Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ellis Brothers - Reuben Ellis (1874-1951) middle years

Backtracking a little, and just a month prior to his father's third marriage,  Reu and Kate Harriett Dorothy Bartlett, marry on 7 September 1904, at the home of her father at 66 Spring Street, Preston.  Kate is the eldest daughter of Samuel Leaky Bartlett, a florist in Fitzroy and later in Preston, and Anna Dare Bartlett nee Cousins, and is one of 10 children.  Witnesses were Charles A Ellis, his brother, and Kate's sister Rosa C Bartlett.

At the time of their marriage, Reu aged 30 is a gas fireman living in Albert Park, and Kate, aged 29,  a florist residing in Preston, presumably at her family home.

I am not sure how they met, but Kate's sister Lily Grace Bartlett was also a friend of Reu's sister, Flo (Auntie Flo's Birthday Book).

Reuben and Kate Ellis 1904
Their early married life in 1905 finds them at 15 Hambleton Street Albert Park, then at 21 Linton Street St Kilda in 1906 and 1908.

Reu is a caretaker in 1909 residing at 99 Manningtree Road Hawthorn, whilst Kate is undertaking home duties.

A year later and six years after their marriage, sadly Kate Harriet Ellis died on 3 August 1910, as a result of lymphadenoma of some 3 months, at the residence of her parents, 46 Spring Street, North Preston.  She was only aged 35 and she and Reu did not have any children. Both she and Reu were living at the same address so Kate was probably being cared for by her mother.  Her death notice concludes  "A patient sufferer at rest."

Kate was buried on 5 August 1910 at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery in the Methodist section, Allotment A, plot 717.  This is also the grave of her husband Reu Ellis, and his second wife Paula Ellis.

Headstone of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis

Grave of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery taken 1992

Grave of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery taken 1992
Some four months after Kate's untimely death, her younger sister Lily Grace Wong (nee Barlett) died suddenly at home in Invermay near Launceston.  She is buried in the grave to the right (shield) and her parents Anna Dare and Samuel Leakey Bartlett were later buried in the row directly behind.
Location of Ellis grave - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery
The Ellis brothers and presumably sisters, ran a butcher shop in Loch, Victoria, among other interests from 1913 to 1916.  This was taken over by W R Thompson who ran it for many years with little change to the structure.  The shop has since been demolished.  I am not sure if the horse is next on the menu!

Ellis Bros Butcher Shop in Loch c1914

Now a widower, he is a gas employee, living at 37 Cardigan Place South Melbourne in 1912 and 1913. Later in 1914 Reu is living at 24 Charnwood Crescent St Kilda East.

On 22 March 1916  Reuben enlisted at Maribyrnong,  Victoria, he is aged 41 years 11 months, a widower, employed as a gasworker and residing at 66 Commercial Road, Prahran.  On enlistment he is described as of fresh complexion, 5 foot 11 3/4 inches, 150 lbs, grey eyed and brown haired.

 #25915 Driver Reuben Ellis  embarked 1 August 1916 on the "Orsova"  with the 23rd Howitzer Brigade 4th Reinforcements, disembarking 14 September in Plymouth.  To France 12 February 1917 aboard the  "Golden Eagle" he was marched to Etaples where he was transferred to 110th Howitzer Battery, 4th Divisional Ammunition Column on 24 March.

Driver Ellis, accidentally fractured his left clavicle on 20 September 1917 "In the Fld" .  It is reported on his casualty file "Returning from the Batty position driving in a team when his horses slipped on the cobbled road and fell....He was not to blame."  Injured, Reu returned to England on "Princess Elizabeth" 26 September for treatment to 2nd Military Hospital, Old Park Hospital Canterbury. He was later transferred to the 3rd Auxilliary on 3 Oct 1917 prior to his departure back to Australia aboard the hospital transport "Medic" arriving in Melbourne 1 Oct 1918.  Later that month, Reu was discharged medically unfit on 29 October 1918.

I have an address for Reu c/- Mrs E Taylor, 61 Harley Road, Harleston, London England from my grandfather Edgar Ellis' diary which may have been around 1918 prior to Reu's return home to Australia.

Reuben Ellis with brother with Edgar Ellis
He is pictured here with younger brother Edgar Ellis, my grandfather, c1916, but I think the date is incorrect as I am unable to align their dates together in service at that time.  Edgar enlisted 8 March 1917 at Melbourne, residing at Savernake 1917, so this photo must have been taken later elsewhere, perhaps in England.

I am not sure when Reu began his employment with The Metropolitan Gas Company but his photograph appears in their post war publication  "A Tribute to those employees of The Metropolitan Gas Company who served in the Great War 1914-1919".

