Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thriller Thursday

Mounted Police, King and Elizabeth Street corner from Sydney, 1890 / 
photographed by Arthur K. Syer from State Library of New South Wales Flickr Account

Are there murders, bizarre accidents or other thrilling stories among your family history? Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.This is an ongoing series by Anne Kruszka at Gene Notes.

Well my advice for you this evening is to NOT search under the term "abduction" in Flickr unless you want to have nightmares.  I'm squeamish at the best of times but abduction is obviously a medical term for suspending limbs et al.  Flickr Commons is full of lots of disturbing photos and drawings of the human anatomy.

I was looking for the term "abduction" because I found a most interesting notice while searching Find My Past for more information about the Ellis family.

I have spoken before of Kate Ellis leading me a merry dance and you can read more about Kate here.  Kate was my maternal great-grandmother.

Kate Emilia Ellis
Kate Emilia Ellis

I remember finding a notice in the Police Gazette for 3 February 1892 under the quaint heading:

Missing Friends

Missing from her home, Point Piper Road, Woollahra, since
8 p.m. the 25th ultimo,-Kate Ellis, 19 years of age, about 5
feet high, rather thick set, dark hair and eyes ; dressed in white
bodice, dark skirt, sealskin jacket, cloth top shoes, and was
wearing either a white hat with black velvet band or black hat
with flowers and cream trimming . She had in her possession,
when leaving home , a large black silk umbrella , ivory handle,
and a bundle of clothing.

I wonder if she looked a bit like one of these girls.

I knew Kate probably led me and her family a merry dance but now I'm wondering if her older sister Esther was a bit the same.

A couple of nights ago I found a similar notice in the Police Gazette for 
9 December 1885, seven years earlier:


Sydney - A warrant has been issued by the Central Police Bench for the arrest of William Attenburgh, charged with fraudulently taking away Esther Ellis, an unmarried girl under the age of 21 years, out of the possession and agains the will of her parents with intent to carnally know her, on the 21st November, 1885.  Offender is about 24 years of age, tall and slender build, light moustache, and small whiskers; had the appearance of a larrikin.  Esther Ellis is about 17 years of age (looks older), tall and handsome, fair hair and complexion.  Complainant, Isabella Ellis, 6, Brougham - street Glebe.

Sydney - A warrant has been issued by the Central Police Bench for the arrest of Elizabeth McEvoy, charged that she did, at Sydney, abet with one William Attenburgh in taking away Esther Ellis out of the possession and against the will of her parents, she , the said Esther Ellis, being under the age of 21 years, with intent to carnally know her.  Description of offender - About 26 years of age, short and thin; has a delicate appearance; wears short black hair.  Is supposed to be in company with William Attenburgh (for whose arrest a warrant has been issued) and the girl Esther Ellis.  Complainant, Isabella Ellis, 6, Brougham-street, Glebe.

I'm imagining short hair for a woman in 1885 must have been quite odd.

To find where on earth Brougham Street Glebe was, I found a document online here.  

It tells me that 

Listed from 1859. Originally ran from Quarry St to Denman St 

(now St Johns Rd). 

Quarry St end was renamed Burton St. 

Centre section renamed Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Denman St end renamed Colbourne Avenue.

Esther must have survived the abduction because she went on to marry John Thomas Floyd in 1889.  

They were married in All Saints' Church Woollahra which looks a lovely place for a wedding.

John was a chemist from Callan Park which is no doubt another story for another post.

They had one son, Sydney, in 1890.  He died that same year.

John died in 1934 and Esther 20 years later.

Abductions.  Lunatic asylums.  That's thrilling enough for me.

Now off to dream...perchance to sleep.


Karen S. said...

Oh my after all this enthralling and quite detailed information I don't know if I could sleep! Very interesting post, and such detective work throughout. Those articles are quite fun indeed.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Karen! It was fun to do.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Great story Alex...shades of Captain Wickham.

Alex Daw said...

Hah! I had to remind myself who Captain Wickham was - of Pride and Prejudice fame yes?

Claire Hancock said...

Alex - I just came across your blog whilst researching Brougham Street, Glebe, as I had ancestors living there in the late 1800s, by the name of George Hilton and his wife Dinah Mann.

You might be interested in an old map of "The Glebe" that I found, which clearly shows Brougham Street. URL is:

If you download the map and zoom in, you can see Brougham Street at the southern end of Pyrmont Bridge Road.

I found the map on this site: "Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney, ca 1885-1890". Website URL is

That site may possibly have other maps of interest to you.

Happy ancestoring!

Alex Daw said...

Dear Claire

This is very kind of you. Thank you I shall look up that map this very weekend !