wait_there_s_more

Wait, there's more!

In the much lampooned ad, this refrain of 'wait, there's more' went on to offer steak knives. No extra knives here, but a possibility of TLM-P having had children outside marriage. The existence of these children was believed, and documented by, a son and grandson of TLM-P.1) It's an unusual act for the time and their motive in doing so may affect the accuracy of their claims - they also recorded with equal certainty the highly dubious story of an offspring of Lady Sarah Butler and Andrew M-P becoming an illiterate servant in NSW. At the least, they are claims they, and the illegitimate children's descendants, believed. Sadly, all the recorded children were born while Matilda, TLM-P's first wife, was alive although Thomas Bertram M-P leaves the matter open by adding that there were 'other issue' with 'others'.2)

One interesting theme is that their mothers were all able to give the children a step-father's surname. Is this an indication that such liaisons were widely accepted and accommodated? Or is there a simpler explanation: were any of these men the biological fathers? It is unlikely any one instance of TLM-P's paternity can be definitely proven now, but it is generally accepted that he was unfaithful to Matilda in her last years. Additionally, Patricia Clarke notes gossip about that 'old sinner', TLM-P, and his extra-marital affairs.3) While it is easy to be judgemental, it should be remembered that Matilda was very ill and further pregnancies would likely to have been lethal - leaving abstinence or adultery as the only real alternatives. What is missing - for TLM-P and any of the family - is any suggestion of children by an Indigenous parent.4)

1. The first of TLM-P's alleged illegitimate offspring to be recorded by his descendants is Jane Anne Quinn, born in 1848, two years after he and Matilda married. Jane's parents were registered as Emma and John Quinn.5) Robert M-P claims that the Quinns were periodically estranged and that Jane Quinn always knew her biological father was TLM-P and also that 'financial assistance from the Murray-priors was regularly given'. Jane accordingly sometimes gave her surname as Rathdowney, after the former M-P estate in Ireland. Jane married a Swedish sailor Johan (John) Alexander Berggren in 1864 6) and was thought to have had three children with him. After he died, 7) she married in 1875 another sailor, the Dutch Jan (John) Van Kampen8). He died in 19059): they had seven children. Two of the van Kampen descendants had a particular interest in the M-P family and their supposedly royal antecedents.10)

2. Catherine Smith, born at Toowoomba, Queensland on 8 August 1861. Her mother was a servant Annie Smith and probably of Irish descent. Catherine Smith was later known as Catherine Harris after the first of her two step-fathers. Catherine married Edmund Shrubb at the Toowoomba Presbyterian Church on 23 November 1880 and had eight children with him. As well, Catherine had had an illegitimate daughter before the marriage: she was called Rose and later took her step-father's name. Robert M-P claims that when Catherine and Edmund's business failed, 'Catherine was given an outright gift of cash from the Murray-Prior family', then all the Shrubbs moved to northern NSW.11) Catherine died at Byron Bay on 31 March 1913.12)

To complicate the family tree even more, it is claimed that Catherine and Edmund's daughter Bessy Shrubb had an illegitimate daughter fathered by John Rulodph Van Kampen, son of Jane Quinn above.13)

3. Henry Thomas van Zuethem, born at Fortitude Valley, Brisbane on 25 January 1864. Henry's mother was said to be Clara van Zuethem who was Dutch with parents living in Amsterdam. She was around 20 years old when she gave birth; TLM-P was 45 years old. Henry died as a baby, on 11 September 1864 at South Brisbane. His death was blamed on 'teething troubles' which often indicated gastric due to contaminated water or milk. Clara was said to have later married James Brown, a cook. A complication recorded by Robert and Thomas Bertram M-P was that one of TLM-P and Matilda M-P's sons, Hugh, had illegitimate children by two of Clara's nieces.

4. another? It is possible that TLM-P had another child who was baptised on 16 February 1865 in Brisbane by the Rev. Bliss: her mother's name was Louisa —-? More work needs to be done on the this through the parish registers, as the birth registration does not show any child of TLM-P's being registered in the relevant years.14)

5. Annie Ingoldsby, born in Brisbane on 13 March 1867. Her mother Mary Ingoldsby15) was Anglo-Irish and around 25 at the time of her baby's birth (TLM-P was 47). Mary Ingoldsby later married John Clarke, and Annie adopted her stepfather's surname, though Robert M-P claims she also called herself Murray-Prior in 'early adulthood'. She married Robert John Pollock, an accountant, at St Stephen's Catholic Cathedral, Brisbane, on 16 August 1892. The Pollocks had at least one child, May Josephine Pollack in September 1899. Robert considered that his father's illegitimate offspring 'understood the need for discretion, in return for help if ever help were needed' - except for Annie. He described her as angry from a young age, and quoted a ditty she had written in which she (unjustly, in Robert's view) accused the family of disloyalty.16)

TLM-P does not appear to have fathered any more illegitimate children after his marriage to his young second wife. That is not to say that sexual faithfulness necessarily came easily to him. When he wrote a note to himself to 'Remember Resolution. night of 26th Feb. 1877', he added 'Not unless (underlined three times) God's help'.17) Given it was at the end of a list of his children, was it a resolve to be more faithful to his second wife than he had been to the first?

Sources Robert M-P, The Blood Royal of the Murray-Priors, pp.20-28, NLA; Thomas Bertram M-P, Some Australasian Families Descended from Royalty, ms, n.d, pp.24, NLA.


1)
Robert Murray-Prior, The Blood Royal of the Murray-Priors, ms written 1901-05, NLA; Thomas Bertram M-P, Some Australasian Families Descended from Royalty, ms, n.d., NLA
2)
Thomas Bertram M-P, Some Australasian Families Descended from Royalty, ms, n.d.,p.23, NLA.
3)
Patrica Clarke, Rosa! Rosa! p.24.
4)
For more on this topic, see Ann McGrath, Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia, University of Nebraska Press, 2015.
5)
BDM, registration number 735/1848 V1848735 66
6)
BDM number 1067/1864
7)
'while fleeing from Jane some years later, [he] was drowned when his boat sank.' Thomas Bertram M-P, p. 19
8)
BDM number 1196/1875
9)
BDM, number 7579/1905
10)
John van Kampen (previously known as John Corr) and his sister Rita Young. She wrote From Royalty to Us, unpublished booklet, 1984.
11) , 13)
Robert M-P, The Blood Royal of the Murray-Priors, pp.20-21, NLA.
12)
Northern Star, 28 August 1924, p.4; her death registration -number 6465/1913 - spells her name as Katherine.
14)
Howard Le Courteur, email to J. Godden, 3 August 2002
15)
Thomas Bertram thought the surname could be Inglisby
16)
Robert M-P, The Blood Royal of the Murray-Priors, pp.27-28, NLA.
17)
TLM-P, note in John & John B. Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland: M to Z, London: Henry Colburn Publisher, 1846.
  • wait_there_s_more.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/05/18 21:48
  • by judith