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Cowper

Morrison, W. F. The Aldine Centennial History of New South Wales. Vol. 2, 1888

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MARY ANN McMAHON
Hotelkeeper, born at Browlee, near Moruya, N.S.W. in 1839 and married to Michael McMahon in her fifteenth year. Michael McMahon was a native of County Clare, Ireland and came to Australia 1848. Spent first 12 months at Camden, then to Moruya where he started farming. Shortly after marriage startedstorekeeping on the Waterfalls goldfields. He established a hotel and ran both for about six years. From Waterfalls to Merrigundah goldfields and remained until the digging failed after eight years. Having purchased land on the Clarence moved to occupy it but his death took place in 1886. About 1876 Mr. McMahon had purchased several village allotments at Cowper upon which he erected the hotel now conducted by his widow. She also owns the Commercial Hotel at 'Ulmarra and is the mother of 14 children. Two sons own a sawmill on the Coldstream doing a large business, a third is the proprietor of a Lawrence while two others are in business in Brisbane. She has also two married daughters.

W. T. PULLEN
Storekeeper, was born in Camden, N.S.W. 1851 proceeded to the diggings, visiting the famous Ophir goldfields. Following similar occupations on the various rushes of N.S.W. He in 1867 erected a quartz crushing machine it Hill End which he carried on till 1876 when he opened a storekeeping business at Cowper. This concern has steadily grown until at the present time Mr. Pullen does the largest trade in the district and on the, Lower Clarence.. In addition to storekeeping he does an extensive trade in maize and in the carrying trade on the river for the latter of which he was in possession of several punts.. In 1883 he established a sugar mill at Woolgoolga with a capacity of 50 tons per 12 hour day, it being the second largest in the district. He is married and the father of nine children.

MOSES TROTTER
Farmer, born in County Armagh, Ireland and came to Australia about 1865. He went to the Clarence about November of the same year and was employed for a time by a Mr. A. McMullan. At first he disliked the country and informed his friends in Sydney that he was about to leave but they strongly advised him to remain and take up land, at the same time offering substantial assistance. The encouragement induced him to select 83 acres near Coldstream and three years afterwards to increase it by the addition of 42 acres adjoining making in all a good farm of which he is still the proprietor. About 1876 he purchased a farm from Mr. John See at Lower Southgate for 400 which he sold three years afterwards for 600. He then purchased 58 acres at Cowper for 2,030 for ten acres of which he was offered l,000 in the course of a year. This fact affords some idea of the value of land. In 1882 Mr. Trotter came to reside on the new farm where he grows sugar cane and maize for which the land is admirably adapted as it is one of the richest farms on the Clarence River. He was married in 1871 in Grafton to ,Miss S. Lunney by whom he has five sons and three daughters.

DR. MILLER SEMPLE
(From Aldine Centennial History of N.S.W. Vol. 11 by W. Frederick Morrison, 1888). Dr. Miller Semple M.B. Ch.M. is a native of Glasgow where he was born and educated. He prosecuted his medical studies at the university of his native city and in 1884 obtained his diplomas. After passing his degree examinations he gave his attention to special subjects, studying in Dublin and Vienna. He was appointed resident physician and surgeon to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, which position he held for about 15 months. In 1886 he came to Australia and opened a practice in Brushgrove, Clarence River and at present has a comfortable connection being popular in the district. He is Honorary Surgeon to the Ulmarra Light Horse.

MR. WESTON
The first teacher at Cowper was drowned when the "New England" was wrecked on the Clarence bar.

MISS SHARP
The first assistant teacher boarded at McMahon's Hotel, Cowper.

CONNOR
Amongst the early settlers on the Clarence were James and Mary Connor. Travelling by bullock waggon and horseback from the Hunter Valley they settled at Coola Creek in 1862. Their sons John, James, Robert and Hugh settled on the Coldstream and .William on the banks of the river at Cowper. Grandchildren of John Connor - Bert and Daphne Bultitude - attended Cowper School, as did great grandchildren Dawn and Warren Bultitude (a present day pupil). Bertie, Carl and Valda Connor (also grandchildren of John Connor) attended Cowper School, as did Jean, Fay, Dawn, Don, Nancy, Colin and Allan Hayman - the children of Valda. William's family consisted of Will, Joseph, Sarah, Lillian, May, Ella, Arthur and Samuel, the three youngest attending the first school at Cowper. The families of Joseph-Eric, Ida, Joyce and Kelvin - and of Ella - Ian and Ilma Benson - and the grandchildren of William Jnr.-Nancy and Caroline Hayes, and Beryl, Jean, Keith, Fred and Peter Connor (a present day pupil) all attended Cowper School. Earliest available records show the enrolment of Samuel Connor in the 1890's. He completed his schooling under Messrs Caradice and McDonald. His sons, Raymond, Dudley and Howard attended Cowper School. The families of Ray, Beverley, Pamela and Russell-and of Howard-Greg, Lyn, Andrew and Heather (a present day pupil)-complete three generations of association with Cowper School.

