There is some mystery and confusion about the Wheeler branch of the family. In actual fact the name should be Brown, Wheeler being the female side of this family. The reason for the name change is a little obscure.
JAMES BROWN 1782 -1874
James was born about 1782, in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, England. Nothing is known of him, except that he was a blacksmith by trade. Until he was brought to trial in 1813 at the Wiltshire assizes charged with burglary.
The indictment reads: -
The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath, present that James Brown late of the parish of Monckton Farleigh in the County of Wiltshire labourer, otherwise called James Hobbs on the eighth day of February in the fifty third year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third, by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, about the hour of one in the night of the same day with force of arms at the Parish of aforesaid in the County of aforesaid, the dwelling house of JeremiahCottle there situate feloniously and burglariously did break and enter with the intent the goods and chattels of the said Jeremiah Cottle in the same dwelling house then and there feloniously and burglariously to steal and take and carry away and then and there with force of arms:- one pair of gaiters of the value of two shillings, three tea spoons of the value of sixpence, two yards of cotton of the value of three shillings, one yard of calico of the value of one shilling, three pair of stockings of the value of three shillings, two pocket handkerchiefs of the value of two shillings and one knife of the value of sixpence, of the goods and chattels of the said Jeremiah Cottle in the same dwelling house then and there being found then and there feloniously and burglariously did steal and take and carry away against the peace of our Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
Verdict - guilty.
Sentence - to be hanged - Repealed, to be transported to the Coast of New South Wales or some other Island adjacent for the term of 7 years
Magistrate's letter dated 23rd April 1813
A second indictment reads: -
The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath, present that James Brown late of the parish of Monckton Farleigh in the County Wiltshire, otherwise known as James Hobbs, on the fourth day of February in the fifty third year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith, about the hour of two in the night of the same day with force and arms at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid the dwelling House of one William Cottle there situate, feloniously and burglariously did break and enter with the intent the goods, chattels and monies of the said William Cottle in the same dwelling house, then and there being then and there feloniously and burglariously to steal and take and carry away and then and there with force and arms : - one gun of the value of ten shillings, one umbrella of the value of two shillings, one pair of quarter casts of the value of six shillings, eight keys of the value of eight pence and one piece of silver coin current in this realm being a bank token of the value of three shillings. Of the goods chattels and monies of the said William Cottle and one pair of gloves of the value of one shilling, of the goods of one Jacob Marshall in the same dwelling house and there being found then and there feloniously and burglariously did steal, take and carry away, against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
A third indictment reads: -
The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath, present that James Brown, late of the Parish of Lacock in the County of Wiltshire, labourer. On the fifth day of February in the fifty third Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith, with force of arms at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid. One coat of the value of ten shillings, two pair of breeches of the value of ten shillings, one hat of the value of five shillings and one pair of stockings of the value of one shilling, of the goods and chattels of one John French, then and there being found then and there feloniously did steal, take and carry away against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
James Brown was transported to New South Wales aboard the Ship “General Hewitt”. However he was not in Sydney for long before he was put on board another ship, the “Kangaroo” and sent to Tasmania arriving there on 7th February 1814, about a year after his trial.
It seems James could not keep out of trouble. On 15th April 1815 he was charged with having in his possession two blankets stolen from Edward Guest knowing them to have been stolen. Verdict guilty. Sentence 200 lashes and gaol for one month.
On 7th December 1816 he is charged with stealing two sheep, the property of Edward Garth. Verdict guilty. Sentence 200 lashes, and hard labour in the gaol gang and 12 months in irons.
James Brown's charge sheet
On 14th August 1817 he is charged with neglect of duty and being absent from muster. Verdict guilty. Sentence to work for the Government in irons for nine months.
On 10th January 1818 he is charged with stealing from the dwelling house of Master Sergeant Alexander. Verdict guilty. Sentence 50 lashes and six months in the gaol gang.
James must have been a tough man to survive 250 lashes. After 1818, he seems to have learned his lesson, as there is no mention of him in the court records until 1850, when on 15th July 1850 he was tried at Richmond for sheep stealing. Verdict guilty, sentence 12 months imprisonment at Port Arthur.
After his arrival in Tasmania, James was assigned to a Mr. Littlejohn as a farm labourer, he worked at this trade for the rest of his life never returning to his trade of blacksmith.
James Brown married Jane Wheeler, after banns in Hobart town, on 9th January 1815. Nothing much is known of them after this, except for their prison records, and that they had at least three children. Two of these children later changed their surname to their mother's maiden name of Wheeler.
Sometime around 1840 James left Jane and took up with a Margaret Clinton. James and Margaret also moved out of the district, moving to Richmond. It was also at this time that the children changed their surname to Wheeler. The reason is not known, but it is thought that James had done something terribly bad that the people of the district were aware of and that was also an embarrassment to the family. So they changed their name and disassociated themselves from him.
James married Margaret Clinton at St.David's Church, Hobart on 13th January 1862, Jane having died in 1857.
James died of General Decay at Richmond on 6th May 1874
JANE WHEELER 1794 - 1857
Jane Wheeler was also a convict. She had been tried in County Cork, Ireland in September 1813 for larceny and sentenced to seven years transportation. She had arrived in New South Wales aboard the ship “Catherine” on the 4th May 1814. She was also sent to Tasmania aboard the “Kangaroo”, leaving Sydney on 29th May 1814 and arriving in Hobart in mid June
Jane Wheeler did not learn her lessons easily either. On 22nd December 1814 she was charged with quitting Hobart Town without a pass. Verdict guilty. Sentenced to be fed on bread and water and kept in solitary confinement for fourteen days.
On 30th August 1817 she was charged with stealing from the dwelling house of William Healey. Verdict guilty. Sentence one month at hard labour in gaol.
On 1st January 1820 she was charged with receiving stolen goods, the property of William Clarke. Verdict guilty. Sentence six months at hard labour in gaol.
On 5th February 1824 she was charged with being drunk and disorderly. Verdict guilty. Sentence fined 5 shillings.
Jane Wheeler died at Evandale, Tasmania on 11th July 1857. She is buried in St.Andrew's Churchyard, Evandale.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & JANE BROWN
James was born at Hobart Town on 10th January 1816. He was baptised at St. David's Church, Hobart on 14th April 1816.
James married Agnes Willis Cairns at St.Mark's Church of England, Pontville, in the district of Brighton, Tasmania, on 11th January 1835. Agnes was only sixteen years old when she and James married and James had just a day earlier turned eighteen.
Agnes had arrived in Australia aged about eleven, aboard the “Lady of the Lake” with her mother, who was a convict. She was born about 1818 in Kilmarnock, Ayr Scotland, the daughter of Michael Cairns and Elizabeth nee Merry (or Murray).
Michael and Elizabeth were never married. However it is known that Michael was the father of two children to Elizabeth, the other one may have also come to Tasmania later, although nothing is known of this child. There is an M.R. Cairns buried in the same grave as Ellen Wheeler and Joseph Jenkins at Evandale. Could this be that other child?
Elizabeth Merry was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland about 1799. She was convicted and sentenced on 30th September 1828 to be transported to Tasmania for 14 years. She arrived aboard the “Lady of the Lake” on 1st November 1828. She was one of the few woman convicts permitted to bring one of her children with her. So it was that Agnes Willis Cairns came to Tasmania.
