Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Was Charlie Ross also married more than once?

While waiting for researchers to get back to me I have been doing some more pondering on ways to 'find' Charlie Ross.

The newspaper article provided valuable information in that it gave a 'date' for his arrival in Gladstone and the information that prior to that he had been settled in Port Pirie. The word 'settled' implies that he had been there for some years.

Looking at his age when he married Mary Atkins there is a good chance that a man of thirty-nine in that day and age may well have been married before. I had considered the possibility that he had left a wife and family behind on Ithaca but I doubt that given the reference to his 'roving career' and the fact that boys joined ship as young as eleven and probably no later than fifteen. I am taking the middle position and guessing he set sail 'on his uncle's ship', as the family story goes, around the age of thirteen. This means he could have had a roving career of some seven to ten years and arrived in Port Pirie at the age of twenty or so.

This would have given him around fifteen or more years in the town where it seems highly unlikely that he would remain unmarried. It seemed to me a search of cemetery records might be the way to go and there I found a Charles Stuart Ross who could possibly be a son. I have passed the information on to the Port Pirie researcher on the basis that it is well worth checking out.

ROSS, CHARLES STUART
Surname
ROSS 
Given Names
CHARLES STUART 
Cemetery
Section
COMMON PROTESTANT 1
Plot/Grave/Niche
40
Last Residence
PORT PIRIE
Age at Death
22 YRS
Date of Burial
29/09/1892
Minister Officiating
REV. CHAPMAN
Burial/Order Number
709
Comments
CP ,LOT 40, GRAVE:6

Photo: Port Pirie smelters circa 1907... the year Charlie Ross died.

Charles Stuart Ross would have been sixteen or seventeen when our Charlie Ross went to Gladstone - more than old enough to be working and to remain behind. As to what happened to a first wife, I would guess that she died although I have found no records for a suitable 'fit.' She may not have of course, women left their marriages in the same way that men did - not as often, but it did happen.

Her death is a more likely explanation given that Charlie Ross would have made regular trips to Port Pirie to source his fish for the Gladstone trade and a 'living wife' would be rather too inconvenient. If this Charles Ross were found to be his son, the lack of family knowledge could be easily explained by the fact that Charlie and Mary's children were toddlers when he died - the couple having been married barely four years when Charles Stuart Ross died in Port Pirie.

A marriage certificate for Charles Ross, with the same details, perhaps even with a place of birth or Greek surname, found in Port Pirie would be a huge step forward. I can only hope.

There is another possible Ross child buried in Port Pirie:

ROSS, FRANCES MAY

Surname
ROSS 
Given Names
FRANCES MAY 
Cemetery
Section
COMMON PROTESTANT 1
Plot/Grave/Niche
74
Last Residence
PORT PIRIE
Age at Death
11YRS
Date of Burial
07/12/1897
Minister Officiating
SALVATION ARMY CAPTAIN
Funeral Director
SYMONDS
Burial/Order Number
1167
Comments
CP ,LOT 74, GRAVE:3



Photo: Port Pirie Cemetery.

It is a long shot but the fact that she would have been one the year Charlie went to Gladstone could also serve as an explanation for his departure - the death of his wife. Given the times it is more likely that the child would have been handed over to grandparents or other member's of his dead wife's family. And given that she also died while Charlie and Mary's children were still very young, serves as an explanation for a lack of family knowledge should she indeed be found to be a child of his first marriage.

As things now stand I may not need to get to Ithaca to find out his Greek name and place of birth although it remains a long shot - however, it is a shot and it may well bring results.

I have also decided that Ithaca is the most likely place of his birth out of the two possibles - Ithaca and Kythera. Both sound phonetically similar and there is a large Kytheran community in Port Pirie so I had wondered if this was his birthplace. However, having been in touch with the Kytheran community seeking for possible name fits, given that we know, from the signature on his marriage certificate that his Greek name began ROS, it looks like Ithaca and Rossolimos remain the best bets.

The two Kytheran names which were suggested were RAISIS and ROUSSOS but it is absolutely clear that neither of these fit the ROS which we know began his Greek name given his mistake in signing and the corrections made.

It is not much progress but it is progress.

Luke has also been busy and has come up with the following information:

I wrote a letter to the Yass & District Historical Society about 3 weeks ago and received a reply from them a few days ago. No real news on Edward Atkins, but I will report what they told me. They have access to Ancestry.com so there is no point repeating what they got from Ancestry, but they have access to records not available to us like the Yass Bench Books 1834-1837.  They have no records for Edwin/Edward Atkins except he was assigned to Henry O'Brien. His brother was Cornelius O'Brien and they shared their assigned convicts between them. They said if a convict kept a low profile then there would be no records which suggest that Edward Atkins behaved himself.

There is a record for a Charles Atkins aged 21 arrived on the ship called the Heron in 1833 and tried in Essex. He was assigned to Cornelius O'Brien and is recorded in the bench book in 1836 for disobedience and neglect of duty. I notice that the report from England that Edward had a brother called Charles Atkins. Could this be the same person? I know there is no way to prove it or not. It may be a relation of Edward if we can find out where he was born. I have not done any research on Ancestry.com on this Charles Atkins who was a convict as yet, but I think it worth a try.

The only other thing is that Henry and Cornelius O'Brien were Magistrates in the Yass area for many years along witth a person called William Hampton Dutton. W.H Dutton went to South Australia via Victoria in 1839 because there was a severe drought in the Yass area. They state in the letter:-" It is possible that your Edward went to South Australia at the same time. It is not implausible that Dutton may have encouraged Edward who had a clean record with no infringements to go to S.A with him. W.H. Dutton was instrumental in establishment of Hahndorf South Australia."


This is certainly a possibility although we still have the E.Atkins recorded on the same ship which brought his first wife Hannah McLeod to Australia. However, this does not mean that the Dutton connection does not work. Edward may well have returned to England after he completed his sentence, as the UK researcher suggests and made the decision to go to South Australia instead of returning to New South Wales, because of guidance from William Dutton.

Charles Atkins was born in 1810 according to the researcher's report, which would make him 23 in 1833, however, ages and dates of birth are often wrong. It is certainly possible that he could be this Edward (Edwin) Atkins's older brother.

At this stage we are strong on conjecture and weak on facts but we have been here before and more than once has intuition and conjecture been ultimately validated. Here's hoping it will be again. A first marriage for Charlie in Port Pirie could provide a wealth of facts - not to mention a horde of relations!

At the turn of the century there were fifty Greeks in south Australia and 1,000 as a whole. Most worked as mariners or wharf labourers and only four or five were recorded as having shops – mostly fish shops. You would not think it would be too difficult to find out more about Charlie if he was one of only fifty in South Australia and one of only half a dozen who owned a shop? Of course he may not have owned a shop and may simply have had a cart and worked out of home.

Photo: Ithaca in the 18th century.

And it seems Ithaca was one place from which these earliest Greek settlers in Port Pirie came. Hugh Gilchrist, a former ambassador to Greece wrote a series of books titled Australians and Greeks where apparently the most information that one can get on the earliest days of Greeks in the country can be had. I have ordered the book, hoping, but not expecting that Charlie Ross, alias Carolus Rossolimos might get a mention.

As far as SA naturalisation records show the earliest Greek in Port Pirie was Peter Warrick, the surname being seriously anglicized. He was naturalised in 1892 when he was working as a carpenter in the town. His birthplace was Kalamata, Peloponnese. It would have been so convenient if Charlie has become naturalised but there is no evidence that he ever did and so no information. Then again, if he really did jump ship and was listed as a deserter somewhere - not that I have found that either - then he would keep a low profile.

If we can find the necessary evidence it would make Charlie one of South Australia's earliest Greek settlers and Port Pirie's first!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment