The Rajah Quilt

The Rajah Quilt

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Introducing Bridget Cassidy.

Dr Trudy Cowley contacted me a couple of months ago with an interesting request :).  Could I photograph a window, in the Catholic Church at Wynyard?  Well, sure, I reckon I could do that.  And guess what, there's a family connection - for me.   The window is dedicated to Bridget Brewster.  Ok.
Bridget was born at County Monaghan, in Ireland, in about 1830.  At her trial on 5 March 1849, she was convicted for stealing 2 quilts, and sentenced to 7 years transportation.  19 year old Bridget was transported on the Australasia, departing Dublin on 26 June and arriving in Hobart on 29 September, 1849.  On arrival, she and her fellow prisoners spent 6 months at the Anson Probation Station, a hulk moored in the Derwent, where Bridget was classified as a 3rd class, or Crime Class prisoner.  These women were the least well behaved, and were put to hard labour.

Between arrival, and when her sentence expired, Bridget was constantly in trouble with the authorities, with 8 records of being in either Ross or Launceston Female Factories (prisons).   During this time, Bridget was on 2 occasions the subject of ‘Convict Permission to Marry’, and had 2 daughters, with the men she hoped to marry.  Elizabeth b. 1853, (father Robert Roach), and Caroline Anastasia, b. 1855, (father William Green), but things evidently did not work out with either request for permission to marry.   Elizabeth, as the illegitimate daughter of a convict woman under sentence, was placed in the Queen’s Orphan School in Hobart. 

On 10th February 1857 Bridget married Thomas Ambrose BREWSTER, also a convict (Eden).  The marriage took place at the home of George Ramskill, at Table Cape.

Bridget and Thomas had 4 sons and 3 daughters –
John Francis b. 1857, Albert Joseph Sylvester b. 1859, Thomas, b. 1861, Sarah Ann b. 1864, Isabella Eudora b. 1866, Frederick Vincent b. 1868, and Mary b. 1870.  Caroline, Bridget’s second daughter before her marriage, stayed with the family, and Elizabeth was discharged to her mother’s care from the Orphan School in 1863, when she was about 10 years old.

Of Bridget's children, Thomas Brewster b. 1861 died unmarried in 1889.  John Francis Brewster did not marry as far as I can tell, no spouse or children mentioned in his obituary in 1928.  Mary, the youngest daughter, also appears to have remained unmarried until her death in 1940.
Son Albert was an interesting character.  In September 1877, only 18, he was acquitted of a charge of forgery and uttering.  In 1886 he was assaulted while a police constable in Launceston, and in 1887 was charged with perjury in a case he was prosecuting, falsely testifying against the accused, of having used indecent language.  In October 1887 Albert was prosecuted for leaving his illegitimate child, to Lousia Davis, without means of support.  The case was discharged.

In 1890 Albert, with 3 other men, was charged with ‘riotously disturbing the peace by fighting’. They each paid a £25 fine and were given a good behaviour bond.
On 8 January 1891, Albert Joseph Brewster married Grace Elizabeth Alice Louchlon Blight, at her father’s residence, Pine Road near Ulverstone; Albert aged 27, bachelor, miner; Grace aged 22, spinster, domestic; witnesses Emma Amelia Louchlon Hayes and James Hayes.  Grace’s father was John Lachlan Blight, son of Grace nee Stevens and Charles Blight; her mother was Ellen Blight nee Dewhurst, daughter of Charles Dewhurst and Elizabeth Banks.  This is where the family is connected to mine, as John and Ellen are my gggg-uncle and aunt, one of the 3 pairs of step-brothers and sisters to marry from the 2 families of Grace and Charles.
Grace and Albert had 2 sons, John Thomas Mervyn b. 1891, and Albert Richard Avondale b. 1896.
The troubled times weren’t over for Albert, who was declared insolvent in January 1893, with liabilities of £134.  In November 1901 he was a passenger in a Tatlow’s coach which crashed near Boat Harbour, but suffered only minor injuries.

Grace Alice Brewster nee Blight died Sept 4th 1902, aged 36 years.
In 1908, Albert, calling himself Albert Cassidy, stating his parents’ names Thomas Cassidy and Bridget O’Connor, married Alice Veronica Hammond in Victoria.  They had a son James Alfred In 1909, and a daughter Monica Aileen in 1912.
Albert Richard Avondale Brewster was thrown from a horse and killed age 13 years on 30 October 1909 near Flowerdale.  His mother had died and his father had run off to Victoria, young Albert was living with Bridget and Thomas at Flowerdale.

Marriages of the other Brewster children:
Caroline Green m. Joseph MORTON
Sarah Ann Brewster m. Thomas Stephen BERECHREE
Frederick Vincent m. Lizzie WELLS
Isabella Eudora BREWSTER m. John O’NEILL
Bridget Brewster nee Cassidy died on 20 December 1908 and is buried in the Old General Cemetery at Jenner St, Wynyard.
Thomas Ambrose Brewster erected a stained glass window in the St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Wynyard, in honour of his wife.

Thomas died on 17 August 1912. His funeral took place the same day as the opening of the new church.  He, along with son Thomas, is buried in the same plot as Bridget at Wynyard.