Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Volume ix no 4 Nov 1987


Kerruish Letter

R. Barrowcliff, writes:
Having recently joined the IOM Family History Society to further my research into my grandmothers name KERRUISH, I was interested to note the name of Sir Charles Kerruish in your list of officers.
My grandmother EMILY, was one of seven children of JOHN KERRUISH and MARY KINLEY (formerly CORKER), who were born in the IOM in 1827 and 1829 respectively. Johns father ROBERT was born around 1796 in West Derby, Liverpool, which seems a little strange to me, but perhaps people used to come and go in those days.
The Liverpool census returns give details of a WILLIAM KERRUISH b.1827 IOM wife EMMA and four children, and also a RICHARD KERRUISH b.1858 IOM and wife ELIZABETH. Both William and Richard were apparently bakers by trade. Another reference to the baking profession comes from the obituary of a ROBERT KERRUISH in the Liverpool Courier dated 2nd July, 1907, which quotes him as principle of the firm Messrs. R. Kerruish and sons, Master Bakers.
This is as far as my research has taken me at the moment and I am now hoping that some other members can help me progress further and perhaps comment on the following points which were given to me in good faith by an elderly relative:
(1) The name Kerruish originates from a comment by the IOM coastguard when they found six shipwrecked sailors (Ker wish = six naked??) [fpc kiare = 4!]
(2) The Kerruish family were said to come from Ramsey and were rope and sail makers, and made the original rope for the Laxey Wheel. [fpc - the Laxey wheel used a reciprocating metal rod to transmit power to the pump!]
(3) In 1654 William Kerruish of Maughold was hanged for murder, and in 1672 William and Ewen Kerruish were given Sunday penances for bringing goods ashore on a Sunday.

Kinrade Letter

Norma Locke .

As a very new member of the FHS, I read the two copies of the magazine from cover to cover, with growing disappointment. Where were all the Kinrades and Littles? When applying for membership I fondly cherished the thought that I would soon be knee deep in new and fascinating relatives! Perhaps this gentle prod will send someone scurrying for pen and paper to correct the omission.

Having only recently contacted the dread disease of genealogy, I am suffering great from every symptom - plus many more, recorded on Page 60 in Mr. Trackers acutely observant letter. Far be it from me to teach Grandma/Grandpa to suck eggs but I can offer a crumb or two of advice which will alleviate the discount somewhat "like measles - spread It around the family"!!

My husband, previously bored silly by my searches, has deigned to help "the mechanics of the thing are so intriguing" (little does he guess, that's like the first shiver of sneeze of influenza - he's caught It!!).

Starting, as I did, with only a vague knowledge that my paternal grandparents were born on the Isle of Man, and came to work over here in the Iron-ore mines in Lindal -in-Furness, I have established that my grandfather John Joseph Kinrade was born in Maughold in 1848, the son of John Kinrade and Margaret Brew. Grandmother, Mary Ann Little, daughter of Thomas and Agnes Little was baptised in the parish church of St. Patrick, on May 15th 1859. Her parents Thomas Little and Agnes Senogles, a minor with consent, were married on May 5th 1855 in the parish church of German. Their parents are named on the marriage certificate as George Little - Miner of Kerroo-Garrow, German, and Joseph Senogles, blacksmith of Kerroo-Garrow(?). One of the witnesses of the marriage was a John Senogles.

Please, please is anyone else researching either of these families? I can faintly recall some relatives called Cain(e) who went from the Island to Australia and came back to settle in Dalton-in-Furness and, (possibly a cousin of my fathers) - one named Mylchreest who went to America.

I would very much like to hear from any member who can help. Many Manx people came over here to the Furness area around 1870 to work on the lindal mines and the census records and also the churchyards are peppered with good Manx names. I would gladly assist with any reciprocal research for members searching for lost miners.

Later in the year my husband and I (sounds familiar) hope to visit the Island and will be found, creeping around churchyards with furtive gait, gently dusting off the head-stones, or poring over ancient parish records with rheumey eyes, muttering the occasional Eureka!!

Pass me a couple of aspirin - I think I have a secondary infection coming on!!. Happy searching.


John Goldsmith - Will 1866 (letter)

Linda Farrington, writes:

While I was researching in the Manx Museum earlier this year (my first visit to the IOM) I found the enclosed Will, which I believe is one of "mine", although I haven't been able to prove it yet. You are very welcome to use all or any of it in the Journal if you think it would be of interest. (Time is always too short so I have left out the legal jargon and concentrated on the personal names etc. and a question mark denotes something I could not read. Unfortunately I am not able to make a return visit yet). The handwriting of course is mine and best ignored!

If you do print this, and anyone recognises any of "theirs", I'd be delighted to hear from them. The fact that the farm BALLABEN is named should make it easy for Manx people to locate.

