Life of Maria Roberts

Maria Roberts (1822-1921)
Maria Roberts

Maria Roberts was my great, great, great grandmother on the Collier side.  She outlived two husbands and five of her seven children. She was born on 14 November 1822 in Hatfield Street, near St Giles Cripplegate, London to Robert Roberts and Sarah Ann Pearse Barnes.   Her father was a whitesmith.  A whitesmith worked with light metal such as tin and  pewter.  Conversely to blacksmith’s they tended to work with the metal cold.  Maria was baptized at St Giles without Cripplegate on Christmas day in 1822.  (I have used Wikipedia’s history of the church as it has more historical information at the moment)

She married George Kellitt when she was twenty years old at her family church, St Giles without Cripplegate.   George was a leather embosser,  the son of Charlotte Kellitt.  Maria and George had three children, George born in 1843, Maria Elizabeth born in 1846 and Charlotte Sarah born in 1848.  When the first two children were born George was still working as an embosser but by the time Charlotte was born in 1848 he was a greengrocer.  Maria’s sister Martha married James Dartnall, a greengrocer in 1844.    I wonder if James influenced or assisted George in changing occupations.  Sadly Maria’s children George and Maria Elizabeth died in 1849 and her husband George in January 1851.  In April 1851 Maria was working as a greengrocer and living in Garden Row, Finnsbury with her mother-in-law Charlotte and daughter Charlotte.  Garden Row was where her sister Martha and husband James were living when they married in 1844.  Her father Robert was living in the workhouse in 1851.

Seven months later in November 1851 Maria married Joseph John Baldwin, four years her junior, at St Mary’s Haggerston in London.  He was the son of Joseph Baldwin,a butcher, and Elizabeth Edwards.  Maria and Joseph had a son Henry Joseph Baldwin born 3 August 1852 at 50 Shepperton Terrace, Islington.  Joseph, Maria, Charlotte and Henry  left England on the Gloriana for Melbourne, Australia at the end of August 1852.  Henry was only a few weeks old.  They arrived in Melbourne in December.

They had three more children born in Melbourne,  Elizabeth Mary  born in 1855, Alice Jane in 1859 and William James in 1864.  Joseph worked as a butcher in Sandridge, now Port Melbourne.  By the 1880s the family was living at Alloeville [sic], Boundary Road in Malvern, near Armadale station.

Maria and Joseph’s daughter Elizabeth, known as Lizzie, married the Reverend Robert Aitken at Gardiner on 13 October 1877.   He was from Glasgow, Scotland.  Sadly she died on 20 December 1880 after a long and painful illness.  They hadn’t had any children.  She was only twenty-five.  The next year Maria’s daughter Lottie (Charlotte) died on the 5th of March.  Then their last surviving daughter, Alice, died on the 31st of August 1886.

Lottie was used as a name through each generation of the family down to my grandmother Lottie Ethel Fiedler.  All named for Maria’s daughter, Charlotte, from her first marriage with George Kellitt.  Charlotte was named for George’s mother Charlotte born in about 1787 in Yorkshire and perhaps goes back beyond her.  One of my cousins has named his daughter Lottie continuing the tradition.

Maria’s husband Joseph died on 11 May 1903.  Interestingly he hadn’t appointed either of his sons executors of his will.  His will left everything to Maria until her death.  After her death his estate was to be divided between his two sons, Henry and William.  Maria went to live with her youngest son William and his wife in Croydon where William farmed.

Maria died on 31 July 1911 and was buried in St Kilda cemetery with her husband Joseph and their three daughters Lottie, Lizzie and Alice.  They were buried in the Presbyterian section of the cemetery.  She was in her eighty-ninth year and had seen many changes in her life and endured great tragedy.   Sadly on her death certificate only one of her children from her first marriage was listed along with her children with Joseph Baldwin.   Her children George and Maria Elizabeth were not mentioned.

Further tragedy occurred in the family when William’s wife Selina died in 1913.  William married Mary Juanita Hawkes the next year and they lived in Blackburn where he was an orchadist.  He died in October 1936 and was buried with his first wife Selina in Box Hill cemetery.  They were buried in the Methodist section.  He didn’t have any children with either of his wives.

His brother Henry married Clara Leonora Kent and lived at Kilsyth.  They had seven children and I am descended from their second, Clara Leonora.  They will be the subject of another post.

I’d love to hear if anyone else has any other photos of her or a photo of Joseph or can verify this photo.   Also does anyone have any stories of her or Joseph’s life?

©Lynda Collier 2014

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