Monday, January 20, 2014

Elizabeth GROSE nee SLATER - sister of Catherine PRIESTLY?

My ancestor Catherine SLATER married Samuel PRIESTLY (a convict) in 1840 in Sydney. I know very little about where she came from. Regarding the marriage, I have two transcripts: the 'permission to marry' that a convict needed from the governor, and the marriage transcript from St James church itself.

NSW Convict marriage banns Yearly indexes - 1840, p.1
4/2480.3 / AONSW Film 736 / St. James, [Sydney]
Samuel Priestly / aged 28 / per "Aurora", 1833 / TL 40/934
Catherine SLATER / aged 26 / per "William Metcalfe", 1837 / CF
1840 / 170 / 24 / CG

CofE BMD register 1840, R-G v.24, p.43, AONSW Film 5006
Marriages ... in the parish of St. James, [Sydney}, ... Co. of Cumberland ... 1840
170/74 / Samuel Priestly, of St. Andrew's Parish, bachelor / Catherine SLATER, of St. Andrew's Parish, spinster / m. 03.09.1840 / witnesses: James CONLEN of 6 Kent St. and Elisha HAYES of Pitt St., Sydney / Samuel made his mark; Catherine signed

This shows how Catherine SLATER arrived here. She was not a convict, but 'came free' (CF) under the 'London Emigration Committee' scheme to bring free women to Australia (see  The committee was condemned for its selection processes in what was seen as a plot to transplant immoral women and the sweepings of British and Irish workhouses and charitable institutions to colonial society. A book published by Liz Rushen 'Single and Free: female migration to Australia 1833-1837' describes the program.

The 'William Metcalfe' departed London and arrived in Hobart (in what is now Tasmania) on 24 Jan 1837. Clearly based on the above marrriage she had found her way to Sydney by 1840.

Elizabeth Slater also emigrated on the William Metcalfe, and it is believed that they were sisters - they were listed together in the ship's indent (which wasn't strictly alphabetical); they are two years apart in age. Liz Rushen also stated that "On arrival, Elizabeth, aged 28, while stating her occupation to be a general servant, was employed by Lady Franklin (wife of the Governor) as an under-housemaid at an annual wage of £12. Catherine, aged 25 or 26, was employed as a general servant by Mr McDowall for the same amount. Twelve pounds was on the high side of the average wage for these immigrant women."

Importantly, both married in Sydney, at the same church, in 1840. How they got to Sydney is not known.

The Sydney Gazette 
Tuesday 2 June 1840,  page 3.  
Family Notices
By Special License,- on the 30th of May, at St. James' Church, Sydney, by the Rev. R. Allwood, Joseph Hickey Grose, Esq., to Miss Elizabeth Slater, of Elizabeth-street, Sydney.

Curiously, I cannot find a NSW BDM entry for this marriage - so the newspaper announcement is the sole record of that marriage that I am aware of.

Catherine's death certificate  states she was born in London, but does not state the names of her parents, so for now I've not identified her birth. As such, I thought if I traced Elizabeth's fate, I might find either a connection with her putative sister Catherine, or a reference to her parents or birth-place in England.

So, let's see what happened to Elizabeth - to the records. Elizabeth's husband Joseph Hickey GROSE actually has an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. It states that his third wife Elizabeth, and three children from that marriage survived him on his death in 1849. The Sydney Morning Herald (21 Apr 1849) confirms his death 'At Picton, on the 18th instant... an old and much respected merchant of Sydney.' He was buried at St John's cemetery in Parramatta. Their children were: 
1. Emily Jane GROSE, born 1843 in Sydney. She married Edward HORDERN of the succesful retailing family and they had three children (Edward, Percy and Emily) prior to her death aged 23 in December 1865.
2. James Harvey GROSE, born 1844 in Sydney. He died in Sydney in 1879, aged 35 and apparently unmarried.
3. Kate GROSE, born 1844 also in Sydney. She died in 1863 'at her mother's residence, Philliphaugh Cottage, Upper Dowling-street' (Empire, 11 Feb 1863).

So, by 1879 Elizabeth had lost her husband (1849) and all three children, but did have surviving HORDERN grandchildren through her eldest daughter's marriage. Her probably sister Catherine PRIESTLY died in 1869. Elizabeth does not seem to appear in digitized papers. She died in 1893:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 19 August 1893

GROSE. - August 18, at her residence, Ruthaire, Liverpool-street, Darlinghurst, Elizabeth Grose, aged 78 years (suddenly).
THE FUNERAL of the late Mrs GROSE will leave her late residence, Ruthaire, 369 Liverpool- street, Darlinghurst, TO-MORROW, Sunday, at 1.15 p.m., for the Necropolis. W. STEWART.

And she died in a comfortable financial position, leaving money to the Sydney Hospital, the Ashifield Children's Home other similar institutions.

Wagga Wagga Advertiser
Tuesday 10 October 1893
The will of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Grose has been proved at pounds 20,375, the principal part of which is to be divided amongst the charities.

Her NSW death certificate index entry (1211/1893) states parents as unknown, but I have not seen the original certificate to know how the informant was, or whether a place of birth was given. Disappointing.

 The only other possibility was that her headstone may give information. My father again donned the boots and marched off to Rookwood for me with a camera. The Rookwood Anglican section index lists:

Section : AA
Number : 0000190

And sure enough, there is a headstone in amazing condition. Possibly it has been replaced at some point - the gold lettering is very intact (note the poor condition of contemporary headstones in the background).

Transcript of headstone in Rookwood Anglican cemetery
In Affectionate Memory Of
The only beloved son of Elizabeth and

the late Joseph Hickey Grose of Sydney
Born May 30th 1842
Died November 20th 1879
"To our God, hear the prayer of thy servant"
Wife of Joseph Hickey Grose
Died 18th August 1893
Aged 79 years

So no answers, but lots of information on a woman who is probably the sister of Catherine, who arrived with her on the 'William Metcalfe'.


Addendum: I should add that my ancestor was Henry PRIESTLY. Henry married in 1858 to Margaret RODGERS, and stated in his marriage certificate that his parents were Samuel PRIESTLY and Catherine SLATER. But his age means he was born abt 1838 (two years before his parent's marriage), and I've not yet found a baptism for Henry PRIESTLY/SLATER in either NSW or Tasmania. There are a few possibilities here - the most likely is that his mother Catherine SLATER gave birth to him out of wedlock. The alternative seems less likely (Samuel as father attaining son). It is remotely possible that Samuel and Catherine had Henry together out of wedlock - but if he was born in 1838 why wait two years to marry? And, in fact, this means Catherine needed to get from Hobart/Tasmania to Sydney fairly promptly. And finally, Henry may have been 'adopted' by the couple after marriage. If Henry was not Samuel's son, Samuel certainly didn't seem to hold any of this against Henry, as the two ran a merchant agents together. 

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