William Thomas Braidwood Wilson was born the 9 and christened on 22 January 1819 at St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Scotland to James Wilson and Agnes Patterson.1 He was the second oldest of their ten children. The use of the middle names ‘Thomas Braidwood’ no doubt honoured the child’s uncle Thomas Braidwood Wilson, noted Ship’s Surgeon and early explorer of Australia.
William married Janet Dewar Wightman on the 19 June 1846 at Borthwick, Scotland.2 Janet was born on 15 September 1817 in Borthwick and baptized on 27 October 1817, also in Borthwick, the daughter of Andrew Wightman and Hay Dewar.3
William and Janet had three children in Scotland that don’t appear to have had their births registered. The first two were James Wilson, born about 1850, and Hay Dewar Wilson, born about 1851. Their existence in this family however is beyond doubt, both from later records in Tasmania, and on the 1851 census of Crichton, Scotland. The census lists a William Willson (sic), Limestone Worker, aged 31. His wife 'Jennet', aged 32, is included as well, along with 2 children, James aged 1 and Hay aged 3 months.4
William and Janet’s third child born in Scotland but apparently not registered was Andrew Wightman Wilson, born about 1854. Another child, a daughter, followed a year later. Agnes Wilson was born on 30 January 1855 in Crichton, Midlothian, Scotland.5 Agnes died after only three months however on 25 March 1855, also in Crichton. The cause of death was recorded as Acute Bronchitis.6
How they made the journey to Tasmania is not known, but as Agnes had died in March 1855 in Scotland and their next child Agnes Patterson Wilson was born in Tasmania in April 1858, the event occurred within that time frame. Other members of the family arrived in Hobart Town in 1855 from Midlothian, Scotland and so circumstantially they arrived at the same time. According to Gwenda Oxley, who researched the Wilson family extensively:
William and his family settled at Crichton, Mount Seymour. After spending some years at the 'Braes', Salt Pans, then owned by his uncle George Wilson, William Wilson and his family translated to Springfield, (Parattah), also owned by another uncle John Wilson. It was from this location that William and Janet's children, who were among the first pupils to attend the Mt. Seymour school which opened in 1863, walked the long distance (at least 4 miles) to attend daily classes. The school had an attendance of 42 with a daily average of 24".7
William and Janet’s fifth child was their third daughter. Agnes Patterson Wilson was born on 7 April 1858 in the Oatlands district.8 A year and a half later, they had their last child and third boy when William Wilson was born on 3 August 1859 in the Oatlands district.9
During the early 1870's, William Wilson acquired the 'Hillside' property containing 108 acres of undeveloped land, devoid of buildings and fences. While waiting for the erection of a homestead to accommodate his family, the Wilson's resided in a dwelling nearby on the 'Woodbanks' holding, another of George Wilson's extensive land possessions. During 1875 the original 'Hillside' homestead was complete and occupied, it is said that the pit-sawn timber used in construction being procured from one single gumtree, which at that early period, grew only yards from the site of the building.10
During the 1870's their sons Andrew, James & William were prominent members of the Whitefoord\Woodbanks Cricket Club. They were all batsmen and William junior was wicketkeeper for Mt. Seymour for many years. Apart from Hay's short-lived marriage, all the marriages in this family were with brother\sisters of cricketers they were playing with or against.
In the 1880s two of William and Janet's son would marry daughters of John Ephraim White and Agnes Easton. Andrew Wightman Wilson married Harriet Easton White on 24 August 1881 in the Oatlands district.11 Harriet was born on 18 September 1860, also in the Oatlands district, the daughter of John Ephraim White and Agnes Easton.12 Harriet and Andrew would have seven children.
Andrew's brother James Wilson married Harriet White's sister Mina White on 19 January 1887 in the Oatlands district.13 Mina was born on 4 December 1862 in the Oatlands district, the daughter of John Ephraim White and Agnes Easton. Mina was registered as an un-named female at birth.14 James and Mina would have ten children and following in their father's footsteps all the boys played cricket for Mt. Seymour. James and Mina lived at Linthill. This building is best remembered as the residence in which the Mt. Seymour Post Office was conducted for the full 92 years of its existence. Mrs. Mina Wilson and her relatives occupied the position of Post Master from 1886 until it closed in 1969. In the early days the mail was brought each day by horse and buggy with groceries and provisions from Parattah.
