TROVE Tuesday – A cry for help

Week 34 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE

PROMPT: TRAGEDY

Today’s article is just one small, very sad chapter in my maternal 3 x great grandmother’s life story. (1).

Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tuesday 14 May 1867, page 2

Anne Mulvena nee Muldoon was born in 1831.(2 ) Her early life in County Fermanagh, Ireland was extraordinarily difficult. Anne was orphaned during the Great Famine and was living in the Ballyshannon Workhouse before she emigrated to Australia as part of the Earl Grey Famine Orphan Scheme, a special emigration scheme designed to resettle destitute girls from the workhouses of Ireland during the Great Famine.(3) Anne Muldoon arrived in Sydney on 13 February 1849 on the ‘Inchinnan’.(4)

Figure 1: Map of County Fermanagh, Ireland

Anne married a fellow Irish immigrant Patrick Mulvena (1823-1913) at Hinton, NSW in 27 October 1851, (5)The couple’s marriage was not a happy one. Their eldest son John Mulvena (1852-1939) wrote that

The mistake of her life, was the marrying the man she married, he proved to be one of the worst class of loafers. My mother had to feed him as well as us children, he would not work, but in early life work and worry put my mother out and the selfish laziness of her husband, was the cause, no excuse, he was exceedingly strong and healthy

John Mulvena, Deposition, 0 May 1937 (6)

By 1867 at the time this article was printed, Anne was seriously troubled, had seven young children and a husband who was often away at the Hill End diggings. Anne had made a number of suicide attempts, including one where she chopped a thumb off with a rusty axe in the hope of dying of lockjaw. (7)

Captain Hill ignored Anne’s cries for help, She was sent home with her husband. The already overwhelmed mother of seven went on to have three more children in five years following the protection hearing.

On the 16 September 1872, Anne threw herself down a well at her home in Lawrence. Her body was discovered by Martha, her eldest daughter. (8) Catherine, the youngest daughter, had been born only three months before the death.

An inquest into the death was held resulting in a finding “That the deceased, Anne Mulvena, came to her death, Monday the 16th September, by throwing herself into the well, while of unsound mind.”(9)

Foonotes

  1. Anon., ‘Protection’, Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tuesday 14 May 1867, page 2
  2. Ancestry, Immigration record for Anne Muldoon, New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Accessed 9 September 2019
  3. Ballyshannon Famine Orphan Memorial, Accessed 9 September 2019
  4. Ancestry, Immigration record for Anne Muldoon.
  5. Ancestry, Marriage record for Anne Muldoon and Patrick Mulvena, Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950, Accessed 9 September 2019.
  6. John Mulvena, Deposition May 1937.
  7. Anon., ‘DEATH THROUGH DROWNING IN A WELL’, Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tuesday 24 September 1872, page 2.
  8. Anon., ‘DEATH THROUGH DROWNING IN A WELL’, Clarence and Richmond Examiner, page 2.
  9. Anon., ‘DEATH THROUGH DROWNING IN A WELL’, Clarence and Richmond Examiner, page 2.

6 Comments

  1. Bill I alerted the editors at Tintean to this post of yours about Anne. hope that’s ok.

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  2. brianharris5 says:

    That’s fine Trevor. Ann ‘s life was extremely troubled as were the lives of a number of descendants. It is almost as if the horrors of the Great Famine led to an anguish that was passed down the generations.

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    1. Keepers Brian. Predictive text is a worry. Even changed my Jeepers to Keepers in this one, and your name in the previous one. I hear its inventor died. May he restaurant in peace.

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  3. Brian Harris says:

    That’s fine Trevor. Ann ‘s life was extremely troubled as were the lives of a number of descendants. It is almost as if the horrors of the Great Famine led to problems that was passed down the generations.

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  4. FOS says:

    Hi Brian, A lovely story and a sad one. Can you give us an email address on which to contact you; best reply is to info@tintean.com.au

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