According to the Kings Inns Admissions Book, Thomas Keller was the first son of John Keller and Mary Bastable ors Dowling from Cork, Ireland. I have found very little evidence supporting details and dates for the life of Thomas Keller, or his parents. Newspaper clippings indicate he was in fact a solicitor but I am not convinced he was a barrister as claimed in his son’s obituary. According to the Visit Dublin website, “The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland. It was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII when the king granted the Society the lands and properties on which the Four Courts now stand but which were then occupied by a Dominican monastery. When the Four Courts were built in the 1790s, King’s Inns moved to Constitution Hill and the benchers commissioned James Gandon to design their present property. Henceforward, these would be the headquarters of the Benchers and the School of Law. The primary focus of the school is the training of barristers.” Thomas was catholic, and after the Williamite wars of the 1690’s catholics were effectively excluded from the legal profession by the penal laws. It was not until the Catholic Relief Act of 1792 that catholics were allowed to practise at the outer Bar, so perhaps Thomas had no chance of being a Barrister due to his religion. I think it would have been another thirty years before Catholics began to regain any serious rights, under The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. Around 1840, Thomas married Thomasine Eliza Anderson, presumably in Ireland. The marriage would have been contentious as Thomas was catholic and Thomasina protestant.
Thomasine was the only child of Helen (nee Rea) and Thomas Conyngham Anderson. Thomasine would only have been thirteen at the time of her marriage to Thomas Keller which seems unbelievably young. Thomasine’s father is believed to have died around the year of her birth, certainly his will was proven in London on 26 January 1827 but it gives little insight into any details about himself or his family. Thomasine’s mother remarried around 1834 to Alexander Richey and they went on to have five more daughters. It is unlikely Thomasine ever had the chance to consider them her sisters given the age difference and the fact she was married prior to their births. It is possible Thomasine was forced into the marriage, or perhaps she sought marriage as an escape. According to Thomasine’s will, she was entitled to property for “lives renewable”, due to her mother’s marriage articles, which I think gave her properties in Cullenswood, located in the Parish St Peter, Barony Uppercross, County Dublin.
Thomasine Eliza (nee Anderson) and Thomas Keller had the following children all born in Dublin:
- Herbert Francis b1843 arrived in Australia in 1860 aboard the Gipsy Bride and married Alice Shane in 1868. They had eight children: Edith Alice b1867 d1938; “Frank” Francis Herbert b1868 d1893; “Charles” John Charles b1870 d1938;stillborn child b1874; Thomas b1875 d1956; Ethel Maud Mary b1876 d1899; twins, Sarah b1880 d1881 and Kate b1880 d1960. Herbert and Alice both died within months of each other in 1916.
- Horace John b1844 arrived in Australia with his brother Herbert in 1860 aboard the Gipsy Bride. I believe Herbert and Horace had Cardington Station on the Haughton River and were are one time credited with the naming of Cardington. Horace was only about twenty seven when he died in1871.
- Alicia Augusta b1845 did not appear in the newspaper in 1851 so presumably, she died prior to this date.
- Laura Sophia b1847 In 1861 she was attending a boarding school in Tewksbury, Gloucester and died in 1867 aged twenty.
- Sybella b1847 Appeared on the 1881 census visiting the Rea family in Gloucester. I believe the families were related, tracing back to a common ancestor, Thomas Rea who was a baker in Barnwood, Gloucester around 1769.
Two years later, Sybella married John William Rea. The family were wealthy judging by her father in law’s will, with his estate sworn at over sixteen thousand pounds. Sybella was thirty five when she married and I cannot find records of any children. Sybella died in Cornwall in 1931 aged eighty three.
- Florence Augusta b1849. Married Thomas Barnett in 1875 and had seven children: Susan Janet b1879; Sybil Florence b1880; Nora Augusta b1882; Irene Laura b1885; John Poulson R b1887; Dorothy Marguerite b1887; and Emma Helen b1889. Florence was widowed in 1904 and died in Bath, Somerset in 1933.
- Thomas Anderson b1850 He would only have been ten when his brothers arrived in Australia in 1860. I have found a record for Thomas Anderson arriving in 1865 aboard the Queen of Colonies but can not be certain this is the correct record. In 1873 Thomas married Margaret Christine Dieufel and they had two children: Thomas Anderson b1874 d1901 and Herbert Henry Keller b1875 d1910. Thomas died in 1901.
(Thomas overload? – Believe it or not, I still don’t think we’ve covered the Thomas whose memory the current family members represent)
Thomasine’s husband, Thomas is believed to have died around 1851. I have not found records of his death, rather records that refer to his being deceased. This notice may possibly be part of the process of winding up his estate, while a later notice indicates the property, Rathmines House was left to his children. Curiously, the notice refers to seven minors but a later notice refers to the six children above, listed by name, plus additional people with the surname of ‘Green’. This notice is possibly related to Thomasine’s remarriage and plans to emigrate to Australia with her new husband. It is the only record I have found that states Thomas Keller is deceased.
Initially I could not locate emigration documents for Thomasine because I was expecting to find the children travelling with her but it would appear the children were all left behind, possibly in boarding schools. I am not sure why this was the case, perhaps she was not legally able to take the children out of the UK? Perhaps someone with an understanding of Irish family law during the 1850’s could shed some light? I seems probable to me that the children were left behind, in the same way she was married off, to clear the way for a new family life. This sounds callous by today’s standards, but when you consider she would be taking them away from everything and everyone familiar, to a new country, she may have felt it was in their best interests.
Thomasine’s second marriage was to Charles Underwood and reportedly took place in Dublin, Ireland, however, I have not been able to find a record of the marriage taking place. I also doubt it took place as Thomasine refers to herself as “Keller” when writing her will after the marriage was supposed to have occurred. According to Charles’ obituary, he was born in Mt Charles county Donegal around 1831. I haven’t found records for his arrival but presume he emigrated separately to Thomasine who joined him in 1856 at Coolangatta Station, Shoalhaven. Charles’ obituary indicates the couple left Coolangatta Station in 1856 to manage Gullivan Station in the St George district of Queensland however, news reports and childrens birth records indicate they remained at Coolangatta Station until at least 1860.
Thomasine Eliza (nee Keller, nee Anderson) and Charles Underwood had the following children:
- Mary Westby was reportedly born in Ireland in 1851. She married Henry Moore in 1871 and they had six children: Elizabeth d1872; Charles William b1873 d1935; Thomasine Eliza Anderson b1875; Ellen Matilda b1876; Isaac b1883 d1941; and Henry b1888 d1951. Mary died in Warwick in 1941.
- Thomasina Frances Herbert was born at Coolangatta Station in 1856. She married William Reynolds in 1871 and died in Warwick in 1930. I have not yet researched children for this couple.
- Charles William M was born at Coolangatta Station in 1858. He was to only survive for eight months, dying in 1859.
- Helen Elizabeth was born in 1860 at Coolangatta Station. Helen did not marry but had a child, Joseph Henry in 1890. She remained living with her father Charles until his death in 1915. Helen died 16 March 1928.
- Sarah was the first child born in Queensland. She was born 23 July and died 3 August 1862.
- Hugh George. I have found no records for Hugh, but believe he was born after 1859. His death was recorded in Queensland in on 4 July 1866 so it is possible he was stillborn.
Thomasine died 30 August 1873 and was buried in Warwick, Queensland with the surname Underwood. Charles died in 1915 and was buried with Thomasine.