John Nevin’s marriages to Mary Ann Dickson and Martha Genge

THE GENGE family of Somersetshire

Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson (1810-1875)
Thomas Nevin’s photograph of his mother ca. 1873
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint and the Shelverton Family Collections

The Dicksons of Newtonards
Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s mother Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1810 and died at Hobart, Tasmania in 1875. She moved to Newtownards, County Down, Ireland with her brother Alexander Dickson who set up a seed shop in High St, Newtownards in 1836 and started a nursery, a business still in the hands of his descendants which is renowned to this day for his roses. The business is now likely to close (2019), according to this report from the BBC:

Above: webshot from video:

Dickson Roses no longer breeding after 140 years
Growing roses is not a hobby for Colin Dickson – it’s in his family roots.
Dickson Roses in Newtownards, County Down, has been in business for more than 180 years but the rose-breeding side of its business closed last year.
And Mr Dickson’s two daughters are not going down the garden path when it comes to their careers. Video journalist: Jake Williamson 

View the video at BBC report 19 Aug 2019

Records sourced from Surnames of County Down trace the very beginnings of Alexander Dickson’s nursery at Newtonards in 1836:

Alexander DICKSON Newtownards from Scotland; set up a seed shop in High St, Newtownards in 1836; renowned for his roses [ON 27]
Alexander DICKSON Newtownards of Francis St, Newtownards ; a grocer in 1846 [POD]
Alexander DICKSON Newtownards of High St, Newtownards; a seed merchant in 1852 [POD]
Alexander DICKSON Newtownards of High St, Newtownards; leased a house, offices & yard in 1863 from Alexander Robb [GV]
Alexander DICKSON & Sons. Newtownards of Canal Row , Newtownards ; leased 1 acre in 1863 to use as a nursery from Marquis of Londonderry & leased out a house in the old tower & leased 9 acres in Corporation South & leased out 3 cottages there [GV]

Mary Ann Dickson and John Nevin
Mary Ann Dickson (1810-1875) married John Nevin snr (1808-1887) in late 1841 at Newtonards on his return to Grey Abbey, County Down after his discharge from the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot at London, West Canada on 31st May 1841.

John Nevin snr was born at Grey Abbey, or “Greba” (Ulster-Scots for Grey Abbey) County Down, on the Ards Peninsula, 7 miles (11 km) from Newtownards, near Belfast, Ireland in 1808. He was possibly descended from the Rosemount and Montgomery clans. Enlisted at Newry in the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot at the age of seventeen on 7th October 1825, John Nevin served in the West Indies from 30th November 1827 to 18th January 1836. His service continued in Canada from 16th June 1838 during the Canadian Rebellions. On the 17th May 1841 he was discharged on medical grounds at London, West Canada. He had served a total of 14 years and 237 days, and was granted a pension. John Nevin was repatriated to London, England and convalesced at the Chelsea Hospital as a pensioner, returning to Grey Abbey where he married Mary Ann Dickson in 1841, sister of nurseryman Alexander Dickson at Newtonards, 11 kms from Grey Abbey. Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson gave birth to their first child Thomas James Nevin on 28th August 1842.

On John Nevin’s repatriation to Chatham (UK), the Principal Medical Officer’s reported that:-

After examination at the General Hosptl I am of the opinion that Thomas [sic] Nevin is unfit for service and wholly to be permanently unqualified for military duty and I approve the opinion of Mr Surgeon
Doctor Smith [? unnreadable] …. OMD [ 28th August 1841]

The OMD made an error in his report, naming John Nevin as “Thomas” on this page – and this page only – for some inexplicable reason. It wasn’t as if John Nevin’s first-born son, Thomas James, was present at the examination, since he wasn’t born until one year later and coincidentally on the same day, the 28th August 1842. On discharge, John Nevin’s application to serve in the Horse Guards was approved.

John Nevin’s Service Records
OMD’s error, naming John Nevin as Thomas
National Archives, London

John Nevin’s trade was “weaver” when he enlisted in 1825 as a seventeen year-old, but on his return to Ireland as a 33 year old, he supported his family through journalism and teaching. He contributed to the Freeman Journal owned by his childhood friend James Hurst who was a surveyor by trade, publishing accounts of slavery in the West Indies, rebellions in Canada, poems and humorous pieces. With the birth of four children in total in County Down Ireland – Thomas James in 1842, Mary Anne in 1844, Rebecca Jane in 1847 and William John (Jack) by late 1851 – John Nevin applied as a pensioner guard to emigrate to Australia. The family departed Portsmouth aboard the convict transport the Fairlie, arriving at Hobart Tasmania in July 1852, accompanied by soldiers of the 99th Regiment.

On board the Fairlie 1852

The convict transport the Fairlie sailed from Plymouth on March 11, 1852 with a total of 292 male adult prisoners and 32 Parkhurst boys and arrived in Hobart on July 3, 1852. The contract was signed on 18th February 1852 to transport 294 convicts.

Reference: National Archives, Kew, UK :

Treasury Solicitor: General Series Papers TS 18/494 Transportation of 294 named male convicts from Great Britain (Plymouth) to Van Diemen’s Land by the convict ship Fairlie: contract dated 18th February 1852 . Transportation of 294 named male convicts from Great Britain (Plymouth) to Van Diemen’s Land Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives.

Arrival of the Fairlie 1852
Source: State Library of Tasmania, Series Number MB2/39
Start Date 24 Mar 1828
End Date 31 Dec 1970

Guard and pensioners with families numbered 24 women and 47 children, under the supervision of Supt. Meagher for the 99th Regiment. Several crew were accompanied by family members. On board was the entire family of young Thomas James Nevin, then aged 10 yrs. His father, John Nevin, pensioner guard (1808-87) and former soldier in the Royal Scots 1st Regiment, with service in Canada during the 1837 Rebellions, worked the family’s passage. He was accompanied by his wife Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson (1810-75) and their four children, namely:

1. Thomas James Nevin: (1842-1923) who died at age 80
2. Mary Ann Nevin: (1844-1878) who died at age 34
3. Rebecca Jane Nevin (1847-1865) who died at age 18
4. William John Nevin (1851-1891) who died at age 39

The Fairlie prepared for departure from the UK from the Isle of Wight on March 2, 1852, embarking convicts and juvenile exiles from the Parkhurst Prison. While conditions on board must have been rudimentary for women and children accompanying a crew member, for a mother and baby it must have been a floating hell.

The medical officer for the voyage which began on March 2-11, 1852 recorded that prior to departure, on February 28th, both John Nevin and his wife Mary suffered diarrhoea, and were discharged from the list on the day of departure. Mary (Anne) Nevin, aged 5 yrs, was put on the sick list on the 23rd April. Her mother Mary Nevin, aged 40 [sic], joined her daughter on the sick list a day later, on the 24th April. Both were listed in the “QUALITY” column with their status: child of guard and wife of guard.

Nevins on sick list Fairlie 1852

Mary Nevin, aged 5, child of guard; Mary Nevin, aged 40, wife of guard.

Nevin on sick list Fairlie 1852

William Nevin, aged 6 months, child of guard

Reference: ADM 101/27/2
Medical journal of convict ship Fairlie .
Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals Convict Ships etc. Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives [UK]

On the 2nd June, the babe in arms, William Nevin, aged 6 months, was also put on the sick list, “QUALITY” also listed as child of guard. As the sick lists indicate, they were named in the company of other wives and children of guards, and of convicts of all ages.

Folio 2: John Nevin, aged 43, Private of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 28 February 1852, discharged 2 March 1852 to duty. Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners;
Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 14 March 1852, discharged 25 March 1852 to duty.
Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 5, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 23 April 1852, discharged 30 April 1852 to duty.
Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 24 April 1852, discharged 14 May 1852 to duty.
Folio 5: William Nevin, aged 6 months, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, convulsio; put on sick list 2 June 1852, discharged 9 June 1852 to duty.

Absent from the sick lists were Thomas, and his sister Rebecca Jane. Whatever ailments they endured on the voyage apparently left few permanent effects on Thomas and his father: Thomas James Nevin (photographer) lived to the age of 81 yrs (d. 1923). His father John also lived to the age of 80, and remarried at the age of 71 to a 46 year old widow, Martha Salter nee Genge, soon after the death of his first wife and mother of his children, Mary Ann Dickson (1810-1875), who lived just 65 years. However, the two sisters did not survive to the 20th century: Rebecca Jane Nevin died of illness in 1865, aged 18 years at Kangaroo Valley; Mary Anne Nevin died in Victoria, aged 34 yrs in 1878, shortly after her marriage in 1877 to John Carr and 21 days after the birth of her daughter Mary Ann Carr; and younger brother Jack (William John) died in 1891, aged 39 yrs of typhoid fever while in service at H. M Prison, Hobart. Jack joined the H.M. Prison administration at the Hobart Gaol while still in his teens, and remained there until his untimely death, assisting his brother Thomas there as the official photographer supplying convicts’ identification photographs for the Municipal Police Office and Prisons Department. Jack was variously enrolled as an elector with the name (Constable) John Nevin and William John Nevin, not to be confused with Thomas Nevin’s son, William John Nevin, born in 1878, who died in 1927 in a horse and cart accident.

Death of Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson 1875
This pioneer Tasmanian family brought their four children, all under 12 years of age – Thomas (born 1842), Mary Ann (born 1844), Rebecca (born 1847) and William John (called Jack by the family, born 1851, babe in arms on the voyage out). They settled on a farm and orchards at Kangaroo Valley, known as Lenah Valley since 1922, with gardens stretching down to the Lady Franklin Museum (Ancanthe). Soon after settling at Kangaroo Valley, John Nevin built their cottage and became the keeper and school master on the property owned by the Trustees of the Wesleyan Chapel (1 acre). He established orchards (1 acre) on an adjoining property leased from Mary Nairn and exported jam to the colony of Victoria .

John Nevin’s wife and mother of his four children, Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson, died of bladder complications and natural decay, 65 yrs old, on 13th April, 1875.

Last entry on this page: death of Mary Nevin, 13 April 1875, of bladder complications, described as “farmer’s wife”. Source: Archives of Tasmania.

Thomas Nevin’s photograph of his father John Nevin, early 1870s
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint and the Shelverton Collection 2006-2009 Arr

John Nevin snr wrote and published poetry. Three poems are known to be held in public collections, another was published in the Weekly Times, Hobart, Tasmania, on 29th August 1863 to commemorate the death of his friend James William Chisholm.

NEVIN, John (1863) “Original Poetry WRITTEN on the much-lamented death of the late JAMES WILLIAM CHISHOLM, of Hobart Town, a native of Edinburgh, aged 61 years.” Weekly Times, Hobart, Tasmania, 29 Aug 1863

NEVIN, John (1866)“Lines on the much lamented death of Rebecca Jane Nevin : who died at the Wesleyan chapel, Kangaroo Valley, on the 10th November, 1865, in the 19th year of her age.” [s.n.], Kangaroo Valley [N.S.W.]- (to be amended to Kangaroo Valley, Tasmania.) is held at the University of Melbourne Library, Special Collections.

NEVIN, John (1868) “My Cottage in the Wilderness”, published in April 1868, is held at the Mitchell Library NSW;

NEVIN, John (1881) “Lines written on the sudden and much lamented death of Mr William Genge who died at the Wesleyan Chapel, Melville-street, Hobart on the morning of 17th January 1881, in the 73rd year of his age” as a ten stanza lament, is held at the State Library of Tasmania.

Poems by John Nevin snr, 1863, 1866 (Univ. Melb); 1868 (SLNSW) and 1881 (SLTas)

These two photographs by Thomas J. Nevin of his parents of Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson and John Nevin are scans from paper prints which had been pasted into the scrapbook of Thomas’ son George Ernest Nevin, now held with the Shelverton family of descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin.

