A new theme for my blog to match my passion for history
An Irish shoemaker’s apprentice
Contributing to the #TroveTuesday theme of Amy Houston from Branches, Leaves & Pollen, here’s my story.
Trove is truly a treasure box.
This tale is about my maternal 3rd great grandmother’s first husband, Joseph Maher. He is not my ancestor, I am descended from her second husband John Woods. I was always curious about Joseph, as he and Alice were married in 1850, and his death was in 1850, followed by Alice’s new marriage in 1851 to John (they never seemed to waste much time in those days moving on to the next partner!).
Searching Trove, I found the sad story of Joseph’s death within days of marrying Alice. He was sitting on a bullock dray loaded with return goods after delivering wool. The load shifted, Joseph fell onto the dray shaft and then in front of the wheel which crushed his head:
FATAL ACCIDENTS. (1850, February 13). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), p. 2. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article696
I have since been on Ancestry and with the NSW State Archives records that are loaded there, have been able to trace his arrival from Dublin in 1840 on the convict ship Pekoe, he was only 17, a shoemaker’s apprentice, sent to Australia for picking pockets. Was also able to find his tickets of leave, including one that was cancelled for being “drunk and found in a disorderly house” in 1846. I found the newspaper article on Trove:
Government Gazette. (1846, April 29). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), p. 1. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article680876
Searching NSW BDM the records show that Alice had a child born in 1851, named John Maher. I haven’t traced further, but I really hope that the Maher line survived and thrived in Australia. I keep thinking of Joseph as just a boy the same age as my son, being sent across the world for a petty crime, only to die 10 years later.
And of course, for my part, my Mum, my sister, my kids and I would not have existed if he had lived.