Saturday, 17 June 2017

Matilda Seward - 1869 to 1941

Matilda is the third child of Thomas and Jane Seward.  She was born on 27 December 1869 at Port Macquarie. She was baptised at St Thomas' Anglican Church, Port Macquarie on 19 October 1870.  The birth registration records that Thomas is a boatsman, aged about 50, from England and the Jane is aged 36, from Ireland.
Between 1873 and 1878, Matilda moved with her mother and siblings to the Kempsey region.

Family Notices (1905, April 8). Macleay Argus (Kempsey, NSW : 1885 - 1907; 1909 - 1910; 1912 - 1913; 1915 - 1916; 1918 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 9, 2017, from
On 01 March 1905, Matilda married John Hand at All Saints' Catholic Church, West Kempsey.  John was born on 14 July 1871 at Macleay River.  He was the oldest child of John Hand and Ann Kenny. John was 33 and Thomas was 35 when they married.

Matilda and John Hand's three sons - John Thomas, William Bede and Bernard James - were born in Kempsey.  Sadly, we've not located photos of Matilda or John.  There is a photo of their three sons probably from the 1920s.

Family of Matilda and John Hand

Left to right - William, John jnr and Bernard Hand
Collection held by the family of John Hand (centre)
John Hand was a farmer.  The 1930 and 1931 Electoral Roll shows John's address as his farm in Sea Street, West Kempsey.  Matilda's address is shown as Short Street, West Kempsey.

On 18 September 1932, John Hand died at his Sea Street farm.  He was 61 years old and was married to Matilda for 27 years.  John is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, West Kempsey.

Mr. John Hand. (1932, September 21). The Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952), p. 4. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
John's Will shows that he left Matilda all of his property to be distributed as follows upon her death-

  • 443 acres at Yarravel to John Thomas and Bernard James Hand as tenants in common in equal share,
  • his "other" allotment of land, including the residence, in Sea Street Mountain View and his allotment of land in Broughton Street, West Kempsey to John Thomas Hand,
  • his old homestead of 60 acres at Yarravel to William Bede Hand for his life and after his death to his children in equal share, 
  • his 20 shares in the Macleay River Co-Operative Dairy Company Limited and the residual of his estate to William Bede Hand and
  • the allotment of land where he was residing, including the residence, in Sea Street Mountain View and his allotment of land in Lidcombe to Bernard James Hand.

Transcription of John Hand's Will

Green pin shows Matilda's home in Short Street, red pin shows John's Sea Street address and Yarravel is shown in the top left corner of the map.

On 09 October 1941, Matilda Hand (nee Seward) died aged 71.  She is buried at the Catholic Cemetery, West Kempsey.  

MRS. MATILDA HAND. (1941, October 10). Macleay Argus (Kempsey, NSW : 1885 - 1907; 1909 - 1910; 1912 - 1913; 1915 - 1916; 1918 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

Transcription of Matilda Hand's Will
Matilda lived the longest of Jane Feeny's children both by date and age.  With Matilda's death, the link was broken between the young Jane Feeny who arrived in the colony in 1849 and married three times prior to her death in 1907, aged 76.
  • An infant son died within a few weeks of his birth in July 1873
  • Thomas Killion died on 19 December 1917, aged 60
  • Rosanna (Rose) Porter (nee Killion) died on 29 April 1919, aged 64
  • Mary Jane Newton (nee Killion) died on 15 June 1919, aged 59
  • Margaret Gersbach (nee Killion) died on 05 July 1919, aged 57
  • Edward John (Jack) Killion died on 11 September 1923, aged 68
  • William Thomas Seward died on 07 Jul 1929, aged 63
  • Anne (Annie) Quinn (nee Seward) died on 17 January 1937, aged 69
  • Matilda Hand (nee Seward) died on 09 October 1941, aged 71
Matilda and John Hand's headstone
Catholic Cemetery, West Kempsey

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