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James Eather 1811-1899

Journal by janilye

Although the family settled at Bulga had very close connections with Narrabri, the branch most commonly identified with that district is that of James EATHER, youngest son Thomas EATHER 1764-1827 and Elizabeth LEE 1771-1860 who was born at Windsor on 4 March 1811 and died at Narrabri on 26 May 1899. He was the only one of five original brothers to die outside the Hawkesbury district. and the last survivor of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth. Trained to the trade of Wheelwright, he developed interests in the west of the valley and it was claimed that during the 1840s he was the first man to drive a wagon down the precipitous Victoria Pass between Mount Victoria and Hartley.

He obtained a part interest in 'Henriendi' and settled at Narrabri in 1867. The difficulties experienced on the station by his nephew "Old Charley", apparently influenced James EATHER for he turned to free selection on Maule's Creek near Narrabri. He married Mary Ann HAND at Richmond oN the 10 March 1835 and by her, had a family of thirteen. Their eldest son Thomas, was the progenitor of most of the Eather's in the district today, but another son John, was also long associated with Narrabri.

The children of James EATHER 1811-1899 and Mary Ann HAND 1815-1894

1. Thomas EATHER 18361929 M. Charlotte Margaret Howell 1842-1899 at
Parramatta, New South Wales, ON 22 November 1860

2. James EATHER 18381935 m. Sarah Mary EATHER 1843-1921 on 16 September 1863.

3. John Patrick EATHER 18391916 m. Ellen Mary SPENCER 1853-1946 at
Narrabri, New South Wales in 1874.

4. Elizabeth EATHER 18441876 m. Edward SHADLOW 1837-1905 at
St Peter's, Church Of England, Richmond, 27 March 1861.

5. Anne Eliza EATHER 1844 ? m. Malcolm MCEACHERN 1844-1878 at
Hartley, New South Wales on 24 February 1870.

6. Charles EATHER 18461938 m. Rosalie INGHAM 1865-1950 at
Moree, New South Wales,in 1882.

7. Robert EATHER 18481901 m. Ellen BRYANT 1861-1901 at
Lithgow, New South Wales on 5 December 1883.

8. George Henry EATHER 18501881 m. Sarah POTTS b:1856 at
Narrabri, New South Wales in 1873.

9. Mary Ann EATHER 18521911 m. Eugene Andrew Conmar WHELAN 1842-1941 at Narrabri, New South Wales in 1873.

10. William Abel EATHER 18551917 m. Cecilia Ruth VILE 1865-1948 at
Gunnedah, New South Wales in 1885.

11. Sarah Amy EATHER 18571937 m. Francis William ROBINSON 1857-1886 at Gunnedah, New South Wales on 5 March 1885.

12. Catherine Matilda EATHER 18581939 m. Henry George SPENCER 1855-1936 at Narrabri, New South Wales in 1881.

13. Susannah Charlotte EATHER 1861 1911 m. John PITMAN 1859-1911 at Maule's Creek, New South Wales on the 15 February 1882.


The following was compiled by the EATHER FAMILY NEWSLETTER

James EATHER, the eighth and last child of the pioneers, Thomas EATHER and Elizabeth LEE, was born at Windsor on 4 March 1811. His father was nearly 47 and his mother about 39. His eldest sister Ann was already the wife of Joseph ONUS and had baby daughter two months old. When James was about nine his father purchased an allotment in George Street, Windsor, and a house on this allotment became the family home. By the time James was thirteen most of his brothers and sisters had married and left home. After 1824 only James and his elder brother John were still living at home with their parents. Just after James had turned sixteen in 1827 his father died and the family gathered the next day for the funeral service and interment in the churchyard close by St Matthew's Church. There was nothing of immediate importance for James under the bequests in his father's will. Everything that Thomas EATHER had possessed: the houses in George Street; the cattle, carts, farm equipment, and household furniture and effects, all went to his widow. Upon her death James was to receive the front two rooms of the house in which the family was residing, and one cow and calf. As it turned out, James had to wait over 33 years to receive his inheritance. About the time of his father's death or soon afterwards, James commenced training in the skills of a wheelwright. He seems to have persevered with his chosen trade and became, qualified to make and repair wheels for the various carts and wagons in use in the district. In his adult life he served the public for a number of years as a wheelwright with his business premises located in the Richmond district. At the age of twenty-four James married. The wedding was held on 10 March 1835 and the bride was Mary Ann HAND. Mary Ann had been born at Richmond on 23 July, 1815, the fourth child of Patrick HAND and Catherine HATCH. Her father was Irish, born about 1777 probably in Armagh County, Ireland. He had been convicted at Armagh in August 1801 of some political offence and sentenced to seven years transportation. He had arrived in the colony on the ship "Rolla" on 12 May 1803 and assigned to the Parramatta area. After the completion of his sentence, Patrick had moved to the Hawkesbury district and leased land firstly at Cornwallis and later from Archibald BELL at North Richmond. Mary Ann's mother, Catherine HATCH, also hailed from Ireland. She had been born at Dublin in 1786 and had arrived in New South Wales as a convict on the ship "Experiment" on 25 June 1809. She soon became associated with Patrick. Their first children had been twins, Catherine and Patrick, born at Richmond on 17 April 1812. They had been followed by Elizabeth (1813), Mary Ann (1815), John (1816), Charles (1823) and James (1825). Catherine had died during the birth of their son James at their home at Richmond on 4 February 1825. Her death had been followed by that of Patrick on 15 December 1827 at his home at Richmond, so Mary Ann had been left an orphan at the age of ten. For a time her elder sister Catherine cared for the younger children of the family. In 1828 her sister Elizabeth had married Charles CONLAN. At the time of the 1828 census, Mary Ann was living with them at Cornwallis. Following their wedding, James EATHER and Mary Ann lived at Richmond. On 17 January 1836 their first child, Thomas, was born. When he was baptised by the Reverend Henry STILES of St Peter's Church on 14 February 1836, James and Mary Ann were residing at Richmond and James was a wheelwright. On 17 December 1837 their second son, James, was born. On 7 March 1838 he was christened by the Reverend Henry STILES. James and Mary Ann were still residing at Richmond and James was still a wheelwright. On Christmas Day 1839 another son was born and named John Patrick. When the Reverend STILES baptised him on 30 August 1840, James and Mary Ann were still living at Richmond, but James stated that he was a farmer. Probably he was leasing land somewhere in the Richmond district. By 1844, when their fifth child was born, James and Mary Ann were living at Agnes Bank and James was once again a wheelwright. In 1860, Elizabeth EATHER died and James came into his inheritance at last. The cow and calf that he was to inherit, had expired years before. He became the owner of the front two roams of the old family home, while his brother John inherited the remainder of the building. Four of James's nephews each inherited an interest in the family allotment, so by an agreement the land was sub-divided into six small allotments, each with a frontage to George Street of about 30 feet and a depth of about 128 feet. James's allotment was on the north-eastern end of the land, and upon it stood the old EATHER family home. As his brother John had inherited half of the old house, James had to purchase it from him. As he was farming in the Richmond district, he had no intention of taking up residence in Windsor and on 1 June 1861 he mortgaged his allotment to a grazier, John HOSKISSON, for a loan of 250. He probably rented the allotment to a tenant. In 1861, Charlotte Susannah, the thirteenth and last child of James and Mary Ann EATHER was born. During his years in the Richmond district, James had derived an income from several sources. Besides his farming and business as a wheelwright, he had a wagon and team and made a number of journeys carting supplies over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst. His son James recalled in his later years that, as a boy in the 1840's he had accompanied his father on a journey over the mountains. The journey was made during a cold spell in winter, and the bags of sugar on the wagon became so frozen that at the end of the journey they had to be prised off the load with a crow-bar. James and Mary Ann EATHER continued to live in the Richmond district for a few more years. Their eldest son, Thomas, had married Charlotte Margaret HOWELL on 22 November 1860. Eldest daughter Elizabeth married Edward SHADLOW four months later in March 1861, and second son, James, married his cousin, Sarah EATHER, in 1863. Soon the first of many grandchildren was born and was followed in quick procession by several others. Then, in 1867, when in his middle fifties and married for over thirty years, James left the Hawkesbury Valley and took his wife and family north to the far-off Liverool Plains to live. It was a momentous decision to make at his age, but it appears that he had obtained a part interest in "Henriendi", the EATHER station near Boggabri on the Namoi River. Soon after arriving in the Namoi district, he took up a selection on Maule's Creek near Narrabri and continued with farming and grazing. There, with Mary Ann and those of their children still at home, he lived for nearly twenty years. After James EATHER inherited a part of the property "Henriendi" in 1867 he and certain members of his family departed the Hawkesbury and travelled to the Namoi area, which was where the family estate was located - east of Baan Baa and north of Boggabri. Thus in August of that year a Richmond bank noted his address as, "Care of Mr Charles EATHER, Henriendi, Namoi River." (Mrs Pat Taylor and the 1867 ledger of the Richmond branch of the Bank of New South Wales). At the time of their arrival, "Henriendi" was in the hands of James' nephew Charles EATHER who unfortunately had started to run into financial trouble. (See EATHER Newsletter No 168, March 2005 - Insolvency Papers of Charles EATHER, and EATHER Newsletter No 177, March 2008). It is unclear if James was aware that all was not well at "Henriendi" but whatever the case he wasted little time being idle for in the same year of his arrival there he ventured about 26 kilometers north east of Baan Baa where he selected 300 acres of land on Maule's Creek which was also known as Kihi Creek. This was the old squatting locality of his brother-in-law Joseph ONUS Senior, who in the 1830's, held the run "Theribry/Therribri" - so it is hard to believe that he went there by chance. James' land was recorded on a parish map of Durrisdeer, County Nandewar, as Block 20. Water was on hand as on the south it was bordered by Maule's Creek. Here James commenced building the family home - perhaps with the assistance of the 200 that he had recently borrowed from John HOSKISSON. (See John ST PIERRE for this money transaction of August 1867 in "EATHER Family Volume 1", page 50.)

The money borrowed from HOSKISSON was by way of a second mortgage taken out on his property in George Street, Windsor which he had inherited from his parents, Thomas HEATHER/EATHER and Elizabeth LEE. Whilst James had started to borrow money in June 1861 from HOSKISSON (ibid) it was after the June 1867 flood, when the EATHER home in George Street, Windsor was documented as submerged ("Hawkesbury in Flood" - compiled and Researched by Denise HAYES, 1997) and 12 members of his brother Charles' family were drowned at Comwallis, that he took out an additional mortgage. After which he left the district - as others did. Possibly he used the 200 for his selection and new home at Maule's Creek or even a portion of it may have been spent on repairs occasioned by the flood to his George Street home. According to Samuel BOUGHTON, a local historian, James had erected a new dwelling there: In a letter of 1875 in which he spoke of the 1874 Windsor fire, BOUGHTON said: "In George Street the fire missed the place Jim EATHER built" {See Windsor & Richmond Gazette, August 27, 1958} BOUGHTON was certainly speaking of the section of George Street where the EATHER property was located. Presently the department store of "Target" occupies the site -having replaced "Coles Supermarket". In 1868 James' address was still recorded at "Henriendi" so possibly the family home was incomplete or he deemed the latter address more convenient for incoming mail. Three years later, in 1871, his nephew Charles EATHER signed voluntary sequestration papers when "Henriendi" was also mortgaged to the previously mentioned John HOSKISSON for 3,400. In addition there was a second mortgage for 1,300 on the 32,000 acre property, which was disputed. The total value of the property was stated as 6,000. While John HOSKISSON has been recorded several times in recent EATHER newsletters in relation to family land, in 1869, he also became the owner of James' property in George Street, Windsor. The next selection taken up at Maule's Creek was by James and Mary Ann's unmarried son, Charles EATHER, who selected 150 acres in 1872 in which year James' postal address was also given there. Charles' land, Block 19, adjoined his parents on the east and also had a frontage to Maule's Creek. The following year (1873) Charles' sister, Mary Ann EATHER, married Eugene Andrew Conmar WHELAN who selected land to the east of James and Charles. The last selection taken up by James was in 1878. At this time he took up a further 340 acres which on the east adjoined his first selection of 1867. It was Block 65 on the Parish Map however the block number cannot be seen. This land also adjoined on the south Charles' selection of 1872 and it had no water frontage. In 1878 the family land in the area totalled 790 acres. Subsequently, around seven years later, James took up residence at Narrabri where he had also obtained property. He died there in 1899 while his wife Mary Ann died at the same place in 1894. It is not known at this time when James sold his land at Maule's Creek but by 1902 both of his selections were in the hands of William Francis JAQUES who held the land until at least 1929. JAQUES (who also acquired the block of land that adjoined James' Block 20 on the east) was a big landowner on the Namoi having acquired some 60,000 acres by 1884/5. In 1902 Charles EATHER's land was listed in the hands of W R HALL. He (Charles) had married in 1882 Rosalie INGHAM. It appears in later maps that the EATHER selections on Maule's Creek were partly incorporated into the present day "Elfin" but more research needs to be done to be certain. Dawn McDOBALD, daughter of the Namoi and a descendant of James EATHER is trying to find out more.

