THE STORY OF THE GREGORY FAMILY
THE STORY OF THE GREGORY FAMILY
by Peter E. Walker
HEZEKIAH GREGORY (1813-1903)
As is the case with so much family history study, there often comes a point where our search for ancestors simply drifts through the veil of time and into the unknown. Such is the case with our links to the Gregory family and although the latter part of the story is fairly well detailed through family and other records there is little known before the period of the late eighteenth century.
Our story opens towards the end of the 1700’s with the birth of William Gregory.
Where, we do not know, however we do know that at some further time he met a woman by the name of Elizabeth Skelton and during September of 1813 they had a child who they named Hezekiah.
After briefly playing their part in the evolution of our family, William and Elizabeth unfortunately fade from our gaze as nothing further is known of them other than their pivotal role in our family structure.
There are suggestions that the name Gregory is of Scottish origin and Skelton is possibly from the Yorkshire or Cambrian regions of England where it is loosely taken to mean “a hill of separation or boundary”.
In the early part of the 1800’s Hezekiah appears to have been living in London where he met a woman by the name of Susannah Philp Inch. Susannah was one of the children of John Inch, a prominent London water supply engineer, and his wife Sarah Callaway.
Apparently John was convinced that his family was above the likes of Hezekiah and he was not in any way encouraging of the relationship that was developing between his daughter and this man.
When Hezekiah and Susannah announced their intention to marry, family folklore tells us that John forbade any members of his family attending the ceremony.
Undeterred by this rejection, the young couple were married at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London, on the 7th of August 1836. Following the wedding they appear to have settled in the Pimlico region of London where over the next few years their first two children, both daughters, were born.
The birth of their third child, their first son, occurred during 1840 and around this time it appears that they may have decided to make what would possibly become the biggest move of their lives, to travel across the world and start a new life in the colony of New South Wales.
Hezekiah, Susannah and their three children, Susannah Philp, Jane and Alexander Ray set sail from England on the emigrant ship GLOBE on the 27th of April 1841.
Family folklore tells of how they brought two horses with them on the journey, possibly as investment, possibly for their own use, however neither of them survived the journey.
Following a voyage of four months they arrived in Sydney and soon after moved to the Port Stephens district of the north coast.
This was an area of considerable growth at the time owing to a grant of over one million acres made in 1826 to the Australian Agricultural Company who were based in the area.
From family information it seems that Hezekiah was brought to Australia by this company and although he came as a carpenter, he obtained work as a sawyer in the timber industry in the region.
Over time the other seven children who were to complete the family were all born in the Port Stephens district.
After living the remainder of her life in the region Susannah Philp Inch, to use her maiden name, died during October of 1883 at age 71, our line of the family coming down through their ninth child Louisa Gregory. Louisa was born at Stroud, New South Wales, in August of 1852 and spent her childhood on the north coast.
At the age of eighteen she had a relationship with a man by the name of Robert Sainty, this resulting in the birth during 1871 of a daughter who she named Louisa. This child died as an infant during 1872 and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney.
The location may indicate that she had moved to Sydney by this time. Robert left Louisa after the death of the child and went on to raise a large family with her younger sister Ida, who had been recently widowed by the death of her husband, John Crowley. Robert finally married Ida in 1904 around twenty years after the birth of their last child.
1876 was a major turning point in Louisa Gregory’s life. It was in this year that she married Robert’s younger brother James Sire Sainty at Darlinghurst in Sydney.
James had immigrated to Australia at the age of four with his parents John Sainty and Elizabeth Offley in1856 and it is likely that on the death of his mother in 1864, when he was around twelve years of age, he had moved to the upper north shore in Sydney where his father went with his new wife to establish an orchard.
The location of the wedding indicates gives further support to the idea that Louisa had probably left the north coast permanently.
They appear to have settled somewhere on the upper north shore as their first three of their eventual twelve children were born in the Lane Cove area. This may reflect on James having lived there as a child.
By 1888 they had moved to Raper Street, Newtown, an inner Sydney suburb, where James was employed as a lamplighter. While at this location they were joined by Louisa’s father Hezekiah who appears to have lived with them until his death in 1903.
Although unsure of how long they remained at Newtown, by 1913 the family had moved to a house named NAMI KO in Millar Street, Haberfield. It was while living here that their youngest son, Frederick Leslie Sainty enlisted for military service during World War 1. Frederick was subsequently killed in action in France during July of 1916, a loss from which his mother never recovered.
In 1921 the family had moved again, this time to Cambridge Road at Canley Vale and it was in this area that James Sire Sainty died in 1932. At an unknown time following the death of her husband, Louisa went to live with her youngest daughter Thelma at Ryde in Sydney and is believed to have been living there when she passed away in August of 1942, just a few days short of her 90th birthday.
With her death the last direct link with the Gregory name on our family line was extinguished.
Although gold had been discovered in isolated pockets throughout Australia prior to 1841 the main gold rush period did not happen until after Hargraves’ discovery at Bathurst in 1851 and as such it is unlikely that the lure of gold was the reason that Hezekiah and Susannah decided to leave England for a new life in the colony of New South Wales.
It is more than likely that the reason they chose this new direction in their life was as a result of the hostile relationship between Susannah and her father.
It has been suggested by some family historians that so great was this hostility that even while in England Susannah did not allow her father to see his grandchildren.
Although John Inch may well have brought this situation on himself by his “priggish’ attitude, in the fullness of time life proved to be very hard on this man.
Of the four known children of John Inch and Sarah Callaway, it is believed that two sons were both drowned in the River Thames, one daughter died as an infant and the remaining one, Susannah, left England never to return or be seen by her family again.
Hezekiah Gregory was buried at Rookwood, New South Wales in the family plot of his daughter Louisa and her husband James Sire Sainty.
Susannah Philp Inch is believed to have been buried in what is now an unmarked grave at Moorlands Cemetery which is located on the east side of the Pacific Highway and to the north of Taree, a long, long way from Pimlico, London.
Peter E. Walker.
Sankey / Sainty / Santy of Norfolk England. by J.C. and M.R. Sainty. Published by the Library of Australian History. 2003 ISBN 0 9 579 524 5 7
Ghost Ports of Australia. By Jeff Toghill Published by The McMillan Company of Australia ISBN 0 333 38067 3
Various Sainty family records.
Information provided Mrs. D. Walker.
Information provided by Mrs. G. Gubbay.
Information provided by Mr. R. Burling.
Moorlands Cemetery. North Coast. N.S.W.