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Thursday, March 19, 2015 Mary Mann's father Sam Young from Canton - following his life in Australia

Sam Young               Sam Ping           Sam Yeun            Sam Sing   

About the only thing that can be confirmed about Sam is that he came from Canton in China, along with the thousands of other Chinese who emigrated in the mid 1800's and became the workers in countries all over the world, often lured by the gold.

Without their skills at growing produce many people would have suffered from the lack of fresh food.  Chinese market gardens sprung up everywhere they settled.  Traditionally they sent money back to China for their families.  The network of conducting those transactions in those days would have been built on trust.

In one instance in 1856 a ship arrived in Sydney with 321 Chinese in 3rd class, their names were not recorded on passenger logs.  Transcription to English would have resulted in so much mis-information.

Shanghai is a huge city with over 18 million residents.  The city boasts a strong influence of Victorian architecture in the buildings along the riverbank in an area called The Bund.  There is one building that looks just like Brisbane City Hall in Queensland.


        Sam in Chinese

桑 - pronunciation (PinYin) : sāng  


Yang is the transcription of the Chinese family name 楊 / 杨. It is the sixth most common surname in Mainland China. As well as unpopular and lesser-known descendant of Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) according genealogy.

The Yang surname members adopted many local sounding and customizable western style or another language beside Mandarin Chinese last names with even neutralization name and changes rapidly through generations, but some still preserved Mandarin Chinese character name as secondary name beside the legal name, and appear a lot in some countries likes Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, etc

Yang (Mandarin)
Yeung, Yeong, Young, Ieong (Cantonese)
Yong (Cantonese)
Yeo, Yeoh, Yiu; Njoo, Nyoo, Ngeo (Hokkien)
Yeo, Yeoh (Teochew)
Yang (Korean)

The early history of Chinese Australians had involved significant immigration from villages of the Pearl River Delta in Southern China. Less well known are the kind of society Chinese Australians came from, the families they left behind and what their intentions were in coming.

Many Chinese were lured to Australia by the gold rush. (Since the mid-19th century, Australia was dubbed the New Gold Mountain after the Gold Mountain of California in North America.) They sent money to their families in the villages, and regularly visited their families and retired to the village after many years, working as a market gardener, shopkeeper or cabinet maker.

As with many overseas Chinese groups the world over, early Chinese immigrants to Australia established Chinatowns in several major cities, such as Sydney (Chinatown, Sydney), Brisbane (Chinatown, Brisbane) and Melbourne (Chinatown, Melbourne).

Ellen and Sam

It is not known how Ellen met Sam, the most logical would be something to do with his being in the same area in Toowoomba as she was, as previously written about.

Nothing is known of what Sam died between arrival in Sydney and his arrival in Toowoomba.  Did he have another family in Sydney, where did he work?, was he involved in the gold mining? or tin mining?  Did he maintain close relationships with other members of his family, that seems highly likely.

By 1865 Sam and Ellen are together, and their daughter Mary born in 1866 was the result.
They indicated on the birth certificates of each of the 3 eldest children that they had married on 15th January 1864.  Perhaps Sam choose the 15th for its Chinese meaning.

The keyword is ‘Spirited’ because these 15 Day people have a lot of ‘spunk’.  They keep their private lives totally private and don’t enjoy intrusion or publicity.  They are very discreet and prefer to stay out of the limelight.

Home and family mean a great deal to the loving 15 Day person and they enjoy the security of a settled family life and the need to feel the frequent expression of their partner’s love.  The more aloof they seem, the more they are in need of affection.

15 Day People are an interesting mixture because of the independence of 1, the freedom-loving, receptive quality of the 5, mixed with the harmony-seeking energies of the 6.  This creates quite a complex, but gentle and loving vibration.

They are independent people who can be quite rebellious at times.  They can give the impression that they are extremely tough individuals  -  but in reality they can be very sensitive, vulnerable and soft, loving people on the inside.  They don't allow others to get too close until they trust you, but it is worth the effort because 15's are very loyal, faithful, caring friends.

The keyword related to the number 15 is 'spirited', because 15 Day people have a lot of drive.  They keep their private lives to themselves, and certainly do not appreciate intrusion or publicity.  They are very discreet and prefer to stay out of the limelight.

Home, family and domestic situations mean the most to 15 Day number people, and this loving energy needs the security of a settled family life.  They also need to feel, see and hear the frequent expression of their partner's love and support.

After Ellen's death Sam moved from Roma and ended up in Rockhampton.  

From then on following his life is determined by the number of newspaper articles that have been written about him.

In 1877

During 1877 he kept company with a Mrs Williamson both in Cleremont and in Rockhampton.
He also was declared bankrupt and he spent 12 month in jail, for breaching the provisions of the bankruptcy laws.  He offloaded goods to others around him.

Could you just imagine presenting his evidence, no paperwork, no books, nothing to confirm whether he pocketed the monies, or the gold, just that he didn't pay his bills.  Perhaps he lost that on the gambling tables!

But Mrs Williamson, from her reports, never shared a house with him, however later reports in the paper indicate that people had in fact paid monies to Mrs Williamson, or as they knew her Mrs Young.

Cleremont in those times

By the time Copperfield was declining, Clermont was in the middle of a short lived gold boom. During the 1880s, between 2000 and 7000 ounces of alluvial gold was being produced each year, in 1897 this rose to 22,000 ounces, and in 1898, 31,000 ounces.

In the 1880s up to 4000 Chinese people were resident in Clermont, mining for gold and copper.
This led to riots and the Chinese were forcibly removed from the region in 1888. Clermont was changing from a shanty town into a settled centre of business.

A rail link from Rockhampton via Emerald had finally been completed in 1884 to transport wool and coal from the surrounding district and the main street, Drummond Street, boasted five hotels.

As well, there were two sawmills; three saddlers; and a local newspaper, the Peak Downs Telegram and Copperfield Miner, thirty children attended the school. A bridge over the Lagoon led south to higher ground where the school, post office, town hall, court house and police station were situated.

Clermont had a huge flood in 1916, and the local people got their priorities right, they moved the pub!


To be in Cleremont in 1878, he must have left the children behind in Roma, as there is no mention of them at all.

Catherine married in September 1880 in the Banana shire, her husband was a shearer.  They could have lived anywhere.

Biloela is one of the major towns in the area today with coal the export.

Banana Shire, an area of 28,577 sq km, is generally 130 km south-west of Gladstone. It includes the Callide and Dawson Valleys and their associated coalfields, together with about two-thirds of the former Taroom Shire which was added to it in 2008.  

Pastoral occupation began in the 1850s, various runs including the Banana pastoral holding (1855). The holding was under Leith Hays who a couple of years before had the nearby Rannes holding. Hays used an old dun-coloured bullock named 'Banana' at Rannes to decoy wild cattle into a holding area.

Banana, at the intersection of the Dawson and Leichhardt Highways, was chosen as the region's township in 1862. A court of petty sessions and a police lock-up were installed within a year. The Banana local government division (1880) and the subsequent shire were headquartered in Banana until 1930. The shire hall, a simple gabled structure (1906) was physically moved when the headquarters were transferred to Rannes where it remained until 1944. By then there had been extraordinary agricultural development in the shire.                                    

In 1879 Sam is back in Rockhampton.  He marries Annie Cogndon.  

She is 16 years old and her parents were at the mine in Copperfield.  Perhaps he met her at his store in Cleremont.  He and Annie married at his house, on 9th December 1879.

The witnesses were King Yeen and Margaret Matthews.  Then on the 11st December 1879, Sam and Annie are witnesses at the wedding of King Yeen and Margaret Matthews.

Keen Yeen was a very successful businessman in Rockhampton.  His first wife died in 1872, aged 29, and he and Sam were often discussed in items in the newspaper.  He became an interpreter for the Police, and at times so did King Yeen.

Then in 1884 he opened a store in Springsure.  

But he couldn't stay out of trouble for long, this time for gambling.  He must have been respected by the local police due to the work he did for the courts in relation to interpreting for them.  They often asked his advice and whether he could understand the language spoken by those who had been arrested.

By 1891 his life with Annie was over.

He placed some advertisements in the local newspaper, advising that he was to get married again, and as she had left 3 months ago he wouldn't pay any of her debts.

 So he proceeded to marry Katherine Hennessy.  She was another Irish lady, who arrived in Australia in 1886.  Perhaps she answered an advertisement for someone to be a house keeper and travelled to Rockhampton.  But by 1891, Sam's intention may be that he had fathered another child.

Katherine (Catherine) had a daughter Agnes born 1890 and then a son William Edward born in 1892.

On 11th November, 1893 Sam marries Katherine.  As Annie was still alive the marriage was bigamous.

But things must have been desperate for Annie because in 1898 she was found dead in the Fitzroy River.

The Chinese also operated in the Peak Downs area.

Sam seemed to be involved in all sorts of business activities, legal or otherwise.

 Perhaps he was like another well known Chinese business man of the day.

Jimmy Ah Foo and his wife

Jimmy Ah Foo (or Affoo) was born in the Guangzhou district of China around 1843. It is unknown when or why he came to Queensland, but by the 1860s he was the proprietor of a boarding house and market garden in the central Queensland town of Springsure. In 1866, at the age of 23, he made a trip to Rockhampton and married Evelina Vessey, a 16 year old girl from Lincolnshire, England.

The couple settled back in Springsure, continuing the boarding house and starting a family. In the 1873 they were lured to the goldfields of Charters Towers and the Palmer River, where they ran hotels, including the Canton Hotel in Cooktown. In 1877, as the Palmer entered a decline, they returned to their home in Springsure, running the Post Office Hotel, followed by the Carriers' Arms, and finally the Springsure Hotel. With the wealth gained from the goldfields, they were also able to acquire a farm.

When Springsure entered a period of stagnation in the late 1880s, the family moved further inland, following business opportunities along the route of the Central Railway Line as it was progressively extended from Rockhampton. They resided first at Barcaldine, building another Springsure Hotel, and then Longreach, where they erected the large two storey Federal Hotel. By the 1890s Jimmy and Evelina had a family of thirteen children, who were all highly musical and formed the Affoo Family Bands, which toured the district providing musical entertainment as well as playing in the dancehall attached to the hotel.

Jimmy himself had emerged as a popular local identity. He was among the minority of Chinese who was a naturalized British subject, and therefore could, and did, take out farming selections and bought freehold land. Although he was a patron and supporter of the local Chinese community, his ambitions were firmly fixed on forging a life for himself and his family in Queensland.

When old age approached Jimmy did not return to China. After a brief and disastrous hotel venture in Rockhampton in 1899, Jimmy and Evelina retired back to Barcaldine to run a small store and garden. In 1916, Jimmy, now in poor health, expressed a desire to end his days in Longreach. One final time the family shifted, travelling by rail with all their furniture and belongings.

Jimmy died in Longreach soon afterwards. Both he and Evelina, who died in 1918, are buried in the local cemetery.
The children they left behind embarked on varied careers of their own. Although their Chinese ancestry meant they felt the effects of racism and discrimination, they all became well respected members of the local community.

Some of the children married into wealthy grazier or business families and became leading members of the social elite. Two daughters and a son played prominent roles as pioneers of picture cinemas in rural Queensland, while others settled into lives centred on the shearing and pastoral industries, restaurant keeping, domestic service, dress making or music teaching. 

Trying to track families of Chinese in Queensland in the late 1800's is almost impossible.  The transcription of names, so many different possibilities of Anglicisation.  But one thing that                remained the same with Sam is his use of the name Sam Young.

Then the discovery while researching nearly knocked me for six!

It involved a story regarding the Exhumation - The Final Jouney - Yung Sin and Yung Doong, and was presented to the China Inc. Conference in February 2014 in Cairns.

If you are unfamiliar with Chinese customs, it was ususal to return the dead to China, so they could lie among their fathers.  In New Zealand, it was suspected that relatives and friends sent gold with the corpse.  Chinese have very large family networks.  It would not be uncommon to expect that when they came to Australia that network of family remained, and members all travelled together.

In one report of a boat arriving in Sydney, it contained over 300 Chinese in steerage, and passenger lists were not provided for those in steerage.

Yung Sin (William Young-Sing) was born in Canton around 1827.  He died 6th June 1886 in Jericho in Queensland.  His father was William Young Sing and mother Tong Jony Moy according to the death certificate.   That would not have been his father's Chinese name, but it was how his family recorded the information at his death.

He apparently arrived in Sydney around 1856.  He married Emma Mann.

My immediate thought was that Emma Mann must have fitted into our family. Her death certificate indicates her mother being Mary Brennan, but that might be a mistake made at the time of her death, as her father remarried after the death of her mother. It seems her mother was Mary Lyons.

William and Emma had 5 children, and it appears he was a successful Chinese merchant in the Rocks area of Sydney.  This article is 1865.

There is one thing that is a strong Chinese tradition it is that once they have your trust, you are a friend for life, something that many of my Chinese clients proved to me.

From Sydney William and Emma travel to Queensland and to the new Crocodile Creek gold diggings south of Rockhampton.  From there he also had hotel, the Traveller's Rest in Emerald, and several others on various gold fields, Bogantungan, and Pine Hill.

Eventually they settled at Jericho.  While all these towns and places once thrived, today they are often nothing more than a drive-by along the highway.

The major town in the region is Emerald.  The gold mines are no more, black gold, or coal is mined today.

 William and Emma lived in Jericho with their children.  William died in 1886, and was buried at the Jericho cemetery.

Then in 1890, a Yung Doong, who was a Chinese storekeeper in Barcaldine applied for a licence to exhume William's body, so that it could be returned to China.
 His wife Emma died in 1921.

Yung Doong was known to the Young-Sing family, as reported in several stories in early newspapers.

Then in 1900, Yung Doong died at Barcaldine.  He had operated a shop for many years, and Barcaldine was on the railway line.    His death certificate listed his father as Young Cong and his mother Lizzie Lee Gue, with a brother called Young Chow.

From Trove;

  The funeral of the late Young Doong took place on Tuesday last, at three o'clock is the afternoon. Headed by the Barcaldine brass band (to whose funds the sum of four guineas had been donated by friends of the deceased for their services) the cortege left the business place of the deceased, in Oak-Street, and proceeded to the cemetery, the band playing the "Dead March in Saul." 

 There were five vehicles containing many prominent Chinese residents following that which carried the remains, and a body of countrymen of the deceased followed on foot. Every sign of respect was shown by the townspeople as the procession made its way along the main street, the tradesmen closing  the doors of their business places. 

A good number of the general public went down to the burial ground in the expectancy of seeing the funeral ceremony con ducted according to Chinese rites, but the ardour of their curiosity was doomed to disappointment. At the sophistry near the entrance the cortege was met by the Rev. M. Webster who held the usual service over the remains. Then the coffin was borne to the grave, where the last sad rites were given.

 Beside the grave a small fire had been kindled, and sweet-scented woods, or prayer-sticks consumed therein. After the coffin had been lowered into the grave, each of the Chinese mourners threw in a handful of earth together with the piece of crepe they had worn round their hats. It is understood that, in accordance with Chinese custom, after a few days have elapsed a quantity of food will be placedupon the grave, in order to sustain the deceased in his journey to the celestial regions.

 His grave records are Doang Young Plot 168 Barcaldine Cemetery

Next his brother applies for probate of his affairs, as he died intestate. But also applying for probate was Doong Young's "brother" Sam Young.  However a correction was made in the newspaper and the correct relationship was that Sam was his uncle.

Sam Young also helped the Barcaldine police as an interpreter. Finally the estate was apportioned between the two.  The business became known as Young Chow and Co and traded.

They were bakers and storekeepers in 1901 they were involved in litigation against Thomas Ang Wong for unpaid accounts.

Balcaldine Storekeepers.

Co., Kwong Wah Goon, Young Chow & Co.
CORDIAL MAKERS— M. O'Connor, J. Lynch
TAURANTS— Ingham & Roberts, Mrs. A. Con-
nolly, W. Plumb, T. Ah Sue, J. Aftoo, Miss E.

It puzzled me that there were no records for Sam Young on the census in any town.
Until another researcher reminded me of the White Australia policy, and the fact that Chinese were not regarded as citizens.

So Sam is in Barcaldine the shop is in Oakes Street Barcaldine.  Around 1908 Catherine's daughter is also living in Oakes Street Barcaldine.  Wonder if she knew he was her grandfather?

In 1909 there was a massive fire in Barcaldine and the shops destroyed.

There is a grave at Barcaldine for a Bid Young born in Canton China  Plot 316 Death 1st June 1911.

From the census records, Catherine Young was living in Halifax from 1908 to 1918.

Ladies in Halifax early 1900's

 Katherine died on 26 July 1918 in the Innisfail hospital from chronic alcholism and pneumonia.

She was buried at the Innisfail cemetery.

Sam reverted to his past habits, and with so much sugar, sly grog was popular.

. He died on 2th October 1931, of senility and bronchitis and was buried at the Innisfail cemetery.

Certainly an interesting life that this g.g. grandfather led!  

Married to two Irish ladies, one English, and goodness knows how many others, apart from the respectable Mrs Williamson.

Of the two children, Agnes Hennessy and William Hennesy, it is impossible to assign any research.

They may have stayed Queensland, or travelled, they were both alive in 1918.

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