Wilhelmina McLEOD

born: about 1819 in County Sutherland, Scotland

Parents: William McLeod, a farmer, and Jannet (Jessie) McKay


married to: James BELL at the Scots Church Paterson NSW on 29 Sep 1840

died: at the home of her son-in-law, Joseph Walker, 2 Unwin St Sydney (Milsons Pt)

on 28 Feb 1903

buried at: Rookwood Cemetary, Presbyterian Section

Children: Mary (Laurie) b. circa 1842 (at Bandon Grove) (not recorded)

Wilhelmena (Dinsey) b. circa 1843 (not recorded)

Norman b. 1845 Entry 513, Vol 162

John b. circa 1846, (not recorded)

Margaret (McEachran) b. 1848, Entry 536 (or 586?) Vol 162

Elizabeth (Walker) b. 22/7/1850, Entry 1441, Vol 50

Christina (Quirk) b. 27/7/1852, Entry 636, Vol 52

Wilhelmina arrived in Sydney with her mother, sisters and brother from Keanlochbervie (Kinlochbervie) in Sutherland, NW Scotland on the "James Moran" on 11 Feb 1839. She was 16 at the time of her departure from Scotland. She spoke both Gaelic and English.

On arrival in Sydney, the family seems to have been separated and she and her sisters were allocated to servants positions with employers in Sydney while her brother was assigned as a shepherd to Patricks Plains. Sometime after her arrival, the family moved to the Hunter River and she met and married James Bell, a ticket of leave man from Glasgow. They married at the Scots Church in Paterson on 29 Sep 1840. Donald McLeod (her brother) and Mary McMaster were the witnesses. This was shortly before the Presbyterian Church was built at Paterson.

Shortly after this the family was working on land at Barties Swamp near East Maitland (1840-41).

There is no record in the NSW BDM Index of her marriage or the baptism of 3 of her 7 children. At this time Presbyterian ministers carried their registers with them from appointment to appointment, and it is probable that the register was never handed in after civil registration began.

By 1842, she and James worked on a farm at Bandon Grove near Dungog, probably with her brother and mother close by (or on the same property). It appears that they were employed as tennant farmers by the landowners. According to tradition they grew maize and arrowroot for a mill nearby. Mary was apparently born at Bandon Grove about 1842.

Both Elizabeth and Christina were christened in Dungog NSW in the Presbyterian Church, and were born at Mt Pleasant, near the current township of Salisbury, further up the Williams River. James died after a severe ilness on Friday 6 Feb 1852 and was buried at Anley’s Flat (Dungog) on 13 Feb 1852. There was an accident on the way to the funeral, which rated a mention in the Maitland Mercury of Saturday 14 Feb 1852. Christina wa baptised on 24 May 1853.

In 1863, her son Norman was definitely still in the Bandon Grove area at "Mulconda". His name, the date and place are in his uncle Donald McLeod’s gaelic bible, now in the possession of Rita Phillips (nee Quirk). John and Norman and their uncle Donald McLeod are listed in a directory of 1867-68 as being at Malconda.

Later, by the late-1860s, she may have been farming around Copeland, near Gloucester. One of her sisters, Anne, married a Laurie from Rawdon Vale. Wilhelmina’s son, Norman died at Barrington in 1924 after farming there for many years, although he is known to have farmed for a time in the Tweed.

Wilhelmina’s mother Jannet, died in Dungog in 1872, aged apparently 87, and was buried at Anley’s Flat. Her daughter, Ann was the informant.

From oral tradition, Wilhelmina did not follow her children or her brother to the Tweed in the late 1860s, so she may have stayed in the Copeland area.

Her son, John and his family lived at Laurieton NSW in the early 1900’s. John apparently spent some time in the Tweed, and Margaret Bell (McEachran) married and settled at Tygalgah on the Tweed, so most of the family may have lived in the Tweed for a number of years from the late 1860’s through to the early 1880’s.

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