More About Grace Peter
Grace Peter is 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 article is based on material 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, 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.
According to her marriage certificate, Grace Peter was born in Sydney. She was 19 when she married in October 1858 which indicates she was born in 1839. She married Henry James Stephen(s) 8 October 1858. The “Elizabeth”, witness 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.”]
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.