The Downton Family

Alfred Kraushaar's birth certificate According to his NSW marriage certificate, Alfred Kraushaar was at the time 23 years of age, of 36 Brougham St., Darlinghurst, Sydney, son of John Leach [sic] Kraushaar, Clergyman. Rosa Ellen was 20, of 342 Upper Brougham St., Darlinghurst, daughter of James Downton, Farmer, and Mary B. Thorne. Presumably because she was not yet 21, the consent of her Ward Guardian is noted on the certificate. She had arrived in Australia just a month earlier, on 6 July 1884, aboard the Abergeldie (its second voyage). Family members recall that Alfred paid not only Rosa's fare but that of a companion for her. Stephen Crawshaw has looked into the history of the ship and its human cargo.


Alfred Kraushaar family


Alfred Kraushaar family Rosa was apparently self-conscious about a defect in her right eye resulting from an accident with scissors in childhood, so when being photographed she always turned to the right. She was said to be only about 150 cm tall and walked with a limp. She died of "TB of the hip" on 23 Aug 1917 at the age of 53 (at a time when they were living in Victor St., Chatswood), leaving Alfred a widower for 28 years until his own death in 1945. They are buried in Gore Hill cemetery between St. Leonards and Artarmon on Sydney's Lower North Shore.

Rosa had an older brother, Carey (1861-1950), who became a sea-captain and retired to a farm four miles from Eden on the south coast of N.S.W. Here he became an agent for the Illawarra Steamship Co. The 1936 photo below shows Capt. Downton and his wife with his grand-nephew Milton Crawshaw. The January 2004 photo shows Milton Crawshaw on the same steps 68 years later.


Carey Downton & wife with MALC, Eden 1936 MALC, Eden 2004

There is some uncertainty surrounding the family background of Carey and Rosa. They were known as "Downton" in both England and Australia. Though their grandfather's surname was Downton, their father, who seems to have been born out of wedlock, was called James Downton Williams (using his mother's family name) and Carey and Rosa were given the name Williams at birth. Their mother, Mary Bellamy Thorne, took the surname Williams when she then married James and used it again when, as a widow, she married Frederick Cooper in 1876. Mary seems never to have used the name "Downton" herself.

Rosa was born 1Q 1864 in Pitminster, Somerset (50°58'05.12"N, 3°06'36.81"W), and her birth was registered in Taunton. The 1881 census shows Rosa's uncle Joel Thorne as a farmer at West Quantoxhead, and shows Rosa living at Church St, Burnham, Somerset with her step-father, and using Downton as her surname.

James Williams, father of Carey and Rosa Downton and of another brother who died in infancy, seems to have been the illegitimate son of Joseph Downton and Lydia Williams and was born in Long Sutton, Somerset some time in 1834 or 1835. Joseph and Lydia married, probably in Long Sutton, in the last quarter of 1837 and James thereafter always called himself James Downton, although his name was legally James Downton Williams. Joseph and Lydia had quite a lot of other children and ended up at Landshire Farm, West Quantoxhead, Somerset (51°10'46.63"N, 3°16'00.51"W), where they stayed until the 1870s. St Audries/St Etheldreda's was the dedication of the church at West Quantoxhead (51°10'13.52"N, 3°16'11.17"W). (Etheldreda and Audrey are the same person; she was the founder of Ely Cathedral.)

Devonshire Arms In his 70s Joseph left the farm and became the publican of the Devonshire Arms in Long Sutton (51°01'32.24"N, 2°45'29.85"W). He and Lydia then decamped to Croydon, Surrey, where Lydia died in 1884 and Joseph in 1891. They must have had a child who lived in Croydon, but it is not clear which one (probably Joseph Downton Jr).

The children, apart from James, were Henry, born Yeovil 3Q 1838; Mary, born Kingsdon (next village to Long Sutton) 3Q 1840; Edwin, born Kingsdon 1841; Sarah Anna, born West Quantoxhead 1Q 1848; John Priddle, born West Quantoxhead 1851/2; and Joseph Sherin, born West Quantoxhead 4Q 1856. Not all the details of these children are clear.

At the 1871 census, Joseph and Lydia had their daughter-in-law Mary A.L. Downton (32, born Clatworthy, Somerset) staying with them, along with her daughter Mary Ann (3, born Long Sutton). These appear to be the wife and child of Henry Downton, who is listed as an innkeeper in Long Sutton (this inn was the Devonshire Arms that his father Joseph took over later in the 1870s), along with his sisters Mary Ann and Sarah Ann (who was the barmaid) and his brother John. Mary Ann and John were just visiting; Sarah presumably lived there.

James Downton Williams married Mary Bellamy Thorne in Williton RD, probably in West Quantoxhead, or even more probably in Williton Baptist Chapel, St Decumans (51°09'37.13"N, 3°19'01.62"W) in the first quarter of 1861 and on the night of the census they were in Barnsworthy, Dodington. This (51°10'05.36"N, 3°10'30.47"W) seems to be the house the Downtons were living in in 1861, and was presumably where Carey Downton was born. They moved about a bit.

Carey was born in Dodington (near West Quantoxhead) and Rosa in Pitminster; James died in Pitminster in 2Q 1867 and the baby James Downton Williams (who was born in the same quarter that his father died, presumably just afterwards) died in Wellington RD at the end of the year. By 1871, Mary was the school teacher at West Buckland (50°58'37.08"N, 3°10'34.66"W), which is just outside Wellington (Kraushaar territory!) and may be where she went immediately after James died. It is just a few miles west of Pitminster. Since the Kraushaars seem to have moved to the West Country sometime between 1871 and 1874, it is possible that Alfred was taught in school by the mother of his future wife. As the crow flies, West Buckland is only 2.5km from Blackmoor, 4km from Chelmsine and 5.6km from Clayhidon. It's a good bit further by road, of course, but still within easy walking distance. Mary Downton and her children lived somewhere between Towells Farm (50°58'56.77"N, 3°11'51.52"W) and Park Farm, (50°58'43.67"N, 3°11'09.19"W).

Mary married Frederick David A. Cooper in 2Q 1876, by whom she had a son, Edmund Thorne Cooper b. 1877, and by 1881 they were living in Highbridge, which is just inland of Burnham-on-Sea between Bridgewater and Weston-Super-Mare. As well as Rosa (17, dressmaker, "born Stogursey" - apparently a misconception on the part of her step-father), they also had living with them Frederick's sons Frederick K. A. (17) and William H. (whose age - difficult to read - might be 14 or might be 12), both born somewhere that looks like Burgwalls, Somerset, their mutual son Edmund T. (3, born Highbridge) and Mary's brother Joel Thorne (widower, 44, farmer, born West Quantoxhead) and his children Richard (8) and Sarah (6), both born in Devon. Quite an extended family!

By this time Joseph Downton Jr was working as a warehouseman in London and in 1891 he was a draper (employer), married to Cecilia with a small daughter (also Cecilia) and living in Croydon, so presumably it was his house Joseph and Lydia died in.

Mary Bellamy Thorne Williams [Downton] Cooper died in Wellington RD in 1Q 1884, aged 49. It seems Rosa left very soon thereafter aboard the Abergeldie to join her prospective husband in Sydney.

About 6 months after Mary's death, Frederick Cooper married yet again, to Harriet James Kallend in 3Q 1884 and in 1891 he was listed (58, born Huntspill, Somerset) as a bootmaker in Wellington, along with Harriet (55, born Taunton) and Edmund (14, Scholar). Thereafter they are lost to view. Did they emigrate too?

Carey Downton and his wife Julia Ann (born Jane Ann Hartnell - she must have changed her name upon emigrating) left the UK in 1930 after what appears to have been a prolonged visit. They are listed leaving London for Sydney on the Balranald on 10 October 1930, last address in the UK Willow Brook, West Buckland, Wellington, Somerset, country of last permanent residence England, country of intended future permanent residence Australia. Carey is described as retired, 69 and his wife, Jane Ann, is 72. This cannot have been their original migration because they were married in Sydney and five of their children had been born in NSW between 1885 and 1898; and Carey himself had obtained his Only Mate and Master Mariner certificates in Sydney in 1882 and 1887 respectively.

The second of the six children of Carey and Jane (alias Julia) was Cecil (1898-1916), a merchant seaman who died at age 18, apparently after falling down a hold at sea. Cecil's death naturally devastated the Downton family.

Carey's grandson, the well-known artist John Downton, has written an autobiography in which he reminisces about his grandfather late in life at his property called "St Audries", out of Eden, N.S.W. on the Nethercote Road, on the slope of a hill overlooking the whole of Twofold Bay.