James Mogg Everdell

James Mogg Everdell
, the son of William and Elizabeth (née Palmer) Everdell was born at Cooper’s Plains on 18 April 1865. His mother was assisted at the birth by a local woman, Mrs Wright.

Sadly, James died tragically at Paradise Gully, Oxley Creek, on 24 April 1869, a week after his 4th birthday. According to his death certificate, his remains were interred ‘at Mr. Grenier’s burial place, Cooper’s Plains, near Brisbane’ on 25 April 1869 (section 1, plot 35). Present at his funeral in an official capacity were: Archibald Banks who certified the burial and who himself lies buried in God’s Acre (see above), George Dickinson, Edwin Cowall and James Goodino? (witnesses).

A magisterial inquiry into the accident was conducted on 25 and 26 April 1869 by Hugh Hamon Massie, Esq., JP who returned a verdict of accidental death. Those called to give evidence under oath were James Gordin (spelling?), ‘a bullock driver … residing lately at Cooper’s Plains’, and William Everdell, the boy’s father. Details drawn from William’s deposition are given below.

The following accident report appeared in the Brisbane Courier:

A little boy four years old, named James Mogg Erandell [sic], met with an accidental death on Saturday last. His father is a bullock-driver, lately residing at Cooper’s Plains, and, on the day named, he was driving his team, with his family on the dray, to the Townsvale Cotton Plantation [near the present day Logan City], where he had just obtained employment. When he arrived at Paradise Gully he endeavoured to stop the team, for the purpose of putting the brake on the dray while going down a steep bank. The bullocks, however, would not stop, and got a little out of the track, and one of the wheels went into a deep rut. The poor little fellow was jolted out of the dray, one of the wheels of which passed over his chest, killing him immediately. A magisterial inquiry will be held into the affair tomorrow.

William Everdell began his deposition by observing:

I am the father of the deceased James Mogg Everdell. He was 4 years old last birthday. I was moving my family from Cooper’s Plains to some land that had lately been taken up by me on the Logan on Saturday the 24th April instant. I have been a farmer at Cooper’s Plains the last five years. I started for the Logan that morning (24th) with a bullock team about 8.30. I drove them myself. They were all quiet steady bullocks. And I have driven them the last 4 or 5 years. I had about 20 cwt [approximately 740 kg] on my dray. My wife and four children were sitting on beds that had been placed over the stores. They were all in a row. My wife was on the near side and my eldest girl Lucy was on the off side. She was ten years old. The youngest was in its mother’s arms and the other two were between her and my daughter Lucy.

He goes on to mention the precautions he had taken to ensure the comfort and safety of his wife and children and he names a bullock driver and a timber-getter who were following with another bullock team. He then describes the rough terrain he had to negotiate and the details of the accident. Both Lucy, who escaped without serious injury, and James were thrown out with tragic consequences for the little boy.

Because we are concerned in these pages not only with those who are buried in God’s Acre but also with their families, let us pass on to tell the Everdell story a little more fully.

William Everdell, the son of John and Hannah (née Mogg) Everdell, married Elizabeth Palmer, the daughter of William (or John?) and Lucy Palmer, in his birthplace—Walton, Somersetshire—in the March quarter of 1857. They emigrated to Moreton Bay on the 689-ton Blenheim (Captain Henry Biles) a few months after their wedding. Having left Plymouth on 24 June 1857 with 301 emigrants on board, the Blenheim entered Moreton Bay on 6 October; and, after obtaining the necessary permits, the Captain transferred his passengers to the paddle-steamer Breadalbane which brought them up the Brisbane River. We know from shipping records that both William (aged 20) and Elizabeth (22) hailed from Somerset, that William was an illiterate agricultural worker, that Elizabeth could read and write, and that they were members of the Church of England.