Close scrutiny of IGI records has convinced me that the beneficiaries of the will are all children of John Goldsmith and Catherine Moore, of Bride, but they all married late in life and Thomas himself would have been 76 at the time the will was made, unless I am very wrong! So he was somewhat old to have a daughter younger than 22 (14 if she is the Ellen Jane born 1852 shown in the IGI).


This is declared to be the last Will and Testament of me THOMAS GOLDSMITH of Ballabin in the Parish of Bride made the 15th day of February 1866.

I commend my soul to God and my body to Christian burial.

I GIVE leave and bequeath to my brother b.1781 EWAN GOLDSMITH £2 sterling as legacy.

I GIVE etc. to my four sisters:

Catherine wife of Thomas Quine (?)

Jane wife of John Joughin

Ann wife of John Skinner

Isabella wife of Thomas Rooney (Looney on the IGI)

£2 each as legacy.

I GIVE etc. to William Christory who has been brought up, and still remains, with me, in consideration of his services and attention to my affairs £50 sterling as a legacy and the bed and bedding on which he sleeps.

I GIVE etc. to my friends Daniel Joughin of Ballaquark and Paul Taggart of Ballalerghey both of the parish of Bride all the rest and residue of my property being of the nature of personal property consisting of farm stock, farm implements and furniture,crops, cash, bonds, notes and debts(?) of every description, in trust and for the use of my only child Eleanor or Ellen Jane Goldsmith THAT IS TO SAY that immediately after my decease they the said Daniel Joughin and Paul Taggart shall have seized of the sum and every part thereof and that on the 12th day of November next after my decease or at any time previously if it shall appear to them more desirable sell and dispose of to the best advantage and for the highest price which they can obtain for the sum of the whole of the said farm stock crops and all goods and effects on the estate of BALLABEN and convert the same into money and also rent the lease and premises of Ballaben aforesaid for the unexpired term of the lease thereof such letting to be in strict accordance with the conditions of the lease under which the farm is held by the said Thomas Goldsmith as to the said petitioners shall appear most desirable and for the benefit of the said Ellen Jane Goldsmith and .... in trust that they the said Daniel Joughin and Paul Taggart (after deducting lease rent and dues all debts and funeral expenses with all charges and expenses reasonably incurred or made by the said trustees in connection with the administration of my estate together with the before-mentioned legacies) shall lay the entire proceeds of my estate due at interest(?) for the use and benefit of my daughter Ellen Jane or Elleanor Jane Goldsmith until she attains the age of 22 years, at which age it is my will the whole shall be paid to her by the executors in trust to this my will to provide her with the board, clothing and education suitable to her station and circumstances until she attains the age of 22 years.

And I do ......and appoint the said Daniel Joughin and Paul Taggart Executors in trust to this my Will and I do instruct the care and custody of my daughter to them and the survivor of them in the case of either of them dying during her minority.

IN WITNESS whereof etc. (legal jargon)

Signed (Thomas Goldsmith)



George G. Clucas, a writes: 

Enclosed is "A Clucas Family Tree" beginning with the Thomas Clucas-Margaret Simpson marriage in Senton on May 13, 1825. 1 believe that their son Robert is my GG Grandfather who married Margaret Lace In Matoun (1847). Any reader information would be appreciated.


                 A CLUCAS FAMILY TREE

                           1825                         Generation
                   THOMAS C. = MargaretSimpson                 I
                  b .1804    |  b
                  d.         |  d.
-----------------------------------------------------          II.
1.            2.      3.      4.       5.       6.
b.1826        b.1827 b.1830   b.1832   b.1835   b.1837
d.	        d.	 d.	    d.	    d. 	   d.

	ANN                                                        II.1
	             ROBERT =	MARGARET LACE	                II.2
		         b.1827,|     b.1823
                 d.1908  |    d.1903c.

1          2      3       4     5       6        7       8
|-------------------------------------------------------------- III.
| b.1843  b.1850  b.1852  b.1854 b.1856 b.1857   b.1857 b.1861
| d.      d.1889c.d.      d.     d.1860 d.1857   d.1857 d.
    9	10         11       12

b.18822 b.1884	b.1885 	b.1889
d.      d.        d.         d.1907




The task of building St. George's was begun in 1761 on land previously owned by a prosperous merchant named Philip Moore of the nearby Pulrose Estate.

It was meant to replace the now ageing St. Matthew's Church built In 1708 on the North Quay by Bishop Wilson. Bishop Mark Hildesley at whose instigation the new church was erected, could hardly have guessed at the long drawn out procedures which at times almost thwarted his courageous team of church builders.

20 years and 2 Bishops later on 27th September 1781 the church was consecrated. The original church was much smaller than it is now, as you can see by the old print.

Pews were rented in those days to the rich, but some were free to the poor. Some were held for use by the military from the Douglas Barracks.

The churchyard was used for burials as early as 1790 according to "Feltham's monumental inscriptions", although the boundary walls were not built until 1809 by a John Moore, in exchange for 2 seats in the church and a plot in the graveyard.

