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JOSEPH and AGNES SINGLETON
JOSEPH SINGLETON was born c.1790 in London and arrived in the colony aboard the 'Pitt' on 14th February 1792 with his mother and elder brother, BENJAMIN. His father, WILLIAM, SINGLETON, arrived on the same ship as a convict, with a seven year sentence, and was assigned to his wife, HANNAH. In 1813 JOSEPH SINGLETON was brought before the bench of magistrates and charged with having in his possession, one gallon of spirits distilled in the Colony and with having distilled the same. He pleaded guilty.Because of his youth and apparant contrition and having given up the apparatus when demanded, the bench unanimously recommended his case to the clemency of the Governor. (The Sydney Gazette 24th April 1813) His mother died on 19th August 1813 and was buried at Wilberforce.
In 1822 JOSEPH, with his eldest brother JAMES (who had arrived aboard the 'Aeolus' on 26th January 1809) made a joint application to distil spirits and this was granted. By 1824 together with his father and brother, WILLIAM, JOSEPH had left the Hawkesbury to join BENJAMIN at his Hunter River land grant and they became involved with BENJAMIN'S many ventures. In 1826 BENJAMIN SINGLETON opened the 'Barley Mow' Inn and in 1827 it was licenced to JOSEPH SINGLETON as the 'plough' Inn and in 1829 he changed the name to the 'Plough and Horses'.On 10th February 1829 JOSEPH SINGLETON married AGNES NEIL at 'Glendon', where the visiting minister conducted services. AGNES was the daughter of JAMES KNELL and LUCY LANE. JOSEPH was aged c.38 years old and AGNES was only 13 years 7months. The witnesses at the wedding were MARY and ELIZABETH SINGLETON.AGNES and MARY SINGLETON were half sisters.(See article in previous Gazette)
BY 1830 JOSEPH and AGNES were living in Maitland and had possibly exchanged Inn licences with RICHARD YEOMANS, their brother-in-law. In 1831 JOSEPH is said to have been involved with his brother, BENJAMIN in building a watermill at Boatfalls, near Clarencetown. However, in November 1833 he was assigned a Convict Labourer and in February 1834, a Convict Shoemaker at Maitland.Their eldest son, ELIJAH was born on 1st April 1830 but there is no record of birth of their daughter, ANNABELLA BARBARA, said to be born at Maitland or their second son, FREDERICK who died in infancy. His death not being recorded either. WILLIAM SINGLETON Snr's death in May 1835 was also not recorded. Returning to SINGLETON, where BENJAMIN SINGLETON had set out his private town, JOSEPH purchased land in John Street and built and opened the 'Cross Keys' Inn on 21st April 1840. However, on 26th November 1841 JOSEPH SINGLETON died aged 51 years, and was buried at the Whittingham Cemetery.
I have always thought that JOSEPH SINGLETON'S epitaph could well read,
" IN HIS BROTHER'S SHADOW".
AGNES SINGETON, aged 26 years, and expecting another child took over the Inn licence. The 'Cross Keys"Inn was situated on the corner of John and Elizabeth Streets. On 17th February 1842 AGNES SINGLETON was remarried to JOHN GREEN and her son, ALFRED SINGLETON was born on 22nd March 1842. In the Presbyterian Baptism Register he is incorrectly entered as ALFRED GREEN, son of JOHN and AGNES. JOHN and AGNES GREEN had two surviving children, MATILDA, born on 19th September 1844 who in 1868 married ALEXANDER ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, a grandson of BENJAMIN and MARY SINGLETON and JOHN THOMAS GREEN born on 24th June 1847. JOHN GREEN took over the licence of the 'Cross Keys' Inn on 19th April 1843 and held it until AGNES' brother, JAMES NEAL became licensee on 18th December 1849. AGNES GREEN again became licensee on 20th April 1850. The Maitland Mercury, 22nd June 1850 had the notice -
"I, AGNES GREEN of Singleton do hereby caution all parties not to pay or lend money to my husband, JOHN GREEN, or transact any business with him whatsoever, as he is declared wholly incompetent to do so." JOHN GREEN died at the Inn on 12th January 1852, aged 36 years. He was buried at Whittingham with his son, WALTER JAMES, who had died on 25th December 1849, aged 8 months. An auction sale was advertised for 12th February 1851 for "All the superior bred horse stock of JOHN GREEN. 25-30 head etc." The sale was carried out privately by 17th February.
