Friday, August 21, 2015

John Connolly - 1858

Margaret Stewart married John Connolly just before leaving on the boat to Australia. In the 1841 census she is listed as living in the home of her father William Stewart in Scone, Perthshire. The census was taken on the 6th of June 1841. Margaret left Dundee September 1841. They were both 22 and listed themselves as Catholic on the passenger list. According to the passenger list he was a wheelwright and Margaret was a seamstress.

 John Connolly & Margaret Stewart only stayed in NSW while they completed their two year obligation to their sponsors, then they came up to Queensland in 1844. They lived in George Street, North and they had bought a block of land in what is now known as the suburb of West End. When he was not working on jobs to earn wages, he was clearing and fencing his own land.

At the time of Margaret’s death, she had a house at Flinders Parade, Sandgate. John had a mail run by horseback from Brisbane to Ipswich. He was mysteriously drowned in the Brisbane River one night.

They never had children. She died in 1905 at the age of 85 in Brisbane, Australia and is buried in the family plot in Brisbane.

1905 Newspaper article excerpt written by Rev James Stewart: The Maitland Weekly Mercury, April 1, 1905:

And there was John Connolly, ft strong, laughter-loving '-'boy' from the South of Ireland, who married Margaret Stewart, and who after farming for a time on the Paterson migrated north to Moreton Bay, settled within a short distance of the Post Office in Brisbane, and began clearing the scrub and tilling the soil in the central fifties. Tho' West End State school is near John Connolly's old home. John was carrying the mails on horseback between Brisbane and Ipswich, 24 miles apart, when father, took his wife and family to Moreton Bay, and he was drowned in a way which never had any explanation, in the Brisbane River, about 1858 or 1859. His widow, now 85 years of age, and with a memory as clear as sunshine, lives at Sandgate, twelve miles from Brisbane, where I spent an hour with her and father, only, a few weeks ago. It was amusing to hear them talking with such zest of enjoyment of the events of tho early, twenties, thirties, and forties.

Are Margaret and John Connolly are buried in the  “family plot” is in Bald Hills? No, only Margaret.  I have never been able to find a grave for John Connolly, who died in 1858, was probably buried in the first Brisbane Cemetery, which was on land where Suncorp Stadium, formerly Lang Park, now stands.  In the 1860-70s a large number of burials were exhumed from FBC and moved to Toowong Cemetery, following its opening in 1866.  which is next to Bracken Ridge.