Any words linked will take you to full biographies of that person including photos and links to other sources such as newspapers.
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.
Readers: Have you noticed any ancestors writing their wills just a few days before they died?
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
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.