Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Taphophile Tragics #2 - A story there for the telling


Mooching around Jamieson Cemetery, in the Victorian High Country, I was rivetted by the proximity of three dates within this enclosed plot. Charles died in the March, Mary died in the July, and inbetween their daughter Lily was born. What on earth happened? Lily lived to about 90. But, how did she get on?

Ancestry.com is a marvellous resource for this sort of venture, and many of the Family Trees therein are public.


Charles Bullbrook Mitchell was a miner who died 16 March 1876 when he was thrown from a horse. His wife, Mary Anne Heritage Mitchell died just four months later on 15th July 1876 from uterine phlebitis. The name Heritage clanged my attention like a magnet, and I soon discovered it was bestowed upon Mary by her first husband, Henry, whom she married in 1854 at the tender age of 18. Their first son was born and died in 1854, and their second son was born in 1856 AFTER Henry's death in 1855. Mary Anne did not have luck running her way.

However, she was not without charm, our Mary. By the time she and Charles were married in 1868, they already had six children with the Heritage-Mitchell surname, proving that the bureaucratic view of the world ruled supreme. They were to have another five children. Every single one of their eleven children was female. Lily, as the grave marker notes, lived to nearly 90, and her only child, Thelma, lived to 89. In the photograph below, Lily is on the front left, and Thelma is at the rear right.

But what happened after July 1876. With a new-borne babe, and eleven siblings without parents ...


View Larger Map
My thanks to Letty at Freefalling for the idea of the map showing the cemetery.
This post is a contribution to the Taphophile Tragics meme.

24 comments:

J Bar said...

Quite a story indeed.

Ali - Scituate Daily Photo said...

Wow - what a wonderful post, a wonderful history - thank you, Julie!

VioletSky said...

You have managed to give a life to these old stones!

Peter said...

Fascinating story and research behind! Once you start the tour of a cememtery, there are thousands of stories to tell, if only someone takes the initiative, like you!

All the best for 2012!

Gene said...

Nice pic and bit of history to go with it.

NixBlog said...

Interesting things one picks up wandering through old cemeteries... And it's not just the snapshots I'm talking about.

PS: Funny how more and more people around Australia in public buildings are getting tetchy about allowing photos to be taken. You got to Europe and some of the largest museums are fine with photos being taken. I was disgusted that I was not allowed to take photos in Como House (a National trust property) last week. They were selling a range of 5 inadequate postcards in the shop and a historical booklet about the family that liven in the house (with no pictures of the interior). Not good enough...

Gemma Wiseman said...

An incredible story! Mary must have been quite a trooper! I believe this cemetery journey of ours may just awaken life in many untold stories!

Dianne said...

A great post Julie with wonderful snippets from our pioneering years and a glimpse into a life of hardship and sadness - I've visited Ancestry.com from our local library research room and it's definitely a wealth of information - I could loose myself for hours on that site.
I'm sure there will be many stories unearthed on Taphophile Tragics!

Steffe said...

Fascinating. I will have to read up on the people that rest at the two cemeteries near me.

Joan Elizabeth said...

What a great sleuth you are. That of course is one part of the joy of being a taphophile, quite apart from the haunting beauty of the stones but also the stories they tell. The variety of the posts is quite amazing.

Madge @ The View From Right Here said...

Love genealogy and Ancestry.com... it is priced just a bit out of my budget at the moment... hopefully soon, the genealogy bug is not easily shaken...

diane b said...

You are a good detective and a model taphophile. I will add one on Wednesday.

Jilly said...

My first thought was complications after childbirth as it made sense with her dying so soon after the birth - and so it turned out to be. Well done for sleuthing this. Absolutely fascinating.

I posted a while back on a young couple who died on the same day. He of illness and she took her own life. They were around 27 and about the same time frame as yours.

I'll be adding to your new venture when I post on Menton's or Monaco's cemetery again.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Such an interesting post Julie, my mind just boggles at how normal it was to have eleven children!!

biebkriebels said...

An interesting story Julie, I like those stories very much. I always wonder what people are there and how was their life. You solve it for us.
Marianne

s.c said...

Always nice if you can give a picture so much live with a story. Especially when the Life is gone.Thanks for showing.

tapirgal said...

You "dug up" a story here. It really is fascinating to bring back to light the people on the stones.

Jo said...

Fascinating post, Julie. I've linked my post today to yours to promote this meme. Thanks for your comment. I'm pleased you liked my link; reading Diane's about the dog cemetry made me think of this one. I have many more (now that I see you photos of the headstones, I remembered a number of grave photos (!) I have stored on my external hard drive. I'll be back next week with my contribution. Greetings, Jo

Francisca said...

Some story! Being childless myself, it boggles my mind that a woman could give birth to eleven children. I wonder if Thelma had children... Maybe not, since the stone mentions only that she was a devoted daughter.

Kate said...

Mary's story leaves me exhausted! Those were different times indeed!

Julie said...

Francisca, I could find no reference to Thelma's progeny. My guess is she never married, instead spending much of her life swathed in the lives of her aunts. There are three aunts in that final photo of Thelma and Lily.

freefalling said...

I totally missed this post!
Errrr.....those ladies in that photo - they kinda look like you!
Geez a lot of people used to die from horse related accidents back in the olden days. It wasn't til Dad started researching his family tree and was forever digging up old newspaper articles about horse accidents. Just like cars today.
(My dad is in love with Ancestry.com too and Trove).

Like your map!
Are you going to put all yours on it?
You're probably a little bit busy and preoccupied at the moment.
I'll be thinking of you and Kirsten tomorrow.

Nellies said...

What a story Julie, thank you very much for sharing! I don't visit cemeteries very often, but thanks to your Taphophile Tragics posts you have put some new ideas in my mind.

Julie said...

My pleasure, Nellie. I enjoyed my trawl through your images last night very much indeed.