|The following information is a copy of JK Stokes data on Mount Barker as contained in her Rootsweb (Ancestory.com) Genealogy Website and has been included here with permission. No alterations or additions may be made to her information without further permission, although relevant comments and/or additions are welcome to be added at the bottom of each page. (copied July 2014)|
Stokes, Joseph & his descendants
Joseph Stokes was born at West Bromwich in the English county of Staffordshire in 1813, the third son of Samuel Stokes & Elizabeth Blocksidge. He worked at the Lea Brook Iron Works in Tipton as an iron roller. As a young man, in 1831, Joseph helped himself to an iron ingot for some reason, and was arrested and tried at the Stafford Quarter Sessions in July of that year. His sentence was 7 years transportation. After spending a few months in an English gaol, he was loaded aboard the ship Isabella and transported to New South Wales.
After spending 6½ years working for Alexander Chisholm at Camden as a farm hand and shepherd, Joseph gained his certificate of freedom. He found work with Joseph Hawdon and Charles Bonney as a shepherd, and came with them overlanding the first sheep and cattle to South Australia in 1837/38. When they reached the area immediately surrounding Mt Barker, Joseph was put in charge of the stock, while Hawdon and Bonney went on to Adelaide to arrange the sale of the animals once they had gained some condition on the abundant pasture land in the area.
As his employment with the Overlanders was ended once they reached Adelaide, Joseph decided to remain in the Mt Barker area and built himself a small slab hut in the area in which they had first camped. He purchased a couple of sheep and a cow from Mr Hawdon with his earnings and set about making a new life for himself.
He married Ann Adams, the daughter of William Adams & Jane Smith, at her father's home at Mt Barker Springs in 1846, and together they raised 3 children - a daughter and two sons. Shortly after the birth of their youngest child, gold was discovered at Ballarat in Victoria, and like many others, Joseph set off to make his fortune in the company of his brother-in-law, Frederick Adams. Apparently tragedy struck (although I have not been able to find proof) and Joseph died in Victoria - or at the very least, never returned. Frederick Adams returned from Ballarat in about 1853 and brought back a gold nugget, which he gave to Ann.
As the children were still quite small, and Ann was left to raise them alone, life was difficult for them. In 1854, Ann Stokes married William Chilton at St James' Church, Blakiston, and went to live with her new husband and children at Langhorne Creek. The family grew considerably, as she and William had a family of 10 children plus the three from her first marriage. Most of the Chilton children remained in the Langhorne Creek area, but the Stokes boys, Frederick Joseph and George Joseph moved back to the Mt Barker district, while the daughter Jane married Charles Martin and lived for a time at Strathalbyn and later at Langhorne Creek. Later, George would also move back to Langhorne Creek, where he remained until his death.
Frederick Joseph Stokes, the elder of the two sons, was born at Mt Barker in 1847. He farmed in the same location as his father had before him. In 1882 he married Sarah Anne Clifford, the daughter of Matthew Clifford and Anne Franklin of Langhorne Creek. Fred and Sarah had four children - Ada Ellen, Matthew George, Agnes Annie and Thomas Frederick. Fred liked a drink a little too much for the good of his family, and so they were often in quite poor circumstances. To add to the family's woes, Sarah's mother had come to live with them, as she was blind and couldn't care for herself. Fred's liking for drink, and lack of work prospects, added to personal ill-health and the need to care for her mother, caused Sarah to have some sort of a breakdown which saw her placed in the Destitute Assylum in 1895. She died there about 5 months later. The younger of her children were split up and sent to live with relatives - at Langhorne Creek and Broken Hill.
Of Frederick & Sarah's children, Ada married Henry Arthur Hallam and went to live at Wonwondah, near Horsham, in Victoria; Agnes married William Labram and went to live in Adelaide; Matthew George seized upon the idea of migration and went off to New Zealand where he remained until his death - he married Nellie Akersten and his descendants still live in the Christchurch area; and Tom came back to the Mt Barker district, where he married Mildred Rebecca Thompson and raised 7 of their 8 children to adulthood - my father is one of those children.
During WWII, my father, Wally, the son of Tom & Millie Stokes of Wistow, stayed at home to help with the farm, while his older brothers, Bob, Basil and Dave, went off to fight. He worked for a number of local farmers over the years doing all manner of work for them including hay carting and digging potatoes. In the 40's and 50's, Dad and his brother David were contract wood cutters; in the late 50's and early 60's he carted hay all over the state, from Wistow and Mt Barker to Avon and Saddleworth; from the 50's until he retired in the early 1990's, Wally was the local grave digger at cemeteries from Mt Barker to the Barossa, down to Palmer and back to Norton Summit. This work has remained in the family, as my brother now prepares the final resting places of the local dead.