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Australia's Popplewell's

The earliest ancestors we have traced are Joseph POPPLEWELL and Jane

GELDARD, who came from the village of Methley, YKS. Joseph was borrn c1718

and died in February 1799, while Jane was born c1725 and died in February 1795.





Issue: 1. James bap. 10NOV1749 Methley, YKS

2. Hannah bap. 28DEc1751 Methley, YKS d. DEC1775 Methley, YKS

3. Michael bap. 19FEB1755 Methley, YKS

m. Mary HIRST 01DEC1788 Rothwell, YKS

4. William bap. 29APR1759 Methley, YKS d. JUL1760 Methley, YKS

5. Ann bap. 18OCT1761 Methley, YKS

m. William DARLEY 12DEC1785 Methley, YKS

6. Benjamin bap. 26FEB1767 Methley, YKS

m. Esther HARTLEY 09OCT1793 Leeds, YKS





Issue: 1. Hannah bap. 22APR1794 Methley, YKS

2. James bap. 11JAN1797 Methley, YKS

m. Mary BOLTON 17APR1819 Leeds, YKS

3. Joseph bap. 05MAY1799 Methley, YKS d. 23JUL1872 Sydney, NSW

m. Mary Ann REID 26MAR1840 Sydney, NSW

m. Emily SUTHERLAND 20APR1846 Maitland, NSW

4. John bap. 16MAR1802 Methley, YKS

m. Elizabeth STEAD 05MAR1826 Wakefield, YKS

5. Moses bap. 17OCT1804 Methley, YKS

m. Mary STONER 05MAR1827 Methley, YKS

m. Mary WATSON 09MAR1836 Methley, YKS

6. Aaron bap. 17OCT1804 Methley, YKS d. OCT1804 Methley, YKS

7. Benjamin bap. 17FEB1807 Methley, YKS

m. Elizabeth LEE 14SEP1829 Methley, YKS

8. Jane bap. 06DEC1808 Methley, YKS

9. William bap. 22MAR1812 Methley, YKS d. MAY1812 Methley, YKS

10. Esther bap. 16MAY1815 Methley, YKS





Joseph was baptised in the Yorkshire village of Methley on May 26th, 1799.

He was the third of ten children born to Benjamin POPPLEWELL and his wife

Esther, nee HARTLEY.


Nothing is known of Joseph's life in England, other than the fact he became

a stone mason at an early age. This was his occupation on arrival in

Australia, and for the remainder of his life. He also apparently married,

being described as a "widower" at his 1840 marriage, but his wife did not

accompany him to Australia and is presumed to have died before 1834.


He arrived in Sydney aboard the "Royal Saxon" on February 2nd, 1835. The

ship had departed London on September 13th, 1834 and travelled to Liverpool,

where it is likely that Joseph boarded. On September 20th, he left English

soil forever.


Joseph set up his stonemasonary business in Pitt St Sydney, somewhere near

Brickfield Hill. His main work initially involved making headstones for the

nearby Sandhills Cemetery. When this cemetery was cleared in 1901 to make

way for Central Railway Station, many of the headstones were transferred to

Botany Cemetery at Bunnerong, where examples of Joseph's craft can still be



Joseph married at St. Andrews Scots Church, Sydney on March 26th, 1840. His

wife was Mary Anne MORELAND, believed to be the widow of James MORELAND who

had died in 1839. Joseph and Mary had a very short marriage, before Mary

died in 1841.


In 1844, Joseph is shown as conducting his business at 184 Pitt St, Sydney.

By this time, he had met Emily MESSER, the widow of publican Henry MESSER,

who bore him twins in 1845. Both died soon after birth. Joseph and Emily

then moved to Morpeth, in the Hunter Valley, where they were married on

April 20th, 1846. Their first surviving child, son David, was born at West

Maitland in 1846, but the family soon returned to Sydney.


Joseph became the first Mormon convert in Australia when, on December 3rd

1851, he was baptised into the religion. Together with Emily (also

converted), their children, and Emily's daughter from her first marriage,

they sailed for California and Utah in 1853. Their stay was brief, Joseph

having difficulty in coming to terms with the practice of polygamy. As far

as can be ascertained, the family never left California before returning to

Sydney about 1855-6. Emily's daughter (also named Emily) had married John

WOOLLEY in 1853 in San Francisco, and remained in California, living the

remainder of her life in the Clipper Gap and Colfax area.


Joseph returned to his career as a stone mason, working on such projects as

the Great Hall at Sydney University. A photograph exists of him and his team

of workers (taken in 1856) but unfortunately his face is in deep shadow.


We are not yet clear about the later years in the lives of both Joseph and

Emily. It appears they were living apart when Emily died in 1863 at Penrith,

NSW, where she is buried beneath an imposing headstone erected by "D & E

Popplewell". Joseph survived another nine years, before he died at the

Sydney Infirmary on July 23rd, 1872, He was buried in the Church of England

section of Rookwood Cemetery, in an unmarked grave.




Hope this gives you something to build on. I would be interested to know if

there is any relationship between my early branches and the American

Popplewell lines.



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