Monday, 3 November 2014

Mystery Monday - searching for the death of Margaret Leslie Mason nee Carstairs

My great great great grandmother, Margaret Leslie Carstairs, was born on the 2nd of September, 1823 at Cupar, Fife, Scotland.  She was baptised on the 10th of September at Cupar.

 Her parents were Andrew Carstairs and Elizabeth (Betty) Stewart. 

Margaret married Peter Webster Mason in 1842  Largo, Fife, Scotland 

"Were contracted Peter Mason in this parish and Margaret Carstairs in the parish of Cupar who after proclamation without objection were married the 15th of same."

They had twelve children, Margaret, Andrew, Elizabeth and Susan Webster Mason, were born in Scotland.  
It's not known when or where Margaret died.
Andrew died 1869 Victoria.  
Elizabeth died 1910 Landsborough, Victoria
Susan Webster died 1928 Landsborough, Victoria.

Peter and Margaret Mason sailed from Plymouth aboard  the "Cheapside"  on the 21st of May, 1848 and reached Port Phillip on the 18th of August, 1848 as assisted immigrants with children Andrew aged 2 and Susan aged 3 months.  This was the fastest voyage to that time.  
Fare was 14 pounds 8 shillings.  196 passengers.  Peter was passenger 121.

Peter and Margaret could read and write and went ashore without leaving their address.

The Port Phillip Patriot and Morning Advertiser of 19 August reported:-
" The Cheapside arrived here yesterday, with emigrants from London and Plymouth, having completed the voyage in rather less that 88 days, being the quickest ever yet made from England to Port Phillip.
She brings London papers up to the date she sailed from Plymouth, 21st May as she left during the night of that day.  The class of emigrants on board appears to be as good as those brought by the "Cornwall" being almost all from England.  The passage of this vessel throughout has been generally favourable.  She ran to Madeira in 7 days, and was off the Cape of Good Hope on the 20th July, from that to Cape Northumberland she experienced a succession of strong gales from the North, on the 25th July especially, a severe storm arose accompanied with lightening and rain, she was struck by the electric fluid, but it was carried over the tide by the conductors, having done no injury save carrying away the main topmast crosstress, in lat 39 20 South, long 36 38 East.  The weather being squally and gloomy, a whirlwind or waterspout was observed on the starboard quarter, about a mile distant, and nearing the ship fast.  Captain Lewis was obliged to haul up to avoid it, and had some difficulty in doing so as it passed within 500 yards of them; it is described as having been a very grand sight, but had rather too much of the terrible in it to be enjoyed by those on board.  Nothing further of note occurred until she was within a few days sail of Port Phillip Heads, when a melancholy accident befell a tine young seaman of the name of George Farquhar; he was up on the main yard and his foot slipping from the rope he lost his hold and falling violently on the deck, died instantly, his head upon which he fell, being dashed to pieces.  The "Cheapside" spoke the "Hartley" off Madeira, 1 week out bound for Adelaide with emigrants.  There were 5 deaths all infants, and 4 births, on board.  

The next eight children were born in Victoria, Australia and all recorded on the birth certificate of the last born child, Sarah Jane.

Peter was born in Melbourne in 1849 died 1851 Richmond.
Agnes, my great great grandmother, was born at Heidelberg in 1851 died 1940 Wangaratta
Janet "Jessie" was born at Heidelberg in 1854 died 1928 Stawell
Mary was born at Oakleigh in 1855 and died that same year.
David was born in 1856 died unknown
Euphemia Margaret was born 1859 at Myer's Creek (now Myer's Flat) Nerring near Eaglehawk died 1942 Stawell.
John Robert was born 1862 at Peg Leg, near Eaglehawk died 1914 Wagga Wagga
Sarah Jane was born 1865 at Myer's Creek died 1891 East Melbourne

Myers Creek, now Myers Flat near Eaglehawk, Victoria.

According to a book written by their great grandson, George Rathbone, the Mason's were for a time at the Ballarat gold fields and their made friends with the Rathbone family.  None of the friends had any great gold finds, only sufficient to satisfy their needs.  He states that the Mason's were in Talbot in 1868 where their daughter Agnes married Peter Hart in 1870.

Agnes Mason (1851-1940)  and Peter Hart (ca 1827 - 1900)

Nothing further appears to be known of their whereabouts.  A search for Peter Webster Mason's death led fellow family researcher, Linda Robertson, to him dying at Bendigo Benevolent Asylum on the 1st of March 1892 of  Cystitis, Exhaustion and Senile debility.

Today I finally found at least a funeral notice for him in Trove so now I know where he is buried.

To date no one has found a death for his wife Margaret.  

A lot of people have listed her death as 1905 at Hamilton in Victoria but I have that death certificate and it belongs to a Margaret Mason who was born in Co. Clare Ireland, had three marriages, one to a William Mason and had one son Thomas, not ours.

I have seen 14 family trees in with that death mistakenly attached to our Margaret 
(And frustratingly there are a couple of other trees that even have Margaret attached to a completely wrong family. Unfortunately this happens repeatedly in that site)


  1. Very Interesting. Thank you, this has helped me a lot in my research of Jessie Mason, my Great Grandmother.

  2. Have you looked at death cert#
    11927 I realise the Birth year is wrong, but it is in Bendigo.

    1. Forgot to add Death year is 1922

    2. Thanks for the suggestion, thanks to fellow researcher John Mason I have a copy of the certificate and that Margaret Mason was born in Tipperary, Ireland, married a Henry Mason and had children Nora, Carrie and William, all deceased by 1922. Still searching.

    3. Hi, I am having trouble finding Elizabeth. She wasn't on the ships list with them and yet she would have been only 3 years of age. Also on Ancestry most have her death in Landsborough in 1910, but the certificate for that Death has different parents, so that is not her. I'm wondering if they had an Elizabeth? If you know any info on her can you please share it with me. Thanks.

    4. I do have Elizabeth's information if you would like to contact me at geekaytayatgmaildotcom