Sunday, August 17, 2014

Letter Home from the Front

Source:  Trove
(Vic. : 1914 - 1918) - 24 Nov 1916: Page 3
Writing to his father, Mr R. Jones, of Spring Creek Road, Daylesford, from France, Private R. Jones (a native of Creswick) states that he was away from the continual roar of the guns doing a seven days course at a Lewis Gun School. At the end of that period he would return to the trenches. Any one who had come out of the previous month's heavy fighting could shake hands with himself.
He had never expected to emerge alive. After he had gone back to the trenches, after being wounded, they had a very warm time. 

One night at about seven o'clock, just as it had become dark, the Germans started a heavy bombardment and for an hour and a half he was lying in a shell hole under the heaviest fire he had ever heard or seen. A small piece of shell slightly wounded him on one of his fingers. Then the British guns started. The noise of a battery was only as a tin dish to it. 

Archie Anderson was wounded the same morning and he went and brought up a stretcher for him. There was only one of his crowd from Daylesford left and that was Karl Rocky. He saw Stan Coutts the night they were relieved by the latter's battalion, but did not stop to speak to him, as the writer did a fast sprint down the trench. Young Coutts looked alright. He had been speaking to Tom McGuiness and Jim Campbell and a few other Daylesford boys. Young [Neye] was better from his wounds and was back with his battalion. 

Robert Jones enlisted 17th July 1915
The writer was now able to say that he had been in a bayonet charge and in the German 
trenches and that he had had a good go at Fritz. The night they charged there was one deep dug out from which they hunted the Germans. The latter had evidently thought that they were going to hold that part of the world for good, as they had dugouts 40 feet deep and beds in them. "But we soon settled this.'' the writer continues. "We threw some poisonous gas bombs' down and when the Germans came up we got them. One chap was running up rubbing his eyes and crying 'Mercy comrade Australia. Bon-Bon-Bon." The latter is French for good. But we gave him mercy with the bayonet and bombs.

I have heard chaps who were at Gallipoli talking and they reckoned that it was a home to this. I got wounded but those wounds have healed now and I have had a go since then and have to have another yet, but I don't mind as something tells me that I am going to come right through. Whenever I go into the trenches I am never downhearted, I always go in with the intention of coming out again. My word our boys are brave lads, frightened of nothing. I have seen nearly every different type of soldier in the world but give me the old Australians and I am satisfied.'' The writer stated that he had received 31 letters in one batch and concluded by saying that it might not be long before he was with his father again - never [to] leave in a hurry. There was no place like home and he knew it."


According to the Defense records, Bob Jones was injured in France and admitted to hospital on 5th August 1916.  Was it the Battle of the Pozieres (Somme Offensive) that Bob referred to in his letter home?  It seems very likely. 

Archie Anderson (2112), a chemist assistant, mentioned in Bob's letter, unfortunately didn't recover from his wounds and later died on 25th August 1916 from "Gunshot Wound to the head and right arm" and is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery (Somme, France).

Karl "Rocky" Rochstein (2038), a baker, who had lived on the same road as Bob,  made it through until 6th July 1918, when he died due to shrapnel wounds to the abdomen.  He is buried at St Pierre cemetery, Amiens (Somme, France).  His brother Fritz Rochstein made it home.

Stan Coutts (5358), an 18 year old brickmaker, was also "Killed in Action" and is buried at Villers-Bretonneux (Somme, France).

Tom McGuiness (1758), a miner, was "Killed in Action" on 22 July 1918 and is also buried at Villers-Bretonneux.  

Jim Campbell (1074), a grocer, was listed as missing on the 5th August 1916 (the same day that Bob was admitted to hospital).  He was later confirmed "Killed in Action" and is also buried at Villers-Bretonneux.

Source:  Trove
(Vic. : 1914 - 1918) - 24 Nov 1916: Page 3

What looks like "Young Neye", I now believe relates to Henry Noye (1591), who enlisted at Daylesford, Victoria, according to war records was injured but rejoined his Battalion in March 1916.  Henry made it back to Australia alive but I am unsure why he is not listed on the Daylesford Honour Avenue  like Robert (Bob) Jones and his comrades mentioned above.  Maybe because he was not born in the Daylesford area?

