Mary Agnes O’Neill

William White (1837-1904)
Mary Agnes O’Neill (1836-1874)

Jump down to the list of their children

Mary Agnes O’Neill was the fifth of six children of William O’Neill & Johanna Flaherty, born on 09 Dec 1836 in the Clarence Town district. At the time William and Johanna were squatting on crown land fighting to buy or lease their own property.

William White was the second of four children of Michael White and Sarah Therry. He was born in Kilnish, Co. Clare, Ireland, in 1837 and arrived in Australia in 1851 on the St Vincent with his mother, Sarah, and his sister Jane (who died on the voyage). K.P. Kay Ingle, who wrote Big Creek the Allyn to Hilldale, has a chapter on the White Clan (including a photo of William White and his son Thomas).

This page has been assembled with the help of Merise Feneley, one of William and Mary’s great-great-grandchildren.

William and Mary married on 07 Aug 1866 at her family home at Clarence Town, some seven months after her father’s death and only two years before the leases of the two properties making up Irish Town were terminated. The witnesses were Matthew McMahon and Mary Walker and the minister was Fr Edmund Walsh. They married just a week after both were witnesses at the wedding of Mary’s first cousin William Charles O’Neill and William’s sister Catherine White.

Mary was clearly an accomplished young woman. In a toast given in 1937 during an address at a function celebrating the 80th birthday of a nephew (P. J. O’Neill, a former Mayor of Kempsey), an old family friend (Frank Clarke) had this to say:

… May I interpolate something which I hope is not irrelevant. My father and mother arrived in Sydney in 1835 from the old land, Not long after their arrival they settled on the Williams River, probably 1837, and it was during their residence there that they became acquainted as friends with the earlier O’Neill generation, back to the days of our guest’s grandfather. So it may be said that the acquaintanceship, and, I’m sure, friendship of the two families goes back for about a century. A long time in this still young land. Many years ago when I was about six to seven years of age, we had as a guest at our home, then near Stroud, a very charming young woman by name Mary O’Neill, who had musical as well as other accomplishments. I admit now, without shame, that I loved that lady. Can you wonder; she was an aunt of our guest. When her visits ended I was very sorry and lonely for a few days. Besides the attraction of music and personal charm she used to trim my hair and tried to curl my untidy locks; her efforts though were not successful. Besides this amiable aunt, I knew from my earliest years two uncles and four cousins of Mr. O’Neill. All those have since passed on. May they rest in peace.

William & Mary’s children:

There is evidence that William had a son prior to marrying Mary:

01. Thomas William, (b. 1864, d. 28 Nov 1944).

Joe Begnell, a relative of Sarah White (née Therry) has researched this family, and wrote as follows:

Thomas White, William’s eldest child, was the son of William and Agnes Gorman. William disowned him and he was raised by Sarah, his mother, with the assistance of her second husband, Michael Finn.

There is a NSW birth record (number V18653905 121B) for Thomas White, with William and Agnes stated as his parents. Thomas married Mary Glyn (b. 1866, m. 1894, d. 1950).

02. Ellen Mary (b. 1867, d. 25 May 1946)

03. Michael Mathew (b. 1868, d. 16 Nov 1921)

04. William Percival (b. 1869, d. 01 Sep 1920)

05. Dominic (b. 1870, d. 05 Aug 1935)

06. Bernard Bede (b. 1871, d. 22 Aug 1943)

07. unnamed male (b. 1873, d. 1873)

08. Francis Patrick (b. 1874, d. 1876)

Sadly, Mary died in childbirth on 06 Mar 1874, aged 37. Their children generally scattered across Australia. Below is a copy of her death certificate:’

Mary Agnes O'Neill death cert

03. Michael Mathew White travelled to West Australia in the late 1800s and went prospecting for gold. He married Rosanne Magdaline Bogan (aka Rose, b. 1868, d. 1955 at Mt Rivers, Allynbrook). They had one daughter:

Catherine Mary Ouida (b. 1898, d. 1911)

The West Australian on Tue Jun 1911 and the Western Mail on Sat 17 Jun 1911 both carried this death notice:

WHITE. – On June 12, 1911, at Subiaco, W.A., Catherine Mary Ouida, the dearly beloved and only daughter of M. M. and Rose M. White, of “The Jungle”, East Narrogin, G.S.R., and formerly of East Perth, W.A., aged 12 years and 10 months. R.I.P.

Michael died at Narrogin (about 250 km south east of Perth) in 1921 of septicaemia after an accident in which a reaper went over his leg after a horse bolted. Rose returned to Allynbrook in NSW after the death of her husband.

