A letter from: Mervyn (Merv) Douglas Cotterill
| G'day Jerry,
My Drudge story is rather vague. The first Drudge in my known Australian family is Henry Drudge who came to NSW about 1848.
His marriage certificate is the first documented evidence I have.It states that "Henry married Maria Butler in St Mary's Cathedral (RC) in Sydney, NSW, on 11 April 1858. Henry age 26 was born Isle of Wight to John Drudge, a publican, and Maria Cotton. Maria age 24 was born in County Carlow to William Butler, a farmer, and Ann Olliver."
Shortly after their marriage, Henry and Maria moved to the Maitland area, where their daughter, Louisa, was born on 11 January 1859. This birth certificate states that Maria was born in Ashford, Kent, England, and Henry was born in London, England. [The different birthplaces is a problem]
On 15 July 1876, Louisa, then aged 17, married Richard Earp Cotterill. Their first child, Henry Daniel Earp Cotterill was born on 24 September 1876. Obviously a "shotgun" marriage. A second child was born in 1878 but she lived only for a few months. Louisa herself died on 5 July 1879, from phthisis. The bereaved husband, randy Richard, married a second wife a few months later in April 1880, but that is another story.
Henry and Maria Drudge moved to Minmi ( a coal mining town between Maitland and Newcastle) where they lived quietly until Maria died on 4 September 1901.
Henry remained at Minmi until, alone and uncared for, he became ill and was taken to Wallsend Hospital where he died on 16 May 1905. His death certificate shows nothing of his personal details except for cause of death and where he was to be buried. His grave was destroyed some years ago by the zeal of the local council who turned the cemetery into a park, which serves no useful purpose.
Poor Henry, he died alone and unwanted. His wife had died, his daughter had died, his son-in-law apparently wanted nothing to do with him, I don't know where his grandson was at this time.
There are no Drudges left to carry on his name, which is now almost forgotten. I am the only one of his descendants interested in finding out about this family line.
But enough of these maudlin thoughts.
I feel that the Isle of Wight is more likely to be Henry's birthplace as stated on his marriage certificate as Henry himself would have given this information, and this is the line I am following now.
If you can provide any connections, I will be very grateful. If not, it is an interesting story which may add something to your own researches.
John Drudge married Maria Cotton in I.O.W., England, and they begat Henry
Good health, good hunting, and good luck.