Who lived here?….Part 2 – Alfred Curtis and Maria Tuckett

In Part 1 of the series “Who lived here?“, Ancestor Detective, introduced readers to John Kelly, a publican of the Traveller’s Rest Hotel in Violet Town. In the research into a 1880’s cottage found at Lot 11, Primrose Street, Violet Town, in the Certificate of Title for the property identified that John Kelly as the first owner of the property and sold the property to Maria Tuckett, the wife of Alfred Curtis Tuckett. In Part 2, Ancestor Detective introduces Alfred Curtis and Maria Tuckett, local business owners in the small town of Violet Town in the late 1880’s.


Alfred Curtis TUCKETT was born to Alfred Tuckett and Helen Maria CURTIS in Mangotsfield, Gloucertershire, England on 27 August 1833. Both Alfred and Helen were born into the Religious Society of Friends, otherwise known as the Quakers. A society whose belief was individuals held a direct, personal experience with God and lived by a strict moral code that placed faith above country and a refusal to participate in state churches and forbade military service which was the subject of persecution. However, their marriage, according to the book by Marjorie McDonald, The Tuckett Legacy, was surrounded in controversy when it was known that they were in fact first cousins forcing them to be banished from the Society and left to marry in the Church of England on 22 February 1831 in Bradwell, Essex, England. The separation from the Society must have been resolved because by the time their son, Alfred Curtis, was born they were allowed to register his birth with the Society in the quarterly meeting following his birth.

England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death, 1578-1837

As part of the Society they forbid military service and it appears that Alfred Curtis did not holds these beliefs when as a 16 year old he joined the Merchant Navy on 19 December 1850 as an indentured Apprentice on board the ship “Mercury” until 19 December 1854.

Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Index of Apprentices

Not long after completing his service with the Merchant Army, Alfred Curtis boarded the ship “Starlight” and headed to Melbourne, Australia. After 124 days at sea, on 5 May 1857, the “Starlight” reached Melbourne shores where it is believed the lure of the goldfields saw him travel to northern Victoria.

Passenger List – “Starlight”

On 17 May 1860, Alfred Curtis appeared in the The Argus newspaper as a missing person, which sought his whereabouts.

The Argus Melbourne – 17 May 1860

Then on 9 October 1860 the NSW Government Gazette post that the whereabouts of him where required. The article states that he had not been heard from since 1858 while in the Wellington District as a 25 or 26 year old. The search appears to be from John Beard of the Railway Hotel in Tambaroora. Circumstances into his alleged disappearance and why his location was being sought remain a mystery.

NSW Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW: 1832 – 1900)

Maria Bryans was born on 16 July 1843 in Armagh, Northern Ireland to John Bryans and Elizabeth Robertson. in 1863, aged 20 years, Maria traveled on board the ship “Gresham” as an assisted migrant, arriving in Geelong, Victoria in December 1863.

In 1867, Alfred Curtis and Maria marry in Skipton, Victoria. They would reside in the small rural towns of Skipton and Beaufort, where Maria would give birth to six children between 1866 and 1877; Helen Tuckett (1868), Lillian Victoria (1869), Alfred Curtis (1871), Frederick William (1873), Francis John (1875) and Maria Maud (1877). After the birth of their sixth child, Maria Maud Tuckett (1877). Maria would gave birth to three more children between 1880 and 1885; Lewis Allen (1880), Alexander (1883) and Phillip Samuel (1885) while living in Violet Town.

Tuckett family portrait

Unlike their time living in Violet Town, newspaper articles recording their lives in the Skipton and Beaufort areas were not forthcoming. Between 1877 and 1881 Alfred Curtis and Maria would move to the parish of Marraweeny where in 1881 they would purchase 284 acres of land, approximately seven miles from Violet Town. It is here that they would build a substantial six roomed house, garden and orchard and stables along with four paddocks that included water from Faithfuls Creek.

On 1 October 1884, owner of lot 11, Primrose Street in Violet Town, would sell his property to Maria Tuckett here her husband, Alfred Curtis, would build a five bedroom weatherboard home.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1884, Certificate of Title

It was at their property in Marraweeney that the first horse races of the area were held and following the races a gala ball was held in their large house.

Euroa Advertiser, 23 December 1887

It was in Violet Town that the couple’s ownership of businesses dominated but along with this, newspaper reports on court proceedings and fires that impacted upon their businesses and houses emerged from the late 1880’s to the early 1900’s.

On 1 December 1884, Maria purchased land of four roods and eight perches at lot 11, Primrose Street in Violet Town. In 1887, Alfred Curtis advertised a tender to build a five bedroom weatherboard house on the property.