04. William Percival White also travelled to West Australia and went mining. He is listed in the 1910 Electoral Rolls in the subdivision of Mount Magnet (at Sandstone, some  740 kilometres northeast of Perth). He died in 1920 in Wooroloo Hospital, built built in 1915 as a sanatorium for suffers of tuberculosis (a common miner’s disease) and leprosy.

05. Dominic White appears not to have married. From the probate notice (see page 3, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 24 Aug 1935) he was a grazier, living firstly at Allynbrook and then Hillgate between Dungog and Paterson. He died in Allynbrook in 1835.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES – Probate Jurisdiction. – In the Will and Codicils of DOMINIC WHITE late of Hilldale formerly of Allynbrook in the State of New South Wales Retired Grazier deceased – Application will he made after fourteen days from the publication hereof that Probate of the last Will and two Codicils thereto of the above named deceased may be granted to RICHARD REGINALD WHITE, FRANCIS JOSEPH WHITE and JAMES RYAN CARLTON the Executors named in the said Will and all persons having, any claims against the said Estate are required to furnish particulars thereof within the fourteen days aforesaid to and all notices may he served at the office of the undersigned ROBERT L LOGAN Proctor for Executors West Maitland. By SLY and RUSSELL, 15 Barrack street Sydney.

06. Dominic Bede White (known as Barny) went prospecting, firstly in Victoria and then in West Australia. He married Susan Leaves Tainsh in 1903. In 1925 they were farming Booloo at Toolibin (near Narrobin, WA – Australian Electoral Rolls). He died in 1943 at Narrogin.

Second family

William White married Susan Glynn (b. 1851 in Milltown Malbay, Co Clare, Ireland, d. 1950) at Paterson in 1878. Susan had arrived on the Queen of the East from Plymouth on 30 Apr 1864.

William kept the Cross Keys Hotel at Allynbrook, and was an auctioneer and grazier. The following is an item in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on Thu 27 Oct 1881:

Excessive Damage on Cattle Impounded.

J. B. Kelman was charged by William White, with levying excessive damage on 24 head of cattle impounded by him at the Gresford pound, belonging to complainant. From the evidence adduced it appears the cattle were impounded from unenclosed land. The bench decided that the amount of £1 4s, the amount of damages charged, to be refunded.

and on Sat 16 Jul 1881:

THE TOBACCO TRADE – Most of the tobacco leaf of last season’s growth is now out of the hands of the growers, having been purchased principally by Sydney manufacturers. Mr. William White, of Gresford, has purchased over forty tons of leaf for Messrs. Cameron Brothers and Co. Mr. John Beatty, of Gresford, has also purchased largely for Messrs, Saywell and Co., and other Sydney firms. Messrs. Lawrie and Sons, of Halton, Eccleston, has also purchased the now leaf to a large extent, and have recently very considerably extended their manufacturing operations, The year’s produce of leaf tobacco for the Paterson and Allyn river must have exceeded one hundred and twenty tons.

There is a reference to an attempt that William made to enter politics. A follow-up article has not at this stage been located, so in all likelihood this was an abortive attempt. From the Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 7 May 1884:

The annual nomination of district councillors took place to-day. The retiring councillors are Messrs. H. H. Brown, M.L.A., and Mr. James Lawrie, both of whom are candidates for re-election, and they, together with Mr. William White, of Gresford, were duly nominated. After each candidate had addressed the electors the show of hands was in favour of Messrs. Brown and Lawrie. Mr. White demanded a poll, which will be taken on Friday, and a close and exciting contest is expected between Messrs. Lawrie and White.

Then this item appeared in in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on Sat 06 Nov 1886:


