Chapter 10 - Joseph & Anna Ruse Pegler
Great-grandfather Joseph Pegler was born in England in the County of Gloucester at Coombs, Kingstanley, District of Rodborough on 5th March 1844 to George Pegler, weaver, and Hester Pegler, nee Lusty.
Until quite recently I knew virtually nothing about Kingstanley and the district the Peglers came from but during lunch in late 1985 with some Brisbane friends, Peter and Brenda Arlidge, we discovered to our mutual surprise and delight that they know the Kingstanley area in England quite well, having lived there for many years before coming to Australia. They were able to tell us that it is a lovely part of England on the Severnvale plains west of the town of Stroud in the South Cotswolds, almost due west from Oxford.
The names of Pegler and Lusty are still known in the district. Twenty years ago, when the Arlidges lived in Nailsworth a town about five miles south of Stroud on the Bath road there was a builder in the district by the name of Reg Lusty in a fairly good way of business.
Also, in the district at a place called Uley there is a `prehistoric long barrow' known as Hetty Pegler's Tump. “Tump” is a West English word meaning mound, collection of stones or the like. In this case, from Peter Arlidge's recollections it is a mound about 60 feet long by 30 feet high. According to a Glossary of Local Place Names, Hetty Pegler's Tump, is now in charge of the Ministry of Works, and was first excavated in 1821. The Glossary goes on to say that “an old indenture of the time of Charles II (King of Great Britain from 1660 to 1685) records the sale of the land to William and Hester Pegler and that, according to local tradition, Hetty Pegler who lived at Nympsfield, about five miles from the tump, `was a bit queer' and spent much time sitting on the tump. The Hester (Hetty) Pegler of the Tump appears to have lived in the 17th century so cannot be identified with “our” Hester Pegler (nee Lusty) who lived In the 19th Century, but it is not inconceivable that “our” Peglers are descended from the original William and Hester, “queer” though she may have been!
We know from Joseph's birth certificate that his father, George, was a weaver and from his marriage certificate that Joseph himself was a Cloth Finisher”. This is consistent with what Peter and Brenda were able to tell us about one of the significant industries in the area, that is the weaving of high quality cloths, for example the cloth for covering billiard tables. One of the firms who produced cloths such as baize and worsteds is known as “Strachan”. The district still supports a sheep and wool industry as well as spinning mills, but this would have been even greater in the 19th Century when George and Joseph Pegler were working in the weaving industry. An article on Gloucestershire in The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that in the reign of Edward III, King of England from 1327 to 1377, Flemish weavers were introduced into the County and the manufacture of cloth was established. Stroud, with its good water supply, was an important centre for broadcloth. Peter Arlidge also believes that after the 16th Century Reformation when many Dutch people were run out of their homes because of their religious beliefs some went to America but a group of weavers came to England and settled in the Stroud Valley joining the cloth industry already established. The Peglers and Lustys may be of that stock. They were certainly Protestants.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica article already mentioned goes on to say, “The weavers and dyers enjoyed a fair prosperity until the late 18th Century, when the industry began to decline, and the long-famous hand-loom weaving finished with the advent of mechanisation, though Stroud still manufactures high grade cloth.” This could add strength to the reasons why young Joseph Pegler decided to emigrate to Australia.
Also of interest about the Stroud District is that nearby is Gatcombe Park (between Nailsworth and Avening) where Princess Anne and Mark Phillips live in a manor house previously owned by the British Politician, R.A.Butler, later Lord Butler. Prince Charles and Princess Diana also live nearby.
So, this was where young Joseph Pegler was brought up. But, by the time he was twenty, both of his parents had died and he migrated to Australia, arriving in Sydney on 29th November, 1864. As already mentioned, his profession was cloth-finishing and he was one of the tradesmen brought to Australia by Vicars to start their woollen mill. His initial place of residence was Parramatta where he married Anna Ruse Chapman on 3rd October 1868 in the house of Jacob Chapman.
Anna had been born in England in 1844 to Jacob Chapman and Martha, nee Ruse. It is believed by the Chapman family, but as far as I know without any conclusive proof, that Martha was a relative of James Ruse, who was Australia's first “settler”. Ruse was a Cornishman who had been sentenced to a seven year term of imprisonment at the Bodmin Assizes in August 1782. Five years of his sentence he served in a hulk at Plymouth and was then transported in 1788 to New South Wales on the “Scarborough”, a ship of the First Fleet. His term expired in 1789 and, as he claimed to have farming experience, he was allowed to try his hand and settle as a farmer, the Colony being in dire straits for fresh food and grain.
