Drew of West Penwith and Beyond

A meeting place for researchers of the Drew family of West Penwith and Redruth areas, and their associated families. If you have come across this site during searches for Drew family history, and you feel you might be connected, please contact one of the members to have your name added to the members list.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Emma Drew and John Odgers

Emma and John have been exercising my mind for a while. I was able to find the births and deaths of a number of children here in Queensland, then nothing apart from the appearance of one of the surviving children in the UK in 1891. Just recently, I came across another family tree that had Emma deceased in Indiana, USA, where that son had apparently settled after leaving the UK in 1892.

This set me to digging once more. Emma remarried in South Australia in 1876. Whether John was deceased, or they were divorced, remains to be discovered but he was apparently alive in early 1875 in Rockhampton. Add to this the information that the son who emigrated to America gave his birthplace as "Mournish" (actually Morninish, a gold mining locality inland from Rockhampton and north of Charters Towers) and an area could be established for searching out more about John Odgers. It appears that he was licensee of a hotel in Morninish, and resided for a time at Lake's Creek, in the general locality.

But maybe we should start this story closer to the beginning.

Emma Drew, daughter of John Drew and Elizabeth Lembrey Edwards (and my 3rd cousin twice removed) was born about 1842 in Penzance, Cornwall. On 4th September 1864 she married John Odgers in Madron. On 18th June 1865, Emma and John arrived in Queensland on the "Empress of the Seas". A notice was published in the Brisbane Courier of 8th November 1865 calling on John Odgers, recently arrived on the Empress of the Seas, to collect his gratuity.

A child, Mary Jane was born and died in Queensland in 1867, followed by William John in 1868 and died 1869, then William James in 1870. This latter is the chap who returned to England then moved on to Indiana. Louisa was born and died in 1872, followed by Emma Sarah born in 1873 who seems to disappear off the face of the earth.

In July 1868, John Odgers was granted the licence for the Prince of Wales Hotel in Morinish, and the licence was renewed in 1871. In 1872 one of his employees, an aboriginal, was murdered on his property at Lake's Creek. Also in 1872, he was granted a licence for a house at Lake's Creek, but this licence was withdrawn. Then, in March 1875, there is a report in the Rockhampton papers of a court case involving theft from Mr John Odgers. It would appear for the proceedings that some heavy drinking had been going on leading up to Mr Odgers falling down going to sleep.

There is a report from the South Australian papers the previous year of the sudden death of Mr John Odgers, who was described as "an aged man" (another report puts his age at 63, and date of arrival in the colony as 1848) whereas our John would have been only about 35 years of age. So the death date given by some researchers of 1874 could well refer to another person entirely.

However, the next we see of Emma is her marriage to Joseph Morris in Port Adelaide on 11th June 1876. Did John's apparent hard drinking drive Emma to leave him? Who knows. Joseph died in March 1899, and Emma then travelled to join her son in Indiana, where she died in 1921. It is possible that Joseph's death was reported in the Adelaide newspapers on 23rd March 1899:


ADELAIDE, March 23.

Last night the lessee of the Tea Tree Gully Hotel, Joseph Morris, was driving near Houghton, when his horses became unmanageable and bolted, throwing him and several women who were with him to the ground with fearful force. Morris died from the effects of the fall, a couple of hours after the accident. The women were more or less badly shaken.

Emma and Joseph had a son, Henry, born 1882. There is a marriage in 1911 of a Henry Joseph Morris in Carey Gully, South Australia, to a Violet Hellen Golding, at the residence of Solomon Golding. Whether this is our Henry needs checking, and there are several marriages of a Henry Morris in South Australia at about the right time..


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