Later that same year Agnes Patterson Wilson married James George Weeding on 8 September 1887 in the Oatlands district.15 James was born on 28 May 1847 in the Brighton district, the son of Thomas Weeding and Susanne Ayers.16 Agnes and James would have seven children.
To provide some example of the activities undertaken while living their rural existence, the following summary of the Oatlands show mentions many of William and Janet’s family:
[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENTS.]
The second annual show was held at the State school on May 24, and proved a success. In spite of a constant drizzle there was a large attendance, and long before the time of opening the residents of the district gathered at the place of show to make the most of their holiday. A large tent had been erected near the school for agricultural produce, the schoolroom being reserved for flowers and miscellaneous exhibits. The secretary, Mr. Pywell, had a large amount of work to do in a little time, and gave general satisfaction.
The show was opened at about 3 o'clock by the Hon. A. T. Pillinger, Minister of Lands, who said it gave him great pleasure to be present, and to meet them. He was surprised at the quality of their agricultural exhibits, and a district that could show such good products need not fear the future. He had lately been through the western districts of the island, and had seen the effects of good farming, in fine crops, and when they had facilities for getting their produce to market, as he trusted before long they would do, they, no doubt, would vastly increase their production. He had seen the effects of irrigation, even here in the fine exhibits of Mr. Sutton, and he hoped in time to see irrigation extended all through the island. He thought when they had a railway through the district it would be better to have a central show for the whole district, say in Oatlands, and the competition would induce larger cultivation. He reminded them, in conclusion, that they must not think he forgot them if they did not often see him in that part of the district, as they were always in his thoughts, and he hoped soon they would see the outcome of it in their railway to Tunnack being opened. He then declared the show open.
The following is a list of prize-takers:-
Flowers. - Pot Plants, collection, Miss Wilson Crichton. Foliage Plant, Mrs. Meaburn, 1; Miss White, Lint Hill, 2. Cut Flowers. - Pansies, Miss Meaburn. Table Bouquet, Miss Wilson, Hillside, 1; Mr. A. Wilson, 2. Hand Bouquet, Mrs. Burrell, senr., 1; Miss Burleigh, 2. Wild Flowers, Bouquet, Miss Weeding. Floral Device, Miss White, Tunnack, 1; Mrs. Jas. Wilson, 2. Buttonhole Bouquets, Miss Wilson, Hillside, 1; Miss Burleigh, 2. Water Bouquet, Mrs. Jas. Wilson. Chrysanthemums, Mrs. Sydney Page, Stonehenge, 1; Miss Meaburn.
Laundry and Needlework. - Collection of Laundry, Miss Weeding. Plain Needlework, Mrs. Wilson, Hillside. Darned Sock, Mrs. Geo. Burrill, 1; Mrs. Jas. Wilson, 2. Crochet Work, Mrs. Bigwood, 1; Miss Nettlefold, 2. Hand Knitted Socks, Mrs. Wilson, Hillside, 1; Mrs. Duff, 2. Crewel Work, Miss D. Tupp, 1; Miss Bailey, 2. Hand Made Embroidery, Mrs. Jas. Wilson. Crochetwork Edging, Miss Meaburn, 1; Miss Patterson, 2.
Dairy Produce. - Handmade Butter in rolls, Mr. Wilson, Hillside, 1; Miss Burleigh, 2. Fancy Butter, Miss Wilson, 1; Mrs. Jas. Wilson, h.c. Potted Butter, Mrs. E. Hayden, Honey, Run, Mr. A. Wilson, 1; Mrs. Wilson, Hillside, 2. One Dozen Hens' Eggs, Miss Wilson, Crichton, 1; Mrs. W. J. Wilson, h.c.
