Ellen Teague (1850-1898)

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Ellen Teague
Thomas brown turner & family
Sex: Female
Birth: 03/11/1850, Reedy Creek, South Australia, Australia
Death: 29/07/1898, Crystal Brook, South Australia
Father: Thomas Teague
Mother: Christiana Jewell
Spouse/Partner: Thomas Brown Turner
Marriage: 20/10/1872, Penfield, South Australia

Ellen Teague was born in 1850 at Reedy Creek, which is near the township of Palmer in South Australia. Her father was engaged in mining at the Kiticoola mine that was located near Reedy Creek. She was the third of nine girls that were to be born to her parents.

When Ellen was 4 years old, her family moved to Smith Creek for awhile, and eventually settled in Peachy Belt (or Penfield as it was later known) in approxiamtely 1857. Being a miner, her father was absent for some of her childhood as he visited the goldmines in California at some point. It was at Penfield that her mother Christiana died aged 39, only 5 months after her youngest sister was born. Ellen was only 13 when this happened.

Her father married again a year later to Elizabeth Turner (nee Rowe). Elizabeth brought with her to the marriage three male children from her previous marriage - Thomas Brown Turner, William and James, who became Ellen's step-brothers. Elizabeth gave birth to five more children who became Ellen's half brothers and sisters - John, Elizabeth, Martin, Julihannah and Thomas Henry. Because Ellen's mother had been unable to produce living male children, it is said that the daughters of the first marriage were treated cruelly as a result.


In 1868, Ellen became pregnant with Thomas Brown Turner'schild. Thomas was one of the 3 sons of her step-mother, Elizabeth, and because both parties were not married and under-age, the pregnancy appears to have caused some scandal. Consequently, when the child was born in 1869, he went under the name of ‘Thomas Teague’ for the first few years of his life. When Thomas Brownand Ellen turned 21 in 1872, they were officially married in the home at Penfield, with Samuel Hall (local farmer) and Julia Teague (sister to Ellen) as witnesses, and James Ashton as officiating minister. It appear that Thomas Brownand Ellen then set up home in the Gawler River / Gawler Plains district for the next few years, as they returned the favour to their witnesses, Samuel and Julia, becoming the witnesses at their marriage in 1874.

Turner teague marriage cert

Marriage certificate of Ellen Teague


According to a booklet on the history of Napperby, a small community to the east of Port Pirie, Thomas Brown Turnertook up land in the area in 1874. This is reinforced by the documented memories of J.B.Tiller, an old resident of the area, whose notes are held by the Crystal Brook Historical Society. Also, the Aldine History of SA states that at the age of 24, Thomas Browntook up his own farm at Napperby, first with 504 acres, to which he added 136 acres the following year, and later he added another 185 acres (470 acres being under cultivation). Land Title records say the 504 acres on section 4 Hd of Napperby were taken up by him on 1st January 188(6), for 270 pounds. Section 5S Hd of Napperby was taken up slightly earlier than that. The land was actually closer to the township of Crystal Brook compared to Napperby, as the hundred of Napperby begins just slightly north of Crystal Brook township.

Crystal BrookEdit

Ellen's husband took up 3 township blocks in Crystal Brook East in the late 1870’s early 1880’s, these being lots 17, 19 & 21. Crystal Brook East was known as Hagen Town. Thomas Brownalso leased 185 acres in the Hundred of Crystal Brook, beginning on 7th August 1894 for the yearly rent of 4 pounds, 12 shillings and sixpence, until 11th April 1905 when the property was transferred to William Saint. Ellen's remaining children were born at Crystal Brook from 1878 onward, the family establishing themselves there when the township was only 5 years old, and after its recent acquisition of a railway. The family appeared settled and happy in the local area, where Thomas Brown became involved in the Manchester Unity Oddfellows, the North Western Agricultural Society (of which he was president in 1894), and the Crystal Brook Show Society (Thomas Brown appears in a photograph taken at the first show in 1902). Thomas Brownwas also a city councillor for Crystal Brook during this time, and signed the original petition for the formation of a District Council in Crystal Brook (November 1882). Farming was good as well, the Turners arriving in the district just after the end of a drought, and ten years later it being recorded that rain fell steadily for 5 hours, with 590 points measured. Thomas Brown and Ellen brought their children up learning and assisting in different aspects of farm life.

Crystal brook map

Map showing the location of Thomas's property at Crystal Brook.

In 1898, Ellen died at age 46 years of cardiac failure, after 26 years of marriage and a family of 9 children - Thomas, Edgar, Ernest, Christina, Osborne, Benjamin, Herbert, Arthur and Ellen Selina. She was a large woman from a family of large women who spent much of their adult lives struggling with diabetes. She was buried in the Crystal Brook Cemetery, which overlooks the township from a hill. It is believed there originally was a headstone in place, but it has since been destroyed. Upon her death, it appears daughter Christina took upon most of the household duties that were once the role of her mother.

Ellen's husband Thomas Brownwas to survive her by 38 years. He never remarried, and it is beleived that her death was the main catalyst in his decision to leave Crystal Brook and move to Edillilie on the Eyre Peninsula.

House at crystal brook

Beleived to be the house at Crystal Brook in which Ellen raised her family. At the time of the photo, it was being used by the owners as a shearing shed.


Name Birth Death
Children of Thomas and Ellen Turner

Thomas (Teague) 31/01/1869
Peachy Belt, South Australia
Port Pirie, South Australia

John Edgar 30/10/1873
Gawler River, South Australia
Boulder, Western Australia

Albert Ernest 13/04/1876
Gawler Plains, South Australia
Port Pirie, South Australia

Priscilla Christina 11/05/1878
Crystal Brook, South Australia
Warramboo, South Australia

William Osborne 15/03/1880
Crystal Brook, South Australia
Edillilie, South Australia

James Benjamin 24/08/1882
Crystal Brook, South Australia
Parkside, South Australia

Herbert Francis 11/01/1885
Crystal Brook, South Australia
Loxton, South Australia

Arthur Harrold 13/12/1886
Crystal Brook, South Australia
Warramboo, South Australia

Ellen Selina 12/06/1892
near Crystal Brook, South Australia
near Crystal Brook, South Australia


  • Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates
  • International Genealogical Index
  • Baptism Certificates
  • Aldine History of South Australia
  • The History of Napperby (Booklet)
  • Land Titles Records
  • SA Directories
  • Will of John Rowe
  • SA Cemetery Records
  • Growing with Crystal Brook 1873-1973, published 1973
  • Reflections of Edillilie; a place to call home, compiled by A.L. Domagalski, 1990

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