Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Trove Tuesday - Attempted suicide at Cross Keys Hotel

In 1893 my great great grandmother, Alice Morgan, was licensee of the original Cross Keys Hotel at Essendon.  There always seemed to be some eventful happening.

This time it was an attempted suicide next door.

Her son Frank Morgan was a grocer there and on the 7th of November that year Frank was confronted with a neighbours attempted suicide.

ESSENDON COURT. (1893, November 24). North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1873 -

1894), p. 2. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Trove Tuesday - The Essendon body mystery continued.

My earlier Trove Tuesday post about the body mystery at the Cross Keys Hotel prompted me to go looking to see if the case was ever solved.

It was in fact solved not long after but hardly got a mention in the Victorian papers. 

COLONIAL TELEGRAMS. (1889, December 28). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 -

1931), p. 4. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from


and a little later the following story

General News. (1890, January 3). The Narracoorte Herald (SA : 1875 - 1954), p. 3. 

Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145922161

Trove Tuesday - Body Mystery at Cross Keys Hotel

 Francis McEvoy was a groom at the Cross Keys Hotel in 1889 when a body was found in the Moonee Ponds Creek.  

Francis McEvoy identified the body as that of his sister Kate.  

But Kate was still alive!

WHO WAS SHE?. (1889, December 27). Geelong Advertiser(Vic. : 1859 - 1924), p. 4. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150626682

Monday, 15 September 2014

Gordon's Scrapheap Adventure Ride

From September 19th to the 21st my cousin Cathy's husband, Gordon Mann, is taking place in an amazing ride to raise money for Down Syndrome New South Wales

The ride is called Scrapheap Adventure Ride and the entrants have to purchase a motorbike for no more than $1000, do it up and use it for the ride.

Gordon's bike is a 1992 Honda CB 250 and Cathy has made him a lovely new quilted seat cover.

Young Jacob, the son of close friends, is featured on Gordon's fundraising page 

Please donate to sponsor Gordon's ride, he is not far off his target amount of  $500.

Jacob, along with several workmates children who have Down Syndrome, are his inspiration for this effort.

Gordon will ride from Millthorpe to Mudgee to meet up with other riders and then on to Nymboida which is ........  a long way!

Front page of Blayney Chronicle

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Inside History's top genealogy blogs for 2014

This morning I was absolutely thrilled to find that my blog had been listed among the 50 best genealogy blogs in the current issue of  Inside History magazine.

Thank you so much to the Inside history team and congratulations and thanks to Jill whose Geniaus blog, always a must read, was also listed and wins many awards.

I hadn't yet picked up my copy of the magazine but was reading a post by genimate, Pauleen, this morning and she was sending out congratulations.

Needless to say I went into town pdq to get my copy.  Life has been a bit pearshaped lately so it was a wonderful "cheer up" for me.

I'm sending back huge congratulations to Pauleen for her blog Family History across the Seas, having achieved the Inside History Hall of Fame after being on the Top 50 list for three years, along with the blogs from Kintalk, Family Search, and the Public Records Office of Victoria.

There are some wonderful blogs in the list that I hadn't come across before and so I will be adding these to my reading list.

Congratulations to them all and also to my other geneablogger mates Kylie at Kylie's GenesSharon at Strong Foundations and Anne at Anne's family history

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sepia Saturday - Whiskey time at the Cross Keys Hotel

I have both Scottish and Irish ancestry so naturally I'd enjoy a whisky/ey.

I wondered why the different spellings and it seems the Scots favour the spelling whisky and the Irish whiskey according to thekitchn.com
They say countries without the letter e in its name such as Scotland, Canada and Japan prefer whisky and courntries with e such as Ireland, America or United States prefer whiskey.

This post is about my Irish publican ancestors.  What better place to share a whiskey!

In 1871 my great great grandfather, John Morgan became the licensee of the Cross Keys Hotel at North Essendon. 

He was 42 years old.

He must have liked the whiskey a little too much, nine years later he died from chronic alcoholism.  

His wife, my great great grandmother, Alice Morgan nee Kelly, took over the license that year. 

In 1900 Alice was fined for diluting the brandy, thankfully not the whiskey.

It was a tough year in which Alice lost two of her children.  

Her eldest son Frank  died from TB and her youngest daughter Agnes  died from "acute multiple neuritis and cardiac syncope" (not sure what that is)

Alice Morgan herself died of a stroke in 1904 so then the license passed to her youngest son 

Tragically John drowned in the hotel's water tank in 1907!
According to the inquest report it doesn't seem that whiskey was involved.
The luck of the Irish certainly wasn't with them.
Click and scroll down to read transcription of the inquest.

The hotel license then went to John's wife Margaret Morgan nee O'Meara and it appeared she also had the odd trouble with the place. Click on her name to read one story.

Margaret Morgan must have sold the hotel.  It was demolished in 1929.  

An article in the Argus newspaper on 5th Feb 1929 states that the Hotel was to be demolished.
The actual newspaper copy is quite hard to read so I have trancribed it below.

"An old landmark, the Cross Keys Hotel at North Essendon, has been demolished.  This hotel was the first built North of Melbourne and was owned by the Morgan family for more than 70 years.  It stood on the old Sydney road, which was one of the busiest roads in the days of the gold fever.The diggers passing to and from the gold fields spent their money freely and buckets were used as tills and safes. There being no local banking facilities in those days, great difficulties were experienced in finding any safe place in which to keep the cash until the gold escort came to transfer it to the bank in town. Bushrangers threatened to raid the hotel but it was known that John Morgan was well armed and a straight shot and no raid was ever made. Today the Cross Keys is the property of the Misses Raynor who have had a modern residential hotel erected on the site of the historic old Inn".
Along with whiskey the theme suggested drinking, sharing, posing and lurking.
I've done the drinking.  I don't think I have any lurking but posing would fit the people in front of the pub below. 
The newly built Cross Keys Hotel still operates in the same position today.  I visited there about ten years ago and the owner at the time gave me the following photos.  
None of the people have yet been identified.

