A Wife for Sale

Now there’s a title that I bet got your attention. I know it got mine when I was browsing through the old newspapers on Trove and saw the headline “A WIFE FOR SALE”. On further searching, I found that there are actually quite a heap of articles titled “A Wife for Sale”. But today I’m going to share two with you. In our modern day, western world society, the whole concept of “selling a wife” is horrifying, but these two articles might just give you a different view of it … They both come from Queensland newspapers, but are reporting news from overseas.   ARTICLE 1 comes from the Brisbane Telegraph, Wednesday 31 July 1912, page 4 (click for a link to the original article) and is a mutally agreed sale between the husband and wife. “A WIFE FOR SALE.” It was long a popular belief among the ignorant in England (says the “New York “Herald”) that if a man sold his wife at public auction such a sale had all the legality of a regular divorce. The latest case of the kind occurred in 1832. John Thompson, a farmer, had been married for three years, and he and his wife agreed to separate. Thompson brought his wife into the town of Carlisle, and by the bellman announced he was about to sell her. At 12 o’clock Thompson placed his wife on a large oak chair with a rope or halter of straw about her neck. He then made (his announcement “Gentlemen, “I have to offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson, otherwise Williams, whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. It is her wish as well as mine to part for ever. She...

No Liars, No Dirty Faces, and Other Library Rules...

Library rules were simple back in the day. If you take look at current library rules, they’re kind of what you’d expect. Very long and very detailed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they’re just covering their bases. But back the 1900s (actual date unknown), the Hyde Institute Library in Hertfordshire, England, created a list of just 12 simple rule … and very wise ones at that! What we do know, is that the first newspaper account of this list that I found was is in The Observer, London, England, Sunday 27 April 1930, p18. But it was so good, that it was picked up by the Australian newspapers, and reproduced in the Northern Territory Times, 12 August 1930, p6, as well as  Brisbane’s Sunday Mail, 11 January 1931, p15 as well as Melbourne’s Advocate, Tuesday 23 March 1939, p16 to mention a few. Incidentally while looking on Trove for “Library Rules”, I found a great article that was printed in the Geraldton Guardian, Tuesday, 4 November 1914, p4, which I’ve added in below. I especially like the “Don’t grumble. You are borrowing, and getting interest for nothing”. So true. Libraries are free, and they provide an incredible service to the community. Respect the staff and library volunteers, not to mention the books and other items the library has and allows the public to use....

A Thankyou to the Captain...

As an avid Trovite, I love reading the old newspapers (as so many of us do). And yet, I am still amazed at the very cool stuff you can find in the old newspapers. Take for instance one of my recent finds. A friend asked me to see what I could find on the “Lord Raglan” 1854 voyage to South Australia. So after some general Googling to find out the basic details (the ship left Plymouth, Devon 16 July 1854, and arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 23 October 1854), I found a copy of the original passenger list on the State Library of South Australia website. I also found references to it on the Passengers in History site, and The Ships List. Anyway so then I headed off to Trove , and I came up with a thankyou message that the passengers had written to the Captain of the Lord Raglan ship, and they put it publicly in the the newspaper. How cool is that? It’s great to know that Captain Flanagan and his crew looked after their passengers on the long voyage to a new life. Another newspaper entry I found relating to the Lord Raglan, quotes the following … The fine new ship Lord Raglan, 923 tons register, Captain Flanagan, for Adelaide, and the Appoline, of 500 tons, for Melbourne, having embarked their respective complements of emigrants from the Government dept, at Plymouth, sailed on Sunday. The Lord Raglan belongs to Messrs. W. Nicholson and Sons, of Sunderland, and has been fitted up on a most excellent plan, the result of the experience of Captain Lean, R.N., the Government emigration officer in London. Among other advantages, one-third of each bed can be turned up from the sides of the ship, so as to admit of a free passage two feet...

Trove – Eight Years of Incredible Discoveries...

