Martha House

Name: HOUSE Martha

Date of Birth: c.1825

Birth Location: Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England.

Maiden Name: HIGGINS

Also Known As:

Age at Burial: 76 years

Date of Death: 17 June 1902

Death Location: At Home, Capel

Date of Burial: 19 June 1902

Denomination: Anglican

Row/Grave: Unknown Grave Location

Grave Transcription: Nil

Father: William Higgins born: 15 April 1800 Somerset, England. Died: 10 November 1844 Buried St. Marks Cemetery, Picton.

Mother: Sarah Dredge born: 5 October 1799 England. Died: 31 December 1876 Buried St. Marks Cemetery, Picton.

Grandfather (Father): William Higgins born: 1754 Somerset, England. Died: 1 July 1834 Somerset, England.

Grandmother (Father): Martha Williams born: 1757 Somerset, England. Died: 12 May 1827 Somerset, England.

Grandfather (Mother): Richard Dredge born: 1773 Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. Died: 1 January 1857 Abergavenny, Wales.

Grandmother (Mother): Sarah Butler born: 9 June 1775 Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. Died: 22 October 1869 Abergavenny, Wales.


Henry William Higgins born: 24 July 1823 Somerset, England. Died: 4 December 1880 Buried St. Marks Cemetery, Picton. Married: 11 April 1854 Lavinia Gardiner.

Sarah Higgins born: c.1827 Somerset, England. Died: 1846. Married: 1846 William Henry Smith.

Frederick Higgins born: c.1828 Somerset, England. Died: 4 July 1883 Springfield Farm, Capel. Married: 1853 Mary Dunn.

Edward Giles Higgins born: 10 March 1833 Swan River Colony, Western Australia. Died: 28 March 1906 Buried Magill, South Australia. Married: 1. 1854 Mary Ann Hough. 2. 6 July 1876 Annie Bennett.

Charles Higgins born: 25 June 1835 Swan River Colony, Western Australia. Died: 18 December 1868 Maldon Farm, Capel. Burial Location Unknown. Married: 22 December 1863 Mary Matilda Gardiner.

Sussanah Maria Higgins born: 12 October 1837 Western Australia. Died: 17 April 1895 Buried St. Marks Cemetery, Picton. Married: 1856 Alfred Gardiner

Spouse: William House born: 30 September 1809 Somerset, England. Died: 9 January 1875 at Capel. Burial Location Unknown.

Married: 4 January 1841 Perth, Western Australia.


William House born: 10 March 1842 Perth. Died: 7 April 1917 Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married: 1. 1872 Martha Pickersgill. 2. 1886 Anna Maria Norrish.

John House born: 17 August 1844 Perth. Died: 10 July 1898 Buried Capel (Coolingup) Cemetery, Anglican, unknown location.

Edward House born: 13 July 1846 Perth. Died: 18 June 1877 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. Married: 1869 Eliza Dilley.

Charles House born: 9 April 1848 Wonnerup. Died: 2 June 1929 Buried Capel Cemetery, Methodist, unknown location. Married: 1872 Gertrude May Wright.

Anna “Ellen” House born: 14 August 1849 Wonnerup. Died: 19 June 1911 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married: 1. 30 September 1869 John Charles Delaporte. 2. 1878 Charles Thomas Harris.

Thomas House born: 9 June 1851 Wonnerup. Died: 22 July 1917, Capel,  Buried Capel Cemetery, Anglican, unknown location. Married: 1 January 1879 Susan Rutherford.

Susan House born: 22 February 1853 Wonnerup. Died: 28 January 1929 Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married: 1873 Lewis William Calder

Henry Thomas House born: 15 May 1854 Wonnerup. Died: 9 October 1933 Buried Bunbury Cemetery. Married: 1881 Lucy Ann Thomas

Frederick “Blind Freddy” House born: 26 May 1856 Capel. Died: 21 February 1941 Buried Capel Cemetery.

Sarah House born: 1 May 1858 Coolingup. Died: 24 May 1930 Buried Capel Cemetery Unknown Location. Married: 1. 1877 Charles Frederick Scott. 2. 1914 Thomas McTaggart.

Richard House born: c.1860 Capel River. Died: 6 August 1939 Buried Capel Cemetery, Anglican, unknown location. Married: 21 August 1882 Elisabeth Emily Smith (nee Brock)

Martha Mary House born: 1862 Capel River. Died: 20 March 1866 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Albert House born: 14 August 1864 Capel River. Died: 11 February 1939 Buried Bunbury Cemetery. Married: 1885 Ann Maria Scott.

