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?

George DAVEY

George was born on 31 May 1865, the fourth child of John and Ann(e) Davey nee Dixon. His name was not included on the birth registration on the 6 June 1865. George was one of 12 children born between 1860 and 1885. His father John died in 1888 while his mother Ann died in 1892.

George’s siblings were:

  • 1860 William John
  • 1861 Mary Elizabeth
  • 1863 Hannah Selina
  • 1867 Emma Louisa
  • 1869 Adam
  • 1872 Charles
  • 1873 Thomas
  • 1876 Samuel (Frank?)
  • 1878 Harry
  • 1879 Eliza Amy
  • 1885 Ellen Anne

Marriage and children

When George was 24 he married Martha Jane COLGRAVE who was only 16 at the time. They married at the house of Martha’s father in English Town on 13 March 1890 and the witnesses were her father Francis Colgrave and George’s mother Annie.

George and Martha had a large family born in the Evandale area.

  • 1891 Mary Ann – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1893 Emily Jane – informant George, farmer at English Town
  • 1894 John (Jack) – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1895 James George – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1897 Elizabeth (Lizzie) – informant George, farmer at English Town
  • 1899 Hannah– informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1902 George
  • 1904 Elsie
  • 1907 Bertie Leonard
  • 1909 Leila Jessie
  • 1911 Doris Eileen
  • 1914 Frederick Trevor

In March 1891 George signed a requisition asking Eustace N Cameron Esq to be nominated for the House of Assembly representing the Morven (Evandale) district. Others who signed included Francis Colgrave, Francis T Colgrave, Samuel Colgrave, Henry Colgrave, William Colgrave and William Davey.

His working life

In June 1895, George was advanced 20 pounds for his contract with the Evandale Road Trust.

In 1898, George’s tender of 6 pound 10 shillings was accepted for section 1 of the road from Corra Linn to White Hills.

In July 1900, it is mentioned that George has property fronting on the River o Plain Creek and since searching on a map, have also found a Daveys Road which branches off Deddington Road. This is probably where I drove to many years ago to find the house where my grandmother Hannah had been brought up as a child.

Scale 1cm to 2.5km Red mark is River O Plain Creek near Daveys Road

In 1901, he built a road from Lilybourne to the Daveys and was paid 73 pounds 4 shillings and 11 pence. I haven’t been able to find a place called Lilybourne so maybe it was a property name instead.

In 1904, he won the tender for building a road from Wisloca to Steppes near Evandale. The only Steppes I knew was a property over near Bothwell in the Central Highlands far away from Evandale. It wasn’t until 1907 that the balance owing George was paid by the Evandale Road Trust.

By 1910 he was reforming and metalling 7 chains of road from English Town to F Colgraves and being paid 30 shillings per chain. This was Tender no 25.

At the Evandale Council meeting on Monday 3 April 1911, the Davey brothers and others had written letters about using money to improve roads in their area.

George was also involved with improving roads from Patterdale to Uplands near Deddington. Contract no 13 in September 1911.

By March 1912 he was boxing and metalling a road at Whisloca Flats near Blessington as well as building a bridge at Nile Farm near Deddington. Later in the year gravelling road from Boyd’s Culvert towards Lilybourne.

In 1913, part of George’s property was acquired to be used as a public road.

I’m wondering how George had time to be a farmer when he was building roads so often in the district he lived.

George died in November 1914, this was 20 years before my mother was born, so she never met her grandfather. His last son Frederick was only a month old when his father died in Launceston. George must have been ill as he wrote his last will on 29 October 1914 and three days later, he died.

George had been a farmer at Deddington according to his will which was proved in 1915. George left all his worldly goods and chattels to his wife Martha Jane who died in 1954, two years before I was born.

George is buried at St Andrews Uniting Church Cemetery in Evandale, northern Tasmania with his wife as well as two daughters who died young, Elsie aged 11 and Leila aged 7.