Monday, December 2, 2013

Mystery Monday - Isabella Allan McGregor (1863-1938)

Entry in Family Bible - Isabella Allan McGregor 26 May 1863, Araluen

Isabella Allan McGregor, I have found her story a little of a mystery hence, today's title Mystery Monday.  

Isabella was born just over two years after her sister Mary Ann, on the 24 May 1863, in the mining settlement of Araluen, near the town of Braidwood, NSW.  The McGregor and McPherson families it seems, were working very hard on thier mine and making a decent living.

In can only be assumed that near the end of the 1860's their mine in Araluen was not as productive and it was this that prompted the family to move to Bombay, on the Shoalhaven River (also close to Braidwood). 

McGregors - Bombay
 An excerpt from an Article in The Braidwood Review and District Advocate, July 1917, reflects on the Gold mines in the Bombay area and the McGregor family is mentioned as one of the more successful sluicing claims. The family remained in Bombay on the banks of the upper Shoalhaven River for about eight years and then when Isabella in her mid teens moved to 7 Booth Street, Balmain.

The Sands Directories show James McGregor and family living at this address throughout the 1880's, however, James's occupation is not listed, so the reason for the move is quite a mystery.It seemed the family  of eight children thrived and in the following years in Balmain their numbers increased to eleven. What a busy home, you would have to assume that Isabella and her older sister Mary Ann had an important role in supporting their mother with all their younger siblings.

In the late 1880's Isabella met George Frederick Wheeler (1862-1921), who had immigrated  to Australia from London.  They were married in the McGregor family home, in Balmain. 

A year later, Isabella and George welcomed their instant family of two, with the arrival of twins Lily and Walter. Florence (1891) and Emily (1894) arrived in the following five years to complete their family.

The following years are a mystery, there are a number of articles in TROVE from this period about the bankruptcy of a Butcher in Balmain called George Frederick Wheeler, however, I cannot find any proof to confirm if this is the George Frederick Wheeler that Isabella married.

George passed at the quite early age of 58, his funeral leaving from their home in Seymour Street Croydon for burial in the family plot in the Presbyterian section of the Field of Mars Cemetery.

Isabella felt this loss deeply, her thoughts reflected in a beautiful in memorium notice posted a few years after George's death.

 In Memorium 23 March 1925

Wheeler - A tribute of loving remembrance of my dear husband, our dear father and grandfather, George Frederick who was called home March 23, 1921.

"Our memory often wanders, at twilight shadow's fall
Back to days of happiness, days beyond recall;
And a vision come before us, so fond, so pure, so sweet
of him whose lips are silent, whose heart has ceased to beat
in turning another leaf.
Sadly missed by his wife and children and grandchildren."

Following George's death, Isabella moved to live in a modest home in Drummoyne, enjoying life with her family, children and grandchildren.  She passed away at the age of 75 years on the 16 October 1938.
Entry in Family Bible - Isabella Allan Wheeler - died 16 October 1938, aged 75

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