ELIJAH SINGLETON married on 12th July 1852 to CATHERINE GALVIN, daughter of PATRICK and MARY GALVIN. On 10th December 1853 ELIJAH and CATHERINE SINGLETON took over the 'Red Lion' Inn in Elizabeth Street, which had been conducted since its opening in 1850 by PATRICK GALVIN. ELIJAH SINGLETON held the licence until 22nd April 1858. A bootmaker by trade, he then lived in John Street until his death on 16th December 1895.
The Maitland Mercury 20th October 1852 had the notice " MRS. AGNES GREEN of Singleton, intending to leave that town, requests all claims on her may be presented for payment. She also requests settlement of Accounts due to her to prevent unpleasant measures being resorted to." On 11th December 1854 she married in Sydney to ANDREW CANAVAN. As MRS.AGNES GREEN she advertised a Household Sale for 21st December 1854 for Bedding etc., Horses etc. Leaving the district. A son, ANDREW WALTER WILLIAM , was born to ANDREW and AGNES CANAVAN at Singleton on 8th April 1857. ANDREW CANAVAN took over the Inn licence on 20th April 1857 re-naming it 'The Bird In The Hand'. The renewal the following year showed AGNES CANAVAN as licencee.
ANNABELLA BARBARA SINGLETON married JOHN CHURCHLAND on 1st January 1858. She died on 26th April 1913 at Islington, and was buried at Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle as ANNABELLA BULPITT. She was known to the SINGLETON family as GRANNY BULPITT in her later years. AGNES was married for the fourth time to JOSEPH WILLIAM MORRIS, Widower on 6th October 1860 at the Singleton Courthouse by Christian Poppenhagen. Both were stated as Innkeepers. He was licensee of the Auckland Hotel, Rix's Creek for one year from 18th April 1861.
On 26th November 1861 ALFRED SINGLETON, in the employment of his brother, ELIJAH SINGLETON, a John Street bootmaker, was most brutally treated by one of his fellow workmates, said to be CYRUS McDOUGALL when he was followed to WILLIAM WHITEMAN'S soap boiling establishment nearby in John Street at noon and had his head forced into a tub containing concentrated acid, used in the manufacture of soap. His head and hands were most dreadfully burnt and a warrant was issued for McDOUGALL'S arrest. AGNES MORRIS appeared before the Court on 17th December 1861 being charged with stealing money from THOMAS HARDMAN. An unreliable witness was stated as THEODORE McDOUGALL and he told a story that was not believed and the case was dismissed. He had also stated that he had been committed for trial for an assault on the defendant's son. ALFRED SINGLETON died at Walgett in 1906. As AGNES CANAVAN she made her will in November 1862, stating herself as wife of ANDREW CANAVAN. As AGNES MORRIS she died of typhoid on 3rd February 1863, aged 47 years and was buried at the Whittingham cemetery, the location unknown but possibly near her first or second husband, JOSEPH SINGLETON or JOHN GREEN. ANDREW W.W. CANAVAN, at his mother's death was left in the care of his half sister, MATILDA GREEN. She died at Singleton on 5th June 1909 being MATILDA CAMPBELL. He died on 30th June 1909 having married CATHERINE MEEHAN at Murrurundi on 8th March 1880. I cannot help but feel that AGNES had many ups and downs in her lifetime and she was indeed one of the pioneer women of our district.
***(Please note the CROSS KEYS INN was accidentally mistated as being on the corner of John and Hunter Streets instead of JOHN and ELIZABETH Streets, in the last issue of the Patrick Plains Gazette.)