On 24 September 1919, Reuben, a widower, marries Paula Dugmore Stanley, a widow, at 4 Havelock Road, Camberwell.  The witnesses were Joseph and Hannah Price - I don't know who or what their relationship was to either party.

At the time of their marriage, Reu is a gas works employee, aged 45 years, residing at 245 Bridport Street Albert Park, and Paula's occupation is stated as that of domestic duties, she is aged 42 years, residing at 41 Barrett Street Albert Park. Reu states his first wife died in 1910 and he has no children. Paula states that she is a widow, whose husband died in 1913, has one living child and sadly two deceased children at that time. 

Paula's parents are given as Thomas Timms, saw miller, and Jane Timms nee Dugmore, and she states her place of birth as Alexandra and aged 42 would place her date of birth around 1877. Interestingly here a number of facts become slightly distorted as she was born 22 September 1873 (some 5 years earlier) in Weldon Street, Godfreys Creek, Gobur, Shire of Alexandra, and registered as Sophia Timms, the daughter and eighth child of Thomas Timms, a miner from originally from the Isle of Bute, Scotland, and Jane Elizabeth Dugmore, of Melbourne.  So no Paula or Dugmore in her name as stated at her marriage to Reu.

There is more to Paula Dugmore Stanley than meets the eye!

On 21 May 1910, in The Argus (Melbourne) I found the following notice -

TO HARRY ASHER STANLEY, Formerly of Trafalgar, Victoria, and of Masterton, New Zealand.-Take notice, that your wife, Paula Dugmore Stanley, has commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria, 1010 No. 57, against you for divorce, on the' ground of desertion, and If you intend to appear and defend the same you are required to ENTER your APPEARANCE within 14 days from the publication hereof, otherwise the said proceedings may continue and the Court may proceed with the hearing of the petition of the said Paula Dugmore Stanley in your absence, and this advertisement is inserted by order of his Honour Mr. Justice Cussen, judge in chambers, at Melbourne.

R E. LEWIS and SON, 414 Little Collins-street, Melbourne, proctors for the petitioner

Paula's predicament is reported in The Daily News (Perth) on 24 August 1910 -

 MELBOURNE, This, Afternoon.

Before Mr. Justice Hodges to-day in the Divorce Court, Paula Dugmore Stanley, aged 36, residing at Leicester street, Fitzroy, sued for a divorce from her husband, Harry Asher Stanley, aged 49, a storekeeper, on the ground of desertion. The couple were married at Coolgardie on March 20, 1898, and had issue, two children. After residing in W.A. about two and a half years they came to Victoria, and lived at Trafalgar, in Gippsland. On March 17, 1904, respondent said he was going to the races at Bruthen. They parted on affectionate terms, but he did not return. He subsequently wrote from New Zealand saying that he did not want to have anything more to do with her, and that she could get a divorce. Petitioner said she had received about £60 from her husband towards the support of her children. A decree nisi was granted with costs.

The divorce was also reported in the DIVORCE COURT a day later on 25 August 1910 in The Argus (Melbourne) -


Paula Dugmore Stanley, aged 36, of Nicholson street Fitzroy asked for a dissolution of her marriage with Harry Asher Stanley, 49, on the grounds of desertion. Mr Woolf (instructed Messrs R P Lewis and Son) appeared for the petitioner. The parties were married at Coolgardie on March 20, 1897 and there are two children. They lived together in different places in Australia the last place being Trafalgar in Gippsland. In 1904 the husband said he was going to the Bruthen races and would be back in about a week. The wife had never seen him since though he had sent her about £63 the last remittance being in April 1906. A decree nisi with costs was granted.

The circumstances leading up to Paula's first marriage is interesting in the least.  The West Australia records Henry Ascher Stanley, storekeeper at Kalgoorlie, appearing before the Supreme Court In Bankruptcy on 2 February 1897 and he was declared bankrupt on 12 March, just a week before his marriage to Paula in Coolgardie!

The Index to Divorce Cause Records (VPRS 5335 / P0005 / Vol 3) at the Public Record Office of Victoria notes the Stanley divorce #57 in 1910.

Paula continues to reside in various suburbs of Melbourne and is living at 38 Erskine Street South Melbourne when tragically her second child Jack Stanley, aged 17, died as a result of an shooting accident at his uncle Joseph Timms'  Momba Station near Wilcannia in NSW,  on 17 November 1917.   Jack's name is inscribed on the same Ellis headstone at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery under his mother's details.

