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Martha Weston

Martha was born to William Weston  (alternatively called "Thomas Western" on Martha's death certificate, probably incorrectly) and Mary Gofend (also spelled Goffen in one place, probably incorrectly). According to the certificate of her second marriage, Martha was born in Wellow, Somersetshire in England, and her father's occupation was a "carter". Wellow is located about 10km. south of Bath and about 30km. south-east of Bristol.

From the age recorded on her death certificate, her year of birth was probably about 1812. However in the 1851 census, when they were residing at 23 Wilton Crescent Mews (St George Hanover Square, Belgrave), Thomas' age was stated as 32 and Martha's as 30, suggesting she was born in approx. 1821. As noted below when she emigrated to the colony of Victoria in 1869, she was reported to be age 54, suggesting a birth year of approximately 1815. Perhaps, in the future, records may be located in Wellow, to clarify her correct birth date.

On 12 November 1843, she married Thomas Studds at St. George, Hanover Square, London. Thomas was described as a coachman residing in Davis Mews. Martha, a spinster, was also residing in Davis Mews. Witnesses to the marriage were Joseph Spiller and Thomas' sister, Mary Ann.

The couple appear to have resided in London.  Little is known of the next years of Martha's life; she had seven children of whom not all survived. When Martha married the second time, the marriage certificate recorded that she had seven children in her first marriage, of whom three were still living in 1872.

Children of Thomas Studds and Martha Weston include :

Martha's husband died on 7 September 1861. The next known information is based on the records of Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria, which show that Martha Studds, a nurse, aged 54 years, arrived in Victoria from Plymouth, England, on the ship Zenobia, in September 1869, accompanied by two children : Mary A. Studds, described as a "servant", aged 18, and William Studds, aged 14. The Zenobia was operated by Wilcocks and Weekes of Plymouth. It was a ship of 1145 tons and was authorised to carry a maximum of 405 passengers. On this voyage the master's name was C.W.H.Hutchins and the ship carried 33 married men, 33 married women, 122 single men and 190 single women. As a widow, Martha was counted as a single woman.

Martha resided in "Bullarook Town" in Victoria. On 29 February 1872, she married Ellis Price, a stonemason and a widower who was three years older than Martha and whose wife had died almost a year earlier. The marriage took place at "the Primitive Methodist Church" in Creswick in the district of Talbot in the colony of Victoria. According to the marriage certificate, three of Martha's seven children were still alive at the time of this marriage, suggesting that one of her surviving children must have stayed living in England and did not migrate with Martha and the other children.

According to her death certificate, Martha Price died on 4 February 1905, at Strathmerton, Victoria, at the age of 92 years. She died as a result of "asthenic carcinoma" of about one year's duration. On that certificate it is stated that she had four children : Thomas, Alfred and Caroline (all deceased) and Mary Ann, but this is incomplete as is known from other information. Martha was buried in the cemetery in nearby Tocumwal NSW but the gravesite is not known.

It appears that Martha lived the last part of her life with her daughter Mary Ann on a farm at Strathmerton in northern Victoria. On this same farm, Mary Ann's daughter, Euphemia, gave birth to her first child, Adelaide Gertrude Dunne, just four months before Martha's death. Although Martha would have been quite ill and weak from the debilitating cancer which claimed her life, it is likely that she was able to hold her newborn infant great-grand-daughter Adelaide in her arms prior to her death.



Martha Weston, daughter of a "carter", from Somersetshire in England, was twice widowed (one husband was a coach driver in 19th century London and the other was a stonemason in 19th century Victoria). The majority of her children died before her. The old lady died in a farmhouse a short distance from the Murray River in northern Victoria, far across the world from the place of her childhood. Imagine her world : where men worked as carters, coach drivers and stonemasons and where children died of infectious diseases.

Just before her death, she saw her great grand-daughter come into the world.

Baby Adelaide was born four years into the 20th century and died four years before its finish. In her lifetime, Adelaide travelled in a aeroplane, drove a car, listened to radio, watched television, saw humans travel in space, saw cities devastated by nuclear bombs, saw her family benefit from life-saving drugs such as antibiotics, and many more marvels and disasters that the reader might care to ponder. In the last years of her life, Adelaide had the opportunity to meet many of her great grandchildren. One can only wonder at the new developments and changes that will occur in the lifetimes of Adelaide's great grandchildren.



Thanks to Christina Didsman,
a descendant of Thomas and Martha,
for providing additional information.



Martha Weston in the
Family History Index
family tree brief family tree of
Martha Weston



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