Eagen (Egen), James and Bridget

Full name:

Eagen (Egen), James and Bridget

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:


Occupation if known and land ownership:




In 1839 James Eagen was the lock-up keeper in Berrima.

Eagen had been in Berrima for some time. On 18 April 1836 he married Bridget Connolly in All Saints Church, Sutton Forest.[1] He was a private in the 50th West Kent Queen’s Own Regiment of Foot dispatched as part of a contingent of some 25 men to supervise the convicts housed in the Berrima stockade. He had arrived on the in November 1833 on board the Neva. Military records show he was born in 1809, probably in Ireland.[2]

His wife was Bridget Connelly born in 1806. This was Bridget’s second marriage. Her first husband, Patrick Connelly had drowned when stationed in Berrima in November 1835.[3] Connelly and James Eagen were in the same regiment, had both arrived on the Neva and been sent to Berrima.[4] Connelly was from Kilkenny in south-east Ireland so it is likely that was Bridget’s home too. Patrick and Bridget (nee Morrissey/Morrissy) did have a son, George, born after Patrick’s death and descendants have his death certificate (dated 1910) which gives his birthplace as Berrima.[5]

In the Births, Deaths and Marriage records of NSW are three children born to James and Bridget, Catherine, Elizabeth and Samuel in 1839, 1843 and 1846 respectively.[6]  But family records suggest there were more children: a daughter Mary born in Berrima in 1836 and Ellen Agnes in Bargo in 1842. (Records show Catherine was born in Bargo and Samuel in Appin,)

Eagen resigned from the Berrima police force in 1847 and the family moved to Tumut where James was first the constable and then, in 1863, was promoted to Senior Constable.[7] A Constable James Eagan of the Tumut police was mentioned in the Police Gazette of 5 January 1857 (p 128) as receiving a £10 reward for help in retrieving a horse. Unfortunately in that same year Bridget Eagen died in Tumut on 6 February her obituary reading:

On Tuesday evening the affectionate and tender-hearted wife of Mr. James Eagan of Tumut suddenly breathed her last in her 59th year. The good old lady had been ailing for many years past, but on the morning of her decease she appeared in her usual health and spirits, and visited the stores to make purchases. In the evening medical aid was summoned, but too late, she was beyond recall, and at about eight o’clock death claimed her for his own. Mrs. Eagan was a member of the Roman Catholic faith, and a resident of Tumut for upwards of twenty years.[8]

James purchased land in that district. He died in 1882, listed in the Police Gazette as a police pensioner, and though the death is registered in Hume (Albury) the many family records on ancestry.com give his residence of Tumbarumba.[9]

[1] NSW BDM V1836353 20/1836

[2] http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~garter1/history/eaganjames.htm. Accessed 2017

[3] Linda Emery. Tales from a Churchyard. 2004. p. 62

[4] http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~garter1/history/connollypat.htm. Accessed 2017

[5] http://boards.ancestry.com.au/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=535&p=surnames.connelly. Accessed 2017; NSW BDM V18362339 128/1836; The death of a George Egan (sic) of the right age is recorded as living near Beechworth, Victoria as is a Catherine Egan, Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 14 May 1910

[6] NSW BDM V1839593 133/1839; V1843586 61/1843; V18461139 63/1846

[7] Police Gazette, 7 January 1863

[8] The Tumut and Adelong Times, 8 February 1866

[9] NSW BDM 5230/1882