52 Ancestors #5 Elizabeth Tremellan Trewheeler

Elizabeth Davey, nee Trewheeler (c1802 -1868), ElizabethT to memy great great great grandmother, was the fifth of my direct ancestors to migrate to Australia. This makes her the fifth of my ‘boat people’.

Very little is known of Elizabeth’s early life. According to the informant for her death certificate, she was born in Truro, Cornwall and married there at the age of 20; her father was unknown and her mother was Catherine Trewhaler.

Elizabeth Tremellan Trewheeler was married, after Banns, to Ebenezer Davey on 7th January 1822 in Kenwyn Parish (about ½ mile north of Truro). Both were listed as “of this Parish”. Elizabeth signed her name as Elizabeth T. Trewheeler but the Minister clearly wrote her middle name as ‘Tremellan’.

As I have not found any examples of the surnames ‘Trewhaler’ or ‘Trewheeler’ in the 1841 or 1851 Census for Truro, I suspect that Elizabeth’s surname is a version of the much more common name ‘Trewhella’. Perhaps Tremellan is a clue to an earlier family surname?

Elizabeth and Ebenezer Davey had four children whilst living in Truro: Ebenezer (c1824), Mary (c1826), Elizabeth (c1828) and Jane (unknown).

By 1841, the family was living in Bassett Street, Falmouth, Cornwall. Elizabeth (aged 41) was listed with husband ‘Ebenezar’ (49, Watchmaker J), son ‘Ebenezar’ (18, Cabinetmaker Ap.) and daughter Elizabeth (15). Daughter Mary was not present.

Elizabeth’s son Ebenezer married Mary Holditch in 1848 and, together with his sister Mary, emigrated to Port Phillip the following year.

On the day of the 1851 Census, Elizabeth was not recorded at the family home in Bassett Street. Ebenezer (59, Watchmaker, Journeyman, born Truro) was still living there with daughter Elizabeth (21, Draper’s Assistant, born Truro). Kitty Rashleigh (45, Innkeeper’s wife, born Constantine) was listed as a visitor.

Interestingly, an Elizabeth Davey is listed as a House servant (aged 50, born Falmouth) in nearby Kimberley Place. Her employer was Elizabeth Rogers (38, Draper’s Wife, born Penryn). Two children and a visitor Adeline Rashleigh (20, Draper’s Asst., born Falmouth) were also present.

The connection of both households to Drapery and to people with the surnames Davey and Rashleigh, makes it seem well within the realms of possibility that this “my” Elizabeth Davey.

Two years later, Elizabeth (aged 50), along with her husband Ebenezer (61) and daughter Elizabeth (20) were amongst 190 “unassisted” immigrants in steerage on the barque “Arrogant” which sailed from Plymouth on 29th November 1852 and arrived in Port Phillip on the 3rd April 1853, just in time for her grandson Robert Ferres’ first birthday.

Elizabeth died, aged 65, of ‘Disease of Heart, Apoplexy’ on the 22nd April 1868 in Gisborne St East Melbourne. She was buried two days later in Grave 182, Independent section of the ‘New Cemetery, Melbourne’. Her husband Ebenezer Davey had been buried in the same plot in 1862. A nephew Ebenezer Ferres joined them in 1905.

Questions and Ideas for Future Research
When and where was Elizabeth born?
Who were her parents?
Where was her daughter Mary living for the 1841 Census?
Where was Elizabeth living for the 1851 Census?
Did she work as a servant in 1851?
Were the Rogers and Rashleigh families relatives or friends?
Is Tremellan a family surname?
Does a photo of Elizabeth and/or other members of her family exist?
How much did Ebenezer and Elizabeth have to pay for their fares to Port Phillip?

2 thoughts on “52 Ancestors #5 Elizabeth Tremellan Trewheeler”

  1. Isn’t it amazing how you stories “mirror” the stories I wrote about my “boat people”. I so wanted to discover who came to this country, when, how, and especially why. Are you going to continue up to 52 Ancestors? I will go look at the hosting blog and see what the rules are.

    1. I agree Julie, the coincidence that we were both writing about our boat people at about the same time struck me as I read your posts from earlier this year. My intention is to do a bit more research so I can complete the initial set of stories about my ‘boat people’ then to complete the set of 52 by writing about a selection of their ancestors and/or descendants. The 52 weeks will be spread over this year and next!

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