Governor Phillip had been authorised to make grants of land not exceeding 100 acres and at a rental of a shilling an acre to convicts who had served their sentence, to free immigrants (if there were any) and to Marines who cared to stay in the colony. It was under this authority that Phillip promised that if Ruse could make a success of his farming venture he would be granted 30 acres. Ruse took up his thirty acres on 25 February 1789 and Phillip gave instructions for a hut to be built for Ruse and to clear an acre and a half of land for him at Rose Hill, near Parramatta. The first wheat was harvested by Ruse in November 1789 and in due course the first land grant in Australia's history was officially confirmed on 30th March 1791. He called his holding “Experiment Farm”.
It was not until four years later the first free settlers were given land at Liberty Plains, now called Bankstown. Phillip also settled people along the banks of the Hawkesbury River, granting 30 acres to emancipists and the full 100 acres to free settlers and officials.In the meantime, Ruse had married Elizabeth Perry, on 5th September 1790. She had arrived that year on the “Juliana” and was the first woman convict to receive her freedom in Australia, in July 1792, because of “her good conduct and her husband's industry.” It was in that same year that they had a daughter, Mary Ruse when James was 32 and Elizabeth 21 years of age.
Ruse sold Experiment Farm in 1793 to John Harris, one of the early surgeons and which accounts for the area now being named “Harris Park”. Ruse moved off to the Hawkesbury River to become a pioneer settler there on the rich river flats. Later he had a holding at Bankstown on Salt Pan Creek, presumably near the present Ruse Parklands on Stacey Street, and also at Riverstone. In the 1828 Census Ruse, who was then 68 years old, was listed as being an Overseer for Capt Brooks at Lower Minto.
Ruse's tombstone in the graveyard of St Johns Roman Catholic Church at Campbelltown informs us that he was born in Cornwall (but not when) and he died on Sept 5th 1837 aged 77 years. The actual wording on the gravestone is:
Who departed This Life Sept. 5 In the Year of Houre Lord, 1837
Natef of Cornwell and Arrived in this Coleney
By the Forst Fleet.
Aged 77
My Mother Reread Me Tenderley,
With Me She Took Much Paines
And When I arrived in This Coleney
I sow'd the Forst Grain, And Now
With My Hevenly Father I Hope For
Ever To Remain.
Whether really related to James Ruse or not, Martha was born in Essex on December 7th 1815 or 1817 to Thomas and Rebecca Ruse of Hellions Bumstead, Essex, England, and after marrying Joseph Chapman in England in 1835, they settled down to married life in Barnardiston in Suffolk. There the first of their six children, “Aunt Charlotte” my Mother called her, was born on 16th April 1837. She later married James Richard Anderson and went on to live to the remarkable age of 103, passing to her reward on 4th July 1940 at Burwood, N.S.W. Their second child was Edward born In 1840, the third was Anna Ruse born in 1842 and fourth was Jonas, also born in 1842. These four were all born in England. In 1848 (that is ten or eleven years after James Ruse had died) they decided to come to New South Wales as free settlers. Another son, Alexander Lawrence was born at sea two weeks before their arrival in Australia but died as an infant at Parramatta. The Chapman's youngest son, Enoch, was born in 1852 and later married Fanny Sainty, Mum's “Aunt Fanny”, who also lived longer than most, passing on at Epping at the age of 95.
After Joseph Pegler married Anna Ruse Chapman in 1868 he, with his new bride, continued to live in Parramatta in Rosehill Street where, on 21st February 1873 Walter (my Grandfather) was born. On the birth certificate the name of the accoucheur is given as “Mrs Chapman”, no doubt his maternal Grandmother, Martha, who lived until 1898.
About six years later, that is in the late 1870s, the Pegler family moved to Granville, where Joseph acquired some property in Parramatta Street as well as a home on Woodville Road, very close to the point where the railway crosses. This crossing is now a subway, but used to be a level crossing known as “Dogtrap Gates” and is very close to where the original railway line from Redfern terminated. It was opened to traffic on 25th September 1855, following which the Governor, Sir William Denison, so the history books relate, was shouted lunch at the Woolpack Hotel in Parramatta where the Courthouse now stands. It was near here that Joseph Pegler also established a second-hand store, mainly furniture and household effects, but also tools of trade. In the Probate Papers associated with his will, Joseph Pegler is referred to as a “Retired Furniture Warehouseman”, although twenty years before his occupation was listed as “Cloth Finisher”. As a “Furniture Warehouseman” he didn't always sell everything he bought, as an old “Ansonia” clock that we inherited from him through Grandpa and still ticks away in our kitchen, reliably striking the hour and half-hour testifies.
