Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tales from the Trunk # 2

A watery end

In her 1987 book Women's Suffrage in New Zealand, Patricia Grimshaw says there was a "... common saying that in New Zealand there were only two causes of death-- drink, and drowning as a result of drunkenness." [p22]

Whether "drink" had anything to do with the deaths of the 2 male Brysons I don't know, but they did meet a watery end. And therefore the family name was extinguished.

It happened like this:

In 1863 a family group disembarked from the ship Sir William Eyre. It consisted of Agnes (a single, middle-aged, mother), her (illegitmate) son Francis, his wife Agnes Merry (or Merrie), and their infant daughter Mary. There was another male, James, about whom I know nothing, but who may have been "Jimmy the Packer" of Waikaia.

Mary died on 9 December, 1863, at Bluff Road, Invercargill, and was buried on 10 December 1863, just a few short months after arriving in the new province of Southland. She was sixteen months old.

Francis Bryson was buried in Eastern Cemetery on 14 December, 1868 (Block 1, Plot IX) in an area of unmarked graves for those not able to afford to buy a plot. Family legend has it that he drowned in Invercargill's New River Estuary.

Thomas was born 30 October, 1866, at New River, Invercargill, but the second NZ born child of Francis & Agnes, drowned in 1875 and was buried in Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill, on 13 May, 1875.

Another daughter, also called Agnes, was born in Invercargill on 27 September 1864 and it is from this Agnes I am descended; and finally, another daughter, called Mary, was born 31 October, 1868 at Invercargill.

So this couple had four children: Mary, Agnes, Thomas and (a 'replacement') Mary.

The males who could carry on the family-name? Both Francis and his son Thomas drowned.

The last member of the family to carry on the family name was a grand-daughter of the child Agnes, my mother, Iris Bryson Murrell.

See The Early Southland Years.

No comments: