Elizabeth Coverly was born 2 March 1815 in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia to William Bidgood (c1783-c1816) and Maria Coverly (1792-1864) and died 18 April 1879 Kurrajong, New South Wales, Australia of unspecified causes.
Elizabeth Coverly became known as Elizabeth Lord after her step-father James Lord (c1788-1833) who married her mother in 1820 when Elizabeth was 5 years old.
Before 1833 Elizabeth began living with Edward Mitchell (c1799-1859) on his 40 acre grant at Kurrajong. Their first two children were born there in 1833 and 1834. Then on 17 August 1835 Elizabeth married Edward at Pitt Town. 10 more chiuldren were to follow.
When Edward died in 1859, Elizabeth, a grandmother, still had young children to raise, with their youngest child being only 2 years old. A few months later their daughter Jane, who already had an illegitimate daughter, fell pregnant to neighbour John Overton (1838-1924). 21 year old John Overton married 20 year old Jane Mitchell in August 1859. At about the same time 44 year old Elizabeth, who had been finding comfort in the arms of 17 year old James Overton (1842-1878), the younger brother of her son-in-law John Overton, fell pregnant. The birth of Elizabeth and James' daughter Elizabeth Ann was registered both under both the surnames of Mitchell and Overton.
In January 1864 Elizabeth's mother Maria died of "decay of nautre" or old age at the age of 72. She was living with Elizabeth and died in Elizabeth's home. 5 months later, in July 1864, Elizabeth's second son William died at the age of 22.
In 1871 Elizabeth's son 36 year old Edward John married 21 year old Mary Ann Overton, the younger sister of James Overton.
In 1875, after living together for many years, and 15 years after the birth of their daughter Elizabeth Ann, 60 year old Elizabeth and 33 year old James Overton married. James Overton then officially became the step-father of Elizabeth's children to Edward <Mitchell, some of whom were older than he was, and the father-in-law of his brother John and his sister Mary Ann. John's and Mary Ann's children then became not just the nieces and nephews of James Overton, but also his step-grandchildren.
James Overton was not to live for long after the wedding, however. In March 1878 Typhoid ravaged the district. Many became ill, and James was one of those who died. A reporter from the "Maitland Mercury" visited the district and published the story on 21 March 1878. The reported travelled out from Kurrajong and came across "the party preparing to put up seven Government tents for the sick people". The reporter interviewed one of these sick people, Elizabeth's son 43 year old Edward John Mitchell, who had just recovered but was still "evidently suffering from fever". Edward said that the sickness had broken out 3 months earlier, about 3 weeks before Christmas, and that since he become ill himself a few months earlier he had been unable to work on his farm. The first to take ill was a sister of his wife and her "little boy about three years of age". The first to die, on Christmas Eve, was his wife's sister, followed by her husband, and her husband's father. Edward said that prior to getting sick himself he had never had a day's sickness, but this typhoid had caused others to give him "up for dead". On almost the same day as Edwartd took ill in early January another of his wife's sisters, 19 years old, also took ill. A neighbour took ill next, and then Edward's mother Elizabeth. Then followed Edward's wife, and his "half-sister Elizabeth" Ann Overton aged 17. His step-father James Overton was the next to take ill, followed by Edward's sister Mary Ann. Then followed his sister Charlotte's 5 year old boy Johnny who on the day of the interview, about the 15 March, Edward was not sure would survive. More neighbours took ill, and then Edward's sister Jane's husband. Edward had needed to fetch the doctor many times, but the doctor had been unable to save some of the victims, including 1 of Edward's children. On the doctor's advice Edward had burnt down the house belonging to his mother. They were then talking about burning down his house in the hollow. Edward said that when the fever comes on it "comes on with a dreadful headache, then it is felt in the neck and spreads through the body". Edward also said that most of those who had died had been sick for about three weeks. The reporter next went to visit Edward's "little bark cottage...in the hollow". There the reporter was horrified with what he saw. The hut was deserted and under a row of peach trees he found "human beings suffering badly". There he found Edward's mother Elizabeth and Edward's half-sister Elizabeth Ann. A neighbour was crawling on his hands and knees between the trees. "Sitting listlessly on the grass was a very little girl"..."a perfect skeleton". All the food had been removed from the hut and was scattered on straw outside. "The people were afraid to go inside the hut after the last two deaths." On a cotton mattress he found a woman "in great pain and apparently dying". On her breast he found her 2 year old daughter also very ill with fever. The "poor woman" was not a resident of the district but had come down from Orange to nurse her sick 23 year old son, the neighbour who had been crawling between the fruit trees. The reporter finished the article by suggesting that the Colonial Secretary quarantine the place, burn down the hut, and provide complete new clothing and bedding.
Those in Elizabeth's immediate family who died in the typhoid outbreak were:
- 1878 March 3rd - granddaughter Sarah Ann Overton, 10 years old, daughter of Jane Mitchell
- 1878 March 8th - daughter Mary Ann Mcabe nee Mitchell, 44 years old, leaving 8 children orphaned between the ages of 26 and 4 years
- 1878 March 9th - grandson William Mitchell, 11 months old, son of Edward Mitchell
- 1878 March 11th - granddaughter Clara Overton, 4 months old, daughter of Jane Mitchell
- 1878 March 13th - husband James Overton, 35 years old
Elizabeth herself only lived another 12 months. She died on 18 April 1879.
|Offspring of Elizabeth Coverly and James Overton (1842-1878)|
|Elizabeth Ann Overton (1860-1942)|