Robert Pitt

I am indebted to Jeff Pitt and Deborah Hallam for the following information about Robert and Sarah Pitt.

Robert Pitt was born on 7 September 1817 at the family property in Richmond. He inherited 400 acres in Kurrajong after the death of his mother Elizabeth, and he lived and farmed there throughout his life on a property called ‘Trafalgar’ – another reference to the Pitt family’s patron Horatio Nelson.

Robert, like his elder brother, was well over six feet tall, but it appears he had little of his brother’s ambition and none of his massive bulk. He married Sarah John, daughter of the neighbouring John family of ‘Mount Pleasant’ in Kurrajong, on 6 September 1843 at St Peters Church in Richmond. Sarah was the granddaughter of convicts.

map-of-trafalgar-robert-pitt

Map of Trafalgar (images.maps.gov.au/pixel.htm)

Robert and Sarah had ten children, all born at Trafalgar, and lived out their days on the Trafalgar property. They suffered a major tragedy when their son William killed himself in 1871. Then Sarah was bitten by a black snake and Robert, following the tradition of the aborigines, sucked out the poison and nearly died himself. Both lives were saved by the intervention of local aborigines and a doctor.

In 1895 a fire destroyed Trafalgar’s outbuildings and the roof of the homestead, plus most of the stock including pigs, poultry, dogs and cattle.

Sarah died at Trafalgar on 21 August 1897 of ‘senile decay’ and ‘cardiac syncope’. She was described as ‘one of Kurrajong’s oldest and most respected citizens’ and her funeral at St Peter’s Richmond was ‘very largely attended’. Two years later to the day Robert also died at Trafalgar, on 21 August 1899, of bronchitis and ‘senility’. He was buried alongside his wife and their infant daughter in St Peter’s Church in Richmond. He was known as an ‘affectionate and faithfull’ husband, and a ‘kind and hospitable’ neighbour.

'Trafalgar' original well (2)

The original well, 2017: all that’s left of Trafalgar

The Trafalgar property was passed to the children, with 100 acres each to Robert, George, and Henry and the remaining land and the house to unmarried daughters Emma (1849-1925) and Clara Elizabeth (1860-1940). The cattle-droving son Robert Essington Pitt (1855-1920) later returned to Kurrajong and lived with his sisters at Trafalgar and bought 80 acres next door to them.

map-aerial-of-trafalgar-now

Modern aerial map of Trafalgar (source Deborah Hallam)

The subsequent history of Trafalgar remains unconfirmed. It is thought the land remained in the hands of Pitt descendants until about 1960, but another fire in 1944 destroyed the homestead.

Published on March 1, 2017 at 8:25 am  Comments Off on Robert Pitt  
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