John Thompson and Mary Turner

Bones in the Belfry home page

Parents    John (Snr)Tmompson and Mary Ann Graham         Joshua Turner and Elizabeth Stephenson  

John  Thompson (b 1866 Newcastle-on-Tyne, m Mary Louisa Turner 1887 Newcastle-on-Tyne, d 1893 Newcastle-on-Tyne)
Mary (Maria) Louisa Turner (b abt 1866 Newcastle-on-Tyne, d 1901 N Fitzroy Vic)
      Norman Thompson (b 1888 Newcastle-on-Tyne,  m Winifred Emma Farr 1918 Northcote Vic, d 1932 Thornbury Vic)
      Frederick Thompson (b 1890 Newcastle-on-Tyne,  m Louisa Bertha Miles, d 1964 Carlton Vic)

John Thompson's  Story

John was born in Newcastle on Tyne in 1865 or early 1866. His parents were John and Mary Ann Thompson.  John was the eldest of five known children. The other four children were girls. His father was a cabinet maker. John would have had a strong temperance and Methodist upbringing, as in the 1871 census his father gave his occupation as Temperance Missionary and Local Preacher Methodist. In the 1881 Census, his father has reverted to Cabinet maker. John (Jnr) at age 15 was a draughtsman and  the older three girls were scholars. While John was working, he was also studying. He won prizes at the Newcastle School of Sciene and Art over a period from age 11 to age 18. (the prizes are listed below). When he married in 1887, his profession is again draughtsman. His wife Mary Louisa Turner had lived in Newcastle on Tyne all her life as well. In 1891 the couple are living not far from John's parents with their two young children. John is now working as a Lithographic Artist. Sadly, in March 1893 John died (of "Empyaema Asthemia"). Four months later Mary Louisa and the boys came to Melbourne to join her parents  who had come to Victoria two years earlier.

    The family have various books and certificates from John's school days: Thanks to Glenis Crocker who supplied the following photographs:
1876 Freehand Drawing Prize        1877 Model Drawing Prize     1878 Freehand Drawing Prize       1882 Comittee Prize 1       1882 Comittee Prize 2
1884 Art Prize 1   Cover     Nameplate      1884 Art Prize 2   Cover     Nameplate

Mary Turner's story

    Mary was born at Jarrow Durham about 1866. Jarrow  is on the south bank of the Tyne, not far from the centre of Newcastle on Tyne, and she generally gave her place of birth as simply Newcastle on Tyne. In 1881 she is living wih her parents, older sister and two young brothers at Westgate, Newcastle on Tyne. At he marriage her father described his profession as blacksmith, but just about everywhere else he describes himself as a whitesmith*. Mary  married John Thompson (see above) in 1887. When John died six years later she joned her parents in Melbourne. Her young brother John W Turner came wih her on the voyage (it has to be him, though he claims to be 22 when he is only 18).  She spent the rest of her life in  Melbourne, and died  in 51 Alexander Parade, North Fizroy in 1901, aged 35.
    Another look at that shipping manifest. There is another Thompson (T H Thompson male aged 35) travelling in the cabin section. No known relation. Mary and family were is steerage. Thompson is a common name but there were only 31 passengers total on the ship. Also interesting is that the Thompson family are immediately followed on the passenger list by Mrs Jane Heffer (30) and John Heffer (16). John Thompson's aunt married a Hepper. The Heffers follow immediately after the Thompsons on the list and on other listings we have seen groups travelling together appeared sequentially on the passnger list. All passengers embarked in London and the Thompsons Turner and Heffers above make up seven of the eleven passengers disembarking in Melbourne
Brother Edward lived in Melbourne. Whether sister Ann came to Australia is not known.
*A whitesmith is a person who works with white or light-colored metal (such as tin) and does finish work, such as filing and/or polishing, on iron to remove black oxides. Whitesmith can also refer to the person who polishes or finishes the metal rather than forging it. - Wikipedia

    "I do feel that John Thompsonís widow was brave emigrating to Australia - although the fact her parents were there obviously was the key factor in her decision making. A woman who was left a widow at a young age with young children had few options to avoid the workhouse. With no formal education women struggled to provide financially for a family. Occupations that have occurred in my research were laundress/washerwoman, charwoman, dressmaker. Alternatively a widow could take in lodgers and many chose to seek out a second husband very quickly."

John and Mary Thompson

Starting Information

We had the following certicifates:
Marriage 30 May 1887 Wesley Chapel Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
John Thompson 21 years, Bachelor, Draughtsman, 56 Stone St, Newcastle. Father John Thompson Cabinet Maker
Mary Louisa Turner 21 years, Spinster, Redheugh Cottage, Shot Factory Lane, Newcastle, Father Joshua Turner Blacksmith
Birth certificate : Norman Thompson  28 May 1888, 156 Jefferson St, Newcastle on Tyne, Subdistrict Westgate
Father John Thompson. Mother Mary Louisa (nee Turner)
Death certificate : John Thompson   7 Mar 1893, 156 Jefferson St, Newcastle on Tyne, Subdistrict Westgate, aged 27
Glenis Crocker has prizes awarded to John Thompson by the School of Science and Art,  Newcastle on Tyne (Corporation St)
1876 - Science and Art Department - Prize for Freehand Drawing of the First Grade (certificate)
1877 - Science and Art Department - Prize for Model Drawing of the First Grade (certificate)
1881-2 - School of Science and Art - Commitee Prize (book Illumination by Windsor and Newton)
1884 - School of Art - Third Grade Prize (book Architecture - Gothic and Renaisance, by T Roger Smith)
1884 - School of Art - Third Grade Prize (book Classic Architecture, by Roger Smith and John Slater)

Mary Louisa and the boys came to Melbourne in 1893 after John's death, to join her parents Joshua Turner and Elizabeth (Stephenson), who had come to Victoria 2 years earlier. In Melbourne Joshua Turner made much of the iron lace found on houses and verandahs in Fitzroy and Northcote (suburbs of Melbourne).

SS Australasian left London 12/7/1893, arr 26/8/1893
Cabin         J Thompson 35  (listing looks like J F)            <---  unrelated as far as we know
Steerage     J W Turner Clerk 22 (Maryís young brother)
                  Mrs Thompson 27
                  Norman Thompson 5
                  Frederick Thompson 3        Destination Melbourne

1881 Census

The following family has to be them : Cabinet Maker + Draughtsman  +  John aged 15
20 Moor St,, Westgate, parish of St Phillips, Newcastle
John Thompson        Head        M        46   Cabinet Maker         Newcastle (abt 1834)
Mary A Thompson   Wife         M        37                                   Newcastle (abt 1843)
John Thompson        son                       15  Draughtsman             Newcastle (abt 1865)
Mary A Thompson     Dau                    13  Scholar                     Newcastle (abt 1867)
Annie H? Thompson  Dau                     12  Scholar                     Newcastle (abt 1868)
Isabella J? Thompson Dau                      9  Scholar                      Newcastle (abt 1871)
Elizabeth Thompson    Dau                     1                                    Newcastle (abt 1879)
Mr Odgear notes this address is very close to Stone St, the address where John Thompson was living when he married in 1887
For more Census data on John Senior, go to his page

1891 Census

Parish of Elswick, Arthur's Hill, Newcastle on Tyne,  156 Jefferson St
John Thompson                    Head  M      25   Lithographic Artist       Newcastle on Tyne (abt 1865)
Mary Louisa Thompson      Wife    M      25                                      Durham.  Jarrow (abt 1865)
Norman Thompson               Son                2                                      Newcastle on Tyne (abt 1888)
Frederick Thompson               Son                1                                      Newcastle on Tyne (abt 1889)
Jarrow is about five miles from the centre of Newcastle on Tyne, downstream, on the other side of the river

There is a 1863 book on Wills and executors that came through the Thompsons, inscribed J W Turner, Wakefield Terrace, Gateshead. . Not sure who JW Turner was, but possibilities
(1) The JW Turner who came with Mary Thompson in the Australian in 1893. Assumed to be her younger brother?
(2) Joe William Turner (b abt 1832),  brother of the younger Joshua
(3)  Glenis has a baptism record for Joshua Wood Turner, son of William (Cabinet Maker) and Hannah 4 May 1831 Huddersfield.
They also baptised John Wood Turner on the same day

Comments by Gwen on  the JW Turner who came with Mary Thompson
    He later had a music shop in High St Northcote (near Darebin Rd)

Research Notes

When Mary died, the two boys were eleven and thirteen. Who looked after them?
Names are too common to pick up much reliably, Also some records say Newcastle Upon Ttyne, others just Newcastle On Ttyne


Thanks to Mr D Odgear, who generously researched John and Mary for us, including copying the above 1881 census return and obtaining certificates, way back in 1989
Thanks to Glenis Crocker for all the stuff in her research notes.
Also Gillian Wild who gave us Mary Ann Graham

If you have additions or corrections to this page, please contact us     Bones in the Belfry home page     Page last updated - 9 Jul 2007   20 Dec 2012     8 Jun 2020     1 July 2020