This graveyard is the last resting place of many famous people, here are but a few:-

Nellie Brennan - Matron of First Douglas Hospital

Baume the French Miser

The founder of the National Lifeboat Institution - Sir William Hilary.

Many wealthy families had their plots here, one even had their servant buried at the foot of their grave. Near to main gate one such tablet was inscribed here lie the remains of William Kelly (known by the name of Bill the Psalmer) who departed this life 27th May, 1808. He was the family's retainer. The cholera graves are also a grim reminder of the epidemic which struck the Island in 1832.

The church has had many improvements in it's time, the last major works were carried out in 1909 when the building was lengthened by 18 feet and a new chancel provided. The pulpit was a gift of the family of Capt. William Kermode, one time Commodore of the I.O.M. Steam Packet fleet. The silver communion service bears the inscription "Douglas New Chapel 1777". Four years before St. George's was built. The stained glass windows would make a story on their own, together with all the other adornments to be found in the fabric of the building. The original church registers can still be consulted. They are as follows,

Baptisms - 1781

Marriages - 1786

Burials - 1790




The definitive book on the Standish Family will be Lawrence Hill's Gentlemen of Courage Forward, Magnolia Publishing Company, publication now imminent. It traces a 41 generation pedigree for a family located in the Domesday book in Lancashire, between Ribble and Mersey, yet now with branches in diverse parts of our Islands. Against such magnificence, Hill does not hesitate to call Myles Standish the family's most famous son, and gives the Isle of Man as his birthplace.

The base of such a claim roots in the Will of Myles himself in 1656:-

.....I give unto my son and heir apparent Alexander Standish all my lands as heir apparent by lawful descent, in Ormstick, Borscouge, Wrightington, Maudsley, Newburrow, Craston, and the Isle of Man, and given to me as rightful heir by lawful descent, but surruptiously detained from me, my great grandfather being a 2nd or younger brother from the House of Standish of Standish '

Understandably the lost lands of the great Captain of the Pilgrims have been a romantic mystery, first for his descendants - his son Alexander hiring lawyers as the start of a long and fruitless series of claims. But the interest has been general and recurring with such commemorations as in 1920 of the tercentenary of the sailing of the Mayflower. It was such a seasonal concern that prompted Canton T.C. Porters, vicar of Coppull, to research the Lancashire archives for new light on the matter. Indeed he lighted in 1912 on a document in which all the estates (except the Isle of Man), listed in Myles' will appeared. It was the rentals for 1529 of Margaret Standish, widow. (Pincope MSS, vol. 3, p.42, no 14). Thus he could pinpoint the Ormskirk branch as the family likely to be that of Myles. Porteus went on to document what was to be a most complicated tale of the frittering away of the estates, and in the process to find several names associated with the Isle of Man, and even one John Standish 'de Insula ded Man'.

(These sources in translation have been faithfully reproduced by G.V.C. Young in his MYLES STANDISH PILGRIM, 1984, pp 37-43, esp. Nos 23 and 24).

This Ormskirk sept of the Standishes of Standish begins with Gilbert, who in 1502 named as his heir his son Robert, who in 1502 had married Margaret Croft, who brought into the family holdings in Ormskirk, Burscough, Wrightington, Newburgh, Mawdsley and Croston or elsewhere in Co. Lancs - and here are the rentals in 1529 referred to above .

So the Ormskirk family tree -

     |                      |         |
       |(of Lathom)   ('de Ins     (of 1540 'Computus') 
       |                de Man, 1572) 
ANNE        HUGH 
     (of Ormskirk)

What is offered here is a study of the Standish connection with the Isle of Man, and the place, if any, that Myles has in it. Indeed that connection was not very deep; less than a couple of centuries separated an Edward Standish paying 2/4 Lord's Rent for a Castletown house and the death of John Standish of Ellanbane in 1672 leaving only female heirs. From then on the name is not found in records of births, marriages or deaths till another family appears in the 19th century. But we will reconstruct the profile of the family from the records that we have.

J.J. Kneen's Manx Personal Names contains valuable appendices listing all the surnames found in Manx archives from their earliest appearance in the 14th century. One feature is the number of English surnames to be found in the 15th and 16th centuries, of which a high proportion derive from Lancashire place names, e.g. Burscough, Litherland, Halsall and Radcliffe. This reflects the close association with the Stanley regime, established in Man in 1405. It was in this era that surnames became usual in the Island. Indeed it is hard to see now taxation or any administration would be possible without such orderliness. And the Lancashire names, which are largely found in parishes close to the seats of Government, notably Castletown, represent the presence of servants of that regime, itself Lancashire based, a class relating to the indigenous Manx very much as William the Conqueror's Normans did to the 11th century English. Recruited from the Lancashire squirearchy, they formed an echelon of privilege and education, thus providing the Island with a Civil Service, the native Manx being largely illiterate. Among these were the Standishes, who had family connections with the Stanleys, Thomas Standish having married Joanna Stanley of Lathom, and whose two brothers lived on the Island.

