Friday, October 19, 2012

John Nevin snr and the Genge family

John Nevin (1808-1887), Wesleyan, poet, teacher, journalist and Royal Scots veteran of the Canadian Rebellions 1837-38, arrived in Tasmania with his wife Mary and four children in 1852, and settled on land adjacent to the Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley, New Town, near Hobart (renamed Lenah Valley in 1922). The 1858 Valuation Rolls for Southern Tasmania listed his occupancy there of the school house and house on one acre, valued at five pounds - £5 - held by the Trustees of the Wesleyan Church.

The 1858 Valuation Rolls for Southern Tasmania
Compiled by Trudy Cowley
State Library of Tasmania

By March 1859, the Trustees of the Wesleyan Church who owned the land had erected a new building for a Chapel and Sunday School.

Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School opened at New Town
Launceston Examiner 26 March 1859

Wesleyan Chapel Back Road New Town
Launceston Examiner, 9 June 1859

Both the Franklin Museum, erected on the estate established by Jane Franklin, wife of Governor John Franklin, and still known as Ancanthe, and the Wesleyan Chapel, erected on land overlooking it, were situated on the Back Road, now Lenah Valley Road. Travellers on foot and horseback utilised the Back Road, which ran along the New Town Rivulet and over the foot hills of Mount Wellington, to reach South Hobart.

John Nevin taught children at the school house by day and adult males by night. By 1868 he had built a new cottage on the land, which he celebrated in a poem titled "My Cottage in the Wilderness."

"My Cottage in the Wilderness" by John Nevin, 1868.
Mitchell Library NSW
Photo © KLW NFC 2009 Arr

His eldest son Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923), by then aged 26 yrs with a successful photographic business at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town, photographed his parents at the front of the house.

Scans courtesy of Liam Peters 2010

The cottage that John Nevin built at Kangaroo Valley
"T.J. Nevin Photo" inscribed on verso, ca. 1868.
From © KLW NFC & The Liam Peters Collection 2010.

On July 12, 1871, John Nevin's eldest son Thomas, married Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914) at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley. Elizabeth Rachel Day was the eldest daughter of  master-mariner Captain James Day, and niece of master-mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith.

By 1872, John Nevin had leased an additional acre of land nearby for gardens and orchards from Maria Nairn, wife of William Edward Nairn (1812-1869), assistant comptroller of the Convict Department in 1843, in charge of the prisoners in Tasmania and Norfolk Island, and sheriff of Hobart in 1857-68. His wife Maria Nairn was a sister of John Swan, Inspector of Police in the 1870s.

John Nevin, occupier of the Wesleyan Chapel, school house, dwelling, and garden leased from Maria Nairn. Source: Hobart Town Gazette, November 26, 1872.

The Electoral Rolls and Valuation Rolls for the district of Glenorchy, Tasmania show John Nevin occupying the school house and dwelling at Kangaroo Valley from at least 1858 upto 1887, the year of his death. In 1875, he applied to the Education Board to establish a night school for adult males. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery holds numerous stereographs of the school house at Kangaroo Valley taken by his son Thomas Nevin, e.g. :

Q16826.1.2 ITEM
NAME: photograph:
MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia toned stereoscope,
MAKER: T Nevin ? [Artist];
TITLE: 'SchoolHouseKangarooValley'
DATE: 1860s
DESCRIPTION : This photo depicts three adults and four children at Kangaroo Valley (LenahValley)

Death of Mary Nevin (1810-1875)
John Nevin's wife Mary died suddenly on 13th April 1875. She predeceased her husband, John Nevin and father of their three surviving children - Thomas James, Mary Ann and Jack (William John) - the other daughter Rebecca Jane had died at Kangaroo Valley in 1865 - by twelve years. Her death notice stated her residence as the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley:

Death notice for Mary Nevin (1810-1875), The Mercury, 15 April 1875.

NEVIN- On the 13th April, at her residence, the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, Mary, the beloved wife of John Nevin, in the 65th year of her age. The funeral will move from her late residence, on Friday, at 3 o'clock sharp, when friends are respectfully requested to attend.

Last entry; death of Mary Nevin, 13 April 1875, from bladder complications.
Described as "farmer's wife". Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

Thomas took this photograph ca 1873 of his mother Mary a few years before her death, along with a companion photograph of his father John Nevin. These particular images of Mary Nevin (mother) and John Nevin (father), are scans from prints on sepia newspaper of cartes which had been pasted into the scrapbook of Thomas' son George Nevin, now held by a great grandson (Shelverton Collection).