On 17 August 1867, during the year that he left the Hawkesbury district, James borrowed another 200 from John HOSKISSON, thus extending the mortgage on his allotment at Windsor to a total of 450. Two years later he came to an arrangement with John HOSKISSON regarding the loan, and on 9 September 1869 an Indenture was drawn up, under which the allotment became the property of the mortgagor in settlement of a debt of 480, consisting of a debt of 450 and interest of 30. James had in effect disposed of his late parents' old home and his share of their allotment for 480. During the 1870's four more of the children of James and Mary Ann married. Anne Eliza married Malcolm McEACHERN in 1870; Mary Ann married Eugene Andrew Conmar WHELAN in 1873; George Henry married Sarah POTTS also in 1873; and John Patrick, at the age of 34, married Ellen Mary SPENCER in 1874. Grief was thrust upon the family however when in 1876, eldest daughter Elizabeth died at the age of 33, leaving her husband Edward with several small children. Second daughter, Anne Eliza, suffered the loss of her husband Malcolm in 1878 and became a widow at the age of 34 with four small children. Further family marriages continued in the next decade, when the remainder of their children married. Catherine Matilda married Henry George SPENCER in 1881. Charlotte Susannah married her distant cousin John PITMAN in 1882; and in that same year her brother Charles married Rosalie INGHAM. Their brother Robert married Ellen BRYANT in 1883, and finally William Abel and Sarah Amy both married in 1885. William was wed to Cecilia Ruth VILE and Sarah took Francis W ROBINSON as her husband. By then some grandchildren had married and in 1883 James and Mary Ann became great-grandparents. Grief had struck the family again in November 1881 when son George Henry had died. To add to family tribulations, two of George's six children succumbed to ailments during the following year.

On 10 March 1885 James and Mary Ann celebrated their golden wedding. He was 74 and she had just turned seventy. Of their fifty years of marriage, they had much to be proud. They had succeeded in rearing thirteen children without loss and had seen them all married. Unfortunately two of them, Elizabeth and George, had already passed on. About this time they decided that with all their family now married it was time to give up living on the farm and to seek an easier life for their remaining years. Over the years James had speculated in various ways and had a reputation for being prudent in his transactions. He had acquired some property in the town of Narrabri, so he and Mary Ann took up residence in a house that he owned there. There they resided until Mary Ann died in 1894. From time to time during the 1880's word reached James that one of his brothers had died down on the Hawkesbury. Each occasion stirred memories of his early years.

In 1881 it was his eldest brother Robert and in 1886 it was Thomas. He was followed in 1888 by bachelor brother John. When word came in 1891 that Charles had died, James knew that he was the last surviving child of his pioneer parents, Thomas and Elizabeth EATHER. Aged eighty, he was still relatively hale and regarded by those who knew him as having a cast-iron constitution. On 9 October 1894, Mary Ann died at the age of 79. Many of her children and grandchildren were amongst the many relatives and friends of the family who gathered at the graveside when her body was interred at the Narrabri Cemetery. James was 83 when his wife died. Members of his family realised that he needed company and care in his declining years, and that he should not be left to live alone in the house that he had hitherto shared with Mary Ann. His son William invited him to live with him and his wife Cecilia. It was an offer that James accepted and he spent the last four years of his life residing in William's home at Narrabri. As time went on he became increasingly deaf and the vigour and energy of earlier years deserted him. By the middle of May 1899 his health was in such a state of decline that the local medico, Dr SEGOL, was called and he provided medication and kindness. The end was inevitable, however, and at the age of 88 years and two months, James EATHER passed away during the evening of 26 May 1899. With him went the last of the original EATHER family in Australia. It was just 102 years since his father had settled in the Hawkesbury district. His funeral procession from the St Cyprian's Church on the Sunday after his death was one of the largest ever seen at Narrabri up to that time. Some 39 horse-drawn vehicles were involved.

by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-02-15 07:01:52

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

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