JOHN STEWART & CHRISTINA MCDONALD
Last Updated: Saturday, 09 April 2005
Christina McDonald was born abt 1816 in Perth, Scotland, the daughter of Daniel MacDonald & Margaret Brown. She married John Stewart, son of William Stewart and Mary Alison of Kilspindie, Perth, Scotland. John's mother, Mary had died in childbirth and was buried on 15 May 1813 leaving her husband with two sons, 2 year old Andrew & the babe John. William Stewart remarried to Margaret Barnet on 23 Nov 1813 and had four more children, Jean Stewart, Ann Stewart, Isabel Stewart & James Stewart.
Christina & John Stewart were blessed with their first son, Neil Stewart born on 15 June 1838 followed by the birth of George Stewart on 8 May 1841 in Dundee, Scotland. The 1841 census taken on 7 June shows John, Christina, Neil & George Stewart living at Hilltown, Perth, Scotland. John & Christina Stewart arrived in Australia aboard the "Anne Milne" on 17 January 1842 having departed Dundee, Scotland on 16th September 1841. Son Neil Stewart died on the voyage to Australia on 21 Oct 1841 and was buried at sea. Immigration papers state that Christina could not read or write but that John could read but not write. They were "imported" to Australia by Messrs Robert Howe & Co, Robert Howe had taken over from his father George in the printing of the first newspaper "Sydney Gazette". This needs further investigation but their bounty was somehow tied to Mr. Peters - Derry. The bounty paid was 19 pounds for each adult.
John took up the position of Stockman or Station Master of Cuba Station (Kooba Station), Darlington Point, NSW (which at the time was owned by Mr. John Peters!) and children John (19 Aug 1843), William (18 Mar 1856) and Mary Catherine (18 Jul 1849) were born on the Station. In 1851 all the family were in the district of Wagga Wagga where the Australian born children were all baptised on the same day, 9 May. Alonzo Hector MacDonald Stewart was born 10 July 1852 but not baptised until 9 October 1854, a year after his mother's remarriage.
We do not know exactly when John Stewart died. All we really know is that he died between 1849 & October 1853. We feel that he died on Cuba Station and was probably buried where he died as was the custom in those days. It would seem that there being no official church burial that his death was not registered, or even if details had been given to a "galloping parson" it still missed being registered and of course those were the days prior to civil registration!
Christina Stewart remarried on 10 October 1853 to John Cheeseman a native of West Hythe, Kent, UK. Hector was baptised after Christina's remarriage and was registered as Cheeseman but he used the Stewart surname all his life, from this we surmise that as Christina's surname was Cheeseman at the baptism that it was just a incorrect entry of the registration but of course until we can find an actual death date for John Stewart the question is open to debate!
Christina and John Cheeseman were both living at Eurolie, NSW at the time of their marriage but it is not known if living in the same household. John, born about 1813 in West Hythe, Kent, was an ex convict per "John Barry 1839 tried for stealing potatoes and sentenced to seven years. He left behind a wife Mary Hobday & two sons, John & Charles Cheeseman who were eventually sent to the workhouse presumably after their mother died.
Land records for 1854 show that Christina Cheeseman of South Wagga Wagga purchased land adjacent to the Parkanpregan Lagoon in North Wagga which makes her one of the earliest settlers in the area. Land rates for many years showed that their home was a slab hut. Her son George Stewart purchased land opposite her and by a strange twist of fate this land is again owned by a descendant of John & Christina Stewart. Many other descendants still live in North Wagga today with many generations of different branches having attended the North Wagga Primary School - some only recently finding out that they are related!
John & Christina Cheeseman were blessed with the birth of a daughter, Amy Margaret Cheeseman on 21 April 1860 when Christina was 45.
On 1st January 1870 Christina's eldest daughter, Mary Catherine Stewart married Irish/American Andrew Keyes in Wagga, the marriage was witnessed by her stepfather, John Cheeseman and friend, Matilda Grey (Matilda married George Power and their daughter Edith Maude Power married Mary Catherine & Andrew's eldest son George Keyes!). Andrew & Mary Catherine Keyes still have descendants living in the Wagga area today (and of course else where around!)
John & Christina Stewart's son George Stewart died at Currawarna, NSW on 24 February 1875 in the back of his dray which resulted in an inquest. This inquest is one of last events that we have information on Christina as she was called as a witness at the inquest. George Stewart died unmarried and without known issue. George Stewart,together with nephew Angus Stewart, brother Hector & sister-in-law Evenay Stewart, is buried in Wagga Wagga cemetery, Presbyterian Portion.
John & Christina Stewart's son John Stewart was known to be living in Wodonga in 1875 when he was the informant on his brother, George Stewart's death certificate but we have been unable to ascertain any other details on his life. Too many John Stewarts! We are keeping our fingers crossed for the day that a researcher of his line pops up!
Christina's daughter by John Cheeseman, Amy Margaret Cheeseman on 29 March 1879 married William Atkinson and had children in Wagga prior to moving to Adelong around 1890. About 1910 the family, including most children and their partners, moved to the New England area following the mining industry.
On 29 Dec 1884 Hector Stewart married Evenay Sulter they settled in North Wagga and still have descendants living around Wagga today.
Son William Stewart died on 12 July 1885 from Consumption at Wagga; he also died unmarried and without known issue. He is buried in Wagga in a unmarked grave.
John Cheeseman died on 1 Aug 1888 in his 75 year according to his death certificate and is buried in Wagga Cemetery also in a unmarked grave.
Like her first husband, we had been unable to find any death information on Christina Cheeseman, formerly Stewart nee McDonald. We found a newspaper article dated 6 March 1880 stating that Mrs. Cheeseman had been charged with being of unsound mind but searches of State Records NSW have not found her in any of the institutions that would have been available at the time. A lucky day came when we researched some land records for her two daughters, there very clearly was Christina's death date of 5th Feb 1886. A search of the registers for this date showed a big gap in entries and we can only surmise that the clerk for whatever reason was not at work and the vital records for the period have just been missed being noted. A search of newspapers for this time confirmed her death details.