Kenny Story

Chapter Eight
Baker and Cavanagh Connections
by Grahame and Rosslyn Thom
Rose Marion Baker married Herbert William George Kenny, station manager, in the Catholic Church at Coonabarabran on 13 January 1877.  Her place of residence was given as Merigulah, to the south east of Coonabarabran.  Now known as Merrigula, a station to the east of Belar, the residence of Herbert.  No occupation was given for Rose but its likely she was employed in a domestic role.

For many years we could not find details about Rose’s birth.  Their civil marriage certificate is blank in regards to the birthplace of both Rose and Herbert.  We then obtained a copy of their marriage entry in the Church register and it states both were born in Ireland.  Also it states Herbert had been received into the Catholic Church before their marriage.

Her death certificate states Rose was born in Brooklyn, United States of America.  Neither her marriage or death certificates named her parents. For the registration of the births of their children, Herbert was the informant and he said for each birth that Rose was born in America, as indicated below.

Eyre Evans in 1877 – Rose born in New York
Frances Ethel Ashurst in 1879 – Rose born in Brooklyn, America
Milicent Susan Emily in 1881 – Rose born in United States of America
Beatrix Rose in 1883 – Rose born in United States
Herbert Edward Gray in 1888 – Rose born in Brooklyn, America
Dudley Roy in 1892- Rose born in New York, United State of America
Arthur John in 1895 – Rose born in Brooklyn, United State of America

Without the names of her parents, it was an impossible task to find a Baker birth in the County of New York in about 1857, especially when Rose’s given names are recorded in many different forms.

In December 2002 Grahame had a small article published in an issue of the Australian Family Tree Connections magazine about the image we have of an army officer we believe to be William Kenny.  We had hoped someone would be able to identify the uniform.  This is still unanswered, but much to our delight we received a letter from cousin Marie of Dubbo asking if Herbert Kenny who married her great aunt Rose Marion Baker, was a descendant of William.  In her next letter Marie said that Rose had been born in West Maitland and forwarded a copy of Rose’s birth certificate.

This certificate states that Rose Marion was born in West Maitland on 12 November 1857 (Rosanna on the birth certificate), the daughter of Charles Henry Baker, carpenter, aged 33 years, born Onondaga, New York, America, and Ann Cavanagh aged 28 years, born Cavan, Ireland.

Thus began a search for information about Rose’s parents, much being supplied by Marie.  In New South Wales, Charles and Ann Baker had eight children.

Ellen Baker, born 17 November 1856 at West Maitland, NSW, died 20 November 1856 at West Maitland
Rosanna (Rose Marion) Baker, born 12 November 1857 at West Maitland
Alonzo Baker, born 10 December 1858, at West Maitland, died 15 November 1862 at Singleton
Alphonzo (Alfred) Baker, born 24 September 1860, at West Maitland
John Henry Baker, born 11 March 1862, at West Maitland, died 23 May 1864 at Singleton, NSW
Teresa Mary Baker, born 19 December 1863, at Singleton, baptised 17 January 1864, St Patrick’s RC Church, Singleton, sponsors Thomas Farrell and Susan Cavanagh.
Elizabeth Susanna Baker, born 16 July 1865, at Singleton
Francis Augustus Baker, born 15 July 1867, at Singleton, baptised 15 August 1867 St Patrick’s RC Church, Singleton, sponsors John and Ann Gaynor.

Charles, a carpenter, is said to have left Ann and their children in about 1877.  Nothing is known about his later life and he died on 3 April 1904 at the Rookwood Asylum in Sydney and was buried in the Wesleyan Section of Rookwood Cemetery.  The informant was the Asylum’s matron and she provided no details about Charles’ family or parents.

Charles was the informant for six of the birth registrations and Ann for two.  All certificates indicate that Charles and Ann had married in San Francisco in the United States of America, five state they were married on 13 April 1852, and four state that they were married in the Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco.  We have been advised that the early records of this Church have been destroyed.

On several of the Baker children’s birth certificates it is recorded that Charles and Ann had two boys in addition to the children listed above and that they had been born and died before 1857.  No record of these births or deaths has been found.  They could have occurred in San Francisco, during the voyage to Sydney, or after arrival and before Ellen’s birth in November 1856.

Extensive searching of records relating to the name Baker has been carried out in the State of New York, especially in the County of Onondaga.  On the birth certificate of son John Henry, Charles states he was born in the town of Van Buren, County Onondaga.  Using the various ages given by Charles on his children’s birth certificates, he would have been born about 1823/24/25.

Onondaga is within the lands of the Iroquois, and was first settled by white settlers in the early 1790s.  The forests were quickly cleared for timber, and cattle and sheep farms established.  The town of Van Buren was established on the town lands of Camillus in about 1829 and was named after the then Governor of New York and later the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren.

In the 1820s there were a number of Baker families living in and around Camillus but it has not been possible to connect Charles Henry Baker to any of them.  It could be that his parents were passing through the County when Charles was born.  Assuming that Charles was born in the County of Onondaga, it is possible as a young adult he lived and worked as a carpenter in the city of New York.  Perhaps the later recording that his daughter Rose was born in Brooklyn is an indicator the Baker family lived there.

In 1849 gold was discovered in California and this caused the mass migration of people to the west coast, including Charles Henry Baker.  Did he travel overland, as many did?  Or did he sail to San Francisco via Panama or around Cape Horn?   He was there in 1852 when he married Ann Cavanagh and sailed to Sydney.  They arrived in Sydney on the ship Moa from Auckland on 9 March 1853.  The Moa was a small local ship carrying 17 passengers.  We dont know how long Charles and Ann were in New Zealand or details of their voyage from San Francisco.

It would seem that Ann had been writing to members of her family for in February 1853 other family members arrived in Sydney as assisted immigrants.  It would be no coincidence that the Bakers and Cavanaghs arrived in Sydney only weeks apart to join three other Cavanagh children already in the colony.   It would have taken some months to plan and organise their travel arrangements and to travel from County Cavan to Plymouth.

Ann’s father, Bernard paid £15 for five tickets to travel to Sydney.  The ship Trafalgar left Plymouth on 28 October 1852 and arrived in Sydney on 22 February 1853.  There was some sickness on board during the voyage and 13 passengers died including Bernard who died of fever (typhus) on 12 February before reaching Sydney.  The ship, crew and passengers were placed in quarantine on arrival and the passengers were not released until 5 April 1853.  One can imagine Charles and Ann waiting in Sydney to meet Ann’s mother and sisters.

As they had made the voyage as assisted immigrants, the shipping records provide very detailed information about each passenger.  However as Bernard died during the voyage his details dont appear to have survived except that he was aged 50 years, but the following was recorded about the other Cavanaghs.

Anne         married, aged 40 years, native of Kinally, County Fermanagh, daughter of James and Anne,
both deceased, Roman Catholic, neither reads or writes, in good health with no complaints

Mary         aged 18 years, farm servant, native of Anna, County Cavan, parents names Bernard and Anne,
father deceased, mother on board, Roman Catholic, reads, good health, no complaints

Susan        aged 16 years, farm servant, native of Anna, County Cavan, parents names Bernard and Anne,
father deceased, mother on board, Roman Catholic, reads, good health, no complaints.

Rose         aged 14 years, farm servant, native of Anna, County Cavan, parents names Bernard and Anne,
father deceased, mother on board, Roman Catholic, reads, good health, no complaints.

Also as part of the information regarding mother Anne, it is recorded that she had relatives in the colony – son James, residence not known, son Bernard living at D(unmore – difficult to read), and a daughter Anne, residence not known.  The locality of Dunmore today is on the northern edge of Maitland.  In 1841 the Dunmore Estate was a grant to George Lang, the brother of the Rev John Dunmore Lang.  It is possible the Cavanagh family first went to Maitland soon after arriving in 1853, as Bernard, and possibly James, were working on the Dunmore Estate.  In the 1872 Greville’s Post Office Directory, a James Cavanagh, farmer, was living at Dunmore.  Then on 10 March 1875, son Bernard passed away at Maitland.