Some of these families not only acquired Manx property, but also, like the Halsalls and Radcliffes, persevered in the Island to the present day. But the majority never sank their roots deeply, the Standishes among them. In land records an Edward Standish has been located in Castletown, c.1500, and others in the same decade in Pulrose, and a Reginald near Peel. But these are isolated references, and only one family can be traced through successive generations. This is the one whose name has historically been associated with Ellanbane in Lezayre, and this we shall try to reconstruct.

The 17th century is relatively rich in documents, wills, deeds dealing with land transactions and minor squabbles over tithes and boundaries, etc. But for the 16th century no records survive except land registers. These go back to about 1500, but have a ragged start in more senses than one. They are bound in fascicles, seemingly made up at a later date, of loose sheets which time has corroded and stained, and are often illegible. They are filed under two heads. The Liber Assedationis lists year by year the Lord's Rentals paid by registered holders of land - some quarterland, or farms (the manorial or settled estates), others smaller parcels of ground, called 'intacks' (i.e. claimed from wasteland, mountain or marsh, and 'taken in' to occupation). The other is the Liber Vastorum, recording changes of occupant. The Liber Assed therefore contains annual lists of these intacks, in the form of the names of their holders, either a sole occupant or more usually groups of partners, with the assigned rent. They are not numbered as such, but the lists are made out afresh, every year or so, in more or less the same order. These two books therefore used together provide information that can throw light on the social condition of the Manx parishes in these centuries.

Here our concern is for an individual family, but these documents could be read by competent scholars in a more general way so as to build up a picture of Manx social and agrarian development in those early years. It is for instance noticeable in respect to the parish of Lezayre how the numbers of intacks increase over the years. Unfortunately the condition of the books mean that though fragments exist as far back as 1500, meaningful continuity only begins in the 1550s. Yet whereas in 1554 there were only 64 intacks in all, by 1600 they had risen to 282, and by 1675 to 361. There seems to have been a quickening of tempo in the 1560s when numbers rose from 78 to 160, and in the '80s and '90s from 180 to 280. This might indicate that the 16th century saw the systematic reclaiming of curragh land in the north of the Island. Perhaps the Standishes settled there to exploit this land development opportunity.

These statistics emerge from a study made by Mr. John M. Robinson in Salt Lake City, with special interest in the activities of the Standishes. The earliest mention of John Standish is as holder of a brewing licence in Malew in 1535. In all likelihood he would be the middle brother of the sons of Robert and Margaret. In 1540 Huan Standish's name appears as a substantial holder of Lezayre farmland, as well as an occupier of two intacks (enumerated by J.M. Robinson as 70 and 75). Henry VIII's suppression of the monasteries in 1537 meant in the Isle of Man that what had been 'Abbeyland' passed from the Church to the Crown. A stray page of this new Rent Roll - for Lezayre - has survived, and is called the 'Computes'. Huan is entered for a sizeable portion of the newly-acquired lands - evidence perhaps of his standing with the Stanley regime. Until about 1580 his name is associated with three intacks, two shared with several partners, but one, no 70, rent 6d, he holds alone. This perhaps would be his home.

Holdings, however, in the name of John Standish were more numerous. In 1539 he held two. Forty years later there were four in the name. About 1580 no. 183 appears, in his name only, and described as 'iuxta myres' - on the edge of the curragh - an acre in extent, and 1/- rent. This sounds as if it might refer to Ellanbane (or White Island, the residence later associated with the family). It is not known precisely when they made this their chief seat. A deed of 1618 refers to a John Standish of Island Bane, then deceased. By 1580 John was also holding quarterland in the Lezayre treens of Brerick and Alkeste, in the N.E. of the parish. One of his partners there was Gilbert Standish. By 1591 John shared in 12 intacks in Lezayre (out of 276), and in 1599 in 13 out of 296.

It is no surprise then to learn from other sources that there was a very influential John Standish active in those years, and dying in 1602, probably not at a very advanced age, since his brother Gilbert lived on till 1618. We have no direct means of fitting him into the Ormskirk tree. He can hardly have been the brewer of 1535, and must belong to the generation after Huan. He might have been the John of the Isle of Man in the 1572 Ormskirk deed, though this could equally have been the brewer.

The Ormskirk deed of 1539 laid down the 'remainders' of the succession of Robert and Margaret's inheritance. It passes first to Thomas and his heirs; these failing, to John and his; these failing to Huan and his line. On the face of it John of the intacks could have been either a son of John or of Huan. However, the Liber Vast. for 1604 clears the issue. It reveals an administrative effort in that year to bring the Liber Assed. up to date. The name of Huan Standish - in later years in the form Evan - had been standing in some intacks since 1540. But in the corrections made in 1604, not only in the matter of the numerous holdings of John Standish, is his name replaced by William Standish, but those of Evan are also entered in his name. William is expressly recognised as John's grandson, and if he is to be also heir to Huan, then John must have been Huan's son. The middle brother seemingly left no male issue.

