Isaiah Mead and Mary Ann Ruff

Isaiah Mead

Isaiah Mead was born in Hawkwell, Essex in 1830 to parents Thomas Mead (1804-1872), an agricultural labourer and Mary Sterns (b 1806).

Isaiah was baptised on 9 Sept 1830 at the Hawkwell parish church. He was the eldest of six children born to the couple.

In 1838 Isaiah’s father Thomas appears as a tenant of Mary Bellingham in the Rochford, Essex Tithe Records on plot 166. Isaiah’s widowed maternal grandmother Sarah Stearns b 1784 also appears on the Rochford Tithe Record on plot 170.

In the 1841 Census, Isaiah was an agricultural labourer on his father’s farm in Eastwood, Essex.

By 1851 he was working as a bricklayers labourer and lodging at a house in Lewisham in Hanover Terrace, some 30 miles away from his home in Eastwood.

St George the Martyr

It appears he was slowly moving towards London, as by 1856 he was living in Kent Street, Surrey before his marriage to Mary Ann Ruff in 1856 at St George the Martyr, Southwark, London.

Mary Ann was born in 1835 in Castor, Northamptonshire and baptised there on 8 March 1835. She was the daughter of James Ruff (1809-1895) and Susannah Brockwell (1808-1855). She was the third of 17 children born to James over two marriages.

Isaiah and Mary Ann Mead immigrated to Melbourne Australia aboard the “James Fernie”, and a note is made on the passenger lists that they ‘came of own account’, that is, they were not coming out to relatives or organised work. The day they arrived in Melbourne, their first daughter Mahalia Jane was born at the Immigration Depot.

59 Condell Street, Fitzroy

In 1866 the rate books list the family living at Glasshouse Road, Collingwood in a wooden house.

They had 11 more children and settled in Collingwood, until 1874 they moved to Vic and then moved firstly to Moor Street , then to 21 Condell Street in Fitzroy in 1880.


Isaiah and Mary Ann’s children were –

1857 Mahalia b Melbourne Immigration Depot d 1885 North Fitzroy, Australia
1859 Elizabeth b Collingwood d 1926 Auckland, New Zealand
1861 David b Collingwood d 1872 Collingwood
1863 Martha b Collingwood d 1939 Shepparton
1865 Esther b Collingwood d 1921 Prahran
1867 Frances b Collingwood d 1943 Ascot Vale
1869 Everilda b Collingwood d 1869 Collingwood
1870 Ada b Collingwood  d 1871 Collingwood
1872 Albert b Collingwood d 1875 Collingwood
1874 Arthur b Collingwood d 1876 Collingwood
1876 Walter b Collingwood d 1877 Fitzroy
1880 Mary Ann b Fitzroy d 1959 Dromana

Isaiah died in 1901 at the age of 70 years at 59 Condell Street, and on his death certificate his occupation is given as a cellar man in a brewery. This house is still standing today.

Mary Ann Mead nee Ruff


Isaiah is buried with this wife in the General Melbourne Cemetery.

In her will, Mary Ann bequeathed all her estate to only one of her 12 children – her last born Mary Ann Blanche Mead, who she was living with at the time of her death.

All the other children had either died, or married and moved away.

His wife Mary Ann died in 1907.

Isaiah Mead headstone