Mary Torley (1808-1861)





(parents of Joan Gaffey):


Birth 1808[1] [2]

Line of Descent to Joan Gaffey


Mary Torley

(Great grandmother)

James Gaffey

Thomas Gaffey

Joan Gaffey

Lived Mayobridge, nr Newry, County Down, Ireland 1820-1850s,[3] Bilston, Staffordshire (bef 1857)[4]
Death 1861, Bilston, Staffordshire.
Marriage  Daniel GAFFEY (17 Sept, 1825, Newry, co. Down)

Patrick GAFFEY (b c1827)

William GAFFEY (b 1828)

Brigid (1831-

Daniel GAFFEY (b 1835)

Mary Ann GAFFEY (b 1840)

James GAFFEY (18441917), married Margaret Berryman, 1862, Bundarra

Bernard GAFFEY (b 1847)

From Mary’s death certificate, we know she was born about 1808 – but where is unknown.  However, she appears to have lived most of her adult life in a rural area near Newry, County Down in Ulster. The Torley/Turley name is common in the area, but given the paucity of Catholic Church registers of the time, her baptism record so far hasn't been found. However, her wedding to Daniel Gaffey of Mayobridge was celebrated in the Newry Catholic church in September, 1825.

Mary and husband Daniel lived the life of poor tenant farmers just two kilometres from the village of Mayobridge, where they raised their family of five boys and one girl.  All children survived the deprivations of the Potato Famine of the 1840s – but husband Daniel did not live on past middle age.

It’s likely Mary was widowed when she was in her late 40s, as on her eldest son Patrick’s 1857 Australian immigration papers, his father was listed as "Dead, and Mother living at Bellstone, Stafford".  Presumably Mary had moved to England to be with a relative, John Torley,[5] after the death of her husband. 

Mary’s children had set about making new lives for themselves in a new world, led by Patrick, who settled in Australia in 1858 – so Mary decided to join them.  Her immigration, and that of 20 year old Daniel and 15 year old Bernard had been sponsored by Patrick who had established himself in the colony.  He had earlier brought out his brothers William and James, and also planned to bring out his sister, Mary Ann, but she stayed in England and married there.  His mother's character references for immigration were supplied by Pastor James Terry  & John Torley, watchmaker, of Oxford street, Bilston, Staffordshire, England.

While Mary, Daniel and Bernard waited to set sail for New South Wales, they lived at 2 Quarry Street, Bilston, where, just before Christmas, in 1861, Mary was struck down by typhoid fever and influenza, dying on December 21st.   She was aged only 53.  Both Daniel and Bernard went on to make the voyage south, without their mother.


1] NSW Govt. Archives.  Index to assisted immigrants arriving Sydney and Newcastle 1844-1859

[2] Mary’s death certificate at Bilston, in Staffordshire, says she was 53 when she died in 1861

[3]  Clonallan Parish Records (baptisms)

[4] Persons on Bounty Ships (Board's Immigrant List), 1857

[5] The 1851 Census gives a listing for John Torley, clockmaker, and his wife Bridget, both aged 55 and born in Ireland, living 32 Oxford Street, Bilston