We are very fortunate in having mention of this great John Standish in 16th century documents. In 1579 he became Coroner of the Ayres; in 1587 the Earl of Derby himself appointed him and his son Clerke of the parish of Andreas. The document runs:-

' give and grant unto John Standish the Elder and John Standish the Younger, son of the said John of my said Isle, to the rooms and place of the Clerkship of Kirk Andrews, for and during the natural life or lives of the said John Standish the father and John Standish the Son, and to the longer liver of either of them.' (cit. Young, op.cit. p44)

I shall use the above epithets to distinguish the two Johns. In 1592 the father added the Clerkship of Lezayre. From 1593 onwards he is a member of the 24 Keys. On the seamier side the two Standishes were fined in 1595 for assaulting one Christopher Garrett or Gerard.

But our picture is considerably enlarged by a file of documents connected with the Will of the father in 1602. (These are quoted in extenso by Young, op.cit. pp44-46). We thus learn that the father's wife was Mallie Moore, and his surviving children, a son William, three daughters, Katherine (Knayl), Joney, and Margaret (Garrett), and a 'base-son'. He mentions his brother Gilbert, and two grandsons, referred to simply as 'John's two sons'. These were clearly the children of John the Son, who had predeceased his father. (He had been listed on a couple of intacks between 1595 and 1599; in one his partner had been Philip Garrett, his brotherin-law. His widow was Christian (Lace). For all this wealth of family detail, we remain frustrated by the omission of the names of either of the grandsons and of the 'base-boy'. The Liber Assed. however, shows that the grandson who succeeded him was called William, referred to as Junior, to distinguish him from his uncle William, the younger son of the Father.

We can thus continue the Standish tree:

JOHN (the Father) m MALLIE MOORE                       GILBERT 
                  |                                      |
-------------------------------------------------        |
JOHN          Wm     KATHERINE   MGT   JONIE'Base Boy'   |
(the Son) (the Elder) (Knayl) m Philip                   |
m Xn lace       |                Garrett                 |
   |            |                   |                    |
Two Sons    children           children              KATHRIN
(?) & WILLIAM Jnr

Such was the family at the outset of the 17th century. It can be noted that apart from the marginal Gilbert, only two male names featured in the 16th century, John and Huan. In the records of the 17th century only two names occur - William and John, for Gilbert died in 1618 and his intacks passed to his daughter Kathrin.

(To be continued)




For ten years I had endeavoured to trace the descendants of my grandfather's sister Mary Ann Corlett who had married in New Zealand and gone to live in Australia, where, as one relative put it, she had "ten little Pye's!" Over the years the families had lost touch, therefore I had a time span of nearly 130 years, but the 1982 Genealogical Directory changed all this.

Joan Collett of Adelaide was searching for a Pye forbear who had come into Christchurch New Zealand in 1850. I immediately wrote away as we were leaving on a trip to Australia within a week or so, to attend a family reunion on my husband's McPhee side of the family. Back came a prompt reply to say that Joan's grandfather was Stephen Pye a Son of Mary Ann Corlett. Great excitement! Joan and I met and since that time, many letters have been sent across the Tasman. Because we had to trace so far back, we thought it best to obtains birth certificates for all the first generation of Pye's.

These have been generously paid for by Joan as her contribution towards our family tree.

Mary Ann was the second born child of Stephen and Jane Corlett nee Lawson, born 17th March 1830 and baptised at South Ramsey, Isle of Man, on 7th May, the same year. Her younger years were spent at Ballalhergy Farm in the Parish of Lezayre, where her father was employed as an agricultural labourer. About 1844 the family moved to England where Stephen Corlett wee engaged as a farm manager on the large Capesthorne Hall Estate in Cheshire.

When Mary Ann left the island at the age of fourteen, little did she realise, that one day, she would make her home and raise a family on a continent, half-way around the world from her Manx birthplace. Many generations of her forebears had lived and diet there, never leaving their island home.

After spending six years in Cheshire, the Corlett family then emigrated to New Zealand leaving on the sailing ship "Sir George Seymour" with Mary Ann being listed as a domestic servant. Along with her family she arrived at Port Cooper (now known as Port Tyttleton) on 17th December 1850.

The day before the Corlett's arrived in the colony a young man by the name of John Thomas Pye had arrived on the ship "Randolph". He was listed as being a labourer, aged 21 but was at least three years younger. In a brief memo at the end of the shipping list it stated that the undermentioned emigrants had been transferred by Mr. Bowler, from the ship "Sir George Seymour". And so it was that young John Pye, Embarkation Order 69 and Number 130 in the Application Register, became one of the 161 passengers who travelled steerage on the "Randolph" and not the "Seymour" as first planned.

