Mid North Coast Pioneers - Newcastle to Lismore and beyond

JOSEPH AND JANE GORTON AND FAMILY

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JOSEPH AND JANE GORTON AND FAMILY

BIOGRAPHY: Jane Ferguson, third child of John & Janet Ferguson, was born at Herrage, England about 1822-1823 (placeof birth-Herrage was recorded in the Register of Births, at St Luke's Anglican Church at Scone, NSW, when Jane and Joseph registered their first born, a daughter, born and baptised Janet Jane 31-5-1840). Sailed to Australia on the 'Mountaineer' with parents, 2 brothers and 1 sister. Arrived in NSW on the 7th September 1832.

On the same ship were Robert Ferguson, his wife and their four children. Robert was John's brother. Both John and Robert, after their arrival in Sydney, were employed briefly at the woollen mills in Sydney and both became licensee of country inns. According to source, John Ferguson was licensee of an inn at Muswellbrook and district in NSW (not far from Scone) at the time of his daughter's marriage to Joseph Gorton. Jane's parents were still residents of Muswellbrook in 1841 when he, John, signed a memorial to the Governor of NSW, sent from the residents of Muswellbrook and District. Jane's father died about 1853.

Jane assisted her parents at the inn and no doubt it was here she met Joseph Gorton, son of William and Martha Gorton. Jane was only 17 years old and Joseph was 27 years old when they married at Puen Buen, near Scone, NSW on the 10th of July 1839. This was about one year after the township of Scone came into existance in 1838, there were only a few houses there in 1839 and no church. It is not known who married Jane and Joseph, they may have been married by the Magistrate of the district, Captain John Bingle, in his house. Puen Buen was originally the property of Captain Bingle, it adjoined a small village reserve that housed the Court house and Hospital. Marriages in this area were usually performed at Puen Buen or the neighbouring property, Invermun at that time, but in July 1839 the owners of both properties were overseas in England and Scotland respectively. There is another possibility that Jane and Joseph may have been married by Rev J Anderson or by the Chaplain to the Australian Agricultural Company, Rev William Cowper. No record has been found in all research, as to who married Jane and Joseph Gorton.

Following their marriage, the young couple went to live at 'Cassilis' in the upper reaches of the Goulburn River, and tributary of the Hunter River. Here, Joseph set himself up as a grazier, no doubt assisted by the company in the purchase of stock and the leasing of grazing land. It was out in the vast and lonely bush lands that this young 17 year old bride, who had never been apart from her family, began her married life. After a time, Jane became pregnant. Now she had something wonderful to look forward to, the birth of their first child. On the 1st of May 1840, Jane gave birth to the first of their 15 children, a little daughter. Jane and Joseph took their baby daughter to Scone to be baptised on the 31st of May 1840 by Rev John Morse, clergyman, the first Anglican priest to reside at Scone. The baby was baptised Janet Jane.

Contant droughts and bad times drove Joseph and Jane, who was pregnant with her second child, considered leaving this bare parched earth where he, Joseph, had first established himself at Cassilis. After the birth of their second child, another daughter born the 26th of December 1841, the heat at the time was terrible. The dust was blowing across the whole countryside, hardly a blade of green grass anywhere for the cattle to eat. It was more than man, woman or beast could stand much longer. joseph decided to leave. He packed his belongings, herded the cattle which survived the dreadful drought conditions, helped Jane to pack their household effects and saddled his horses, hooked up the bullock team to the dray and finally getting Jane and the two little girls comfortably seated and set off for Patterson River. There would have been very few regrets in leaving Cassilis as far as Jane was concerned, but no doubt Joseph was sad at having to leave the land he had grown to love, his first big venture on his own.

Mary Anne Elizabeth was the name given to their second daughter at her baptism in St Luke's Anglican Church at Scone. She was baptised on the 25th of September 1842. On her Baptismal record at St Luke's Register, Joseph recorded his occupation as 'stock holder', Patterson River. Joseph had leased sufficient land here to graze his stock, setting up home here until a larger area of land became available. Joseph took over the "Brothers Run" which became available for lease in about 1843. It was her beside the "Brothers Range" the Gorton family lived happily dor many years.

Naturally Jane was extremely happy now, she could visit her family often as Scone was not so far from her new home. Jane gave birth to 3 more daughters, Charlotte Sophia ( named after Joseph's two sisters he'd said goodbye to in Shrivenham, England, after both his parents died in 1821), born in 1843, Martha Josephine in 1845, and Eliza Georgina in 1846. On the 28th of March 1848, their first son was born, the first Gorton son and heir. He was baptised George John (George after Jospeh's brother).

Jane and Joseph and their children lived in a homstead, typical of the type occupied by the pioneer grazier: a frame of heavy hardwood corner posts, rough hewn wall and ground plates, split slab walls and floors and topped by a roof of tough fibrous bark, stripped from the stringybark tree. It was located on a fairly high bank of the Black Camp Creek, so as to be near to fresh running water and to have good soil and convenient water for the garden and fruit trees. A couple of cows were kept in the homestead paddock to provide milk.

The family continued to grow, another son, Joseph Ambrose was born in 1850, a daughter, Alice Eda in 1851, then Robert James in 1853, Emma Mary in 1854. David Albert was born in 1856 and William Henry was born on the 26th of January 1858. Joseph had given the address of wher the births had taken place of David and William, when he registered his two sons at Dungog,NSW, as "at Brother's, on the Gloucester side of the Williams River, near Clarence Town". Another two daughters were born, the 14th and 15th members of the Gorton family, Emily Ellen born in 1861 and Julia Maria Fanny born in 1863. Jane lost two little girls, Alice Eda and Emma Mary, both died in childhood. Emily and Emma were both born at Clarence Town, Williams River.

On the 25th of April 1860, Joseph bought the licence of the "Fitzroy Inn", which was situated in Queen Street, near Dark's store, in Clarence Town, from Mr John Robards. the Gorton family, with the exception of George John who stayed on the property to run it and Charlotte who was to housekeep for George, moved into Clarence Town and took up management of the Inn. The older sons, Joseph Ambrose, Robert James, David Albert and William Henry, when old enough to leave school, leased land off their father.

The Inn was a very successful business, even though there were 5 other inns operating in Clarence Town at this time. Clarence Town in the 1860's was a very busy and prosperous town with its river port, its sawmills, shipbuilding yards, flour mills and timber industry. It had 2 banks at one period. It is reputed to be the 7th oldest town in Australia, it was indeed a flourishing settlement in the early days of 1860.

As time went by, Jane's eyesight was failing, due to cataractsin both eyes, she was gradually going blind. Joseph sold the inn and he and Jane moved into one of the houses Joseph had bought in Clarence Town. Most of her children by this time had left home, married with families of their own and only Emily and Julia lived close by and they cared for and helped their mother until her death on the 6th of May 1889 from Chronic Bronchitis. She was buried on the 7th of May 1889 in Stoney Creek Cemetry by J W Upjohn, Church of England Minister. Jane was 67 years old. Joseph soon followed Jane, he died on the 15th of December 1891 at the age of 79 years. He was buried beside his wife Jane, in the Church of England Portion of the Stoney Creek Cemetry.

Given names Surname Sosa Birth Place Death Age Place Last change
Jane FERGUSON
Jane GORTON
1822197Harwich, , England, United Kingdom15May 6, 188913067Clarence Town, , New South Wales, Australia