John Nevin senior early 1870s Mary Nevin, mother of Thomas early 1870s

Thomas Nevin's photographs of his parents Mary and John Nevin ca. 1873
From © KLW NFC and Shelverton Collections 2007-2012 Arr

Martha Genge (1833-1925)
Four years later, now a widower, John Nevin remarried. At the ripe old age of 71 yrs, he married widow Martha Salter nee Genge, aged 46 yrs, in Hobart, on the 23rd October, 1879. (Source: Tasmanian Pioneer Index: 711/1879/RGD:37).

John Nevin's second wife Martha Genge became step mother to his two surviving children by 1879 - his sons Thomas and Jack. Their only surviving sister Mary Ann who had married John Carr, son of the late Captain James Carr, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, on May 12, 1877, died suddenly aged 34 yrs on July 27, 1879 at her residence, Sandridge, Victoria.

Martha Salter nee Genge was one of two daughters of Mary Genge (nee Slade) and William Genge, lay preacher at the Wesleyan church, Melville Street, Hobart. The discrepancy between their ages at the time of their marriage in 1879 - John Nevin was 71, Martha Salter nee Genge was 46 - may indicate an in loco parentis gesture on his part towards Martha, and her children by her first marriage to a Mr Salter, if indeed there were any. The deaths of all three women (two daughters and wife) in the immediate family of John Nevin may also have prompted him to take another wife as a gesture of in locus parentis for his two sons.

Wesleyan preacher William Genge and wife Mary Genge nee Slade late 1870s, parents of John Nevin's second wife, Martha Genge (1833-1925).
Hobart, Tasmania. Unattributed.
Photo courtesy of Louise Genge 2007.

Copies of the original photographs (minus versos or attribution) taken at the time of the marriage between John Nevin, aged 71 yrs, and his second wife Martha Genge, aged 46 yrs, are held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, deposited by the Drew family on the death of John Nevin's grand daughter Minnie Drew nee Nevin (1884-1974), youngest daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin.

John Nevin 1879

TAHO Ref: NS434/1/155
Photo by his son Thomas J. New Town studio 1879

John Nevin senior (1808-1887), photographed in 1879, aged 71 years, on the occasion of his marriage to his second wife, Martha Genge (aged 46 yrs).

Martha Nevin nee Genge 1879

TAHO Ref: NS434/1/194
Photo by Thomas J. New Town studio 1879
Photos copyright KLW NFC ARR

Martha Nevin nee Genge, photographed in 1879, aged 46 years, on the occasion of her marriage to her second husband John Nevin (aged 71 yrs).

Married in the residence of Mr James Genge Kangaroo Valley
Witnesses: James Genge, F. R Alomes

Name: Nevin, John
Record Type: Marriages
Spouse:Salter, Martha
Date of marriage:23 Oct 1879
Registration year:1879
Document ID:NAME_INDEXES:888757
ResourceRGD37/1/38 no 711

On the 17th January 1881, Martha Genge's father William Genge died at the Wesleyan Chapel, Melville-street, Hobart, aged 73 yrs. John Nevin snr wrote and published a lament titled "Lines written on the sudden and much lamented death of Mr William Genge who died at the Wesleyan Chapel, Melville-street, Hobart on the morning of 17th January 1881, in the 73rd year of his age."

Lament by John Nevin 1881
Copy courtesy of the State Library of Tasmania

Title:Lines written on the sudden and much lamented death of Mr. William Genge, who died at the Wesleyan Ch
Author/Creator: Nevin, J.
Publication Information: Hobart : Pratt, printer, 1881.
Physical description: 1 sheet.
Record ID: SD_ILS:542990
 Allport Library Pamphlets P 820.A NEV

Six years later, John Nevin (1808-1887) died in the gardens of his much beloved cottage at Kangaroo Valley on 9th October 1887. His obituary was published in The Mercury on 11th October:

