George Drew

His Life as we know it so far
By: Jane Knox, Janet Fearby and Val Fearby

by: Dianne Grigg, Pam O’Connor and Margaret Knox Alexander

Based on original work “The Knoxes and the Newcombes”© By Peter Knox


First and foremost, we would all like to thank Carol Baxter, Vera Briggs, Keith Johnson, Frank Drew, Nick Reddan, to name just a few, who have dedicated endless hours, weeks and years of exhaustive research into the Drew family from Limerick, Ireland. This has enabled us to conclude that George Drew and his family could be traced back to the mid-18th century to the townland of Dromlohan in the Kilcornan parish, of County Limerick. It is also through extensive research by the above that we have concluded that the Drews were Anglo-Irish and of Protestant faith, with origins perhaps in Somerset, England. Given that George Drew’s father was from Rathkeale, Limerick, we may have concluded that they were part of several hundred Palatine families from the Rhineland who were re- settled there by Queen Anne circa 1709. However, there is certainly no evidence to prove this theory at all. The information pertaining to the George Drew in our line has been obtained from Australian documents and based on Passenger Information and Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates obtained from the excellent NSW Archives. This indicated that he was the son of John Drew from Limerick and Elizabeth (nee Peppard) from born in Dublin.

George Drew


Janet Fearby provided this picture with inscription: “This photograph was taken in the mid to late 1800s” It is a reprint from a small photo that was in a locket that belonged to either Annie Drew (nee Reece) or her daughter Elizabeth Jane Knox (nee Drew). We are not sure who it is but was told by Heather Fearby that it is George Watson Drew (George Drew’s second son or it could be George Drew). However, when George Drew left for the goldmines in approx. 1849 he was 28 years old – and this appears to be someone in their Mid-thirties or older.  It could also be Standish William – who died in 1879 age 35.

George Drew - born 1820, Limerick Ireland –died (unknown) probably in California USA circa 1900

George Drew was born in Limerick Ireland to John Drew and Elizabeth Drew circa 1820. Elizabeth Drew was the daughter of Standish Peppard, a Solicitor (per d-c 1876/009108 certified by William Drew, son) – name of mother unknown. Elizabeth Drew according to the certificate had been born in Dublin, Ireland. Elizabeth and John were married in Rathkeale, Ireland circa 1819 (Elizabeth Drew’s d-c shown her age at marriage 22 years old).

George Drew leaves the Irish shore with his parents and five siblings on the Adam Lodge a 576-ton ship carrying 273 government immigrants which sailed from Cork on 11 November 1839.

There were 14 members of the Drew family on board this ship. The breakdown of family members appears to be as follows:

Map of Ireland
  • Grace Drew – aged 50 – widow, housekeeper and son Thomas
  • Thomas Drew – aged 17 - (Grace Drew –nee Moynahan widow of Francis Drew)
  • John Drew – aged 35 – (should be 40 or 41) - Farmer, husband of Eliza and family
  • Eliza Drew – aged 35 –(should be 42) – wife of John, house servant
    With children:
  • George Drew – aged 19 –unmarried Farmer born approx. 1820/1821
  • Standish Peppard – aged 16 – unmarried (died in 1858 born approx 1824)
  • William – aged 14 unmarried, born 1826
  • Charlotte – aged 2 - born 1827
  • Catherine aged 10 in 1840
  • Sarah - aged 8 – born 1832
  • Edward Drew – aged 22 – husband of Mary; Farmer
  • Mary Drew – aged 18 – wife of Edward, farm servant
  • Anne Drew – aged 21 Unmarried, nursemaid (possibly daughter of Grace Drew)
  • Frank Drew – aged 19 Unmarried, labourer (possibly son of Grace Drew)

As described in Carol Baxter’s book The Drews of Dromlohan, the Surgeon Superintendent Alex Stewart mentioned in his journal that the immigrants included 54 Protestants (of whom 14 were members of the Drew family) and 219

Catholics; a crewmember and two children died on the voyage, one child was born. A school was established and 37 regularly attended; the surgeon noted that the schoolmaster was very attentive and many of the scholars improved considerably. The chief amusements were recorded as being dancing and leap frog and were always encouraged in the evenings until 9 o’clock.

Map of Australia


When the immigration board inspected the Adam Lodge upon her arrival in Sydney they lodged the following report:

“The ship arrived in a healthy and clean state. Her water and provisions were very good, and the ship was suited to the service”.

The Drews already had family members in New South Wales. According to the New South Wales Census in 1841 in the District of Parramatta, John Drew was listed in the Parish of Prospect –#667 household living with his family, wife plus six children in a stone or brick house.

• 3 Males between 7 and 14 years
• 1 Male between 45 and 60
• 3 Females between 14 and 21
• 1 Female between 45 and 60
• Married 1 male
• Single 3 Males
• Married 1 female
• Single 3 females
• Arrived Free: 4 males
• Arrived Free: 4 females
• Church of England : 8
• Gardeners, Stockmen and Persons employed in Agriculture: 4
• Domestic Servants: 0
• All other persons not included in the foregoing Classes: 4
• Males: 4
• Females:4
• General Totals: 8

Above would indicate that the Drew Family of John and Eliza with their six children were all living together. However, the wrong boxes appear to have been checked – if John and Eliza were living with the children as indicated in the Passenger List it should read: 3 Females between 7 and 14 and 3 Males between 14 and 21 plus parents.


John Drew died aged 45 years – on 13th September 1844 – Windsor Road – his profession listed as Farmer. He was buried on 16th September 1844 – Parish of Marsfield, County of Cumberland. He had only been in New South Wales 4 years. He is buried at All Saints Cemetery– Row A. E with plaque:

“Sacred to the Memory of John Drew who died September 13 1844 –aged 46 yrs also of Elizabeth Peppard, relict of the above, died April 17th 1876 aged 78 years.

Elizabeth Drew – wife of John Drew died aged 78 years – on 16th April 1876 (date shown on d-c –differs from Stone above) at Good Street, Parramatta – as certified by her son William Drew of Parramatta (1876/009108) She was buried 18th April 1876 at All Saints Cemetery, Parramatta –with her husband John.

In her book: “The Drews of Dromlohan” 1996 – Carol Baxter wrote:
“John Drew married one Elizabeth Peppard who appears to have been descended from landed gentry: the Peppard of Cappagh, in Rathkeale Parish, County Limerick. The Peppards were descended from a Norman family who were known as de Pipard or Pipard when they first settled in
Ireland in the mid-1100’s. They were closely with County Louth from the early 1200’s and a branch of the family had settled at Cappagh by the early

Elizabeth’s family background is not known with certainty..however, sources indicate that she was born in Dublin c 1798 and was the daughter of one Standish Peppard, a solicitor or clerk. As her father carried the given name Standish. Elizabeth almost certainly descended from Patrick Peppard Esq. of Cappagh House who married Faith Standish the year 1730. Faith was the daughter of Lt. Joseph Standish and granddaughter of Sir Thomas Standish. It appears that Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Patrick and Faith’s youngest son Walter who apparently married twice and settled in Rathkeale Parish where he died in 1821. Walter had an unknown number of children of whom one was possibly Standish Peppard, Elizabeth’s father. Although Elizabeth was born in Dublin where a solicitor named Standish Peppard is known to have been living between 1818 and 1835, she was residing in Rathkeale parish at the time of her marriage in 1820”. (to John Drew)

The children of marriage are listed as in the death certificate:
William – 52 years
Charlotte – 49 years
Catherine – 47 years
Sarah – 45 years
1 male deceased (Standish Peppard Drew)
****There is no mention of George Drew in the death certificate , as living or deceased, presumably indicating that the family was no longer in touch with him once he left for the goldmines in California.


Standish Peppard Drew was listed as 16 when he arrived in NSW in 1840. On March 29 1854 he married Julia Green at the Parish of St. John in the Parish of Marsfield in the County of Cumberland. The marriage was witness by Sarah Drew and William Drew – indicating that his older brother George Drew had left Australia by 1854. Standish Drew became a Corn Dealer – he died 30 March 1858 aged 35 years – he lists his place of birth as Pallace, County Limerick. The d-c was certified by his brother William Drew of Parramatta. He is buried at All Saints Cemetery, Parramatta. Standish Peppard Drew and Julia Green had three children: Their ages in 1858 were:

• Frederick Robert – 3 years
• Julia Elizabeth – 2 years
• Standish – 5 months

The following four siblings have not been researched
William Drew married Mary Mitchell (1849)
Catherine Drew married William Thompson (1854) ?
Charlotte Drew married William Goodin (1857)
Sarah Drew married Charles Ikin or Min (1852) (could be Atkin)

Annie Drew


By 1843 George Drew was living in the Parish of Baulkham Hills and on January 9th 1843 he married Ann Reece, daughter of Hannah Hillas and
David Reece. The marriage was by license and was recorded in the Church of England registry, Parish of Hunters Hill in the County of Cumberland. Standish Drew, his brother of Baulkham Hills and Charlotte Drew, his sister of Parramatta were witnesses.