A search for the earlier arrival of the Cavanagh children found that they had arrived as assisted immigrants in Sydney on the ship John Renwick on 31 August 1841; having left Plymouth on 14 May 1841.  The shipping records provided the following information.

James        Native of Red Hill, Co Cavan, parents Bernard and Anne Cavanagh, calling farm servant, age 22 years,
persons certifying character Robert McDonald and two others, health very good, Roman Catholic,
reads and writes, no complaints

Bernard     Native of Red Hill, Co Cavan, parents Bernard and Anne Cavanagh, calling farm labourer, age 18 years,
persons certifying character R McDonald and two others, health very good, Roman Catholic, reads and
writes, no complaints

Ann           under the protection of her brothers (sic) James Cavanagh, daughter of Barney Cavanagh, labourer, and
Nancy his wife, native of Red Hill, Co Cavan, general farm servant, age 17 years, persons certifying
character R McDonald and two others, health very good, Roman Catholic, can read but not write,
no complaints

From te shipping records above we see that the Cavanagh family lived at Red Hill a small town in the eastern part of the parish of Annagh in County Cavan, and that in 1841 the parents Bernard and Anne were known as Barney and Nancy.  They worked as farm labourers and servants and the Bernard’s children were

James born about 1819
Bernard born about 1823
Ann born about 1824
Mary born about 1834
Susan born about 1836
Rose born about 1838

The shipping record relating to mother Anne’s arrival in 1852 gives her age as 40 years.  This indicates a birth year of about 1812; much too late to be a mother in 1819.  So does this mean the recorded age of 40 years is incorrect?  The more likely explanation is that Bernard married twice, both named Anne, with the first dying about 1824.

Anne, wife of Bernard, gave her native place as the parish of Kinawley in County Fermanagh on the shipping record.  This agricultural parish is partly in County Cavan as well as Fermanagh, a short distance to the north west of the Parish of Annagh.  Nothing has been found about Anne’s life after she arrived in Sydney.

Ann Baker was the informant for the birth of her son Alphonzo in 1860 and Ann stated she was born “near Red Hill, Cavan, Ireland”.  Again the same birth place for Ann was given by her husband Charles when their son John Henry was born in 1862.  This village is also spelt Redhill and Redhills.  From Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837 –  “Redhills, a village, in that part of the parish of Annagh which is in the barony of Tullaghgarvey, county of Cavan, and province of Ulster, 2 miles from Belturbet, on the road to Ballyhaise. It takes its name from the peculiarly red colour of the soil, which arises from being strongly impregnated with iron: the roads near it are all of a deep red colour. Here is a R. C. chapel belonging to the district of Annagh East, or Killoughter.”

It is not known what Ann did after her arrival in Sydney in 1841.  However we know she married Charles Henry Baker in San Francisco in April 1852.  A search of passengers leaving Sydney for San Francisco has revealed that an Ann Cavanah (sic) sailed on the Artemisia on 6 March 1851.  This ship carried many passengers.  Why did Ann go to America?  Was she employed as a servant to someone else on board?  She was then about 27 years old.

Ann married Charles, returned to Sydney and raised a family in West Maitland and Singleton, see above.  Ann was a very good milliner and dressmaker and had a shop in Singleton.  The 1866 and 1867 Council Rate Books show Charles H Baker renting premises in Macquarie Street, and the 1867 Post Office Directory states that Charles H Baker, carpenter, lived in Macquarie Street.  The Rate Books for 1869-72 show Charles renting a house and shop in George Street.  The building of four rooms was of brick construction with a shingle roof.  He does not appear in the rate books after 1872 and not in the 1874/75 electoral roll.

