Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in Australia

Martha was born in the Dungannon workhouse on the 9th May 1875 to Margaret Tennyson. As far as can be ascertained from Martha and her sisters birth entries Margaret was unmarried for all 4 births, although on Martha's marriage certificate to William Alexander McConnell in Perth, Western Australia she has named her mother as Margaret (nee Grimes) and her father as Joseph Tennyson. I feel this information was given to cover-up her birth circumstances to protect her unborn children and give them a better start to life than she had. 

Martha left the workhouse at some stage after 1891 and worked as a general servant for Ruth and James Hammond of Farlough cottage, Tullyniskan, county Tyrone for approximately 6 years. She was then employed as a general servant by Elizabeth (Lizzie) and John Lowe in Dublin for a year or so until her application to emigrate to Western Australia was approved. Lizzie was a sister to Ruth and Lizzie's husband John, employed as Chief Superintendant Detective of Dublin Metropolitan Police.

Martha sailed on the ss 'Cornwall' from England at the end of April 1898 and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on the 17th June 1898.

Martha worked as a general servant in Perth until she met and married William A McConnell on 16th March 1901 at the Presbyterian Church in East Perth. 

William from Ballynadrentagh, Killead, Antrim who was orphaned as a young child after his parent's (James McConnell and Helena, nee Sherlock) deaths had arrived in New South Wales with his brother's, John, James and Samuel Joseph and had worked their way to Western Australia with the Durack-Kilfoyle overland cattle drive. Family-lore had them working for a time in the mine fields of the Kimberley region before arriving in Perth in the early 1890's. They set up business in a Bee-Hive Store at the corner of James and Hutt streets in Perth. Scourcing and selling wares to the general public and miners. Samuel being the proprietor of the store. A friend, James Daley from a New South Wales family started a cab business. John and James were in the hotel business at the Globe Hotel in Wellington street and William purchased land and grew vegetables and fruit trees. The men also organised timber cutting etc. for fencing and building.

When Martha married William they were living in Kadina street, Perth and shortly after their marriage William became manager of the Darling Nursery of Jaques Hawter at Smith's Mill in the Swan Valley. William purchased a small block at Smith's Mill and began growing grape vines on it as well as vegetables and fruits. It was close to his work at the Nursery and life was good. Martha was a regular exhibitor at the Smith's Mill and Royal Perth Show's during this time as well as giving birth to children, running a household etc.

A change of jobs in 1910 saw William working on the trams in Perth during the Tram Strike for a short period. He sold his blocks in Victoria Park (purchased in 1897) and the Smith's Mill block and purchased land in Waroona which he farmed till late 1913. In 1914 an advertisement for a clearing sale in local paper for W.A. McConnell who was leaving the district of Guildford was made.

Martha and children were at Burges Siding in York on the 1916 electoral roll but William was not mentioned. William and Martha were on the 1918 electoral roll at Dalallyup, again working for Jaques Hawter, the same year that their youngest son Robert was born. Then in early 1921 an advertisement appeared in a New South Wales paper put in by Justin Hickey (witness at Martha and William's marriage) to brother's of William to contact him. Both James and Samuel had left Perth in the mid to late 1890's for New South Wales. John had died of consumption in 1894 at the Albert View Hotel in Redfern where James was victualler.

William died at The Home of Peace in Subiaco on the 22nd of August 1921 of Cancer, leaving Martha to bring up their seven living children on her own.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 9th May 1875 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 5th Jul 1958 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) Dungannon Workhouse  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Margaret Tennyson
Townland born Dungannon, Tyrone
Place & Date of Baptism Dungannon Workhouse, 25th May 1875
Number of Siblings Three
Names of Siblings Margaret Jane Tennyson born 8th Oct 1868 died 1st Q 1869, Eliza Jane Tennyson born 16th Jan 1872 Mary Tennyson born 27th April 1882 All born in Dungannon Workhouse to Margaret Tennyson. Father not named.
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) William Alexander McConnell from Ballynadrentagh, Killead, Antrim.
Place & Date of Marriage Perth, Western Australia on 16th March 1901
Occupation Servant & mother & partner to William
Place of Death Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
New Type Martha was a talented provider and homemaker. Growing vegetables, preserving, milking cows, making butter, raising poultry, sewing her family's clothing. She was talented at crochet and knitting and passed these talents to my grandmother.
Father (First Name/s and Surname) On her marriage certificate Martha named her father as Joseph Tennyson. As Martha was born in the workhouse, I feel she may have been embarrassed about her circumstances and saw an opportunity to remedy her situation when she moved to Australia.
New Type Martha migrated to Western Australia on the 'ssCornwall' with 45 other servant girls arriving in Fremantle on the 17th June 1898. Captain Young was ships captain, Surgeon was Douglas Edward Darbyshire, and Matron on board was Mary Pitman Monkhouse.
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  • If anyone has any idea what may have happened to Martha's sister's and her mother I would be most grateful for any info. Any information on the families and people she worked with or had dealings with are also appreciated; the Hammond family, the Lowe family, the Tackaberry family, the Burges family, the Brown and Richardson families also had some contact with Martha from the Tyrone Courier etc. newspaper articles of the 1880's and 1890's. 



    Monday 16th November 2020 02:46AM

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