Theodore & Joseph Pursey of Walton, Somerset

Sons of Francis Frampton Pursey and Ann Gallop and born in Walton, near Street, Somerset in the 1830s, three Pursey brothers Theodore, Joseph and George Gallop Pursey were not content to sit in england and let life pass them by.

Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 22 November 1926
CORAKI, Saturday.
The death occurred last night of Mr. Theodore Pursey, an old resident of Coraki. He was settled here 50 years ago, and was nearly 90 years of age. His wife predeceased him by five years. A large family of adult sons and daughters residing in various parts of New South Wales, survive.

Northern Star, Lismore, NSW
Monday 22 November 1926


There died at Coraki on Thursday night last another of the old band of pioneers in the person of Mr. Theodore Percy, at the age of 88 years, after a residence of 47 years on the Mid-Richmond. Born at Somerset, England, of the yeomanry of England, deceased spent the early years of his life on his father’s farm, but at the age of 17, being imbued with the spirit of adventure, he, together with his elder brother, left the old home and started for Australia.

There being no steamboats in those days, they took passage by the sailing vessel Phoebe Dunbar, a sister ship to the ill-fated Dunbar which met with so tragic an end at the Gap, South Head. After an adventurous voyage lasting for five or six months, they reached Moreton Bay, Queens land, at that time but little known, and set about finding some means of livelihood. For a time the brothers followed gold mining at several of the mining centres of this State, but failing to strike it rich deceased enter ed the employ of Mr. William Boyd, of Stonehenge, Glen limes, where he remained for some years. The spirit of adventure again being upon him, Mr. Percy left this State and journeyed to New Caledonia where he took up a tract of land at Mont D’Or, and engaged in coffee culture. In the meantime he married Miss Anne Norster, a daughter of the late Captain Harry Norster, of Portland, England, and the  young couple settled upon their estate, far from civilisation and surrounded by natives whose friendliness was of a doubtful character. However, by honesty and friendliness, they eventually overcame the hostility of the natives and were able to live in peace and safety with their family of six children. The next move was to St. Vincent, also in New Caledonia, where deceased became manager of a large cattle station, and the family resided there until the insurrection of the natives in 1876-77 when the white population of several districts were cruelly massacred. Mr. Percy was in Nouema when the news reached him that the savages had massacred the whole family on an estate adjoining his home and immediately started off on horseback on a 30 mile ride to try and save his family. He reached home in the early hours of the morning, and was overjoyed to find that the savages had not reached that far. Rousing the family and packing a few necessaries, a start was made before daybreak on their long trek to safety. Having seen his family out of danger the father return ed to the scene of hostilities, and joining a band of English volunteers, helped the French to, quell the insurrection. Leaving his troublous country, the family returned to Sydney and after a short residence there came to the Richmond where deceased engaged in sugar-growing at Bungawalbyn. A succession of bad seasons eventually drove deceased off the land, and in 1885 he re moved to Coraki where he carried on a delivery business for some time. After some years he acquired a small property near the Campbell Hospital, Coraki. where he spent the remaining years of his life growing fruit and vegetables. Deceased lost his wife about six years ago, and his aged brother (Mr. Joseph Pursey, of Bungawalbyn) about six months ago. A family of six are left. : Messrs. F. H. Percy (post master, Adelong), G. T. (Mallangee), A. N.  …ore;, W.C. (postmaster, Bourke), Mrs.  G. C. Burgess (Molong), and Miss Percy, who resided with her father and tended him in his final illness. There are also, 14  grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  One daughter (Mrs. G. Sykes, of Broken  Hill) died seven years ago. The funeral on Friday last was attended by a large number of friends and well-wishers, and bore token to the esteem in which deceased was held. Deceased was a staunch member of the Methodist Church, and was buried in the Methodist portion of the Coraki cemetery, the Rev. Davis conducting the service at the graveside. Mr. J. McMullen had  charge of the funeral arrangements.

Source: “”

The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser
Friday 18 June 1926

The Late Joseph Pursey. A TRIBUTE.
Rev. A. .J. Gould, of Manilla, formerly of Coraki, writes:

“Some years ago Coraki Circuit was rich in its possession of aged saints. Some have passed; some will soon pass, and I thank God for their benedictions as I remember them. The late Mr. Joseph Pursey is largely to be explained by the Age in which was was born and through which ho lived. He was born in England just’ about the time that the late Queen Victoria came to the throne of England. He was a magnificent product of the Victorian era. The Victorian age was the age of things solid, massive and polished. Home and Church furnishings were made either of solid oak or solid cedar, and were all polished until you could see your face in them. Cedar and oak were the symbols of the Age: There was also a Victorian type of character. Their, religion, was of the cedar type and quality. Dignity, courtesy, reverence were the distinctive virtues. It was a great and noble period. Browning and Wordsworth, Carlyle and Kelvin, Parker and Siddon, Gladstone, Bright, and Shaftesbury are the names of some of the men of that Age. It. was to the Victorian Age — the Age of solid and polished things that Mr. Pursey belonged. Thus his difference to other people was a distinction, and not an idiosyncrasy, an unique trait of character and not some fossilised freakishness. It may be popular in some quarters to decry the old-fashioned type of religion, yet it produced a race of noble men and gentlewomen. The Age has passed, the aged saints of the Age are rapidly; passing, and we are the poorer for it. These old-fashioned religionists carried about with them an air of distinction. They walked erect and with dignity. They possessed severity, yet they overflower in graciousness. Religion gave them strength, grace made them gracious, and spirituality made them noble.