At the time of her marriage to Reu in 1919, Paula stated she was a widow, whose first husband died in 1913, but she was in actual fact divorced.  Any evidence of Henry passing away in Australia, or for that matter, in Masterton in New Zealand to confirm his death in 1913 has eluded me so far.

Some seven months later The Metropolitan Gas Company's gas holder explodes at Port Melbourne.

Reu, valveman, was called to give evidence to a Public Inquiry opened into an incident in which the Metropolitan Gas Company's large gas holder at Port Melbourne burst on Sunday 4 April 1920 "...there was an escape of a large volume of gas and the ignition of that gas that caused a flame that ascended to a height of between 300ft and 400ft.  A plank of timber had been found in the 'rises' of the holder, which may cause a jamb." Pictures of the accident show it was a significant incident.  The accident was widely reported in the newspapers and a number of the employees and locals was burned in the explosion.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Ellis Brothers - Reuben Ellis (1874-1951) early days

Following a recent email from Rosemary Noble, researching the Dugmore and Timms family, I have returned to my earlier research on one of the Ellis brothers, namely Reuben Ellis. Reu was my grandfather Edgar Ernest Ellis's brother, and the son of Charles Ellis and Sarah Elizabeth Howlett.

I will talk about Reu's early life first and some of his earlier family relationships.

Reuben (Reu) was the firstborn of seven children to Charles and Sarah, followed by Charles Alfred (Charl), Mary Ellen (Nell), Herbert Charles (Herb), Edgar Ernest (my grandfather),  Florence May (Flo) and Lucy Inez.
Home of William Joseph Maidment

His parents were married in 1872 at the home of William Joseph Maidment at Finnis Flat in South Australia. William J Maidment was the brother of Charles' mother Sophia Ransom Ellis (nee Maidment).

Charles was a miner at the time of his marriage, and I believe he previously worked at the nearby Wheal Ellen, a silver-lead-zinc mine at Scrubby Hill Road Woodchester some 7km east of Strathalbyn.  The Wheal Ellen mine closed in 1861 so this may have influenced the decision of Charles and Sarah to move to Moonta Mines in early 1874, some 200 km away.

Moonta at that time was an extensive copper mining area which became known as "Australia's Little Cornwall" with the arrival of hundreds of Cornish miners, and Charles found work there as a woodcarter. The Howlett family were involved in the copper mines through Sarah's father William Howlett's connections with Sir Walter Watson Hughes. William Howlett had worked as a crewman and later a shepherd for Hughes, and Sarah's older brother Henry worked as a shepherd for Hughes's brother as a lad of thirteen.  Henry Howlett and his wife Mary (nee Watson), Hughes's niece, were residing at Moonta at that time.  Also in Moonta was Sarah's brother Charles William Howlett and his wife Emily, and her sister Susannah and her husband Alfred Jesse Williams, were in the same area so there was family support there.

The Moonta Registers (from Marilyn Philbey) record their first child Reuben was born on 22 April 1874, at Moonta Mines to Charles Ellis, woodcarter, Moonta Mines, and Sarah nee Howlett.  Also born that year at Moonta Mines was his uncle Henry Howlett's sons, Thomas Herbert.

According to my notes from Bill Howlett (now deceased) "Charles William Howlett and his wife Emily, resided at lot 1531 near Waterhouse Road, and his sister Sarah Elizabeth and her husband resided on lot 1528 on Newland Street, at East Moonta. Jim Harbison of the Moonta National Trust provided the map notated as "The map is the location of home of Charles Ellis and Sarah Ellis at Moonta".  Perhaps this is where Reu was born.

Map of Moonta - Ellis home location circled
Bill Howlett also noted that "The first seven settlers at Agery were  ... Henry Howlett lot 317 and George Matters lot 318".  George Matters is another Hogben family connection.

From Moonta in South Australia, Charles Ellis set out in early 1875 with his son Reuben, then only a small boy,  to drive to Carisbrook in Victoria by horse and cart.  It would have been a long journey, almost 730 kms in today's terms. Carisbrook is near Maldon and Castlemaine, a gold mining area.  Sarah must have followed later.

Charles Ellis, a carter and residing in Carisbrook, lodges an application 13 March 1875 under the Land Act 1869 to lease "319 acres, 0 roods, 12 perches or more or less" in the Parish of Moe.
Application by Charles Ellis 13 March 1875
Application page 2
Brother Charles Alfred was born in1876 at Grange Farme near Carisbrook.  Charles' birth certificate states his father's occupation has changed - he is a farmer. The informant at his birth was uncle C W Howlett, his mother Sarah's eldest brother, who had been residing there for some time - two of his sons, Ernest Herbert and Alfred  Edwin, were born, and son Alfred Herbert died, at Carisbrook  in the years 1874 to 1877.  Another family connection to Carisbrook is Sarah's uncle Frederick Howlett married there in 1858.

