If only there was a picture!
‘The Kiama Independent and Shoalhaven Advertiser’ from 17 February and 2 June 1909 have recently become available on Trove. After editing much of the articles regarding the death of Charles Moore Stevenson in 1909 there are quite a few leads to check and follow if you are interested in the Stevenson family of Kiama. As yet, our research has not yet found if they are related to the Stevenson family of Bombala. It would be wonderful if there was a photo of C. M. Stevenson to include.
Clue 1. Charles Moore Stevenson was born 30th January, 1860 and died 11th February, 1909, aged 49 years. NSW Birth Death & Marriage (BDM) Indexes verify his death in Sydney was registered in 1909 (Ref. 190/1909) and his parents were James & Kate. There does not appear to be any NSW birth for Charles or marriage for these names.
Clue 2. In 1909, Charles M. Stevenson had a brother R. H. Stevenson. There is no mention of any other family beyond the floral tributes being sent to Harry Stevenson although the NSW BDM’s registers a death for Robert Henry Stevenson at Kiama in 1939 (Ref.16482/1939). In 1884,there was a Frank H. who died in Kiama and an Annie L. who died in Sydney in 1891 who may or may not also be children of James & Kate.
Clue 3. Charles was buried with a brother and sister who had died before him. The Obituary tells us the mourners withdrew from the quiet graveyard by the sea, leaving in his last resting place beside the brother and sister gone before one who will be sadly missed in the district as a leader of public affairs, a gentleman in the truest sense of the term, and one who will long be held in kindly, remembrance by every section of the community.
Clue 4. The coffin was met at (North Kiama) station by the non commissioned officers of Captain Stevenson’s command and escorted as a guard to the Masonic Hall before the procession to the cemetery and Church of England burial service. The Australian Cemetries Index includes Kiama General Cemetery and Charles’ family graves and photos in the Anglican Section. The obelisk on the grave records various family members and reads:
In memory of C. M. Stevenson V.D.; “E” Kiama Co. 2nd A. I. Regt.; Born Cavan, County Cavan, Ireland 29 January, 1860; Died February 11, 1909.
The birth date does not match with the military record in the newspaper and needs further investigation but at least it’s close. Beneath Charles the monument includes: Also Annie Lillian, Sister of the above, Died August 3rd, 1891. Aged 27 years (born 1864?). And elsewhere Frank Stevenson who died November 16th, 1884. Aged 19 (born 1865?). These appear to be the brother and sister mentioned in Clue 3. Other names on the sides of the monument include John Reilly, cousin of the above (Frank) aged 45. (No date). Robert Henry Stevenson; beloved husband of Ada Stevenson, Born Toronto, Canada 1855, Died Kiama 23rd July, 1939. Canada, how intriguing! In memory of Sir George Stevenson, K.C.B.; C.V.O., Died Bournemouth, England. May 12th, 1931 Aged 74 years. Even more intriguing! What’s the connection? Perhaps there is someone on the other side of the monument with a different surname?
Clue 5. All three articles focus on Charles Stevenson’s military career and his involvement with the South Coast Rifle Association. They list the names of many locals and members of the “E” (Kiama) Co. of the 2nd A. I. Regt. as well as dignitaries who travelled to Kiama to attend the funeral or unveiling ceremony including Brigadier-Colonel Ranclaud, V.D. who commanded the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade. There was a seperate article detailing C. M. Stevenson’s military career.
Clue 6. In 1867, Charles M. Stevenson, a Free Mason, joined the Minnamurra Masonic Lodge which was amalgamated to form the Kiama Lodge in 1888 where Charles was first elected to the Worthy Master’s chair in 1891. A detailed account of his involvement with the Lodge and the Kiama community is also included in the articles. The Museum of Freemasonry, in Sydney has archives and a library which can help with family history research in NSW & ACT.
Clue 7. There is no mention of any other family members besides R.H. Stevenson or C.M. Stevenson’s store in Kiama which was still advertising goods for sale in December, 1909. Why?
Details of the location of the monument in Manning St are available at Monument Australia but there is no picture. Curious to know if the family was originally from England. How did they they happen to be in Toronto in 1855 and Ireland in 1860? When did the family come to Australia? Did Charles & Henry’s parents come to Australia too? If so where are they buried? Trove is currently processing an illustrated article from the ‘Evening News’ in 1908 which hopefully includes a picture of Captain Stevenson. I’ll keep you posted. Can you help with any photos or clues?