Their youngest child Francis told his children in later life that after his father left the family he had to leave school when he was about ten years old, that is in about 1877.  Based on the rate books above it would seem reasonable to assume Charles left the family home in Singleton around 1873.  Present Baker descendants tell that Ann and her children then went 260 kilometres to the west to Mudgee to live.  At about this time their eldest daughter Rose also left home and may have found a domestic position at Merigulah Station, near Coonabarabran, where she was living in January 1877 when she married Herbert Kenny.

The last British regiment in Australia withdrew in 1870 and the colonial administration took steps to strengthen local army and naval forces.  With the family situation in stress, Alphonzo (known as Alfred) probably left home around 1876 too, to join the colonial army.  When he married in 1885, Alfred stated he was an artilleryman living on Bare Island in Botany Bay, near La Perouse.

Ann probably continued to carry out dressmaking at Mudgee in order to support her family and provide for their education.  It is said that Ann successfully took Charles to court for maintenance.  Her daughters Teresa and Elizabeth attended a Sisters of Mercy school established in 1874 and were taught by Sister Teresa O’Leary, who later taught Teresa’s daughters in Dubbo.

Probably around 1880 Ann and her three children, Teresa, Elizabeth (known as Lizzie) and Francis (known as Frank), left Mudgee to live in Dubbo, NSW, 150 kilometres west of Mudgee.  She purchased a block of land in Cobra Street and built a small timber cottage naming it “Melrya” – 56 Cobra Street, Dubbo.  The origin of the name Melyra is not known but probably relates to a locality or property in Ireland close to where she was born or lived.

Teresa (1882), Lizzie (1885) and Frank (1890) all married in Dubbo.  It is said that Teresa’s future husband William White was a Cobb & Co coach driver, had met and courted Teresa in Mudgee, and had followed the Baker family to Dubbo.

When Ann’s youngest child Frank married in 1890, she was probably living alone in her home in Cobra Street, aged about 64 years.  She probably continued to earn an income from carrying out dressmaking for local woman.

Lizzie, her husband Louis Anlezark, and her children moved from nearby Darling Street in about 1899, to live at 56 Cobra Street, in order to support Ann.   After Ann’s death they continued to reside there.

Ann died on 8 June 1907 at “Melrya”, Dubbo, aged 81 years.  Her death certificate states she was born in Co Cavan, Ireland, her parents were Bernard and Anne Cavanagh.  She was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Dubbo on 9 June 1907.  Her obituary appeared in the Dubbo Dispatch of Wednesday 12 June 1907 :-


Mrs Anne Baker, a resident of this town for upwards of a quarter of a century, died on Saturday last in her 82nd year.  For some months she had been gradually failing, and an illness of a couple of week’s duration was sufficient to hasten her end.  Mrs Baker, who was a native of Ireland, came to Australia comparatively     young, and for some time carried on a thriving business in the town of Singleton.  She removed to Dubbo in 1881, and was therefore at the time of her death one of the survivors of a generation now almost past.

She leaves two sons – Mr F A Baker, of this town, and Mr A Baker, of Lithgow, and three daughters, Mrs W White and Mrs L Anlezark, of Dubbo, and Mrs H Kenny (Queensland); and a very large number of grandchildren.

Her husband predeceased her; but it is understood, that a sister resides in Kalgoorlie (W A).

Of late, Mrs Baker had lived with her son-in-law and daughter (Mr and Mrs L Anlezark), and the largely-attended funeral moved from their house, Cobborah-street (sic), to St Brigid’s Church on Sunday afternoon, and thence to the cemetery, where the last rites were performed by Rev Dr Brophy.

“Melrya” stood for many years and in November 1998, unoccupied, it was gutted by fire and then demolished.

Assuming Ann’s age on arrival at Sydney in August 1841 is correct, that is, 17 years, then she was born about 1824, which would mean she was more likely to be 83 years when she died.  When Ann’s daughter was born in 1856, her age was recorded as 20 years, then in 1857, 28 years, then 34 years in 1860, and then later certificates indicate Ann was born in about 1826.  On various certificates Ann Baker’s (nee Cavanagh) given names, have been recorded as Ann, Anne, Anna, and Mary Anne.

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Chapter Nine

The Batchelor Brothers