Eight years ago, the way of historical and genealogical research in Australia changed forever. Trove went live. Created by the National Library of Australia, the Trove website is a portal to their absolutely incredible collection of records. By “absolutely incredible”, I’m talking millions of records. But not “just” millions. How about 554,000,000 of them? That’s right, over HALF A BILLION of them in fact! All online and all free to search. So how lucky are we? There’s no doubt that Trove is Australia’s number 1 website for research. If it’s not yours, it should be! So go and bookmark it www.trove.nla.gov.au now. If you’re not familiar with Trove, take a quick look at the videos below that give you a quick overview, of what it is, and the different facets to it. So you’ll find photos, journals and articles, archived websites, government gazettes, music, sound and video recordings, diaries and letters, maps and books, even vintage issues of the Women’s Weekly magazine. They all make up the phenomenal collection of Australian history that the National Library of Australian (NLA) looks after. For more a detailed analysis on using Trove and all it’s facets, check out Shauna Hicks’ “Trove: Discover Genealogy Treasure in the National Library of Australia“. However what most researchers (myself included) head to Trove for, is their historical newspaper collection. And why wouldn’t we, they are so fun. And with over 200 million pages of old newspaper online already – there are so many stories just waiting to be found. The blog theme “Trove Tuesday” was started back in 2012 by Amy Houston of the Branches Leaves and Pollen blog, [note, I know the link has changed, but I still wanted to give her the credit], and through its creation, has...

Hoon, and You’ll be Fined … Even in the 1840s...

Same thing. Different century. And still boys will be boys! These days it’s reckless driving, back then it was reckless riding … Furious riding and driving are daily witnessed in Sydney to the extreme annoyance and danger of all persons who may happen to be in the street. People, whether drunk or sober, seem equally careless of the consequence to be apprehended from such wanton conduct, and we often wonder that children and others are not more frequently rendered the objects of accidents; For the middle of the streets are seldom empty, and indeed the contempt of danger of those on foot seems quite equal to the absence of caution on the part of riders and drivers. On Monday a youth on horse-back rode at a quick rate, nearly at full speed, through the street, and knocked down a young girl, the mother of a child, with the child in her arms, and occasioned in her very serious injury. A complaint was made at the Police Office, and the offender was committed to the Sessions for the assault. – The Australian Sydney, NSW, 14 February 1827, pg2 Back in the 1840s a law was passed in South Australia to fine those who were “furious riding or driving”. In otherwords, speeding or ‘hooning’ on your horse, as opposed to speeding or ‘hooning’ in a car as it is these days. Furious Riding or Driving By the provisions of the New Police Act, furious riding or driving is punishable by a fine of from Two to Ten pounds. It will be seen by our police report that a penalty of the lowest amount was enforced yesterday against a person for galloping in Hindley street. He pleaded ignorance of the Act (an excuse not likely long to be available), which was apparently the occasion...

“Dear Friends” … Letter From an Emigrant in 1864...

So what was life like for those who emigrated to South Australia back in the 1800s? Generally you’re only likely to find this information from letters written to family or friends in the ‘old country’, or otherwise from diaries. So it was a surprise to find an article on Trove about an emigrant who not only came to South Australia, but actually settled in the tiny town of Gumeraka (note the alternate spelling of Gumeracha). Written in 1864 to some friends in England (or maybe Wales), it was produced as an article the Scotts Circular (Newport, Wales), and then in The Adelaide Express, 22 April 1865 (as reproduced below). The writer details what it was like for him and his family with housing food, work and wages, neighbours and other businesses all getting a mention. What we don’t know is who the author of the letter is. Still, it makes for an interesting read. In 1864 the town of Gumeracha was not very old, having only been laid out in the 1850s  (for more on that click here). The article starts off with “The following interesting letter has arrived from an emigrant who received a passage under Government, to South Australia.” —————————— The text below is a full transcript of the article. Note the paragraphs have been added in by me to make it easier to read. AN EMIGRANT’S LETTER. Gumeraka, Australia, September 18th, 1864. My Dear Friends, I am glad to tell you that I have got plenty of work the first day that I went on after landing, and the first master that I spoke to I  engaged to go with to go into the Bush a dray-making and waggon-making at the wheelwrighting trade, at the rate of wages I will give you, and...

95, and What a Birthday it Was!!!...

Today’s Trove Tuesday post doesn’t really require much text from me, as the article is self-explanatory. The article below comes from the Australian Christian Commonwealth newspaper, and is dated Friday 2 September 1921. This article is about my 3x great grandma, Elizabeth Kelly (nee Gould) on her 95th birthday party. NINETY-FIVE AND ENJOYS A BIRTHDAY PARTY! A good old Methodist, in the person of Mrs. Elizabeth Kelly, celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday on Saturday, August 20. The members of her family gathered at Mr. Joseph Kelly’s home, Valmai Avenue, Clarence Park, to do her honour. During the afternoon numerous visitors called to pay their respect, amongst them being Mrs. Thyer, who is also ninety-five years of age and went to school with Mrs. Kelly at High Ham, Somersetshire, England. They met again some years later when both were young married women, and lived a few miles from each other at One Tree Hill. Mrs. Thyer moving to the Angaston district they lost sight of each other, and half a century later they meet again. It was interesting to note the pleasure with which they recalled incidents of their childhood days, and how solicitous they were for each other’s safety as they stepped off the verandah together. Mrs. Kelly came to South Australia, with her father, the late Joseph Gould, in the “Prince Regent,” September; 1839, at the age of thirteen. She remembers well the discomfits of the journey to town in a spring dray, the cramped accommodation of Emigration Square, and all the incidents attendant on setting up a home in a new and young country. Her father first took up land at Brown Hill Creek. Mr. Sleep, after whom Sleep’s Hill is named, used to conduct services in his...

