Lucy Callcott (nee Midson) seems to be one of the first of the Midson Family to have lived in the Illawarra – her sister Beatrice Southwell (nee Midson) also owned a house, Wyewurk, in Thirroul, which was managed by Lucy and her husband Alf Callcott.
Born Lucy Midson in 1875, she was the eldest daughter of William Midson and his wife Charlotte (nee Small) – who had about 10 children in total. As this section focuses on the Midson’s beyond the Illawarra, it will not cover details of Lucy‘s story, which can be read here.
From an English Workhouse Family to Leaders in the Ryde & Brisbane Communities … and a Member of the Queensland State Parliament
In 1851 Lucy’s grandparents, Edward and Harriett (Meares) Midson were listed in Steeple Bumpstead in the UK 1851 Census – note sometimes Midson was spelled as Mitson and possibly even Mizon & Mizen. Then in 1855, Edward, aged 32 years, and his wife Harriett, aged 33 years, had emigrated to Australia with their young family of Sussanah, aged 8 years, and William, aged 6 years – Source via State Records of NSW Search Page.
They came as assisted emigrants on the HMS Constitution arriving in Botany Bay on May 27 1855 – leaving behind Edward‘s father, Samuel Midson, who would die in 1858 after spending his last years in an English Workhouse at Risbridge near to Steeple Bumpstead – see Wikipedia reference to Steeple Bumpstead – and information on the Housing estate on the Workhouse site today – see images. The Workhouse operated until well into the 20th Century with some people still being admitted in the immediate pre WWI years.
To counter this situation assisted emigration to the Colonies was promoted and the 1840-50’s were the peak period of assisted emigration under the Poor Law-Pauper Emigration system – couples without children were preferred – so perhaps William’s father Samuel would not have been eligible for the assisted emigration programme. And they were supposed to be vaccinated against Smallpox. However many died of Smallpox during the journey on the HMS Constitution out to Australia – and the ship & its occupants were held at the North Head Quarantine Station for a fairly long period of time, before being allowed into Sydney. A memorial was erected at the North Head Quarantine Station by the Survivors – the Midson family was amongst the survivors. It is located in the 3rd Class and Asiatics Precinct of the Quarantine Station.
More Midson children would be born to Edward and Harriett in Australia – Frank, Jacob, Elizabeth, Mary and several called Henry (or they could be the same child?). One Henry and Mary would die in early childhood.
Edward and Harriett’s son, William Midson became an Orchardist, a Wesleyan preacher in the Ryde Circuit, and also an Alderman on Dundas Borough Council for the Carlingford area from the late 1890′s. He was also active in setting up the Carlingford Progress Association in that era. There was also another Alderman on Dundas Council at the same time called James Sonter, and he was married to William Midson’s sister Sussanah. Perhaps it was not surprising that Lucy’s brother, Harold Midson became an alderman on Windsor Council too. Curious trivia – in 1899 William Midson (1849–1924) suggested the name for Epping – apparently named after a town near Epping Forest in Essex, where his father was born.
A cousin of Edward‘s, Charles “James” Midson, the son of Thomas Midson, also emigrated to Australia in the 1860’s. He was a carpenter/builder who settled in the Brisbane area with his family, which included sons Charles William Midson and Arthur Midson. Charles James and these two sons were involved in the building and construction industry in Brisbane. Charles William Midson was later both a Council Aldermen on the South Brisbane Council, and an elected Ministerialist Party MLA member in the Queensland State Parliament, from around 1893. He and his brother Arthur were prominent in Brisbane business and political circles for decades – Arthur was also President of the Queensland Protectionist League in the 1890’s. Click here for newspaper items on the Midson family in Australia.