Author Topic: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone  (Read 509 times)

Offline Westby

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Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« on: Saturday 09 October 21 06:23 BST (UK) »
I'd appreciate help to solve a mystery.

I’m very curious about a headstone (photo attached) in Camperdown Cemetery (St Stephens, Newton, NSW) and would love to find out why the headstone was defaced. From a newspaper article (SMH 13 July 1946) I know it had been defaced by then, but I have no idea when it happened.

What would have prompted somebody to erase the name of Ernestine’s husband, Gordon Sandeman?

Apart from being declared bankrupt (the 1880s), expelled from parliament for frequent absences and being involved in unsavoury labour practices, I can’t find any reason to remove his name from Ernestine’s gravestone.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve discovered about Gordon and Ernestine:

Ernestine Caroline Susette Eugenie de Satge-St Jean
B: 1833, Switzerland
Father: Vicomte Ernest Valentine de Satge-St Jean
Mother: Caroline Sparkes
M: Gordon Sandeman, 3 April 1952, London
Arrived Sydney 1862 and lived in Queensland
D: Sydney, 1864

Gordon Sandeman
B: 1819, Edinburgh
Father: Edward Sandeman
Mother: Letitia May Gordon
D: London, 1897

Came to Australia (NSW) in 1838 as a merchant but the business failed.
Lived in Queensland
Squatter/pastoralist – bought a station in 1844 in the Morton Bay District and expanded to become a large landholder.
Member of NSW parliament (Qld was then part of the NSW colony) in 1856 as well a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Leichhardt from 1863 to 1870.

Gordon was a friend of Ernestine’s brother, Oscar who was also a squatter and politician, so it seems that's how Gordon and Ernestine met.
Involved in bringing slave/indentured labour to Australia from China, India and the Pacific (Kanakas).

He returned to England by 1887 and remained until his death in 1897.

Any suggestions as to how to solve this mystery would be very much appreciated. Tx

Bayley family of Westmorland (Casterton/Kirkby Lonsdale) and Lancashire (Barton, Birkdale) during the period 1750 - 1911.
Willan family of Westmorland and Lancashire.
Easthope family - mostly Gloucestershire/London
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Offline Neale1961

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Milligan - Jardine – Glencross – Dinwoodie - Brown: (Dumfriesshire & Kirkcudbrightshire)
Clark – Faulds – Cuthbertson – Bryson – Wilson: (Ayrshire & Renfrewshire)
Neale – Cater – Kinder - Harrison: (Warwickshire & Queensland)
Roberts - Spry: (Cornwall, Middlesex & Queensland)
Munster: (Schleswig-Holstein & Queensland) and Plate: (Braunschweig, Neubruck & Queensland)

Offline Westby

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 09 October 21 07:45 BST (UK) »
Thank you so much. The Courier-Mail is subscription only. Are you able to tell me the date of the article and something of what it contains? It would be much appreciated.
Bayley family of Westmorland (Casterton/Kirkby Lonsdale) and Lancashire (Barton, Birkdale) during the period 1750 - 1911.
Willan family of Westmorland and Lancashire.
Easthope family - mostly Gloucestershire/London
Jeffords


Offline Neale1961

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 09 October 21 07:56 BST (UK) »
Sorry, i don’t have subscription access either. It came up in a google search. :)
I think it is a relatively recent article - maybe 15 November 2020?
Milligan - Jardine – Glencross – Dinwoodie - Brown: (Dumfriesshire & Kirkcudbrightshire)
Clark – Faulds – Cuthbertson – Bryson – Wilson: (Ayrshire & Renfrewshire)
Neale – Cater – Kinder - Harrison: (Warwickshire & Queensland)
Roberts - Spry: (Cornwall, Middlesex & Queensland)
Munster: (Schleswig-Holstein & Queensland) and Plate: (Braunschweig, Neubruck & Queensland)

Offline Westby

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 09 October 21 11:13 BST (UK) »
Thanks again. I'll try and track it down.
Bayley family of Westmorland (Casterton/Kirkby Lonsdale) and Lancashire (Barton, Birkdale) during the period 1750 - 1911.
Willan family of Westmorland and Lancashire.
Easthope family - mostly Gloucestershire/London
Jeffords

Offline TreeSpirit

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 09 October 21 14:36 BST (UK) »
I found a text version of that 2020 article. Unfortunately the mystery of the gravestone was not resolved by the writer either.

Offline Jennaya

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 10 October 21 02:40 BST (UK) »
I remember reading the Courier Mail article.

They were only married for two years, so my questions were: was it a happy marriage? Were their any children?  The defacing looks neat and deliberate, as if they wanted to remove the connection to her husband.

Offline Westby

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 10 October 21 03:28 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the info about the article TreeSpirit.

Yes, Jennaya. It's mysterious, isn't it? It's really got me hooked. I agree about the defacing. It looks very purposeful, not just a fit of rage. I also think the wording on the gravestone suggests it was organised by Ernestine's family (perhaps her brother Oscar?). For a married woman, it's unusual she's described first as a daughter rather than a wife.

We can only speculate about their marriage. Gordon and Ernestine did not have any children, and it seems she died of natural causes.

** She had accompanied her husband to Sydney for change of air, and was returning to Queensland almost convalescent, when she was suddenly seized with a violent spasmodic attack, proceeding from arrested digestion, which terminated fatally.**

On the other hand, can you imagine, after marrying at 29, Ernestine came to Australia and probably lived a tough life in remote parts of Queensland? Gordon travelled Brisbane - Sydney on 21 Dec 1861 (on his way to London?) and they married in London on 3 April 1862 so it was clearly a whirlwind romance! He must have gone straight from the dock to the church!

It seems the mystery continues.
Bayley family of Westmorland (Casterton/Kirkby Lonsdale) and Lancashire (Barton, Birkdale) during the period 1750 - 1911.
Willan family of Westmorland and Lancashire.
Easthope family - mostly Gloucestershire/London
Jeffords

Online Erato

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Re: Gordon Sandeman and Ernestine - mystery of defaced gravestone
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 10 October 21 04:03 BST (UK) »
"a violent spasmodic attack, proceeding from arrested digestion"

Poison?
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