Ellen Cecily

Francis McNamara (1823-1853)
Ellen Cecily O’Neill (1830)-1896

Jump down to the list of their children

Ellen Cecily O’Neill was the second of six children of William O’Neill & Johanna Flaherty. William had been transported to NSW from Co. Kerry, Ireland, in 1822 for a term of 7 years. His wife Johanna had born a son, John, in Ireland the year William was transported, and Johanna and John were given free passage to join William in 1827. Ellen was the first of their children born in Australia. At the time, they were squatting on Crown land in the Brookfield region close to Clarence Town, NSW, and it was not until 1842 that they obtained a lease for a 2,150 acre property adjoining the north boundary of Clarence Town.

Francis McNamara was born in 1823 and baptised on 18 Feb 1824 at Newport, Co. Tipperary, one of a number of children born to Michael McNamara and Margaret Connor. Another of their children, Catherine, later married Ellen’s youngest brother William. Francis was known as Frank.

Ellen and Frank married in 1853, the marriage registered in the East Maitland district of NSW, but most probably the Upper Paterson (Mount Rivers) where the McNamara family were residing. The NSW register has Ellen shown as “Helen”.

Not a great deal is known about Frank and Ellen’s life, so if any descendant can furnish information we’d be pleased to hear from you (email mick@oneillfamily.id.au). We know they lived at Mount Rivers, and, when Ellen died of pleurisy on 19 May 1896, The Maitland Weekly Mercury‘s edition of Sat 30 May 1896 described her as the local postmistress there:

LOSTOCK. — The weather for the last week or more has been most changeable, sunshine and showers alternate days, ending with a steady down pour on Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday. — It is our sad duty to record the death of an old and respected resident, Mrs. Francis McNamara, of Mount Rivers, for many years postmistress at that place. Her death was the result of pleurisy, from which she suffered for about ten days. Drs. Burton and Richards were called in, but medical skill proved unfortunately of no avail. The interment was in the private burial ground of the Mount Rivers property, and the Funeral was largely attended, many coming from a distance to show the last mark of respect to their departed friend. Fully one hundred and fifty persons were present.

In fact F McNamara is on a list of postmasters and licensed vendors of stamps, who have been appointed stamp distributors under the Stamp Duties Act, as published in The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 3 Aug 1865 (listed for Lostock).

Francis was also a farmer and grazier in the district. The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 19 Mar 1898, mentions him and his son-in-law (William Kelly) in this advertisement:

T BOGAN will sell by auction, at Beatty’s Yards, on Friday, 25th March, at Eleven o’clock, on account of M. Scobie, W. Kelly, F. McNamara, and others,
6 PRIME FAT COWS
25 Head of MIXED CATTLE

30 PIGS, including 25 Store Slips.

Terms cash.

Many other advertisements of cattle sales on behalf of “F McNamara” appeared in the The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser from Thu 28 May 1885. In The Maitland Weekly Mercury on Sat 24 Dec 1904 there also appeared:

F. McNamara’s cedar trees at £7 12s 6d

A Frank McNamara also appeared on a list of donors to the Irish Distress Relief Fund on Sat 20 Mar 1880. He died on 31 Oct 1905 in the Upper Paterson (record 13939).

Ellen and Francis’s family:

01. Honorah Ann (b. 1854, d. 1896)

02. Michael Joseph (b. 1858, d. 25 Jul 1904)

03. Mary Maud (b. 11 Nov 1860, d. 16 Jul 1948)

02. Michael Joseph McNamara was a farmer at Mt Rivers in the Upper Paterson. His death was reported by The Maitland Weekly Mercury on Sat 6 Aug 1904:

McNAMARA — Died July 25th, at his residence ‘Mount Rivers,’ Upper Paterson, Michael McNamara, only son of F. McNamara. R.I.P.

We had thought for many years that he married Frances Mary Lockwood at Moulamein in 1893 (record 4937). However Frances’s husband, Michael J McNamara, passed away in 1917 and is clearly a different person. What we had initially on that family can be read here.

As mentioned above, nothing more is known of Ellen Cecily O’Neill and Francis McNamara’s children and their descendants, so any information would be welcome (email mick@oneillfamily.id.au).