I now have a future project in mind.  One day, I will research all those on the Daylesford Avenue of Honour to determine their fate.

"Young Rocky"- Karl Rochstein
Died 6 July 1918
Tom McGuinness
Died 22 July 1918

One of my favourite blog posts is about Robert Jones and can be read here.

This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday.  Please click to view more posts

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cleaning up

"Joker takes a Bath"
1932 - Ted Geyer and Lloyd Pilgrim at Almondale Winiam
Taken by Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

Regular visitors to my blog may notice some small changes?

Jill at Geniaus recently wrote about "Tarting up the Template", which inspired Alex at Family Tree Frog to challenge us to clean up our blogs.

My daughter works in design and is always critical and loses patience when I wont accept her modern ideas! It is not that I am not willing to change (I am) but a genealogy/family history blog is different to a corporate company or artistic design!

My Grandfather, Allan Scott (lying down) with the Scott family boarder (teacher at Manya North School)
I have taken on the suggestions of fellow bloggers and increased my font size (yep as I get older I prefer a larger font too).  I played with the colour of my text too.  White was too stark and harder to read than pale gray so the primary text colour remains unchanged.  However, I have changed (and unified) some of the headings.

In time, I may add some additional tabs to records specific information, to make it easier to locate specific information.

One thing that hasn't changed is the inclusion of themed family photos in my blogs!

Please feel free to provide me with constructive suggestions and visit other participating blogs to give both a positive and a suggested improvement.

Edith Geyer

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Amusing anecdotes

Today, I will share a few anecdotes from my grandmother, which she seemed to find amusing.  

Eva Scott wrote me;
"I am the eldest of 5 and we were spaced out.  My nearest sister is 9 years younger.  John and I called those younger three  – 'the kids'.  The youngest was born Lorna Beryl.  We called her Beryl and John called her Sam.  One day those 3 were playing school.  Edna was teacher and relieved herself.  Straight away she said “Go on with your work children, it’s only a motorbike”.
"The kids" - Lorna, Edna & Hazel Pilgrim
Almondale - October 1928
"I am quite convinced that little people never think of hurting themselves.  I had finished my family before the others started, so Mum and Dad loved to have them up there and the car was often overloaded, so we used to have them standing behind the front seat.  One day Dad looked around and said to Don 'Don’t lean on the door mate, if it came open, you’d fall' and Don said 'It wouldn't matter grandpa, I know my way home from here'."
The Chev - The Pilgrim Family's first new car
Almondale - December 1928
Bert Pilgrim, Ern Muller and Bob Pilgrim

"Dad had twin brothers and a lot of people couldn’t tell them apart – only one smoked a pipe and the other cigs.  Uncle Bob never married and lived with Uncle Perce and Auntie Ruby, whom we often visited, but Don did not know Uncle Bert.  In church I’d take his shoes off and let him stand on the seat between us.  One day he piped up quite loud 'There’s two Uncle Bob’s'.  A titter went around the church."   

Don, Jean, Rob and Joy Scott

"Cash was short then and some one’s jamas wore out, so Don got new ones and I passed the rest down.  I was waiting for Rob to try Jean’s on and he’s fiddling about.  When I told him to hurry he said he was looking for the pop hole.  I said Jean doesn’t have one and he said 'No. She don’t have a big long extension like me'.  I wrote and told Mum.  Dad opened the letter and she said he got a fit of the giggles and she wondered what was so funny." 

