The Roper Family search is on ---
Early Roper Genealogy - England to Australia
James Neariah Roper Genealogy
My Preseparation Ancestors
The Ship "Fortitude"
I am digging for my ancesters the
Roper Family,who emigrated to Australia.
The earliest known Roper for which I have information is Thomas, who was born 1755 and died in 1847 at Great Bently, Essex and is buried in the churchyard at St Mary's Church. My research leads me to conclude that Thomas's father was also Thomas and his mother Sarah Smith, who married at Bildeston on 21 January 1748. Their seven children were baptised at Mendlesham, Suffolk. Sarah died and was buried at Mendlesham on the 19 June, 1770 in accordance with the Mendlesham Records. Thomas Roper, of Mendlesham, widower married Jane Wilson of Cotton on the 18 October 1770 . Witnesses to the marriage were Robert Kersey and John Wilson. Thomas had two children to this marriage and at the time of his death in 1847 he was living with his son James and family at "Sturrick Farm", Great Bentley, Essex.
Summary details of this ROPER family group are:
married 21 January 1748 to Sarah SMITH
Their children are as follows and were christened on the following dates:
Thomas 18 Sep 1750
Robert 24 Apr 1752
John 12 Nov 1753
Thomas 28 Oct 1755
Robert 19 Jan 1759
Elizabeth 21 Jun 1763
James 7 Feb 1767
Sarah died and was buried 19 June 1770.
Thomas remarried to Jane WILSON. Their children were as follows and were christened on the following dates:
Sarah 7 Jun 1772
Sophia14 Sep 1778
Thomas ROPER (1755-1847)
married Sarah Ann ? (second marriage)
Children: Those known
1. Robert ROPER
born: 15 April 1796
married: October, 1820 Ipswich area, Suffolk, England
Family bible states 7 children. No research done on this family.
2. Sarah Ann ROPER
born: 19 August 1797
married: 27 July 1824 to John EVERITT, Sproughton, Suffolk, England
Son John emmigrated to Australia with his Uncle James and family.
John Everitt's family has been researched.
3. James ROPER
born: 27 August 1804
married: 6 September 1826 to Elizabeth HAWARD, Little Glenham Essex, England
Family bible states 5 children. Only four accounted for.
Elizabeth was also known as Elizabeth WIGG (I haven't found out why. Can anyone please help?)
James ROPER (1804-1888)
1. James Neariah ROPER
2. Emma ROPER
3. Mary Ann ROPER
4. Thomas ROPER
This family emmigrated to Australia on the ship "Fortitude" leaving England 1848 and arriving in Australia 1849.
4th, 5th & 6th Generations in Australia brief only.
(All these people are descendants of James Roper's family who arrived in Australia on the ship "Fortitude".
