Category Archives: HUNTER

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MARK ROGERS.

East Indiaman York  other vessels -Thomas LuneyTHE EAST INDIAMAN ‘YORK’ ON WHICH JAMES BELL WAS TRANSPORTED.
James Bell Ticket of Leave 1834JAMES BELL’s TICKET OF LEAVE.
norman bell son of james & wilhelminaNORMAN BELL SON OF JAMES BELL AND WILHELLMINA MCLEOD.
christina bell & elizabeth bellCHRISTINA AND ELIZABETH BELL ON THE TWEED RIVER.
christina bell & john quirkCHRISTINA AND HER HUSBAND JOHN QUIRK.
Granny Bell 2GRANNY BELL – MARY ANN MCNEILL.
Norman Bell - CopyNORMAN BELL, BROTHER OF JOHN AND BROTHER-IN-LAW TO MARY ANN (GRANNY).
Wilhelmina Bell Letters of Administration 1903WILHELLMINA BELL LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION.

MY THANKS ALSO TO THOSE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTORS WHO PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED ONLINE.

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Wilhelmina McLEOD : COMPILED BY MARK ROGERS.

Wilhelmina McLEOD

born: about 1819 in County Sutherland, Scotland

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

christened:

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.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WITH THANKS : MARK ROGERS.

From MARK ROGERS , a descendant of CHRISTINA (BELL) QUIRK), I have received images and documents which I shall post A.S.A.P. Many thanks to you , Mark.

JAMES BELL.

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James BELL 26

Born: about 1808 in Glasgow, Scotland

Married: to Wilhelmina McLEOD on 29 Sep 1840 at Scots Church Patterson NSW

Died: 6 Feb 1852 in the Williams River area, near Dungog NSW

Buried: 13 Feb 1852 at Anleys Flat, Dungog NSW

Children: see Wilhelmina McLEOD (no 27) for details.

James Bell was convicted of housebreaking in Glasgow on 9 April 1830 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. He had no prior convictions. He was 21 at the time of his trial and was living with his sister (name unknown) in her house at Gallowgate.

James had broken into a cellar in a sinkflat of a tenement on the east side of Glassford St Glasgow on 21 March 1830 (a Sunday) in the company of one other. Apparently he was attempting to break into the stationery warehouse of Russell and McArthur on the floor above. His accomplice escaped but he was captured and subdued (beaten about the head by a woman with a crutch). He maintained he was unaware of the second person in the cellar and that he had been looking for a “Necessary” at the time. An auger was found in the ceiling and his jacket had two skeleton keys and a breakfast knife. The police statement said that Bell was “a bad character but not quite habit repute a thief”. He was to be detained in the Tollbooth, Glasgow until removed for transportation.

On arrival in NSW on the “York” on 17 Jan 1831 he was described as Protestant, Reads (but not Write), single labourer, 5’6”, dark ruddy pock-pitted complexion, dark brown hair, grey eyes. He was assigned to G. Townsend of Hunter River.

George Townsend, to whom James was assigned, was a major landowner in the Patterson district and it appears that James continued to work for him right through until the time of his marriage. Townsend arrived in Sydney in 1826 and was granted 2560 acres between Patterson and the Allyn River. This property became the Trevallyn Estate. In 1831 the property was described by William Edward Riley in his Journal:

“A settler of four years standing, cannot say much in favour of Mr T’s establishment, his hut being small, plastered only in part& without a single glass window to admit light and keep out the rain… He has raised a large quantity of tobacco last year & has at this time upward of three tons of rolled leaf in the press.”

Townsend continued to grow large quantities of tobacco and experimenting with other cask crops including cotton and grapes (neither successful). In 1830 he had 34 convicts and one free man. In 1838 Townsend had 25 convicts, 6 men free by servitude and one Ticket of Leave man, working 50 cleared acres, 40 acres under cultivation and with 7 horses, 130 cattle and 655 sheep. In 1834 Townsend purchased John Webber’s farm (Penshurst) for 1000 Pounds. But financial problems were just around the corner – by early as 1836 Townsend was disposing of, or mortgaging some of his land and by 1841 Townsend was insolvent and was forced to sell Penshurst.

James was granted a Ticket of Leave for the District of Patterson on 1 July 1835 (ref 35/372). This was surrendered and torn up when he obtained his Certificate of Freedom dated 9 August 1838 (ref 38/98). In the 1838 Muster he is recorded at Patterson.

Having served his sentence he was free to marry without approval, which he did in September 1840 to Wilhelmina McLeod at Scots Church, Patterson. James was living at Penshurst at the time. The Minister of Scots Church was Rev. William Ross and it appears that Wilhelmina was a member of the congregation there. Witnesses were Donald McLeod (Wilhelmina’s brother) and Mary McMaster. The current St Anne’s Church Patterson was not opened until 27 Aug 1842 by Rev. Ross, so it appears they were married in an earlier, cruder church.