Vegetables. - Best collection, Mr. C. R. Weeding. Cabbages, Mr. Chas. Jones, 1; Mr. Geo. Page, 2. Parsnips, Mr. Sutton. Carrots, Intermediate, Mr. Geo. Burrell, 1; Mr. Jas Wilson, 2. De., Shorthorn, Mr. Sutton, 1; Mr. Geo. Burrell, 2. Spring Onions, Mr. E. Hayden,1; Mr. Geo. Page, 2. Potato Onions, Mr. T. Hyland. Black Potatoes, Mr. A. Wilson, 1; Mr. J. Kalm- back, 2. Collection of Potatoes, Mr. C. R. Weeding. Turnips, Swedes, Mr. Bailey, 1; Mr. Geo. Burrell, 2. Do., any other sort, Messrs. Wilson Brothers, 1; Mr. Bailey, 2; Mr. Jos. Allen, h.c. Vegetable Marrow, Mr. Wilson. Pumpkin, Mr, Wilson. Mangolds, Mr. George Page, 1; Mr. Jas. Wilson, 2. Beet, Mr. George Page, 1; Mr. C. R. Weeding, 2. Potatoes, any other than black. Mr. George Hyland.
Grain. - Tart. Oats, Mr. A. Wilson, 1; Mr. T. Hyland, 2. Oats, any other sort, Mr A. Wilson, 1; Mr. George Burrell, 2. Wheat, Mr. M. Hyland, 1; Mr. Wilson, Hillside, 2. Rye, Mr. T. Weeding, 1; Mr. Wilson, Hillside, 2.
Broad Beans, Mr. Bailey. Horse Beans, Do. 1, Ryegrass Seed, Mr. Johnson, Woodsdale. Cocksfoot Grass Seed, Mr. C. R. Weeding. Soft Do., Mr. Geo. Burrell, 1, Mr. E. Hayden, 2. Linseed, Mr. Bailey, 1; Mr. C. Weeding, 2. Collection of Farm Seeds, Mr. A. Wilson. Collection of Garden Seeds, Mr. Chas. Jones, 1, Mr. C. R. Weeding, 2. Hay, Mr. M. Lester, 1; Mr. C. R. Weeding, 2.
Miscellaneous. - Collection Jams, Mrs. Sutton, 1; Mrs. Burrell, sen., 2. Pot of Jam, Miss Bailey. Pot of Jelly, Miss Bailey. Loaf Bread (made by married women), Mrs. Wilson, Hillside, 1; Mrs. Jas. Wilson, 2. Loaf Bread (made by single women), Miss Wilson, Hillside, 1; Miss F. Weeding, 2. Scotch Scones, Miss Wilson, Hillside. Fancy Bread, Miss F. Weeding, 1; Mrs. Jas. Wilson, 2. Pound Cake, Mrs. Weeding, Oatlands. Eating and Keeping Apples, Mrs. S. Page, Stonehenge. Baking Apples, Mrs. M. Wilson, Hillside. Broad Palings, Mr. A. Wilson. Two feet 6in. Shingles, Mr. M. Hyland, 1; Mr. Geo. Burrell, 2. Nine feet Rails, Mr. W. Wilson, jun.
Farm Horses. - Mr. W. Burbury, 1; Mr. Geo. Campbell, 2; Mr. T. Hyland, h.c.
School Prizes (open to Mount Seymour school only). - Freehand Drawing, Master D. Hayden. Hand Sewing, Miss K. Presnell, 1; Miss Mona Fleming, 2. Sewing Prizes (open to all schools in the district). - Under 8, Pearl Bailey, Oatlands, 1; Jane Palmer Whiteford, 2. Over 8, Mary Thomas, Oatlands, 1; Maud Bailey, Oatlands, 2. Best kept and cleanest Copybook (open to all schools in district), Woodsdale school.
Articles Shown for Exhibition only. - Wheat, Apples, and V. Marrow, Mr. W. Greenlaw, Campania. Grapes, Quinces, etc., Mr. C. Sutton, Tunbridge. Hand Sewing, Mrs. T. Woods, Oatlands. Hand-made Vinegar, Mrs. Kalmback, Mount Seymour. Potato Basket, Mr. Wilson, Hillside. Crewel Work, etc., Miss Tapp, Oatlands.
