Thomas Edworthy Webber ?
Elizabeth Ann Webber ?
Arthur William Webber ?
John Webber ?

This researcher has serious doubts as to whether any of the five Webbers identified in the heading are buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery. Their death certificates give their place of burial as Brown’s Plains, the district in which they lived. In Thomas Edworthy Webber’s case this is further specified as ‘Brown’s Plains Private Cemetery’. It may also be significant that Arthur William Webber’s birthplace is given as ‘Brown’s Plains, Yeerongpilly’.

Diligent inquiry on the part of the researcher has not been able to establish that there was such a place as the Brown’s Plains Cemetery. It is possible that the Webbers were laid to rest on their own family property. As was noted in an article on Louisa Duesbury Coote, quoted earlier in these pages: ‘During the pioneering days, settlers were to be found in isolated places and lived, died and were buried on their properties, and near their homesteads’.

There are some grounds for believing that the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery, which was variously named, and the so-called Brown’s Plains Private Cemetery could be one and the same place. In this connection it is interesting to note that James Sheffield’s funeral notice refers to his burial place as ‘Grenier’s Cemetery, Eight Mile Plains’. It is also relevant that the Webbers were closely linked through friendship and marriage to families (including the Sideys, the Hockings and the Catchpoles) associated with God’s Acre.

All in all, it seems to the writer that it better to include the following material than to omit it.

William Webber, the son of William and Grace Webber, and his wife Elizabeth Ann Edworthy, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Edworthy, emigrated to Australia with their children on the Ascendant (Captain Robert Spencer). The ship sailed from Plymouth on 2 March 1858 and arrived in Brisbane on 19 June 1858. In the shipping records,  the Webbers are listed as follows: William (47, labourer), Elizabeth (52), Thomas (19, labourer), Emma [=Emily] (17, domestic servant), Mary Jane (14, domestic servant), and Harriet (9).

The newly arrived passengers soon obtained employment at what was probably the going rate—£32-40 per annum for single men and women and at £50-60 for married couples. In time William took up land at Brown’s Plains where he named his property ‘Kitchen Farm’.

After their deaths on 28 July 1881 and 23 May 1887 respectively, Elizabeth and William were laid to rest in the South Brisbane Cemetery (8A 146).

Thomas Edworthy Webber, the son of William and Elizabeth Ann (née Edworthy) Webber, was born in South Molton, Devonshire about 1840. He married Elizabeth Ann Sidey, the daughter of Thomas and Ellen (née Bleakley) Sidey, on 2 January 1871 in Beenleigh; and they became the parents of a large family: Annie May (b. 26 January 1872; d. 9 February 1926), Arthur William (b. 13 September 1873; d. 29 June 1874), Alfred Edward (b. 12 December 1874), Dora Ethel b. 3 July 1877; d. 24 September 1954), Henry James (b. 31 October 1879), William John (b. 28 September 1881), Squire (b. 21 September 1883), John1 (b. 21 February 1885; d. 18 March 1885), John2 (b. 30 January 1886; d. 11 March 1886), Ernest (b. 23 April 1887; d. 1 November 1963), Arthur (b. 18 July 1888), and Coral Vivian (b. 14 August 1890).

Thomas was the licensee of the Brown’s Plains Hotel (also know as the Stretton Hotel) between 1882 and 1885 when the license was transferred to John Johnston. The hotel was established by Thomas’s brother-in-law George Stretton who held the license from 1875 to 1882 until he became the licensee of a hotel in Beaudesert. Thomas also took over from George the role of postmaster and successfully tendered as mail contractor for the Cooper’s Plains to Brown’s Plains run which, for an annual fee of £39, he undertook to do in his spring cart thrice weekly. He was chairman for a time of the Brown’s Plains State School Committee.

Elizabeth Ann Webber was 10 years old when she migrated to Australia with her family on the 1346-ton Black Ball ship Fiery Star (Captain WH Yule). Her brother Alfred Oswell Sidey married her sister-in-law, Harriett Webber. Elizabeth Ann passed away on 4 September 1891 as a result of complications in childbirth and, according to her death certificate, was laid to rest at Brown’s Plains (Cooper’s Plains?) in a service witnessed by her husband and William Orr.

After the death of his first wife Thomas married Priscilla Isabella Kerslake (a house keeper), the daughter of William George and Mary Ann (née Chapman) Yates, on 21 May 1892. The ceremony was conducted by the Reverend James Stewart at his residence, Arthur Street, New Farm, according to the rites of the Presbyterian Church and was witnessed by BF Hill and Margaret Stewart. Thomas died on 3 November 1912 and was buried two days later in a ‘private cemetery at Browns Plains’ from his late residence at the Brown’s Plains Post Office. William Henry Wright Lavers of the Joyful News Mission presided at the graveside in the presence of JW Cordingley and William S Smail (witnesses).

Priscilla Webber passed away of 3 June 1925 and was buried in the Nundah Cemetery.

As noted above, the burial place of the three children who died in infancy is given as Brown’s Plains. The burial of Arthur William Webber took place on 29 June 1874, the day after his death. His father acted as undertaker and John Orr and Henry Cronk filled the role of witnesses. Henry Cronk, the son of John and Ann (née Mills) Cronk, was the first husband of Harriet Webber who, after his death on 10 January 1877, married Oswell Sidey, Elizabeth Ann’s brother.

John Webber1 was buried on 19 March 1885 in a service conducted by John Orr (lay reader) in the presence of William Orr and John F Anderson (witnesses). John Webber2 was laid to rest a year later on 13 March 1886 in a service witnessed by Alfred Sibley (his uncle) and Robert Catchpole and conducted by John Orr (lay reader).