Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who was Helena Emily MCBERNEY?

Normally I post answers to my tree, rather than questions. There are exceptions, like the origins of William SMITH of Germany (abt 1836 Germany - 1874 NSW), and the death of Harriet CASTLE nee LEWIS (1836 East Hendred, Berkshire - ??? NSW).

The woman I'm interested in, Helena Emily MCBERNEY, is not an ancestor, but the second wife of my ancestor Sebastian HODGE (1833 - 1889 Sydney NSW) of whom I have written a great deal.

Sebastian's wife Harriet nee SMITH died on 24 January 1888 at their hotel, the Commercial Hotel, on the corner of King St and Castlereagh St in Sydney (I have searched in vain for a photo of this hotel). Sebastian and Harriet had nine children from 1855 - 1874.

A year after his wife's death, Sebastian re-married, to a widower named Helena Emily McClelland.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 14 February 1889

HODGE - McCLELLAND - February 4, at St. Stephen's Church, Phillip-street, by the Rev. Dr. Steel, Sebastian Hodge, of King-street, Sydney, to Helena Emily McClelland, relict of the late Thomas McClelland.

Twenty years earlier, the NSW BDM shows the marriage of Thomas MCCLELLAND to Helena Emily MCBERNEY (336/1869), registered in Sydney. I can find no reference to their marriage in Australian newspapers, and no children by their marriage.

I can also find no likely birth in Australia, not a likely immigration, for a Helena Emily MCBERNEY.

But most confusing is what happened to Helen after she married Sebastian? They married on 4 Feb 1889. 10 weeks later, Sebastian HODGE died in the Commercial Hotel, apparently of nephritis and a carbuncle (perhaps the latter precipitated the former). As a result, Helena appears to have inherited her husband's estate (though she may have had independent property). We know this because very shortly afterwards the Commercial Hotel was sold:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 9 August 1889
Transfer of hotel license from Helena to J.E.Fallon
Then, three months later is the last record of Helena I can find:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 28 November 1889
In this case J. A. G. D'Alpuget claimed from Helen Emily Hodge, administratrix in the estate of the late Sebastian Hodge, £100 commission on the sale of the Commercial Hotel, King-street. A verdict was given for the defendant, but his Honor granted a stay of proceedings.

After this, I can find no mention in newspapers, no death record, no record of re-marriage. Nothing.

What happened to Helena formerly McBerney late McClelland?

No comments: