North family

Christine’s maternal g3-grandfather was John Britty North (sen.), who in various censuses and directories is described as a Spirit merchant and resided in Cheapside, a market area of Taunton and close to St Mary Magdalene Church. John Britty North appears in Taunton Names from Pigot’s Directory, 1830  along with a Thomas North in Mill Lane (a Woolstapler) and a Brice North & Co in Paul St (Carriers).

John Britty North (sen.) was born in 1800 in London and baptised in in St Mary Whitechapel on 26 Jan 1800. His father was also John North, and his mother Elizabeth: there was a marriage of a John North to Elizabeth Granger in Spitalfields Christ Church, Stepney, London on 25 Dec 1790:

John Britty North (sen.) married Mary Willie on 28 Nov 1828. Mary was born in Crewkerne, Somerset (about 20km south-east of Taunton) on 13 Nov 1804 and died in Poplar, Middlesex, on 10 Jun 1855; her parents were William Willie & Mary Sutton and she was one of ten children.

John Britty North (sen.) & Mary Willie had three children, with (possibly) an unnamed daughter born in 1833:

01. Mary (b. bap. 24 Sep 1829, d. ?)

02. John Britty (bap. 31 Aug 1831, d. 14 Oct 1917)

03. Ellen (b. 09 Jun 1840, d. 1898)

In the 1841 census John (aged 40), Mary (aged 10) and Ellen (aged 1) were living in the Cheapside district of Taunton. His wife Mary and their son John Britty (aged 10) were not listed. There is a 1841 census entry for John B North, a pupil, aged 9, in St James Church School, Taunton.

In the 1851 census the family lived at 4 Bedford Place, St Pancras, London.

John Britty North (sen.) resided with his daughter Ellen and her family in 1871 (see below) and sailed to Sydney some time after that. He died there in February 1889; from The Sydney Morning Herald on 19 Feb 1889:

NORTH.- At the residence of his son, Arthursleigh, Falcon-street, St. Leonards, in his 90th year, John Britty North, sen., the beloved father of Mr. J. B. North, of this city. Bristol papers please copy.

Generation 2

01. Mary North married George Howard Mesnard, an engineer, in All Saints, Poplar, Tower Hamlets London on 28 Jun 1856. In the 1861 census and the 1871 census they are listed in Lambeth, London, and George’s profession is shown as civil engineer and draughtsman. There are fewer details for George in the 1881 census, which appears to be a list of voting males. We believe he passed away on 02 May 1888 in Lambeth; at this stage we have not found Mary’s death details. They had at least one son, Noel George Howard (b. 12 Oct 1871 in 13 South Lambeth Road, Lambeth). In  the 1891 census a George N Mesnard, aged 19, appears as a boarder in Lambeth and is listed as a Milk Carrier.

Mary Mesnard was admitted to various workhouses (hospitals); the first was to the Princes Rd Workhouse, Lambeth, on 10 May 1870; in that register she was described as wife of an Engineer, aged 30. Then on 21 Apr 1884 she was admitted to the Brookwood and Holloway Mental Hospitals, aged 56, no occupation listed. On 13 Jan 1890 she was admitted to Saint George´s Workhouse, Mint Street, when her entry reads Music teacher, residing at 27 Palace Rd, Lambeth.

03. Ellen North married Charles Grabham on 18 Aug 1857 in Hastings, Sussex, England. Charles was born 06 Dec 1835, in Bridgwater, Somerset. Their first child, Emily, was born on 25 Sep 1858 in Kingston Upon Thames, England and died on 20 Oct a month later. They then had:

02. Charles Willie (b. 09 Jan 1860 in Lee, Kent, d. Nov 1931 in Longueville, Sydney)

03. Arthur Edward (b. 07 Feb 1861 in Lewisham, London, d. 25 Feb 1927 in Townsville, Queensland, record number C1240)

04. Ellen Mary (b. 23 May 1862 in Greenwich, Kent, d. 27 Sep 1939 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

05. Amy (b. 11 May 1863, d. 09 Jul 1943 in Rose Bay, Sydney)

06. Elizabeth Maud (b. 04 Mar 1866 in Dartford, Kent, d. 29 Mar 1948 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

07. Emily Wallace (b. 24 Jul 1870 in Dartford, Kent, d. 07 Jun 1951 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

08. Ethel May (b. 04 Dec 1882 in Tamworth, NSW, d. 1970 in St Leonards, Sydney)

Generation 3

02. Charles Willie Grabham signed on as apprentice in the Merchant Navy for a period of 5 years on 21 Jan 1873. He married Elizabeth McCulloch Auld on 03 Sep 1888 in Newtown, Sydney (record 2806). They had five children: Edna Alice in 1890, Charles Lancelot in 1892, Robert Harold Auld in 1896 and Sylvia Mary in 1905.

