Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Trove Tuesday - More on John Kelly, Dr Eccles and the Port Albert Libel Case.

In the Gippsland Times on the 26 February, 1870 there was further mention of the saga of the letter written to another Gippsland newspaper by "Humanity"

Also highlighted are mentions of the fact that John Kelly's child had died.  
I feel this would be his first born son, John Kelly born 1869 at Alberton.  
I found a birth registration # 19875 but no death registration as yet.

The digitised article is quite hard to read in places so I have copied the transcript below.

THE PORT ALBERT LIBEL CASE. (1870, February 26).Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 4 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61344967

 Eccles v. James   
(Before His Honor Judge Bindon and a 
    We have obtained a copy of the proceedings in the above case, which was tried in the last Palmerston County Court and resulted in a verdict for plaintiff, damages £25, and costs £13 15s.
    For Plaintiff - Mr Armstrong
    For Defendant - Mr Waldock
    Mr Armstrong briefly stated the case as follows:-        
    The plaintiff Dr. Eccles is a young man, married, ? the world. The defendant James I am informed is well-to- do, being agent for the Gippsland Steam Navigation Company, also commission agent and a landed proprietor.
The cause of action arose as follows:  Some time ago the plaintiff was called upon to attend a man named Nolan for injuries received on his face. Nolan took proceedings against James in the Police     Court for assault and obtained a verdict.
James being fined £3. Nolan proceeded against James in the last County Court and again obtained a verdict; the plaintiff in this case, Dr. Eccles, gave evidence with respect to the injuries from which Nolan was suffering and for which he (James), it appears, took offence and showed his vindictive feeling at this time, and it appears calIed at Kelly's house and used words to this effect - that he (James) had called to see how things were going on, so that he might have a slant at the doctor; that he, the doctor, was a damned young rascal ; that he went into the box and perjured himself when he said he broke Paddy Nolan's jaw; that if he had the damned young scamp near him he would like to serve him in the same way; that he had only blackened Nolan's eyes, and that he should have it in for him (the doctor) as long as he lived.
These being the circumstances of the case,  he considered himself bound to bring the case before a jury of his countrymen, and vindicate his professional reputation. I will prove these statements by reputable witnesses and if such be the case you will, I am sure, agree with me in saying that the latter is one likely to injure the professional reputation of my client James Howard Eccles, sworn, deposed:
I am a surgeon, and the plaintiff in this case;   I received my qualifications from the College of Surgeons, Ireland. I am the only medical practitioner in this district, and the   person referred to in the letter signed "Humanity," which appeared in the Gippsland  Mercury, dated Port Albert, November 30th, 1869. I have resided in the district since August 1862, and have left the district twice.
Once on a previous occasion l went to Rosedale; it was for the purpose of being examined (medically) so as to effect an insurance on my life. I have never, at my own request, had any asistance rendered to me by any Government official. (Here the witness explained that Mr. Branford, collector of customs, had been present once, and he then simply held a child while it was operated on) I have complained some time ago to the Hon. Commissioner of Trades and Customs about Branford interfering with me.
I have had no personal quarrel with Mr James before the letter was written. I remember the case of Nolan v. James. I attended Nolan for certain injuries from which he was suffering (I was also a witness in the case at the last County Court). [His Honor here read his notes relative to the evidence given by witness.] I consider the letter likely to damage my profesional reputation. I am a married man. Cross-examined by Mr Waldock.- I am the writer of the letter which subsequently appeared in the Times. I know to whom the government officer referred to in the letter meant - I believe it was Mr Branford. Some time ago he took a case out of my hands; it was that of an old man at Alberton, named Nairn; I did not give up the case. I was paid six pounds, part in cash, as the person said that he could not afford to pay me any more. I have no intention of leaving the district. I should most certainly accept a good appointment if offered to me.