BLANCH FAMILY
Frederick George Blanch came originally from the County of Kent, England, where he was born in 1838. When only two years of age the late gentleman was brought to Australia by his parents. The family, after disembarking at Sydney, proceeded by bullock team to the Hunter River where they were engaged in dairying pursuits for some little time. Shortly after the big flood in the Hunter River in 1858, Mr. F. G. Blanch made the trip to the Clarence in the small paddlewheel steamer "Grafton", and sailing up the river, came to Rocky Mouth, now Maclean, untouched by even the fringe of European settlement. Further up the river they came to Lawrence, then known as The Elbow, where they passed the first signs of habitation by whites, a squatter's out station having been formed in this locality. Along the course of the stream a landing was effected at Ulmarra, or the Sandspit of that period, where a few farmers were living In tents and gunyas.

The young pioneer obtained employment in clearing work until the arrival of the rest of the family about two months later, when he assisted his father to split a quantity of iron bark shingles for a resident of Grafton, which took them to the Swan Creek Ridge in search of the special kind of timber needed. Eventually a farm was secured at Lower Ulmarra, which when cleared yielded a harvest of maize. When, under the Free Selection Act, the family took up land at the back of the South Arm, a little above the junction of the Coldstream, wheat was planted and subsequently cotton, but machinery was difficult to obtain. A stripping machine procured from the Hawkesbury River, where they were largely used at the time, proved unsuitable, as it required eight bullocks to work it, and these animals were found to be too slow to make the necessary speed, while farm horses had not yet been brought into use in the district. Rust, too, was prevalent, so that wheat proved a partial failure, and as cotton pods matured in the rainy season, which injured the quality, while in the absence of cotton gins the seed could not be extracted from the fibre, this industry fared even worse.

Upon the inception of the sugar industry, however, the late Mr. Blanch's father erected a fairly large steam sugar mill, which proved a very successful departure and in 1865 the younger man started on his own account on a farm at Cowper, where he continued for 44 years. In the early nineties the dairying industry began to come into prominence and gradually Mr. Blanch confined his; efforts to work of this nature, Ultimately retiring from active life and re-moving to Grafton, where he died in May, 1915, aged 77 years. Frederick George Blanch married Jean Kirk. 'They had 10 children and all attended Cowper School. Mrs. Blanch was born at Airdrie, Scotland.

JOHNSON FAMILY
 
Frank Ritchie Johnson was born at Lower Coldstream in 1866. His parents selected 40 acres of land which was held by the family until 1923. The same year a block of land on the eastern bank of Lower Coldstream was purchased by F. R. Johnson. Members of the family who attended the Cowper School were Reg (decd.), Ron, Frank, Alan and Ilma. Frank and Alan still reside on the property. In 1956 they purchased the property of the late Jane Johnson (no relation) who was one of the first settlers in the district.

NAPPER
 
Ellen Blanch married Charles Napper in 1887. Their seven children attended Cowper Schoct-Lena (Mrs. P. Sellers), Edmund, May (Mrs. S. McGregor), Amy (Mrs. J. Gillies), Weston, Una (Mrs. W. Carson) and Russell. Weston Napper's three daughters attended Cowper School-Roberta (Mrs. K. Harris), Nancy (Mrs. B. Parker), and Isabel (Mrs. R. Atcheson).

GILLIES
Amy Napper married John Gillies. Their two sons Donald and Kenneth attended Cowper School.

GRAY
Great great grandchildren of Frederick and Jane Blanch who attended Cowper School were Neil Gray, Jean (Mrs. C. Charman) and Ronald Gray.

BAIRD
Katherine Blanch married John Baird. . Their family attended Cowper School. James, Frederick and Jean (Mrs. John Flynn), "Flynn of the Inland".

THOMSON
William Peace Thomson came to Australia from the Orkney Isles, Scotland, about 1888. He arrived in Australia with 2 ($4) and worked at Yulgilbar for the Ogilvies for two years. His two sisters Margaret and Tomina came out from Orkney to join him in 1891 at Lower Palmers Island. In 1908 they purchased the property known as Young's at Cowper. They built the present house in 1913. This land still belongs to the Thomsons to-day. In 1920 William and Belle Thomson, brother and sister, came from the home land to join their uncle and two aunties. They came to help them on the farm. ln 1932 Belle married Dave French and moved to Sydney and in 1935 William, renown as Bill, married Evie Blanch from Lower Ulmarra. They had two children, Jean and Norman. They both attended Cowper Public School between 1948 and 1958. Norman is deceased. Jean is Mrs. Reg Barnier of Cowper and their two children are Cathy and Peter. Cathy is at present attending Cowper School.

