Martha Alice Miller

#132, (3 November 1850-22 December 1921)
FatherRobert T. Miller (1805-14 Jun 1874)
MotherMary Fairclough (c 1812-7 Sep 1869)
ChartsAylott Family - descendants
Brett Family - descendants
Darby Family - descendants
Fairclough Family - descendants
Leonard Family - descendants
Wayte Family - descendants
Mike Hill - ancestors
Descendents of Richard Darby
Martha Alice Miller c1886
     (For a brief history and context on the Darby family see this page)

NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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Martha was born at 135 North Road on Sunday, 3 November 1850 at Preston, Lancashire. She was reportedly born at 2:30am.1,2 She was the daughter of Robert T. Miller and Mary Fairclough. She was baptised at St. John on Wednesday, 25 December 1850 at Preston, Lancashire.1 Martha Alice Miller also went by the name of Patty.3,4

She was recorded as living with her parents and older siblings Lizzie, Emma, Frederick and Ann in the 1851 census at 13 Great Shaw Street, Preston, Lancashire. She was recorded as being just 6 months old.5

During hard times the Miller family was a support to Cuerden Mill, especially with its school in January 1863:
"The relief generally is administered under the superintendence of Mr. Daniel Arkwright, manufacturer, of Preston, who from the first, and in consequence of his business connection with Cuerden Mill, has taken a very active and laudable part in attending to the wants of the operatives, and in carrying out the liberal measures proposed by the Messrs. Dewhurst. Mr. Robert Miller, manager at the mill, also labours most assiduously in supervising and directing the relief administered. But this is not all. About two months ago this firm decided to open an industrial school in one of the rooms of their mill-in the cloth warehouse, a light, well-ventilated place to the north-east of the establishment. It is supported by the Messrs. Dewhurst and Mr. R. Townley Parker, of Cuerden Hall. The former admit a number of their own hands; the latter gentleman, by his contributions, makes provision for several females residing more immediately in his own neighbourhood. The school is open four days a week - Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays - from nine till twelve, and from one till four. The average daily attendance is 150. Each of the temales receives 6d per day, or 2s. per week. They make shirts, chemises, petticoats, &c, for the Bamber Bridge Relief Committee. Mrs. Miller, the Misses Miller, of Cuerden, Miss Wignall, of Bamber Bridge Parsonage, and Miss Barton visit and superintend the school. When we visited it, all the females were at work. A more cheerful, busy, or contented place we never saw. No traces of distress were visible here. All were sewing away pleasantly, and everything seemed to be going on merrily. The girls were scrupulously clean, and a more rosi-faced, neatly-dressed class of females we hardly ever beheld."6




Her mother died 7 September 1869 at the approximate age of 58 years. Martha was aged 18 when this happened.7
cover from her prayer book


Patty Miller was listed as a servant in the household of James Jameson and Nancy Jameson in the 1871 census at 6 Bradshawgate, Bolton, Lancashire. She was recorded as being 20 years old. The Jameson's were the parents of her sister Eliza's husband.8 Patty Miller was a saleswoman, but on the census she was also described as a servant in the household. in 1871 at Bolton, Lancashire.8 She is thought to have had a number of suitors, one of whom was William Lever (later Lord Leverhulme). He was certainally one of her friends.9

Her father died 14 June 1874. Martha was aged 23 when this happened.10 Patty lived in August 1875 at at Cuerden Cottage in John Street, Sale, Cheshire, England.11

She married George Leonard Darby, son of John Darby and Mary Leonard, in a congregationalist ceremony at the Independent Chapel on Thursday, 5 August 1875 at Ashton upon Mersey, Sale, Cheshire. Witnesses to the wedding were Anna Margaret Breach, Jim Darby and Charles Lewis Brandreth.11,3,12 Patty, aged 25 and George Leonard Darby became the parents of Edythe Mary Darby on Sunday, 23 January 1876 at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.13,14,15,16

Patty Miller was recorded as the spouse of George Leonard Darby in the 1881 census at 132 Oxford Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. She was recorded as being 28 years old.. Also in the house was their young daughter, two boarders and a servant.14 Patty, aged 31 and George Leonard Darby became the parents of Mabelle Gertrude Darby on Friday, 23 June 1882 at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.17,18,13 Patty, aged 33 and George Leonard Darby became the parents of Elsie Florence Darby on Friday, 4 April 1884 at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. She was likely conceived just before George left England, and he proabably didn't know anything about her existence for many months..19 Patty lived in April 1884 at 103 Oxford Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.20 At least two photographs were taken of the Miller sisters, perhaps for Patty before she left for the colonies, never to return. Eliza gave an unknown person a leather-bound photograph album engraved with the date 3 November 1885 - the album still exists with many photographs from this period.
The Miller sisters (from left) - Lizzie Jamieson, Emma Breach, Patty Darby, Jennie Miller and (seated) sister-in-law Nellie(?) Miller, wife of Frederick. Probably taken as a final memento before the departure of Patty for South Australia in December 1885
(source: M. Willson)
Patty arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 9 February 1886.13