For more information - Fortitude 150th reunion read my page)
1 James Neariah ROPER & Catherine HARGRAVE (Joyce's great grand parents)
1a James Hargrave ROPER* & Rebecca Susannah Charlwood GILES
1 Arthur James ROPER
2 Elsie Charlwood ROPER
3 Clara Maud ROPER & Erskine Lindesay ARMYTAGE
4 Hilda Winifred ROPER & James Harold NEALE
5 Norman Hargrave ROPER & Mary Jane SULLY
6a Ernest Charlwood ROPER* & Barbara Rebecca Elizabeth SKELDON
6b Ernest Charlwood ROPER* & Nancy
7 Ivy Constance ROPER & Sydney William SPARKES
1b James Hargrave ROPER* & Mary Jane Hannah MERREL
1a Victor Morris ROPER* & Marie Isobel SHERRING
1b Victor Morris ROPER* & Helena May BRODIE
2 Olive Hannah ROPER & Herbert George Burnett BRUCE
2 Elizabeth Catherine ROPER & Thomas KILMISTER
1 Catherine Francis KILMISTER & Almond Edwin PAULL
2 George Wesley KILMISTER & Isabella SMITH
3 Evangeline Maud KILMISTER & Frederick KNEIPP
4 Elizabeth Matilda KILMISTER
5 Thomas Henry KILMISTER & Alberta SCHARER
6 Esther Alice KILMISTER & Alexander Kenneth McKENZIE
7a Robert Ernest KILMISTER* & Eleanor Louisa GREANEY
7b Robert Ernest KILMISTER* & Constance McCALLUM
8 Roland Claude KILMISTER & Ann Elizabeth VAUBEL
9 Laura Beatrice May KILMISTER & Frederick John SHIPWAY
10 Stanley Hargrave KILMISTER & Ada Matilda SHIPWAY
11 Everett Gordon KILMISTER & Nola May ALLPORT
12 Eileen KILMISTER
3 Catherine Victoria ROPER
4 Phoebe Flora ROPER & Thomas Albert LOVEDAY
1 Alice Flora LOVEDAY & John Cook ANDERSEN
2 Lawrence Arthur LOVEDAY & Lily Maud WILSON
3 Winifred Grace LOVEDAY & Arthur Leslie HARWOOD
4a Muriel Blanche LOVEDAY* & Anthony John Edward DUFF
4b Muriel Blanche LOVEDAY* & William FOXCROFT
5 Thomas Raleigh LOVEDAY & Amy Rose HILL
6 Bernice Eleanor LOVEDAY & Lancelot Tregarthen SWYNY
7 Hope Hazel LOVEDAY & Horace Wilmore JOHNSON
8 Chester Roy Havelock LOVEDAY
9 Heather Australia Lois LOVEDAY & James Jeremiah McCARTHY
10 Avice Enid LOVEDAY
11 Joyce LOVEDAY
5 Caroline Sarah ROPER & Thomas Moore WALKER
1 Violet Isobel WALKER & David Alexander PIKE
2 Jessie Roberta WALKER & Edmund William O'SHEA
3 Robert Harold WALKER
4 Robert Lancelot WALKER & Elsie Vale MORRIS
5 Harry Victor WALKER & Isobel EBERT
6 Ruby Florence WALKER & Robert Sydney BRUSH
7 Constance Eleanor WALKER
8 Lionel Roy WALKER
9 Doris Eileen WALKER
10 Gwendoline Hargrave WALKER & Edward BUTLER
11 Thelma Stafford WALKER
6 Matilda ROPER & George Frederick FLETCHER
1 Albert George FLETCHER & Lillian Emma COLQUHOUN
2 Edward Alfred "Ted" FLETCHER & Evelyn Wilhelmina SAAL
3 James Lionel FLETCHER & Leila Barnett WARNER
4 Raymond FLETCHER
5 Edith Mary FLETCHER & Henry PEEL
6 Harry Oliver FLETCHER & Roslyn Lydia CROOKBAIN
7 Leslie Allan FLETCHER
7 Harriet Emily ROPER & Frederick MORTON
1 Beatrice Annie MORTON
2 Frederick Bruce MORTON
3 Oliver Hargrave MORTON & Essey Doris Millie SCHULTZ
4 Gwenllean Matilda MORTON
5a Albert Arnold MORTON* & Elsie May ROBOTHAM
5b Albert Arnold MORTON* & Jean Arley WILSON
6 Violette Doreen MORTON & Cecil Reginald GEYER
8 Emma Victoria ROPER & Hermann HARTMANN (Joyce's grandparents)
1 Hermine Irene HARTMANN & James Edward BIDDLE
2 Catherine Hargrave HARTMANN & Evan Bruce McKILLOP
3 Phyllis HARTMANN & Reginald MARTIN
4 Herman James HARTMANN & Erica Florence BANFIELD
5 Eileen Victoria HARTMANN & Oscar Ralph Jeffrey ALT (My parents)
6 Doris Hedwig HARTMANN & Allan Earle RICE
7 Joyce Rita HARTMANN & Michael Leonard DONNELLY
8 Marguerite Lucienne HARTMANN & Thomas Edwin FLETCHER
9 Whitfield ROPER & Annie BOYD (see Boyd Family)
1 John Boyd Hargrave ROPER
2 Gladys Blackie ROPER & Percy James LILLICRAP
3 Alan Whitfield ROPER & Florence Christine BELL
4 Boyd Blackie ROPER & Eileen Mary FORD
5 Eric Brian ROPER & Vivienne BEZANSON
6 Annie Boyd ROPER
I have not included any dates with the above people for privacy reasons. The first six generations have been covered here, but information up to 1980 is documented. If you wish to contact me with further information, corrections or any queries you can write to me at my e-mail address
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It took courage to uproot a family from all they had ever known, board a ship and sail to a new colony. It would be certainly interesting to know their reason and how they all felt at the time of departure, and of those they left behind.