Allan Scott with Rob and Jean
Rob claimed everyone in uniform as his Dad!
Mum had Jean for 6 weeks once and she forgot me.  She would say 'My other mother – down in Horsham – would let me'.  Rob was only 18 months when Allan went into camp, but he never forgot him – or rather the uniform.  It was very embarrassing; he claimed every one as Dad. In the street I used to turn the pusher around if I saw a uniform coming.  Just as Joy did with one of hers if she saw a truck, because hers couldn’t say truck properly and she’d yell it out.  Then there’s you, who called yourself  'Yours' because Joy used to put 2 plates down and say 'This is Daddy’s and this is Yours'.”
You all came to visit me and I took you to feed the chooks, never dreaming they would know you were different.  Well those stupid chooks, they squawked and flew.  Feathers and dust went everywhere and frightened the life out of you.  Next night I asked you if you were coming and you said 'No, Yours has got no shoes on.  Yours will stay with Mummy'."

1968 - I called myself "Yours"
"Joy could talk before she could walk at 16 ½ months.  She was only lazy as the others would give her a piece of string and hold one end.  She’d walk with them but if they dropped their end, she would sit down. Don never crawled after his birthday and each one got slower.  Joy just walked in and said she’s walking and didn’t crawl again.
I’ll go back a bit.  Once Mum’s brother and sister came to stay and I thought they should sleep together like my other Uncles and Aunts.  Some one said Grandfather doesn’t have any one to sleep with and I said “Old fellows like him don’t need anyone to sleep with” and everyone laughed.  It was years before I saw the joke." 

I thought of another funny saying of Rob’s.  He went to the cow yard with my sisters and this day there was a steer in the yard and said  'That’s a fool cow, it pees in the wrong place'.
 Mum always had birds.  She had a Major Mitchell cockatoo but it drowned itself in the bore water tank.  First time we went up there, after Joy could talk, she said 'That cocky is mad.  He said hello cocky to me and he’s cocky, I’m not'."

This post was prompted by Sepia Saturday
Please click for more posts.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Back to Nhill Celebrations 1929

"Back to Nhill Week - looking toward Nelson Street - March 1929"
By Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

This same invitation appeared in
several Newspapers in March 1929

Invitations were sent far and wide, to Newspapers across the Country.

" All ex-residents are cordially invited to re-visit Nhill and district during the "Back to Nhill and District" celebrations from 16th to 23rd March next.  Ex-residents are asked to make a special effort to re-visit Nhill, and meet old friends from all the States, including the Western Australian and Riverina contingents.  Arrangements have been made to conduct a race meeting, grand concert, dances, lodge meetings, church services, and swimming carnival; there will also be tennis, bowls, croquet [&c.]  Cars will be placed at the disposal of the visitors to revisit the district centres.  Ample accommodation will be available, and every effort will be made to the entertain the visitors, who will find that great improvements and many changes have been made during recent years.  Names of those who are coming back to Nhill and District should be forwarded immediately to the secretaries, Messrs. H and F.W. Fritsch, Nhill" 1

"Back to Nhill - Victoria Street - 1929"
by Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

Sports and Aerial Pageant.
NHILL, Monday, - The "Back to Nhill" official reception took place in the Citizens' Park this afternoon. Mr [Westenhall] M.L.A., and the chairman of the committee (Councillor E.C. Davis) welcomed the visitors, on whose behalf Mr. Bond a former Nhill councillor, expressed appreciation.  A "back to school" gathering was held this morning, the school and grounds being crowded with  former pupils. More than 1000 children marched to the park, where sports were held for prizes given by Dr. Ryan.  An aerial pageant, the best so far seen at Nhill was a feature of the programme.   Residents from district centres thronged the town to-day, and the celebrations promise to be a complete success. To an 'old time" dance held in the Theatre Royal tonight, hundreds were unable to gain admittance. The weather is perfect." 2

My Grandmother, Eva Pilgrim
at home in nearby Winiam
She was 18 years old in March 1929

"Back to Nhill"
19 March 1929
by Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

There was a huge crowd in Nhill for the Back to Nhill and district celebrations.  The back to school function proved very interesting.  Mr Herbert Taylor, now retired, took his place as head teacher, and the old scholars were present from all States.  Two hundred cars were parked.  Town and district children took part in a huge procession led by the Nhill Band. A squadron of aeroplanes, by special invitation, arrived from Point Cook, and during the afternoon gave a thrilling display of aerobatics, looping the loop and side rolling.  An old time dance was crowded, two big halls being engaged.  At the firemen's reunion ex-Captain G. Culliver, of Horsham, first captain of the brigade, presented the Nhill Brigade with an enlarged photo of members of the firs bridgade.  The Better Farming Train arrived on Tuesday, and the town is crowded.  The celebrations continued all the week." 3

