, Cowra, d. 6 November 1964 Sydney, m. 12 February 1910 Yass NSW, Lilian Gladys Cant b. 9 December 1889 Goulburn, d. 20 July 1979 Sydney.
  2. Albert, b. 9 May 1880 Back Creek, Cowra, d. 24 August 1959, m. Margaret Murray d. 7 June 1972
  3. William, b.1882 Back Creek, Cowra, m. Anne Haddon; offspring Ernest d. aged 25.
  4. Phoebe “Tot”, b. 1887 Condobolin, d. 24 August 1966, m. Thomas Langford; offspring – Myrtle, Boyd, Margery, Edna, Michael.
  5. Ernest George b. 1890, d. 1892 Condobolin
  6. Frederick Herbert b. 3 June 1895 Condobolin, d. 7 September 1953
  7. Ellen Margaret b. October 1900 Condobolin, d. 1937, m. 1922 George Wheatley
  8. Grace Bertha Anthea (Doll) b. 25 January 1902 Condobolin, d. 30 January 1977, m. 13 January 1922, Molong NSW, Edmund Oppy (parents: William Oppy and Mary Ann Jane Agatha Doyle) b. 1 November 1891, d. 11 June 1972; offspring – Edward, Ronald, Mavis, William, Anthea.[16] Edward married Floris: offspring – Judith, Terrie, Susan, Rodney, Bradley, Geoffrey.

The marriage between John Whittaker and Elizabeth Stephens was indeed a fruitful one. There were eight children of whom John James, my grandfather, was the eldest. He was born 14 July 1878 at Back Creek near Cowra, his father then being 25 and a farmer, his mother 19. John James, for all that he was on the teams at twelve, was an attractive looking lad: a picture at fifteen or sixteen shows a full front face, more than pleasant, his hat perched jauntily on the back of his head, one hand on his hip, the other over bale of straw, and one leg casually crossed.

Jack the Lad

Jack the Lad

In his twenties there is another picture taken with his sister Phoebe and some friends: he is a very handsome man, smartly dressed, with a fine trim moustache. Phoebe is a beautiful, composed woman. By the time John came to marry in 1910 at the age of 31, the looks had matured and there is a touch of the know-it-all cocked eyebrow about him: still smartly dressed (did Gladys make his waistcoat? Her needlework was beautiful) with the smartly dressed small woman standing as he sits, both looking straight at the camera. I wonder whether they ever looked into each other’s eyes after their courtship: when I knew them they were both going their own ways. The wedding photograph is hand painted, pasted onto glass and set against a painted background. The whole was beautifully framed in an oval frame. It is a rare example of such work, and was broken in being reframed. It has been reproduced.

Jack and Gladys Whittaker - wedding photo

Jack and Gladys Whittaker – wedding photo

Albert was the second child, born 9 May 1880 and married Margaret Murray, born 25 December 1883. Their children were Val (b. 5 February 1905), Ellen (20 October 1908), Leonard (26 January 1912), Ivy (19 June 1917), Ronald (13 October 1919) and Pearl (25 February 1925).

I knew Albert – whom we called Uncle Ab – when we were in Darlinghurst in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I enjoyed his visits. He must have lived in Sydney while his wife still lived in Condobolin. He loved dancing and would talk all night about the dances he went to at Burwood. He and Pop Whit must have been close because they talked for hours about the old days and old friends – Mrs McNulty and Mrs Oppy and Mrs Gus Brown – and such stories have gone from my memory now (except the haunted bridge – to hear them talk you’d think they were on first name terms with Fisher’s Ghost!) but I recall sitting totally absorbed in them, both the old days and the dancing parties with women whose names danced in my head.

At Easter in 1971 Mum, my grandmother Gladys Whittaker and I visited Condobolin, à la récherche du temps perdu. We visited Albert’s wife Aunty Mag and her still single daughter, Pearl, who worked at the Condobolin Hospital. They gave me much of this material. We also visited the pisé (rammed earth) house in which, I think, Granny Smith (Elizabeth Stephens, who married again after her husband John died) used to live. I believe the then occupants were Whittaker relatives, but we did not know them. We also visited the cemetery, to see Granny Smith’s grave. Ted Oppy, a dear gentleman, drove us around.

Uncle Ab died 24 August 1958, and Aunty Mag 7 June 1982.

William Whittaker and Anne Haddon

William Whittaker and Anne Haddon

Then there was William, born 1882. He married Anne Haddon (b. 1892). Bill’s photos do not present an attractive man., but I know nothing of his personality. However, my grandmother Gladys, who did know him, spoke of his beautiful wife, Anne, who ended her days in Callan Park Asylum, 1 June 1926, driven there by her husband. They had one child, Ernest, who died at the age of twenty-five. In fairness to Bill I must say that an extant postcard from him to Anne is expressed in very beautiful terms.

Anne Haddon

Anne Haddon

The first daughter, Phoebe (Tot), was born in 1887 and died on 24 August 1966. From her photographs she appears as a lovely, self-contained woman who grew into a mature wife and mother, devoted to her husband Edward Langford, to whom she bore five children: Myrtle, Boyd, Margery, Edna and Michael.

Phoebe Whittaker and Thomas Langford

Phoebe Whittaker and Thomas Langford

Ernest George was born in 1890 and died at the age of two.

Frederick Herbert was born 8 June 1895, and died unmarried 7 September 1953; a shy lad, from his picture, but he could only have been about fourteen, and who isn’t shy then? He had the makings of his brother John’s good looks, and was already as tall as Bill.

Frederick Whittaker

Frederick Whittaker

Ellen Margaret, (Nell), was born in October 1900, and died in 1937. She married George Wheatley. Attractive and bright in her teens, she seems to have grown plain later on. I do not know that there were any children.

Aunty Doll rejoiced at her birth in the noble names Grace Bertha Anthea, but probably never used them afterwards. She was born 2 January 1902, and was a powerful beauty when she married the equally handsome Edmund Oppy, 13 January 1922. They had five children: Edward (called Terrence) (b. 11 August 1920), Ronald (26 November 1922), Mavis (17 November 1926), William (16 February 1928. According to Betty Lovejoy it was William who was living in the pisé house in Condobolin when we visited in 1972. He died in 1989), and Betty (3 June 1930) whom I sometimes hear from. Ted died soon after our Easter visit – the same year as the Duke of Windsor, I remember, for my mother was fond of both of them and was in England when Ted died.

Doll whittaker and Edmund Oppy

Doll whittaker and Edmund Oppy

These are the children, then, of John Whittaker and Elizabeth Stephens. They were a remarkably attractive lot of people, the men handsome, the women beautiful. There was a distinct quality about them, but where it came from I don’t know. My mother often spoke very warmly about Elizabeth Whittaker (Stephens, later Granny Smith) having a certain genteel quality. What more is there to be said? John died in Callan Park Asylum for the Insane, 9 July 1910, at the age of 61. The carrier was finally himself carried off by phthisis pulmonalis, a progressive wasting disease of the lungs, probably tuberculosis. But why Callan Park? So little is known about these impressive people with such beautiful children. At least John James was present at the Church of England cemetery three days later to witness his father’s burial.

It was after more than a decent interval that Elizabeth (Stephens) Whittaker remarried in 1919. She married a very dapper man, remembered by Doug as wearing leggings – “you could see him coming from the end of the street” – William (Billy) Smith, and so became for my mother and Doug “Granny Smith”; they recalled her with great affection as a “real lady”. She lived on in Condobolin till she died of senility, 20 June 1946, at the grand old age of 87. I wonder whether I met her as a very young child, because I do have the merest hint of a memory of being in Condobolin in the early 1940s, of being caught in a dust-storm, in fact: I am sure to have been presented to the old lady. She was buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Condobolin. William Smith outlived her.

