Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mary Jane Killion - 1859 to 1919

Mary Jane Killion is the fourth child and second daughter of John and Jane Killion.  She was born on 25 October 1859 at Port Macquarie, NSW.
On 28 October 1878, Mary Jane married Thomas Newton at the Church of England Parsonage, West Kempsey.  Born on 23 March 1850 in Sydney, Thomas was the son of Thomas Newton and Mary Ryan who had married in Ireland prior to immigrating to New South Wales in 1848.  Mary Jane had just celebrated her nineteenth birthday and Thomas was 28 when they married.  Their marriage registration shows that Thomas was a bootmaker in West Kempsey and Mary Jane had no occupation and lived in Kempsey.  It bears the signatures of Mary Jane and Thomas.  

Copy of 1878 marriage certificate
Mary Jane Killion and Thomas Newton
William and Sarah Hefren were the witnesses to the marriage.  Sarah, the older sister of Thomas Newtown, was born at sea on their parents' voyage to Australia.  In 1871, William Hefren and Sarah Newton married in the Macleay River district.  The Newton and Hefren families remained close.

The 1878 marriage of Mary Jane and Thomas is important as it narrows the Killion/Seward family's move from Port Macquarie to Kempsey to between 1873 and 1878.
Mary Jane and Thomas Newton's children were born in West Kempsey - Percy John on 03 October 1879 and Mary (Minnie) in July 1881.  
Family of Mary Jane Killion and Thomas Newton
The inscription on "The Book of Common Prayers" presented to Mary Jane at Christmas 1899 shows she remained close to her church.  Sue, Mary Jane's great-granddaughter, provided this photo and the book remains a treasured possession in her family.


Martyn, our family historian, has located another tantalising photo in the Angus McNeil Collection housed at Macleay River Historical Society Museum.  It's simply marked "Newton" and dates from the early 1900s.  From the information that we've gathered on the sisters of Thomas Newton, it's unlikely to be one of them.  The McNeil's photos are highly staged.  Could it be Mary Jane in her early 40s?  We'd be pleased to hear your thoughts...  
Possibly Mary Jane Newton (nee Killion) early 1900s from the Angus McNeil Collection housed at Macleay River Historical Society Museum
Thomas Newton recorded his occupations as bootmaker, saw sharpener, carpenter and coach and bridge builder at different stages of his working life. 
In the early 1900s, the Newton family moved from Kempsey to Sydney.  In 1903, their son, Percy John, married Ivy Ethel Roberts in Sydney.  Mary (Minnie), their daughter, was involved in a tragic domestic accident as a child.  She was badly scalded by boiling fat in the kitchen of her parent's home in Kempsey.  Sue, Minnie's great niece, recalls that, as children, she and her brother and sisters were never allowed in the kitchen when their mother was cooking being told many times of Minnie's accident.  It seems that Minnie never recovered, physically or emotionally, and she continued to live under her parents' care until they died.
The 1913 Electoral Roll shows the Newtons living at 574 Crown Street Surry Hills.  On 15 June 1919, Mary Jane died, aged 59, at her home from "Pneumonic Influenza" - six weeks after her older sister Rose and three weeks before her younger sister Margaret.  Francis Percival Thomas (Frank) Newton, Mary Jane's 15 year old grandson, is the informant on her death registration.  It's likely that Frank was living with his grandparents but that's a story for another time.....
Health workers from Surry Hills are gowned, masked and ready for duty to combat the "Spanish" influenza pandemic that took hold in NSW after the First World War.  Riley Street Depot, Surry Hills, 1919.  State Archives NSW NRS 4481 ST 6679
After Mary Jane's death, Thomas and Minnie moved to 3 Hopewell Street, Paddington.  On 16 December 1925, Thomas died, aged 75, at the home of his niece, Effie Hefren, with the cause of death shown as "Bright's disease" - a disease of the kidneys described today as acute or chronic nephritis.  Effie was the daughter of William and Sarah Hefren who were the witnesses at Thomas and Mary Jane's wedding.  
Mary Jane and Thomas Newton are buried in the Waverley Church of England Cemetery, Bronte.



Without her parents to care for her, Minnie Newton was admitted to Callan Park Hospital, Rozelle on 28 August 1926 with the cause of her condition shown as "shock to nervous system".  Minnie was visited by her brother, Percy, and his second wife, Ina, her niece, Mary Edna Irene (Marie) Newton, as well as Killion and Newton cousins.  On 24 July 1948, Minnie was transferred to Kenmore Hospital, Goulburn.  Minnie died on 03 May 1952 and is buried in the Goulburn Church of England Cemetery.


Mary Jane and Thomas Newton's grandchildren circa 1915
Francis Percival Thomas (Frank) Newton (1904 to 1952) and 

Mary Edna Irene (Marie) Newton (1913 to 2001) 
Original held by Robert, great-grandson of Mary Jane and Thomas Newton

A big thank you to Sue and Robert, Mary Jane and Thomas's great-grandchildren, for generously sharing their memories and family treasures.

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