"Back to School Nhill - March 1929"
By Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

Eva Pilgrim's Nhill HES badge
" I boarded with Aunty Alice while going to High School and had visions of being a teacher, but Mum was going through change of life and when she went down with measles, I had to go home at 14.  I only had 6 years of schooling, as we lived over 3 miles from the school.  At first we had to walk.  They kept me home till I was 8 and John was 6."  Eva Pilgrim

"Back to School Nhill - March 1929"
By Eva Pilgrim on her Box Brownie

From all accounts it was a very successful week
Chronicle (Adelaide, SA: 1895 -1954), Thursday 3 June 1929, page 29

"Looking towards Winiam - Back to Nhill Week - March 1929"
By Eva Pilgrim on her Kodak Box Brownie

1 Kapunda Herald (SA: 1878 - 1951), 1 February 1929, page 2 -
2 The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957), 19 March 1929, page 4 -
3 The Horsham Times (Vic.: 1882-1954) 22 March 1929, page 2 -


This prompt was prompted by Sepia Saturday
Please click to see more posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Winiam Methodist Sunday School

This weeks Sepia Saturday prompt reminded me of a photo that I have previously shown of my grandmother and a Sunday School concert in 1922

1922 Winiam Methodist Sunday School concert - Little Pansy Faces
Emily Pilgrim, Edie Gniel, Doreen Wohlers, Ella Voight, Dorrie Westendorf,
Eva Pilgrim (my Grandmother), Sylv Rowett & Myrtle Pilgrim
My Great Grandfather
James Pilgrim snr was the Founder
of the Winiam Sunday School and
Superintendent from 1886 - 1910
My Great Grand Uncle
Will Pilgrim took over from his father
as Superintendent  of the
Winiam Sunday School
 1910 - 1916

My ancestors had strong ties to the Methodist Church. According to newspapers  (1) , my Great Great Grandfather James Pilgrim snr, was founder of the Winiam Sunday School in 1886, being 4 years after he selected land in Winiam, Victoria.  James (also known as Grandfather Pilgrim in the area) was Superintendent of the Sunday School for 24 years (1886 - 1910).  At age 75, he turned the responsibility over to his son, Will Pilgrim.  

In 1915 my Grandmother and Grand Uncle received Certificates  from the Winiam Primary School, which lists
"L Walton Minister, W Pilgrim Superintendent, P Pilgrim, Secretary"
My Great Grand Uncle, Perce Pilgrim
 is listed as the Secretary of the
 Winiam Sunday School in 1915

Another Winiam Methodist Sunday School Certificate,
issued to my grandmother in 1916
(Click to enlarge pictures)

The Minister listed on the above certificates is L Walton.

1915 Methodist Church Ticket belonging to my
Great Great Grandmother, Agnes Scott
My Grandfathers family (who in 1915 lived at Gerang Gerung, about 25 kilometres away from my Grandmothers family at Winiam) were also involved in the Methodist Church.

I noticed that L Walton was also listed on the below Methodist Church Centenary Ticket and his initials are on the ticket at the right.

I wanted to find out more about L. Walton, who was the minister for both my grandmother and grandfather's families, although they lived in different communities and did not know each other in 1915.

1915 Centenary Ticket issued to my Great Grandmother, Agnes Scott, who lived at Gerang Gerung.

Reverend Levi Walton was born on the 24th December 1864 at Raywood, Victoria, Australia (2).  The family moved to Echuca, Victoria when he was about one year old.  He spent his childhood and schooling at Echuca, including Sunday School at the Methodist Church (3).  He as inspired by local ministers from a young age and first became a member of the Methodist Church when he was about 17 years old. (3).

