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.

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

Picture
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.

30 comments:

  1. A great story, and the family certainly did have some misfortunes!

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    1. Thanks Jo, they sure did and I didn't even mention their daughter (my great grandmother) being deserted by her husband!

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    2. By the way, congratulations on making the top 50 genealogy blogs - I can certainly see why you did!

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    3. that is very lovely of you to say Jo, thank you. I was so thrilled, completely unexpected.

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  2. Great research and great format enjoyed it was easy to follow and u r so lucky to have so many pics to support your story Well done!

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  3. That’s a lot of tragedy for one family; thank goodness for Alexander!

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    1. John and Alice also lost a young daughter in 1879 and their last surviving daughter was my great great grandmother and she was deserted by her husband and had to chase him for child maintenance for nearly 8 years. Perhaps they were cursed or something.

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  4. Owning the original hotel didn't seem to hold much luck for any who did, sadly. An awful lot for one family to have to suffer!

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  5. It is great that photos can be so easily shared now.

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    1. It certainly is, I cried when I received these ones.

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  6. I really enjoyed your story and pics...well organized and easy to follow. Seeing a "before" and "after" is always interesting too, especially as the hotel touched so many lives of your family. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for reading Barb, my grandmother who was grandaughter of the first publicans never spoke of the hotel, I always wonder if it was because of the bad luck.

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  7. Great story.The way the wife is holding that umbrella made me think it was a bat at first.

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    1. lol Kristin, some have commented on the photo that they wouldn't want to cross her.

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  8. A wonderful story! The licensing court must have heard many a long and tall tale.

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    1. Mike yes I bet there were a lot of those.

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  9. What a fascinating story you have shared here.

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  10. Amazing that a segment of your ancestry is linked by a liquor license! The actual news items were especially interesting. Fine post!

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    1. thanks for stopping by and reading my post anyjazz

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  11. Interesting about the "e" and "no e" -- I had heard that the spelling reflected a difference in the distilling process. Eh -- what do I know?

    I enjoyed the story, photos, and following the license.

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    1. thank you Wendy, I hadn't thought much about the two spellings either until I did this post

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  12. What a great post. I particularly like your toast at the end.

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  13. Great story. I wasn't sure that it was an umbrella she was holding as it looked a more fearsome weapon - for keeping drunks in order?

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    1. thanks Bob and I had to chuckle you're probably right about the weapon. I reckon an umbrella correctly wielded would do well at keeping drunks in order.

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  14. I enjoyed this well researched and documented story of your family. It must have been a great sense of satisfaction when you got it all welded together

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  15. Like you I have a pub-owing rellie in my FH and he too died of alcoholism...an occupational hazard? Just as well I don't own a pub as I like a single malt whisky myself :) Don't publicans offer great records? And don't you have some wonderful photos Kerryn.

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