MATTHEW THOMAS SLAUGHTER (1805 - 1895),
ELIZABETH ANN POWELL (1808 - c1850's),
JANE HENNERY (1834 - 1906)
Matthew Thomas Slaughter, the son of Edward and Susanna Slaughter (nee Moulden) was born on 14th August 1805 in Canterbury ,Kent, England. We know nothing of his early years or the status of his parents, but in later years Matthew contended that some of his relatives were buried in Canterbury Cathedral. If this were so, one presumes that perhaps somewhere in the family there may have been persons in the higher echelon of society.
Matthew married Elizabeth Ann Powell (a farmer's daughter) on September 20th 1832 at Charlton, near Dover in Kent at which time he was 27 and she was 22. Elizabeth was born in 1808 at Rochester in Kent to Mark and Elizabeth (nee Hanson) Powell. It is said Matthew's parents objected to their union, Elizabeth's status being considered beneath that of their son. This later proved to be a sinecure, as Elizabeth's uncle Richard (her mother's brother) became a prominent Australian statesman - namely Sir Richard Davis Hanson, who was premier of South Australia from 1857 - 1860.
They moved to Sandwich before the birth of their first child, Margaret. (Sandwich is in Kent, on the east coast between Ramsgate and Dover.) We know Margaret was baptised on November 29th 1834 in the beautiful old cathedral of St. Clement's in Sandwich. In this same town their first two children were born namely; Margaret Ann in 1834 and William in 1837. After this the family must have moved to London. An old letter tells us, Matthew decided to move to London where hopefully he could "make his way" before their planned immigration to Australia. In London, Thomas was born in 1840 and probably their third daughter Elizabeth in 1842.
It was in the year 1849 their plan to emigrate came to fruition - when they embarked on the 'Florentia' for the long voyage beginning from Plymonth. Viewing today's facsimiles of living conditions on such ships, it is apparent such immigrants possessed not only great courage but also a firm belief in their expectations.
The barque 'Florentia', a three masted ship, was built in 1821 at Peter's Quay, Tyne, being 115 feet long, 29 feet 10 inches wide, and 6 feet between decks. It had made two previous voyages in 1825 & 1830 transporting convicts to Australia. (This would indicate a low standard of living quarters and such). Their voyage commenced at 8am on March 9th arriving at Adelaide, South Australia on June 20th - a journey of over three months. The "Certificate of Final Departure" states their ages as follows - Elizabeth 45, Matthew 41, Margaret 14, William 12, Thomas 9 and daughter Elizabeth 7; though Matthew was almost 45 and Elizabeth had just turned 39.
Reliable sources tell us the family first lived in or near Adelaide, (where Elizabeth's uncle had settled some three years earlier). For two years Matthew was employed by Mr. Delany at a furniture business in Adelaide, and then by Mr. Arthur Hardy at Glen Osmond. In 1855, Elizabeth having died, Matthew shifted to Strathalbyn, (about sixty miles south-east of Adelaide). There he established a cabinet maker's business, which he operated until 1874, on North Parade. When he first moved to Strathalbyn he reported that there were six cottages in the town area - a very slow development, considering the first house had been built in 1840 - fifteen years earlier. However the next count published in 1871 sixteen years later stated there were 170 houses and 888 people in the town.
On January 25th 1857, at Macclesfield in South Australia he married Jane Hennery. Jane the daughter of Brian Hennery, was born in 1834 and thus was some twenty-nine years younger than Matthew. Nothing is known of how or why Jane came to Australia but it appears she was unable to write as she made 'her mark' on the marriage certificate.
Jane was to be the mother of four more children for Matthew. Neither of the first two survived early childhood. These were Jane, born 1857, died 1862, and Edward born 1858, died 1863. Their third child Matthew Henry was born 18 December 1860 and lived to the age of twenty-one - dying 19th May 1882. Their fourth; daughter Martha, born in 1863 lived a long life until 1950.
Copies of some very interesting articles from the Strathalbyn newspaper (probably the Southern Argus) of July 1895 are still existent. The first one reads "The poor old gentleman -(referring to Matthew Slaughter) is in so very low condition of health that the end may be chronicled at any moment" and refers to "his impending passage over the dark river of death".'
The following week his obituary was printed, Matthew having died on July 9th 1895, "a few weeks short of ninety years". The obituary refers to the business he established and carried on for many years which because of age he had to abandon. It also speaks of his further interest in the local library thus:
"When the Institute opened (he) was appointed librarian and caretaker, a post he continued to hold till his failing health compelled him to resign it. He was so good and faithful a servant that on his retirement a small pension was voted him by the Institute subscribers, who, one and all held him in very high esteem".
He was buried in the Strathalbyn Cemetery with Masonic honours. (He had been the Tyler at the local lodge for many years). At the time of his demise his wife Jane was still alive but "in feeble health" and it was said that he had been cared for by his daughter Martha and her husband.
However Jane outlived him for a number of years dying on August 9th 1906 at the Parkside Asylum. It is noted on her death certificate that she had been in senile decay for 12 years and nine months. This suggests she may have been 'in care' from March 1894 (before her husband had passed away).
They Built Strathalbyn by Harold J. Stowe 1973
Canterbury, England, 1
Clement's St, Sandwich, 1
Hanson, Sir Richard Davis, 1
HENNERY Brian, 2
HENNERY Jane, 1, 2
MOULDEN, Sussanna, 1
POWELL,Elizabeth Ann, 1
Sandwich, Kent 1
SLAUGHTER, Ed, 1
SLAUGHTER, Edward, 1
SLAUGHTER, Elizabeth, 1
SLAUGHTER, Elizabeth Ann, 1
SLAUGHTER, Henry, 1
SLAUGHTER, Jane, 2
SLAUGHTER, Margaret Ann, 1
SLAUGHTER, Martha, 2
SLAUGHTER, Matthew, 1, 2
SLAUGHTER, Matthew Henry, 2
SLAUGHTER, Sussanna 1
SLAUGHTER, Thomas 1
SLAUGHTER, William, 1
Strathalbyn, 1, 2
Strathalbyn Cemetery, 2
Tyne, Peter's Quay, 1