James Roper along with his wife Elizabeth, both then in their early forties along with their family, which included James Neariah the eldest then 21, his wife Catherine nee Hargrave 22 years and only recently married, Emma 20, Sarah Anne 18, Thomas 17 and a nephew of James, John Everitt also 17. John Everitt's mother was a sister of James Roper.
The Roper family lived on "Sturrick Farm" situated at the edge of Great Bentley in Essex. They were a farming family as far as it can be ascertained as James is included on the muster for Great Bently of 1848 and named as a farmer at that time.
Grandfather Thomas Roper, lived with the family around 1847 and shortly before his death at the age of 92. He is known to have been of good health to the end of his life. He passed on in March, 1848 and is buried in St Mary's Church yard, although there is no headstone to mark his grave. Most of the headstones have been removed into a pile in the yard so that maintanence of the yard would be easier.
James Neariah kept a diary which has been of great benefit to make up the story around the family immediately prior to their departure from the mother land.
He was working in Atherstone, Warwickshire for a period of time for a book binder and printer. I do not have the name of his employer as in the journal he is referred to as "Guv" and his wife as the "missus".
It was during his term of employment at Athersone that he met his wife to be. The courtship was short and they wasted no time in announcing their marriage which took place in Mancetter on the 22 July, 1848.
It was James Neariah who eventually persuaded his father to emigrate. While in Warwickshire he recieved a letter from his father, saying that Sarah Anne (his sister) would rather sell matches than cross the mighty deep. She must have been swayed by the majority. It is stated that Edgars were also going to emigrate along with Welsby the school teacher and that Fred Wigg his best friend couldn't persuade Caroline Spencer, his girl, to leave the shores of England. It seem that Fred was rather determined at the time but I have no knowledge that he did make the sacrifice of leaving his girl behind. Although a Fred Wigg did emigrate to Australia in the early 1850's, he was a step brother to Edgar Smith Wigg.
The family were promised land on arrival in Australia by Dr Lang who had organised the "Fortitude" passengers for the trip to Australia. They left Gravesend on the 14 September 1848 on the "Fortitude" with Captain Christmas at the helm. There were about 256 passengers and the voyage took 128 days arriving on January 20, 1849 and landed at Morton Island for a period of two to three weeks. As there had been one case of typhus on board the ship had been quarantined. In his journal James mentions that the lovely beaches, sand and weather on Morton were not at all hard to take. (The original journal of the voyage is in the John Oxley Library, Brisbane).
On arrival they were not given their promised land, but only given a piece of land at Yorks Hollow to settle on for the time being. They set to work and made the best of the situation. The Roper family set to making bricks and did so for many of the new building that were being erected in the area at the time. Mrs James Roper (I take it to be Catherine) opened up a dressmaking shop called Bently Cottage. and James Neariah also had a house for rent. James and Thomas left to seek their fortunes in the goldfields in Victoria and did very well arriving back in Brisbane with $500 each in their pockets. This is only from oral information from various sources and may or may not be correct. James worked for the Courier Mail for a short time and also as a waiter, on vessels which ran up and down the coast.