Probably shortly after his marriage he would have been forced to leave “Penshurst” due to George Townsend’s financial difficulties. Family tradition has it that he farmed for a time at Barties Swamp (near Seaham). The “Gloucester & Raymond Terrace Examiner” on 1 June 1842 reported that Mr Bartie was draining an extensive swamp to cultivate corn and was paying the highest market price for grain from his tennants.

But soon the family moved to “Mulconda” near Bandon Grove. Here the first of his seven children was born. He would have worked at “Mulconda” as a tennant farmer, housing his family in a wooden hut at the base of the hill to the east of the current house on the property. Interestingly, “Mulconda” also grew tobacco, so he may have been able to apply some of his experience with the crop from “Trevallyn”.

By at least 1850 the family had moved to “Mt Pleasant” only about 10 miles distant near Salisbury (and close to the Allyn River property he first arrived at. He farmed in the district as a tennant farmer until his death.

The Maitland Mercury of Saturday 14 Feb 1852 reported that “on Friday last, after a severe illness, Mr James Bell, a respectable settler died, & yesterday the funeral was attended by nearly all the neighbours.” It goes on to describe a serious accident involving the carriage carrying James’ casket.

COMPILED BY MARK ROGERS.

CONNECTIONS FROM MURWILLUMBAH AND THE TWEED – BELLS, BIGNELLS, LAURIES AND MORE

NORMAN BELL was the older brother of JOHN BELL wife of MARY ANN MCNEIL. They had adjoining land at CONDONG on the TWEED.

Their parents were JAMES AND WILHELMINA as noted elsewhere. James was the housebreaker transported from Glasgow in 1831 on the YORK and WILHELMINA was the daughter of WILLIAM MCLEOD and JANET MACKAY who came on the JAMES MORAN in 1839. They married in 1839 at MAITLAND when WILHELMINA was 17 years old. Check in the search engine to the right for further details. It appears at this time that the Mcleods and Mackays came as a result of the ruthless clearances of the Sutherland Shires in the HIGHLANDS of Scotland. In the 1860s the BELL boys have land on the TWEED. The NSW BDM records indicate that their father JAMES died in 1859( to be verified). I do not know what brought the boys ( and perhaps more members of their family north from the Maitland Area). Land is also indicated to belong to WILHELLMINA BELL – mother ? sister ? daughter ?

NORMAN BELL was born 1845 and died 15 June 1924 . He is buried in BARRINGTON CEMETERY. His occupations are listed at TWEED RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY as farmer/grazier. Whilst on Tweed he was resident at CONDONG. Norman married in 1870 at DUNGOG NSW. His wife was AGNES FRASER HIGGINS and her mother was JANET LAURIE. As my mother used to tell me the BELLS and the LAURIES were ‘tied in somehow”. Her father was JOHN HIGGINS. Agnes Higgins was born at Pt Stephens in 1846 and died in CHATSWOOD, SYDNEY in 1929.

Their children;

names birthdate and place marriage date and spouse death date and place
JANET LAURIE 1871 TWEED RIVER 1898 GEORGE BIGNELL MURWILLUMBAH  
WILLIMINA A 1872 TWEED RIVER JOHN A. GUNN COPELAND 1895 1911 STROUD NSW
JAMES WALTER 1874 PORT STEPHENS   15-8-1886 NSW
AGNES MARY 1876 PORT STEPHENS GORDON A D CLARK STROUD 1915  
ELIZABETH J 1878 PORT STEPHENS JOHN STACE PORT STEPHENS 1903
MARGARET CHRISTINA 1881 BARRINGTON THOMAS FARLEY CRICK SYDNEY 1907  
MARY HENRIETTA 1883 COPELAND WILLIAM JAMES MARTIN STROUD 1907 22-8-1938 KRAMBACH NSW
JOHN JAMES 1889 COPELAND   1923 BARRINGTON
NOREINE F 1893 COPELAND    

From these dates it appears Norman left the Tweed district by the early 1870s whereas John’s Children are born on Tweed between 1879 and 1890 with the youngest being born at Laurieton in the early 90s. Hmm. A rethink required again.

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THE INFORMATION I HAVE IS THAT NO 49 IS JOHN BELL’S LAND . ( YET TO BE VERIFIED AS ONE MAP INDICATES CONDONG AND ONE IS FURTHER ALONG NEAR STOTTS CREEK)

 

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GEORGE  BIGNELL. IN 1898 AT MURWILLUMBAH MARRIED JANET LAURIE BELL DAUGHTER OF NORMAN BELL WHO WAS BROTHER OF JOHN BELL, GRANNY’S HUSBAND.  http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8080/showPerson?pid=22518

 

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FROM THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1368785

There is mention of a MR BELL managing the ABBOTSFORD SUGAR MILL on the TWEED.

 

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MURWILLUMBAH LINKS

http://www.mit.edu/~dfm/genealogy/sercombe.html Sercombe Families

AUSTRALIAN FLOTILLA

           http://www.morpeth-p.schools.nsw.edu.au/History.htm

 

          Minor shipping lines and Ship owners  registered in NEW SOUTH WALES