Thomas J. Nevin’s photographs of his parents Mary Ann nee Dickson and John Nevin ca. 1873.
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint and the Shelverton Collection 2006-2009 Arr

The studio decor of these standard studio full-length portraits by Thomas Nevin of his family, and of other clientele during these years, consistently featured a diamond-patterned carpet, a shiny-backed low easy chair, a table with griffin-shaped legs, a curtain draped down one side of the frame, and a river-scene wall-hanging (not visible here). They were taken in his studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town, ca. 1870, and no later than 1875, the year his mother Mary died.

John Nevin snr and Martha Salter nee Genge
Four years after the death from bladder complications of Thomas J. Nevin’s mother Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson (1810-1875), his father John Nevin snr (1808-1887) re-married, and to a much younger woman, widow Martha Salter nee Genge (1833-1925), daughter of his close friend, Methodist preacher William Genge. At the time of their marriage in October 1879, John Nevin was 71 yrs old, and Martha Salter was 46 yrs old. The difference in their ages might even stir comment in this day and age, but there was an urgent reason behind this marriage which centred on John Nevin’s daughter’s daughter, his grand-daughter, Mary Ann or Minnie Carr.

John Nevin snr, (1808-1887)
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/155 copy
Original photo by his son Thomas J. Nevin taken at his New Town studio October 1879
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2012

Martha Nevin, formerly Salter, nee Genge (1833-1925)
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/194 copy
Original photos by Thomas J. Nevin taken at his New Town studio October 1879
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2012

Archives Office Tasmania
Marriage of John Nevin snr and Martha Salter 23 October 1879
Kangaroo Valley New Town Tasmania
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:888757
Resource RGD37/1/38 no 711

[Above]: The marriage registration of John Nevin snr and Martha Salter nee Genge, 23rd October 1879 at Kangaroo Valley New Town. His age was 71, and his status/rank was listed as gardener. Her age was 46, living with her father, Sexton of Church, Description given was John Nevin, widower, Martha Salter, widow. Her mark X was inserted between her first name and surname, possibly indicating that her maiden name was to be added. Witnesses were James Genge, Martha Salter nee Genge’s father, and F. R Alomes, a 30yr old farmer. Henry Moore officiated as Clergyman.

Little more than a year after arriving in Tasmania, Martha Salter nee Genge, daughter of William Genge stonemason at the Wesleyan Chapel, Melville St. Hobart, Tasmania, married John Nevin snr of Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley), Tasmania.. Martha Salter 42 years old, had sailed from Plymouth (UK) on 21st June 1878 on board the Somersetshire. She disembarked at Melbourne (Victoria) and boarded the Tamar for Hobart Town, arriving on 16th August 1878 (Edward Freeman, agents). She was listed an an immigrant, 43 yrs old, without children, a Wesleyan who could read and whose stated qualification was “needlewoman”. She was born in Taunton, Somersetshire, England, to William Genge, her father who was already resident in Hobart, the sponsor who paid the bounty of £16 for her ticket (No. 215). His application, as noted on this document, was signed off by B. Travers Solly on 16th August 1878, and forwarded to Treasury on 22nd August 1878.

Salter, Martha
Record Type: Arrivals
Arrival date:16 Aug 1878
Departure port: London
Ship: Somersetshire
Record ID:
CB7/23/1/1 p124
Archives Office Tasmania

Thomas J, Nevin’s niece, Mary Ann Carr, known as Minnie Carr (born Sandridge Victoria 1878 – died Hobart 1898), daughter of his deceased sister Mary Ann Carr nee Nevin, was brought back to Tasmania in 1879. Her grandfather John Nevin snr married Martha Salter nee Genge in October 1879, who then became her “mother”, young enough at 46 yrs old to cope with a toddler, hence the reason for the marriage between John Nevin snr and Martha Salter nee Genge, sister of Mary Chandler nee Genge.