Elizabeth Merry married Joseph Jenkins at Green Ponds, Tasmania on 20th November 1831. Joseph was also a convict. He was born in Westbury on Severn, Gloucestershire, England about 1800. He died at Evandale on 13th April 1851. No children have been found from this marriage.
About two years after the death of Joseph, Elizabeth married John Green, at Morven, Tasmania, on 22nd February 1853. There were no children from this marriage.
At the time of his marriage to Agnes, James was employed as a Sawyer. He worked in and around the Green Ponds area (now known as Kempton). By the time of the birth of their second child in 1837 they had moved to the Black Brush area. At that time Black Brush was a small village six miles southeast of Pontville.
When their third child was born in 1840, his birth was registered in Campbell Town. This is also the first time the surname Wheeler is used.
James and Agnes then moved to the Evandale and Longford areas, where they farmed from 1841 until 1858. James lists his place of abode as “Woodstock” on the birth certificates of the children born between these years. “Woodstock” is one of the oldest properties in the Longford area. James would not have owned this property, but leased a section of it.
On 18th May 1858, James became the licence holder of the Ringwood Hotel at Cressy. He also held the licence for the Cressy Hotel in 1860. James held the sole licence for the Cressy Hotel until 1864. He then shared the licence of the Ringwood Hotel with his brother-in-law John Pearce. Between 1864 and 1865, John Pearce held sole licence to the Ringwood Hotel and between 1867 and 1869 he had the Cressy Hotel. In 1865 James Wheeler was the landlord of The Bush Inn and The Forest Hotel at Bishopsbourne. James and Agnes took control of the Westmorland Hotel in 1866, after John Pearce went bankrupt.
James died of kidney disease at Cressy on 13th June 1878. He was buried with his mother and brother at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale on 15th June 1878.
After the death of James, Agnes took over the licence of the Westmorland Hotel until at least 1881, although it is thought she held it for a number of years longer.
Agnes later went to live with her youngest daughter Maria McDonnell at Williamstown in Victoria.
Agnes died at 53 Twyford Street, Williamstown on 21st January 1907. She was buried in the Williamstown cemetery five days later, on 26th January 1907.
James and Agnes had sixteen children. The first two were baptised with the surname of Brown, the rest were baptised with the surname of Wheeler.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & AGNES WHEELER
Agnes Jane 1835 -1888
Agnes Jane was born on 3rd October 1835 at Brighton (Green Ponds), Tasmania. She was baptised as Agnes Jane Brown at Hobart on 8th July 1836. At the time of her baptism her father was working as a sawyer.
Agnes Jane married George Church at the Wesleyan Chapel in Launceston on 13th March 1855. George was born about 1816 at Weston Underwood, Buckinghamshire, England the son of William Church and Rebecca nee Tarry. It is interesting to note that George used his mother's maiden name of Tarry on his marriage certificate.
George had been a convict. He was convicted at Aylesbury quarter sessions on 19th October 1841 for stealing two sheep from a Mr. Higgins, and sentenced to seven years transportation.
George was embarked aboard the “Northumberland” on 16th September 1842, arriving in Tasmania 18th January 1843. According to his gaol report he was married. However it was possible for him to marry Agnes legally, because of a law passed by a Grand Jury in England in 1824, which stated that if a person having married in England entered into a second marriage in England, this would incur a charge of bigamy. However if the second marriage was to take place out of the country there would be no indictment for bigamy, as the second marriage did not take place within the Kingdom.
It is thought this law was passed so that convicts who were married in England, and had no hope of returning there, or of bringing their partners to Australia could legally marry to make their Australian born children legitimate
After their marriage George and Agnes moved to Morven, where they farmed and raised a family of eight children.
George was again convicted in the Supreme Court at Launceston on 3rd April 1870 of horse stealing and sentenced to four years imprisonment. He was also convicted at the Supreme Court at Launceston on 2nd June 1870 of sheep stealing and sentenced to four years imprisonment. George died at Upper Piper on 2nd October 1887. He was buried at Launceston on 4th October 1887.
Agnes Died at Upper Piper on 10th November 1888. She was buried at Launceston on 12th November 1888.
CHILDREN OF GEORGE & AGNES CHURCH
Agnes Jane 1855 -?
Agnes Jane was born at Morven on 9th December 1855. She married William Talbot, a Farmer, at the home of her parents on 10th June 1872. Agnes died at Nile, Tasmania in 1876. Nothing further is known, except that they had at least two children.
George James 1857 -?
George James was born at Morven on 9th October 1857. He married his cousin Willis Elizabeth Pearce at the Presbyterian Church, Evandale on 22nd July 1885. Willis Elizabeth was born on 26th November 1863 at Cressy, Tasmania, the daughter of John Knight Pearce and Elizabeth nee Wheeler. They had six children.
1. Honielene Maud born at Morven on 19th February 1886. Married Harold Drewery James on 14th April 1909.
2. Mabel Agnes born at Morven on 6th December 1888. Married Mervyn Austin in 1910.
3. Albert Victor born at Launceston on 28th December 1890.
4. Roderick Gordon born at Launceston on 4th July 1893.
5. Lila Edelkin born at Launceston on 27th December 1894. Died on 26th June 1898.
6. Sylvia Coral born at Beaconsfield on 28th May 1897.
Isaac William 1859 - 1919
Isaac William was born at Morven on 15th September 1859. He married Louisa Virginia Waldon at Newnham on 17th July 1877. Louisa was born in 1860.
Isaac died at Upper Piper on 10th December 1919; he is buried in the Carr Villa cemetery, Launceston. Louisa died in Launceston on 31st August 1922; she is also buried in Carr Villa cemetery. Isaac and Louisa had eleven children.
1. Florence Louisa born at Newnham in 1878. Married Sydney Robertson.
2. Vera born about 1879 at Newnham.
3. Elvina May born at Newnham in 1880. Married Thomas John Green.
4. Eva Agnes born at Launceston on 20th December 1881. Married Frank Archer.
5. Lillian Eliza born at Launceston in 1883. Married William Shegog.
6. Roy born about 1885 at Newnham. Married Madge West.
7. Charles born at Mowbray on 6th December 1888. Married Hilda Murray.
8. Hedley Arthur born at Mowbray on 27th February 1890. Married Elvie West.
9. Alice Maude born at Mowbray on 11th August 1892. Married Charles Horsburgh
10. Sydney Isaac born at Mowbray on 12th June 1895. Married Christina Cox.
11. Lawrence born at Newnham in 1900. Married Mary Nash.
Louisa Ann 1861 -?
Louisa Ann was born at Morven on 4th November 1861. She married Albert Arthur Hillier at the home of his parents at St.Leonard's on 24th January 1898. Albert was born at St.Leonard's in 1870. They had one known child, Ruby Louisa, born at Beaconsfield, Tasmania on 7th September 1899.
Benjamin 1863 -?
Benjamin was born at Morven on 3rd December 1863. Nothing further is known.
Elizabeth Hannah 1865 -?
Elizabeth Hannah was born at Evandale on 11th December 1865. She married Robert Bligh at her parent's home in Evandale on 15th January 1884. Robert was a farmer and carter from Upper Piper. George and Elizabeth had eleven children.
1. James Henry born at Upper Piper on 21st November 1884.
2. Robert George born at Upper Piper on 21st September 1886.
3. Elsie May born at Upper Piper on 27th August 1888.
4. Ella Grace born at Upper Piper on 5th October 1890.
5. Louise Ann born at Upper Piper on 18th September 1892.
6. Alice Maude born at Upper Piper on 4th August 1895.
7. Hedley Victor born at Upper Piper on 8th nove1898.
8. Lloyd Stanley born at Upper Piper on 9th September 1901.
9. Leonard William born at Upper Piper on 14th January 1903.
10. Morace Gordon born at Upper Piper on 16th October 1907.
11. Amy Elizabeth born at Upper Piper on 5th February 1909.
Alfred Henry 1868 - 1947
Alfred Henry was born at Longford on 11th December 1868. He married his cousin Emily Sarah Jones at St.John's Church, Launceston on 25th December 1890. Emily was born at Longford on 23rd March 1873, the daughter of George James Jones and Elizabeth nee Wheeler. Alfred was a bullock driver and sawmiller. He died at Launceston on 11th February 1947. He is buried at the Carr Villa cemetery, Launceston. Emily died at Launceston on 12th July 1946 she is also buried at Carr Villa cemetery. Alfred and Emily had four children.
1. Ferdinand born at Launceston on 30th November 1892. Died on 29th July 1916.
2. Harold Alfred born at Launceston on 9th March 1895. Died on 9th January 1953
3. Mervyn Royal born at Launceston on 6th March 1897. Married Edith Georgina Miller at St. John's Church, Launceston on 14th May 1919. Died at Launceston on 14th November 1966. They had three children.
4. Rendal Thelma born at Launceston on 23rd May 1903. Married Bernard Grenda. Died on 11th June 1981.
Henry 1878 - 1878
Henry was born at Launceston on 17th March 1878. He only lived a little over three months dying at Launceston on 9th July 1878
CHILDREN OF JAMES & AGNES WHEELER Cont.
James 1837 - 1920
James was born at Black Bush, Tasmania, in June 1837. He was baptised as James Brown at New Norfolk on 16th June 1839. He was known as James Jr. and was a farmer at Trafalgar.
James married Charlotte Howard at St.Andrew's Church, Evandale, on 23rd March 1859. No age is given for James on their marriage certificate, only full age. Witnesses to the marriage were John Pearce and James Wheeler.
Charlotte was born at Talisher, Tasmania, on 19th July 1838. She was the daughter of William Howard and Susannah nee Jordan.
Sometime before 1863 James and Charlotte moved to Warrnambool, Victoria, where James probably worked as a farm labourer, although he later became a grazier and a publican. By 1865 they had moved to Woodford. In 1867 they were in Garvoc, which is between Colac and Warrnambool, it is also where James's brother Joseph had land and a Hotel. They settled there for a few years, until about 1874 when they went to Deniliquin in New South Wales, staying there about three years. By 1879 they are back in Victoria, around the Kyneton, Pyalong area, and later moving to Euroa, where James died at his home in Binney Street, Euroa on 13th June 1920. He is buried in the Euroa Cemetery.
Charlotte was living with her daughter Emily McClure in Albury, New South Wales, when she died on 19th May 1925. She is buried in the Albury Cemetery. James and Charlotte had eleven children.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & CHARLOTTE WHEELER
James William 1860 -?
James William was born at Trafalgar, Tasmania, on 3rd March 1860. Nothing further is known.
Emily Elizabeth 1861 - 1898
Emily Elizabeth was born in Evandale, Tasmania. She wasn't baptised until the 14th May of 1882 at St.Matthew's Church in Albury, New South Wales. She married Patrick McClure, a Merchant Grocer in Albury on 7th November 1882. Patrick was born in Stanraer, Wigtown, Scotland on 9th July 1855, the son of John McClure and Jessie nee McLellan.
Emily died at Albury on 27th July 1898, she is buried in the Albury cemetery. Patrick died in Beechworth, Victoria on 22nd July 1927 and is buried in the Beechworth cemetery. Patrick and Emily had eight children.
1. John James born at Melbourne in 1883.
2. Leonard born at Melbourne on 22nd February 1885. Married Emma Hibbertson.
3. William Alexander born in New South Wales in 1887. Died in 1888
4. Duncan Patrick born in New South Wales in 1888. Married Margaret Hanlon.
5. Ernest born in Bowna at 22nd February 1891. Married Margaret Drummond.
6. Jessie Eveline born at Albury on 5th May 1894. Married a Mr. Garland.
7. Lucy Maude born at Albury on 23rd December 1895. Married Alton Vipen.
8. Emily Elizabeth born at Albury in 1898. Died in 1898.
Ernest Augustus 1863 - 1880
Ernest Augustus was born at Warrnambool, Victoria, on 22nd September 1863. He died on 20th January 1880 at the age of 16.
Annie Maude 1865 -?
Annie Maude was born at Woodford, Victoria, on 1st November 1865. She married Anthony Pusterla at St.Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Albury, New South Wales, on 24th September 1897. Anthony was born in Rutherglen, Victoria, in 1870. They had four children.
1. Eric born at Albury in 1900.
2. Ada Marsella born at Albury in 1900.
3. Harold born at Albury in 1901.
4. Claude Anthony born at Albury on 26th August 1906. Married Jessie Baxter on 27th October 1928. Died 28th September 1982.
Henry Leslie 1867 - 1952
Henry Leslie was born at Garvoc, Victoria, on 25th November 1867. He married Mary Adelaide Gaden at the residence of Hugh Robertson, in Tibooburra, New South Wales, on 30th December 1906. Mary was born at Nuggetty, near Tibooburra, New South Wales, on 3rd October 1887, the daughter of John Gaden and Ann nee Salmon.
Henry died at Broken Hill, New South Wales, on 27th August 1972. He is buried in the Broken Hill Cemetery. Mary died at 39 Darley Road, Bardwell Park, New South Wales, and was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. They had ten children.
1. Eva Mary born at Tibooburra on 9th October 1907. Married Erroll Ogden at Tibooburra on 23rd January 1839. Died 7th November 1989.
2. Ethel Annie born at Tibooburra on 13th November 1908. Died 18th August 1988.
3. Lucy Mavis born at Tibooburra on 23rd April 1910. Married John Dorward at Tibooburra on 23rd November 1931. Died 17th January 1970.
4. Henry Neil born at Tibooburra on 23rd April 1910. Married Louise Kershaw at Tibooburra in 1938.
5. Doreen Blanche born at Brisbane on 22nd July 1912. Married John Henry Smith in 1949. Died 25th May 1984.
6. Grace Thelma born at Tibooburra on 6th April 1914. Died 4th September 1987.
7. Jack Gaden born at Tibooburra on 6th April 1914. Married Jean Daley on 18th December 1948.
8. Ellen Muriel born at Tibooburra on 5th July 1915. Married Robert Hobson on 23rd February 1943.
9. Colin Douglas born at Adelaide on 18th June 1918. Married Nettie Wilson on 2nd February 1952.
10. William James born at Tibooburra on 11th October 1925 Married Aileen Rae Maxwell on 26th February 1948.
Alice Mabel 1869 -?
Alice Mabel was born at Garvoc, Victoria, on 26th September 1869. She married Claude MacClure at Albury, New South Wales in 1911. Nothing further is known.
Lucy Jane 1872 - 1959
Lucy Jane was born at Garvoc, Victoria, on 18th January 1872. She married George Veitch Steele at St.David's Church, Albury, New South Wales, on 11th April 1900. George was born in St.Kilda, Victoria, on 9th March 1872, the son of James Steele and Elizabeth nee Irving.
Lucy died at Wangaratta, Victoria, on 15th January 1959. She is buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery. George died at East Melbourne on 10th September 1938 and is also buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery.
