Alfred Hambleton Liley
C of E Minister
195. John Edward Payne
Gold Miner. Inn Keeper
702. William Payne
Died of meningitis
203. William Henry Merrick
Personality Parade Mr. W. H. Merrick
Time is not a plaything with which we can whine away, borrow on, or toss into the discard of the years and hope to recover before it is lost. Time is the past, the Spent of Life enjoyed and gone, leaving only a Minimum of memory as age increases apace and the body once pliant and vigorous with youth, has become slower in the Winter of one's days. To some people like Mr William Henry Merrick, of Glenridding Road Singleton for example, now 96 years of age, time stood still for a while when he was seized with a stroke which laid him for a few months, but it did not impair his memory of those golden days of his youth and early manhood, still less has it robbed him of his
knowledge that his years have been well spent. They were adventurous years, packed with experience and even now, as he sits on the verandah of his own home near the railway, still shows in the brightness of his eyes and in the warmth of the hand shake he gives to those who visit him. They called him "Swampy Bill" in the old days. That is his many friends did. But not even he himself can remember how it came to be he got that cognomen. He came by it honestly, the wa y he came by everything he ever had, and he was proud of it, as every man should be proud who was known as far and wide as he William Henry Merrick, with four years to go before he reaches his century, was born in the Howe's Valley in 1856, a son of Mr. and Mrs. John Merrick, settlers in that district. Sometimes he would drive into Singleton to bring in pigs for the market, at other times he would just come in to see what was happening. But not often, Bill was going on 18 when he decided to quit Howe's Valley and make his way to Queensland. He had his heart set on the cattle country where a man could be a man and not just a rousabout. And with his youthful and joyous idea he went up to Cooper's creek. Nine years of fine riding mustering cattle, branding and droving, in the saddle from the crack o' dawn to sundown working through drought and torrential rain alike, made Bill as tough as the toughest steel and brought him into manhood as fine a specimen of a man as could be found. BACK THE HARD WAY But as the years wore on Bill found himself thinking more and more of the fertile district of Howe's Valley where his home was. He began to yearn to go back. The chance came unexpectedly. His boss wanted some cattle taken, to Adelaide. Bill got the job as drover. He will remember that drive to the end of his days. When Swampy Bill Merrick led the drive with 360 head of cattle to Adelaide his instructions were to take them slowly. They were fat cattle and he had to save their weight. The drove took five months, with Bill and his men seldom out of the saddle from daylight to dusk through some sparse, pretty arid country. Armed with rifles they had no trouble with the various tribes of blacks they encountered. According to Bill, the sight of rifles had a convincing effect on even the most aggressive aboriginals. But he was glad when that terrific drive was over. As soon as he finished his business at Adelaide, he struck out for Sydney and returning to Putty, Bill married his sweetheart. Miss Catherine Manser, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Manser, of Wollombi. They were married in Singleton Church by the Rev. Dr. White, on February 18, 1886. and made their home at Howe's Valley, where they started a dairy farm. Bill and Mrs. Merrick are proud of their family. There are still living seven girls and three boys out of their original family of 12 children. The boys are Rudolph (Putty). Amos (Singleton) and Aub (Putty). The girls are Dulcie (Mrs. W. Meadows) and Wilhelnina (Mrs. Ron Merrick). both of Singleton, Phyllis (Mrs.J. Medhurst, Bulga). Muriel (Mrs. Frank Paul, Grafton), Pearl (Mrs. Colin Cobcroft), Catherine (Mrs. Hal Merrick) and Jane (Mrs. Leo Merrick), all of whom live at Putty. One boy, Claude, and their daughter Hilde brought tragedy into the family by their early passing. The Merrick's, who have a great many grandchildren. and several great-grandchildren, take it as a matter of course that they also have two great-great grandchildren. But while they may pretend to be casual about it, they are tickled pink to be great-great Grandparents. LOOKING BACK When Bill retired 10 years ago he could sit a saddle with the best of and his sharp grey eyes looking over the sight a rifle seldom knew what it was to miss the mark. He had borne a charmed life through the years, and considered himself just about one of the luckiest men in the world in his choice of a wife and the gift of his children To Mrs. Merrick, the early days of country life were hard and often lonely but there were compensations in having wonderful neighbours who helped each other and shared whatever they had when there were shortages. Both Bill and Mrs. Merrick agree, and they remember Singleton from its earliest days, that the town has not grown up as it should have done. Mrs. Merrick is quite definite about that. And who should know better than