Seeking excellent rainfall, good soil and plentiful timber, the Ellis family's next move is to Gippsland near Trafalgar, some 300 kms from Carisbrook.  Reu's sister Mary Ellen was born at Trafalgar in 1878.   Together with Charles's brother-in-law, Charles William Howlett, the families later moved to Narracan where they were to take up adjoining selections, with Charles selecting almost 320 acres (Lot 97 312.0.12 and Lot 98 318.0.30 respectively).  Charles Ellis cleared the land and farmed it for 30 years, but he never took up the title.  This fact would probably impact later on the outcomes for the Ellis siblings as adults.
Land selection at Narracan - Charles Ellis

Also nearby at Narracan was William Hogben, Sarah's maternal uncle and his wife Elizabeth Burnbridge Hogben (nee Maidment) Charles' maternal aunt.  So that families are very well supported by each other.

Narracan East was becoming quite a settlement with Charles Ellis conducting the butcher's shop, and Charles Howlett, his brother-in-law being in partnership with Samuel White in the store and blacksmith's shop (Thorpdale, Narracan, Childers - Centenary 1876-1976, Thorpdale and District Centenary Committee, 1976, p9, p49; So Tall the Trees: a centenary history of the southern district of the Shire of Narracan, John Adams, Shire of Narracan, 1978, p61).   The two brothers-in-law were obviously in partnership as "... at this time "Howlett and Ellis", of Narracan, over 30 miles away,  used to call once a fortnight on the settlers with a piece of good fresh meat, together with a quantity of salt junk.  They also brought letters and papers and took letters back for posting.  Of course everything was packed in on horseback and along very narrow Turton's and Lydiard's tracks respectively." (Land of the Lyrebird - A story of Early Settlement in the Great Forest of South Gippsland, Gordon and Gotch (Australasia) Ltd, 1920, p141).

"On 26 June 1877 eight Narracan residents signed a letter to The Minister of Education requesting a school be built, as the nearest one was 20 miles away. Thirty children ranging from three to fourteen years old were included in the petition. The signatories were William Riggs, C W Howlett, Peter Thomson, Charles Ellis, Peter Mills, J Gibson, S Nickell and C Atkin." (Coach News, Moe and District Historical Society Inc Newsletter, Volume 36, No 1, September 2008, The Forgotten School of Narracan - The early years at Moe South School 2213, Max Garner) 

Map from Coach News Volume 36, No 1 September 2008 by Max Garner
The Narracan East School #2295 (later #2012A) opened on 15 April 1878 in the Narracan Mechanics' Institute with a roll of 10 pupils.  Mr Elijah J Stranger was the first teacher and also an early selector. The numbers soon increased to 20, some coming long distances along a bush track through the timber.  The Ellis and Howlett children attended the school obviously making up a large proportion of the enrolment. I am presuming that Reu and his siblings would have attended school here given the application of which his father Charles Ellis was a signatory. The school closed in December 1892 (Vision and Realisation.  A Centenary History of State Education in Victoria, Ruth Hill, Volume 3, Education Department of Victoria, p1215).  The Narracan East Mechanics' Institute is now located at the Gippstown Heritage Park in Moe.

Coach News Volume 35, No 3 March 2008 by Walter Savige
It was here at Narracan that Reu's siblings Herbert Charles was born in 1880, as was my grandfather Edgar in 1882, and sister Florence in 1885. 

Sadly youngest sister Lucy Inez born in 1888 at Moe South only lived eight hours and she was buried by her father on his property (Lonely Graves of Gippsland Goldfields and Greater Gippsland, J G Rogers and Nellie Helyar, 1994, p40).  Noted on the margin of her death certificate - "Delivery at home Mary Howlett".  For many of the Ellis, Howlett and Hogben children their grandmother Mary Howlett (nee Hogben) acted as a midwife for their births.

Ellis children - Charles Alfred, Herbert, Reuben and Mary Ellen, Edgar not present
I do know, however, that my grandfather Edgar, eight years younger than Reu, also attended Narracan State School #2295 in 1889 and 1892, having earlier attended Trafalgar South State School #25257 in 3rd grade in 1888.