BAILEY
After their marriage in 1893, Ephriam and Drucilla Bailey settled at Cowper, where they engaged in mixed farming until 1920, when they left to live at Tweed Heads. Five children were born to them - Eric, Alva, Wesley, Eunice and Ina. All had their schooling at Cowper Public School. Alva paid the supreme sacrifice in World War I in 1917. Eric passed on in 1967 and Wesley in 1972. When the family moved to Tweed Heads in 1920, the property was rented to the Glyde family for eight years. In July 1928, the late Arthur Bailey (cousin of Ephriam Bailey), ,Mrs. Bailey and sons Mervyn and Carl leased the property, remaining there for 29 years. Carl attended Cowper School. Upon the death of Ephriam Bailey in 1956 the farm was sold to Mr. and Mrs. C. I. Davidson, and Mrs. Arthur Bailey moved to Ulmarra, Arthur having passed on. Carl and his wife Jean (nee Bultitude) settled in the village of Cowper, and each of their four children - Geoffrey, Maureen, Graeme and Beverley-attended the local school.

LEE FAMILY
Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Lee and family came to Cowper in 1926 from "Hillview", Lower Coldstream. They were dairy farmers and established an A.I.S. stud called "Isleview". They produced many top quality cattle and were one of the most successful show exhibitors. Florrie, Thelma and Cliff attended Cowper School, and Cliff's son, Geoff, also attended. Geoff's daughter Annette is a present day pupil.

THOMAS HUNTER FOGGO
Born Haddington, near Edinburgh, Scotland, 4/l/1847, died 5/3/1912 at Grafton, N.S.W. in September, 1870 he married Mary Warrell (nee McGowan, born Edinburgh),the widow of James Warrell of Brusbgrove, who died October, 1868, leaving six children , five of whom were among the first pupils of Cowper Public School. They were William J., Mary Jane, Henrietta, James D. A., and John A. The eldest, considered above school age, was Jemima, who later married Pat McMahon, one time keeper of Lawrence Hotel and then at Commercial Hotel. Grafton. Henrietta married Andrew Everingham, farmer of Tyndale (where the writer of this was born) who later retired to Lawrence.

Thomas H. Foggo was a fine scholar - the owner of a fine library; a skilled builder of houses and boats, and is reputed to have built the first ferry used at Brushgrove-Cowper, also the local hotel; and the lovely home "Elisame" at Lower Southgate. (The home of his youngest child Elsie E. who became Mrs. S. H. Short, was many his doing though lie was by then getting on in years). His last years were spent with his two daughters, Nellie and Elsie.

The Foggo family numbered seven-twins Isobella and Henry (1876) died as babies and were buried in their home grounds, where the huge pine tree stood-a district landmark (later felled to make way for the bridge) it having been planted to mark the wee graves. Hunter was an engineer with the N.C.S.N. C/o fleet-James lived in Grafton, as did Helen (Nellie), wife of Norman McDonald. She and Elsie were pupils of Mother Claire of Cowper Convent and noted as artists and musicians, and organisers in many fields, especially in the World War I years. No record of Will M. Foggo.

Thomas H. Foggo was secretary of the first committee of five formed to raise the necessary 100, one third of 300 finance needed before Cowper School could be built and since then Foggo connections are almost constantly in evidence on records as pupils and P. & C. members. Most recent pupils were great grandchildren, sons and daughters of Douglas and Ian Short of Lower Southgate. A grandchild, Norma McDonald (now resident in Scotland) was enrolled by her Aunt Elsie back in 1910. Ronald and Vera, eldest children of S. H. and E. Short were temporary pupils 1921-22, during which time Kathleen McDonald (another Foggo grandchild) was assistant to Mr. D. McLachlan at Cowper School, living part time with the Short relatives. It was common for her to row the "punt boat" from Lower Southgate to Brushgrove with four pupils (Isa and Nellie Bugg and Ronald and Ve Short) and often from Brushgrove to Cowper with a full load, the "puntie" of the day being busy with the punt.

At this time two floods, first for many, many years, played havoc with the school. One sad happening during Miss McDonald's stay at the school was the death by drowning one Sunday afternoon late of one of the senior pupils, ? Eldershaw (Jack or Frank), who had gone rowing with ? Osborne and got into difficulties in the main river below the Brushgrove punt. 'The death of their pal literally silenced the whole school and shocked the district deeply. His body was not found for a day or more.

Brushgrove (and Cowper) in those days, 1921-22, were busy spots. Several stores had local dealers' boats plying their goods along the many miles of river between Ulmarra and Maclean; as well as the dealers' carts (covered waggons) were "hot" with the children, as well as God sends to their parents. Even then the roads weren't the best to negotiate unnecessarily.

The writer well remembers the huge trees, which grew in the school grounds-they were indeed much appreciated in the summer and the gardens were a delight too.