At the time of marriage Anne Reece was 21 (her birthday being 16th January 1821) and George Drew was also 21 or 22 (based on age 19 in February 1840). Annie Reece Drew died on 14th April 1900

George Drew and Annie Reece Drew…had three children (death certificate of Anne Drew states she had 4 children at time of death on 14th April 1900.
• Elizabeth Jane - 53;
• George Watson - 51
• two males deceased (1 male would be Standish William but another male may have been born in 1847 and died an infant).

George and Annie Drew’s Children

a) Standish William (1844-1879) was born in 1844, Windsor.
He died 19 Sept 1879 at Beaufort St., Strawberry Hills, Sydney. He is buried at Necropolis. Standish William Drew married Ann Elisa Clyde 15 Aug 1865, 1 Holt St., Sydney. Presbyterian. Rites.
They had six children.

  • Herbert Wallace - 9 June 1866. 1 Holt St. Sydney. Died 16 April 1958.
  • Bundaberg, Queensland. Married Minnie Gertrude Conner,
    25 Feb 1890, North. Annandale, (5 Dec 1871 – 7 March 1934)
  • Marion R. – 1968. Married Edward Sanders. 1885
  • Standish Harold – 1871. Married Annie M.B. Wilson 1899
  • George Clarence - 1874 to 1890
  • Annie Mabel I – 1876. Married George Philips
  • Charlotte Sheriden - 1879 to 22 Jan 1963. Married Harold D. McCredie

b) Elizabeth Jane (see Elizabeth Jane Knox) – Born 30 April 1846  in the Parish of Marsfield, County of Cumberland, abode at the time Duke of Wellington Pub, Church Street, Parramatta – profession of father, Publican (see Duke of Wellington License on Church Street 1845). Died 23 Feb. 1925 “Montargis”, Wentworthville. Married Joseph Knox (see Joseph Knox) 13 June 1870 – 13 Edward Street, South Head Road Sydney. Died 6 Feb 1919. They had eight children.

  • Lilian Violet - 1871. Married John Thomas Fearby October 5 1896 died 4th September 1933. (see Janet’s page)
  • John Calvin –February 4th 1874, Hereford Street Glebe, died 5 Feb 1935 aged 61, Dilah Creek. Dungowan Narrabri. Married Mary Isobel MacLean (McKean) 1902. 1 son Errol Leslie born Tamworth 1902 died 14th December 1969 – 124 Barwan Street, Narrabri
  • Aurora Myrtle – born 29th June 1876 married Harry Charles Walker in Rosebery, Woollahra in 1931 (this appears wrong – it states she was 40 at time of marriage indicating she got married in 1916). She died on 9th March 1944 at Manly District Hospital. At the time she and her husband were living at Flat 2, Camberene, Victoria Parade in Manly NSW. They had no children.
  • Haldane Leslie Hillas – born 15th January in Hereford Street Glebe, 1879 died September 30 1880, Hereford Street, Glebe aged 1 ½ yrs.
  • Acacia Renée (Renee Acasia)– born 15th July 1881 in Hereford Street, Glebe- unmarried, died 15th April Lanchester Private Hospital, Cremorne, aged 59 years –at the time sister Ivy and Acacia living at 4 Rycroft Hall Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay,
  • Joseph Milton Hosking –born 27th February 1884 Hereford Street Glebe, died 12 Oct 1921 aged 37 years. “Omah” Rochester Street Homebush. Married Ida M. Dawson 1913. They had one daughter Margaret Elizabeth born February 15th 1917.
  • Ivy Jasmine Gwendoline -born 30th October 1886, Hereford Street, Glebe – 1886. Unmarried, died 23rd June 1959, 4/17 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay.
  • Errol Aubrey Galbraith – born 25 June 1889 died 17 Oct 1949 Woodend, Victoria (Brigadier Sir Errol Knox M.B.E. (see Errol Knox) - 1918. Married September 4 1919 Gertrude Mary. Daughter of George Barnard Milbank Coore (see separate page)

George Watson – born 11th October 1849. He was baptised on 25th November, 1849 at the Parish of St. Lawrence, Sydney in the County of Cumberland, Surry Hills-at the time of his birth his father was listed as a butcher. He died in Wollongong on the 9th July, 1907. Married Agnes Wright in Brisbane Queensland 1872. When he died he was a Coach Painter. His father is listed as George Drew –a “Farmer” and his mother’s maiden name listed as Annie Reece. He is buried at the Methodist Cemetery in Wollongong.
In 1907 they had 10 children living:

• Minnie – aged 34
• George E.R. – 30
• David Malcolm Reece - 28
• Edith E - 26
• Irene May - 25
• Florence P - 23
• William A.R. – 22
• Donald K.R. – 19
• Richard R. W – 16
• Haldane Victor Reece -14

Lists 1 male 3 females deceased
• Ruby J - 1886
• Eileen G. – 1889
• ? female
• Charles B.

Still researching third son of Annie Drew as stated on her death certificate. There are limited possibilities available to be able to research this: There is a James Drew born on September 30th 1846 to Ann Drew and John Weston –a labourer from Chippendale. This is unlikely as a) Elizabeth Jane Drew was born on 30th April 1846 and b) George Drew was still in Australia.

There is a George Drew of Liverpool Street – parish of St. Lawrence, Sydney in the County of Cumberland who died as an infant aged 2 years 4 months on 4th November 1847– father a shoemaker. There was a shoemaker named George Drew who appears in the Insolvency index in 1846. There is a strong possibility that this could be the 3rd child. Because up until 1856 there were only baptism and burial certificates it is not so easy to verify this data.

Map of California


There is a George Drew who appears to have become a Publican by 1845. The following article pertaining to a George Drew appeared in the Parramatta Chronicle in 1845:

Parramatta Chronicle 22 Mar 1845 P 2 Col 2

“George Drew appeared on a warrant, issued at the instance of one Michael Kilroy, “ a regular Broth of a Boy,” for having an axe in his possession with come unknown person had axed the loan of without the owner’s consent……..The Bench at once dismissed the charge—stating, that if such had been mentioned to have been the case a warrant never could have been granted, and Kilory having had the tool handed over to him shouldered it and left the Court, complaining greatly of the stupidity of the magistrates in not intuitively perceiving what he intended to have said……..” (no evidence to know if this is same George Drew)

Parramatta Chronicle 7 June 1845 p 2 Col 2
“Licenses were granted: George Drew, Duke of Wellington, Church Street; Parramatta.”

Parramatta Chronicle 23 Aug 1845 p 2 Col 3
“George Drew appeared on summons for a breach of the Licensing Act, in selling after hours. Two constables deposed that at about one o’clock on the morning of the 11th instant, they went into the defendant’s house, and found two persons there, one of whom had in his hand a glass, the contents of which bore a great resemblance to ale. The two midnight visitors were then examined, but as they fiery materially contradicted each other in their attempt to save the publican-the Bench gave the preference to the constables’ testimony, and decreed a fine of £2 and costs.”


We know that George Drew left for the goldmines, wrote one letter home and appears to have remained in the United States. It is not clear yet how or when he left for the goldmines. 


Looking through all the possibilities there is one piece of evidence that George Drew may have ended up in Hamilton County of Butte – this is based on the 1870 U.S. Census report where we find a George Drew born in Ireland in 1820 (that would correspond to the right age) living with a wife and 3 children. There is no certainty that this is the same George Drew – the only coincidence is that age, location, and place of birth are all correct. He even named his oldest son John which would follow the pattern of naming your eldest son after his paternal grandfather. Further research might find marriage and death records, which could perhaps bring more information to light. It certainly seems that when George Drew’s mother Elizabeth Peppard Drew died in 1876, William was not able to list his brother as either living or deceased.

On 15th July 1870 in Post Office: Oroville Town: Hamilton, County of Butte, State of California there is George Drew – White Male - aged 50 - born in Ireland – Real Estate Value: $1600 - Profession/Trade – Turner (might be Farmer) Others in household

• Delia Drew – aged 36 – “keeping house”
• John Drew – aged 8 – born California – attends school
• Mark Drew – aged 3 – born California
• Bell (or Bill) Drew (female) – aged 2 born California

End Note: Information still needed to determine when George Drew left Australia for the Goldmines in California – approx. 1849 and what happened to him after he left Australia.


For more information please contact Jane Knox at

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