They'd sailed from Plymouth on the night of Saturday 7th September, 1850. The voyage out was a pleasant one, apart from the fact that on 6th November there was almost a mutiny on board! Fortunately for all concerned, it was suppressed by the promptness of Captain Dale who was ably supported by his officers and the passengers. According to the diary of one of the passengers, a dance was held on deck for the emigrants, with the music being supplied by the black cook who played his fiddle. The 7th November was a fine day and a busy one for all the emigrants as their boxes were brought up from the hold. Warmer clothing was required as the weather was getting colder. The ship entered Port Cooper at half past three on the afternoon of 16th December 1850 and one wonders what young John Pye's thoughts were as he set foot in a strange new land, a teenager without his family.

The names of all those who arrived on the "First Four Ships" are engraved in black granite slabs which are set under trees in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Although Mary Ann Curlett (Corlett) and John Thomas Pye only lived in New Zealand for two years, they will be remembered in our country's history as Canterbury Pilgrims, having sailed on those ships which brought the first boatloads of settlers into the Province of Canterbury.

A relative of our new-fond Australian branch, produced an interesting letter which was written by Rhoda Pye to her brother Johny. She had written it on his birthday which according to family was the 19th October. Rhoda mentioned that her mother, Catharine, Sarah, Emma, Hannah, Caroline, Mary Ann, Amy and herself had attended the Grand Exhibition where they had become so tired that they sat down and went to sleep, consequently they didn't see much. The Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park during the months, May to October, 1851.

John Thomas Pye was born at Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire, England in 1833. He was the second son of John and Mary Ann Pye and had nine sisters in all, Sarah being the eldest and Harriet the youngest, the others being named in Rhoda's letter. Henry was the other brother. Their father was a heavy drinker and this proved to be his downfall. In her letter Rhoda cautioned her brother "whatever you do, never give way to drink. You see what we have all come to through Father, some in one part of the world and some in another. Work for a living when we might have been as comfortable as anyone, if he would have attended to the farm, but all was neglected for that drink".

The 1851 census shows that John Pye Snr. was a farmer "out of business" so is it any wonder that young Johny decided to emigrate? In another portion of her letter, Rhoda gives a description of conditions in England at that time. She says "Now I am going to ask you a little advice, you will have been over there long enough, when you get this, to tell me, if I was to come, could I get a respectable place? For it is no use staying here, you can scarcely keep the wolf from the door, single so much more married and as to save, I am sure you cannot." Her words speak for themselves. It would seem that Rhoda did indeed emigrate as a son William was born to a Thomas and Rhoda Pye in Sydney on 6th June, 1855. In her letter she mentioned a cousin Tom so they must have married.

Two years after their arrival in New Zealand John Thomas Pye married Mary Ann Corlett (the family pronounced their name this way but spelt it with an "a"). The Rev. O. Mathias married the young couple at St. Michaels Church of England, Christchurch on 20th December 1852, their witnesses being Joanna Wornall and Charles Bourn. Joanna was a domestic servant at Illam Farm where Stephen Corlett was employed as a manager.

St. Michael's was the first church to be built in Christchurch and was opened on 20th July 1851, the bell having been brought omit from England on one of the first ships. On Sunday 24th July, a small organ which had been sent out from the old country, was played for the first time. The new church had caused considerable interest among the New Zealand natives and on the following Sunday, the congregation was greatly increased with the arrival of large numbers of Maoris, the organ being a wonder to their astonished ears! In those days a flag was flown when ever a service was to be held.

Shortly after their marriage, Mary and John Pye left for Australia. It is not known why they chose to go there, especially as Mary Ann left all her family behind in New Zealand. The exact date of their arrival is unknown but a son William was born at Petersham, Sydney on 21st Jan. 1854, followed by John Thomas Jnr. born 15th March 1855 and baptised at the Parish Church of St. John's in Parramatta, Sydney on 24th June that year. The Pye's were living at Church Street. John Pye's occupation was given as a navvy so it seems certain that he would have worked on the Sydney to Parramatta Railway line which officially opened on 26th September 1855. Later he was to become a contractor on the Queensland Railway.

A third son Edward was born 22nd September 1856 with his birthplace being given as the Liverpool Railway Line, Sydney which is where the family were living at that time. According to the certificate there were two children living and one deceased at the time of Edward's birth. Further research may find this, as yet, missing child, unless it was an error.

The Pye's first daughter Mary Ann was born at Collingwood, N.S.W. on 30th August, 1857. Edward died in his infancy, sometime before the birth of his brother Stephen on 22nd December 1858 at Liverpool. Mrs. Isabella Biggs was a witness on both Mary Ann and Stephen's certificates. As she was a nurse it's likely that she was present at their births.

By this time John Pye was only 25 years of age, a father of six children with two of them deceased. His wife Mary would have been kept busy with four little ones under the age of five. Australia was the third country Mary had lived in since her departure from the Isle of Man. Both parents were young in age but old in experience as those first six years in Australia would have been hard indeed.

1st October, 1860 saw the birth of Emma, a sister for Mary Ann. The family were living at Menaryl Road, near Picton, South of Sydney. John Pye signed with a cross, when he registered her birth, which is surprising as his sister Rhoda had obviously been educated if her letter was anything to go by. Perhaps the Pye girls had the schooling while the boys were expected to help on the farm.

By the 3rd December 1861 another son Alfred was born at Picton. He would have been named after Mary Ann's youngest brother, my grandfather, then aged thirteen and living in Riccarton, Christchurch. Catherine Pye was born at Bong Bong near Sydney on 11th March 1863. Her sister Mary Ann's death certificate says that the family made the arduous trip from Sydney to Queensland by dray. The first section of the Railway-was to be built between Ipswich and Grandchester. 25th February 1864 saw the turning of the first sod to mark the beginning of the line. Unfortunately the London Bank financing the railways, failed, and all work was suspended for a time. The Pye family must have returned to Bong Bong as a daughter Eliza was born there on 23rd April, 1865, unless of course John Pye had gone ahead and returned later for his family. 31st July 1865 saw the official opening of the first 22 miles of railway line to be built in the State of Queensland.

By this time the family were living in tents and moving along with the construction gangs. Living conditions would have been unbearable with the flies, heat and dust to contend with. Quite a contrast to the life Mary and John had been used to back in the British Isles but they were made of the stuff pioneers are made of and bravely battled on. Catherine Pye in her later years was a strong advocate for education, due to the fact she'd missed out, in her early days of living in Railway Camp conditions, with a minimum of education.

The next two children were born at such camps. Caroline on 14th October, 1866 at William's Camp near Drayton and Arthur at Spring Creek on 16th September, 1867. Arthur's birth certificate shows that two brothers had predeceased him, further proof of there being another son in the family.

Sadly young Arthur died of convulsions at Allora on 13th October, 1869 and on 26th September the following year his sister Caroline died of the croup. Both children were buried in the Allora Cemetery. Hannah Jane, the youngest Pye child was born at Hendon on 20th September, 1870, her father by this time being a contractor for the railways.

Life was to take a tragic turn when after being ill three weeks, Mary Ann died of pulmonary congestion on 2nd August, 1872 leaving behind nine children aged between two and nineteen years. She died at Glengallen Swamp near Hendon and is buried beside her young children in the Allora Cemetery. John T. Pye was barely forty years of age and the passing of his wife would have been a cruel blow. Mary Ann his daughter then aged 15 would have taken over the roll of little mother to her younger sisters and brothers.

William Pye was the first of his family to marry. His bride was Sarah Jane Gilliver, daughter of James Gilliver of Gallon. They were married on 18th September, 1876.

Mary Ann Pye married Henry (Harry) Andrews on 5th August 1880. They had eleven children, one of whom died tragically at the age of two, when it fell into a tub of boiling water and was badly scalded. The child was rushed by sulky, for urgent medical treatment, but later died at Toowong. This terrible washing day incident, brought to the fore the urgent need for a hospital in the area and as a result the Royal Children's Hospital was established in Brisbane. The child was buried in the Chapel Hill Churchyard, followed a year later by her mother who died of acute hepatitis and heart failure on 15th July, 1899.

Stephen Pye married Maria Gilliver (sister to Sarah) on New Year's day 1884. Meantime work on the railway forged ahead and the contract for the Stanthorpe to Wallangara section of the line was let in March 1885. Work commended the following month, while sub-contractors carried out the construction of bridges and cuttings. A major cutting just before Tonwong Station is known as Pye's cutting. It is interesting to note that the phrase "getting the bullet" is said to have originated during the building of the line. Foremen from a vantage point, watched their gang at work and if they noticed a man not filling his large shovel full enough or often enough, a pebble was thrown at the man signifying his dismissal.

"The Illawarra Mercury" dated Tuesday 16th November, 1886 tells the tragic story of how William Pye was killed the day before, at the stone quarries at America Creek, Mt. Kelba. The quarries were used in connection with the ballasting required for the Illawarra Railway. William Pye one of the chief gangers, was engaged in superintending operations where a large number of men were employed. He'd taken up his position on a huge rock above the quarries, when a stone gave way and he was precipitated with great force into the chasm below, a distance of sixty feet. A large quantity of stone came down with him and he was literally crushed to death. His wife and five children were living at Clarence River. It had been his intention to return home after pay day on the Wednesday, with the idea of spending a few weeks holiday and Christmas with his young family but fate decreed otherwise. Amazingly, a watch he'd been wearing was found to be still going, the only mishap being that the glass was cracked. The paper states that William Pye was held in high esteem by his employees. It was said of him that he never asked any of the men to perform work, preferring to run all the risks by doing the job himself. If he had a fault, it was that he was too venturesome. Had he taken the precaution of using a lifeline he very likely wouldn't have lost his life.