Christmas Time at the Candy Store...

For my Christmas-related post this year, I decided to go trawling through New Jersey’s old newspapers. In particular The Iron Age. This is a small town newspaper for the area of Dover, in Morris County. Lucky for me these have been digitised and put online (for free), so I have spent a couple of days browsing through them looking for adverts of my 4x great grandma’s candy shop. And what fun I have had!!! Over a period of 25 years (1872-1897), I have found 16 adverts! I won’t put them ALL here, but rather I’ll just choose a few to share with you. But first let me tell you a little about my 4x great grandma. Charlotte Phillips was born in Redruth, Cornwall, England in 1822, and married Samuel Trewartha in 1847. He had tough life as a miner, while according to census records Charlotte was a ‘confectioner’, no doubt to supplement the family income. In 1867 the family made the life changing move to New Jersey, USA where they set up a candy store in Dover, Morris County, New Jersey. She ran this for years with husband Samuel, though after his death in 1885, her youngest son Richard helped out. While I’ve never seen any photographs of the shop, I am picturing from the adverts that it was a popular place. For one thing it was there for YEARS! And Samuel (also known as “Candy Sam”) was famous not only for his Black Rock Candy, but also his cough drops. Enjoy the vintage adverts from 4x great grandma Charlotte’s shop. And for more on Charlotte herself, you can read an earlier article I wrote about her here. ** As the advert from 1889 is rather hard to read, it...

The Newspaper 100 Years Ago...

It has often been said, and rightly so, about many things, that they simply don’t make things they way they were. These days you buy something, use for a bit, then throw it out and buy a new one when it breaks. Back then, things were MADE to last. Having decided it was time to browse Trove again, I decided to see what a newspaper from 100 years ago looked like, and how it compared with today’s. I chose to look at The Mount Barker Courier, which is the local paper for the area of South Australia that my family grew up in, and this issue is dated 23 October 1914. So it’s over 100 years ago. I made it to the front page, and was instantly engrossed with all the adverts. You’ll see everything from cocoa, to corsets, gas to insurance, saddles and harnesses, a bronchitis cure, as well as gates, pianos, pig troughs, Ford cars, and even mustard. See for yourself … (click here for a larger view) Isn’t is beautiful. I’m pleased to say that Mount Barker Courier, which is now known as The Courier, is STILL going … 101 years later. In a comparison of the old and new, you can see their current issue online. And maybe it’s just me, but I feel that there’s just no class to newspapers these days! Please note, I have only used the Mount Barker Courier as an example. I was not meaning to pick on them specifically, but rather use them as an example of the difference bin the style of newspapers from back then and...

Trove Tuesday: Don’t Drink and Drive (even in 1885)...

There’s enough crazy drivers on our road these days, let alone those that drink as well, but it would seem that it is not entirely new. When browsing around on Trove I came across this article in the South Australian Weekly Chronicle, Saturday, 19 December 1885: FATAL ACCIDENT AT GUMERACHA Gumeracha, December 16. Joseph Dugmore, a man in the employ of Mr. Rehn, of Houghton, was run over by a waggon loaded with hay near here this evening and killed. He leaves a widow and six children. No one but the driver of the waggon witnessed the accident. An inquest will be held tomorrow. Now it’s not good to hear of anyone having an accident, let alone dying as well. And even harder when you realise that this happened just a few days before Christmas. But there is actually a whole lot more to the story than this article tells. So thanks to other articles we find out a little more from the article in the South Australian Register, Friday, 18 December 1885 FATAL ACCIDENT THROUGH DRINK. [By Telegraph.] Gumeracha, December 17. An inquest was held at the Courthouse to-day by Mr. W. Hicks, J.P., to enquire into the death of Joseph Dugmore. A number of witnesses were examined, whose evidence pointed to fact that deceased   had been drinking heavily during the day, and had colonial wine with him when he was killed. The only person near when the accident occurred was the driver of the team, who says that he and deceased were walking together at the near side of the team, when deceased went behind to look at the load. The driver proceeded on for about 150 yards, when on looking back he saw deceased lying...