“One of the noblest and most gracious of the old fashioned, religionists was Mr. Joseph Pursey, who fell asleep in Jesus on Sunday evening, June 6th, 1926. From the earliest- days of the Richmond, he lived, in that district, true to the. sign of his Age — the Age of Cedar. He was a typical English country gentleman. I know the district in which he was born, and his county was my own father’s county also. He never lost his English gentleness, and such, men are the salt of the earth. Dignified, refined, gracious! Pure in heart, mellow- in spirit, cultured in intellect,- : fluent, yet not verbose in speech, humble yet strong in Christian faith. His love of music, his ability to take his part in the harmony of the, majestic old tunes, all- bespoke a radiant Christian experience that could not be suppressed but found its expression in song. Through all the long years, Mr. Pursey remained: loyal to Jesus Christ, and to the Methodist Church, and his devotion to both was unstinted.

“Everywhere his name was a guarantee of integrity, and his character was above reproach. Like all human beings he must have had his faults, but neither his love nor his faith failed. His children and the “Pursey Memorial Church” are monuments to his splendid worth. He was the product of the type of religion that emphasised, the grace that regenerates the human nature, refines its tastes, and radiates the life with love. He was a splendid Christian. He knew what he believed, and then believed it. He knew in Whom he believed, and trusted Him implicitly. His name will long remain a precious memory. His influence will abide a heritage to future generations. True to his wife and children, true to his district, true to’ his Church, true to his God, beloved by his own kinsfolk, and highly esteemed in the district in which he lived; faithful in Church offices and thorough in his service on the Shire Council; full of years and with an honorable record of a life worthily lived and service faithfully rendered, Joseph Pursey now has passed into the presence of the King Eternal. To his sorrowing widow he was an ideal husband. They were of one mind and one spirit. To his children he was. a true and generous father. For them in tho home, religion was a perfectly natural atmosphere, and it is no cause for wonder that they are, all solidly linked up with the Christian Church. To many others he was a good friend and counsellor. To the Circuit ministers he was kindness itself. As I write, I can see the “Grand Old Man” of the Richmond pull up at the Parsonage to unload his baskets and to give us a cheer from his radiant face. To know him was to love him, and to spend an afternoon in his presence; was a rich experience. We thank God: for that beautiful life that has so recently put on immortality, and pray that a like triumph and translation may be ours. To the deeply bereaved wife; and sorrowing children I extend my deepest sympathy and offer my most tender prayers. There is ‘deep grief but no regrets; a keen sense of loss, but no belated tears. “Blessed are they which die in the Lord.”

“O may I triumph so, when, all my war fare’s past,
And dying, find my latest foe, under my feet at last!”


Friday 30 May 1919
The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser


Last week word was rcceived by relatives here of tho death of Mr. G. G. Pursey, brother of Messrs. Josoph Pursey, Bungawalbin, and T. Percy, Coraki. Referring to the said event an evening Toronto daily paper of February 18th, which publishes deceased’s photo, says: — ‘In the death of George G. Pursey, who passed away yesterday, North Toronto has lost one of its oldest inhabitants. The late Mr. Pursey was born in England in 1831 coming to Canada in 1857. He almost at once settled where North Toronto now stands, and for many years lie pursued his trade of bootmaker. He learned his trade as a boy in England, and had no schooling at all. However, this did not deter him form getting an education, for he found his favorite compan- ions in the essays of Emerson, the poems of Cowper, and other authors. At the time of his death he had memorised all of Emerson’s essays. He was accounted a good astronomer. With home-made instruments, costing not much more than about five dollars, he took observations of the sun spots daily. These were sent to the Dominion astronomers and were found to compare favorably with the readings taken by them with some of the best instruments in North America. For 33 years he had been a charter member of the Astronomical and Physical Society, also for the same period of time of the Biological Section of the Canadian Institute. Two of tho best papers in the files of the Dominion Archaeological Society are from his pen, namely, ‘A Nebular Theory of Creation’ and ‘The Aurora Boroalis and Its Relation to Earth Currents.’ His wife predeceased him a number of years ago, but he is survived by two daughters, Mrs. (Dr.) Wickett, of Hamilton, and Mrs. Jean Victory, at home. Deceased was a frequent contributor to the press, and years ago the ‘R.R. Herald’ republished some of his able writings which were read with great interest.