My Aunt was going out to Yass on Thursday, so on impulse I decided to go along for the ride. Without looking it up again beforehand, I had a recollection that I had ancestors buried in Yass Cemetery, so we went and had a poke around. The cemetery is quite large and without prior research we just had to wander, but it is also very picturesque and it was quite lovely just strolling about. In it we found the graves of my great great great grandparents and some of their descendants (I’ve worked out since that my great great grandfather, their son, should be there too, but I didn’t see him), then I found my great great grandfather on the other side and his brother (and now I know that great grandfather, his son, should be there also, but I didn’t see him either, so I need to go back someday).
But when I got home it got very interesting after I stumbled upon the tale of of my great great great grandfather Jeremiah. After being caught in armed robbery stealing clothes, he was sentenced in York to seven years transportation to Australia and sailed on the ship “John 1” in 1832. He was granted his freedom here in 1838, married and had 15 children (two of whom were still born).
Then, when he was 73 years old, he shot himself. The inquest into his death is actually recorded online. My great great grandfather Hezekiah actually carried him in off the verandah and spoke at the inquest.
It’s something amazing when your ancestors can become alive as real living people through their stories. I wonder then how it affected Hezekiah to carry his dead father inside, who had killed himself with his (Hezekiah’s) gun.
I love making these discoveries and connections to the past.
Jeremiah’s death was reported in the Yass Newspaper on 2nd August 1884, as:
Jeremiah Crossley, aged 73 years, a very old and much respected resident of this district, committed suicide at his residence, Wargeila, this morning, by shooting himself. He had been suffering for some time past from acute rheumatism, and during a severe attack of pain he committed the rash act. Great sympathy is expressed for his widow and family.
Jeremiah’s headstone reads:
“O never shall my soul despair,
His pardon to secure,
I know God’s only son has died,
That pardon to insure.”