Levi then went to Melbourne to enter "business life" and studied for the ministry, being accepted for his first charge before he turned 21.(3)

Reverend Levi Walton was very active within the ministry and the many communities that the ministered.  By all accounts, his sermons were always well patronised and popular with parishioners.  He held many positions of trust and esteem within the ministry.  He was recognised on several occasions in local papers as an astute financier and was also the youngest President of Conference in Australian Methodism.

 "All things come to an end.  The little stream that runs down between the hills joined the ocean and was lost, and thus came to an end.  Everything was bound to change"  Rev. Levi Walton 1887 (4)

Methodist Free Church Numerical Statement - 1886
Source:The Argus (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957)
Wednesday 10th February 1886, page 8 - Trove
I have been able to trace his movements as follows;

1886 - Age 21 - Commenced Ministry at Violet Town, Victoria (with another minister) (5)
1887 - Age 22 - Reverend at Beaconsfield (4)
1887 April - Left for NSW(4)
1888 - Age 23 - Advanced a year of Probation at United Methodist Free Church (6)
1888 - Age 23 -  Married Charlotte Woolard at Redfern, NSW (7) 
1889 - Passed examinations and advanced a year of probation (in NSW) (8)
1890- Back in Victoria and appointed to Finance Committee (9) and Reporter to the Press (10)
1891 and 1892 - Reverend at Ringwood, Victoria (11)(12)
1893 - Age 28 - Reverend for United Methodist Free Church Assembly at Mooroopna, Victoria.  Elected Secretary and Treasurer for the State Superannuation Fund and on the connectional committee (13)
1895 - Reverend at Ballarat (Peel Street) circuit. Continued as Secretary for the Superannuation Fund (14)
1897 - Ministered for United Methodist Free Church at Richmond (15)
1898 - Ministered at Coburg (16)  Appointed Secretary of the United Methodist Free Church (17)
1899 - Age 34 - Elected President of the United Methodist Free Churches in Victoria (18) based at 201 Swan Street in Richmond (19).  This was a very important year for the Methodist Church as the various branches and States were united in August 1899.

"The Rev. L Walton, who has acted as general secretary to the United Methodist connection for the past 12 months, was yesterday unanimously elected to the position of president for the ensuing year.  Although about the youngest clergyman of the connection, Mr Walton is very popular, and showed his business capability whilst presiding over the conference throughout yesterday" (20)

1900 - Ministered at Ballarat (21)
1901 to 1904 - Ministered to Heathcote and surrounds, which was considered to be one of the biggest districts in Victoria (22).
In 1903 he was also elected as the Reporter to the the Press for the Bendigo Synod (23)
1904 to 1907 - Ministered at Pyramid Hill  and helped out at Portland (24)
1907 to 1908 - Heywood.  In 1907 Levi was appointed the assistant secretary for the Methodist Western District Synod (25).  In 1908, he was elected to the Temperance committee. (26)
1909 to 1911 - Seymour (27) (28).  In August 1911, Reverend Walton was contacted by the Nhill Circuit
1911 - 1916 - Reverend at Nhill, where he moved around the area, ministering to my grandmother's family at Winiam and my grandfather's family at Gerang Gerung (29).

During his parsonage at Nhill, there are regular accounts of his involvement with the community.  He baptised, married and buried several of my relatives in the area.  Mr & Mrs Walton were also very involved in sporting clubs, schools (including Sunday School), community events, the Red Cross and fundraising (29). Additionally, during his time at Nhill, he was unfortunately called upon to deliver the bad news to many families, who had lost their sons during the war.
"He did not fear any man's frown, neither did he court any man's favour"  
Nhill Free Press about Reverend L Walton - 4th April 1916 (30)

1916 to 1920 - Reverend Levi Walton ministered to the Stawell community (30) (31), where another branch of the family of the family lived.   When I checked, I found that the Warrick family were also Methodists and Reverend L Walton buried my Great Great Great Grandfather!
Excerpt of the Death Certificate of my Great Great Great Grandfather William Warrick,
which shows that Reverend Levi Walton was the witness to the burial in 1917
1920 to 1924 - Eaglehawk (32) (33) 
1924 and 1926 - Essendon North (34) (35)
1926 - Williamstown (36)
1927 - Albert Park (37)
1928 to 1930 - Echuca.  Back to his childhood town (3)

Reverend Levi Walton then retired to Ivanhoe, Victoria, where electoral rolls indicate that he resided until his death, on 21 October 1938, from heart failure.
1928  Back of Winiam Methodist Church on Left, School back middle and Winiam Hall on Right.