John Kelly, sworn, deposed: I reside near Tarraville. I remember the 30th November last. I was on the Tarra waiting Dr. Eccles' return. On my going home I found James the defendant at my house. He asked me if I had seen the Dr. I said, no, that he had not returned yet. I wished the Dr. to see the child before being buried, and to get a certificate from him. I then went to Mr Branford to report the case. James accompanied me. We had some conversation together. he said that it was a "damned shame" that the Dr. should go away and leave the district, that he had gone over to see how things were, so that he might have a slant at the Doctor, that he (the Dr.) was a "damned young scamp," that he perjured himself in the case of Paddy Nolan, that he had only given Nolan a black eye, and that he would like to serve him the same, and also that he had written a letter to the paper, so that it would be a pull down to the Dr's. practice. I have had no previous knowledge of James. I knew him, that's all. Cross-examined by Mr. Waldock : I was sober. I had plenty of tea and coffee to drink. Mr James told me that as I had not engaged the Dr. I could not blame him. I remember all that passed well. -
Belcher, sworn, deposed : I reside at Palmerston. Mrs. Belcher was unwell about the time stated (Nov. 30). I believe Dr. Eccles was sent for. He was not at home. I was down bathing. and on my return I met Mr.James. He asked me if l had read the letter signed "Humanity." I answered no. but I had heard of it. He asked me if I considered it libelous. He (James) read the letter for me, and I expressed my opinion that it was worse than I thought. He told me that he was the author. I asked if this was public, and being answered in the negative, I said that I was sorry he told me. I consider this letter tends to injure Dr. Eccles. Cross-examined by Mr Waldock: James said that he did not intend it to injure the Dr., but that he wrote it so that the circumstance might be reported to the head of Mr Branford's department, and that the report sent up by the Dr. against Branford might bear a different aspect, so that Mr Branford might still be allowed to practice.
Edward Wallis Crossley, sworn, deposed: I am an ironmonger and reside at Tarraville. I have read the letter referred to signed"'Humanity." I consider that the letter tends greatly to injure Dr. Eccles in his professional capacity.
For the defence:
William James, sworn, deposed : I am a commission agent. I am the author of the letter referred to signed " Humanity." The statement of Kelly is false; we had some conversation along the road, but I did not say that the doctor had perjured himself in Nolan's case. I did not state that I was looking for a slant to pull the doctor down in his practice. One of my children was unwell, and I was irritated at the doctor's absence from home. I did not intend this to injure the doctor, I only wrote it so that it might be brought under the notice of the Government, and that Branford might still be allowed to practice and thus counteract on the report sent by Dr. Eccles.
Cross-examined by Mr. Armstrong : The statement made by Kelly must have been in his imagination, as I did not use any such words; it is nearly all false. I did not believe the doctor's statement to be true when he said that Nolan's jaw was dislocated. I am not an irritable man. When the doctor heard that I wrote the letter he cut me. I always spoke to him until then. Mr. Branford is a neighbour of mine. He cured Nairn's leg after the doctor told him to get it off, and that he oould do nothing more for him.
A. G. Branford, sworn, deposed : I am collector of custom's at Port Albert, and formerly acting P.M. Kelly called on me, stating that his wife was unwell and that he wished me to go and see her. I declined
doing so and stated that I could not interfere on account of Dr Eccles having reported me to the Government. I have three years hospital certificates. I attended and assisted Dr. Eccles in two cases. Nobody knew that I had any knowledge of medicine until the Doctor himself spoke of it. I held a
magisterial inquiry on Kelly's child - the depositions not being produced the evidence was objected to.

Cross examined br Mr Armstrong: From ?? the letter I do think that it might injure Dr Eccles               ?? ?? I am a clerk of Petty Sessions.
I was asked by Mr Branford to accompany him and take down the deposition in the magisterial inquiry held on Kelly's child. The depositions not being produced, any further evidence was objected to. 
Mrs Willis: I attended Mrs Kelly. I was called about 3.30 on Tuesday morning and the child was born about 5 o clock; I think the child would have lived had there been proper medical assistance.           

Thomas Burrows: I know nothing about the case, I never heard the doctor say anything against James.               Mr. Waldock, for the defense, stated that he based his defence upon one of the three following statements:-      
1st - That there was no libel
2nd - That the alleged libel is true in substance.                  
3rd - Justification      
If you gentlemen consider I have upheld any of these statements, I am entitled to a verdict.
The defendant in this case, it is true, wrote the letter complained of, under the most trying circumstances. And I am sure if any of you were placed in the same position your conduct might have been very similar. The only thing I could say about the letter is that it was a very injudicious one - but one of very great public import, as Dr Eccles being the only medical man in the district was required by James to attend his child, and was absent, and consequently, James thinking that the matter being public, he was perfectly entitled to complain of Dr Eccles conduct. I have also proved that by the statements made by the different witnesses, who stated that it was written for the purpose of contradicting the effect of the report as sent to the government by Dr. Eccles; under these circumstances there is, I think, no malice intended. I would ask you to lay aside all out-door talk, and bring your decision in as simply according to the evidence, and from which I think you will agree that I am entitled to a verdict.
The Judge, in summing up, stated that he would follow the practice usually adopted by the English Judges, and leave it to the jury. The law of libel is quite different, especially with regard to a professional man;  if they considered that this letter was written even for the purpose of injuring Dr. Eccles, although it may not have done so, he is entitled to a verdict.
Damages £25; costs, £13 15s.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Tarraville and more Kelly questions

After my post Yarram continued about finding that the much loved Nurse Bessie Lawler of Yarram was witness to the marriage of my great grandmother Mary Agnes Morgan and also to the marriage of Mary's first cousin Alice Frances Kelly (daughter of John Kelly), I have been trying to find more information about that part of John Kelly's life.  
I've found a few news articles in some of the digitised Gippsland newspapers in Trove, which mention a John Kelly but there were a couple of John Kelly's living in the area at that time.

It was wonderful to receive an email from Gwen O'Callaghan who was a compiler of the book  "Clonmel to Federation: a Guide to People in the Port Albert area 1841-1901"  She gave me some further information and I was able to borrow the book through my local library.

Information from the book about one John Kelly below match some of my findings to date although my John Kelly was born in Ireland not Tarraville and the "possible daughter" Bridget LYNCH was actually the daughter of another John and Mary Kelly nee MURNANE.


Born Tarraville. [AVR]
Married 1869 Mary Ann FRANCIS (c1848-1888) (qv); John 1869-1888 Alberton-Melbourne. [DPI]
Possibly daughter Bridget LYNCH, born c1877, daughter of John and Mary KELLY, died 1965 Yarram, aged 86. [DDI] Catholic, of Yarram; buried Yarram. [YNC]
Tanner; owned 4-room wooden house on six acres, Tarra Road. [RB1875]
Signed petition to William HAIR to stand for Alberton Shire Council. [GS, 26 Jul 1883]
Tanner, Alberton East and Myrtle Point. [M1884]
J KELLY, member of jury at inquest into death of Jacob SNOWDEN (qv). [GS, 16 Oct 1884]
John KELLY, formerly of Tarraville, whose wife died at North Melbourne after a long illness. [GS, 18 Aug 1888]

From the same book held by Gippsland Regional Maritime Museumother John Kellys who were living in the area were:

Salaried schoolmaster, Tarraville, employed by Denominational Board 
[Electoral Roll in GG, 9 May 1856]*

Born Ireland [DPI]*
Died 1860, aged 29 , buried Greenmount Cemetery [GSC]*

At Alberton Police Court, Jno KELLY and Daniel BOURKE charged with robbery from Michael HOGAN in a hut at Welshpool [GS, 7 Aug 1889]* report of trial at Alberton Police Court [GS, 10 Aug 1889]* report of trial of General Sessions, Palmerston [GS, 12 Oct 1889]* [YC, 11 Oct 1889]*

Forfeited 213 acres, Stradbroke [GS, 13 Oct 1886]*
Paid £30 by Alberton Shire Council for roadwork 1892 [SGC,13 Jan 1893]*
Government mail contracts [SGC,15 Oct 1895]*
North Riding [Rate book, 1901, list in G1901]*
Probably John James KELLY, born c1856, son of John James and Margaret (GILL) KELLY; died 1934 Yarram, aged 78 [DDI]*
Methodist, of Won Wron; buried Yarram [YNC]*

My John Kelly was a tanner.  He died at the Yackandandah tannery in 1905.

A very kind "anonymous" who commented on my Yarram posts tells me that the Tarraville Tannery was known as Tarra Bank. I had found and posted a news article which was a letter to the editor written by a John Kelly from Tarra Bank about his wife giving birth to a son in 1869.  

In another newspaper article a John Kelly was declared insolvent in 1878 but he was from Wurruk Wurruk, 
I think that may be a bit  too far away even though he was named as a tanner and beamsman.  
Reasons given were lack of employment, death of a son, illness of wife and all that could fit my John Kelly.
I must try to find if further information on insolvencies is available.

A definition of that occupation from the "Old Occupations" site is - 
Tanner's BeamsmanDraped part-cured skins over a Tanners Beam, a flat slab of wood or stone, to scrape off the remaining flesh, fat and hair

By 1888 the Kelly's were living at 73 Melrose Street, North Melbourne.  John's wife, Mary Ann, died there on the 16th of August 1888 of a lumbar abscess and debility which she had for 4 months. 
Death certificate of Mary Ann Kelly nee Francis 1888

Did they move to Melbourne because of her health or because of the insolvency or perhaps both?  John's sister, my great great grandmother Alice Morgan, had the Cross Keys Hotel in Pascoe Vale Road, Essendon.  Maybe they moved to be nearer her and medical care both.

Very sadly their 17 year old daughter Mary also died in a tragic accident in 1888.
That will be another story.

* [sources in book]
AVR = Australian Vital Records Index 1788-1905; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1997
DPI = Digger Pioneer Index
G1901 = "Glimpses of Yarram Yarram and District in the year of Federation 1901" Yarram and District Historical Society Inc
GG = "Gippsland Guardian" Port Albert. Microfilm 1855-1866
GS = "Gippsland Standard", 1882-1898; microfilm Port Albert Maritime Museum [PAMM]

GSC = "Greenmount Station and Cemetery"; Greenmount Catholic Cemetery Trust, 1994
M1884 = Middleton and Manings Gippsland Directory, 1884-5

SGC = "South Gippsland Chronicle and Yarram and Alberton Advertiser" 1893-1898, microfilms, Yarram Genealogical Group Inc.
YC = "The Yarram Chronicle and South Gippsland Adviser" 1888-1892; microfilms, Yarram Genealogical Group Inc.
YNC = Yarram New Cemetery Registers and Inscriptions; transcribed and indexed by Yarram Genealogical Group Inc. MacBeth Genealogical Books, 1996

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day 2012 - Lest We Forget

In memory of all our family members 
who have gone before 
who fought for our freedom 
through the horrors of war.

Because of  the poem, In Flander's Field, written by Canadian Doctor and poet, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae M.D. (1872 - 1918) the Poppy has become the flower symbol of remembrance.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.  Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders field.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Trove Tuesday - Tarraville To do

Recently while researching my great great grand Uncle John Kelly  and some of his life at Tarraville in South Gippsland, Victoria, I came across these two letters written by Dr. Eccles and John Kelly and published in the Gippsland Times newspaper in December 1869.  

John Kelly and Mary Ann nee Francis did have a son in 1869 according to the birth registrations but I don't know if this is them or not yet.  More searching to be done.

I think the original letter from "Humanity" must have been published in a Sale newspaper that is not yet digitised, either that or I have missed it in my searches.