They had two children.
1. Irving Veitch born at Wangaratta on 14th November 1902. Married Moira Dunn on 14th November 1948. Died on 21st March 1971.
2. Alys Lucie born at Wangaratta on 15th May 1905. Married Joseph Granter on 11th May 1940.
Agnes Willis 1874 - 1874
Agnes Willis was born at Deniliquin, New South Wales, on 22nd March 1874. She lived less than a month dying on 16th April 1874.
Ada Lillian 1876 - 1896
Ada Lillian was born at Deniliquin on 18th June 1876. She died on 12th April 1896 aged 19, having never married.
Eveline Charlotte 1879 -?
Eveline Charlotte was born at Kyneton, Victoria, on 29th January 1879. Died in Holbrook, New South Wales.
Sydney Alfred 1887 - 1956
Sydney Alfred was born in Albury, New South Wales, on 25th September 1887. He married Jessie Eliza Wright in Pyalong, Victoria, on 6th March 1912, the daughter of Oscar Dowson Wright and Jessie Elizabeth nee Outerson.
Sydney died at Holbrook, New South Wales, on 29th August 1956, he is buried in the Holbrook Cemetery. Jessie also died at Holbrook on 15th April 1977 and is buried with her husband in the Holbrook Cemetery. They had five children.
1. Sydney Oscar born at Pyalong on 25th April 1915. Married Beatrice Howell on 12th July 1938.
2. Clive Henry born at Holbrook on 9th June 1917. Married Jane Bone at Albury on 30th September 1939.
3. Roy David born at Holbrook on 3rd August 1918. Married Edna May Edwards on 10th January 1947.
4. Clement Ernest born at Holbrook on 19th July 1921. Married Inez Freer on 16th August 1944.
5. Ralph Outerson born at Holbrook on 17th May 1923. Died 23rd August 1983.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & AGNES WHEELER Cont.
Josepeph 1840 - 1917
Joseph Wheeler Agnes Wheeler nee Russell
Joseph was born at Campbelltown, Tasmania, on 1st August 1840, he was baptised at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale on 27th December 1840, the first of their children to be registered and baptised with the surname of Wheeler.
Joseph moved to Victoria as a young man, by 1868 he had applied for and been issued with a grant of one hundred and twenty-nine acres of land at Garvoc near Warrnambool.
Joseph married Agnes Jane Russell at the Garvoc Presbyterian Church on 3rd July 1872. Agnes Jane was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 14th September 1851, the daughter of John Russell and Susan nee Ramsey.
Not long after their marriage, Joseph and Agnes moved to Deniliquin in New South Wales. They later moved to Balranald in New South Wales, then back to Victoria about 1885.
Joseph was a farmer most of his life. He also owned and was licensee of the Commercial Hotel at Framlingham, not far from Garvoc. (The name Wheeler was visible on the external wall until the Hotel was repainted recently).
Joseph died in Melbourne on 15th December 1917, he was buried on 17th December 1917 in the Warrnambool Cemetery with his wife, Agnes, who had died at Panmure on 25th June 1890 and was buried at Warrnambool on 27th June 1890. Joseph and Agnes had nine children.
CHILDREN OF JOSEPH & AGNES WHEELER
Susan Alice 1873 - 1960
Susan Alice was born in Deniliquin, New South Wales, on 17th July 1873. She married John Gibb Wilson at Purnim, Victoria, on 25th January 1893. John was born in Arbroathy, Scotland, in 1866, the son of James Wilson, a Ships Captain, and Ellen nee Kelt.
John died at Warrnambool, Victoria, on 27th September 1956, he is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery. Susan died at Warrnambool, Victoria, on 20th November 1960; and was buried with her husband in the Warrnambool Cemetery on 23rd November 1960.
John and Susan had five children.
1. Jane born at Purnim in 1893.
2. Joseph born at Woodford in 1895. Died at Colac on 27th April 1974.
3. Ronald born at Purnim in 1897.
4. Hector McDonald born at Warrnambool in 1900.
5. John Gibb born at Woodford in 1908. Died 1983
James Henry 1875 - 1949
James Henry was born on 4th May 1875 at Garvoc, Victoria. He married Mary Ann Skinner on 14th September 1904, at the Holy Trinity Church, Coleraine, Victoria. Mary Ann was born at Coleraine on 20th February 1875, the daughter of John Skinner and Rachel nee Marsh.
James died in Longford, Tasmania, on 14th April 1949. His body was brought back to Coleraine for burial. He was buried with his wife in the Coleraine Cemetery, Mary Ann having predeceased him on 18th December 1946. James and Mary had three children.
1. Wilson Roy born at Coleraine in 1905. Married Ver Kendall in 1927.
2. Jean Anderson born at Coleraine in 1907. Died at Coleraine in 1908.
3. James Russell born at Coleraine in 1909.
Herbert John 1877 - 1947
Herbert John was born on 28th May 1877 on the Narama Tuppal Sheep Run near Deniliquin, New South Wales, where his father was an overseer. He married Louisa Eliza James on 2nd March 1900 at 234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, Victoria. Eliza was born at Mortlake, Victoria, on 22nd February 1877, the daughter of Mark James and Emma nee Taylor.
Herbert died at Ballarat on 17th June 1947. Eliza died at Ballarat on 21st November 1975. Herbert and Louisa had five children.
1. James Chadwick born at Coleraine in 1900. Died at Coleraine in 1914.
2. Winifred born at Coleraine in 1905.
3. Herbert born at Coleraine in 1907. Died at Coleraine in 1918.
4. Geoffrey Maxwell born at Coleraine in 1912.
5. Trevor Norman born at Coleraine in 1913.
Joseph Leslie 1879 - 1952
Joseph Leslie was born on 23rd December 1879 on the Tongaboo Sheep Run near Deniliquin, where his father was an overseer. He married Gertrude Mary Lang on 18th May 1905, at the Presbyterian Church, Merino, Victoria. Gertrude was born in July 1881 at Merino, the daughter of Henry Harris Lang and Elizabeth Jane nee Peters.
Joseph died on 23rd June 1952 at Ararat, Victoria. Gertrude died on 16th January 1964 at Ararat; both are buried in the Ararat Cemetery. Joseph and Gertrude had five children.
1. Ailsa Leslie born at Coleraine in 1906.
2. Edna Gertrude born at Coleraine in 1909.
3. Lindsay Harris birth date unknown.
4. Colin birth date unknown.
5. Marge birth date unknown.
Annie Edith 1883 -?
Annie Edith was born on 28th March 1883 at Myall Street, Balranald, New South Wales. She had three children, both registered under the name of Wheeler. The father is thought to have been a chap by the name of Stevenson, but this cannot be proved. She may have married him later, as when she died at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales in 1921, the surname on her death certificate is Stevenson.
1. Doris May born at Coleraine on 18th June 1903.
2. Ethel May born at Warrnambool in 1905.
3. William Kelleher born at Woodford in 1909
William Percival 1883 - 1959
William Percival was born on 28th March 1883, the twin of Annie. He married Vera Isabel Skinner on 22nd July 1909 at Coleraine, Victoria. Vera was born on 10th October 1887 at Coleraine, Victoria, the daughter of John Skinner and Rachel nee Marsh, and the younger sister of Mary Ann who had married his brother, James.
William died in Melbourne on 21st December 1959. Vera died in Melbourne on 12th September 1971. Both were cremated at Springvale. William and Vera had two children.