Machinery, etc., for exhibition only. - Ploughs, Seed Drill, etc., Messrs. Webster and Son, Hobart; Seed Drill, Mr. W. Byers, Tunnack; Garden Ploughs, Hoes, etc., Mr. T. B. Mather, Hobart; Sewing Machine, Mr. S. B. Pitt, Hobart; Farm and Garden Seeds, Messrs. Creswell and Son, Hobart.
The following were the judges: -Flowers, Needlework and Miscellaneous. - Mrs. Burbury, Mrs. Nettlefold, and Miss Weeding. Grain and Split Timber. - Messrs. Geo. Wilson, Philips, and W. Johnson. Dairy Produce and Fruit. - Messrs. J. Lumsden, Aldred, and Burleigh. Horses. - Messrs. W. Jones, Jno. Wilson, and Lewis Lyne. Vegetables. - Messrs. John Mitchell, Jas. White, and W. Greenlaw. Copybook Exhibits. - Messrs. J. Lumsden, Aldred, and Burleigh. Drawing - Mr. Crawford.17
Their rural existence required them to work hard, but time was made to appreciate the skills required to work on the land, and in relatively remote locations. They were also subject to the events that intrude on any family. On 24 April 1895 Andrew Wightman Wilson died in Mount Seymour, leaving a large young family. The death certificate recorded that he was 40 years of age and a farmer. The cause of death was (Psavas?) Abscess, Spinal Disease.18
Wilson.-On April 20,at "Hillside," Mount Seymour, Andrew Wightman, second son of Wm. Wilson, aged 40 years.19
The Wilson family were dotted throughout the Oatlands area and would have no doubt assisted the young family. Certainly life for the group, and history for the area, continued. In the new century and in the year of Federation, Hay Dewar Wilson married Thomas Arthur Ernest Weeding on 14 June 1901 in Oatlands.20 Thomas was born on 30 March 1872 in Hamilton, the son of William Weeding and Elizabeth Robertson.21 Hay and Thomas had no children that have been traced.
The pioneers of the Wilson and related families however were now facing the challenges of old age and death. The year after Hay's marriage her mother Janet Dewar Wilson (nee Wightman) died on 23 June 1902 in Oatlands.22 Janet was buried in the Uniting Cemetery in Oatlands.23
WEEDING. - On January 26, 1907, at Hobart, Agnes Patterson, beloved wife of James George Weeding, of Glenorchy, aged 47 years. Friends are respectfully invited to attend her funeral, which will arrive at Cornelian Bay cemetery, This Day (Monday), at ¼ to 2 pm.26
WILSON.-On March 9, at Hillside, Mount Seymour, William Thomas Wilson, aged 93 years. Funeral leaves his late residence on Tuesday, at 12 o'clock, for Oatlands
In June 1922 Hay Weeding (nee Wilson) was granted a divorce from Thomas Weeding:
WEEDING v. WEEDING. . In the Parattah divorce suit, T. A. Weeding v. Hay D. Weeding, the decree nisi was made absolute.30
James Wilson died on 9 December 1927 in the General Hospital in Hobart.31
WILSON.-Passed peacefully away on December 9, 1927, at Hobart General Hospital, James, dearly beloved husband of Mina Wilson, of Mt. Seymour, aged 77 years. At rest.
WILSON.-Interment of the late Mr. James Wilson, of Mt. Seymour, will take place at Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, on Sunday (To-morrow), at 1.30 p.m., when friends are respectfully invited to attend.32
James was buried in the Oatlands Presbyterian Cemetery. He was recorded by Millingtons as being aged 77, born in Scotland.33
James Wilson’s wife Mina Wilson (nee White) died on 26 May 1929 in Mount Seymour.34
WILSON.-On May 28, 1929, at her residence, Post Office, Mount Seymour, Mina, widow of the late James Wilson, aged 66 years.
WILSON.-Funeral of the late Mrs. Mina Wilson, will move from her late residence, Post Office, Mount Seymour, this Day (Tuesday) at 2 o'clock, arriving at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands at 3 o'clock p.m.35
Andrew Wightman Wilson’s wife Harriet Easton Wilson (nee White) died on 17 December 1936 in Brighton:
WILSON.-Passed, peacefully away on December 17. 1936, at her residence, Post Office, Brighton, Harriet Easton, relict of the late Andrew W. Wilson, of Mt. Seymour. A patient sufferer at rest.
