Edward and Emily Stow

Walter Maud and Edward Stow

Edward Alfred Charles Stow was born on 7 November 1847 in Greenwich, Kent, England. Edward was the fifth of nine children born to Alexander Stow (a cabinet maker) and Mary Jameson. Edward was baptised at the Anglican church of St Alphege, Greenwich on 5 December 1847.

In January 1857 Edward and his parents and five siblings arrived in Melbourne aboard the passenger ship “S S Kent”. On landing at Melbourne, the family lived firstly at 11 University Street Carlton.

By 1874 Edward was living at Sorrento and owned a furniture store there (marriage certificate) and met Geelong girl Emily Matilda Pike. Emily was the daughter of Alfred Pike and Augusta Shambler.

Family story has it that Edward courted Emily via means of the Queenscliff ferry that traded between Sorrento and Queenscliff (close to Wallington where Emily lived). They were married at the Wesleyan Church, Yarra Street, Geelong on 19 October 1874.

Edward and Emily had eight children – Edward 1875, Walter 1877, Maud 1880, Hercules 1883, Newman 1886, Albert 1890, Lily 1893 and Frederick 1896.

Edward was a skilled craftsman, and like his father a cabinet maker. He is also listed in the trade directories as a bootmaker and French polisher, and his shop signage states he is also a mattress maker. He is credited with starting the Ezywalkin’s Shoes chain of shops. He called the store Ezywakin’ Boots and Shoes, and the name was registered with the addition of the letter ‘l’ to become Ezywalkin Shoes by Cook and Sons and became one of the major names in the retail shoe trade in Victoria.

Edward and Emily lived and worked at 144 Chapel Street, Prahran from 1877 to 1892. The shop was at the corner of Green and Chapel Street in the Conway Building.

Edward over those early years developed into a compulsive drinker and by today’s standards would have been classed as an alcoholic.  On weekends, when alcohol was not in ready supply it was common for him to resort to drinking vinegar. In an attempt to solve his drinking problems, he sold his shop in Prahran, and bought a 98 acre property at Boho near Violet Town in 1892 (CA 7B parish of Boho). He named the property “Hilly Park”.

Two more children were born, with Emily returning to Melbourne to her sister’s for the births. (Lily 1893 and Frederick 1896). The move to Boho to help Edward beat the drinking problem was doomed to failure, as his drinking continued and was to be the indirect reason for his death.

After a drinking session in the township of Violet Town in July 1897, he left for Hilly Park in his horse and cart.  During this trip home he ran into wet weather from which he became saturated.  On arriving home he was too drunk to go into the house and change his clothing, so slept in the cart overnight.  He contracted pneumonia, from which illness he succumbed.

Edward died on 18 Jul 1897, aged 49 years, at Boho, and is buried in the Violet Town cemetery with his wife Emily who died in 1950. He left behind wife Emily and eight children ranging in ages from 21 to 1.