At the time the railway was put through in 1855 the area now known as Granville was simply called “Parramatta Junction”. Prior to this there had been little development of the area, although during the 1840s timber-getters established sawpits and produced timber for building work in the Parramatta district. The main area was originally an 1125 acre grant to Garnham Blaxcell on 1st January 1806. This grant was later taken over by Sir John Jamison who called it “Dog Trap Farm” presumably because of the dingoes that abounded in the area. As the timber was cleared the original grant was subdivided into small orchards. Those near the railway line were in turn divided into building blocks and after an apparently slow start, houses began to be erected. By 1880 the area had been developed to the stage where it was considered necessary for it to be dignified with a name of its own instead of “Parramatta Junction”, and so it became “Granville” after the Earl of Granville who was a member of William Gladstone's government.
At the same time there was a considerable development of industrial activity in the area. James Bergen established a Woollen Mill in 1870 near a lagoon adjacent to Duck Creek, where the Municipal Baths are at present. Employment was also offered at nearby tile and brick factories. There were also a woolwash and a tannery. By 1880 Hudson Brothers had completed the move of their factory to “New Glasgow” as Clyde was then called. This was later to be Clyde Engineering.
In September 1878 a meeting was held at which it was moved that an application be made for a school in the area. The application was granted in 1879 and the school, built on the block of land bounded by William, Daniel and Walter Streets, was opened in December 1880. One of the original pupils was Walter Pegler, then nearly eight years old. Whether or not he had previously attended another school, such as Parramatta South or one of the many private schools that abounded, I do not know, but it seems probable. With Walter on the opening day were his brothers Arthur and Charles.
Joseph and Anna Pegler who were married on 3rd October 1868 had ten children. The dates of their births and deaths are as follows:
Joseph Pegler
5 March 1844
19 May 1923
Anna Ruse Pegler
1842 or 1844
10 October 1914
Arthur Stanley
4 January 1871
4 August 1947
21 February 1873
14 July 1960
Charles Joseph
26 October 1874
19 September 1941
Harry Norman
9 December 1876
29 March 1950
Frank Leslie
29 March 1879
9 August 1880
Albert Edward
3 May 1881
12 August 1944
Mabel Ruse
7 July 1883
7 January 1897
Alice Maude
3 October 1885
Annie Elizabeth
26 June 1888
Ruby Ellen
7 February 1893
3 August 1936
Joseph and Anna did not marry until they were nearly 25 years old (she may have been nearly 27) which was fairly late in those days. Their first-born did not arrive until they had been married for over two years, but then the children arrived fairly regularly at roughly two year intervals until Annie arrived 20 years after their marriage. No doubt they were quite surprised when Ruby arrived five years later when they were both approaching their fiftieth year, or perhaps her 52nd year in the case of Anna. The family was not without tragedy, however. Frank survived only seventeen months and Mabel only thirteen and a half years. Ruby, born late in their lives, spent much of her life in a Mental Hospital at Orange suffering from epilepsy from which, with Myocardial Degeneration, she died in 1936.
After they married most of the sons settled at first in the Granville area, although several moved away later. In 1915, for example, Albert and Harry were both living in Woodville Road, Walter in Spring Garden Street, and Charlie in Auburn. Alice married Hector Kirkpatrick and went to live at Lindfield.
On Friday, 19th May 1923, a little more than two years after I was born, Great Grandfather Joseph had been working on his Parramatta Street cottages and was wheeling his barrow home for lunch when he was seen by neighbours to fall forward across his barrow. Word was sent to Dr. Sheldon, but by the time he arrived Great Grandpa was dead “through heart failure”. The body was then carried to his residence where poor Auntie Annie, who had prepared lunch for him, received the terrible news. Great Grandmother Anna Ruse, had predeceased him on 10th May (or 10th October) 1914.
The value of Joseph Pegler's estate is given in the probate documents as “under” £3,524, quite a tidy amount in those days. His estate was divided between his surviving children but there were special provisions for two of his daughters. The first was that the trustees were to make a weekly payment to Annie Elizabeth of One Pound if “she shall then be unmarried until she shall receive her full share of the proceeds or her marriage whichever happens first”. The other provision was in respect of the share of Ruby Ellen which was to be “paid to the Master in Lunacy to be administered by him for her maintenance and benefit during her life”. The amount paid to the Master in Lunacy was almost 395 Pounds. There was also an insurance policy on the life of Ruby which was distributed to her surviving brothers and sisters on her death, each receiving 4 Pounds 7 Shillings and 4 Pence.