WILSON. -Friends of the late Mrs. Harriett E. Wilson are respectfully invited to attend her funeral, which will move from her residence, Brighton Junction, on Saturday Afternoon (This Day) at 2.30, arriving at St. Mary's Church and Cemetery, Bridgewater, at 2.55.36
Hay Dear Weeding (nee Wilson) died on 24 April 1938 in Hobart. Hay was buried on 27 April 1938 in the Oatlands Uniting Cemetery.37
WEEDING.-On April 24, 1938, at Hobart, Hay Dewar Weeding, loving eldest sister of W. Wilson, of Hillside, Mount Seymour. Funeral will arrive at Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, on Wednesday afternoon (This Day), at 8 p.m., when friends are respectfully Invited to attend.38
William Wilson, the youngest child of William and Janet Wilson, continued to farm his father's Hillside property to a great age. He played cricket for Mt. Seymour and was their wicket keeper for a long time, the gloves of the time causing a lot of damage to his hands, the thumbs in particular. He was also the Mt. Seymour Church Organist and Sunday School Teacher for many years and known as 'Uncle' to younger generations. He managed a cooperative butter factory at Baden for most of its production life. The factory began in 1912 and was forced to close in 1926 when government regulations for more modern machinery proved too much for the financial constraints of a small community. William was also a keen amateur photographer, having one of the very old cameras that used plates, had a button on a cord and hood the photographer stood under. He constructed a little dark-room at Hillside and used to develop photos himself. His great-nephew Don Wilson said a lot of his photos had a peculiar look to them, square and a bit faded. He was reported as Mount Seymour's oldest resident in 1951, and continued to be reported as much every year after when he celebrated his birthday. In 1951 he celebrated his birthday on 28 August:
Mt. Seymour Veteran MR. WILLIAM WILSON, sen., Mt. Seymour's oldest resident, celebrated his 92nd birthday yesterday. Mr. Wilson was born at The Braes, Woodbury, and later moved to Parattah and then Mt. Seymour, where he farmed. He lives with his niece, Mrs. J. E. Wilson, and Mr. Wilson, Overton, Mt. Seymour, He is still very active and can walk about three miles daily. He could read with out glasses until recent years. He was one of the best draught players In the Lower Midlands in his younger days and still plays an excellent game. He has never married. He spent his birthday quietly at home.39
However, in 1952 it was revealed that his birthday was in fact on 3 August:
OATLANDS. - Mr. William Wilson, Mt. Seymour, was 93 on August 3. Mr. Wilson has been in the habit of celebrating his birthday on August 28, but discovered this week that the correct date is August 3. Mr. Wilson was born at The Braes, Woodbury, in 1859. He later farmed in the Parattah and Mt. Seymour districts. In his younger days he was one of the best draughts players in the lower Midlands. He can still play an excellent game. Despite his 93 years, Mr. Wilson is a keen gardener. He lives with his nephew, Mr. J. Wilson, Overton, Mt. Seymour, and is in charge of the gardening activities at the home. His garden is always one of the best in the district. He can still walk about three miles a day.40
In 1953 he was credited as being Oatlands' oldest resident:
OATLANDS' OLDEST RESIDENT
MR. WILLIAM WILSON, sen., Overton, Mt. Seymour, believed to be the oldest resident of the Oatlands municipality, celebrated his 94th birthday yesterday. Mr. Wilson, who is in good health and very active, was born at The Braes, near Woodbury. For many years .he farmed the well-known Mt. Seymour property, Hillside. When the butter factory was operating at Baden he managed the business for nearly 10 years. He was organist at the Presbyterian Church at Mt. Seymour for about 20 years and has been an elder of the Presbyterian Church for about 32 years. Mr. Wilson's chief hobby is gardening. Already this season he has planted potatoes, beans and peas. He celebrated his birthday quietly at Overton with a family party.41
In 1954 he was titled the Midland's Elder:
95 NOT OUT