James had three children, one deceased, when he, his wife and family left Brisbane by dray with their belongings and headed south across the border to the small village of Tenterfield. Here James followed the mining of gold for some years before buying some land in the main street and erecting a small cottage there, which they aptly named "Atherstone Cottage". Catherine had boarders while James ventured further on to Bonshaw where he managed a general store for some years. It was here that he had a well documented account with Thunderbolt and wrote a letter to his wife in Tenterfield telling her all about it and slightly bragging at how he had hidden the money in a boot above the door. This letter was read out at afternoon tea to some of Mrs Roper's friends, one of whom was Thunderbolt, a boarder at the time. She had no idea, of course, who he was but after she found out commented that he was a good listener.
James and Catherine had nine children, namely James Hargrave, Elizabeth Catherine (KILMISTER), Catherine dec'd, Phoebe Flora (LOVEDAY), Caroline Sarah ( WALKER), Matilda (FLETCHER), Harriet Emily (MORTON) Emma Victoria (HARTMANN) and Whitfield.
Emma Roper married, on her birthday, 28 February 1850, to William Alfred Noble, who it is quoted in the "History of Queensland", was captain of a whaling schooner and champion harpooner at the age of 20. In 1850 he became manager of "Durrundur" station, and later "Caboolture Station". From here he moved to Fig Tree Pocket, then to Stanthorpe and later to retire in Toowoomba where they lived out their lives.
The Nobles had nine children and they were, Elizabeth Alice (DAVIDSON), Margaret (OUTRIDGE), Ann Eliza (SMITH), Emma Augusta (RICKARD), Caroline (INNES), Sarah Jean (SARGINSON), George Arthur and Matilda Caroline who both died in infancy and William Alfred the only surviving son. Many of the descendants of these people are prominent in society today.
Mary Ann Roper, known as Sarah Ann, wasted no time in marrying after reaching Australia. In fact the story goes that two young men went down to see the Fortitude passengers alight from the "Susan" which had brought them across from Moreton Island, and they both remarked that they would marry the Roper sisters, and they did. George Frederick Poole then one of the early Brisbane chemists married Mary Ann on the 24 May 1849 just five months after arriving in Australia. They had two children, the first a boy, George Dixon Bunting who only lived to the age of thirteen months and then Matilda who became Mrs Thomas Curphey, but became a widow after only eight years of marriage. George Frederick Poole died shortly after the birth of Matilda, on the 6 May, 1853 and is buried with his son at Toowong next to the Roper grave.
Thomas Roper the youngest of the family, married Emily Ann Lewis of Moggill, who had come with her family to Australia on the "Lima". They had one son Frederick Thomas when she died in 1856. Thomas remarried , Caroline Lewis, and they had eight children. Francis Caroline, Henry Joseph, Unnamed female infant, Emily Laura (REYNOLDS), Walter James, Herbert Edward, George Arthur and Jospehine (KNIGHT). A number of Thomas's descendants reside in Brisbane.
James, Elizabeth, Mary Ann Poole and Matilda Curphey are all buried in the one plot in the Toowong cemetery and this year, being our bi-centennial year, and also the centenary of James's death (04/04/1888), their descendants created enough interest and collected money to restore their grave, a service was held on the spot, in very undesirable weather conditions on the 4 April 1988, the centenary of James's death. It was most gratifying to see the lovely old headstone back to original condition and firmly sitting in an upright position once again. An inscription was added for Matilda Curphey as previously there was no mention of her on the headstone. (Thanks to Laurie Fletcher & Joyce Bryant the main instigators of the restoration)
There are many prominent and interesting people descended from this pioneer couple, who ventured to their new land "Cooksland".
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Please email me if you have any information which may link with the above families I would be more than delighted to hear from you. You can write to me at <jvbryant at halenet dot com dot au>