Charles Pitt
Mary Ann Pitt

For a much fuller account of the Pitt family story, the reader is referred to: Brian Thomas Grenier, Thomas and Mary Grenier: Brisbane Pioneers—Supplement No. 1, June 2004, pp. 34-38 (available in the Thomas Welsby Library, RHSQ).

Charles Pitt was the third son of Samuel and Ann (née Hutchins) Pitt who were married on 30 May 1819 in St Peter’s Church of England, Tiverton, Devon. The children of Samuel and Ann were as follows: Samuel1 (1820-1831), John (1821-?), Roger (1823-1889), Mary Ann (b. 1825; m. Frederick Augustus Francis in St Andrew’s Church, Sydney, 22 March 1848; d. 20 January 1911, South Brisbane), Charles (b. 1827; d. 24 February 1903), Caroline Amelia (b. 14 June 1838; m. James Schott at sea in 1869; d. 1879), Mary Jane (b. 3 July 1839; m. Moses Walmsley 9 March 1855; d. 7 January 1918), Samuel2 (b. 2 October 1840; d. 29 February 1844) and Sarah Ellen (b. 1843; m.1 Edwin Nutt in Victoria in 1859; m.2 William Hillier 17 June 1882; d. 1924).


Charles Pitt was the last of these children to be born in Tiverton; the rest were born in Australia after their parents settled here. He was a Cooper’s Plains farmer at the time of his marriage to Mary Ann Grenier—the oldest living daughter Thomas and Mary (née Pannell) Grenier—on 24 January 1855. According to the writer of Mary Ann’s obituary, ‘Their wedding was the first celebrated in the old cathedral of St John’s, Brisbane’.

The first child of Charles and Mary Ann was born on 27 October 1855 and baptised in the old (i.e. the second) St John’s, Brisbane. Named after her mother and grandmother, Mary Ann Pitt was Thomas and Mary Grenier’s first grandchild. Sadly she fell victim to diphtheria and died on 15 July 1862, a few months short of her 7th birthday. The grief of this child’s death loss was compounded when another daughter, Caroline Ellen Jemima (b. 7 April 1859) died just a week later on 22 July 1862. This must have been a traumatic experience, especially for the mother of the family who gave birth to another girl, Eliza Ann, before the month was out, on 31 July 1862.

The other children of what came to be a large family were as follows: Charles Samuel Pitt (b. 16 January 1857; d. 12 January 1858), Charles George Pitt (b. 25 November 1860), Edwin Samuel Pitt (b. 15 September 1864), Frederick Ernest Pitt (b. 14 March 1868), Thomas Roley Pitt (b. 16 August 1871; d. 5 March 1872), and Sarah Ellen Pitt (b. 6 September 1873, known as Ellen).

In view of his knowledge of Redbank Plains and of his commercial experience as a cotton grower, Charles Pitt was called before a select committee of the Queensland Parliament on Monday, 27 February 1871 in connection with the proposed new railway link between Ipswich and Brisbane. Asked what he had under cultivation, he replied: ‘Cotton, except just enough corn and hay for my own use; I have about seventy acres under cotton’. He added that all his hay was cut by scythe and not by mechanical means. Given the difficulties of taking 300-lb. bales of cotton to Ipswich by horse-drawn drays or by steamer (a distance of 7 miles), he indicated that he favoured a rail service. Charles spoke with some authority; for, as he observed: ‘I have been on these plains myself, for fifteen years nearly, and am the oldest inhabitant upon it’.

Charles Pitt passed away on his property at Woogaroo (Goodna) on 24 February 1903 at the age of 75, a victim of heart disease, and was buried in the ‘Oxley Cemetery’ (God’s Acre) on the following day after a service conducted by the Methodist minister, the Reverend William Little. GAS (?) Drew Jr and Charles George Pitt were the official witnesses to the burial. According to Charles’s death certificate, the only children still alive at the time of his demise were: Charles George (aged 42), Edwin Samuel (37), Frederick Ernest (34) and Sarah Ellen (29).