After his wife and children had finally joined him in South Australia, George placed an advertisment in the newspaper that he wished to buy a side-saddle and a honey extractor.21 In December 1892 the Darby family had a grand piano at home, as it was lent for the cause of a fundraiser to build an institute and hall for the 700 or so residents.22 On 5 December 1892 there was a visit by legislators (including an M.P.) to the Darby property at Mylor, South Australia where someone noted that George and his family had the best house in the district. There was perhaps a suggestion that this was inappropriate give George's position in the Land Office. Later that night, George and his wife and daughters contributed items to the programme of the concert in the evening.23 A suggestion that the Darbys had the best house in the district was refuted by a T. Murphy (and in a different newspaper, 'Thomas H. Winkworth') who said that Mr. Hughes had a much finer house and that the Darby House was only 2 stone rooms, like several other houses.24,25

George and Martha as well as two of their daughters took part in a concert on 24 April 1893 in aid of the Cotton Memorial Homestead Institute.26

On Sunday, 10 September 1893, Martha hosted at home "an excellent repast for between 60 and 80 juveniles" who had come to an Arbour Day event organised by the Mylor Wesleyan Chapel.27

Patty hosted a picnic on 19 January 1894:
"The Mylor Wesleyan Sunday-school picnic was held last Saturday at Holmndale [Holmesdale], the residence of the Superintendent, Mrs. George Darby. The day passed off very pleasantly with games of cricket and tennis. In the evening the parents and friends of the children assembled for the distribution of prizes by Mrs. Darby, and the Revs. H. Chester and C. T. Newman spoke encouragingly to the children. A concert, bright with song and recitation, was enjoyed by all, and a hearty vote of thanks given by the children to Mrs. Darby [who] brought the evening to a close."28,29

Patty lived in April 1894 at "Holmesdale", in Mylor, South Australia.30

Martha was recognised as being a central organiser of a benefit for the Mylor Wesleyan Church. She put together a "varied procramme, consisting of vocal and instrumental music and recitations."31

The Mylor Wesleyan Sunday - school scholars held a very successful picnic and concert on 9 March 1895. Martha is credited with being the one who brought the school together in her home and being the Superintendent.32,33 She was praised when it was acknowledged that "the nucleus of the school was originally gathered together in the private home of Mrs. Darby, who conducted it, and has since officiated as Superintendent" on 16 March 1895 at Mylor.34

Martha was The District President of the Women's Christian Temperence Union, with four Unions in the district of 120 members. She addressed the meeting, say that there was 'great scope for work in the district'.35

On 13 February 1896 Sir Fowell Buxton vistited the area and 12 year old Elsie Florence Darby was one of two girls chosen to present the Governor with a basket of apples and grapes to give to his wife.36

On 19 October 1896 Martha attended a meeting of the Women Christian Temperence Union at the Mylor Wesleyan Church, and read a paper, the treasurer's report and played the organ.37

On 26 October 1896, Martha rushed the two year old Miss Bell with a broken knee bone to the doctor in Stirling, South Australia in her buggy.38,39

In April 1897, Martha along with a Mrs. George were amoung 60 delegates who attended the Third Triennial Convention of the Women's Christian Temperence Uion in Brisbane. The first day was a day of prayer in the Albert Street Wesleyen Church.40,41,42 She attended the annual gathering of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, where she read the secretary's report and gave a presentation on "the Story of John Tregnoweth" accompanied by 16 lantern slides on 11 August 1897 at Mylor.43,44

On 13 August 1897 Martha attended the annual meeting of the Strathalbyn Women Christian Temperence Union, representing the Stirling Union. Martha sang a song and gave an account of the Australiasian Convention in Brisbane, which she had attended.45 She attended the annual social of the West Adelaide Women's Christian temperance Union and sung a solo in August 1897 at Church of Christ schoolroom in Grote Street, in Adelaide.46 She attended the ninth annual convention of the Women's Christian temperance Union and sung a solo on 15 September 1897 at Adelaide.46

Martha was appointed to be a member of the Algate Visiting Committee of the State Children's Council.47 She was appointed as a member of the Allgate Visiting Committee by the State Children's Council (a group that looked after adoptions, fostering and reformatory schools) on 9 November 1897.48



In January 1898 there was a bushfire in Mylor that affected the Darby's place. This occurred on a hot and windy day, and there were about 35 people fighting the fire, which saved the house, trap and horse. In all, about 100 acres were burned. Whilst initial reports said that fruit trees, sheds, clothing etc were destroyed, another correspondent said about a dozen fruit trees were burnt. On the contrary, the worst sufferer seemed to be a Mr. Wake who had moved some of this things to the Darby's that day.49,50

