Forgotten tales

stories of my family

John Holdorf. 1828-1898

Article by Nigel Johns, reprinted with permission (slightly edited). This article represents a huge amount of research and is extensively referenced. Thank you Nigel for allowing me to publish this interesting overview of John’s life.

Johann Holtorf was born on the 6th April 1828 to Claus Holtorf (1791-1874) and Margarethe Köhnke (1789-1835) in Bimöhlen, Duchy of Holstein, then part of Denmark, but later annexed to Germany. Johann (John) was one of ten children. Five were full siblings and four of them half-siblings. His mother died in 1835 when John was 7. His father married Elsabe Lentfer in 1837 and they had four more children. At the time of Johann’s birth Holstein was under the control of Denmark. Claus was a shoemaker and timber warden. (1)

Migration to Sydney
On the 3 November 1856 a 28 year old Johann Holtorf sailed from Hamburg on the sailing ship Steinwarder. Johann is recorded on the passenger list as Joh. Oldorf, aged 28, landmann (farmer) of Bramstedt, Holstein. The ship arrived in Sydney on the 25th March 1857. He changed his name to John Holdorf and became a naturalised British subject on the 19th December 1861. His naturalisation papers record that he was born in Saegeberg in the Duchy of Holstein and arrived in 1857 on the Steinwarder.(1,3)

After John arrived in Sydney he was employed as a travelling salesman.(1)

About 1864 John Holdorf joined the Masons and remained a Freemason until his death. It appears John was a protestant and was buried in a Church of England Cemetery.

Marriage to Caroline Fischer
On the 11th February 1868 John Holdorf married Caroline Victoria Fischer at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Sydney. John was 39 years old at the time of his wedding had been living in Sydney for nearly eleven years. Caroline was 18 years younger at 21. Caroline was also an emigrant from Germany, but from Bavaria in the south. She had come to Australia as an 8 year old with her parents and brothers, arriving a year or so before Johann.

John and Caroline had eleven children. They were Charles John (1869–1954), Victoria Annie Mary (1870–1938), Margaretta (1872–1949), Ernest Albert (1873–1875), Minnie Cecilia (1875–1942), Leopold (1876–1952), Caroline Ester (1878–1879), Adeline Priscilla (1879–1950), Lewis William (1881–1943), Gertrude Augusta (1883–1965) and Holda Mildred (1887–1957).

On the 11th March 1869 John and Caroline’s first child was born in Sydney. They named him Charles John. On the 8th September 1870 their second child, a daughter, was born in Sydney. They named her Victoria Anne Mary. After the birth of Victoria on the 8th September 1870 the family moved to Goulburn. One of his obituaries records he started a business in Goulburn in 1870. (5) On the 23rd March 1872 their next daughter was born in Goulburn. They named her Margaretta.

Hawker
On the 2nd February 1872 John was granted a Hawker’s License by the police magistrate in Goulburn. (5) On the 1st April 1874 John renewed his hawkers license in Goulburn. (6) He applied for a hawker’s license for a pack-horse and cart on the 2 September 1884 which was granted by the Court. (7,8)

General storekeeper
On the 8th November 1881 John purchased property in Auburn Street, North Goulburn that had a 33 feet frontage at £5 per foot. He became a general storekeeper in Goulburn. His shop was the European Store in the Mandelson’s Buildings in Sloane Street, Goulburn. He ran advertisements in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post in 1881.

Business troubles
On the 13th September 1887 Starkey and Taylor Chartered Accountants advertised for claims against the assigned estate of John Holdorf. (9) On the 22nd September 1887 John Holdorf signed an Indenture of Assignment with James Robinson Love (wholesale grocer), Thomas Slocombe (wholesale grocer) and various other creditors. All the real and personal estate of John was effectively signed over to his trustees. (10)

In 1887 two building allotments that were the assigned estate of John Holdorf were advertised for sale by auction. One was in Auburn Street, Goulburn close to Auburn Terrace. It was 33 feet wide by 126 feet deep. A lane ran at the rear to Bradley Street. It was allotment 1 of section 25.
The second property was in Grafton Street, Goulburn. It was 33 feet wide and 165 feet deep with a lane at the rear. It was next to Mr Morgan’s, North Goulburn. It was allotment 9 of subdivision of allotments 1, 2 and 3 of section 37. Both properties were advertised for sale by auction at 11:00am on the 29th September 1887. The terms were one fourth cash with the balance paid on the execution of the conveyance. (11,12) It appears that the Grafton Street property did not sell. On the 28th August 1890 it was one again offered for auction. (13) On the 26th September 1887 the whole of the stock from John’s stores in Auburn Street, Goulburn was to be sold by public auction. The stock included grocery, drapery, ironmongery and crockery. The fixtures, counters, gas fittings, large weighing machines were also to be auctioned. Everything was to be sold without reserve and the auction was to continue each day until the whole stock was cleared. (14)

New stores
By 1893 John owned a store near the corner of Clifford and Cowper Streets, Goulburn. (15)
John’s business prospered and on the 23rd March 1895 he was compelled to move to new premises. He moved his shop to the stores formerly occupied by Mr O’Leary in Auburn Street, Goulburn. (16)

Masonic Lodge
John was a member of the Masonic fraternity. He was a Past Master of the Australia Lodge. (5) On the 6th November 1888 John was installed as the Worshipful Master of the Goulbourn Lodge of Australia in the Masonic Lodge Room, Belmore Square. (17) On the 19th November 1895 John was one of many newly appointed officers in the Lodge of Australia No. 56. John was installed as the Chaplain. His son Charles was one of the soloists that sang at the installation. (18)