Mark House born: 1 May 1867 Capel River. Died: 17 May 1867 Capel River. Burial Location Unknown.

Occupation: Wife, Mother, Grandmother & Farmer


Their Story

Martha Higgins was born 1825, in Shepton Mallet, Somerset in the southwest of England. She was the second child of William and Sarah Higgins. Henry William, her older brother was about 2 when she was born. Her sister Sarah arrived 2 years later and then another brother, Frederick in 1827. William and Sarah, looking for a better future for the family, made the decision to come to the new Swan River Colony in Western Australia. They travelled on the ship “Britannia” arriving on the May 6, 1830.

William House came to the Swan River Colony, Western Australia, with his brother James, on board the ship “Caroline”. They arrived on October 12, 1829, as indentured servants, charged to Samuel Talbot, who on arriving, left them and went to Van Diemen’s Land. The brothers went gathering sandalwood and timber cutting to support themselves.

In 1833 William and Sarah Higgins opened an Inn called the Leyson Arms, at Bullcreek. It offered “good entertainment for man and horse!” They also welcomed another son, Edward, to the family.

Trove Article – Leyson Arms

The Inn was burnt down in a fire in 1835 and was totally destroyed. The Higgins’s had another son, Charles in June of that year. Martha would have been 10.

Trove Article – Festivities

William House had become an acquaintance of the Higgins’s. He and William Higgins had gone into partnership. It isn’t clear what sort of business they ran or if William House was part of the Leyson Arms but in 1837 they advertised that their partnership had ended mutually. This was the year that Susannah, the last of the Higgins children was born.

In 1838 a farm on Guildford Road, Upper Swan, was advertised for sale. In the description it states that it is occupied by William Higgins, whose lease expires late April.

William House remained in the Higgins family’s life. In January 1841, in Perth, William House, 31, married Martha Higgins who was 15. The first of their children, William, was born in 1842, at Twyford, which was advertised as being rich, swampy land, only 11 ½ miles from Perth. The next of their children, John was born in 1844 in Perth. Martha’s parents and siblings had moved to the Southwest. Her father was now working in the timber industry around Picton. Sadly, in November 1844, William Higgins was drowned crossing the Preston River. He was the first burial in Rev. Wollaston’s Picton Churchyard. Martha’s brothers worked on farms and supported the Higgins family.

Martha and William had another son in Perth in 1846, also, Martha’s sister Sarah married but sadly died the same year. By 1848, when their fourth son was born, they had moved to Wonnerup. William was working in the timber industry in the area. Martha and William’s next four children were born at Wonnerup. The family must have saved enough money to purchase some land of their own. When son Frederick was born in May 1856, they had moved to a small holding, consisting of 45 acres, on the north side of the Capel River, next to George Payne’s Flour mill. William built the family home from timber he had cut from their block, shingles, and handmade bricks. Shortly after, they expanded their holding buying an adjoining 32 acres. The children attended school at Payne’s Mill School next door. They planted fruit trees and grew wheat and potatoes. They had a small dairy herd and ran pigs, which soon caused problems between the Payne and House families. It was reported that House’s pigs had destroyed Payne’s best wheat field. The relationship between the two families ended.

Martha’s oldest brother, Henry William Higgins purchased land on the coast at Capel in 1853 and named it “Springfield”. Also in that year, Frederick married Mary Dunn. In 1854, Henry married Lavinia Gardiner from Ferguson and Edward married Mary Ann Hough. The youngest of the Higgins children married in 1856, when Sussanah Maria wed Alfred Gardiner (Lavinia & Mary Matilda’s brother). Their mother, Sarah Higgins, came to live with Henry and Lavinia at Springfield. Martha may have been able to see her mother occasionally now that she was in the same district. Frederick and Charles, two of Martha’s younger brothers also moved to the area, working for a time with Henry. Charles married Mary Matilda Gardiner (Lavinia’s sister) in 1863 and established Maldon Farm not far from Springfield. Frederick and Mary had established their own farm along the Goodwood Road, Capel by 1864 and Edward and Mary Ann came to the same area from Ferguson and farmed near Frederick shortly after.