John Nevin (1808-1887

DEATH OF AN OLD VETERAN.- There passed away very quietly on Sunday, 9th inst., at the good old age of 79, Mr. John Nevin, who for the last 30 years has lived in the secluded shades of Kangaroo Valley, adjoining Lady Franklin's old Museum. He lived a retired life on his pension and in working his plot of garden ground at the Wesleyan Chapel, enjoying the respect of all in the neighbourhood as a consistent Christian. His latter days were spent in quietness among his family, and he leaves a widow (a second wife) and two sons and several grandchildren in Hobart. Only a fortnight ago two friends of his, who were boys in the Royals, and had known him in Canada 50 years ago, paid him a visit, and a pleasant time was spent with him in recounting feats of valour long since almost forgotten. He was then enjoying good health, but last Wednesday, while working in his garden, he felt tired, and rested awhile on the damp ground, which caused a chill. He took to his bed, and, after three days' sickness, quietly joined the majority. In his day he was a wielder of the pen as well as of the sword, and was some 50 years ago a contributor to the infant Press in London, Canada West, when the present city of that name was a struggling town of rough and rude buildings and log huts. As a soldier of the Royal Scots he served under his colonel, Sir G.A. Wetherall, and the present Sir Daniel Lyons [i.e. Lysons] was his ensign; and he did his duty in very stirring times in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-1838. He was engaged in the storming and capture of St.Charles and St. Eustache and in engagements of St. Dennis, St. Benoit, and many other operations on the Richelieu River and adjacent country of Chambly, and at Terra-Bone [i.e. Terrebonne] he assisted in the capture of a large number of French prisoners during a severe winter campaign, often struggling with his comrades to the waist in snow in following his officers in the work of quelling the rebellion of Papineau. John Nevin's proudest boast was that he had been a soldier of the Royals.
(The Mercury, 11 October 1887).

This photo was taken of his widow Martha Nevin nee Genge ca. 1887-1890. After John Nevin's death, she left the Kangaroo Valley cottage which was demolished by the Christ College Trustees of the Wesleyan Church and the Lady Franklin Museum on termination of his tenure, and eventually took up residence at the house of her brother J. Genge in Bowden St. Glenorchy where she died in 1925.

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca 1900

Martha Nevin nee Genge widow of John Nevin, taken ca. 1887-1890
TAHO Ref:NS434/1/194

By the early 1920s, Martha Genge (1833-1925) was in her late eighties when her nephew James Chandler photographed her with his mother, Mary Chandler nee Genge.

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca 1920

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca. 1920
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/248

Martha Nevin nee Genge and Mary Genge ca 1920

Martha Nevin nee Genge on left, Mary Genge her sister on right who married William Chandler in 1868 at the New Town Methodist Church. Photos copyright KLW NFC 2012.

Source: TAHO Ref: NG1231
Start Date: 01 Jan 1910
End Date: 31 Dec 1935
James Chandler was a Hobart photographer. For many years he was a member of the Photographic Society and well-known on the Hobart waterfront as a marine photographer in the 1930's and 1940's. He was the youngest son of William Chandler, a bootmaker, and his wife Mary (nee Genge), the first couple married at the New Town Methodist Church on the 14 Jan 1868. His uncle was Jacob Chandler, a ship builder in Battery Point. He died in Hobart on 8 July 1945 and was cremated at Cornelian Bay 9 July 1945 aged 67, having been born on the 12 August 1877 in Hobart
Information Sources: Mercury 30 March 1945 p16

Martha Nevin nee Genge and Mary Genge ca 1920

Photographer: James Chandler
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/103
Martha Nevin nee Genge (left) and her sister Mary Chandler nee Genge (right) at Mt Stuart, Hobart - ca. 1920.

A short notice reporting the death of Martha Genge appeared in the Mercury, 9 March 1925, with incorrect information. It stated she was the relict of William Nevin: she was the relict of the late John Nevin snr, father of photographer Thomas J. Nevin.

NEVIN. -On March 7, 1925, at the residence of her brother (Mr. J. Genge), Boden [sic- should be Bowden]-street, Glenorchy, Martha, relict of the late William [sic - should be John] Nevin, in the 92nd year of her age.
Source: Family Notices. (1925, March 9). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2014, from

James Chandler took this photograph and others of the Genge family house and orchards at Glenorchy (Hobart, Tas) ca. 1910.

TAHO: (Ref:NS8691456-9)

Title: Photograph - Glenorchy - home of the Genge family
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: NS869-1-457
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania


Martha Nevin nee Genge burial 1925

Martha Nevin Burial Record: Cornelian Bay Cemetery

Martha Nevin died in Hobart in 1925, born Martha Genge, 1833, Somerset, England. She married John Nevin in 1879 with the name Martha Salter. Her gravestone at Cornelian Bay (Southern Regional Cemetery Trust) reads: Martha Nevin, daughter of William and Mary Genge.

John Nevin died of pleurisy on October 8th, 1887: his death certificate recorded that he was a gardener.

Archives Office Tasmania: RGD 35/11 No. 1000

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Text and photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2012

On board the "City of Hobart" 31st January 1872