Jack and Gladys Whittaker

Jack and Gladys Whittaker

When and where John James Whittaker met Lillian Gladys Cant I do not know, but it was a case of the handsome man meeting the comely young woman – I don’t think we would call Gladys beautiful, but she was lovely – he was 31, she 20. I wonder what attracted this man – a bushman in some sense, obviously intelligent, able to estimate the number of super-feet of timber in a tree at a glance – to the young lady schoolteacher, undoubtedly displaying then the impeccable care she always showed in whatever she did. I have an exercise book which she wrote her lessons in during 1908 and 1909, inscribed “Gladys Cant, Subsidised School, Rosemead, Sth Yalgogrin, via Narranderah”. The writing is exquisite and stylish: it changed little over the years, simply becoming mature and no less legible.

They were certainly very different people, differing in upbringing and different in temperament. Ultimately she proved to be the stronger of the two, as women so often do.   Once, later in his life, he once set upon her, only to be confronted by my sister: he promptly fell to the ground calling on Gladys to witness the mayhem visited upon him by “girlie”, “split the wind”, as he sometimes called her.

My sister Adele tells warmer stories of Pop Whit as he got older and more dependent after the family moved from Boundary Street to Elanora Heights in 1956. She looked after him, oftentimes bathing and shaving him and even sleeping nearby in case he needed anything during the night.

It was at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Yass, that they were married, 16 February 1910, she already three months pregnant. John James, the farmer, of Condobolin, a bachelor, born Cowra, aged thirty-one; and Lilian Gladys Cant, residing with her parents – though her mother Anne had been dead fifteen years, and it was Sarah Grieves who took the mother’s place, not very happily according to Gladys – at Yass Junction, a spinster, born Goulburn, aged twenty.

They must have moved to Condobolin at once because their daughter, Honor Delores, my mother, was born there 16 July 1910. Douglas John, their only son, was born a few years later, 8 March 1912, “at the foot of Billygoat Hill, Cowra”, according to Doug. I wonder why only two children, in that age of prolific families. And I wonder why Cowra!

Honor and Douglas at Myra Cottage

Honor and Douglas at Myra Cottage

Life for the children must have been enjoyable – both Honor and Doug remember it as a happy time. The family lived in a tent for a while, several miles out of town; work must have been hard, conditions unpredictable – a runaway horse doing much damage, bleeding and bandages, and Gladys coping in her memorable way. (She undoubtedly displayed more patience than I did back in Condobolin sixty years later when she, being her independent self, fell in the motel room, cracking her head – more bleeding and bandages). Gladys used to tell a story of wading in water only to find her legs covered in leeches. She dispatched them with a swipe of a sickle, leaving a permanent scar on her leg. There were stories of a camel with a ferocious bite, learning to load the dray with the help of the horses – the much loved “Prince” among them. There were picnics: a lovely picture of the boy Doug and the charming school teacher Miss McNamara with her parasol, sitting on a log near the water hole – it might have been Illyria rather than a boggy creek near Condobolin; and rock salt and molasses parties that so delighted my mother’s memories.

Myra Cottage Boarders Gladys and Jack at back Honor at front

Myra Cottage Boarders
Gladys and Jack at back
Honor at front

Jack Whittaker continued working on the teams, as family photographs show, with help from Mr Vandertack; and Gladys – everyone always called her Gladys, although my mother sometimes called her “Lilly Pilly” – opened a boarding house, Myra Cottage (was it in Denison Street?) which gather, was a cause of some jealousy on Jack’s part. Gladys was a good business woman and I’d be surprised if she stood for much nonsense from anybody – she had a strong moral streak as well, so Jack need not have feared.

Condobolin was no place for young people to find a career, so in 1926 Gladys bundled up Honor and Douglas and travelled to Sydney leaving Jack to follow. Mum says that much of the good stuff – china, glassware, linen – acquired and packed away for transportation to Sydney never arrived: she hinted that Jack may have disposed of it otherwise.

Honor went to Business College where she did very well, and Doug went to school at the Christian Brothers school at Sacred Heart, Darlinghurst. They lived in Gosbell Street Paddington, and Honor found employment soon after at Bray and Holliday, Shopfront Fitters, as a switchboard operator, a job she kept with a ten year or so break, till 1960.

