Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month. So who are the women in your family? What did they do?

                                                      Louisa Mary Ann Nicolls.
                                     Born 8 December 1860 in Lochyersleigh, NSW.
                                      Daughter of Henry Nicolls and Ann Enright.
      Married Thomas Joseph Abberton, (1865-1914)   on 1 January 1890 in Mummel, NSW.
                                        Died 7 May 1903 in Centre St, Redfern, NSW.
                                          Buried 8 May 1903 in Rookwood, NSW.

These few dates and some names don't tell us much. What did she do? Did she have any children? Did she have any siblings? What did she die off?  Questions that will shed some light on my Grandmother.

From my research, I know that Louisa was a school teacher, first at Tarlo Gap and then at Mummel. I know that at the time she was teaching there, Mummel was a thriving community, with a post office, (run by Thomas's parents), several pubs, a church, cemetery and a copper mine. Farming was the main source of income for most of the parents, of her students. Reading the school records I know that Louisa had to ask permission, for the school to close when ploughing matches took place. She also wrote and explained that attendance was low because the children were required to help with the harvest. I have stood in the classroom, she taught in, walked into the rooms that were her home and wonder what it was like for her.

I can assume that this is where she met Thomas, as Thomas grew up in Mummel and where they married. Seven children followed, Fredrick, 1891, Sidney, 1892, Marianne, 1894, Matthew, 1896, Leslie, 1898, William, 1900 and Michael, 1903. Michael died several hours before Louisa.  Letters in her school file have her asking for " with my next posting, may it be closer to a town as I have two children, am pregnant, with my third and am looking after my elderly mother." I don't know if she got her request as she seems to have stopped teaching. I had assumed that one a woman married, she ceased employment. Louisa didn't, for several years.

So far I have only found a brother, Frederick, 1863, for her. This branch is still to fully researched.

Louisa was 43 when she died in May 1903 from Phthisis, that she had had for a year. We know it today as Pulmonary Tuberculosis. I can't begin to imagine how hard it must have been for her, pregnant and so ill. Louisa was buried in an unmarked grave, Thomas joined her in 1914, have also suffering the same illness.

Other information I have found is that bother her parents came form Ireland. Henry from Limerick and Ann from Dublin. Henry was also a boot maker. An interesting bit of family gossip, Henry and Ann married in July 1860 and Louisa arrived in the December!

My Grandmother, a lady I admire greatly.

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