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The eldest son of Enoch Pearson Barratt and Mary Ann Fleming, my Great x 3 Grandfather was born on 8 October 1845 at 5 Bell Lane in Deptford (Kent) in England. He was christened on 11 January 1846 in St James Hatcham Church in Lewisham (Middlesex).
He spent the early part of his childhood living in Deptford (Kent) and in 1851 he was residing with his father, mother and two sisters at 25 Grove Lane. That same year his father, Enoch was convicted of receiving stolen goods and was sentenced to ten years transportation. James bid his father goodbye in May 1852 and would not see him until two years later when on 23 March 1854, James, his mother and his sisters arrived in Fremantle as immigrants after travelling on the ship “Victory”.
James grew up during the early years of the Perth colony. The family lived on Murray Street and it was here that his father began growing and selling plants and effectively starting the first nursery in Western Australia. Surrounded by the nursery during his youth, it was only natural that James would grow up with intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the family business.
On 25 December 1868 at the age of 23, James married Frances Elizabeth Digby in the Wesley Church in Perth. Frances was 21 years old at the time and was originally from Tasmania. Like James, she was the child of a convict.
James and Frances went on to have nine children: Florence Mary Barratt (1869), Edward James Barratt (1871 – my Great x 2 Grandfather), Albert William Barratt (1872), George Frederick Barratt (1874), Harriet May Barratt (1876), Frederick Walter Bailey Barratt (1878), George Herbert Barratt (1881), Frank Arthur Barratt (1883) and Edith Rose Barratt (1885). Unfortunately one of their children was not to live past infancy. George Frederick Barratt passed away when he was only eight months old and was buried in the East Perth Cemetery.
The nursery became known as Wellington Nursery and James worked with Enoch and helped him to run it. He eventually took to running it exclusively and the business flourished under his management. Regular advertisements (such as the one below) were often placed in the newspapers of the day and advised the public of the various plants the nursery had in stock.
Following the tradition of the family, James’ eldest sons, Edward and Albert went on to work in the nursery.
James would have found the early 1890s to be marred with sadness when his wife, Frances passed away on 5 July 1891. She was laid to rest in the Barratt family plot in East Perth Cemetery. Four years later in 1895, continuing ill health resulted in James’ decision to retire from running the Wellington Nursery. The business went on and was conducted by his sons, Edward and Albert. They began trading as Jas. E. Barratt & Sons.
In 1896, James was 51 when he married for the second time. His second wife, Emily Jenkins was nearly 20 years his junior. They had one child together, a daughter named Adelaide Pearson Barratt who was born in 1898.
He was living at 85 Hay Street in West Perth in 1903 but by 1906 he was residing in Osborne Park. His occupation was listed as a florist. It was in Osborne Park that he remained until his death on 13 April 1906. He was buried five days later in the Wesleyan section of the Karrakatta Cemetery. I have visited the plot where his remains are said to be buried however despite looking in the correct area, there is no headstone in place. There is however a headstone for his youngest daughter, Adelaide and I assume that either his headstone was removed or he never originally had one.
His memory however was never forgotten in the years following his death. His children placed many pieces in The West Australian in memory of their father and give insight as to how much they loved and missed him.
- Ancestry.com.au – FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 [database on-line].
- Ancestry.com.au – London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James, Hatcham, Register of baptisms, P75/JS1, Item 040.
- Ancestry.com.au – 1851 England Census [database on-line].
- Ancestry.com.au – Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954 [database on-line].
- Western Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages database – http://www.bdm.dotag.wa.gov.au/
- The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News – Friday, 31 March 1854 (page 2). http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home
- The Western Australian Times – Friday, 6 June 1879 (page 6) – http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home
- The West Australian – Thursday, 5 September 1895 (page 5) – http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home
- The West Australian – Wednesday, 18 April 1906 (page 9) – http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home
- The West Australian – Saturday, 13 April 1907 (page 1) – http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home
- Metropolitan Cemeteries Board database – http://www.mcb.wa.gov.au/default.php