Gladys, the business woman, bought and managed properties and went to work. She was mainly employed as a cleaner, but she also worked at the Pickwick Club where she made hors d’oeuvres, working late, late into the night. Her employers, including such names as Pankhurst and McGillvray and the ANZ Bank in Bathurst Street, treated her with the utmost respect: in some ways she was their moral superior though she worked for them, and they treated her accordingly. They got more than a fair day’s work for their day’s pay out of her.

What Jack did during these years, I do not know. There was, as I have said, a garage which failed. Then I think it was odd jobs for the next twenty five years.

When the family moved from Boundary Street, Darlinghurst to Cooleena Road, Elanora Heights, in 1956, old John James was on his last legs which he needed to keep wrapped in sugar bags and carpet pieces to ward off draughts. When that failed he barricaded his bedroom against the breezes, which eventually won the battle as they always do, and he died – having thrown away his much puffed and never-alight pipe some years previously – after a short spell of a few weeks in the Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst, 6 November 1964.

Jack and Gladys, Brady Street Granville, 1930s

Jack and Gladys, Brady Street Granville, 1930s

According to his death certificate he died of congestive cardiac failure, atherosclerosis, and a recurrent urinary infection. He was buried from the Sacred Heart Church by Father Brian Charlton, in the Catholic Cemetery, Botany.

How much more complete this story is than the account I originally wrote in 1985. It is bound to contain inaccuracies, but they will be for future researchers to correct.

June 2015

[1] We now know she was Margaret Wall.

[2] The Peters were Elizabeth’s mother’s family.

[3] I will deal with Elizabeth Stephens’ ancestry in another chapter – her mother’s side, the Peters, not her father’s side, of which I know nothing.

[4] Court records for this time were destroyed by fire in the mid 1800s.

[5] December 2008

[6] Note the variation between Whitaker and Whittaker – not surprising for anyone undertaking family research.

[7] Details provided by Wayne Davey.

[8] Bruce Morrison is a descendant of Charles Whittaker, son of David Whittaker and Jane Walsh, half-brother of Peter, my ancestor.

[9] Bruce Morrison writes in an email to Pauline Ramage 8 April 2012: “Peter Whittaker married Helen (Caroline Ellen) Beech or Buckner.  I found her name as being either Beech or Buckner/Buckler.  I do not know which is correct.”  By coincidence, Pauline Ramage (Duncin) and I were partners at the St Canice’s Primary School in about 1948 and there is a picture to prove it!  Bruce Morrison writes further to the question (28 April 2015): “I don’t know anything about the Beech/Buckner/Bucknell/Buckland name or where it came from.  It has cropped up in different records.  I don’t know if we will ever find out the correct name.  From the Cowra Courthouse Records transcripts which I have on my computer for the death of Phoebe Atkinson 16/11/1917 states that she is the daughter of Peter Whittaker and Ellen Caroline Buckland: this would have been given by the informant of the death.  If they thought it was Buckland, then that is what is recorded whether it is right or wrong.”

[10] See obituary below.

[11] See Bruce Morrison for offspring.

[12] According to Judith Eastwell, granddaughter of Edmund Oppy and Grace Bertha Anthea Whittaker.  Grace Whittaker is the sister of my grandfather John James Whittaker.

[13] Bruce Morrison, who has provided much information in this chapter, is descended from Margaret Jacob’s step-sister Mary Geary whose mother Margaret Geary (née Ryan) married (1) William Geary and (2) William Jacob.  Margaret Jacob who married Charles Whittaker was the first of four children of this second marriage.

[14] Bruce Morrison notes (16 June 2015): I noticed in your footnote [14] referring to the birth 1846 or 1842 of Charles Whittaker of Cowra, who married Margaret Jacob. This is incorrect Charles was born 04/04/1845 baptised 14/03/1847, baptism registered in the district of Clarence River NSW. His birth is registered under “Wall” in the NSW BDMs (V1847 2703 32) no father listed and mother Margrett. In the old BDM Index on Microfiche the birth is registered under Whittiker & Wall, for some reason the new online version only has it registered as “Wall”.

[15] Bruce Morrison.

[16] I believe I am right in saying that I knew “Anthea” as Betty Lovejoy.

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