Sunday, 25 August 2013

Charlotte Kemmis (1816-1847); first wife of Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy

In 1841 Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy (my 3rd great grandfather) married Miss Charlotte Kemmis.  They had arrived in South Australia together aboard the Dumfries on 11 October 1839.  Charlotte Kemmis was accompanying her half-brother and his family.

COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE. (1839, October 19). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 3. Retrieved August 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27440911


In his memoirs of his second wife, Philip Chauncy summarised his first marriage:
I will now advert to my own history from the time I left England in June, 1839. I landed from the good ship Dumfries, at Glenelg in South Australia, in the following October ; was married to Miss Charlotte Kemmis in Adelaide, on the 16th March, 1841, and removed to Fremantle, Western Australia, in the beginning of the following month. ... [Chauncy was appointed as assistant surveyor and went to live at Guildford] ... Six years had passed away, and on the 11th day of February, 1847, I was plunged into my first grief by the death of my much loved wife, who was the daughter of an Irish clergyman of the Church of England and a true Christian. I was overwhelmed by an agony of grief, and obtained six months leave of absence ... (Chauncy, Philip Lamothe Snell (1976). Memoirs of Mrs Poole and Mrs Chauncy. Lowden, Kilmore, Vic, page 28)
 The marriage of Philip Chauncy and Charlotte Kemmis was announced with the minimum of detail in the South Australian of 19 March 1841:
Married. - On Tuesday the 16th March, at Trinity Church, by the Rev. C. B. Howard, Philip Chauncy, Esq., to Miss C. Kemmis. (Family Notices. (1841, March 19). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), p. 2. Retrieved August 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71614295)
  Charlotte Chauncy was buried in East Perth cemetery.  Her age was given as 31; she was born about 1816.

Gravestone of Charlotte Chauncy in East Perth cemetery.  Image retrieved from Australian Cemeteries Index austcemindex.com
Both Philip Chauncy and Henry Kemmis, Charlotte's half-brother, included an account of the voyage of the Dumfries in their memoirs which are held in the State Library of Victoria.

The memoir of Henry Kemmis  (State Library of Victoria MS 11774 Kemmis, Henry & Macintyre, J. Keith. The wreck of the Loch Ard (1889). Copy of notes made by Henry Kemmis.) has a section on the voyage of the Dumfries.  It does not mention that his sister was with him, nor does it make mention of Philip Chauncy as a fellow passenger.  Although he discusses his parents and his mother's death, Henry Kemmis does not mention his father's remarriage nor his half-siblings.

The notes for Philip Chauncy's memoir also held by the State Library of Victoria (MS 9287 Chauncy, Philip Lamothe Snell (1839). Papers.) also include details of the voyage.  Chauncy's comments indicate that he did not care for Henry Kemmis or his wife but found Henry Kemmis's sister Charlotte good company.  Charlotte was stated to be sharing a cabin with a child of her brother.

Henry Kemmis does not name his sisters in his memoir but does discuss his father. Philip Chauncy never named his wife's father but did say she was the sister of Henry Kemmis. The father of Henry Kemmis, the Reverend Thomas Kemmis of Brockley Park, left a will, and in it he names  Mary Humphrys "who has lived with me several years and by whom I have two children namely Charlotte & Edward". He also names his children Arthur, Henry and Mary as residual legatees and his brother Henry Kemmis as executor.

The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) PROB 11 Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers PROB 11/1740/381 Will of Reverend Thomas Kemmis, Clerk of Brockley Park , Queens Count, page 1 of 3.  The will was proved at London on 31 May 1828.


Philip and Charlotte had no children.

I do not know what became of Charlotte's mother and brother Edward.  I have since been contacted by a descendant of Edward as a result of this blog entry :). Edward Rupert Humphreys (1820 - 1893) lived in Ireland, Cambridge (Magdalen Coll), Prince Edward Island, Edinburgh, Cheltenham and finally Boston. While Edward was living on Prince Edward island, the local newspaper, the Island Register, recorded on AUG. 06, 1847, DIED ON 11 FEBRUARY LAST, CHARLOTTE OF DYSENTERY, WIFE OF PHILIP S. CHAUCEY, SURVEYOR GENERAL OF WEST AUSTRALIA AND SISTER OF E. R. HUMPHREYS OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND. (retrieved from http://www.islandregister.com/islander.htm an index to "The Islander" Vital Statistics ) It seems Charlotte and Edward's mother married; Edward's Boston death record lists his mother’s name as Mary Berry.

Charlotte's half brother Henry died near Port Macquarie in 1894. One of his sons was a clergyman there. (Local and General News. (1894, March 17). The Port Macquarie News and Hastings River Advocate (NSW : 1882 - 1950), p. 5. Retrieved August 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120149560)

Another half-brother, Arthur, had emigrated to Australia at about the time of his father's death in 1827 and died in 1842. He was a successful businessman and his obituary credits him as 'the "Founder of Steam Navigation" at Port Phillip'.(Family Notices. (1842, April 15). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), p. 2. Retrieved August 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71621132
) ('Kemmis, Arthur (1806–1842)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/kemmis-arthur-13871/text24738, accessed 25 August 2013.) 

Charlotte's oldest half brother, Thomas, died in 1844 in Ireland. (Family Notices. (1845, January 28). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12876992)


1 comment:

  1. Updated to reflect that having read the will more carefully, it appears Thomas Kemmis did not marry Mary Humphrys, mother of Charlotte.

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