A card received by my grandmother from the Winiam Methodist Sunday School
My Grandmother received a Hymn book from the Winiam Methodist Sunday School as a wedding present
Winiam Methodist Church, where my grandparents, Eva Pilgrim and Allan Scott married
2nd May 1934

(1) Nhill 

 Free Press (Vic 1914-1918) Friday 13 November 1914, page 2  - National Library of Australia - Trove
(2) Birth Certificate
(3) Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW: 1869 - 1954) Saturday 31 March 1928, page 2 - Trove
(4) South Bourke and Mornington Journal (Richmond, Vic.: 1872-1920) Wednesday 6 April 1887, page 2 - Trove
(5) The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic.: 1863-1918) Friday 12th March 1886, page 2 - Trove
(6) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957) Saturday 18th February 1888, page 14 - Trove
(7) Australian Marriage Index and Death Certificate
(8) The Brisbane Courier (QLD 1864-1933) Friday 15th February 1889, page 5 - Trove
(9) Williamstown Chronice (Vic.: 1856 - 1954) Saturday 15 February 1890, page 2 - Trove
(10) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Wednesday 12 February 1890, page 4 - Trove
(11) Reporter (Box Hill, Vic 1889-1918) Friday 23 January 1891, page 3 - Trove
(12) Williamstown Chronicle (Vic 1856-1954) Saturday 8th October 1892, page 3 - Trove
(13) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Saturday 18 February 1893, page 3 - Trove
(14) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Friday 15th February 1895, page 7 - Trove
(15) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Friday 12th February 1897, page 7 - Trove
(16) The Coburg Leader (Vic: 1890-1913) Saturday 26th March 1898, page 2 - Trove
(17) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Saturday 5 March 1898, page 5 - Trove 
(18) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Thursday 16 February 1899, page 4 - Trove 
(19) Geelong Advertiser (Vic.:1857-1918) Thursday 24 August 1899, page 4 - Trove
(20) Geelong Advertiser (Vic.:1857-1918) Thursday 16 February 1899, page 4 - Trove
(21) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Saturday 17 February 1900, page 14 - Trove
(22) The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic.: 1863-1918) Thursday 7 April 1904, page 2 - Trove
(23) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Wednesday 4 November 1903, page 3 - Trove
(24) Portland Guardian (Vic.: 1876-1953) Friday 1 March 1907, page 2 and Friday 21 June 1907, page 2 - Trove
(25) Camperdown Chronicle (Vic.: 1877 - 1954) Thursday 7 November 1907 - Trove
(26) Portland Guardian (Vic.: 1876-1953) Monday 9 November 1908, page 3 - Trove
(27) Electoral Roll (1903-1980)
(28) The Broadford Courier and Reedy Creek Times (Broadford, Vic: 1893 - 1916)  Friday 4 August 1911, page 2 - Trove
(29) Nhill Free Press (Vic.: 1914-1918) Friday 7 April 1916 , page 3 - Trove
(30) Nhill Free Press (Vic.: 1914-1918) Tuesday 4th April 1916, page 3 - Trove
(31) Electoral Roll (1903 - 1980)
(32) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) 15 July 1920, page 8 - Trove
(33) Electoral Roll (1903-1980)
(34) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.:1848-1957) Saturday 31 July 1926, page 13 - Trove
(35) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Tuesday 6 January 1925, page 1 - Trove
(36) Williamstown Chronicle (Vic.: 1856 - 1954) Saturday 27 February 1926, page 2 - Trove
(37) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Saturday 5 March 1927, page 36 - Trove

This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday