William Dawson LEATHEARD who was born on the 8th July 1807 in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England and was christened on the 27th April 1808 in Haltwhistle, Northumberland as he states his birthplace as Haltwhistle on the 1871 census however on the 1851 census for Mickley he stated his birthplace as Hexham and my age as 43. If this is the case his parents were Thomas LEATHEARD and Mary DAWSON. William married Charlotte KNOWLES on the 31st March 1834 in St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland. Charlotte was born in 1810 in North Shields, Northumberland, England. Some controversy occurs because the marriage certificate says her surname is Knowles but another record records it as Pennick. So maybe her mother remarried and Charlotte then used her fathers surname. No christening record has been found for Charlotte. She died on the 7th May 1865 in Greencroft, Happy Land, Durham, England and was buried on the 10th May 1865 in Collierley Chapel Cemetery, Lanchester, Durham.

William was employed as a Blacksmith, Nailmaker(1840-1841), Screenman(1845), Pitman(1853) and Coal Miner(1865). William definitely died on the 31st December 1878 at 34 Derwent Cottages, Medomsley, Durham aged 72 years with his son Henry present from cardiac disease and bronchitis. The family had resided in the following locations Lowlights, Tynemouth, Northumberland (1840), Thornley, Durham (1845), Mickley Square, Northumberland (1851-1853), Happyland, Greencroft, Durham (1865). On the 1871 census he stated he was 63, a widower employed as a coal miner and living with his sons Henry, Thomas, Robert and daughter Catherine and residing at East Castle Cottages in the civil parish Tanfield in the parish of Collierley.

William and Charlotte's children were:

1.1. Mary LEATHEARD  was born on the 20th September 1840 at Lowlights, Tynemouth, Northumberland, England. Mary was baptised on the 16th October 1840 at Christ Church, Tynemouth. In 1851 Mary was living with her parents at Mickley Square, Stocksfield, Northumberland and in 1861 Mary was living at 498 Leadgate, Durham. Originally Mary was thought to have married William LIDDELL on the 20th April 1861 in the Registery Office, Durham, however new information has come to hand that Mary actually married George ARMSTRONG on the 31st January 1863 at Collierley in Durham and Mary had been living at Annfield, Durham. In 1871 Mary was living at 20 Benfieldside Edge, Benfieldside and in 1881 the family resided at 14 Puddlers Row, Conside & Knitsley, Durham. By 1891 they were living at 22 Buddle Street, Conside & Knitsley, Durham. Mary passed away on the 20th August 1905 at 22 Buddle Street aged 66.

Her husband George was a Coal Miner, Breaksman and Engineman. He was born about 1839 at Hexham, Northumberland and his father was Thomas ARMSTRONG, a miner and his mother was Ester(Esther) STOBART. Mary's husband outlived her and died in 1914 in the Lanchester District, Durham aged 76.

    Thomas and Mary's children were:

    1.1.1. William Thomas ARMSTRONG was born about 1864 at Annfield Plain, Durham. In 1871 he was living at 20 Benfieldside Edge, Benfieldside with his parents. In 1881 he was employed as a Forge Hammer Driver and was still living with his parents at 14 Pudlers Row, Conside & Knitsley. He married Ellen WILSON on the 4th September 1886 at the Registry Office Lanchester, Durham.They had two daughters M

ary and Ellen who died young.

    1.1.2. Charlotte ARMSTRONG (c.1867 Middlesborough, YKS)-(21st October 1875, Leadgate)

    1.1.3. George ARMSTRONG (c.1871 Benfieldside, DUR)-(1875, Leadgate)

    1.1.4. Mary ARMSTRONG (c.1874, Leadgate)

    1.1. 5. Joseph ARMSTRONG was born on the 29th January 1882 at Conside & Knitsley and married Margaret LOFTUS on the 10th April 1907 at St Godrics Roman Catholic Chapel, Framwellgate, Durham. He had several jobs as a Steelworks Labourer, Fireman, Coal Miner, Stoker & Boilerman. Joseph died in 1965 at Darlington, Durham. Joseph and Margaret had one son.

To read more on the Armstrong Family

1.2. Henry LEATHEARD was born in 1842 at Derwent Cottages, Medomsley, Durham, England. Derwent Cottages were built in 1842. He married Adelaide LITTLE in 1871 and she died in 1873 possibly from complications from childbirth. Our son, William Archibald LEATHEARD was born in 1873 and died in 1873. Then Henry married Elizabeth ANDERSON on the 23rd January 1875 in the Registry Office at Durham. Elizabeth was born about 1841 in Hunstanworth, Durham. In 1881 Henry was living at 24 Derwent Cottages, Medomsley and with his wife Elizabeth and our nephew George V. FOSTER. Henry was employed as a Coal Miner. By 1901 he had been promoted to a Coal Miner Deputy and he was still residing at Derwent Cottages, Medomsley. Henry died in 1917 in Lanchester, Durham.

1.3. Thomas LEATHEARD 

was born on the 23rd April 1845 at Thornley, Easington, Durham, England and was christened in 1845 in Easington. Thomas married

Elizabeth THOMPSON

, daughter of



Elizabeth WILLIS

 on the 14th February 1874 in Registry Office, Durham. Elizabeth was born on the 11th December 1852 in Annfield Plain, Durham. She died on the 7th October 1924 at Derwent Cottages, Medomsley, Durham. Thomas had predeceased my wife on the 13th January 1924. The family was going to immigrate to Queensland, Australia with Thomas's brother and sister aboard the "Dilharee" but we had a change of heart probably because Elizabeth was pregnant with our second child.

Elizabeth died on the 7th October 1924 at Derwent Cottages, Medomsley, Durham whereas Thomas had predeceased my wife on the 13th January 1924. We are buried with a headstone in St Mary Magdalene Churchyard, Medomsley. From Elizabeth's obituary you can learn something about our lives:

The Late Mrs Eliz. A Leathard of Derwent Cottages. Mrs Elizabeth A Leathard, widow of the late Thomas Leathard, has just passed away at the residence of her daughter and son-in-law, Mr and Mrs S Watson of Derwent Cottages in her 72nd year, being one of the oldest standards in our district. Her late husband, who died nine months previously was a familiar figure around our locality, and a great naturalist, his hobby taking him regularly to the Derwent Valley in search of seasonable fruits and flowers. He had a splendid memory, and could carry on an interesting conversation of items connected with history and romance. He was also a devoted Methodist, and took an active part in the Derwent Cottages and Leadgate Wesleyan Churches. Mrs Leathard was a staunch Methodist and a real Christian woman. She might be termed a disciple of the Master-one attached to the school of Christ, and had learned of Him. The advancement and dignity of womanhood are among the natural and intended results of the gospel. 

It follows that there is a special refinement, charm and grace belonging to a woman's life when permeated with the influences of the spirit of Christ. Her life was swayed by the gospel principle of tender, sympathetic benevolence; her heart was keenly touched with a fellow-feeling for the woes and necessities of those around her. Her life was full of blessing. Deceased's remains were quietly laid to rest in the old village churchyard at Medomsley on Saturday afternoon as the sun was setting and the autumn leaves falling- a fitting close to a good life, and the assurance of the well done of the Master. The burial service was conducted by the Rev J T Tunstall, superintendant minister, Consett, who during the course of the service held in the Wesleyan Church, spoke in a very appropriate manner of the deceased and her long record of kindly deeds done for the church of her choice, and the esteem in which she was held by all who knew her. A large number of friends and acquaintances followed to pay their last respects to the departed."

    Thomas and Elizabeth's children were:

    1.3.1. Henrietta LEATHEARD was born in 1875 at Greencroft, Durham and died on the 28 October 1927 at Annfield Plain. She married Samuel WATSON who was born about February 1871 at Sunniside, Durham. He died in 1937 at Medomsley, Durham. They had two children Elizabeth Gertrude WATSON born 1899 and Winston WATSON.


   1.3.2. John William LEATHEARD

was born in the December Qtr 1876 in Leadgate, Durham. In the 1911 Census he was living with his parents. He died in 1947 in Durham.

    1.3.3. Thomas LEATHEARD was born about May 1880 in Medomsley, Durham. He died in 1959. Thomas married Annie MILBURN in 1907 in Lanchester, Durham. Annie was born in 1855. She died in 1959.

    1.3.4. Elizabeth Ann LEATHEARD was born on the 1st December 1882. Elizabeth married firstly George Reuben DUNN on the 2nd July 1907 on the 23rd September 1919 married the Rev. John William HEAP. She died in February 1969 at Knutsford, Altincham, Cheshire.

1.4. Robert LEATHEARD's  story has been covered in the well researched book "Australia Bound- An Outline History of our Pioneers- The Leatheard Trio- Thomas- Robert-Catherine from Counties Northumberland and Durham, England" by Brian E. Meagher. 2005.  ISBN 0958831076. 


