Wednesday, 1 June 2016

William and Martha Bridle – early pioneers in the Campbelltown area

As family historians, we often dream of that ‘great find’ ... a family bible. Religion held a stronger influence in earlier times and a bible was often a gift, given with important significance. So imagine finding a 'family bible' that is not only of religious significance but of enduring family significance.

William BRIDLE was born on 4th May 1797 at Crewkerne, Somerset, England. At the age of twenty he was convicted and transported, arriving in Sydney in 1817 aboard the Larkins 1. As a convict he was sentenced to seven years for the act of larceny for stealing a ‘flat of butter’. 

William was 'assigned' to James Meehan, Colonial Surveyor, at Macquarie Fields. He would have required Meehan's permission to marry free-born Martha MILES on 30th June 1823 at Campbelltown. Martha was the daughter of the First Fleeter convict, Edward MILES / MOYLE.

Initial recordings in the family bible were probably by William (as Martha had marked her marriage certificate was a 'X') and this was the start of their family story. First listings on the inside front pages are of William and Martha’s names and their dates of birth. Followed by when and where they were married and by whom, the Reverend Thomas Reddall at St Peter’s Church, Campbelltown. 

Then follows with, what no doubt would have been, the loving entries of their children:

Elizabeth Bridle was born August 22nd 1824, 10 o’clock in the morning at Macquarie Fields. Sadly above her entry and to the side in smaller script records: Died June 11th 1830 is buried at St Peters, Campbelltown.
William Bridle was born January 18th 1827 Day break (at Macquarie Fields).
John Edward Bridle was born July 17th 1829 at 11 o’clock in morning (at Macquarie Fields).
Sarah Bridle born November 21st 1831 (at Macquarie Fields).
Susannah was born November 12th 1833 at half past eight in the morning (at Macquarie Fields) [written on top edge of following page].

How wonderful would it be to have the exact time of your ancestor’s birth? 

Continued of the back inside pages due to space constraints after Susannah's birth are the names of the above four omitting Elizabeth, possibly completed after her death? Could these be in Martha's hand as she had learnt to write.

            Mary born March 13th 1836 (at Macquarie Fields).
 Thomas born June 6th 1840 (at Windsor, NSW).
 Martha born December 14th 1843 (at Island Lake, NSW)
 George born March 31st 1846 (at Island Lake, NSW)
 Emma born July 13th 1848 (at Island Lake, NSW)

 Richard/Robert stillborn – his details were recorded years later by his 

This family bible was placed in the Mitchell Library in 1983 by the Buddong Society (authors  of the family history volumes). It is a precious family document and a precious Australian  archive.

 William died at Tumut, NSW on 26th July 1873.        
 Martha died 30th November 1886 also at Tumut. 
 Both are buried side-by-side in the Pioneer 
 Cemetery, Tumut, New South Wales

More can be learnt of this family and their many descendants from the wonderful volumes held in the 
HJ Daley Library in the Family History room at Campbelltown City Library. 

The Buddong flows on
Volume 1 – The old hands
Volume 2 – Genuine people
Volume 3 – Those precious ones yet to be published.

Three exceptionally well written and comprehensive volumes, written by dedicated descendants.

Resources: The Buddong flows on, Volume 1; Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900; Campbelltown City Library.