SUSANNAH ARTHUR, formerly LENNELL, neé PHILLIPS
Villagers in the nineteenth century wanted to emphasise continuity rather than difference when naming their children. This is the story of another Susannah Phillips who was the aunt of her namesake who married John Ball. In old age this Susannah was known as Tiny Grandma rather as Susannah Ball was called Little Granny. But there, the similarities end. This fascinating life story was sent to me by Robyn and Ned Knight and they have kindly allowed me to put it on the site. Susannah was born in Raunds but her parents came from Ringstead so she wins her place here
Susannah, or Susannah Catherine as she was sometimes known, was born on 10th November, according to a family member’s Birthday Book, and was christened on 24 December, 1826, at Raunds, Northamptonshire, England. Susannah always stated that she was born at Thrapston, which is about 4 kilometers from the village of Raunds. Her parents were John PHILLIPS and Elizabeth nee RANDS. At the age of 14, at the time of the 1841 census, Susannah was working as a servant at a Public House called The Red House in Raunds.
On 16 October, 1843, at St. Mary’s Church of England, Leighton, Huntingdonshire, England, Susannah married Edward LINNELL, Labourer, son of Edward LINNELL and Sarah neé COE. As far as can be determined, there were no children for Susannah and Edward born in England, prior to their departure for Australia, although her death certificate states that she had lost 5 sons and a daughter. Two sons were born and lost in Australia, leaving 4 children possibly born and died in England or on ship.
Susannah and Edward travelled to South Australia on La Belle Alliance, initially leaving London on 28th February 1847. The ship proceeded as far as Madeira (Portugal), where a heavy gale damaged the upper rigging of the ship, forcing her return to Plymouth for repair. The voyage recommenced on 4 April, 1847, arriving in Adelaide on 5th July 1847, where she ran aground. She was refloated and arrived at the Queen’s Wharf on the morning of 7th July 1847. On their arrival Edward and Susannah were recorded as “Edwd Linnel and wife”. After arrival in South Australia, the name was mostly recorded as “LENNELL”.
Edward found labouring work at Pine Forest, South Australia, where their first two Australian children, John Phillips LENNELL (1848) and Elizabeth LENNELL (1850) were born. Unfortunately, John Phillips died as a result of Hydrocephalus (Water on the Brain) in 1850 at Enfield, South Australia. A second John was born in Munno Para in 1851, but he survived only 5 days, suffering convulsions. Another daughter, Sarah Catherine (Kate), was born at Little Para in 1853, and a son William was born at Munno Para in 1855. The family then moved towards Virginia, with son Frederick being born at Gawler Plains in 1857, however, their next son Thomas was born in Adelaide in 1859. By 1862, the family was living at Farrell’s Flat, daughter Mary Ann being born at Mintaro. Their last child, Matilda was born in Kooringa (the original name for Burra, a major South Australian Copper mining town) in 1864, where Edward had found employment as a teamster.
Susannah was tragically left widowed in 1866, when Edward unexpectedly died from Pericarditis, in Kooringa. Her family ranged from 16 year old Elizabeth to 2 year old Matilda and the family were in dire straits. This situation was remedied on Christmas Day, 1866, when Susannah married, at Kooringa, recently widowed, Tribute mining team leader, George ARTHUR, a Cornishman, the father of 6 surviving children. George’s youngest boy was also two years old. Susannah’s 16 year old daughter Elizabeth also married that day to George HOLMES, also a miner. The combined family then moved to Moonta Mines where George ARTHUR worked. (There is no recorded issue from this marriage, although Susannah’s death certificate states that she had one deceased son from the marriage.)
Adopting the religion of her Cornish husband, Susannah became very active in her local church, becoming a Sunday School Teacher at the East Moonta Primitive Methodist Church. She had no formal education, and at the time of both her marriages, was unable to sign her name.
Tragically, in 1872, her daughter Elizabeth HOLMES died at the Doora Mine, near Kadina, leaving two surviving children. Her son-in-law, George HOLMES, who quickly remarried to provide a mother for his children, later died tragically in 1895, in a mine accident in Broken Hill, in which a number of former Copper Triangle miners were also killed.
Daughter Kate married, in 1872, James Henry BROWN, who, although described as a miner on his marriage certificate, was a horseman of note, and who was eventually to take charge of the Wallaroo Mines’ stables. James made the famous Easter horse and trap trip to Adelaide to register a mining claim for Captain Hancock, the mine manager.
Her son. William. married, at Moonta in 1877, Sarah Jane MEDLEN, known as Jane. Several of their children succumbed to Typhoid at Moonta Mines, and they moved, initially to Adelaide, and then to Kanowna, in Western Australia. Son Thomas was ambitious, and after his marriage to Susanna COAD in 1881in Adelaide, and after working at various mines in South Australia, he moved to Boulder, Western Australia where he became a Mine Manager and a Councillor.
Frederick remained at Moonta Mines, after marrying Emma JERRAM in 1877, and several of his children worked in the mines. His first born son, Edward Austin LENNELL married Florence May VERRAN, daughter of John VERRAN, who became a Premier of South Australia. Two of Frederick’s sons served in the First World War, one, Leigh Treweek LENNELL lost an arm in the fighting, and the other, Fred Jerram LENNELL, is buried with Susannah at the Moonta Cemetery.
Mary Ann married William CURNOW, another Cornish Miner, in 1879 at Moonta, and, after George ARTHUR’S death in 1895, Susannah lived with them in Wattle Street near the East Moonta Church. She was living with them at her death on 4 February 1910.
Six months after her stepfather’s death, Matilda, Susannah’s youngest daughter, at 30 years old, married Jonathon SANDERS, a miner, at Wallaroo Mines. Jonathan, and later Matilda, was very active in the Salvation Army, and they moved to Port Pirie. (Jonathan’s nephew, Charlie SANDERS was a well known Moonta identity, who’s loss of an arm at 8 years old, did not impede his active life.)
Susannah ARTHUR is remembered in her obituary as “an old and highly respected resident of the district”. She became a legend in her family and was described by her family as tiny Grandma ARTHUR, and her photograph shows a short, but quite round lady. Susannah’s family was very important to her and she would be proud of her family’s achievements. She is the ancestor of war servicemen (one paying the ultimate sacrifice), doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, businessmen, miners, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, 3 Mail Medallists (for Australian Rules football in South Australia), and a prominent Australian Football League (AFL) footballer. A significant number of her descendants were, and are, involved in community work in some way, and many are keen sportspersons.
Susannah was buried in an unmarked grave (Row 6, Plot 306) at Moonta Cemetery. Her descendants, after a family gathering in Moonta in 1997, placed a headstone to honour her memory.
29 September 2008 Ned Knight, Great Great Grandson and Robyn Knight,
We believe the above information is accurate, to the best of our knowledge. The research has been undertaken over 20 years and has been, where possible, verified by official records.