Reu's maternal grandfather, William Howlett, aged 65 passes away suddenly from apoplexy in Woodchester in 1884, and his widowed grandmother Mary remains there for a short time supported by her daughter Susannah and her husband Alfred Williams.  This was short lived as you can see by the Court Case in 1885.  Grandmother Mary Howlett as a consequence moves lock stock and barrel to Gippsland in December 1885 to live with her eldest son Charles William, who are on the adjoining property to Reu's parents.  Susannah and Alfred also move nearby to Morwell not long after arriving in 1886.  Sarah's youngest sister Mary Ann Temperance Howlett marries Robert James Wilson in Sale in 1888.  Reu now has a large extended family of his maternal grandmother, maternal and paternal great uncles and aunts, uncles, aunts and cousins in Gippsland.

Charles Ellis appears to be doing rather well as by 1888 ".. his land is valued at 8 pounds an acre and is particularly adapted for grazing purposes, to which, with dairy farming, he devotes it.  He has 30 head of cattle and 25 pigs" (Victoria and its Metropolis past and present Vol II The Colony and its People in 1888, McCarron Bird and Co Melb, p372).  Reu is now around 14 so I am not sure if he is helping his father on the farm or in the butcher's shop.

In 1892 Charles is managing the creamery established opposite the Narracan Railway Station which was providing substantial quantities of cream to the Trafalgar Factory (So Tall the Trees, p139).

Times are to soon to become difficult for the Ellis family if they had not already been so, as their mother Sarah suffered with an ovarian tumour for some 12 years.  Sadly Sarah passes away on 12 November 1895, at the home of her sister, Mrs. A Williams at Morwell, from operation exhaustion, and she was buried at Hazelwood Cemetery (Death Notice, Morwell Advertiser, 15 November 1895). At that time, her six surviving children were Reu 21 years, Charl 19, Nell 17, Bert 15, Edgar 13, and Flo 10 years.
Headstone Sarah E Ellis

Grave Sarah E Ellis - Hazelwood Cemetery

Hazelwood Cemetery Burial Register - Sarah Ellis

OBITUARY .-We regret to have to announce the death of Mrs Sarah Ellis. which sad event took place at the Gippsland Hospital on Tuesday last. The deceased lady suffered from a tumor for the past twelve years which caused her constant suffering. On 14th June she became worse, and was sent to Sale where she lingered in the hospital for twelve weeks, and had to undergo no less than five operations. During her life Mrs. Ellis was a constant worker for the church and was a genial favourite with all who knew her, especially with children. The funeral, which was largely attended, took place on Wednesday afternoon when the Rev. T. Stanley, Wesleyan minister of Warragul officiated at the grave.
(Obituary, Morwell Advertiser, 15 November 1895).

I presume that sister Nell has taken on a lot of responsibility in looking after the family and her younger siblings during her mother's extended illness and after her death. Around this time Eliza Davies helped care for the younger children when Sarah was ill and for a while after she died. Whether the older lads Reu, Charl and Bert are working on the farm or in the district is unclear.

In early March 1900 it is reported "NARRACAN - We will be losing two more of our old residents shortly.  Mr C Ellis having sold his farm, will be leaving the district. (Morwell Advertiser, 2 March 1900).  A Farewell Social was held at the Narracan East Mechanics' hall.  He conducts a successful clearing sale disposing of his cattle and pigs, and working plant.

Later that month, father Charles, farmer residing at Trafalgar remarries on 21 March 1900 at the Wesley Church, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.  His bride is Barbara Fanny Steel, aged 32, also of Trafalgar.  Significantly one of the witnesses is Eliza Davies.   Father Charles and their stepmother Barbara move to Germantown, now known as Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong.  Regretfully, after 19 days following a difficult labour, Barbara passes away on 29 October 1900. Their unnamed stillborn son delivered on 10 October was buried with his mother Barbara at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.

Charles places his Germantown property, a 5 acre orchard and vineyard,  on the market soon after in early November citing family bereavement.  He then held a clearing sale in late November after the sale of the property.

Time passes and four years later, father Charles, a farmer at Korumburra marries again on 4 October 1904 to Eliza Lisle Davies at her home at Wesley Hill, near Castlemaine.  Eliza was the witness at his previous marriage so she was no stranger to the Ellis children.  Welcoming a sister, Alma Essie on 20 December 1905 at Kardella near Korumburra, their father returned to South Australia in 1906 with his wife and his youngest daughter, residing for a short time in Clarence Park, before relocating to Lockleys to undertake dairy farming.  The youngest Ellis sibling, Gwenda Ivy was born on 16 January 1908 at Westbourne Park.

So now there were ten surviving Ellis children. All the children from Charles' first marriage remained in Gippsland, their ages ranging from Reu aged 30 down to Flo aged 23.