On 23 November 1885 Alfred Curtis gave notice for the application for a colonial wine license for a house in Violet Town, which was granted at the Licensing Meeting held in Violet Town on 16 December 1885. Over the years, the license continued to be renewed up until 1887. In 1886, Maria offered the wine shop up for public auction on 19 March 1886. The sale appears to have fallen through, with another renewal of the wine licence renewed in the following year.

Euroa Advertiser, 28 November 1884

At the same time that the Tuckett’s were operating their colonial wine shop within an eleven room boarding house, known as the Temperance Hotel, located near the railway station in Violet Town. It was the wine shop that starts to get the Tuckett’s into a little bit of trouble with the law, when in June 1887 Maria was charged with the illegal selling of liquor, fortunately the charges were dismissed.

Euroa Advertiser, 14 March 1887

On 14 March 1887, the large property of A. C. Tuckett was offered for Sale, by Public Auction. This farm included 284 acres of freehold land in the parish of Marraweeney, Country of Delatite and seven miles from Violet Town. Subdivided into four paddocks, permanently watered by Faithful’s Creek and springs, the property featured a six roomed house, kitchen detached, and 25 acres of cultivated land, good garden of two acres, planted with fruit and ornamental trees.

It seems that a few encounters with the law for Alfred and Maria, may have been a reflection of the times, and with numerous property fires, the couple fell on hard times. On 25 March 1891, a notice was advertised in the Euroa Advertiser by Mr. T. S. Moore, assignee, against Alfred Curtis Tuckett for insolvency. It appears that despite Alfred Curtis being declared insolvent, the same was not reported of Maria who continued to operate businesses in Violet Town, as well as leasing more land in Shadforth in 1894 and 1895.

Euroa Advertiser, New Insolvents

On New Years Even 1899, a fire burnt the boarding house of Maria Tuckett to the ground. Few possessions could be saved. This was not the first fire on the Tuckett’s properties, with the first occurring in September 1885, and then again in September 1895, fortunately on these occasions there wasn’t a lot of damage to the properties.

Euroa Advertiser, 5 January 1900

It is this large fire, destroying a substantial business for Maria that may have instigated their move to Caulfield, Victoria between 1900 and 1904. Maria sold lot 11, Primrose Street, Violet Town to Herman Gerhard Meyer on 19 April 1905.

When next we hear of the Tuckett’s is upon the death of Alfred Curtis on 25 July 1904 at the family home, “Myrtle”, from a cerebral hemorrhage. The significance of the family home name, “Myrtle”, originates from Alfred Curtis’s childhood home in Bristol, England.

Registration of Death, A. C. Tuckett, 25 July 1904

One must wonder what was happening for the couple at the time of Alfred Curtis’s death because despite financial means, he was buried in plot 2063 at Bundoora Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Maria, following her husband’s death, moves to Victoria Park in Western Australia, where she lives with her son, Francis John.

Western Australian rates books shows that Maria bought land in Victoria Park up until her death on 7 November 1922.

Perth, Western Australia, Australia, Rate Books, 1880 – 1946

On 4 August 1914, Britian declared war on Germany. Neither the Australian government nor the 324,000 who signed up to fight for their country would know at the time the human sacrifice and financial toll that World War 1 would have on Australia.

Like many young men, Maria would farewell three of her sons and one grandson, with great pride and undoubtedly a tear in her eye, sadly she would only welcome back one son and grandson.

Francis John Tuckett was the eldest son, aged 40 years, to join the Australian Imperial Force in the 3rd Australian Division Signals Company where he reached the rank of Lieutenant. His oldest son Francis Curtis Tuckett would also join the same day with his Father, at the young age of 16 years.

Lewis Allen Tuckett was aged 35 years when he joined the Australian Imperial Force on 17 August 1914 and like his older brother and nephew, Lewis was in the 3rd Division Signal Company where he reached the rank of Captain and awarded several bravery medals.

It must have been some comfort for both Maria, and the wives of Francis John and Lewis, for Francis Curtis to be deployed in the same division as his Father and Uncle. Sadly, this comfort would turn to grief, when on 14 October 1917, they would both witness the death of Francis John when he was killed in action in Belgium. He would be buried Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium.

F. J. Tuckett, Headstone, Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium

Philip Samuel Tuckett was the youngest son born to Maria and Alfred Curtis, he would join the Australian Imperial Force on 3 February 1916 in the 3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion at the age of 31 years. Two days after being promoted to second Lieutenant, Philip Samuel, would be killed by shell fire in Flers, France on 24 November 1916. He would be buried at Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.

Memorial Plaques, Kings Park, Western Australia

Maria Tuckett would remain in Victoria Park, Western Australia up until her death on 7 November 1922. The devastation of losing two sons in World War 1, she commemorated both their deaths with memorial plaques in Kings Park, Western Australia. Maria is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery and Crematorium in Karrakatta, Western Australia, along side her son, Alexander. The headstone also displays the names of her sons, Francis John and Philip Samuel.