On the 3rd March 1899 a marble memorial tablet and a life size photograph of John Holdorf was unveiled in the Goulburn Masonic Hall. The unveiling took place before 80 bretheren form the Lodge of Australia, Duke of Edinburgh Lodge and the Royal Arch Chapter. The tablet was made by monumental mason James Turner. The photograph was taken in Elite Studios. Several speeches were made which revealed John Holdorf had been a member for 21 years. John had been involved with the lodge when it was not as prospersous as it was in 1899. They referred to John’s good qualities as a citizen and mason that included his unselfishness, deep sense of honour and integrity. Charles Holdorf was present and described as holding a high position in the order. (19)

Politics
In January 1885 John was nominated as a candidate for alderman in the South Ward of Goulburn Council. (20,21) His opponent for the position was Edward Gillespie. The election was held on the 6th February 1885. The polling place for the South Ward was the store of Joseph Smith at the corner of Clinton and Auburn streets. (22) In May of 1885 John was engaged in some local political turmoil. Mr W.J. Foster appeared on behalf of John Holdorf, Edward Ball, and Joseph Marshall in Court against the Mayor of Goulburn, Edward Gillespie. They alleged that the Mayor was involved in some irregularieties on the polling day. The action failed on a technicality. (23)

On the 9th June 1888 John served on the jury at Goulburn District Court. The matter involved a group of people who had brought an action against the Mayor and Corporation of Goulburn for negligence. The jury found in favour of the plantiffs. (24)

In April 1891 John made application to the Goulburn District Court to plead in a case that had been brought against him by the Picturesque Atlas Company. A verdict had been given against John by default. The application was not granted. (25)

Death
John Holdorf died on the 19th August 1898 in Goulburn of either influenza or bronchitis and asthma. At the time of his death he was living in Auburn Street Goulburn. (26,27) His funeral was held on the 21st August 1898. (28)

Caroline Holdorf and Louis Mandelson were the executor’s of John’s estate. E.W. Johnson of Johnson, Minter, Simpson and Co. Of Sydney were their lawyers. On the 30th August 1898 they advertised in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post that in 14 days they would be applying for probate on the will in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. (29)

Probate was granted on the 29th September 1898 in the Probate Court for John Holdorf. (30)
On the 6th October 1898 probate was granted on John Holdorf’s estate. (31)

After John died Caroline moved to Sydney.

References

  1. HOLFORD, David (2013-2015). Forgotten Tales [online]. Available from:
    https://holfiesfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 8/04/2015].
  2. State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood New South Wales, Australia; Persons on bounty ships to Sydney, Newcastle, and Moreton Bay (Board’s Immigrant Lists); Series: 5317; Reel: 2469; Item: [4/4945]. Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
  3. State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; Series: Certificates of Naturalization, 1849-1874; Series Number: NRS 1039; Roll: 2693. Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Naturalization, 1849-1903 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Original data: New South Wales Government. Certificates of Naturalization. NRS 1039. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. New South Wales Government. Registers of Certificates of Naturalization. NRS 1040. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.
    New South Wales Government. Lists of Aliens to whom Certificates of Naturalization have been issued. NRS 1041. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.
  4. 1873 ‘ITEMS OF NEWS.’, Wagga Wagga Advertiser and Riverine Reporter (NSW : 1868 – 1875), 18 January, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104118936
  5. 1872 ‘FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2.’, The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (NSW : 1864 – 1881), 3 February, p. 4, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101096285
  6. 1874 ‘GOULBURN POLICE COURT.’, The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (NSW : 1864 – 1881), 4 April, p. 4, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article100844268
  7. 1884 ‘Goulburn Police Court. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2.’, Southern Argus (Goulburn, NSW : 1881 – 1885), 4 September, p. 2, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101906186
  8. 1884 ‘To-Day’s Police Court.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 2 September, p. 2, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98435373
  9. 1887 ‘Advertising.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 13 September, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13645989
  10. 1887 ‘Advertising.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 23 September, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13654145
  11. 1887 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 27 September, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98472948
  12. 1887 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 17 September, p. 5, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98466759
  13. 1890 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 26 August, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102822593
  14. 1887 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 22 September, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98465065
  15. 1893 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 16 September, p. 3, viewed 14 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98534073
  16. 1895 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 21 March, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98553157
  17. 1888 ‘Masonic Installation.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 8 November, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98454512
  18. 1895 ‘Masonic.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 21 November, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98546160
  19. 1899 ‘A Masonic Memorial Tablet and Photo.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 4 March, p. 2, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98683728
  20. 1885 ‘SUBURBAN and COUNTRY MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 4 February, p. 7, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13573923
  21. 1885 ‘MUNICIPAL NOMINATIONS.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 27 January, p. 2, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98438227
  22. 1885 ‘Advertising.’, Southern Argus (Goulburn, NSW : 1881 – 1885), 5 February, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109766987
  23. 1885 ‘The Action against the Mayor.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 16 May, p. 4, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98443244
  24. 1888 ‘DISTRICT COURT.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 12 June, p. 4, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98453564
  25. 1891 ‘GOULBURN DISTRICT COURT.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 4 April, p. 4, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98534818
  26. 1898 ‘Death of Mr. Holdorf.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 20 August, p. 4, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98673692
  27. 1898 ‘BREVITIES.’, Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), 19 August, p. 5, viewed 10 April, 2015,
    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113247978
  28. 1898 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 20 August, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98673698
  29. 1898 ‘Advertising.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 30 August, p. 3, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98671269
  30. 1898 ‘IN PROBATE.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 5 October, p. 7, viewed 10 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14146794
  31. 1898 ‘The Matter of Self-Defence.’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 – 1940), 6 October, p. 4, viewed 11 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98677640
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