Charles Pitt

The following biographical entry on Charles Pitt appears in The Aldine History of Queensland (1888):

CHARLES PITT, J.P., Farmer and Grazier, was the second purchaser of land in this district [Redbank Plains], and was unquestionably the second to introduce the cotton industry, for the successful establishment of which he received a sum of £400 from the Government. He was born at Tiverton, Devon, in 1828 [or 1827?], and when eight years of age accompanied his parents to Sydney, and thence to Tasmania, where he was educated. He next went to Geelong, Port Phillip, and there acquired his first experience of station life. Returning to Sydney, where his father died, he made his way to Ipswich, and went into hotel keeping, afterwards becoming storekeeper on a station in the Burnett district. In 1850 he returned to Brisbane, and purchased his first farm at Oxley, which he retained for five years, at the same time having secured a grazing area at Redbank Plains. In 1855 he married the daughter of Thomas Grenier [Mary Ann], settled in this district, and commenced the cultivation of cotton, as before stated. He has now about 195 acres, 100 of which are under maize crop. On this estate he has also successfully grown cane sugar. Mr. Pitt is a large property owner in Brisbane, where he has twelve houses. He has been a Magistrate for many years, and was the first chairman of the Purga Divisional Board, upon which he has sat, with the exception of one year, ever since its inauguration. He gives earnest support to every measure for the progress of the district, and the inhabitants are indebted to him for many improvements in their roads. In the cause of education he has done some good service, and has been chairman of the local School Board for many years. In 1881 he made a tour of the colonies with his wife. They have three sons and two daughters, and belong to the Primitive Methodist Church.

Charles and Mary Pitt at Rosehill Farm Redbank

The Ipswich-based newspaper, the Queensland Times, celebrated Charles’s life in the following obituary:

A REDBANK PLAINS correspondent writes:—It is my sad duty to chronicle the death of Mr. Charles Pitt, whose death took place at Goodna on Tuesday last. He was laid up for only a few days, the cause of his demise being blood-poisoning. He was born at Tiverton, Devonshire, in 1828 and when eight years of age accompanied his parents to Sydney, and from there to Tasmania, where he was educated. He next went to Geelong, Port Phillip. Returning to Sydney, where his father died, he made his way to Ipswich, and thence to the Burnett district, where he gained a knowledge of pastoral life. In 1850 he returned to Brisbane, and purchased his first farm at Oxley, which he worked for five years, at the same time having secured a grazing area at Redbank Plains. In 1855 he married the daughter of Mr. Thomas Grenier, of South Brisbane, settled in this district, and commenced the cultivation of maize and cotton. He received £400 from the Government for the successful establishment and introduction of cotton-growing. He was the first chairman of the old Road Trust as well as the first Chairman of the Purga Divisional Board. He always gave his earnest support to everything tending to advance the interests of the district. Mr. Pitt, like all the old residents, had a great deal of uphill work, but manfully overcame all his difficulties. He was universally esteemed by all classes for his broad-minded and thoroughly honest principles. To use a colonialism “he was a straight goer,” and never uttered a word behind a man’s back that he would not say before that man’s face. His widow and three sons and one daughter are left to mourn the death of a good husband and father. The only daughter living is Mrs. Walter Lapraik of Brisbane, and the sons are Messrs. Mr. Edwin Pitt of Goodna, Charles Pitt, of the Logan, and Frederick Pitt of Brisbane—all of whom are married. The funeral took place on Wednesday last, the body being interred in the family cemetery at Oxley.

Mary Ann Pitt, after a long life of 85 years, died at the residence of her daughter, Sarah Ellen Lapraik, at Coorparoo on 17 May 1919. Her remains were interred beside those of her husband. The long and sometimes arduous and adventurous journey that had taken her from Brighton in England to Kororareka in New Zealand and thence to Moreton Bay was ended.

Mary Ann Pitt nee Grenier

Mary Ann Pitt’s obituary (the researcher has yet to identify the reference) reads as follows:

A very old and respected resident of Queensland, Mrs. Mary Ann Pitt, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. W. D. Lapraik, Coorparoo, as announced elsewhere, on 17 May, at the age of 87 years. The deceased lady was only 8 years of age when her parents arrived in Brisbane. Her father, the late Mr. Thomas Grenier, was born at Brighton, Sussex. He and his wife passed through some thrilling experiences in New Zealand, before they came to Moreton Bay in 1845. Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Grenier engaged in business as a hotel-keeper. Prior to separation he retired to the Willows Estate, Cooper’s Plains, which he purchased from the New South Wales Government. He resided there until his death in 1877. His daughter, the late Mrs. Pitt, in 1855 married Mr. Charles Pitt. Their wedding was the first celebrated in the old cathedral of St. John’s, Brisbane. The deceased lady is survived by three sons and one daughter, Messrs. C. G. and F. Pitt, Veresdale, E. S. Pitt, Brisbane, and Mrs. Lapraik. The interment took place at the family cemetery, Oxley.

Edwin Samuel Pitt
Cecilia Pitt

Edwin Samuel Pitt
, the son of Charles and Mary Ann (née Grenier) Pitt, married Cecilia Mary Thompson in St Paul’s Church, Ipswich, on 9 November 1886. The Reverend Hugh Simmons of the Church of England presided. They became the parents of two daughters—Mary Ann (b. 13 October 1887) and Zora Brenda (b. 5 November 1896).

Edwin Samuel

Maternal Ancestry
Paternal Ancestry

Edwin Samuel

Edwin Samuel Pitt passed away at his residence in the Brisbane suburb of Kelvin Grove on 4 August 1937. Present in an official capacity at his burial in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on the next day were: CH Cripps (undertaker), the Reverend AD Baker of the Church of England and J Dibble and G McGuillnes [sic] (witnesses).

Edwin Samuel Pitt & granddaughter

The following biographical entry appears in The Aldine History of Queensland (1888):

EDWIN SAMUEL PITT, General Storekeeper, was born in 1864, and is the son of C. Pitt, J.P., of Redbank Plains. He learned his trade in that district, and in 1887 purchased his present business from J. Broad. This was established in 1866, and has a wide and influential connection. In 1886 he married the daughter of W. P. Thompson. He is a member of the Congregational Church and M.U.I.O.O.F., and is a patron of athletics and all out-door sports. Mrs. Pitt fills the position of postmistress, the Post Office being attached to her husband’s store.


Edwin Samuel Pitt & daughter Mary Ann Jeffers
& child & mother Mary Ann Pitt nee Grenier



Maternal Ancestry
Paternal Ancestry

Cecilia Mary Pitt, the youngest daughter of William Park (a prospector) and Mary (née Fraser) Thompson of Fairfield, New South Wales, was born on 9 March 1864. She died aged 76 on 13 September 1940. On the following day she was laid to rest beside her husband according to the rites of the Church of England. The Reverend H Richards presided at the graveside and G Hughson and J Dunston witnessed the burial.


Brenda Zora Devitt and father Edwin Samuel Pitt
with daughter Brenda Pitt Devitt and son Francis Pitt Devitt




Charles Raymond Pitt

Charles Raymond Pitt
, the son of Charles Edwin (Eddie) and Desiree Ray (née Witt) Pitt, was born in Mackay on 21 April 1956. He married Jo-anne Yvonne Murray on 22 November 1980 and they became the parents of a son and five daughters.

After his death on 9 January 2004 a memorial tablet was placed in God’s Acre.



Agnes Pitt

Agnes Hunter
was the daughter of James and Isabella (née Malcome) Hunter who were married in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1828. She arrived in Moreton Bay with her family on the 916-ton John Fielden (Captain Clarke) on 11 June 1853. After delays caused by the disappearance of buoys in the shipping channel, the 393 passengers were eventually landed in Brisbane. During the journey from Liverpool, which began on 11 March 1853, one of the supernumerary seamen jumped overboard and was drowned. There were four deaths en route (all children) and seven births. The vessel left Brisbane for Callao in ballast on 4 July 1853.

