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Margaret Buttner and Robert Wright.   My Great Grandparents

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Margaret Buttner and Robert Wright.   My Great Grandparents - Life in Leyburn

On 12 June 1886 Robert Wright (36) and Margaret Buttner (19 and pictured here at that age) were married at St. Luke's Church of England in Toowoomba, Qld.    John Gentle and Catherine McLeod were best man and bridesmaid.  A special consent form stating Margaret Buttner's father's approval, had to be filled in before they could marry, seeing Margaret was under 21.  Phyllis (Wright) Thomas, their daughter was recorded as having a copy of the original Wedding Certificate.  I'm not sure where it is now.


When Robert first married, they lived with Francis (as Margaret was doing before her marriage).  The eldest children were born in his house, and their little boy, Robert, drowned in the creek at the back of the house.  Robert Wright built a butcher's shop next to Francis Buttner's shop.  Margaret and Robert were blessed with a baby girl on 31 March 1887, whom they called Honora Elizabeth (Lizzie) after Margaret's mother.  Then came Mary (Minnie) Agnes on 19 February 1889.   They no doubt rejoiced when their first son, whom they simply called Robert, after his father and grandfather, was born in 1890.  Sadly at 3 years old (Lizzie and Minnie then about 8 and 6 yrs respectively) went near the creek, fell in and drowned.  This time of mourning no doubt was helped a little by the fact that they had had another son on 7 March 1891, whom they called Francis (Frank) Anthony, after Margaret's father Francis.   Baby Francis was followed by a sister Margaret (my Grandmother) in 1894 (date to be confirmed).  

It must have been about this time that Robert and Margaret moved to a farm block they had taken up just north of Leyburn, and which they called "Thistledown".   Robert had acquired this property by selection on 5 April 2898 at a cost of 4 pounds 6 shillings and 3 pence, 34 acres, 2 roods.  It was freeholded on 10 September 1918.  Robert gradually cleared and developed the block with his children's help (girls included) and they did some dairying, grew corn and wheat, and had sheep, cattle and pigs.  Robert also did some building.  He built the shop beside the Mahoney's old home with Bill Lewis.  A photograph is in existence of Robert with some other local farmers, such as Jack Mahoney, when the Leyburn Cheese Board formed - a reflection on his dairying connections.  After Francis Buttner's death, they, of course, had his land to add to their own and may have been using it before he died.


Margaret was a slight girl as seen from an early photograph, but in later life took on the physical characteristics of her father.  She was never tall and became plumpish.  She had brownish hair, was of an unassuming, quiet nature.  She worked very hard, milking, helping to clear the land, harvesting and husking corn, helping to work the hand operated wheat thrashing machine.


Other children were born to Robert and Margaret and grew up on the farm.  Jessie on the 28th June 1898, Cecelia Ellen on 4 November 1900.  Cecelia was called Eleen, and tragically ate a piece of broken glass and died as a young child.  Cecelia Ethel was born on 20 June 2902 (?) and another son, William Leslie, another year or so later.  William also died under heart-breaking circumstances.  When only a toddler, Margaret had to take Jessie to Toowoomba for an appendix operation and Minnie their older sister (now married) came to care for the younger children.  A short time previously little William had fallen and badly hit his head.  As a result of this he had taken several "fits or turns".  During one night when Margaret was in Toowoomba the little boy got out of his bed and wandered from the house and got lost.  He was found unconscious near an ant's nest and died a while later.  Perhaps he had had a "turn" and collapsed and died as a result both of his earlier accident and exposure.  Phyllis May (my Godmother with full life story to be posted soon) was born on 15 April 1907, Annie, the youngest, on 7 October 1908 and Robert Percival on 29 July 1911 (?).

Life on the farm was full of work and responsibility, especially so since Robert increasingly had trouble with drink and battled it until he died.  The financial edge Margaret's inheritance gave them was thus lost. 

Often the children would have a walking trip, herding pigs to sell at Pittsworth.  They would take 8 to 10 at a time.  Food was bought in bulk.  These were calico bags of flour, hessian bags of sugar, boxes or bags of tea, big tins of plum jam and golden syrup.  

Robert was a very tall, long-limbed man, and had red sandy coloured hair, and who had a beard in later life, but who from an earlier photography, was clean shaven.  He passed away on 26 July 1931 on his farm at Leyburn, aged 84.

Margaret on her death was laid to rest in the same ground where her beloved father lay, her dear husband, the mother she never really knew, several of her own children, and other kith and kin.  She passed away in her daughter Jessie's home on 15 January 1934 at Leyburn.  

Children (12) of Margaret and Robert Wright - all born in Leyburn. 

Honora Elizabeth (Lizzie) - born 31 March 1887

Mary Agnes (Minnie) - born 19 February 1889

Robert - 1890 (?)

Francis Anthony - born 7 March 1891

Margaret (Maggie) - born 1894 (?) My grandmother

Jessie - born 28 June 1898

Cecelia Ellen - born 4 November 1900

Cecelia Ethel - born 20 June 1902

William Leslie - born ?

Phyllis May - born 15 April 1907

Annie - born 7 October 1908

Robert Percival - born 29 July 19??

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