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Frances Saywell

In the Lacemaker Family I am a Saywell. Yes, there are quite a number of Saywell's who are A.S.L.C. members. Not surprising, really, because two brothers (George and Jasper), with their families, arrived aboard the 'Agincourt'. George and his wife, Isabella, came with eight children; Jasper and his wife, Johanna, had but one daughter, Frances, and I would like to tell you about Frances, my great-grandmother.

Frances was born in Calais on 15th October 1845. The registry entry reads:

"Frances, daughter of Jasper Saywell, 24, lacemaker, and
Jeanne Colvin, 25, wife. Resident 169, Section G, rue de Vic.
Witnesses: Thomas Dunk, 34, and Edward Towlson, 24, Lacemakers."

Johanna was a dressmaker, whose father, Pierre, was a soldier. Her mother's name was Marie C. J. Angelina. Johanna was Flemish, of Belgian nationality. (P.S. Johanna's names are recorded differently nearly everytime I find her!)

Both Saywell families were included in the large group of 106 which sailed per Steamer for Morpeth, arriving in the evening of the 10th October. The group had to walk the three miles across country to the East Maitland Immigration Barracks, carrying all their belongings. A heavy thunderstorm added to their misery. On Thursday 12th, 22 more 'Agincourt' immigrants, with 13 of the Charlotte Jane immigrants also arrived. Frances' third birthday was on the following Sunday, 15th October. By 11th November only "three families remained at the depot, and five families had left the depot without engagements, having opened shops or commenced something on their own account." [Maitland Mercury, 11th November, 1848.]

Jasper and his family were still in the area in March 1854, when Jasper and Johanna were witnesses in St Peter's Church of England, East Maitland, at a wedding. As Jasper's occupation was given as 'smith' in the Shipping Passenger List, perhaps that is what he found to do.

20th March 1855. The "Lord Hungerford" arrived in Port Jackson from Plymouth, bringing the Eastlake brothers, George and John. They signed on with the Johnson family at Annandale for farm work, but had a disagreement over conditons and pay. George and John (so the family story goes) beat the Johnsons through the toll-gates at Parramatta, and headed for the gold diggings between Hill End and Mudgee, and did rather well, thank you. It must have been there that the Eastlake brothers and the Saywell family met.

When gold was discovered at Lambing Flat in 1860, the brothers shifted to the new fields, opening two shops: one at Spring Creek in the centre of the Lambing Flat diggings, and one at Twelve Mile, today Monteagle.

On 6th September, 1861, George married the 15 year old Frances Saywell at Campbell's Creek, Meroo. It seems that George waited at Spring Creek until the Army arrived late in August to quell the "Chinese Riots", before he went to marry Frances.

Although the brothers ran their stores for 13 or 14 years, they each bought 640 acres on opposite sides of Wombat Road, about 1862. 'Hillview' (George's) and 'Fairfields' (John's) still remain the property of the family. The bricks for these two fine old homes were made on the property of 'Fairfields'

It was probably from Frances' home, which may have been the Spring Creek shop residence, that her young cousin, Isabella Saywell, youngest daughter of George and Isabella, left for her marriage with George Summerhays, on 8th October 1865, in St John's Church, Young. George and Isabella were to remain in the district, where they had 12 children.

Frances and George had 7 children: Frederick was born in 1862, and only lived 2 weeks; Mary Jane lived two years (1863-65); and Fanny was 7 years old when she died in 1875.

Emma (1865-1950) married Walter White. They had 9 children, settling after some years in the Inverell district. Emma was 85 when she died--having been married 62 years.

George, the second son of Frances and George, was born on 1st October 1870. He married Eliza Jane Beatrice James in 1895, and their first child, Ilean Frances, was born 1896. She was my mother. There were 5 more children. Grandmother died in 1909, Grandfather died in 1926, aged 55.

Jasper, born in 1872, married Lillian Needham in 1897. They had but one daughter, Jean. Jasper died in 1949, and Lillian in 1954.

Elizabeth Ann was born on 14th September 1875, and was just eleven months old when her father died on 23rd August 1876. 1876 was a sad year for John Eastlake: brother George died in August, John's young wife, Elizabeth, died 30th November, and Mary, the brothers' mother, died in Devon on 12 December. She was 84.

Elizabeth Ann married Linn Hall in 1907. They had 3 sons. Linn died in 1941--Elizabeth in 1956, aged 80.

On 27th October 1880, Frances married John Eastlake in her home. The witnesses were Isabella and George Summerhays. John and Frances lived at 'Fairfields', where they had 3 sons.

William John (1882-1962) was their first. He married Mabel Ashton, and they had 6 children.

Arthur Earnest Saywell Eastlake (1883-1938) died a bachelor.

Their third son, Francis, was born on 9th June 1886. Five hours later his mother, Frances, haemorrhaged to death, leaving John with 7 children to care for.

Uncle Frank married Annie Leech in 1924, and lived at 'Hillview'. They had 2 sons. Frank died in 1966, aged 80.

John Eastlake, known to all his family as "Da", died on 4th June, 1931, aged 99 years and 3 months. "All his family". That is, his own 3 sons, his brother's 4 living children, all the grand-children, and even to to-day's generation, he is "Da".

The shop at Spring Creek was about 2 miles from Stoney Creek. Neighbours at Stoney Creek included owners of a certain butcher's shop:
Frank Gardiner and his partner, Fogg. The shop's stock? Much of it duffed!

On 10th September, 1863, the store at 12 Mile had visitors: Johnny O'Meally and Ben Hall, to be exact. Outside, keeping watch, were Gilbert, Vane, and Burke. Inside, "Da" looked up to be confronted by O'Meally's revolver. He threw a pair of moleskin pants in O'Meally's face, dropped to the floor, and grabbed his own loaded revolver. O'Meally's shot missed, but alerted the diggings, and, to the diggers' cry of "Roll up! Roll up!" the bushrangers rode away.

The Spring Creek store also received an unrequired visit, from Messrs Gilbert, Dun, and O'Meally. Shots were exchanged (missed), but put out the only light - and scattered the gold from it's tin all over the floor.

This store was close to the Chinese Joss House. During the Chinese riots (by the miners), the Eastlake brothers were kind to the Chinese --supplying food, etc. This fact was rememberd by the Chinese for all of John's long life.

The brothers devised crafty methods for secreting their gold from the ungodly. When transporting gold they had a false axle fitted to their waggon, and into the hollowed out "axle", they stowed their gold. To stock their stores the brothers took the waggon and team to Sydney. Frances is supposed to have had the first dining-room suite on the Young gold-fields, brought back on the waggon. In 'Fairfields' there is another "hidey-hole". It's behind a loose brick, and up the chimney, but rather awkward to get at, I am told. In the separate old kitchen (now demolished) there was a slit near the door to the storeroom, through which it was advisable to check the kitchen for 'unwelcome' guests.

Both 'Fairfields' and 'Hillview' homes are still standing, and occupied, although extensions have been made. From one house it is easy to see the other -- they are on the same hill, with Wombat Road (Olympic Way) between.

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