The Hunters, who hailed from Dalserf, Lanarkshire, Scotland, are listed in official records as follows: James (weaver, 46), Isabella (41), William (20, weaver), Barbara (16), Agnes (14) and James (2). It is well to remember that the ages given in these records are not always accurate and that some passengers celebrated their birthdays on the way to Australia.

Barely 17 years of age, Agnes Hunter married James Pitt, the son of Samuel and Mary Ann (née Martin) Pitt, at ‘Cooper’s Plains, Yeerongpilly’ (Brisbane) on 24 December 1855. Their children were: Isabella (b. 4 June 1857; m. Robert John Blake 24 September 1874), Samuel James (b. 29 August 1859; d. 18 April 1863), William Hunter (b. 22 October 1861; m. Sarah Ann Marsh 24 February 1886); Lillian (b. 13 February 1864; m. Henry Bateman 31 January 1890), James Theodore (b. 17 April 1866; m. Rose Anna (or Anne) Marsh 18 March 1891), Agnes Barbara (b. 10 September 1869; m. Octavius Coles 8 May 1890), Elizabeth (b. 30 June 1874; m. John Alford Johnson 3 August 1897), Sarah (b. 26 April 1876; m. Charles Asmus 12 January 1898), Robert Samuel (b. 14 April 1878; m. Olive Victoria Alberta Frankling 7 April 1904), and Joseph (b. 22 March 1880).

Agnes Pitt passed away in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank on 5 September 1918 (the anniversary of her husband’s death) at the age of 80 years. She was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on the following day. Those who had official roles at her burial were: W Cannon (undertaker), the Reverend Thomas Loose (Congregational Church), Tom William Spring and VH (or OH?) Mewing (witnesses).

James Pitt, who became a farmer at Blenheim in the Laidley Shire, died on 5 September 1903 and was laid to rest in the Laidley Cemetery. The following obituary appeared in the Queensland Times:

The Late Mr. J. Pitt.

In the death of Mr. James Pitt, sen., of Blenheim, Sandy Creek, which occurred on Saturday morning, West Moreton has lost another of its pioneers residents. Of English parentage Mr. Pitt arrived in Sydney in his earliest infancy, afterwards settling at Redbank Plains some 60 odd years ago. There he married and spent many years of his life, and it was there that several of his children were born. About 32 years ago Mr. Pitt selected land at Blenheim, where he soon acquired a comfortable home, which was his residence up to the time of his death. As a neighbour and good citizen, deceased has ever commanded the respect and esteem of all men, and his demise, though at the ripe age of 74, will be much regretted by the greater part of the Lockyer residents. Mr. Pitt was an adept at “doctoring” horses and cattle, a profession in which he was actively engaged until about three years ago. Since that period, however, his health has been gradually failing and when the hardy old veteran took to his bed, about three weeks since, it was felt by all that the end was approaching. There are hundreds who could testify to his kindly acts of generosity and hospitality—a trait of his character that has always been warmly supported by the members of his family. The funeral took place last Sunday, and brief as was the notice—rendering it impossible to send the sad news to every centre—the following was a record one for Laidley. The service at the grave-side was conducted by the The Reverend Shenton, Methodist minister. Deceased leaves a widow and 10 children to mourn their sad loss. Five daughters and two sons are married—namely, Mrs. R. J. Blake, Blenheim; Mrs. H. Bateman, Kilburnie Station, Gladstone; Mrs. O. Cole, Golden Gate; Mrs. J. Johnson and Mrs. R. Asmus, Mount Morgan; Messrs. William and James Pitt, Blenheim. The unmarried ones are Messrs. Robert and John Pitt, Blenheim, and Joseph Pitt, Macalister. A great many beautiful wreaths, crosses, and other floral tributes were placed upon the grave by sorrowing friends.