Sad to relate, Captain Biles, the son of Benjamin Biles, died at the age of 38 in McAdam’s Sovereign Hotel, Brisbane, on 3 November 1857, a few weeks after the arrival of his ship. His remains were interred on the following morning, presumably in the old Paddington Cemetery. The funeral moved from the residence of Dr Frederick James Barton, the devoted resident surgeon at the Brisbane Hospital. When the Blenheim left for Colombo on 6 November 1857, its master was Captain Headley.

William attended a land sale on 5 December 1860 and purchased at £1 per acre a 46-acre property at Cooper’s Plains. He and Elizabeth raised a large family: Lucy Ann (b. 5 November 1858; d. 25 May 1947), Silas John (b. Mundoolun 16 October 1860; d. 21 August 1935), Hilda Hannah (b. 18 February 1863; d. 27 December 1941), James Mogg (b. 18 April 1865; d. 24 April 1869), Alice (b. 26 April 1868; d. 8 January 1952, Ellen Sophia (b. 16 October 1870; d. 13 October 1964), William Jr (b. 2 September 1873; d. 2 July 1960), and Lillie or Lily (b. 10 November 1875).

Some of these names recall the family in which William Sr himself grew up. At the time of the English census on 30 March 1841 in the Walton parish, Somerset, his household comprised: John (born about 1796, agricultural labourer), Hannah (1801), Fanny (1826), Lucy (1831), Sophia (1833), Ann (1835) and William himself (1838). The birth years are approximate.

William Everdell Sr established and was the licensee of the Walton Hotel (named after his birthplace) in Veresdale between 1879 and 1888. He died at the age of ‘65 years 4 months and 19 days’ on 26 December 1902 and was buried in the Woodhill Cemetery.

The following obituary appeared in the local newspaper, the Beaudesert Despatch:


At about 5 a.m. on the morning of Boxing Day Mr William Everdell, a very old resident of this district dropped dead on the verandah of his residence at Woodhill. Some fifteen years ago deceased had a paralytic stroke and since that time has been an invalid. A few years later he had another attack, and a third one, which proved fatal, took place at the time stated above.

Mr Everdell, who was a native of Somersetshire (England), arrived in Queensland with his wife and family [all of their children were born after their arrival] in the ship Blenheim in the year 1857. He was employed at Mundoolun by the firm of Messrs John Collins and Sons, until the year 1862 when he went to reside in the Oxley district.

He again returned to the district in 1869, taking up land at Veresdale, where he has resided ever since.

Mr Everdell was one of the promoters of the Woodhill Turf Club, which we believe was formed some twenty-six years ago. He had always evinced the keenest interest in the welfare of the club, and it is a somewhat singular coincidence, that his death occurred early on the morning of the day in which the Club’s Annual Race Meeting was being held. Mr Everdell, who was 65 years of age, leaves behind a widow, and a grown up family of two sons and five daughters, with whom we sincerely sympathise in their bereavement. The funeral took place at the Woodhill cemetery the following day, and was very largely attended. The Reverend T. W. [Teesdale William] Cockell officiated at the graveside.

Mrs Everdell and family desire to sincerely thank all those who attended the funeral, and especially the committee of the Woodhill Turf Club, and those attending the races, for their many kindly expressions of sympathy with the family in their bereavement.

Elizabeth Everdell survived her husband by many years and died on 27 July 1926. Contrary to what is stated in the newspaper article below, she was born about 1835 in Nynehead, Somersetshire. The following obituary appeared in the Beaudesert Times after her death:


Mrs. Elizabeth Everdell, an old and respected resident of Woodhill, passed away at her residence on Tuesday, 27th inst., at the advanced age of 91 years. Deceased was born in Devonshire, England, in the year, 1835. When she was 22 she married William Everdell, who predeceased her about 20 years ago. She leaves a family of seven to mourn her loss, five daughters and two sons. She was buried at the Woodhill Cemetery on Wednesday, the Rev T C Flood officiating. The funeral was largely attended and Mr F Fleming conducted the funeral arrangements. The following sent wreaths … .

Everdell Park in Beaudesert is named after this family.