Gippsland Times 11 Dec 1869

Sir,--I was not a little surprised in having 
my attention directed to a letter which 
appeared in the South Gippsland newspaper of the 7th instant, signed " Humanity," and dated Port Albert, Nov. 30th, 1869, which, to say the least, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. I will briefly narrate the circumstances as they occurred. 
For some months past I had been wait ing for a favourable opportunity to visit Sale, to transact business of a private nature; and as the cricket match was about to take place between the Sale and South Gippsland Clubs, I determined to kill two birds with the one stone, andaccordingly went to Sale with the cricketers, leaving Tarraville on Sunday, the 28th ult., about 9 a.m., having made it generally known the week previous that I purposed doing so, should nothing occur in the interim to prevent me. I have been informed that the woman referred to had been in labour two or three days previous to my leaving home,   so that my attendance could have been   easily secured; not as "Humanity"'would lead persons to suppose, that it was after my departure the unfortunate woman was unwell. I was not enquired for untilMonday morning, when, as a matter of course, being absent, a great uproar was set up by, I presume, "crowing" " Humanity" and his clique. As to the lady who had gone to the expense of 10s sending a messenger for me, I may inform "Humanity" that the lady in question was put to no such expense, nor was I ever sent for. 
May I ask who is the "clever" Government oficial referred to by" Human manity." I have spoken to a great number of persons in order to get the information, but, as yet, have failed to obtain doing so. If " Humanity" be a friend to the official referred to, I think he would be showing his friendship in a much more practical manner by having his name left out of the question. 
In conclusion, I would ask "Humanity" to come out of his shell and appear in his own plumage, as I consider his letter to be an un-English stab in the dark,written for the purpose of conveying an untruthful impression on its readers. Imay also assure him that he is greatly mistaken if he thinks I am afraid ofhaving either Dr. Goldie or any other medical practitioner brought by his (" Humanity's") influence into the field against me. Trusting you will give this publication, 

I am, Sir, 
Your obedient servant, 
Tarraville, 9th December, 1869.
Gippsland Times 11 Dec 1869


SIR - A letter having appeared in your Sale contemporary of the 6th inst., signed " Humanity," calculated to do Dr.Eccles an injury. I am induced, in justice to that gentleman. to acquaint the public with the facts. Dr. Eccles was never engaged to attend my wife, and if there had been any intention on my part to have secured the services of that gentle man, I had ample time to have done so, for my wife was ill for four days prior to the doctor's leaving here for Sale, and I was led to believe by the persons who were in attendance upon her that a medical man was not required. On the fifth day of her illness, however, becoming alarmed, I called at the doctor's house, and found he would not be home till the next day. I left a message for him to call immediately upon his return, which he did; and I am glad to say he found my wife pro gressing favourably, the child having beenborn the day before. Those are the facts, and I think if there is any blame attached to any one it is to myself for al lowing myself to be persuaded by a lot of old women not to call in a medical man. 
By inserting this explanation you will oblige 

Your obedient servant, 
Tarra Bank, Tarrarille, Dec. 8th.

For the  Trove Tuesday theme by Amy Houston from Branches, Leaves & Pollen

Monday, 5 November 2012

Yarram continued

I wrote in my previous post Y is for .... Yarram that I had received a copy of this photo from New Zealand of two girls named Miss Bessie and Miss Kate.  No one knew who they were though.  It was at first thought that one of the names was Annie but too many opinions were definite that it said Bessie.

Recently I made contact with Kim who sent me some information about the families at Yarram which had been researched by her grandmother over the years.

Woohoo this information confirmed my theory!  The girls in the picture were in fact Elizabeth Ann (known as Bessie) and Catherine (known as Kate) Lawler.

Kim's great-great  grandmother, Alice Francis Kelly, was the first cousin of my great grandmother Mary Agnes Morgan.
Alice was the daughter of John Kelly and Mary Ann Francis.

The witness at Mary Morgan's wedding (left) show Bessie Lawler's signature in 1887 with a bit of a fancy tail on the first S, (perhaps a medial S as in old fashioned writing) and below at the wedding of Alice in 1900.  Only a small difference in the signature after thirteen years.

Alice's mother was Mary Ann Kelly nee Francis.  She was the daughter of Mary Kilroy and Thomas Francis. When Thomas died Mary Kilroy remarried Fenton Lawler (often spelt Lalor).  Elizabeth Ann and Catherine aka Bessie and Kate were their daughters; so half sisters of Mary Ann Francis.

Bessie started at Melbourne University in 1889 to study nursing.  She went on to become a much loved nurse in Yarram, conducting the Kilroy Private Hospital on the corner of Station and Rodgers Street.  The original building is now a private residence.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Z is for ... Zither at the Zenith

Here we are at the ZENITH of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

Many thanks to Alona from Gould for this theme. 
I have thoroughly enjoyed both writing and reading other bloggers posts throughout the challenge.

For the letter Z in this challenge I was always going to write about how my Nana, Daisy Marion Morgan, played the Zither.  

I don't remember hearing her play it as it was quite fragile and it may well have been handed down from her German great grandparents.  
Mum often mentioned the zither and I remember seeing it a couple of times as I was growing up but I don't know what happened to it. 

 My family history through the alphabet list

Friday, 2 November 2012

Y is for .... Yarram

I am a little late with my Y contribution for the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge issued by Alona of Gould's  

I was going to write about my husband's ancestors the Young family but I haven't done a lot of research on them yet and I have been enthralled lately with my current project about a family connection, I have only just found, to Yarram in South Gippsland, Victoria. 

This connection is still quite confusing and may take a bit of unraveling yet.  

A brief rundown so far:-

My great great grandmother was Margaret "Alice" Kelly.
One of her brother's, John Kelly, brought their two younger brothers to Alice in Melbourne just before her wedding to John Morgan in 1858.

I knew John went to Gippsland as he married Mary Ann Francis at Tarraville in 1869.  Tarraville, Yarram and Alberton are all close by one another.

In searching Trove I found quite a few references to a John Kelly but there may well have been more than one living in the area.  
Yet to be sorted.

There was a John Kelly who was a tanner at Nightingale's tannery at Tarraville in 1874.
My John Kelly was a currier (tanner) when he died at Yackandandah in 1905.  
There was a John Kelly who became insolvent at Tarraville in 1878.  Reasons given were lack of employment, death of a son, illness of wife. 
There was a big "to-do" over a Dr. Eccles in several articles, one being in the Gippsland Times in December 1869 where John Kelly's wife may have lost a son soon after childbirth. There is a birth registration for a John Kelly born to John Kelly and Mary Ann Francis in 1869 at Alberton which is near Tarraville.

Mary Ann Francis' mother was Mary Kilroy.  After the death of her first husband, Thomas Francis, Mary Kilroy married a Fenton Lawler.
They had three children, Michael, Elizabeth and Catherine.  Catherine married Edward Slavin in 1887.

I sent a query to the rootsweb Gippsland mailing list and learned that there is a book called  "Clonmel to Federation: a Guide to People in the Port Albert area 1841-1901". compiled by Gwen O'Callaghan at the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum which contains quite a bit more about the Francis and Lawler families.  I have yet to get access to the book but Gwen did give me a couple of snippets and one little piece of information which grabbed my attention immediately.  Elizabeth Lawler was a much loved nurse who delivered thousands of babies at Yarram for many years.  She was known as Bessie.

A few months ago I received copies of a batch of photos from descendants of John Kelly's nephew, Alexander Morgan, who went to New Zealand.  
One of these photos was of two young ladies.  
Written on the base of the photo was "Miss Bessie and Miss Kate" but none of the descendants knew who they were.
I believe they could well be Elizabeth and Catherine Lawler.

One of the witnesses at the marriage of John Kelly's niece, my great grandmother Mary Morgan, in 1887 was a miss Lawler but the first name isn't very legible. I don't know yet if she is of the same Lawler family.  Bessie Lawler was known to be in Melbourne doing her nursing training around 1889.

I'm still searching, sorting and wondering but perhaps one day I will find enough confirming detail that all these pieces will fit together.

 My family history through the alphabet list

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