In 1864 when the first Capel School opened, at Gynadup Brook, (near the site of the Capel Cemetery) 3 ½ miles away from the House’s, some of the House children were among the first attendees. When young Freddy got sore eyes, someone told Martha to bathe them in Bluestone water (copper sulphate). This Martha did. Freddy’s eyes were burnt so badly he remained blind for the rest of his life. He became known as “Blind Freddy”.

Martha made and sold butter to help support the family that had now grown to 9 boys and 4 girls, the oldest was 22 and the youngest a new baby. In 1866, 3-year-old Martha Mary House died of convulsions. She was buried in the Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. Martha’s last baby, Mark was born the following year but sadly, at 17days old he died of a cold. His burial place is unknown. At the end of 1867, on New Years Eve, Martha’s mother, Sarah passed away at Springfield and was buried at the Picton Church cemetery with her husband William.

Trove Article – Death of Mother

Martha and William continued to work to support their large family and when the time was right, they bought and sold small parcels of land. The older boys had jobs and in 1867 Edward is working with his Uncle Charles at Maldon. Charles died in December 1868. His wife Mary then ran the farm.

Martha and William had become grandparents in 1866, when their daughter Ellen had a baby girl, Mary, from a relationship with Frederick Hawkins, who was the son of Julia Payne, their neighbour.  In 1869, two of Martha and William’s children married. Edward to Eliza Dilley and Anna “Ellen” to John Charles Delaporte. Both marriages are recorded at Picton. Martha, 45, became a grandmother again when two grandsons, Charles Pearce House and William John Charles Delaporte arrived in 1870. Many more grandchildren were born in the following years.

Ticket of leave men were employed by the House family to help with their farm. Wheat and barley crops had to be harvested, cows milked, potatoes dug, and fencing established to stop the wandering stock. Martha still had younger children and household chores to do. Then, on January 9, 1875, William, Martha’s husband of 34 years died at their home in Capel. His burial location remains unknown. This must have been a terrible time for the House family, Albert the youngest child was only 10 and Freddy, 18, was working on the farm. It was reported that Freddy was a most incredible person with a remarkable sense of direction. He was able to chop wood, plant and dig potatoes, plough, fetch water from the river, he could ride a horse, he knew all the cows by feeling along their necks, and numerous other tasks that needed doing on the farm. He must have been a great support to his mother Martha.

Trove Article – Death of Husband


The following year, 1876, Martha’s daughter Ellen’s husband John Charles Delaporte passed away. His burial location is also unknown. Ellen had five small children to support. She married again two years later to Charles Harris. In 1877 Martha’s son Edward died leaving his wife Eliza with 3 small children. Eliza married again in 1879 to Thomas Richards in Busselton.

Trove Article – Death of son Edward

The disagreement between the Payne and House family continued. In early 1880 there was a court hearing. The House family accused Mr Payne of wounding one of their cows. When the evidence was heard Mr Payne was found not guilty and the cows’ wounds were said to be the result of an accident.

Trove Article – Trouble between Neighbours

Martha’s brother, Henry William Higgins died unexpectedly at Springfield in December 1880, leaving his wife Lavinia and sons to run the farm, and in 1883, another brother Frederick Higgins died of pneumonia. William’s brother James, still living in Perth, died in the Perth Invalid Depot in 1885. Susannah, Martha’s youngest sister, who lived in the Brunswick district died from cancer in 1895. Martha’s only remaining sibling was Edward, who had moved to South Australia.

George Payne Snr died in 1892 and over the next couple of years the property that was next door to the House’s was sold. By 1900 it was owned by the Maitlands and called “Lexdon Park”.

Martha and her sons continued farming the family property. Some of the sons went contract road building and often their tenders we mentioned in the minutes of the Roads Board meetings. Her grandchildren were marrying and having families and moving throughout the southwest. Her son John died in July 1898 at Coolingup (Capel). His occupation recorded on the burial register was shepherd. He was buried in the Anglican section of the Capel Cemetery in an unknown location.

Trove Article – Death of son John

Martha remained on the House property with son Freddy until she died at home on June 17, 1902. She was buried in the Anglican Section of the Capel Cemetery also in an unknown location. Freddy remained farming with the help of other family members.

Trove Article – Obituary


If you are visiting this page and have further information that pertains to Martha House that you would like to add, can you please contact the Capel District Cemeteries Project via the CONTACT US section at the bottom of the main page.

Compiled and Researched by DC (CDCP team member)

© Capel District Cemeteries Project 25/06/2023

Unknown Grave