Headstone, Maria Tuckett, Karrakatta Cemetery

Alfred Curtis and Maria Tuckett will be remembered as business owners and community members of Violet Town. While they had their ups and downs financially, this was not unusual for this time in history, they did endure and their ability to purchase property in their later years in Caulfield and then in Perth show the remained financially stable up until their deaths.


In the next edition of Who lived here, Ancestor Detective introduces Hermann Gerhard Meyer as the next owner of lot 11, Primrose Street, Violet Town.

References:

Essex, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1935, TUCKETT, Alfred and CURTIS, Helen Maria, 22 February 1831. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death, 1578-1837, TUCKETT, Alfred Curtis, 22 Aug 1833. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

McDonald, Majorie, n.d. The Tuckett Legacy, England.

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Collection: Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Index of Apprentices; Class: BT 150; Piece Number: 7

Death Index. Australia. Victoria. 1900.  BRYANS, Elizabeth. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.

Marriage Index. Australia. Victoria. 1867.  TUCKETT, Alfred Curtis and BRYANS, Maria. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1868.  TUCKETT, Helen. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1868.  TUCKETT, Lillian Victoria. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1871.  TUCKETT, Alfred Curtis. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1873.  TUCKETT, Frederick William. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1875.  TUCKETT, Francis John. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1877.  TUCKETT, Maria Maud. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1879.  TUCKETT, Lewis. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1882.  TUCKETT, Alexander. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1885.  TUCKETT, Phillip Samuel. The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The Argus (Melbourne: 1848 – 1957), (17 May 1860), Missing Persons, Melbourne, p. 1

New South Sales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW: 1832 – 1900), (9 October 1860), Curtis Tuckett, NSW, p. 1929.

PROV, VPRS 5357/P0000 Land Selection and Correspondence Files, Unit 5194, T12164 Alfred C Tuckett Marraweeny, 1881.

Euroa Advertiser, (23 December 1887), Marraweeny, Euroa, p. 3.

Euroa Advertiser, (28 November 1884), Notice for Application for a Colonial Wine License, Euroa.

Euroa Advertiser, (11 March 1887), Notice of Tender, Euroa.

Euroa Advertiser, (5 January 1900), Violet Town News, Euroa.

Death Index. Australia. Victoria. 1904.  TUCKETT, Alf Curtis.  Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010..

Registration of Death, Alfred Curtis Tuckett, 25 July 1904, Caulfield, VIC. Victoria Births, Deaths and Marriages, Melbourne, Victoria. Copy in possession of author.

Australia, City Directories, 1845 – 1948, Western Australia, Australia. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Perth, Western Australia, Australia, Rate Books, 1880 – 1946. Maria Tuckett.

Death Index. Australia. Victoria. 1922.  TUCKETT, Maria.  Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010..

National Archives of Australia: Second Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914 -1920; B2455, Army Personnel Files; B2458 for item number 10854, TUCKETT, Francis Curtis.  14 April 2005.

National Archives of Australia: Second Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914 -1920; B2455, Army Personnel Files; B2455 for item number Lieutenant, TUCKETT, Francis John.  14 April 2005.

National Archives of Australia: Second Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914 -1920; B2455, Army Personnel Files; B2455 for item number Captain, TUCKETT, Lewis.  14 April 2005.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1884, Certificate of Title Lot 11 Primrose Street, Violet Town, Melbourne.

Find A Grave, Tuckett, Maria. Australia and New Zealand, Find A Grave Index, 1800s – Current. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Watts, Jillian, 2018, Brief family history of Alfred Curtis Tuckett (1833 – 1904) and his descendants, https://familystoriesforsharing.blogspot.com/.

Who lived here?….Part 1 – John Kelly

Ancestor Detective was asked to research the previous owners of a little cottage in Primrose Street, Violet Town after the current owner discovered that the cottage was built in 1895 and once owned by a German family. She became intrigued about how a German family came to be living in a small rural town. Ancestor Detective traces the families who owned the property and writes of their lives living in Violet Town.


Violet Town is 174 kilometers (or 108 miles) north east of Melbourne in Victoria and at the base of the Strathbogie Ranges. Originally names ‘Violet Creek’ the inland town was one of the first to be surveyed in 1838. The town is renowned for being a stop over for Major Thomas Mitchell who on his Australia Felix exploration camped on the banks of what was then called Violet Creek and became Honeysuckle Creek. At the time Major Mitchell noted that the swamps and marshes had a profusion of wild violets and he named the district Violet Ponds.

