Tuesday, February 9, 2016
A sad tale of two Roses
The first was Rosanna Mason, born in Sydney on December 1, 1841. She was the first child of John Mason and Catherine Murphy, and she was baptised at St Mary’s Church on December 8. Her sponsors (the Catholic equivalent of god parents) were Andrew and Mary Goodwin, the same couple who had been the witnesses at John and Catherine’s wedding in February that year.
Their second child, Mary Ann, was born on October 19 the following year. Catherine may already have been pregnant again with her next child, Catherine, when little Rosanna died. Perhaps she succumbed to one of the epidemics of childhood diseases such as whooping cough and scarlet fever that swept through Sydney in the 1840’s, as families began arriving in the colony as migrants. Nearly 30% of deaths in the 1840’s were among infants*. Prior to this, when the population had been made up chiefly of adult convicts and soldiers, such illnesses had been almost unknown. Rosanna was buried in Sydney.
As was common in those days, John and Catherine used the name Rosanna again, for their fifth daughter, who was born in Adelaide in 1847. Several of the Mason’s daughters named one of their children Rose, Rosanna or Rosina. I knew already about Rose Atkin (daughter of Mary Ann), and Roseanna Murphy (daughter of Eliza Mason).
Recently I discovered another child named Rose who I think is a daughter of Susan Mason and David Whybrew. (I don't yet have certificates to prove it, but it seems likely.) If so, she would be one of the 'missing' children who doesn't appear on any census.
She was registered in Colchester in the April-June quarter of 1874 under the name “Rosina Whybruew”. The spelling suggests that it was Susan who registered her, and unlike the other children born while David was in the army, she wasn’t recorded on the British Nationals Armed Forces births register.
That may be because the family were in a state of upheaval. A two year old child named David, who was almost certainly their son, died in Colchester in July. David’s regiment was moved to Ireland in August, arriving in Dublin on August 8. Susan and the children went with him, though they may not have sailed at the same time.
Sometime in 1874 a child less than a year old named “Rose Whybren” died in Dublin and her death was registered there. It seems very likely that this was Susan and David’s young daughter. It must have been a terrible blow to lose a baby like that in a strange country, especially so soon after the death of another child.
Like her parents, Susan and David used the name Rose again for a later child, a daughter born in Kent in 1877. Their daughter Eliza kept the tradition going by marrying into a family with many ‘Roses’, the Beales, and naming one of her daughters Rosina.
Postscript: I now have confirmation that the child Rosina Whybrew, who died in Dublin in October 1874 was the daughter of David Whybrew, soldier in the 50th regiment. She was 4 and a half months old and cause of death was 'diarrhea'.
*Lewis, Milton James. The People’s Health: Public Health in Australia, 1788-1950. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. Print. Page 30-31