Perhaps the reason my great-grandfather, Jack Payne, was so strict with his daughters when it came to keeping company with young men, was what had happened to his sister, Katey Ann. In 1884, 16-year-old Katey Ann took strychnine when her parents refused to consent to her marriage to one Henry Tee. Stories passed down through the family indicated that two sisters had committed suicide but I have found no evidence of this.
However I don’t know what became of the next sister in the family, Laura Suzette Payne . She seemed to vanish from the face of the earth. In 1885 at the ripe old age of 14, she married William O’Connor. Perhaps Laura’s parents didn’t want to risk losing another daughter so consented to the marriage. Perhaps Laura was pregnant. Laura’s mother, Mary Ann Sophia (nee Merrick) died in June 1885, the same year Laura married and the year after Katey Ann died. Laura might have been feeling a bit confused when she agreed to marry William O’Connor.
William O’Connor died of opium poisoning in the Moree hospital in 1900 but I have not managed to find any trace of Laura after her marriage. The two were obviously not living together at the time of Henry’s death.
There was also a story that Laura may have joined a travelling circus or performing troupe but I have found no evidence of that either. Family stories can be a bit unreliable.
I’ve disproved at least three passed-down-through-the-generations family stories since I started genealogy research. I’ve also uncovered a member of parliament, two bigamists and an ancestor who was convicted of conspiracy. Oh and then there are the seven convicts.