1876 Death of Elizabeth
Charles Martin's home page
1st July, 1876 - Death of Elizabeth.
On the 1st July, less than six months after their move
to Melbourne, Elizabeth died. She obviously died rather
suddenly, the cause of death being a complaint or disease known
as "Perimetrites' , the duration of which was 14 days. At this
stage I am not certain exactly what Perimetrites is, although
from one of the newspaper reports it appears likely that it may
have something to do with pregnancy or childbirth.
Several articles appeared in
the Ballarat newspapers -
The Courier - 3rd July, 1876.
extremely sorry to have to record the death of Mrs Martin, the wife of our esteemed late fellow townsman,
Mr C. Martin, who was for so many years head teacher of
State-school No 33, Ballarat. Mrs Martin died at her
residence, Carlton, on Saturday last, at twenty minutes past
eleven a.m. "
The Courier -
4th July, 1 876.
Monday we referred to the death of Mrs Martin, late mistress
of the central
State-school, Doveton street. For just nineteen years
previous to the time of Mr Martin's promotion to the
Melbourne Training Institute, Mrs Martin occupied the
position of mistress (or what under the present act is first
assistant teacher) with him in the school. She held a
second-class certificate for honors under the board.
Combined with her abilities as a teacher, she was held in
the highest estimation and respect for her many social
virtues. Ever a friend to the distressed and afflicted, her
heart and purse were both open to relieve the want of the
suffering, without ostentation, whenever called upon to do
so. Mrs Martin died at thirty nine years of age, and in
connection with an event which usually brings pleasure to
the domestic circle, but which in this instance has brought
a long period of pain and regret. "
The Ballarat "Star" - 5th July, 1876.
reference to the death of Mrs Martin, who has just died in Melbourne, at the age of thirty-nine years, we
may state that the deceased lady came, when twenty years of
age, to Ballarat with her husband, to open the Doveton
street National school, having been three or four years
previously in the service of the Educational Board. She
continued her duties here till six months ago, when Mr
Martin was promoted to the Training Institute, Melbourne.
She held a second class certificate for honors under the
board. The deceased was highly esteemed by a large circle of
friends and acquaintances for her many excellent qualities
and Christian virtues. "
A grave plot was
purchased at the Melbourne General Cemetery. No doubt the service and burial was a very sad
occasion. Charles Henry jnr, by now almost 21 years of age and
possibly keeping company with his future wife, would certainly
have been in attendance (although in view of the entry on the
death certificate, maybe he wasn't). Perhaps he and his father
had by now reconciled their difference of former years. For all
the young children it would have been an experience of numbing
grief. As the family trudged the short walk along Cardigan
street to their home that Melbourne winter's evening, the future
would have looked bleak indeed.
Charles was to erect a
headstone on the site, with the inscription:
the beloved wife of
19 years Mistress of the Central State School,
Born 21st October, 1836; Died
1st July, 1876.
hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his son." John.
"Christ, our life, shall
" I will come again." Jesus.
The bottom line is from the Greek New
Testament, and means "Amen, Come,
The headstone clearly
reveals a strong theology of the hope of the Second Coming of
Christ. This would have been a strong point in Charles' beliefs
and was undoubtedly a real comfort in
the time of bereavement. .
(NOTES - The Death Certificate poses one or two questions.
The informant is almost certainly Francis Longmore, who was not
a blood relative, but in the previous year had married Sarah
Farr, the daughter of Thomas Farr and Charles' sister Hannah.
The real mystery which the
death certificate poses, however, is that in the list of Elizabeth's children, the eldest child,
Charles Henry, is listed as "dead". Now in fact he was very much
alive (or I have never been born seeing that he was my
grandfather, and this book which you're reading doesn't exist),
and it is extremely difficult to know how this came to be
entered. It raises a number of possibilities. Firstly, it gives
some credence to the oft-repeated story of my mother, that in
about January 1872, the boy, aged 16, ran away from home because
his father had wanted him to be a doctor, for which he was
unwilling. As the story goes, he had boarded a Sydney-bound
ship, and was sitting up looking through the porthole at his
father and the police searching for him on the wharf. I assumed
that he never made it to Sydney, but maybe he did and was there
for :-me years before returning to Melbourne. Francis Longmore,
the informant, was only a recent addition to the Martin family,
so maybe he just assumed that he was dead. However, this is a
rather far-fetched scenario for a number of reasons, and seems
Another possibility is that after the argument,
the father "disowned" his son and had nothing
more to do with him, treating him as though he were “dead”. This is vaguely possible, as they were both rather
strong minded characters, but it still seems highly unlikely.
And in any case, the true state of affairs would have been known
by the children and relatives, so that when Francis Longmore
filled in the death certificate he would have known that Charles
Henry really was still alive. Certainly in later years the
argument must have been patched up (if indeed there was an
argument), because the father purchased the land upon which the
son's house and business were built in Port Melbourne and gave
him life-time occupancy
At the time of Elizabeth's death, Charles Henry junior
was approaching his 21st birthday, and 12 months later he was to
marry Sarah Baker, so it highly likely that he was in Melbourne
and already "keeping company" with her at this time. I always
assumed that he attended his mother's funeral. In the light of
this death certificate maybe he didn't. (If he did, he would
have given Francis Longmore quite a fright.)
Charles stayed in Melbourne
for nearly another two years. No
doubt they were difficult times for him, as he struggled through
the grief process and tried to bring up the children. He had six
children to look after, five of whom were aged between fourteen
(Leonard) and six (Fred). Charlotte, the, eldest, was by now
twenty, and although she may have returned to Ballarat to resume
teaching, it is more likely that she stayed at home and took on
the role of mother and housekeeper. The correspondence files of
the Education Department give some hint of these times in
regards to Charlotte -
(1876) - H.T. (of Dana Street School) has granted leave of
absence to Miss Martin and states his case for so doing. (NOTE -
This would obviously have to do with Elizabeth's illness and
July 12 -
H.T. states that Miss Martin has not yet resumed her duties.
July 21 - From
Charles Martin - he cannot consent to let his daughter resume
duties. (Once again this is obviously to do with Elizabeth's
death.) Charlotte's resignation from teaching takes effect from
this date, and she never returned to it.
To Mary and William Davey a son James Francis
(8th child – 7 surviving)
Melbourne General Cemetery Right
of Burial Receipts
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5 May 2014