Thomas Stratton and Hannah Dunford from Manningford Bruce
On April 28th 1855 at Mannigford Bruce young Hannah Dunford married Thomas Stratton by the end of the year they would be in a small rural area called Cawdor (about and hour 20min by car) south west of Sydney. They arrived as assisted immigrants on board the ship Lloyds, on August 1st 1855 to Sydney.
When one searches the microfilm records over here Hannah listed her home place was Manningford Bruce Wiltshire and she lists that is where her parents are. Stephen and Dorcas (nee Simper).
It was some many months later that I stumbled across the fact that Stephen and Dorcas were also on the ship along with Hannah's siblings Jane 13; Mary Ann 7, and Stephen Jnr aged 4. Another brother Joseph had come out the year before. All of them listed Manningford Bruce as their native place. Hannah's age is listed as 23 and I have Hannah as being born christened 19 Feb 1832, in Manningford Bruce.
Thomas and Hannah settled in the area known as Cawdor. A farming community to this day. It was an area where John and Elizabeth Macarthur set up one of their many holdings, although John Macarthur gets the credit for it, it was moreso Elizabeth his long suffering wife who had more to do with their workings and growth in Australia as John seemed to spend a lot of time back home in England - especially after he had a falling out with the then governor.
The Nepean River ambles its way from somewhere at the bottom of The Great Diving Range near Penrith across the plains. It arcs and curves as it winds in the shape of a double S, around Camden and Cawdor through to the hamlet of Menangle (I spent the first five years of life in this gorgeous village) and beyond, as it heads towards the coast. The local area especially Cawdor and Camden is what one might call flood prone at times and undoubtedly there would have been times when the community of Cawdor would have been cut off from the next biggest town of Camden. Winters in Camden/ Cawdor (and Menangle) are brisk to say the least with more often than not, a good covering of frost on the ground, and no doubt the wells and cattle troughs would also hold a good covering of ice, there is often snow falls of a decent nature within a 45 minute drive of Camden and Cawdor. I know for fact that Menangle was also a cold place in winter especially as we only had an outside Privy. Summers can be hot, at times unbearably so, one would also imagine that before the area was cleared for farming that it would have been prone to many bushfires. I often wonder of the differences between their two homelands the old in and around Manningford and the new here. There is little on the internet about Manningford Bruce and equally limited photos. Although there are few photos of the church I assume they were married and christened in
The road to travel the few miles from Camden to nearby Cawdor is relatively flat as is much of the surrounding countryside, there is a slight hillock when they re-interred those who had been buried at the graveyard of nearby Burragorang Valley. The valley was flooded when they built Warragamba Dam, and they moved the graveyard to this hillock and the graves all point towards the far away valley. The spire atop of St Johns Church can seen when travelling towards Camden from any direction.
Thomas and Hannah had some 7 children after their arrival
John 1857-1894 who was a blacksmith by trade and seemed to move around a bit. In 25/10/1881 he shows up on the insolvency lists as being from Campbelltown (where I grew up from the age of 6 onwards, is about 1/2 hour by car from Cawdor). His death certificate puts his death as the day before his 37th birthday with no family and he was buried as 'pauper" for want of a better term. he actually had two children and a wife.
Charles was born in late January 1860. January would the be the worst time of year for Hannah to be heavily pregnant Charles was obviously not to interested in farm life as married in 1882 and settled in Sydney where he had 5 children before his death 9 and half years later
Samuel is my great grandfather and I have a photo of him taken between April 1931 and January 1932. I know this as it was after his beloved wife Rowena died. Sam was born 14 12 1862 he married in 1891 Rowena Reynolds. rowena was born in Cawdor NSW 1865 her parents were William reynolds and Ellen Foster from Southam in Warickshire.
Sam and Rowena produced 8 children.
Rowena and Sam had some tragedy with their children. Their first born son Joseph Oswald died aged 5 and a half their last born son Alwyn died just shy of his 2nd birthday. One ate poisoned berries, the other drowned in a well. A third of their sons lies in a soldiers grave which I know no family member has ever visited in St Severs Cemetery Rouen France. Young Bruce who was only 19 when he enlisted and he shot twice the 2nd time proved fatal and died in a war hospital. There are 63 digitised online pages of his service record his hand writing and letters from his mother wanting to know more details of his death and the whereabouts of any more of his possessions than the authorities would or could divulge. I have an Aunt, my dads sister who was born 25 days after the death of Bruce and she relates that Rowena hated the war and she hated what it did to families and their sons. On the application Rowena filled out to have her sons name added to the war memorial she lists that three cousins also were killed in WW1 I have only to date been able to find two of them. Sam and Rowena's other children included one daughter and 4 more sons one of whom was my grandfather. If my Aunts memory is correct The 'house' that Sam and Rowena lived in still remains
Hannah Stratton(dunford) died 12 January 1871, 5 months after the birth of her daughter Mary, one would assume that Hannah's mother or maybe one of her still unmarried sisters aided Thomas with his young family, as Thomas never remarried after the death of his wife.
Thomas died 19 12 1886 and Both of them lie buried in a grave which has no marker left and the church records do not go back that far as far as a record of their resting place in the graveyeard of the Wesleyan church in Cawdor
The 1880s were not kind to the Stratton clan In 1885 Joseph who was 18 died, in 1866 The father Thomas passed away, April 1887 Mary the baby of the brood died at the age of 16, 1888 Jane the eldest of Thomas and Hannah girls passed away aged 23. Then the other two boys John and Charles in the early 1890s. Of the 7 children only My great grandfather Samuel and his sister Eliza (who married her cousin David Dunford) saw in the new century
On the papers for Thomas' immigration it lists him to be in good health, able to read and write, a native of Manningford Bruce and that his parents were still there. Their names were William and Mary, and it also says they were living same place. His age would place his date of birth as 1833 The surname Stratton also fits into the Dunford side of things Stephen Dunford (Hannah's father) was the son of Stephen Dunford who married Ann Stratton at Wilsford May 22nd 1798. Ann was the daughter of Edward Stratton who married Elizabeth Chandler 31 10 1757.
My goal would be to find where Thomas fits into the scheme of things, is he a relation of the Ann who married Stephen Dunford? (If he is it would make backtracking from easy.) Ann's Brother Henry who married Ann Ragbern at Wilsford, had a son William who was christened in September 1788 could he be a candidate as a father to my Thomas
or another candidate is yet another of Ann's brothers John who married Ann Maslen in Wilsford 13 5 1805, They had a daughter Mary ch 26 2 1815 and I believe she is the Mary who married William Strong 25 10 1834 Wilsford could Thomas be her son? born out of wedlock.
Anyway I have wasted enough of your time with the tale of this family.
Julie Duncan (nee Stratton)