The loss to Thomas Nevin and his younger brother Jack (William John) of their sister Mary Ann in childbirth in 1878 was a sudden shock, and yet one more loss to the family of immediate female relatives. Their only other sister Rebecca Jane Nevin had died in 1866 at Kangaroo Valley, aged 18 years, and their mother had died in 1875. In 1879, their father John Nevin made the in loco parentis decision to adopt his motherless grand-daughter Mary Ann Carr by bringing her back to Tasmania from Victoria, and marrying Martha Salter nee Genge, as a means of providing the child with a maternal carer. She became the fourth female in the Nevin family over three generations to be known as Mary Ann, and the second with the moniker “Minnie”.

Living at Kangaroo Valley, New Town Tasmania, Mary Ann or Minnie Carr, John Nevin’s granddaughter was brought up within the family circle of her cousins of about the same age, the children of her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day and photographer Thomas J. Nevin. But she was soon to lose her grandfather John Nevin. When he died in 1887 at Kangaroo Valley, she moved to 76 Patrick Street, Hobart, with her step-grandmother, Mrs Martha Nevin (formerly Salter, nee Genge) who was a widow again at 54 yrs old. Minnie Carr was not listed in the Post Office Directories at Martha Nevin’s house in 1898, the year of her death or earlier because she was under 21 years old.

At 76 Patrick Street, Hobart, widowed Mrs Martha Nevin took in a lodger, a young clerk called Arthur William Thomas Edwards, aged 22 yrs old. He was living there under the same roof in 1898 when Mary Ann or Minnie Carr, 20 years old, died suddenly of gastric poisoning and haemorrhage. The funeral notice said she died at the home of her mother, which was incorrect because her mother had died giving birth to her in 1878, twenty years previously. Her step-grandmother, Mrs Martha Nevin, 63 years old by this time, was regarded as her mother. The Post Office directories of the years preceding and following 1898 mispelt her name as Mrs Martha “Niven”. Other variations recorded in 19th century documents for Thomas Nevin’s family include “Nevan” and “Navin”.

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca 1900

Martha Nevin nee Genge widow of John Nevin, taken ca. 1887-1890
TAHO Ref:NS434/1/194

By the early 1920s, Martha Nevin, formerly Salter nee Genge (1833-1925) was in her late eighties when her nephew James Chandler photographed her with his mother, Mary Chandler nee Genge.

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca 1920

Martha Nevin nee Genge ca. 1920
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/248

Martha Nevin nee Genge and Mary Genge ca 1920

Photographer: James Chandler
TAHO Ref: NS434/1/103
Martha Nevin nee Genge (left) and her sister Mary Chandler nee Genge (right) at Mt Stuart, Hobart – ca. 1920.
Photos taken at the Archives Office Tasmania – copyright © KLW NFC 2012

Obituary for photographer James Chandler

Mr J. Chandler. The funeral of Mr James Chandler, who died at a private hospital at Hobart on Tuesday, took place at the Cornelian Bay crematorium on Wednesday. The service was conducted by the Rev Gordon Arthur. Chief mourners were Mrs E. M. Hooper (sister), Messrs R. W. and V. Hooper (nephews), Misses C. A. and D. Hooper, Mesdames E. Bennett. R. J. Collins, (nieces), Messrs. R. J. Collins, H. Genge, B. Genge, and Max Inches.
Mr Chandler was for many years a member of the Photographic Society and was well known on the Hobart waterfront. He was a keen photographer. He was the youngest son of the late William and Mary Chandler, who were the first couple married at New Town Methodist Church. His father was a bootmaker in Hobart for many years, and an uncle, Jacob Chandler, was a ship builder at Battery Pt., and built a number of early river steamers.

Mr J. Chandler (1945, March 30). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 16.

A short notice reporting the death of Martha Nevin nee Genge appeared in the Mercury, 9 March 1925, with incorrect information. It stated she was the relict of William Nevin: she was the relict of the late John Nevin snr, father of photographer Thomas J. Nevin.

NEVIN. -On March 7, 1925, at the residence of her brother (Mr. J. Genge), Boden [sic- should be Bowden]-street, Glenorchy, Martha, relict of the late William [sic – should be John] Nevin, in the 92nd year of her age.

Source: Family Notices. (1925, March 9). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2014, from

Martha Nevin nee Genge burial 1925

Cemetery record for Martha Nevin, 9 March 1925

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