1. Aleck Stewart born at Coleraine in 1909. Married Sophie May Hogan at Melbourne on 15th November 1941. They had one daughter.
2. John Hamilton born at Kew, Victoria in 1916. He married Kitty (surname unknown) about 1939. They had two daughters.
John Robert 1885 - 1958
John Robert was born at Warrnambool on 22nd August 1885. He married Amelia Kirby. Amelia was born on 28th July 1898, which meant she was thirteen years younger than John on their wedding day.
John died on 21st December 1958 at Naracoorte, South Australia. Amelia died on 22nd August 1972 also at Naracoorte. Nothing further is known.
Elsie Maude 1890 -1986
Elsie Maude was born on 1st June 1890 at Panmure. She married Henry John Withington, a blacksmith, in June 1913 at Coleraine. Henry was born on 14th April 1888 at Yarra Glen, Victoria, the son of Henry Hampton Withington and Catherine nee Lord.
Elsie died on 10th October 1986 at North Coburg, Victoria. She is buried in the Fawkner Cemetery. Henry died on 26th December 1986, he is also buried in the Fawkner Cemetery.
Henry and Elsie had eight children.
1. John Robert born at Coburg.
2. Joan Patricia born at Carlton. Married Kenneth Durnford at the Independent Church, Melbourne in 1963.
3. Norma born at Chelsea. Married Leo Angel. Died at Glenroy.
4. Jean Catherine born at Coleraine on 1st January 1914. Married Leslie Blizzard at East Brunswick on 30th September 1939.
5. Henry Hampton born at Coleraine on 9th April 1915. Married Cecelia McCarthy at St. Bridget's Church, North Fitzroy in 1938. Died in October 1975.
6. Gwen Mary born at Coleraine on 12th October 1916. Married Thomas Peck.
7. Mavis born at Coburg 0n 3rd July 1921. Married Walter Ross.
8. Joseph born at Coburg.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & AGNES WHEELER Cont.
Elizabeth 1841 - 1926
Elizabeth was born on 18th September 1841 in the town of River Isis in the Parish of Evandale, Tasmania. She was baptised on 12th April 1942 at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale. She married John Knight Pearce, an Innkeeper, on 9th March 1858, at St.Andrew's Church, Evandale. John was born in 1824 in Kenwyn, Cornwall, England, the son of Hugh Pearce and Catherine nee Knight.
In 1864 John was co-publican of the Ringwood hotel, Cressy with his brother-in-law, James Wheeler
John died of heart disease at Cressy, on 7th April 1869, aged just 38 years. He is buried at Evandale. The undertaker at John's funeral was Frederick Knight, (his uncle)?
John and Elizabeth had three children.
1. Hugh Joseph born at Cressy on 15th December 1858. Married Eleanor Mary Lee at Cressy on 9th March 1881. Died at the Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Victoria on 14th February 1928. They had nine children.
2. Willis Elizabeth born at Cressy on 26th November 1863. Married George Church at the Presbyterian Church, Evandale on 22nd July1885. They had six children.
3. John James born at Cressy on 11th April 1866.
About eighteen months after John's death, Elizabeth married George James Jones on 19th October 1870, at Christ Church, Longford. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Alfred Stackhouse.
George was born in Longford, Tasmania, on 21st April 1840. He died on 20th January 1914, from accidental gunshot wounds while out hunting at Underwood, Tasmania, and is buried at Upper Piper.
Elizabeth died on 9th June 1926 at Launceston, Tasmania. She is buried in the Carr Villa Cemetery in Launceston.
George and Elizabeth had six children.
1. George Leslie born at Longford on 26th June 1871. Died at Longford on 2nd June 1898.
2. Emily Sarah born at Longford on 24th March 1873. Married Alfred Henry Church on 25th December 1896. Emily died at Longford on 12th July1946. They had four children.
3. Florence Elizabeth Marion born at Morven on 31st July 1876. Married John Mansfield Morgan at Launceston on 9th November 1897. They had one child.
4. Ethelda Maria born at Morven on 24th June 1879. Married Henry Hadaway on 28th June 1926.
5. Percival Harold born at Morven on 2nd March 1882. Married Ruby Veronica White in 1910.
6. John Rueben George born at Morven on 7th March 1889.
Susannah 1844 -?
Susannah was born on 24th March 1844 at Launceston, Tasmania. She was aged 18 when she married a 27-year-old farmer, Charles Miller on 7th October 1861 at St.Andrew's Church, Cressy, Tasmania. The Rev. James March performed the service.
Charles was born in 1834. He died at St. Helen's, Tasmania, on 12th November 1916. Susannah also died at St. Helen's on 18th October 1940. Both are buried in St. Helen's cemetery. Charles and Susannah had five children.
1. Louisa Jane born at Longford on 14th November 1867. Married Samuel Henry Keating at Deloraine on 4th March 1887. They had three Children
2. Charles William born at Cressy on 17th December 1869.
3. Ada Mary born at Longford on 13th July 1871. Married Robert David Cox at Sheffield, Tasmania on 25th January 1899.
4. James John Samuel born at Deloraine on 1st January 1874. Died at Surrey Hills, Victoria in 1932.
5. George Thomas born at Deloraine on 12th September 1875. Married Agnes Mary Hodgetts in 1909
6. Alice Matilda Agnes born at Ringarooma on 2nd April 1881. Married Frederick George Keating in 1905
7. Florence Mary Adelaide born at Deloraine on 10th September 1883. Married George Francis White in 1913.
8. Samuel John born at Deloraine on 17th December 1885. Married Elvie Norton in 1912.
William 1846 - 1891
William was born on 9th August 1846 at Evandale, Tasmania. He was baptised at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale on 10th August 1846. He married Mary Cullen, at Christ Church, Longford on 25th May 1869. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Alfred Stackhouse.
Mary was born on 3rd June 1850 at Nile, near Evandale. Her parent's names are unknown.
William was a farmer in the Cressy area all his life. He died on 1st May 1891 at Cressy of gunshot wounds resulting from a hunting accident. He is buried in the Holy Trinity Cemetery at Cressy.
After William's death, Mary remarried, her new husband was the local Railway Stationmaster, Mr. Richard Heyward
Mary died on 3rd June 1946 at Hobart, Tasmania.
William and Mary had ten children.
1. Charles born at Cressy on 3rd July 1869. Married Jane Martha Whitlock at Longford on 2nd August 1899. Died at Cressy on 17th September 1939.
2. Ernest William born at Cressy on 9th January 1871. He married Mary Matilda Lee on 25th December 1893, at the home of her father John Lee at Cressy. Mary died at Longford on 23rd April 1931. Ernest died at Longford on 19th February 1956. They had four children.
3. Florence Aquila born at Longford on 25th May 1873. Died at Longford on 29th November1873.
4. William John born at Longford on 28th February 1875. Married Ellen Louisa Morley on 17th March 1897. Died on 16th June 1951.
5. Elsie May born at Longford 12th May 1877. Married Thomas Rhodes Robinson at Longford on 13th February 1895. Died on 14th June 1907.