That same year Alfred Pye married Elizabeth Pilkington. In 1888 Eliza Pye gave birth to a son whom she called Arthur. Two years later she married Thomas Andrews, a brother to Harry, both of whom were employed by Eliza's father. The Andrew's had nine children, two of whom predeceased their mother who died in Brisbane Hospital on 29th April 1928 and is buried at Toowong Cemetery.

Catherine Pye married George J. Yelland another employee of John T. Pye on 4th February 1892. They had three children. Catherine died at the Stanthorpe Hospital on 29th December, 1929 and she too is buried at Toowong.

John Thomas Pye Snr. lived to the age of 76 years passing away at his residence in Marmion Parade, Taringa, on 18th February, 1910. Thus ended the life of one of Australian's railway pioneers.

John Jnr. never married, he died in Brisbane Hospital on 20th February 1935. His unmarried sister Emma died at Taringa on 20th August, 1938. In her 95th year Hannah Jane passed away at Eventide, Sandgate North, Brisbane on 6th August, 1965. All three are buried, along with their father in the family plot at Toowong Cemetery. Hannah was the last of her generation to go and with her passing the final chapter of our first Australian Pye family, was written.


"Meeting of the Branches"

One thirty years on, we've found with glee,
Those missing boughs of our family tree.
Spanning the Tasman, with roots now spread,
Much stronger the tree, whose branches were dead.
New life has assured it's growth once more,
With branches spreading from shore to shore.

May it grow from strength to strength,
With buds and leaves spreading full length.
Planted in soil by those who came,
Across the seas to make their home.
We Are proud of this mighty tree,
Grown from the blood of our ancestry.


Written 28th November, 1982 following the linking of our Australian branches after 130 years.

Grateful thanks to:

Dal Campbell, Brisbane
Joan Collett, Adelaide
Lorna Church, Warwick, Queensland
Peg Hall, Brisbane
Cliff Pye, Ipswich, Queensland

Other sources of information:

Canterbury Museum Library, Christchurch, New Zealand 1841 and 1851 census sent by Isabelle Charlton of London History of St. Michael's Church. History of Ballandean, compiled 1959 Obituary of William Pye Rhoda Pye's letter held by Peg Hall. John Oxley Library, Brisbane "Lyttleton Times" 1851 voyage of the "Randolph".

Compiled by Frances E.V. Stewart nee Corlett




FARQUHAR, John: of Ipswich, Boston, Massachussettes, U.S.A. died in June 1965. Mr. Farquhar is survived by his wife formerly Miss Cecily Teare of Foxdale and Peel, Isle of Man; a son Douglas, and a daughter Barbara.

Source: Bulletin of the North American Manx Association, Vol. 39, No. 2, December 1965.

FARGHER, William Henry: died at Anaconda, U.S.A., 13th December, 1896, aged 55 years.

Source: M.I. (049), New Kirk Patrick Cemetery, Isle of Man.

FARGHER, Dinah Jane nee QUAYLE: daughter of William Quayle and Elizabeth Cottier, bap. 26 May 1850 Kirk Patrick, lived at Glenneedle; mar. 1st Jan 1867 at Marown to John Fargher, son of Thomas Fargher and Catherine Shimmin; emigrated to New Zealand with their 4 sons: Robert, Philip Thomas, John and William; sailed from Gravesend 26th July, 1874, arriving New Zealand 20 November 1874 on the ship "Bebbington". Dinah died 17th Jan. 1918 at Hastings.

Source: Mrs. Lyn R. Bennett, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

FARGHER, James: emigrated to Australia 1868, spent 3 years in Sydney, where aged 32 years, married Caroline Lever, not Quite 18. Joined his sister, Ann Cubbon (Cubbies) in Creswick.

Source: I.O.M. F.H.S. Journal/Vol. 3/No. I/January 1981.

FARGHER, Ann: married Thomas Cubbon 1853; emigrated to Australia (Ballarat area), died of typhoid fever and exhaustion 3 February, 1875 aged 41 years.

Source: IOMFHS Journal/Vol 3/No. 1/January 1981.

FARGHER: "Success of a Manxman in Australia" - The 'Melbourne Argus' of a recent date has the following:

"Mr. Fargher, one of the most prominent rifle shots in Victoria, was appointed secretary to the Victorian Rifle Association, out of 182 applications, at last night's meeting of the council. Mr. Fargher is a member of the Melbourne Rifle Club, and has been a member of the V.R.A. council for the last ten years. As a rifle shot Mr. Fargher has a wonderful record. He has been a member of three Australian teams to England. He won the Queen's Prize in 1897, has won the Grand Aggregate of Victoria and of New South Wales, and holds the King's Badge and the St. George's Badge of England for rifle shooting".

Mr. Fargher was born in the neighhourhood of Douglas, and has several relatives resident there. We have the pleasure in congratulating our fellow countryman upon his success, and will no doubt hear more about him.

Source: Ramsey Courier and Northern Advertiser, dated 8th June, 1906.

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