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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HANNELL, Jesse (Walton)

Jesse (Walton) HANNELL, born on 15th November, 1818, in Parramatta, was my Great, Great, Great, Grand Uncle.

He was also the youngest son of Elizabeth HANNELL and James WALTON.

I have no hard copy record, at hand, of his Baptism, but it took place at St. John's Anglican Church, Parramatta, as it had for his brothers, James and John. The three boys were born, and baptized, with the surname 'WALTON', though changed it to their mother's surname, I believe, shortly before, or after, arriving in Newcastle, around 1830, or maybe earlier.

Jesse was just 9½ years old, when his mother married John Butler HEWSON, on the 28th May, 1828, in Newcastle. There are some indications that Jesse and his brothers were, possibly, still living in Parramatta. However, Jesse underwent some degree of education at the Christ Church school, as did his brothers.

On the 8th September, 1840, Jesse married Emmaline PRIEST, who was born on 4th Aug, 1821 in Newcastle. Emmaline was the younger sister of Mary Ann Sophia, who had married James HANNELL. Brothers marrying sisters!

At the age of twenty five, not long after his first child, Jessie Hephzibah, was born on 6th Aug, 1841, Jesse followed his brothers' example, and joined the Police force. He was to serve with distinction for eight years, in both Newcastle and Raymond Terrace, and rose to the level of Chief Constable. After his stint in the Police force, he opened a Grocery business in Newcastle. The business flourished.

Jesse and Emmaline had eight children (of their eleven), by 1857, when Jesse was appointed as the first Lighthouse Keeper and Signal Master, at Nobby's Lighthouse, guarding the dangerous entrance to Newcastle's harbour. This was a position in which Jesse and his son, Henry, would eventually, distinguish themselves, for bravery and daring.

One such occasion occurred, in 1866, when the paddle-steamer, 'Cawarra' foundered during a fierce storm.

Enormous waves, whipped up by a gale, swamped the engines of the small steamer, and it became a victim of the 'Oyster Banks' at the harbour mouth. As the ship sank, the crew actually climbed the mast, to what they hoped was safety. However, as cruel as fate can be, the mast broke and cast them into the boiling sea. One man, Frederick Valentine HEDGES, aged 31 years, survived, and was washed clear of the wreck. Jesse Hannell gave orders for his son, Henry, together with the assistant keeper, John Johnson, and a fisherman, named Francis, to launch the Port's lifeboat. Hedges was saved, miraculously, and his rescuers were lauded for their bravery. The captain of this steam vessel, Henry CHATFIELD, lost his life during the struggle, and is buried at the 'old' Christ Church grounds, King St, Newcastle. He was 43 yrs old.

On that fateful day, the 'storm' claimed fourteen other coastal ships, as well. Over sixty people died on that terrible day, July, 11th, 1866.

There seemed to be a general hurry to increase the population of the colony, and Jesse and Emmaline did their bit. By 1865, eleven children had been born to the couple:

Jessie Hephzibah, 6/8/1841 - 22/1/1905 in Newcastle. m. William Smith PENDLETON on 10/7/1861

Edwin 16/8/1843 - 23/4/1916 in Carrington. m. Sarah Ann Douglas STARR on 23/8/1875

Albert David, 16/4/1844 - 6/9/1844 in Newcastle

Emmeline Ann, 17/9/1845 - 1924 in Newtown, Sydney. m. George William PRESTON, on 23/3/1872

Henry Ellis, 15/5/1848 - 4/7/1889 in Newcastle. m. Agnes Marion BLACKWELL, on 15/11/1871

Lavinia Marion, 27/5/1853 - 13/1/1881 in Newcastle.

Charles, 30/12/1855 - 19/1/1856 in Newcastle.

Florence Jane, 20/1/1857 - 9/4/1876 in Wickham.

Ernest Alfred Argand, 7/10/1859 - 25/9/1863 in Newcastle.

Percival Wallace, 4/10/1862 - 17/2/1930 in Newcastle. m. Eva May PRIEST on 11/1/1905

Myra Elizabeth Mary, 6/7/1869 - 4/11/1920 in Wickham.

Children, David, Lavinia, Charles and Ernest all died at a very young age. Six of the children survived childhood, to produce many grandchildren.

Jesse and Emmeline lived in a house on Hunter St, West. Jesse retired in 1889, after a wonderful career. It's interesting to note, as well, although his brother, James, was a prominent local Politician, and distinguished pillar of the society, the writer is led to believe that Jesse rarely, if ever, agreed with his brand of politics, nor his views on most subjects!

Emmeline died on 27th October, 1894, aged 73 years. The gentle and genial Jesse, was known to have sorely missed his beloved wife, of 54 years, and soon joined her, passing away on the 27th May, 1895, aged 76 years. Another Newcastle 'landmark' gone.

They were both interred at Sandgate cemetery.

It's never ceases to astound me how, over the years, you can meet many, many people, and doubtlessly, one of them 'could' be related. Such was the case of Edwin and Sarah Hannell's great grandson, John Beresford PRICE. John and I have known each other for, probably 40 years, and it was at least 20 years before we realised that we were related, albeit, distantly. John supplied me many facts, and documents, for this family tree. Thanks, John.

Eva May PRIEST, wife to Percival William HANNELL, was his cousin. Eva's father was George Chapman PRIEST and her mother was Frances Emma (SIMMONS) PRIEST. Edward PRIEST (Emmeline and Mary's father) and George C. PRIEST, were father and son.


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