One of my first cousins four times removed was Eleanor Mary (Nellie) Niall (1858-1891). She was the first cousin of my great great grandfather James Francis Cudmore (1837-1912).
Her father was James Niall (1823-1877), son of Daniel James Nihill (1761-1846) and Dymphna Nihill nee Gardiner (1790-1866). The Nihill family emigrated from Ireland to Australia in 1835, settling first in Tasmania, then moving to South Australia.
James Niall was an auctioneer and pastoralist. In 1857 he married Eleanor Mansfield (1833-1883) at Trinity Church, Adelaide.
They had eight children:
- Eleanor Mary Niall 1858–1891
- James Mansfield Niall 1860–1941
- George Franklin Niall 1862–1875
- Alice Louisa Niall 1863–1876
- Charles Arthur Niall 1864–1888
- Robert Gardiner Niall 1870–1932
- Dymphna Niall 1871–1871
- Margaret Rebekah Niall 1872–1875
Eleanor Mary, known as Nellie, was the oldest.
Her brother James Mansfield Niall (1860-1941), who became a successful pastoralist, was the only child who married and had children.
In 1875, at the age of 13, George died from what was described as “anaemia“. His illness and death were noted by his aunt Rebekah Nihill (1817-1901) in her diary:
2 Jul 1875 : George Niall very ill of swelling in the glands of his throat.
28 Aug 1875 : Rec’d a letter from Nelly Niall telling us dear George Niall died last Tuesday the 24th inst, whilst taking a drink of water. We feel his loss much as he was a very intelligent boy and extremely clever and cheerful.
4 Sep 1875 : Our brother James and his wife came. They both looked sadly cut up after the loss of their dear children, particularly their dear boy George.
Alice died in 1876 aged 13 of tubercular phthisis, also known as tuberculosis.
Charles died in Sydney as a young man aged only 24. I am not sure what caused his early death.
Robert went on to the land as a grazier and station manager in Queensland. He died in Sydney, unmarried.
Dymphna died aged 5 months of convulsions. According to the diary of her aunt Rebekah Nihill, Margaret Rebekah, known as Rebekah, died when she was 3 of scarletina and diphtheria.
In 1877 Nellie’s father James died at the age of 54. Nellie’s mother died in 1883 aged 45 years.
On 13 November 1891 Eleanor Mary (Nellie) Niall died of typhoid. She was 33. (Typhoid is a bacterial disease, spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated by the faeces or urine of patients and carriers.)
The authorities kept a close watch on infectious diseases. There was no major outbreak of typhoid at the time, but Eleanor’s death was noted by the South Australian Board of Health, as was one other death from typhoid in the same week.
Eleanor was buried on 14 November at the cemetery beside St George’s Anglican Church, Magill, a suburb of Adelaide close to where she had lived.
I am sorry to say that I have not been able to find out more about Nellie and her siblings. She is not mentioned in any digitised newspaper reports that I have seen. I have not found any photograph of her or mention in any family papers I have access to. I know almost nothing about her.
I am grateful to my cousin Robert Niall for sharing his information about the causes of death of Nellie’s siblings and providing extracts from the diaries of Margaret and Rebekah Nihill, the sisters of James Niall, Nellie’s father.