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Thomas Maxwell and Christina McLennan

Their Story

Thomas Maxwell, son of James Maxwell and Jenet Fingland married Christina McLennan, daughter of Alexander and Mary (nee Matheson) at Glenfernaigh, in 1866 at the home of the bride's parents. 

Thomas was 21 years of age and resident of Nymboida and Christina was 11 days short of 17 years, residing with her parents, the witnesses were John McLennan and Elizabeth Maxwell, while the officiating minister was Thomas Johnstone of New England. 

James Maxwell moved from Nymboida to Kangaroo Creek shortly after Thomas' marriage, leaving Thomas to manage the Nyrnboida holdings which had increase( considerably in acreage since 1862. James first purchase of land in Kangaroo Creek appears to have been portion seven of 64 acres, in the Parish of Koukandowie for the princely sum of E 54. This land was eventually transferred to Thomas Pitkin in 1882, some years after James and Jenet had moved to Maxwelton. James was much impressed with the land available for selection and prevailed upon his son, Thomas, to select an area which fronted Back Creek and ran back to Kangaroo Creek. This must have been about the maximum permitted one family as it was 1,280 acres and incorporated the properties later known as "Toora", "Braeside". "The Shelf" and land adjoining James' Maxwelton. 

Thomas and Christina's original home was built on the flat on the north side of the creek which runs past "Toora'. 

Children born to Thomas and Christina were: James, 1867, Mary (Mrs. Ellem) 1869, Alexander 1871, Thomas William 1873, Jessie (Mrs. Perrett) 1875, Flora Anne Isabella (never married) 1877, Charles Kenneth 1879, George 1881, Farquhar 1883, Elizabeth (Mrs. Hamburger) 1986, Christina Blanche 1889 (died age I8 years) anti Donald Normal 1892. The older of Thomas' children would have enjoyed the loving care of their grandmother, Jenet, who passed away at the early age of 60 years, on 24th March, 1877, James being spared until he had reached the grand old age of 84 years and died 16th December, 1898. Both of these early pioneers of the district are buried on Maxwelton among the friendly hills they loved so well. 

Thomas Maxwell was a man who worked long hours, and very hard, both on his properties and within the community. At the time of his death in 1907 at the of 62 years, after suffering double pneumonia - no antibiotics then -- Thomas had served a great number of years as a member of the Pastures Protection Board in Grafton, Lands Board, he was a member of the Kangaroo Creek (Towallum) School board since its inception and a respected Elder of the Presbyterian Church. 

At a meeting in Grafton of the Presbytery of the Clarence, tile Rev. Fraser made the following report, "messrs. T. Maxwell and T. Pitkin had erected a church at Upper Kangaroo Creek and had donated same to the Presbyterian Church. Since its opening some weeks ago, one of' the donors, Mr. Maxwell, an esteemed elder, had passed away". The Presbytery had passed a resolution thanking Mr. Pitkin and Mrs. Maxwell and Family for the valuable gift presented to the church and a committee of three was appointed to prepare a minute with regard to the lamented death of Mr. Maxwell. 

The descendants of tile Maxwell and Pitkin families have continued their -stewardship Of the church and congregation up to the present day. 

After the death of Thomas Maxwell, the estate was administered by his widow, sons Thomas William and Alexander until 1913 when Donald turned twenty-one. James John had been disinherited for marrying an Irish Catholic, Margaret Frances Daly. Farquhar  managed the Kangaroo Creek side and Kenneth the Nymboida side insofar as physical management was concerned, the financial administration being in the hands of' the trimvirate mentioned above, also policy about buying of stud stock etc. Tile Nymboida property included some at Chandlers Creek, Clouds Creek and Hernani. Alexander, Thomas W., George, Farquhar and Mary shared the Kangaroo Creek side, while Kenneth, Flora, Jessie, Elizabeth and Donald shared the Nymboida side. In time Mary sold her land to Farquhar and her cattle to Thomas W. 

The Nymboida property was sold to Dey Waugh and Maxwelton to George Pitkin, these transactions taking place after the death of Christina in 1926. 

Both Thomas and Christina are buried in the South Grafton (old cemetery). 

The name of Maxwell has disappeared from the Kangaroo Creek-Nymboida District, nevertheless it is certain that the spirit of the Maxwell pioneers “tread the land” in much the same way they did so many years ago. 

Source: A History of Coutts Crossing and Nymboida Districts
 


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