6. Eva Mary born at Longford on 26th February 1879. Died at Longford on 6th February 1880.
7. Herbert Valentine born at Longford on 28th February 1881. Died at Longford on 11th September 1881.
8. Lucilla Gertrude born at Longford on 9th June 1882. Married Leonard Walter Peck in 1904. Died in 1984.
9. Bernard George born at Longford on 17th March 1884. Died in 1946 in Sydney.
10. Reginald Rodman born at Longford on 8th July 1886. Married Lillian May Fleming in 1908.
Benjamin 1848 - 1848
Benjamin was born on 20th September 1848 at “Woodstock”, Evandale, and Tasmania. Sadly he died three months later at ”Woodstock, from inflammation of the lungs, on 18th December 1848.
Bridget Ellen 1849 -?
Bridget Ellen was born on 9th October 1849 at “Woodstock”, Tasmania. On 17th June 1862, Bridget, then aged 18 married John Augustine Finney at St. Augustine's Church, Longford. John died in Albury in 1908. It is not known when Bridget died.
John and Bridget had eight children.
1. Helen Elisabeth born at Longford on 12th August 1868. Married John Wright in Sydney in 1896.
2. Thomas Augustus born at Longford on 10th December 1869.
3. Tasman James born at Longford on 2nd June 1871. Married Ellen Smith at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales in 1902.
4. Ambrose Edward born at Longford on 30th October 1872. Married Louisa James at Cootamundra, New South Wales in 1896.
5. John born at Albury New South Wales in 1874. Died in Albury in 1874.
6. John born at Albury in 1875. Married Frances Smith in Wagga Wagga in 1901.
7. Vincent born at Albury in 1878. Married Charlotte Michleson in Sydney in 1918.
8. Mary Isabel born at Albury in 1884.
Ellen 1851- 1852
Ellen was born on 1st December 1851 at “Woodstock”, Tasmania. She was the first-born twin of Benjamin. She died of dysentry on 23rd April 1852 at Evandale, aged 4½ months, probably before being baptised, as no record of her baptism has been found.
Benjamin 1851 - 1863
Benjamin was born on 1st December 1851 at “Woodstock”, Tasmania, the twin of Ellen. He was baptised on 12th May 1852 at Evandale Presbyterian Church. Sadly he also died young, he was just twelve years old. On 14th December 1863 he was riding a horse outside the front of the Ringwood Hotel, where he lived, as his father was the publican. He fell from the horse hitting his head; he died shortly after from his injuries.
Helen 1853 - 1942
Helen was born on 24th December 1853 at “Woodstock”, Tasmania. She was baptised on 21st February 1854 at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale. Helen was usually known as Ellen and this is the name she used when she married James Leach on 8th July 1872 at the Church of England, Cressy, Tasmania. James was born in Bendigo, Victoria in 1851, his parent's names are unknown.
Sometime after 1874, James and Helen moved to Victoria, first to Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) and later, about 1876, to St.Arnaud. James was a farm labourer, so they probably moved around to wherever James could find work.
Helen died on 10th October 1942 at 53 Moorabbin Street, Mentone, Victoria. She is buried at the Springvale Cemetery. James and Helen had ten children.
1. Agnes Maria born at Longford on 8th March 1873. Died at Longford on 16th April 1873.
2. Ann Willis Janetta born at Longford on 16th September 1874. Married Henry John Evans in 1897. Died at Wonthaggi, Victoria on 9th December 1950. They had two children.
3. James Simon born at St.Arnaud, Victoria in 1876. Married Clarice Jane Roberts at St. Arnaud in 1901. Died at Mt.Royal Hospital, Parkville on 2nd December 1968. They had seven children.
4. Marie Elizabeth born at St.Arnaud in October 1877. Married Robert Henry Pike in 1902. Died at Fitzroy, Victoria in August 1963. They had eleven children.
5. Mary Jane born at St.Arnaud in 1879. Married Edward McCrae in 1904. Died at Preston, Victoria on 14th August 1974. They had seven children.
6. Harold Leonard born at St.Arnaud in 1881. Married Rose Clara Wilson in 1902. They have five children.
7. Henry Cyril born at Morven, Tasmania on 21st June 1886. Married Elizabeth McLean in Victoria in 1928. Died in Preston, Victoria on 2nd September 1960.
8. Victoria Ellen born at Albury, New South Wales in 1889. Married George Albert Nobbs in 1924. Died at Narre Warren, Victoria on 23rd November 1983. They had one daughter.
9. Irene Doris May born at Albury in 1893. Married Cecil Vallance in 1915. Died at Mentone, Victoria on 3rd October 1938. They had one daughter.
10. Leslie Ernest born at Williamstown, Victoria in 1896. He married Alma (surname unknown). Died at Heidelberg, Victoria on 22nd January 1976. They had three children.
John Thomas 1855 - 1910
John was born on 14th December 1855 at Woodstock, Tasmania. He was baptised at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale on 26th March 1856 at the same ceremony as his sister's child, Agnes Jane Church.
John married Annie Jane Morley at Cressy on 25th December 1882. There was no issue from their marriage but they adopted a boy they named Rodney.
John was a dealer in wattle bark (used in the tanning of leather).
John died in Launceston, Tasmania on 11th December 1910.
Janetta 1858 - 1940
Janetta was born on 24th June 1858 at Hobart Town, Tasmania, she was baptised on 31st August 1858 at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale.
Janetta was just 17 when she married the then 32-year-old Edward Hodgetts, at Holy Trinity Church, Cressy on 26th October 1875.
However this was not a good marriage, after the birth of their fifth child they separated. Janetta then became involved with Ernest Thomas Hodgetts, a cousin of her husband. It soon became clear that Janetta and Ernest wanted to live together. They could not stay in Tasmania. So she left her children with their father and went to Victoria, where they lived in a de-facto relationship.
Edward and Janetta had five children from their marriage.
1.Willis Mary born at Cressy on 10th April 1876. Died at Williamstown Victoria in September 1948.
2. Hilda Jane born at Cressy on 2nd July 1878. Married Timothy Patrick in Neenan at Williamstown, Victoria in 1903. Died at Williamstown, Victoria in 1918. They had five children.
3. Alice Maude born at Cressy on 3rd October 1880. Married Charles Joshua Bosworth in 1900.
4. Agnes Mary born at Cressy on 7th September 1883. Married her cousin, George Thomas Miller in 1909.
5. Vernon Edward born at Cressy on 4th August 1886. Died at Lismore in 1944.
Janetta died in the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum in Cheltenham, Victoria on 8th April 1940. Ernest and Janetta had eight children. Their story is covered in more detail in the Hodgetts chapter of this history.
George Thomas 1861 - 1919
George Thomas was born on 4th March 1861 at Cressy, Tasmania, he was baptised on 11th September 1861 at St.Andrew's Church, Evandale.
As a young man George moved to Wangaratta in Victoria, where he married Ada Helen Acock on 12th November 1890 at South Wangaratta. Ada was born in 1864 at South Wangaratta, the daughter of William Field Acock and Catherine Emma nee Mitchell.
George died after a prolonged illness on 2nd January 1919 at Binney Street Euroa, Victoria. His death probably hastened by the news of the death of his son William at the war in France. George was buried in the Euroa Cemetery. His wife, Ada died on 30th June 1934 at 519 Sydney Road Coburg. She was buried at the Fawkner Cemetery. George and Ada had six children.
1. Catherine Agnes born at Wangaratta in 1891. Married Charles Henry Stevens in 1919. They had one known child.
2. William George born at Wangaratta in 1893. Killed in action in France on 5th October 1918.
3. Ellen Amelia born at Wangaratta in 1896.
4. Martha born at Glenrowan in 1899.
5. James Henry born at Wangaratta in 1902.
6. Alice Elizabeth born at Benalla in 1906.
Mary Catherine 1862 - 1879
Mary Catherine was born on 15th September 1862 at Cressy, Tasmania probably at the family's “Ringwood Hotel” She was baptised on 27th April 1864 at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale.
Mary died from Hepatitis abscess on 11th August 1879, aged 17 years. She was buried in the same grave as her grandmother at the St. Andrew's Churchyard, Evandale.
Maria Willis 1866 - 1941
Maria Willis was born on 11th May 1866 at the “Westmorland Hotel” in Cressy, Tasmania, where her parents were the publicans. She was baptised on 3rd October 1866 at St. Andrew's Church, Evandale.
Maria was just twelve years old when her father died and her mother took over the running of the family's Hotel.
In 1884 Maria began a relationship with Denis John Murnane, a draper and the son of a Longford Publican. On 18th April 1885, at the age of nineteen, Maria gave birth to a son, James Roy Murnane, who was always known as James Roy Wheeler. The father of James was Denis John Murnane, born on 28th May 1861 at Longford, the son of Edward and Catherine nee Mahoney.
It is thought that Edward forbade Denis from marrying Maria, whatever the reason Denis and Maria didn't get married.
After the birth of James, Maria moved to Melbourne, possibly with her widowed mother, Agnes, and settled in the bayside suburb of Williamstown.
On 16th September 1891, Maria (now calling herself Amelia) married Patrick Henry McDonnell at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Williamstown. Patrick was born in 1864 at Williamstown, the son of Patrick McDonnell and Eliza nee Dwyer.
Patrick and Amelia lived at 51 Twyford Street, Williamstown, where they owned and operated a dairy.
Patrick McDonnell died in October 1908, he is buried in the Williamstown Cemetery.
Patrick and Amelia had six children.
1. Elizabeth Agnes born at Williamstown in 1892. Married Alfred Etheridge in 1917. Died at Surrey Hills, Victoria in 1929. They had two known children.
2. Mary Frances Amelia born at Williamstown in 1894.
3. Patrick James born at Williamstown in 1896. Married Henrietta Georgina (surname unknown) about 1940. Died at Bairnsdale, Victoria on 21st March 1987. They had one son.
4. Josephine Hilda Jane born at Williamstown in 1899. Died at Surrey Hills on 4th June 1941.
5. Veronica Ada born at Williamstown in 1902. Died at Williamstown on 20th June 1902.
6. Amelia Kathleen born at Williamstown in 1902. She married Charles Calder Tuplin in 1924. They had three children.
After the death of Patrick, Amelia returned to Tasmania and resumed her relationship with Denis Murnane who was now a widower. He had married Jessie Brittle on 15th September 1895 at St.Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, Launceston. Jessie died 1st March 1987. Denis and Jessie had one son, Joseph born at Campbell Town, Tasmania on 7th July 1896. He only lived a little over four years, dying at Longford on 23rd October 1900.
Denis and Amelia returned to Williamstown to live. They were married on 2nd January 1910 at St.Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Williamstown. After their marriage they lived with their son James and his wife Emily, however they often returned to Tasmania to visit relations.
Denis Murnane's family owned Hotels in the Longford area of Tasmania. When he lived in Melbourne, he never had to work as he always had an income from the family business. According to one of James' daughters Millicent, Denis was a well-dressed dapper little fellow. He also had a passion for horse racing and gambling.
Amelia attended Emily at the birth of all her children except the last. Unfortunately both Emily and the baby died. Amelia and Denis spent a lot of time with James after he was widowed and helped bring up the younger of his children. James by this time was working for the Victorian Railways and living in North Melbourne.
According to her grandchildren, Amelia was a happy, likeable person, attractive and upright in stature. She was an excellent seamstress and cook and had knowledge of herbal and natural remedies. She passed these talents onto James.
In the 1920's Amelia owned a cake shop and bakery in Swan Street, Richmond. Her granddaughter Gladys lived with her and attended St.Ignatius Roman Catholic School. Apparently Amelia had taken the faith of her first husband Patrick.
Amelia was always secretive about her trips to Tasmania and her relationship with the Wheeler children. They called her “Old Aunt” and Denis “Papa Murnane”. They were never told that they were really the grandchildren of Amelia and Denis.
Denis died on 6th July 1936 at 56 Elizabeth Street, Launceston, while on one of his visits to Tasmania. He is buried in the Churchyard of St.Augustine's at Longford.
Amelia (Maria) died on 25th October 1941 at 7 Kasouka Road, Kew, Victoria, while her son James was serving overseas in the armed forces of World War 2. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Springvale Cemetery.
JAMES ROY WHEELER (MURNANE) 1885 - 1967
James Roy was born on 18th April 1885 in Cressy, Tasmania. His parents were Maria Willis Wheeler and Denis Murnane, both of Longford Tasmania. He spent his early years in Tasmania, before coming across to the mainland. He spent some time in Williamstown with his mother and grandmother (Agnes Wheeler), until his mother married Patrick McDonnell.
After the marriage of his mother, James was sent to “the Bush”, in the Glenrowan area to be bought up by his Uncle George and Aunt Ada. He is said to have known the Kelly family.
It would appear he worked on a horse stud farm, as he went both to India and Mauritius to deliver horses while still in his early teens. At this stage he had had no formal schooling.
When in his late teens James returned to Williamstown and lived with his mother and stepfather, working in the family dairy as a milkman. Family tradition has it that this is where he met his future wife Emily Hayes.
James and Emily Gladys Valarie Hayes had a son, Harold Hayes born in 1906 at Williamstown. James and Emily married on 18th January 1911, five years after Harold was born and four weeks after Emily's father had died. This is because it is thought that her father Edward Hayes had forbidden them to marry.
At the time of their marriage James was employed as an engine cleaner for the Victorian Railways, he later became a steam engine driver.
Over a period of nineteen years, James and Emily had ten more children. All the children being born in the family home, these were many because as more children came along James and Emily needed a larger dwelling. They never owned a house, but rented. They resided mainly in the North and West Melbourne areas, always close to James's place of employment.
Emily was the daughter of Edward Hayes and Emily nee Howells. Emily was born on 22nd September 1888 in Williamstown.
Edward Hayes was the Chief Gunnery Instructor for the Victorian Colonial Navy. He later owned the Beach Hotel in Twyford Street, Williamstown, not far from the McDonnell's dairy.
Emily had five brothers and a sister. They were all educated and well brought up. Emily was an accomplished piano player and prior to her meeting James had wanted to be a piano teacher. She really did marry below her station.
The Wheeler children recall many evenings around their mother's piano having sing-songs whilst their father played the violin or accordion. People passing by would stop and listen and sometimes join in.
Emily died on 1st February 1930 at the age of 42 whilst giving birth to their twelfth child, the child was stillborn. The older children had to take care of the younger ones and some of the children were “farmed out” to relations.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, James put his age down by five years in order to join the Army. He enlisted at Caulfield on the 27th April 1940. He served with the 2nd Railway Construction Company. On the 28th May 1940 he sailed from Melbourne aboard the R.M.S.“Stratheden”, destined for France to drive troop trains. However, with the worsening situation on the continent, the vessel was re-directed to the United Kingdom. He disembarked at Liverpool on the 18th July 1940.
Whilst in the United Kingdom he under went further training. January 1941 found James in Glasgow, enjoying the hospitality of the Scots whom he thought very friendly. By March 1941 he was in Egypt, in the Middle East. Apart from driving trains he also spent time guarding Italian prisoners of war. Being the likeable fellow he was he made friends with them! However this may have been to his detriment as he was robbed of some of his belongings, including his pay book.
