Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Australian Mayflower Society member Martin Lawrence is descended from Mayflower passenger George Soule. Martin's line goes through his two-times great-grandfather, William Page, who immigrated to the Australian Goldfields from Ohio in 1853. The young William Page may have heard tales of Australia from his grandfather, Benjamin Page, a sea captain who had visited Sydney Cove three times in the 1790s.
Martin Lawrence tells the story of one of the first 'Soule' descendants to settle in Australia, and the following generations of which Martin is one.
William Page, gentleman goldminer
Oliver Page (gen.7), moved to Ohio with his parents as a young man where he married and had a son William Graham Page (gen.6). Sadly Oliver died of consumption when his son William was only 7 years old. 'William' was an old family name - his great-grandfather William Page married Mary Soule (gen.4), and his uncle William Page was killed by pirates in the Banda Sea (north of Java), while captaining the ship 'Eliza' from Providence Rhode Island. William's middle name, 'Graham', came from his uncle (by marriage), John Graham who was a Senator in the Ohio Government.
On the 6th June 1853, William, at age 22 years, arrived in Melbourne on the ship Panama, from New York. He travelled 'cabin' class and was listed as a gentleman. The distance from Canton, Ohio to Melbourne, Victoria is 9,980 miles, easily the largest movement in this history.
He presumably came to participate in the gold rush, as the next records that I have seen show him to be a miner at Dunolly, Victoria. He married Mary Anne Heffernan in 1856 at Castlemaine. They had six children including Oliver, my ancestor (gen.9), before Mary Anne died aged only 34 years. She died a week after the birth of the sixth child.
William spent the rest of his life on the Victorian goldfields, principally at Harrietville, where from 1860 mining was from the rich quartz reefs in the surrounding hills. William was the owner or co-owner of several gold mines at Harrietville, including the Excelsior Reef, the Unity Reef, and the Buckeye Reef.
Gold diggings, Victoria, 1854 (Wikipedia)
Recent Australian generations
Oliver Page was a gold prospector/miner for his whole life. He discovered the Buckeye Reef (at Harrietville) when he was only 16 years old. After some years prospecting/mining in Victoria, he followed the gold to Western Australia. He spent most of his life there, moving from one remote location to another. The move from Harrietville (Vic.) to Kalgoorlie (WA) is 1,520 miles.
His daughter Nell (gen.10) married a serviceman, Les Carder, whom she met while he was convalescing from injuries received in World War I. They tried farming at Wagin, and at Moora (both in WA). However, Nell decided this wasn't the life for her, and she followed the bright lights to Sydney, bringing her children with her. The distance from Kalgoorlie to Sydney is 1,740 miles.
Nell's children included my mother Iris (gen.11) and her elder sister June, mother of Orel and Kylie. They lived their lives predominantly in Sydney, where all their children were born. Orel Lea, Kylie Moore and myself are all Australian Society of Mayflower Descendants and share the same Soule ancestry.
Kylie Moore, Martin Lawrence & Orel Lea
From Sydney to Cape Cod, Vienna and back again
In modern times, international travel has become much easier. I, Martin Lawrence (gen.12), have lived in a number of different continents. While working for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (based in Vienna, Austria), I travelled to all parts of the world, including some extremely remote places (such as Robinson Crusoe Island).
Most noteworthy for this history is the fact that for a while I lived on Cape Cod, MA (while I was working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). At this time, my home at West Falmouth was only 25 miles from Plymouth, so I had almost nullified all the movement of various ancestors. Ironically, at this time I did not know that I was descended from a Mayflower Pilgrim.
I am now living back in Sydney, approximately one mile from where I was born, so in some sense I have not added to the movement of my descendants from George Soule, pilgrim.
To read the earlier chapter of this story, go to Sea Trade brings a 'Soule' to Australia.
By Martin Lawrence Australian Society of Mayflower Descendants member, descended from George Soule.