Obituary Jephtha Freeman
The subject of this obituary belongs to the family of my partner, which I have recently started researching. So far, I’ve done just a small amount of research, but stumbled upon this treasure while delving into Trove. Always a fun thing to do. The obituary below is a wonderful obituary, for many reasons. Not the least in the amount of information about Jephtha’s life.
So far I have done a very small amount of research on this family – no much more than names and dates. But from this obituary, I now know where Jephtha Freeman lived and what an important and well respcted person he was in the community of Sunbury. I have learned about his occupation and his incredible mathematical skills. I now have further family information and many hints that will take me on to further research.
Jephtha sounds to me like he was a lovely, kind and thoughtful man, and a man ahead of his time with many of his ideas. I am very pleased to now say that I feel I know just a little of him and am looking forward to learning more about this amazing man’s life and family.
from Sunbury News Saturday 27 August 1904 page 2
One of the oldest and most respected residents of Sunbury passed away on Tuesday night, in the person of Mr. Jephtha Freeman, who had resided in Barkly Street for a great many years. The cause of death was heart disease and dropsy, from which the deceased gentleman had suffered for some months, being confined to his room during that time, although up to near the end he was occasionally able to take his accustomed seat by the fireside. No one was mere esteemed in this district that Mr. Freeman, who, although he took no part in public affairs, was distinguished for his strong and unwavering principles, not less than for his invariable kindness and good nature; and he was undoubtedly a man of more than ordinary capablilities in various directions.
He was of a progressive turn of thought, always looking ahead, and welcoming any change in political or other affairs which seemed to promise advancement in social prosperity or amelioration of the general condition of humanity. His sympathies were easily enlisted on behalf of suffering, and he did a great deal of charitable work which he preferred would pass unnoticed. Mr. Freeman was in the Government service for 37 years as an Inspector of Works, and was in his time regarded as about the best mathemetician in the department, showing remarkable aptitude for calculations, the most difficult and intricate.
Besides this, he was remarkably gifted in music, drawing and carving. It is not generally known that Mr. Freeman drew up the plans for the present Church of England building and also for the stone house at ‘Ben Eadie’. He retired from the Public Service on a pension some ten years ago, and since then lived quietly at his home in Barkly Street, his chief occupation being fruit growing. He wa a genial host, and his many friends will long cherish the memory of evenings passed in his society. Latterly his chief pleasure had consisted in driving periodically to Mr. F.F. Bubeck’s “Schlossberg” estate, where he was always warmly welcomed, and it was a great trial to him to have to discontinue these pleasant excursions.
Mr. Freeman will be greatly missed by his friends, and especially his immediate relatives, with whom much sympathy has been expressed in their sad bereavement. He wa a colonist of 51 years and had entered the 75th year of his age. He leaves two daughters Mrs. Jas. Duncan, of Coburg and Miss Freeman, organist of St. Mary’s C.E, and a son, Mr. H. Freeman. His wife died about ten years ago and a daughter, Mrs. W. Johnston died four years ago. Mr. Freeman, who was a native of Yorkshire, was one of twins, and his brother survives him.
During his whole life, Mr. Freeman was an enthusiastic advocate of the eight hours’ principle, and he had the distinction of being on the original deputation that first approached the Government on the matter. He was almost the last survivor of these pioneers, there being only one other living – Mr. Anderson, President of the Eight Hours Pioneer’s Association, who with Mr. Harris, secretary was present at the funeral. Mr. Freeman abhorred industrial strife, and on one occasion it was by his advice and persuasion that a disastrous strike was averted.
In politics he was a Liberal, but he had an open mind for anything that seemed manly and honest and his watchword was always “progress”.
The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, when the remains were conveyed to the Church of England, wher a short service was held, and thence to the Sunbury Cemetery, and were followed by a large concourse of friends and relatives. By a kindly and fitting thought, the old original Eight Hours banner – the first that the adherents of the principle marched under – was sent up from Melbourne to be used as the pall. This showed perhaps better than anything else could have done, how highly the services of such mean as Mr. Freeman are estimated by those who know how to honour them.
( In sharp contrast to this, we regret to state that the workmen engaged on the new church went on plying their trowels as the funeral passed). Amongst the relatives of the deceased who were present were his twin brother, Mr. Jabez Freeman, and his nephew, Mr. George Greeman, who has been twice Mayor of Richmond, and was returned to the council on Thursday by a large majority. A large number of beautiful wreaths, crosses, floral tributes etc. were sent. The Rev. C.E. Gayer officiated at the grave; and he will also conduct a memorial service at the Church of England tomorrow evening.