The sharing is what I am most thankful for.  All the old photos above were shared with me.  The photos of my Morgan family members were shared by a very lovely lady who was another great great granddaughter of John and Alice Morgan.  Their son, Alexander Morgan, moved to New Zealand around 1886 and became a very successful accountant at the NZ Treasury Dept.

Alexander Morgan and his wife Lavinia nee Stuart.

I raise my glass in a toast to my ancestors.
read other sepia saturday posts here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

What happened to the Clark(e) family?

The aim of my family history research and blog is to put flesh on the bones of my ancestors and to record their stories as I find them.  I don't want just names and dates I want them to be remembered.

In December 1855 my great great grandfather, John Morgan, arrived in Melbourne from West Armagh, Ireland with his two sisters, Margaret and Bridget on board the ship Calliance.

Margaret and Bridget were sponsored by their sister in law Mrs Morgan of Flinder's Lane.

There are theories but nothing concrete about who this Mrs Morgan was.

I have traced much of John's story through the remainder of his life which I have recorded here and researched names and dates for Margaret Morgan to go in a separate post but as yet I don't have any stories about her.

What I found about poor Bridget though was quite sad and I would love to know what happened to her family after she died.

Bridget married Bernard Clark(e) on the 15th of June 1859 at St. Francis Church in Melbourne which was also where her brother John married my great great grandmother Alice Kelly on the 30th of June 1858.

St Francis Church Melbourne.

Bridget's marriage certificate states that Bernard was from County Meath in Ireland and his parents were Peter Clarke and Rose nee Rice.  Peter was a farmer.  Bernard was a miner aged 22 years.

On the 8th of August 1863 at Old Inglewood (near Bendigo) in Victoria Bridget died from inflammation of the lungs.  Her death certificate lists two children, Margaret aged 2 years and 5 months and Peter aged 2 weeks.  The Inglewood cemetery records say Bridget Clark is buried there but no location, plot number or headstone.  No other Clarks are listed as buried in the cemetery so I assume they moved away.

I have nothing further yet.  Did Bernard remarry?  Did little Peter survive?  Who raised the children?

I wanted to put this out there to see if perhaps any possible descendants of the Clarkes might happen to read it one day and contact me.  Meanwhile I shall continue searching.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunday's obituary - Mary Ann/Marrian Morgan nee Pike



The death occurred at her residence, Euroa, on Friday last, of Mrs Marrian Morgan, one of the oldest and most highly respected residents of the district. The late Mrs Morgan was one of the earliest residents, coming to this district in 1851, with her widowed mother, at the age of four years, and has thus resided here for 82 years. She was born in Loddon district, and had a good recollection of the early days, recalling an occasion, when she resided in the north, her mother had to leave her children and cross the Murray, a mile wide in flood, in a frail boat, to obtain provisions. They did not expect their mother to return safely. After her marriage she resided for many years on a farm a few miles from Euroa, near Mr G. Harrison’s. She raised a large family, four of whom, with her husband, pre-deceased her. Her eldest son, John, was drowned in the Seven Creeks, near the Sydney road bridge, in flood time. For many years the late Mrs Morgan had resided in the town. The possessor of a kindly and genial nature, she held the affection of a large circle of friends and relatives. She leaves an adult family of one daughter (Mrs A. McNay, Yarrawonga), and eight sons, all of whom are well known here and held in high respect. The funeral took place on Sunday last. The graveside service was read by Rev. L. Hume. The pall bearers were Messrs, H., Edward, George and Arch Morgan, S. T. McNay, G. McCoomb and N. McCoomb; the coffin bearers were Messrs G., R., A., J., E., and F. Morgan, and Messrs T., J., and George Morgan jr., acted as flower bearers. Mr T. G. Ferguson carried out the funeral arrangements.

Mary Ann Pike was my maternal great great grandmother.  She was born on May 10 1847 in the district of Murchison, Victoria to parents John Pike and Isabella nee Beaton.

Mary Ann had two sisters, Jane born 1843 and Eliza born 1844 both at Murchison.  

Mary Ann married Thomas Fitzherbert Morgan on the 11th of April 1866 at Euroa.

"Kindly and genial nature" must have run in the family. 
Their son, William Thomas Morgan, known as Bill, was my great grandfather.  He died before I was born and I had never thought to ask my mum what he was like.  A few months ago I asked my auntie and she described him as kind and gentle which is also exactly how I would describe his daughter, my grandmother, Daisy.

Mary Ann and Thomas Morgan had thirteen children:

  • John (1867 - 1874)
  • Thomas Fitzherbert 2nd (1868 - 1943)
  • George (1870 - 1957)
  • William Thomas (1872 - 1950)
  • Robert Maurice (1873 - 1952)
  • Alexander Frederick (1875 - 1946)
  • Isobela Sarah (1877 - 1946)
  • John Pike (1879 - 1953)
  • Maurice (1881 - 1882)
  • Edward Richard (1883 - 1959)
  • Benjamin (1885 - 1910)
  •  Marion (1889 - 1924
  • Frederick Alexander (1891 - 1939)
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