Martha Jane COLGREAVE was born 13 March 1874 to Francis and Susan Colgreave nee Boyd. The family lived at Blessington in northern Tasmania. Martha Jane was the fifth out of ten children born to this couple.
Martha Jane’s siblings were:
- 1866 Francis John
- 1867 Samuel
- 1869 Frances Isabella
- 1871 William F
- 1876 Lillian Ada (Moy)
- 1878 John Alfred Arthur
- 1881 Ernest Charles
- 1883 Ethel Mary Ann
- 1886 Frederick George
Her mother Susan died in 1900 and her father in 1920.
In the 1870s, there is an F Colgrave providing wood for the local gaol and the Council Chambers. This could be Martha Jane’s father or grandfather who were both named Francis.
Marriage and children
Martha Jane married George DAVEY in 1890 when she was only 16 years old and he was 24. They married at Martha Jane’s home in English Town and her father Francis and George’s mother Annie were the witnesses.
The family, which eventually included 12 children, lived at Blessington near English Town where George made a living as a farmer but also was often contracted by the Evandale Road Trust to build and improve roads in the district. Read George’s biography to find out more about this.
At the time of George’s death in November 1914, Martha was now on her own with 6 children aged 12 and under, the youngest being one month old Frederick.
The eldest daughter Mary Ann had married Gordon BURFORD in 1911, Emily Jane had married Trevor COX before 1913 and neither were now available to help with the younger children.
Martha Jane was still living in Blessington near English Town according to the 1914 Electoral Roll.
In 1915, her daughter Elsie died aged 11 and then in 1917 Leila passed away aged 7. Both girls were buried with their father in Evandale.
By 1928, Martha Jane had moved to Longford where she had bought a house to live in. She was now in her 50s and must have been a strong, determined woman to move house at her age.
Her daughter Elizabeth had married James BOXHALL and in the 1949 Electoral Rolls, Martha Jane was living with them in Oatlands where Jim was a policeman.
Martha Jane died in New Norfolk on 18 August 1954. She had outlived 6 of her children.
Remembrances from some of Martha Jane’s descendants
Phyllis (daughter of Hannah)
- She lived at Longford. We holidayed there once a year. We went up by train.
- When she was older she lived at Auntie Lizzie in New Norfolk for 6 months and at our place in Sandy Bay for six months.
- She was a frail little lady.
- She died about 10 days before your father and I were married.
Lorraine (daughter of Frederick, the youngest child)
- I only remember an old lady who used to go & stay with Auntie Lizzie at Oatlands.
- Think she also stayed with Auntie Hannah too.
- We were living at Parattah near Oatlands & I was in Grade 4 when we came to live down in Newdegate St.
Denise (granddaughter of Lizzie)
- As kids we had contact with Martha Jane – from memory both at Oatlands and New Norfolk
- She used to sit in her wicker chair near the fireplace and we had to be quiet. This was nearly impossible as kids of 5 or 6.
- She used to be waited on “hand and foot” – she seemed to be very old.