James loved the Army life and enjoyed seeing the world, but it all came to an end when the Army discovered he was over age! He was returned to Melbourne on the H.M.T. “Duntroon” on the 24th May 1942 and was de-mobbed at Caulfield on the 26th May 1942, but not officially discharged until 4th August 1942. For his service he was awarded the Africa Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and Australian Service Medal.
After his discharge James resumed his occupation as an engine driver for the Victorian Railways. By this time his older daughters were married, with only his sons at home. His son James Roy Jr. enlisted later in 1942.
In 1944 James was living with his youngest son Ronald in Errol Street, North Melbourne.
During his retirement James lived with many members of his family before settling at the R.S.L. Park War Veterans Home in Frankston. Here he spent his time following the horses and his beloved football team North Melbourne, and when possible took solace in the odd beer or two.
James Roy died at Mont Park Nursing Home, McLeod on the 13th July 1967 of natural causes aged 82 years. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in the grave of his wife Emily at Fawkner cemetery.
James and Emily's children.
1. Harold Hayes born at Williamstown on 29th August 1906. Married Florence Helen Chambers at Collingwood on 5th January 1929. Died at Werribee on 15th November 1988. They had three children.
2. Eileen Valerie born at Williamstown in 1911. Died at North Melbourne on 10th September 1945.
3. Gladys May born at North Melbourne on 24th January 1914. Married Royston Robert Poore at Hawthorn on 1st September 1934. Died at East Melbourne on 4th November 1992. They had one daughter.
4. Phyliss Emily at North Melbourne on born 2nd August 1916. Married John Stuckey. Died at Melbourne on 12th October 1990. They had one son.
5. Millicent Marie born at North Melbourne on 20th October 1915. Married Edward Tyler Paterson at St. Jude's, Carlton on 13th November 1933. They had two children.
6. Dorothy Nell born at North Melbourne on 6th June 1918. Married Leonard Matthew Howard. Died at Moe, Victoria on 9th August 1986. They had three children.
7. Lila Willis born at North Melbourne on 6th January 1921. Married Philip Benjamin Brown. Died at Mordialloc on 18th February 1968. They had two children.
8. James Roy born at North Melbourne on 28th October 1924. Married Theresa Margaret King at Melbourne on 21st January 1946. Died 27th May 1985.
9. Harold Edward born at North Melbourne on 6th November 1926. Married Elsie Evelyn Sly at the Presbyterian Church, Mentone on 1st November 1952. Died at Carrum on 6th June 1988. They had two Children.
10. Valma Daisy born at North Melbourne on 1st January 1927. Died at Carlton in August 1928.
11. Ronald George was born at North Melbourne on 3rd August 1928. Married Kathleen Pearl Aberton at St. Andrew's Church, Gardiner on 29th July 1950. They have two children.
12. Un-named boy, stillborn at North Melbourne on 1st February 1930.
CHILDREN OF JAMES & JANE BROWN Cont.
William was born at Hobart town on 14th August 1817. He was baptised at St. David's Church, Hobart on 31st August 1817.
James married Bridget Campbell at St. David's Church, Hobart on 28th May 1838. Bridget was born about 1814 at Kirkdale, Scotland. She was convicted of being a pickpocket and sentenced to 14 years transportation. She arrived in Tasmania in 1833 aboard the “Jane”.
It is thought that they may have had at least two children, but this has not been confirmed.
William died of English cholera at Evandale on 10th March 1863. Bridget died at Evandale on 2nd January 1903.
Agnes Jane 1819-1879
Agnes Jane was born at Hobart town on 29th January 1819. She was baptised at St. David's Church, Hobart on 19th February 1821.
The next we know of Agnes is that she was present at the marriage of her brother, James, on 11th January 1835. At this time she would have been almost 16 years old.
Agnes is thought to have married some time between 1835 and 1841 to a William Wells. William is thought to be the son of William and Elizabeth Wells. He was born about 1802.
Shortly after their marriage William and Agnes moved to New South Wales, where William died on 11th March 1844.
The only known child of William and Agnes Wells was Benjamin James. He was born at Green Ponds, Tasmania on 14th June 1841. He married Louisa Bedelia Clark in Armadale, New South Wales in 1863. Louisa was born on 29th February 1844 (birthplace and parents unknown).
Benjamin was a farmer in the Armadale area of New South Wales all his life. He died at Lower Portland, New South Wales on 14th September 1922. He was buried in the Lower Portland cemetery on 16th September 1922. His wife having predeceased him, dying at Windsor, New South Wales on 25th November 1916.
Benjamin and Louisa had eight children.
1. Benjamin James born at Armadale in 1864. Married Catherine Quinnell at Inverell, New South Wales in 1897. Died at Inverell on 6th September 1947. They had two sons.
2. William John born at Armadale in 1864. Married Lila Lucas at Armadale in 1897. Died at Inverell in 1939.
3. George born at Armadale in 1866. Married Catherine Jones at Sydney in 1902. Died at Tingha, New South Wales in 1927. They had four children.
4. Sarah Sylvia born at Armadale in 1868. Died at Armadale on 30th April 1912.
5. Agnes Jane born at Armadale in 1870. She married Hector Smith at Sydney in 1907.
6. Percy Patrick born at Armadale in 1872. Died in 1922.
7. Darcy Andrew born at Armadale in 1874. Died at Windsor, New South Wales on 30th March 1942.
8. Clarence born at Armadale in 1876. Died at Armadale in 1876.
9. Charles born at Armadale in 1880. Died at Manly, New South Wales in 1900.
Almost two years after William's death, Agnes married again. The marriage took place on 15th December 1845. She married James Salter Skinner at St. Andrew's Church of England, Muswellbrook, New South Wales. James was the son of James Jonathan Skinner, a Brewer. He was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England about 1813.
James was a transported convict, he was convicted in Bristol on 9th October 1837 and sentenced to 7 years. He arrived in New South Wales on 31st January 1839, aboard the “Theresa”.
James and Agnes Skinner had seven children.
1. James Jonathan born at “Newstead”, Byron Plains (Inverell), New South Wales on 29th January 1848. Married Ann Fenton on 15th June 1869. Died at Glen Innes, New South Wales in 1912. They had six children.
2. Elizabeth Jane born at “Costwyck”, Byron Plains (Inverell) on 15th August 1850. Married Johnson Norris at Armadale on 20th March 1867. Died at Armadale on 26th April 1943. They had ten children.
3. William James born at Armadale on 3rd November 1852. Married Caroline Munsie at Tamworth, New South Wales in 1877. Died at Armadale on 3rd December 1881. They had three children the last being born after James's death.
4. Eliza Isabella born at Armadale in 1855. Married John McCarthy at Inverell in 1873. Died in Armadale on 9th November 1900. They had four children.
5. Sylvia (Silver) Maria born at Armadale on 1st January 1857. Married William Fenton in 1876. Died at Armadale in 1915. They had nine children.
6. George Richard born at Armadale on 5th November 1859. Married Grace Nott at Inverell on 18th January 1881. Died at Lismore, New South Wales 2nd November 1912. They had four children.
7. Andrew Watt born at Armadale on 12th November 1862. Married Louisa Gilmour at Kelly's Plains, New South Wales on 23rd January 1884. Died at Armadale on 9th June 1895. They had three children.