Of all the ancestors I have uncovered, the one who most inspires me and the one whom I most admire is my great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann Lally.
Mary Ann was born in approx 1835 to Eliza and Martin Lally. Records, including immigration documents as well as Mary Ann’s marriage and death certificates, list Martin as a blacksmith.
By 1848 Mary Ann and at least two younger siblings, Margaret and John, had been orphaned and the two girls were living in the Loughrea Workhouse in County Galway. I am uncertain what happened to John at this time but it is quite likely that he was also in the Workhouse. Similarly, I have not been able to discover whether any other siblings were also in the Workhouse.
In 1848, Mary Anne and Margaret were ‘selected’ to be participants in the Earl Grey Irish Orphan Scheme and, on 4th November 1848, they set sail aboard the ship, Inchinnan for the three-month journey to Australia. How hard it must have been for them to leave their young brother John behind, never knowing if they would see him again.
Upon arrival in Port Jackson, Sydney on 13th February 1849, the girls were taken to the Hyde Park Barracks to recover from their journey before being placed in service. It appears that Mary Ann found life in service a little difficult and was, at one time, returned to the Barracks, having been charged with disobedience by her employer, J F Heaney. In conducting a little research on J F Heaney, it appears he was an ex-convict printer who was operating in Sydney. Just what the nature of Mary Ann’s supposed disobedience was, I have not been able to uncover.
[In numerous visits to the Barracks I have found it quite emotional to see the existing relics, wondering if any may have belonged to Mary Ann.]
The next record I have of Mary Ann is on Tuesday, 29th March 1853 when, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, she married Isaac Walton who had migrated here from America. Isaac had been a merchant sailor and arrived in Sydney in March 1849 aboard the ship, Lucy Ann.
One of the witnesses to the marriage was Mary Scurr who, as Mary Kelly, had also been in the Loughrea Workhouse and travelled to Australia on the Inchinnan as part of the Orphan Scheme. The second witness was Roland Fawcett who married Honora Fergus, another Irish orphan girl from Loughrea. I love that I have found this extra dimension to my 2x great-grandmother and am happy that she had some friends from her native home.
Only a few years later, at 13 Kent St in the overcrowded and unhygienic area of the Rocks where they were living, Mary Ann gave birth to a son, Edward, on 8th March 1856. Sadly, Edward only lived for a few days, dying on 15th March due to ‘a debility from birth’. He was buried on 17th March at the Catholic Burial ground. Isaac’s occupation, on both Edward’s birth and death certificates is given as sawyer. . I believe that Edward may have been Mary Ann and Isaac’s second son to die but have not been able to uncover any firm birth or death records as this period was prior to civil registration.
Following Edward’s death, Mary Ann and Isaac moved to the Shoalhaven area, settling at Broughton’s Creek. In 1858 a daughter, Mary was born and in the following sixteen years another six children followed: Sarah Jane (6th October 1861), John A (7th November 1863), Margaret (8th March 1866), Francis Martin (26th August 1868), Elizabeth (4th May 1872) and Ellen (26th November 1874).
14th November 1859, Isaac’s name appears in the newspaper, The Illawara Mercury, on a list of landowners and tenants in a testimonial vowing their respect and admiration for Alexander Berry. It is interesting to note that the name of Timothy O’Brien, the husband of Margaret Lally (Mary Ann’s sister), is alongside that of Isaac’s in the testimonial.
Sadly, not all of Mary Ann and Isaac’s children survived childhood. In May 1868, two of the children died in the space of ten days due to diphtheria – John on 15th May at the age of 4 and a half years and Sarah Jane on 25th May at age 6 and a half years. Nine years later, on 25th February 1877, Ellen died at the age of two years and four months, also from diphtheria.
On a happier note, Mary Ann and her sister Margaret stayed in close contact and in 1859 were reunited with their brother John, who migrated to Australia.
Mary Ann lived to 79 years of age and is buried in Berry Cemetery alongside her husband and three of her children.
Children of Isaac and Mary Ann WALTON
Edward b. 8 Mar 1856, Sydney, NSW d. 17 Mar 1856, Sydney, NSW
Mary b. 1 Oct 1858, Shoalhaven, NSW m. William McKERROW 1879, Nowra, NSW d. 2 Dec1919, Murwillumbah, NSW
Sarah Jane b. 6 Oct 1861, Broughton Creek, NSW d. 25 May 1868, Broughton Creek, NSW
John A b. 7 Nov 1863, Broughton Creek, NSW d. 15 May 1868, Broughton Creek, NSW
Margaret b. 8 Mar 1866, Shoalhaven, NSW m. Thomas HETHERINGTON 1893, Berry, NSW d. 12 Apr 1950, Coniston
Francis Martin b. 26 Aug 1868, Broughton Creek, NSW m. Martha HETHERINGTON 23 Mar 1894, Berry, NSW d. 19 Dec 1939, Ultimo, NSW
Elizabeth b.4 May 1872, Broughton Creek, NSW d. 8 Nov 1968, Newtown, NSW
Ellen b. 26 Nov 1874, Broughton Creek, NSW d. 23 Feb 1877, Broughton Creek, NSW
I am proud to be related to this tough, resilient and gutsy woman.