Monday, December 7, 2015

The Mayes family of Angle Vale

Levi, a year before his death
Levi Mayes migrated with his parents, brothers and sisters from Bedfordshire, England, where he was born on 7 June 1849. He arrived in the colony on the ship Catherine in 1851.

The family first went to live in Bolivar, but sometime later they all moved to Salisbury, where in 1867 Levi married Fanny Brooks in St John Anglicans church. Fanny Brooks was the daughter of George and Sarah nee CARN. Their first child was born later that same year.

In 1869, Levi and his small family moved to Virginia renting a cottage just 3km north of the township, the children as they came attended the Virginia State School.

After working for a time in the Burra Mine, he took up employment as a teamster with Hogarth and Warren of Smithfield, carrying stores to their station property at Strangways Springs in the Northern Territory. His original list of watering holes still exists. The journey took six weeks one way through some lonely and inhospitable country, covering maybe 10 to 12 miles per day and mostly camping on the tracks. It is probable that at times he brought down wool and hides as back loading on the return trip.

A page from Levi's notebook
In 1894 his family having grown to seven he decided to remain in the immediate distinct. A notebook in which he recorded his working life during their period shows that he worked variously at fencing, sheep shearing, splitting posts, general farm labouring, grave digging, cracking stones for roads and boring for water.

He hired out to anyone in the district and most have been well sought after as his notebook shows that he was always in work until 1915 when his record keeping ceased.

Started shearing for Lawson on Tuesday October third 3 (1899)
Finished on the 10
159 sheep at one pound per hundred
Splitting post for Mr Ridgway on the 22 of January 1900
Finished on the 28 of February 763 posts
Breaking stone of the 4 of March for Main road (1901)
2 March (1903) dug a grave for Mrs T Johns
Boring for A baker finished in the 19th of Sept 11days 100 feet deep (1905)

He was then 66 years of age but apparently could still keep up the best of the. His remaining years were spent labouring for him Munno Para West District Council.

Levi died suddenly in 13 November 1919 of varicose ulcer on the upper right leg in the Adelaide Hospital; and was buried at St John’s church, Salisbury.

Upon his death in 1919 the Advertiser recorded his passing;

Mr L Mayes, who died at Adelaide on November 21, was an old and respected resident of the Virginia district and one of the early pioneers. He was born at Souldrope in Bedfordshire and came to Australia with his parents when hw was two years of age in 1851. The family went to live at Bolivar near Virginia and afterwards at Salisbury. Mr Mayes was employed for may years by Messrs Hogarth & Warren in carrying stores from Smithfield, to their station at Strangeways Station a six week trip and made many long and dangerous journeys through the … in drought stricken … He made several visits to the Northern Territory and was well acquainted with the northern area. Mr Mayes and his family have lived in the Virginia district for nearly 50 years. He died suddenly at the age of 70 years.


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