My great grandfather George Davey

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Neither my mother Phyllis born 1934 nor her older sister Margaret ever met their grandfather George.

George was born 1 June 1865 in the district of Evandale but was not named on the birth record. George had 11 siblings and lived with his parents John and Annie Davey.

George married  Martha Colgrave in 1890. He was nearly 10 years older than her. But the Colgrave and Davey families were neighbours in the areas of Blessington, English Town, Deddington and Nile where most of the siblings lived.

George and Martha had 12 children of which one was my grandmother Hannah. The youngest child was Frederick who was born just one month before George died.

According to his death notice, George died in Launceston Hospital on 2 November 1914. His last will and testament was dated 29 October  just four days before he died. I wonder if he had been ill and whilst in hospital decided to write his will with everything going to his wife Martha.

George is buried at St Andrew’s Cemetery in Evandale. This used to be known as the Presbyterian burial ground. Also buried with George are two of his daughters, Elsie and Leila, who died before him as well as his wife who died 40 years later in 1954.

Death and funeral notice for George Davey in 1914

Readers: Have you noticed any ancestors writing their wills just a few days before they died?

Lots of children

I am starting to put together some folders on my ancestor couples and making sure I have all their children and grandchildren included. I found an obituary for a daughter of John Davey and Ann Dixon who are my great great grandparents.

Mary Elizabeth Davey, the eldest daughter, was born at the Nile (near Evandale) in 1861. She married Adam Brown on 15 January 1879 at the home of her father John at English Town near Evandale. Witnesses were her older brother William Davey and Victoria Brown.

The obituary tells me the family lived at Russell Plains (near Launceston) for 16 years, where Adam worked as a shepherd for Mr Frank Archer.  They then lived at Eastbourne (near Avoca) for four years and finally English Town. Mary bought the farm belonging to her father after he passed away in 1888. She and her family remained there until her death in 1923.

Mary’s husband Adam died accidentally in 1916 and in that 37 years of marriage, Mary gave birth to 17 children.

  • 1879 – Henry Robertson – Blessington
  • 1881 – Richard – Adam Burston – Constable Deddington
  • 1882 – William – W Purkiss Friend – Launceston
  • 1884 – George – Foster Priestley friend – Invermay- born January
  • 1884 – Robert – Russell Plains – born December
  • 1886 – Annie – W.L Harwood – Constable Invermay
  • 1887 – George – T Kirkwood – Constable Deddington
  • 1888 – Esther – Russell Plains – W.L Harwood – Constable Invermay
  • 1890 – Adam Richard Charles Henry – Russells Plains – E Clements, widow, Russells Plains
  • 1891 – Mary (Nell) – Prossers Forest – W.L Harwood – Constable Invermay
  • 1894 – Adam – Russells Plains
  • 1895 – May – Prossers Forest – James Rouse – farmer, Prossers Forest near Newnham
  • 1898 – Mary Amy – Evandale?
  • 1899 – Walter – Eastbourne
  • 1901 – Esther
  • 1902 – Jessie
  • 1903 – Pearl

Children who died before Mary’s death in 1923 were:

  • 5 Apr 1881 – Richard survived for 11 days – cause of death debility
  • 21 Feb 1889 – Esther survived 2 months – cause of death marasmus
  • 11 May 1890 – Thomas (is this George born 1887?) survived 2 years 10 months – died in hospital from diphtheria
  • 22 May 1890 – Adam survived 5 months – died in hospital from diphtheria
  • 21 Apr 1904 – Pearl – cause of death not found yet

I have not been able to find the third child dying from diphtheria as mentioned in the obituary.

In Adam’s memoriam in 1917, mention was made of a son called John Thomas. Maybe this is one of the George who I have not been able to find any information on.

Most of the other children lived to beyond 60 years old raising many children of their own.

  • Henry – 9 children from 2 marriages
  • William – married once – possibly 5 children but he died in his 40’s
  • Robert – unknown
  • Annie Selina WALTERS – 6 children
  • Adam John Jack – unknown
  • May – never married
  • Mary BAKER – 3 children
  • Esther (Etty) TREADWELL – unknown
  • Jessie WINFIELD – 2 children

In mid 1922, about 8 months before her death, Mary went to New Zealand to visit her sister Hannah Selina Maru nee Davey.

Both Mary and  Adam are buried at St Andrews Uniting church cemetery in Evandale.

Readers: Do you have any ancestors who had 15 or more children from one marriage?