Author: lauriewilson

The Farm, the Fort and the ‘Big House’ on the Hill

Laws hill (in old Scottish the word ‘Laws’ actually means ‘hill’) and Laws Farm and its hinterland is rich in ancient and medieval history – Celtic/Pictic, Roman, Viking. More recently during the 17th and 18th centuries the area figured significantly in Scottish/English political and religious upheaval and intrigue. The vitrified rock remnants of Laws Fort, which significantly predates Roman presence, lie overgrown at the highest point just above the farm buildings. The header image above focuses on the highest point where the Fort was located. An imaginary tale by Rev. Douglas Chisholm reflects on its place in the Roman...

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Reminiscences – Stories and Letters of Times Past

A number of our contemporary cousins, some now passed others still with us, but all of the era of the 20th and 21st centuries, took the time and effort to write about our families of old – from the 19th century and even earlier. We are pleased to assemble these writings here for all to peruse and enjoy. Some of these tales are also featured within older site articles. Reminiscences of Mrs Nancy Black, AM – Nancy (nee Boulter) who passed on in 2001 was a great-grand-daughter of William Sorell & Eliza Wilson, via their daughter, her grandmother Elizabeth Wilson. She recorded her memories of family within the William Sorell/Eliza Wilson line during the last 10 or so years of her life. These were published as a series in the Newsletter of the Hastings Family History Society. To the right is a very nice image of Nancy as many of our researchers would remember her – she was indeed a most delightful lady. Nancy was awarded an AM for services to the Anglican community of Melbourne. Nancy’s daughter Jenny Brown today continues in Nancy’s stead as a member of our research group with research into our Wilson and related families’ history. Nancy’s reminiscences range across aspects of her early childhood life and the members of her family, and reach back to her grandparents and great-grandparents recalling stories passed down. See...

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William Sorell Wilson: Farmer, Merchant, and ‘Spirited’ Entrepreneur

The first child of William Hartley and Margaret was a son whom they named William Sorell Wilson, was born in 1821 whilst they lived in the Pittwater region of Van Diemen’s Land, where the village was named Sorell by touring Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1822. The village and our forebear William Sorell Wilson were named after the then Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, William Sorell. Van Diemen’s Land at that time was still part of the Colony of New South Wales. Later in his life our William Sorell wrote a little note, copies of which have survived in several arms of the broad family today which states he was the first child born in the Pittwater area and that his father was Colonial Architect, and ‘a great favourite of the Governor’. Together with his two brothers William worked with their father on the family farms, initially at Sorell, and from about 1848 at O’Brien’s Bridge (Glenorchy today). He was married in 1856 to Eliza Wilson (not a related Wilson) daughter of William Borradaile Wilson and Grace Terry from nearby New Norfolk, and formerly of ‘Clarendon on the Derwent’, Gretna near Hamilton. Later that year William and his family together with brother John Bowman and family left Tasmania for Victoria and worked initially on the property of W J T (Big) Clarke at Rockbank. It seems clear that in Tasmania...

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Jessie (Wilson) Williamson Ison – a troubled life

Our cousin Jennie Towan has written a rather moving story of the sad and troubled life of her great-grandmother Jessie Ison nee Wilson who was the fifth child and fourth daughter of William Sorell Wilson and Eliza nee Wilson. The full text of Jennie’s well researched story about Jessie’s trials in married life is attached below. Not only is it Jessie’s story, but it also certainly is the story of the difficulty which women generally in that era had in gaining the protection of society, and of justice. The law was clearly prejudiced against married women particularly – but form your own impression as you read Jessie’s story. A rather poor image of a young Jessie is shown here. Fortunately for us Jessie took the trouble to record recipes passed down from previous generations of her family, and we are able to pass them on once more. A word of warning though – for those of us fighting to hold our shapes these recipes are ‘dripping’ with some ingredients which just might go against that goal. Jennie Towan has retrieved a set of the recipes which Jessie used around 1900 era. Jennie can personally vouch for the German pastry (and apple pie) recipe which her mother used as does she – with the dripping (what’s ‘dripping’ I hear the younguns asking) replaced by margarine – Jennie, seen here, says...

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