Backgound information provided by Joyce Deligios on the three brothers, John, Moses & Jesse ELDRIDGE who were signatories to the 1853 Bendigo Petition.

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John, Moses and Jesse Eldridge all hailed from the county of Sussex, England. John born in 1816 in the parish of Sedlescombe, Moses born in 1819 and Jesse in 1831, both in the parish of Ewhurst. Their parents were John Eldridge and his wife Elizabeth (nee) Sargent.

John married on 30 January 1836 at Ewhurst to Maria Baker, they had a daughter Sarah Ann who died in September 1836, aged 2 months. Moses had also married at Ewhurst on 10 Mar 1838 to Eliza King. Jesse was 7 years of age in 1838. Their father had died by 1833, although I have not been able to find information to this effect other then when Elizabeth had a son called Thomas in 1833 she stated she was a widow and the father was not John. Elizabeth remarried a William Crouch on 7 January 1838 at Rye, Sussex.

Shortly after Moses and Eliza married, the whole family, including Elizabeth and her new husband, set sail for Australia on the ship Amelia Thompson. It was to be a voyage of grief. Maria (John's wife) succumbed to the ravages of typhoid fever on the 6 May and Thomas (youngest son of Elizabeth) died on the 4 June of the same dreaded fever. The remaining members of the family who arrived safely at Sydney in July 1838 were William and Elizabeth Crouch, and the Eldridges, John, Moses and Eliza, Miriam, Harriet, Barbara, Frances Ann and Jesse.

With the exception of Moses and his wife Eliza, the family stayed in the region of Sydney until the mid-1840s. By late 1845, three of the sisters had married: Miriam to John Thompson on 23 October 1843, Harriet to Frederick Prior on the 22 Feb 1840, and Frances to Henry McGregor on 11 November 1845.

Moses and Eliza had one child in Sydney, James (1839 - died in infancy), they then moved to Melbourne where there was a daughter Elizabeth Jane born (1840 - died 5 months). Moses and Eliza then moved back to West Sydney where my great-grand-mother Fanny was born in November 1844.

The family, with the exception of Frances and her husband Henry and sister Barbara, moved to South Australia. Harriet and her husband Frederick followed a few months after the others and remained in South Australia the rest of their lives.

Elizabeth, the mother died in South Australia.

During their time in South Australia, Moses and Eliza had four more children, Harriet (1847), William (1849 - died in infancy), Henry (1850) and Thomas (1852).

John married his second wife, Frances Maria Leggett at Woodside, Adelaide on 31 July 1852.

Moses and Eliza and children, John and Frances and Jesse moved to the Ballarat district in Victoria late 1852 or early 1853. I have not established exactly when.

John and Frances were to become parents of six children in the ensuring years. John (1854), Jesse (1856), William (1858 - died in infancy), Edward (1860), Mark (1863) and Elizabeth Ann (1864).

Jesse married Martha Bailey on 25 March 1856 at Ballarat. They became the parents of a family of eleven children. Alfred b 1857, Jesse b 1859 died in infancy), Edwin b 1861, Elizabeth Sergeant b 1863 died 2 years), Frederick b 1865 died 5 years, Albert b 1868, Henry b 1870, Charles b 1872, Jesse b 1875, William b 1877 and Spencer James b 1880.
1858 was to be another unhappy year for Moses. Eliza was delivered of another son, Moses Jnr on 27 January and Eliza died of complications of childbirth on 29 January. Moses Jnr followed his mother on the 3 February 1858.
John, Moses and Jesse were miners on the Ballarat gold fields at the time of the disputes over miner's rights and they all signed the Miners Rights Petition in 1853.
In the 1855 Electoral Roll for Ballarat, Moses was recorded under the qualification of Miner's Right.

John died on 3 September 1883 at Ballarat West, Moses died on 13 September 1902 at Ballarat East and Jesse died on 3 September 1883 at Hiscocks (Buninyong).

The aim of the society is to help people discover their family history. To have appropriate records available, with guidance in ways to research and record their history and genealogy.

The Ballarat and District Genealogical Society Inc Incorporation Number A0022692F ABN 40 041 783 778

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