Catherine Eather 1846-1928
Catherine EATHER, the thirteenth and last child of Thomas EATHER 1800-1886 and Sarah, nee McALPIN, was born at Richmond, New South Wales on 13 January 1846. Her childhood home was the "Union Inn" in Windsor Street, Richmond where her parents resided and her father was sometimes the inn-keeper.
Her eldest brother and sister were already married when she was born and the next two were married when she was still too young to remember the respective events. Four more family weddings occurred by the time she was ten, and she became used to seeing older brothers and sisters departing from their home town for destinations over the ranges to the north.
She was only two when her sister Susannah died from burns and she probably did not remember her in later life. Her chief childhood playmates were her brothers James and John and some of her nieces and nephews who lived nearby. She was nine when her eldest sister, Elizabeth, became a widow and there was sorrow in the family. Of her older sisters, the ones whom she knew the best were Elizabeth and Annie, as they were the ones who continued to live at Richmond after their respective marriages. Catherine EATHER probably had formal schooling as a pupil at the school a few streets away and she would have gone along with her parents and other relatives on Sundays to the regular service in St Peter's Church. She probably went to Sunday school classes.
On 23 May 1866, when she was twenty, Catherine EATHER married twenty-nine year-old William Henry TAYLOR. The wedding was held at Richmond by the rites of the Presbyterian Church. The witnesses who signed the marriage register were two of her seventeen year-old nephews, Albert YOUNG and Henry Charles EATHER. The groom had been born at Richmond in 1837, the son of a farmer, Robert TAYLOR and his wife Sarah. Like many of the young men born on the Hawkesbury, he had ventured out onto the Liverpool Plains and beyond and by the time of his marriage he was a grazier in the Narran Creek district far out to the north-west of the colony beyond the township of Walgett. He signed the marriage certificate with his mark (a cross).
Soon after her marriage Catherine left her home district, just as most of her elder siblings had done, and proceeded to the Liverpool Plains. On the way she would have been able to have called upon her eldest brother and family at Bulga; her sister Sarah and family at the hotel at Muswellbrook, and her sister Charlotte and family at nearby Liddell. She didn't make her home permanently at Narran Creek. She and William spent most of their married lives on the Namoi River at Baan Baa. There Catherine was amongst quite a number of her relatives, as her brothers Charles, Peter and William were all married and living on or near the family station "Henriendi", and her single brothers James and John were also there except when away on droving trips or visits to the Hawkesbury or elsewhere.
During the first twenty-one years of their marriage, five children were born to Catherine and William. At some date between 1876 and 1883 William Henry TAYLOR changed his surname to ALLEN. The reason for this is still a mystery. His first three children were registered with the surname of TAYLOR, but William, born in 1883, was registered as ALLEN. Thereafter all references to the family members in official records, including the first three children, have the family name as ALLEN.
When grandchildren of Catherine and William became subscribers to the EATHER Family Newsletter in the 1980's, they were unaware that TAYLOR had once been the surname of two of their grandparents. Catherine EATHER became well-known in the Boggabri and Narrabri districts. She has been recorded as an expert horsewoman, riding side-saddle as many women did in those days.
She became an experienced mid-wife and for years travelled the countryside in the Baan Baa and Narrabri districts, attending to her patients. William remained a grazier, but according to oral family history he also drove coaches for Cobb and Co for several years in the 1890's. Eventually there came an occasion when bushrangers attempted to hold up his coach. Gun-fire ensued and the sound of it caused the team to bolt. William was thrown from the driver's seat and dragged along the ground for some distance. He was transported to the Narrabri hospital suffering from head and other injuries. He died in hospital eight days later on 7 October 1894 from "injuries to the brain". He was 57.
His daughter, Sarah age 23 years, provided the information for her father's death certificate. She was single and her place of residence was Nowley Station, Narrabri. His name was given as William Henry ALLEN and his occupation as grazier.
He had seven living children and none deceased. An inquest was held into the cause of his death. The coroner's verdict was, "Effects of injuries accidentally received" and the locality, "near Narrabri". Catherine survived her husband by thirty-four years.
She suffered further tragedy in her life when her second son William, who had enlisted in the AIF during World War I, was killed in action overseas.
Her eldest son, Thomas, also died during her lifetime.
She lived to see her three eldest children married, and to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At some time in her old age she left the Narrabri district and moved to Sydney.
After the death of her sister Sarah in Queensland in 1926, she was the only surviving daughter of Thomas and Sarah EATHER.
She was 82 when she passed away at the residence of her grandson, Athol HATHORN, at 125 Forest Road, Bexley on 26 October 1928. She was buried in the Woronora. Cemetery. Three children; Sarah (age 57), Mabel (53) and Frank (41) survived her. The information on her death certificate was provided by Athol HATHORN.
The Children of Catherine Eather and William Henry TAYLOR 1837-1894 were:-
Thomas Charles Taylor Allen 1868 – 1919 m. Minnie Clara FREEMAN 1878-1965
Sarah Eliza Taylor 1871 – 1955 m. Henry HATHORN 1866-1962
Mabel Kate Taylor 1875 – 1958 m. William Henry ROBINSON 1877-1945
William Roland Allen 1883 – 1917 ANZAC Killed in action
Frank McAlpin Allen 1887 – 1956
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