MR. WILLIAM WILSON sen. of Overton, Mt. Seymour, who is believed to be the oldest resident of the Oatlands Municipality, celebrated his 95th birthday yesterday. He was born at The Braes, then known as the Salt Pans, near Woodbury, on August 3, 1859 He can still remember happenings that occurred at The Braes when he was a boy. He moved to Parattah, and later farmed the well-known Hillside property at Mt. Seymour for many years. He also was manager of the butter factory at Baden for about 10 years. He has always been a staunch supporter of the Mt Seymour Presbyterian Church, at which he taught Sunday school and played the organ for church services for many years. He has been an elder of the church for 32 years, and has attended church services in the Oatlands parish for 92 years. In his younger days, he was one of the best draughts players in the Midlands. He is a keen gardener, and prepares an excellent garden at Overton each vear. Mr Wilson has been staying with his niece, Mrs. John Bayles at Campbell Town, for some weeks, but is expected home at Overton on Sunday. He is still very active and can travel and walk without undue tiredness.42
William Wilson died on 30 June 1956. He was buried in the Oatlands Uniting Cemetery.43
- 1. GROS Birth Registration O.P.R. Births 685/02 0140 0444 St. Cuthberts
- 2. GROS Marriage Registration O.P.R. Marriages 674/0030 0219 Borthwick
- 3. GROS Birth Registration O.P.R. Births 674/0020 0154 Borthwick
- 4. GROS Census 1851 681/00 003/00 006
- 5. GROS Birth Registration Statutory Births 681/00 0006 Crichton
- 6. GROS Death Registration Statutory Deaths 681/00 0010 Crichton
- 7. Wilson, Don Family tales
- 8. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1858/1642
- 9. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1859/1755
- 10. Wilson, Don: Family tales.
- 11. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1881/600
- 12. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1860/1777
- 13. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1887/766
- 14. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1862/1265
- 15. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1887/773
- 16. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1847/442
- 17. The Mercury Monday 3 June 1889
- 18. AOT Death Registration RGD 1895/538
- 19. The Mercury Monday 6 May 1895
- 20. TFI Marriage Registration 1901/1041
- 21. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1872/706
- 22. TFI Death Registration 1902/1522
- 23. Wilson FGS, Rackham, Margaret, (Privately Published). Book 2, Page 7 (Uniting Cemetery Grave 3069)
- 24. TFI Death Registration 1907/1137
- 25. SRCT Wesley, Section A, Number 8
- 26. The Mercury Monday 28 January 1907
- 27. TFI Death Registration RGD 1912/766
- 28. Wilson FGS, Rackham, Margaret, (Privately Published). Book 2, Page 7. Uniting Cemetery Grave 3069
- 29. "Family Notices." The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 11 Mar 1912: 1. Web. 16 Feb 2014; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10209759.
- 30. Advocate Thursday 8 June 1922
- 31. TFI Death Registration RGD 1927/1996
- 32. The Mercury Saturday 10 December 1927
- 33. Tasmanian Family History Society: Undertakers of Hobart Vol. IV (Part 1. Apr 1925-May 1937). Book 4-1927 1st Ref.: 37/1348 and 2nd Ref.: 37a/1433
- 34. TFI Death Registration RGD 1929/1380
- 35. The Mercury Tuesday 28 May 1929
- 36. The Mercury Saturday 19 December 1936
- 37. Uniting Cemetery Grave 3068
- 38. The Mercury Wednesday 27 April 1938
- 39. "Mt. Seymour Veteran." Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) 29 Aug 1951: 3. Web. 5 May 2013; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52827772.
- 40. "NEWS FROM COUNTRY." Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) 23 Aug 1952: 19. Web. 5 May 2013; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52910655.
- 41. "OATLANDS' OLDEST RESIDENT." Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) 4 Aug 1953: 13. Web. 5 May 2013; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61088260.
- 42. "MIDLANDS ELDER 95 NOT OUT." The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 4 Aug 1954: 14. Web. 5 May 2013; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27232798.
- 43. Wilson FGS, Rackham, Margaret, (Privately Published). Book 2, Page 7 (Uniting Cemetery Grave 3068)