CROSS KEYS HOTEL, ALLYN BROOK.—The meeting was specially called to consider an application from the licensee of this house for a renewal of his license. It will be remembered that when this license was originally applied for some twelve months ago, it was strongly opposed by the local police, but their opposition was overruled by a petition from residents of the district. On this occasion there was no police objection, but the renewal was opposed by a number of the leading residents of the district. Due notice of objection was given, and Sergeant Thompson, Licensing Inspector, who conducted the case on behalf of the petitioners, presented to the court notice of objection on behalf of the residents of Gresford and the Allyn and Paterson Rivers. Grounds of objection, viz.:—That if the renewal of the license to the house in question were granted it would “disturb the peace and harmony of the district.” Mr. C. F. Solling, who appeared for the applicant (Robert Hancock), objected to the objection, as it was not worded in accordance with the Act, the phraseology of the Act being “peace and good order.” The Sergeant said that he had worded the objection in accordance with the notice furnished to him by the residents. Mr. Solling’s objection was overruled by the Bench, the L.M. remarking that they were there to do justice, and all they had to do with the law was to see that they acted within it. —Alfred J. H. Priest, Church of England clergyman, of Gresford, deposed: I handed Sergeant Thompson notice of objection, now produced [letter read]; I now hand the Bench a petition signed by the residents of the Allyn River, Gresford, and surrounding district, objecting to the renewal of the license of the Cross Keys Hotel, Allyn Brook, on the grounds that if it is renewed it will disturb the peace and harmony of the district. [The rev. gentleman here handed to the Bench a petition to the above effect, with some 149 names of residents of the district attached.] By Mr. Solling: I have known the hotel since opened; for a month I lived within a mile of the hotel; I cannot be certain if I made any complaints to the police during that time; since then I have lived within 9 or 10 miles of the hotel; during that period I have been at the hotel or passed it about every week; I have never stayed at the hotel as a lodger; I have spoken frequently to the police about the general disorders coming from that house; I cannot say that I have at any time seen disorderly persons in the house or coming from the house; from personal inspection I know nothing about the hotel; the hotel is about 9 or 10 miles from any other hotel; I did not object when the license was first granted; I have not seen anything in or about the house objectionable. Martin Prentice deposed: I am a constable stationed at Gresford; I served the notice of objection on Robert Hancock; the hotel has disturbed the peace and harmony of the district, and if its license is renewed it will continue to do so; if refused it might affect a few travellers. By Mr. Solling: Since the license has been granted to the Cross Keys Hotel I have been stationed at Gresford; I have had no cases against the licensee since granted; it is the duty of the police to interfere when the peace and harmony of the district is disturbed; I never had sufficient information to take proceedings against the licensee I have no fault to find with the licensee or the management of his hotel; I have no fault to find with the promises; on an average I have visited the place twice a week; I have seen one or two strolling players and about half a dozen legitimate travellers staying at the hotel; I could not say that there were no other travellers staying there; the nearest hotel to this one is about 9 miles distant this way; the hotel is a benefit to travellers; there would be no public accommodation if the license was refused; I produce a list of cases originating about the neighbourhood of the house; that is my reason for objecting to the license [witness here handed the bench a list of some 14 cases as copied from the Gresford police court records, representing a variety of offences, such as drunk and disorderly, riotous behaviour, obscene language, etc.]; some of the offences took place on the road outside the house and some half a mile away. By the Bench: There is a wine shop within four miles the house; I would not swear that some of the parties complained of did not get drunk at it; the great majority of the cases did originate at the hotel, but I would not say all of them. —By Mr. Solling: I was present when some of the offences occurred: the licensee was not responsible for them; the licensee obtained three summonses against different persons, but the cases were not proceeded with, on account of the parties not appearing. —Joseph Richard Tollfree deposed: I am a teacher, residing at Allyn River; I am one of the deputation from the Allyn River to object to the renewal of the Cross Keys Hotel license; my objection is that it is detrimental to the peace and harmony of the district. —By Mr. Solling: I live within about 4½ miles of the hotel; I have lived there for the last 3½ months; before that I was living about nine or ten miles from the hotel; I have never been at the house; the reason of my objection is that it will give people an opportunity to get drunk; I am a Good Templar; as a Good Templar I have regard for the convenience of the travelling public; people are constantly travelling up and down the road; I know nothing of the licensee of the house.— By the bench : All the names I collected are genuine signatures; Norwood is about 10 miles from the hotel. —By Mr. Solling: None of the names I collected are under the age of 14 years; two are under 21 years; about a third of the names I collected are Good Templars. —William Ninness deposed: I am a farmer residing at Lostock, I am one of the deputation to object to the license on the grounds that the peace and harmony of the district will be disturbed if it is renewed; the names I collected are all genuine. —By Mr Solling. I cannot say anything against the house from my own personal knowledge; I live about 10 miles from the hotel; I have passed it about three times during the last 12 months, most of the persons whose signatures I collected are Good Templars; the road is travelled by the public a good deal, travellers require accommodation at Allyn Brook. —By the Bench: If I wanted to get drunk I could go to Beatty’s, which is about 15 miles from my residence. —This concluding the case for the opponents of the license, the Rev. Mr. Priest said he wished to make a few remarks on the subject, and explain his position and the attitude of the petitioners. He referred to the number and weight of the names attached to the petition, and to the fact that they were not near all total abstainers. —Amongst the signatures on the petition were those of six magistrates who were not total abstainers. —Mr Solling objected to the rev. gentleman dealing with anything in his address that had not been proved by evidence. —The L M. said he knew this was the rule, but thought that as Mr. Priest was the resident clergyman in the district, he should be allowed some leniency. —The Rev. Mr. Priest said he wished just briefly to explain, the action they had taken, as it had been widely circulated that the petition had been got up through personal malice and spite. This rumour has gained favor because one of those collecting signatures happens to have lately selected on Mr. White’s estate. [Mr. White is the proprietor of the hotel.] I know that I am not supposed to be acting from this motive, and I wish publicly to state my conviction that others are not doing so either. The petitioners only desire that public morality should be maintained as far as possible, without injury to any one. No doubt if the license is refused, both the owner and the lessee will be great losers. This could only be justified by some public benefit, which would more than compensate for the individual loss. No one would regret more than myself to see unnecessary injury done to any one. As I am not actuated by any personal motive, but solely by an honest desire for the general welfare, I am willing to be satisfied with any milder measures which will gain our point – the preservation of the public peace. Such an influential petition was a proof that the evil was deeply felt. If the bench would recommend additional police supervision for the district, or could take any other measures to ensure the future peace of the community he should be quite satisfied. He hoped the bench would take the matter into their earnest consideration. —Mr Solling said that he had nothing to say against what the rev. gentleman had said—indeed he in the main agreed with him. And, as he did not consider that any just reason had been advanced for refusing the renewal, before proceeding with the case for the defence, he would ask the bench if it was necessary for him to do so. —The Licensing Magistrate said he considered the petition a mistake. The time for such a petition was when the license was first applied for. It seemed to him that there was not a tittle of evidence against the licensee, and it would be a a great wrong to him to refuse the certificate for renewal. He would like to mention that he had received some half-a-dozen anonymous letters referring to this house, and referred to the writers in very strong terms of censure. He considered it a cowardly, dastardly, blackguardly thing for anyone to do, and if he had his way he would give the writer fifty lashes. These letters, if anything, had only predisposed him in favour of the house. —The application was granted. —Mr. W. L. B. Brown, C. P. S ., here made a few remarks. It had been reported that he had gone out of his way in calling a special meeting of the Court to facilitate the granting of the renewal. But Mrs Hancock had simply come to him in the office, and he had called the court at her request, but had done nothing in the case outside his office. The L.M. said that Mr. Brown had done perfectly correct -The Bench remarked to the applicant that all this fuss should act as a warning to him to be very careful in future. —Just before the court closed, Mr White came forward and wished to state that he had no ill-will or malice against Mr. Priest for his action in connection with the case. —The court then closed.

Paterson, November 4th, 1886.

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser carried this item in its Thur 09 Aug 1888 edition:

GRESFORD POLICE COURT, MONDAY, AUGUST 6. Before Mr. J. Boydell and Mr. W. Reynolds, J’s.P., George Eveleigh was arrested on suspicion, and charged by Constable Brennan with stealing one coil of wire, the property of William White, of Allyn River. The prisoner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to three months’ in Maitland gaol. Petty larceny has been carried on of late both on the Paterson and Allyn Rivers. The prompt arrest which resulted in a conviction, reflects great credit upon Constable Brennan.

In the Thu 04 Aug 1898 edition of The Maitland Daily Mercury this appeared:

We have been asked to publish the following official letter:— ‘ Sydney, 26th July, 1898: Petition, presented by you, signed by Messrs. W. Smith, W. White, M. Bird, and other residents of Allynbrook, urging the clearing and repairing of the road from Allynbrook to the Upper William River. Reply: The Minister has approved of a grant of £56 being made for expenditure on the road in question. — Robert Hickson, Under-Secretary and Commissioner for Roads. H. H. Brown, Esq.’ August 3.

It was reported on Sat Oct 31 1903 that William White had purchased 110 acres at £9 1s per acre in a sale at Gresford.

William and Susan had 8 children, however, since they are not direct descendants of William O’Neill & Johanna Flaherty, their story will be told elsewhere. They were:

09. John Terry (b. 1879, d. 1952)

10. Richard Reginald (b. 1880, d. 26 Feb 1962)

11. Alice Mary Margaret (b. 1881, d. 23 Nov 1973)

12. James Percival (b. 1883, d. 1951)

13. Patrick Vincent (b. 1884, d. 1963)

14. Mary Stanislaus (b. 1886, d. 1971)

15. Francis Joseph (b. 1889, d. 1964)

16. Sarah Josephine (b. 1892, d. 01 Mar 1929)

William was licensee of  Cross Keys Hotel to at least 1898 (see Publicans – NSW). However, within a hew years he had purchased the Metropolitan Hotel at West Maitland, as it was bequeathed in his will. He died on 09 May 1904, leaving his property (the house Kilkee – excluding household goods – and the Metropolitan Hotel) to his sons Dominic, Richard, Patrick and Francis. He bequeathed money to Ellen (£200), Michael (£100), William (£200), Bernard (£250), John (£300) and James (£300). The contents of his house, jewellery and personal effects were left to his wife Susan. He made provision for the education and support of his daughters Alice, Mary and Sarah. He directed that his wife and daughters should have “full, and free right, at all times” to remain living on his property, Kilkee, until their respective deaths, or marriages. They were also to be provided with a vehicle.

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