one who came into Singleton about three times a year from the days before she was married in 1886, to do her shopping. In compliment to Mrs.Merrick her age is not mentioned. But it would be true to say that she is one of the youngest and most active women for her age that one could find anywhere. No finer example of pioneer Australian womanhood could be found in any other State. And she was the mother of 12 children. How well Mr. and Mrs. Bill Merrick remember those days when, five years after they were married, they moved from Howe's Valley to Putty to continue dairy farming and stock raising from there. At Howe's Valley. Bill's mother and dad, Mr. and Mrs. John Merrick used to raise- turkeys which had to be driven into Singleton for the market, with Mr. and Mrs. Merrick senior riding in their cart behind. As for Bill and Catherine, they took to raising pigs, which also had to be driven in, or brought by cart. When they were driven it took just over a week to get them to the Singleton market. And in those days if they got £5 for a big, fat porker, they considered themselves very lucky. Usually the womenfolk used to drive into Singleton about three, or at most four times a year to buy stores and got such little knick-knacks as they .needed. They were important occasions because it gave them a chance to wear their best and meet old friends in the town Market days then were as now, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays-.Bill, who knows how to deal with snakes, was once bitten in the right calf of his leg by a black snake. Fortunately, his half-brother, the late Bill Jackson, was with him at the time. Bill Jackson cut a hole and sucked the wound clean, after which he filled the wound with tobacco from his pipe. There was no hope of getting a doctor out, so Swampy Bill had to take his chance. He was a very sick man. But he is still here today and a hearty 96 years of age. He had a charmed life in many respects. Some aboriginals up at Cooper's Creek took a shot at him and missed. They bolted when he turned his horse and went after them. Yes, Bill can remember many things. He remembers seeing Joe Governor once or twice and remembers him being killed by Mr. Wilkinson, out at Mount "So and So," Carrowbrook way. Bill said Joe was asleep when he was shot. They brought the body in and had it on view in the Caledonian Hotel. Joe, who is alleged to have murdered about five people in the district is said to have been shot from a distance of 100 yards, which would mean some pretty fine marksmanship. According to Bill some of the aboriginal tribesmen in the earlier days of the district were pretty mean killers who had to be kept off, but generally most of them behaved themselves. Bill said there was a very big aboriginal camp at Bulga when he was a boy. They used to steal some stock and worried quite a few folk roundabout, but some of them were very decent fellows. Bill went to school at Bulga and knew, quite a number of them. Yes, Bill has had a splendid life. More could be told, but Bill is a reserved and modest man, so is his kind and charming wife. They have had their diamond wedding jubilee, and Bill is out to make the Century. Let it be that we all wish it so. and he will.
Source: Singleton Argus 15 Sep 1952
OBITUARY MR. W. H. MERRICK
One of the old original settlers of the Putty district, Mr. William Henry Merrick, passed away at his residence in Glenridding Road last night at the age of 96. Mr. Merrick had been in indifferent health for the past few months. He was born at Howe's Valley but spent the greater part of his life in the Putty district where he ran a grazing property. Mr. Merrick was very active in ail the organisations and affairs of that district and was a keen sportsman with a great interest in cricket. With his wife, the late Mr Merrick retired to Singleton about eleven years ago. He is survived by his wife, Catherine, and ten members of their family of twelve. They are Wilhelmina (Mrs R. Merrick), of Singleton, Catherine (Mrs. A. Merrick) of Putty, Pearl (Mrs C. E. Cobcroft) of Putty, Dulcie (Mrs. W. A. Medhurst) of Singleton, Phyllis Muriel (Mrs. P. Paul) of Grafton, Audrey of Putty, Rudolf (Putty), and Amos (Singleton). He was predeceased by Claude and Hiltie (the late Mrs. A. E. Cobcroft). The late. Mr. Merrick also leaves 50 grandchildren. 76 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren. He will be laid to rest in a family plot at Putty after a service at Putty Church of England to-morrow afternoon. Messrs Partridge Bros, are handling the funeral arrangements.
Source: Singleton Argus 19 Dec 1952
WIFE'S ALLEGED MISCONDUCT, SYDNEY, Thursday.
Tho divorce suit in which Gordon Medhurst proceeded against his wife, Ina May Medhurst, formerly Jackson, on the ground of misconduct with William Rowland, was concluded today. Medhurst was grantod a decree nisi, and awarded £275 damages, At the first trial last year, Medhurst was granted a decree nisi and awardod £250 damages, The co-respondent appealed to tho Full Court, and a now trial was ordered. The parties to the suit are residents of Denman.
Source: The Maitland Daily Mercury 13 Mar 1930
211. Edith Jackson
Edith and Adolphus were divorced in 1911