                                                           Robert LEATHEARD   1851-1923                                                       Frances SHEARER  1852-1914

                                                                               Courtesy B.Meagher                                                                                                                                                                                           Courtesy B.Meagher

        Robert LEATHEARD was born on the 30th June 1851 at  Mickley Square, Stocksfield, Northumberland. He had various occupations over the years including lengthen, Storeman, Railway Labourer and Coal Miner. He married Frances SHEARER at Durham in Durham County. He died on the 7th September 1923 at Fitzwilliam Road, Toongabbie, New South Wales, Australia. Frances died in 1914.

                Robert and Frances Children were:

    1.4.1. Elizabeth LEATHEARD was born on the 5th March 1875 in Durham County, England. In 1909 she married James DUNCAN at Petersham, NSW. They had 3 children. Elizabeth died on the 16th April 1956 at Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay, NSW. She is buried in the Church of England Section, Woronora Cemetery. 

    1.4.2. Charlotte LEATHEARD was born on the 11th February at 8 Mile Peg, SW Railway, Jondaryan, Queensland. She married William George MEAGHER at St Mary's Cathloic Church, Sydney on the 12th April 1899.  They had 10 children. Charlotte died on the 9th August 1949 at  Bellevue Parade, Hurstville, NSW. William died in 1964. Charlotte and William are buried in Woronora Cemetery.

    1.4.3. Adelaide Frances LEATHEARD was born on the 4th July 1878 at Queensland. She married David Francis PRIME in NSW in 1899. They had three children. Adelaide died on the 1st January 1948 at Earlwood, Sydney.

    1.4.4 William Thomas LEATHEARD was born on the 18th March 1880 and died on the 18th December 1881 in Queensland.

    1.4.5. Mary Eleanor LEATHEARD was born on the 9th September 1881 and died on the 28th March 1883 in Queensland.

    1.4.6. Andrew Henry LEATHEARD was born on the 25th October 1883 at Roma, Queensland. He attended Morayfield State School, Queensland. He married twice. He married Dorothy Lavinia Esther MYERS in 1912 at Sydney. He enlisted in the AIF in World War One. He divorced Dorothy on the grounds of  desertion. In 1927 he married Ellen Isobel WILLIAMS at Mosman, NSW. He had no known children. He was known as LEATHARD. He died on the 22nd January 1956 at Narroy Road, Narrabeen North, NSW. Ellen died in 1961 at Manly, NSW.

    1.4.7. Robert LEATHEARD was born in 1888 and died in 1948. He had no children.

    1.4.8. Kathleen LEATHEARD was born on the 7th December 1889 at Queensland. She married Walter George LEWIN at Canterbury, NSW. They had 3 children. She died on the 10th January 1964 and was buried at Woronora Cemetery. Her husband Walter died on the 24th September 1969 and was cremated at Woronora. 

    1.4.9. Francis William LEATHEARD was born on the 12th July 1891 at Upper Caboolture, Queensland and died on the 11th May 1894 at Sydney.

    1.4.10. Florence Amelia LEATHEARD was born in 1897 at Sydney, NSW. She first married a Edward. Then in 1919 she married Walter John JOHNSON at Canterbury, NSW. They had 3 children. Florence died at age 33 on the 13th December 1930 at the Blue Mountains Hospital, Katoomba, NSW. 

1.5.   Catherine LEATHEARD began her life in the village of Mickley Square, Stocksfield, Northumberland on the 3rd May 1853. She was christened on the 31st July 1853 at St Mary's Church, Ovingham, Northumberland. In 1871 she was working as a Domestic and resided at East Castle Cottages, Tanfield, Durham.  She married John George KIRSOP on the 15th June 1872 at the Register Office, Durham. Before leaving England to come to Australia, John and Catherine had a daughter Elizabeth who was born on the 20th June 1872 who unfortunately did not survive infancy. They left London on the 10 May 1876. Catherine arrived on the "Dilharee" with her husband John George KIRSOP and her two children John George and Elizabeth Hannah at Brisbane on the 15th August, 1876. Her brother Robert and his wife Frances (nee SHEARER) and their daughter were also aboard. John built a small cottage for his growing brood of children at Spring Bluff, half way up the range to Toowoomba. Catherine died on 7th November 1909 at the age of 56. Her death occured at St Denis Hospital, Toowoomba after suffering the painful consequences of gall stones, cholangitis, diaphragmatic abcess and exhaustion. The funeral for Catherine left Toowoomba Railway Station for the Murphy’s Creek Station then proceeded to the Murphy Creek Cemetery on the 9th November 1909. A simple headstone marks the grave.

Catherine LEATHEARD 1853-1909 

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