Settlement in Violet Town was slow initially but once the first hotel, the Royal Mail Hotel, was built by Thomas Clarke. With this development and the movement of people using Sydney Road, later called the Hume Highway, as a thoroughfare between Melbourne and Sydney that land started to sell.


John Kelly was born in about 1832 to Samuel Kelly and Jane Satermaite (Saterwaite) in Melbourne. In 1872, aged 30 years, John married Mary Jane Block, aged 18 years at the time and the daughter of Samuel Block and Margaret Kincaid. Not long after their marriage, John and Mary would settle in Violet Town where their first son, Samuel John Kelly, was born in 1873. Mary Jane would go onto have eight more children consisting of five sons and four daughters.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1882, Certificate of Title

Around this time on 10 December 1878, the notorious Kelly gang held up the bank in nearby Euroa. In the ensuing weeks that followed, local Police and residents scoured the land surrounding Euroa and Violet Town for the gang members but were unsuccessful in finding the bush ranges. I was during this time that newspaper articles were reporting that the Kelly gang were housed up in Violet Town, much to the disgust of locals who argued that Violet Town was one of the most honest communities in the colony and to accuse townsfolk of harboring the fugitives was outrages.

It makes you wonder with the Kelly gang in the local area and known to have stopped by in the town of Violet and nearby Euroa, whether there was an association with John Kelly. We may never know?

The Leader, 18 December 1880

In 1882 for fifteen pounds a local store keeper, John Kelly, became the first owner of the allotment 11, section 19 in Primrose Street, Violet Town. The block of land being two roods and eight perches (or half an acre). In his publication, What it was like then, Darryl Parker describes that bark huts were built to house the growing population and it is likely to be the first home to be built on the lot 11.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1875, Violet Town Parish Map

In the late 1880’s John Kelly became the local publican of the Traveller’s Rest Hotel in Sydney Road, Violet Town for some time. In February 1887, an advertisement instructing the offer for sale by auction two shops, dwelling houses, and allotments of land situated in Cowslip Street, Violet Town and the property of Mr Kelly.

Euroa Advertiser, 4 February 1887

Again in July 1898, John Kelly advertised for the let or sale of the Traveller’s Rest Hotel. The advertisement described the property to be located on Sydney Road near the railway station and consisting of a three parts furnished hotel, stablings and outbuildings, two and half acres to 12 and half acres of land.

Euroa Advertiser, 1 July 1898

While no advertisement of sale references lot 11 in Primrose Street, Violet Town a record of title the Certificate of Title for the property transferred ownership to Maria Tuckett on 1 October 1884.

The Kelly family remained in Violet Town until about 1894 when there youngest child, Theodore Phillip Kelly was born. Soon after the Australian electoral roll finds the Kelly family living on a farm in Boho not far from the township of Violet Town. Up until his death on 13 August 1911, John Kelly resided in his farm in Boho. In his final will and testament, John Kelly left considerable farming property along with stock, farming equipment and dwellings to his wife Mary Jane Kelly.

Mary Jane Kelly died in 1923 leaving her estate to her sons, Joseph Edward and Theodore Phillip.


In the next edition of Who lived here, Ancestor Detective introduces Albert and Maria Tuckett as the next owners of lot 11, Primrose Street, Violet Town.

References:

Violet Town Centenary Celebrations Committee, 1949, Violet Town Centenary Celebrations, Matthews Publishing Company, Melbourne.

Parker, Darryl, n.d, What it was like then, Parker, Darryl.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1842.  KELLY, John. Australia, Birth Index 1788 – 1922.

Marriage Index. Australia. Victoria. 1872.  KELLY, John and BLOCK, Mary Jane. Australia, Marriage Index 1788 – 1950.

Birth Index. Australia. Victoria. 1854.  BLOCK, Mary Jane. Australia, Birth Index 1788 – 1922.

Euroa Advertiser, 26 February 1909, Sticking up the Euroa Bank, Euroa, p. 2.

The Leader, 18 December 1880, To The Editor of the Leader, p. 6.

Australia Birth Index. Victoria. 1873.  KELLY, Samuel John. Australia, Birth Index 1788 – 1922.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1875, Violet Township Map, County of Moira.

Euroa Advertiser, 4 February 1887, Fortnightly Stock Sale Day, Euroa, p. 3.

Euroa Advertiser, 1 July 1898, To be let or sale, p. 3.

Public Records Office Victoria, 1884, Certificate of Title Lot 11 Primrose Street, Violet Town, Melbourne.

Death Index. Australia. Victoria. 1911.  KELLY, John. Australia, Death Index 1787 – 1985.

Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Victoria; Victorian Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925; KELLY, John.

Death Index. Australia. Victoria. 1923.  KELLY, Mary Jane. Australia, Death Index 1787 – 1985

Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Victoria; Victorian Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925; KELLY, Mary Jane.