Charles and Elizabeth with their older two children

Charles and Elizabeth; in front: Elizabeth’s sister Amy Alice Auld (L) and  Sylvia Mary (R).
(Photos courtesy of Chris O’Sullivan, member)

05. Amy Grabham married Ambrose James Laroghy in Tamworth 1890 (record 6969). Ambrose was a viticulturist who managed the Bebeah vineyards near Singleton and the Kaluna Vineyard, Smithfield. They had seven children:

01. Ida May (b. 1890 in West Maitland, d. 31 Dec 1903 in Singleton aged 13½)

02. Charles Royden (b. 25 Jan 1892 in Tamworth, d. 1959 in Chatswood, Sydney)

03. Harold Ambrose (b. 1892 in Tamworth, d. 1961 in Sydney)

04. Victor Gordon (b. 1894 in Liverpool, Sydney, d. 1971 in St Leonards, Sydney

05. John Franklin (b. 1897 in St Leonards, Sydney, d. 08 Nov 1917 in Flanders, France)

06. Eric George (b. 1900 in Balmain South, Sydney, d. 1963 in Sydney)

07. Arthur Colin (b. 1905 in Singleton, d. 1970 in St Leonards, Sydney)

Three of their sons fought during WWI. From the Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Fri 30 Nov 1917:


Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Laraghy, of Tizzana, received sad news on Wednesday, to the effect that their soldier son, Private L. [J.] F. Laraghy, of the 3rd battalion, was killed in action on November 8. We are sure the sympathy of the whole district will go out to the parents and their family in this great loss. Another son, Private Roy Laraghy, came home from the war a little time ago, badly maimed, having lost a leg in addition to other injuries, while a third son is still fighting in France.

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette published on Fri 29 Oct 1915 a letter that Victor sent home from the front:

Private Victor G. Laraghy, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Laraghy, of Tizzana, Sackville, who left with the 8th Reinforcements of the First Brigade, has arrived in Egypt, and his parents received a letter from him, dated September 12th, from which we give some extracts:

Here I am in camp under the shadow of the pyramids. Have had a very good voyage over, and landed at Port Suez uneventfully. From Port Suez we travelled by train to the camp, a run of six or seven hours right through the sandy desert of Egypt. The journey was most interesting and educational. The quaint mud villages of the natives and their strange customs afforded an interesting opportunity of broadening the mind and adding to one’s experience. You in Australia who have not travelled have absolutely no conception of what the customs of the ancient Eastern race are like. It is impossible to set down adequately my impressions of Egypt. As the train winds round about the desert, on its way to Cairo, you catch here and there a glimpse of the famous Suez Canal. That must have been a wonderful undertaking, only realised on inspection. The camp just outside of Heliopolis is a magnificent spectacle. Imagine all the buildings in Sydney removed and a city of canvas erected, and you will get some idea of its size. You can travel for miles and pass through nothing but military tents and buildings. Cairo is the most wonderful, most interesting, yet most degraded city in the world. Nearly all nations are represented – Turks, Egyptians, Russians, French, English, Indians, Africans, and last, but not least, Australians. Poverty reigns absolute, and filth prevails. You must not entertain the idea that it is a tumble-down, ramshackle city. The architectural design is wonderful – solid masonry work, equal to, and in some cases better than, we find in Australia. The Palace Hospital, where a great number of the Australian wounded are, is a most magnificent building in all details and well worth viewing. One feature which strikes the visitor is the number of grimy boot blacks and as soon as you set foot in the city they swarm round you to clean your boots. They will not take ‘No’ for an’ answer, nor even ask if you would like your boots cleaned, but simply set to work and do the job as you walk along, following you up till you arc forced to resign yourself to your fate. They can talk English – or rather I should say Australian, having learnt it from our boys – in rather a plain-spoken way, and straight to the point. I suppose Roy and Jack are on their way now, and if they come, to Egypt I will probably find them. We are all eager to move forward to the trenches, and when the order comes it will be welcomed. Most of the wounded say that the Turks are the cleanest fighters you can meet. The weather is very hot. The sun scorches down on the desert sand with blazing ferocity and we are all as brown as berries. This is the 12th September, and you have another Man in the fold. Fancy celebrating my 21st birthday in this far-off land, with stew for dinner, and nothing but tepid water to drink healths in. The difference in time here is about 8½ hours to Australia and I made a point of being up at 5 a.m. when I guessed you would be at dinner at 1 p.m., and returned the toast in water. We have great difficulty in keeping niggers out of camp. They swarm every where, trying to sell their wares to the soldiers. We have to be careful what we eat and drink from the natives, for they sell all kinds of concoctions of their own manufacture, which are very palatable, but if we saw them made perhaps we would not touch some of them.

Charles Royden Laraghy gained an OBE for his work with the Limbless Soldiers’ Association in Victoria (Who’s Who in Australia, 1921-1950).

Back to Generation 1

In the 1871 census in England Charles, Ellen, four of their children (Ellen Mary, Amy, Elizabeth Maud and Emily Wallace) and Ellen’s father John Britty North Sn. were living at Chiltern Lodge; Charles was described as a timber merchant. The two boys were not in the household on the night of the census.

In 1873 Charles & Ellen sailed with their daughters Amy, Elizabeth and Emily to New York via Spain on board the Tarronga. They appear to have stayed for 5 years. Charles & Ellen and their children Charles Willie (C. W.), Arthur E[dward], Ellen, [Elizabeth] Maud and Emily then sailed to Sydney, arriving on 01 Jul 1878 on board the Ivanhoe. Charles and Charles Willie were described as farmers:

Amy Grabham had arrived a few months earlier (arriving 10 March of 1878 on the Northbrook). She appeared to come alone, aged 14; she listed her uncle, John Britty North as her relation in the colony:

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