Martha Martha and a friend were seriously injured when they were thrown from a buggy in Aldgate, South Australia on their way to pick her husband George up from the train. on 28 January 1898.51



She attended the tenth annual convention of the Women's Christian temperance Union and was elected to organise agricultural shows on 10 September 1898 at Adelaide.52 She presented a report to the conference of the Womens Christian Temperence Union about the ongoing work with shearers. in September 1899 at Union Hall in Pirie Street, in Adelaide.53,54,55,56 She was, along with at least two of ther daughters and a Mrs. Phillips, a stall-holder for the sale of dolls at the jumble fair held at on 20 July 1900 at Adelaide.57

The Darby's sufferred another unsettling incident involving a horse carriage on 4 May 1902:
"SERIOUS VEHICLE ACCIDENT. Mr. G.L. Darby (chief clerk of the Woods and Forests Department), whilst driving to his home from Aldgate station on Monday evening with his daughters, met with a serious accident. The horse stopped suddenly, and in doing so broke a portion of the harness. The animal then bolted round a curve at the foot of a steep hill, throwing out all the occupants of the vehicle. Mr. Darby's ankle was broken, and he was removed to the Adelaide Hospital. His daughters received a severe shaking and abrasions."58,59



Patty Miller initiated a discussion at the Women's Christian Temperence Union annual conference that she had interviewed "nearly all of the managers of bookstalls with a view to persuading them not to sell pernicious publications". She also presented a thoughtful paper on the same subject in the following year in September 1903.60,61,62 A picture was taken of George and Patty Darby in their final years.
George and Patty Darby in their final years
(source: Tim Hill collection)


Patty and Mabelle lived in 1904 at Stanley Street, in Adelaide.63 Patty, as the mother of the bride, attended Elsie Florence Darby and James Smith's wedding at "Kiliora"(?) Stanley St. on Thursday, 22 December 1904 at North Adelaide. Elsie was 5 months pregnant when she married; the effect of this on Elsie's strict Wesleyen Methodist mother isn't known however it is notable that Elsie and James married at Elsie's parent's home and not the Congregational church that her sisters were married in.. James was a clerk.64 Patty provided information for the birth of Margery Jean Smith, on 31 March 1907 at MacKinnon Parade in McDonald Ward, in Adelaide, at the age of 56.65

On 21 January 1908, a large fire at Mylor threatened the Darby home, but a number of fire fighters come to the property and it was saved by back-burning. Ultimately, only a few fence-posts were burned.66,67

Again, in February 1912 the district faced serious fires and residents worked hard to stop the town being overwhelmed.68 Patty lived on 22 October 1913 at 'Holmesdale', in Mylor, South Australia.69

Patty arranged a newspaper a memorial to her sister Emma on 15 September 1914:
"BREACH.-In fond memory of Emma, beloved wife of J. C. Breach, Southport, third daughter of the late R. T. Miller, manufacturer, Preston, England.

Oh, not forgotten, but passed before,
Where love is perfect and rest is sure.


-Inserted by her loving sister M. A. Darby. Holmesdale. Mylor. Will "Preston Guardian" please COPY?"70,71

A picture was taken of Heba and Margery Smith, their parents and their grandmother.
Marjorie and Heba Smith, James Smith and Elsie Darby, Martha Miller c1915
(source: Mrs. M. Willson)
She presumably lived with her spouse George at at Werneth House in the Adelaide suburb of Malvern in July 1920. The house had the same name as a house in Romiley, Cheshire, owned by Charles Richardson (Patty's brother-in-law.)72

Patty died on 22 December 1921 at at Home for Incurables in the Adelaide suburb of Fullarton at age 71 of senile decay.73,4 Her body was interred at North Road cemetery at the Adelaide suburb of Medindie Gardens.74

Family

George Leonard Darby (c 1850-3 Jul 1926)
Children

Citations

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  2. [S228] General Register Office, England - Birth Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Births 1850, Preston district, Preston sub-district, No.499.
  3. [S527] The Manchester Times, 14 August 1875 (issue 917).
  4. [S458] The Register (Adelaide), 23 Dec. 1921 p.6.
  5. [S392] National Census for England, 1851 (online image) Parish of Preston, Ecclesiastical District of Holy Trinity Church, Borough of Preston p.488.
  6. [S538] The Preston Chronicle, 'The Distress' 24 Jan 1863 p.6.
  7. [S400] General Register Office, England - Death Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Deaths Chorlton Registration District, 1869, Sep Qtr., Vol.8c, p.460.
  8. [S412] National Census for England, 1871 (online image) Civil Parish of Great Bolton, registration district of Bolton, sub district of Bolton Eastern, peice 3940, folio 147 p.22.
  9. [S536] Letter from Mavis 'Patti' Willson to Tim Hill, 15 Feb 2012.
  10. [S400] General Register Office, England - Death Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Deaths Preston Registration District, 1874, Jun Qtr., Vol.8e, p.442.
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