Peter McAlpin 1809-1898
It is said, The Singleton Argus, on 25th September 1835, when writing about Peter McAlpin 1809-1898, described him as a man with "a roaming disposition, a giant and in every sense of the term, physically and morally with high principles, lofty ideals". I have been unable to find this article. Never-the-less, he was, all of that.
Peter McALPIN Senior had taken his family out to the Hawkesbury district and set himself up as a blacksmith at Windsor after arriving with the family as free settlers on the 'General Graham' on the 29 January 1812.
Here the family lived until the end of 1815, when Peter Snr. sold his shop and two houses by auction, the family moved to Richmond early in 1816, again setting up a blacksmith shop, when young Peter was only 7.
In 1822 Peter together with his brother William Glas and Catherine (nicknamed, Kite) attended the school in Richmond for only about a year, just long enough to learn to read and write and do their sums.
In the 1825 census Peter was recorded as living at Richmond, however it was not long after the census that Peter showed his wanderlust by making a trek up north to Muswellbrook, or perhaps he was a little bit envious of his brother's wanderings.
Two years earlier in 1823, Peter's brother William known as Billy Mack at thirteen, had been one of Archibald Bell's party who, with the help of aboriginal guides marked the Bells Line of Road which was an alternative route to Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworths road across the Blue Mountains.
In the 1828 census Peter was living in Bathurst and working as a labourer for John Neville 1780-1854 and his wife Elizabeth nee Vincent, whom Peter had met in Richmond, when they were living there. They had offered him work and Peter was keen to take it.
I'm not sure how long Peter remained with John Neville and his family but John Neville moved from Bathurst to Rylstone in 1830 and Peter didn't like to stay in one place for long.
In 1831 Peter set himself up as the Blacksmith in Patrick's Plains. It's thought that Peter visited Richmond around Christmas 1831 when his little sister Catherine 'Kite' announced she was going to marry William Clark on the 16 January 1832. Of all the family Peter was closest to Kite and I don't see him missing her wedding day.
Another big wedding took place on the 1 February 1833 when brother Billy Mack married Susannah Onus 1815-1882 at Christ Church in Castlereagh. William built a brick home in 1834 in the main street of Richmond, NSW with financial help from Joseph ONUS (the father of his wife, Susannah) and set up a blacksmiths shop at the rear.
On the 9 January 1935 at a chapel in Maitland where his sister and her husband William Clark were now living Peter married Elizabeth Cole alias Harrison, a convict woman whose real name was Phebe Cole, nee Stirrup
1807-1885. Phoebe was a widow with two children.
This marriage was seen as a convenience for both parties and did not last very long. It seems Peter sold the shop bought Phoebe a house, gave her some money and then took off for Victoria. Neither one looking back or having any regrets.
It was on the 30 August 1835 that the first settlers arrived in Melbourne and commenced building along the Yarra River. This pioneering group led by Captain John Lacey with his builder from Launceston George Evans, his servant Evan Evans, carpenters William Jackson and Robert Hay Marr, the Blacksmith James Gilbert and his wife and a ploughman called Charlie Wise. In 1840 Peter McAlpin made his way there not to seek his fortune ( he could have made that in New South Wales), but for the adventure of it all.
From this point on it's not easy to track Peter. He did have a blacksmith shop in Little Bourke Street Melbourne, in 1847. In March 1851 he was shot in his left arm in the city of Melbourne at 1am by George May Smith after Peter called he and his companions some names. George May Smith was charged with assault and fined twenty shillings. Another shot in the arm in 1851 was because Peter was out of the state of nsw for so many years phoebe, had him declared dead. She married Frederick WINGRAVE 1797-1876, at Windeyer on the 31 March 1852.
Then in 1853 we see Peter at the McIvor diggings. I doubt he was digging more likely running the blacksmiths shop.
All told Peter spent thirty five years in Victoria not returning to New South Wales until 1875.
Peter died on the 23 September 1898 in Singleton, New South Wales.
His death certificate states he died without issue
His grave is at the Glenridding Uniting Church Cemetery, formerly known as
the Glenridding Presbyterian Cemetery, on the Putty Road, Singleton, NSW.
The headstone reads-
23 Sep 1898
Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954), Saturday 24 September 1898
Death of an Old Colonist.
"In his 90th year, Mr Peter M'Alpin, of Bulga, died in the local Hospital yesterday,
after a short illness, his death being due to senile decay.
The deceased was a native of Sterling, Scotland, but was only three years of age
when he arrived with his parents in Victoria he lived there for 35 years, when he removed
to N. S. Wales, and has since lived in this part of the colony—a term of 51 years.
Mr M'Alpin was married in Maitlaud, but there was no issue to the union.
The old gentleman was well respected, and those who knew him intimately
in his earlier days retain many pleasant memories of the acquaintanceship "
Note: He arrived with parents in NSW on 29 Jan 1812.
He Lived in Victoria for 35 Years and
in NSW for a total of 51 years.
written by janilye, 2004