KATHLEEN R. MUNNS
Granddaughter of T.H.F.

SHEEHY
About the year 1900 a young man by the name of Patrick Sheehy arrived on the North Coast by boat from Sydney to seek his fortunes as did his father and mother, John and Catherine Sheehy when they arrived from Limerick Island about the year 1866. His fortunes were rewarded when he married Agnes Donohue of the Coldstream, the youngest of eight daughters and three sons of the late Philip and Elizabeth Donohue. Patrick Sheehy spent his early years farming on the Coldstream and later at Shark Creek ' On the day the First World 'War was declared he arrived with his family of four, Patrick, Joseph, Agnes and Anthony, to take up residence in a small house at Tyndale, from where he conducted his business as road contractor. Two more members of the family were born there, Bessie and John.

After years of struggling to support a fairly large family failing health forced him into retirement. It was during this period that his inspirations led his four sons to construct the beautiful old family home which is a landmark to this day. Built on the exact site of the original home and built at night after the normal day's work. Patrick Sheehy saw the start of this project but did not live to see its completion. Agnes Sheehy passed away in 1962. This building was really the start of the building industry which now embraces a timber mill, timber yard, concrete block factory and a successful building business. The Motel Plantation was built about the year 1961 and helped to establish the small community which now provides employment for 50 families.

Of the family of six who attended Cowper Public School, Agnes and Bessie both live in Sydney, Joseph in Brisbane and John and Tony at Tyndale. In 1971 Patrick passed away leaving a grown up family of five and his granddaughter is now the fourth generation living at Tyndale.

EDMUND NAPPER
and his wife Eliza Hutchings came to Australia from Somersetshire in 1846 and settled in Ulmarra. Family: Mary married Joseph Clark, Lucy - married John Jurd, Sarah - married James Clark, Fanny - did not marry, James - married Harriet Starr, Charles - married Ellen Blanch, John - married Edith Brown. Charles and Ellen settled on a farm at Cowper in 1887. Family: Lena - married Percy Sellers, Edmund - married Winifred Sellers, May - married Stewart McGregor, Amy - married John Gillies, Weston - married Stella Maddox, Una - married William Carson. Russell died at the age of 22.

ARTHUR CLAUDE YAGER
Was born in 1888 at Brushgrove. He attended school at Cowper till 1902, J. McDonald being the teacher, he was awarded many books for reading, spelling and arithmetic. Mr. Yager married Annie Phelps and set up home at Brushgrove, where he was a cane and dairy farmer, they had a family of three girls, Daphne, Merle and Marjorie who attended school at Cowper. He was an active sportsman taking part in cricket and tennis, his brothers Billy, Herb, Jack, Fred, Hunter and sister.; Emma, Barbara and Ethel all attended the Cowper School. The only surviving members of the family are Hunter of Brushgrove and Ethel, Mrs. Austen of Yamba.

BENSON
One of the earliest settlers in the Tyndale district was Richard Benson, who emigrated from Northern Ireland in the 1870's. Two of his sons, William and Horace spent their lives in Tyndale and their families received their primary school education at Cowper. The children of William Benson were Ilma and Ian and of Horace Benson, Ronald and Kelvin. Ron Benson now owns the original property settled by his grandfather and his three sons, Donald, Barry and Stephen attended Cowper Public School where their sister Julie is a pupil at the present time.

WILLIAM LEE
Came from Cambridge, England, with his wife, in the early pioneering of the Clarence. He settled at Lower Ulmarra and helped to pioneer the District. Later he moved to the Richmond Riverr and his son, Walter, took over the farm. Walter married Sophia Phelps, of Southgate. There were twelve children of the marriage and all attended the Cowper Public School. William (Bill, deceased), married Eileen Smith of Brushgrove-, one son, one daughter. Harold (deceased), married Ivy Napper of Rockdale, one daughter, three sons. Edward (Ted, deceased) married Florence Stuart of Tyndale, two sons, two daughters. Reginald (deceased), reported missing, later killed, in First World War. Ray (Mick, deceased) married Irene Smith of Palmers Island, two sons, one daughter. Vera, married John Unwin of Palmers Island, residing at Rathmines, one daughter (deceased), two sons. Roy (Pat, deceased), married Emily Blanch of Ulmarra, two daughters, one son. Charlie (Cotter), married Gladys Porter of Wagga Wagga. Residing at Earlwood, two daughters, one son. Lena (widow), married William, Moxom of Allawah. Residing Liverpool, two sons, one daughter. Arthur (Joe), married Violet Robertson of Woodford Dale. Residing South Grafton, five sons, one daughter. Bessie, married John Stoddard of North Sydney. Residing Tyndale, one daughter. Ivy, married Earl Harrisson of Lower Southgate. Residing Tyndale, three sons, three daughters.

 

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