Sunday, July 20, 2014

Winiam Methodist Sunday School

This weeks Sepia Saturday prompt reminded me of a photo that I have previously shown of my grandmother and a Sunday School concert in 1922

1922 Winiam Methodist Sunday School concert - Little Pansy Faces
Emily Pilgrim, Edie Gniel, Doreen Wohlers, Ella Voight, Dorrie Westendorf,
Eva Pilgrim (my Grandmother), Sylv Rowett & Myrtle Pilgrim
My Great Grandfather
James Pilgrim snr was the Founder
of the Winiam Sunday School and
Superintendent from 1886 - 1910
My Great Grand Uncle
Will Pilgrim took over from his father
as Superintendent  of the
Winiam Sunday School
 1910 - 1916

My ancestors had strong ties to the Methodist Church. According to newspapers  (1) , my Great Great Grandfather James Pilgrim snr, was founder of the Winiam Sunday School in 1886, being 4 years after he selected land in Winiam, Victoria.  James (also known as Grandfather Pilgrim in the area) was Superintendent of the Sunday School for 24 years (1886 - 1910).  At age 75, he turned the responsibility over to his son, Will Pilgrim.  

In 1915 my Grandmother and Grand Uncle received Certificates  from the Winiam Primary School, which lists
"L Walton Minister, W Pilgrim Superintendent, P Pilgrim, Secretary"
My Great Grand Uncle, Perce Pilgrim
 is listed as the Secretary of the
 Winiam Sunday School in 1915

Another Winiam Methodist Sunday School Certificate,
issued to my grandmother in 1916
(Click to enlarge pictures)

The Minister listed on the above certificates is L Walton.

1915 Methodist Church Ticket belonging to my
Great Great Grandmother, Agnes Scott
My Grandfathers family (who in 1915 lived at Gerang Gerung, about 25 kilometres away from my Grandmothers family at Winiam) were also involved in the Methodist Church.

I noticed that L Walton was also listed on the below Methodist Church Centenary Ticket and his initials are on the ticket at the right.

I wanted to find out more about L. Walton, who was the minister for both my grandmother and grandfather's families, although they lived in different communities and did not know each other in 1915.

1915 Centenary Ticket issued to my Great Grandmother, Agnes Scott, who lived at Gerang Gerung.

Reverend Levi Walton was born on the 24th December 1864 at Raywood, Victoria, Australia (2).  The family moved to Echuca, Victoria when he was about one year old.  He spent his childhood and schooling at Echuca, including Sunday School at the Methodist Church (3).  He as inspired by local ministers from a young age and first became a member of the Methodist Church when he was about 17 years old. (3).

Levi then went to Melbourne to enter "business life" and studied for the ministry, being accepted for his first charge before he turned 21.(3)

Reverend Levi Walton was very active within the ministry and the many communities that the ministered.  By all accounts, his sermons were always well patronised and popular with parishioners.  He held many positions of trust and esteem within the ministry.  He was recognised on several occasions in local papers as an astute financier and was also the youngest President of Conference in Australian Methodism.

 "All things come to an end.  The little stream that runs down between the hills joined the ocean and was lost, and thus came to an end.  Everything was bound to change"  Rev. Levi Walton 1887 (4)

Methodist Free Church Numerical Statement - 1886
Source:The Argus (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957)
Wednesday 10th February 1886, page 8 - Trove
I have been able to trace his movements as follows;

1886 - Age 21 - Commenced Ministry at Violet Town, Victoria (with another minister) (5)
1887 - Age 22 - Reverend at Beaconsfield (4)
1887 April - Left for NSW(4)
1888 - Age 23 - Advanced a year of Probation at United Methodist Free Church (6)
1888 - Age 23 -  Married Charlotte Woolard at Redfern, NSW (7) 
1889 - Passed examinations and advanced a year of probation (in NSW) (8)
1890- Back in Victoria and appointed to Finance Committee (9) and Reporter to the Press (10)
1891 and 1892 - Reverend at Ringwood, Victoria (11)(12)
1893 - Age 28 - Reverend for United Methodist Free Church Assembly at Mooroopna, Victoria.  Elected Secretary and Treasurer for the State Superannuation Fund and on the connectional committee (13)
1895 - Reverend at Ballarat (Peel Street) circuit. Continued as Secretary for the Superannuation Fund (14)
1897 - Ministered for United Methodist Free Church at Richmond (15)
1898 - Ministered at Coburg (16)  Appointed Secretary of the United Methodist Free Church (17)
1899 - Age 34 - Elected President of the United Methodist Free Churches in Victoria (18) based at 201 Swan Street in Richmond (19).  This was a very important year for the Methodist Church as the various branches and States were united in August 1899.

"The Rev. L Walton, who has acted as general secretary to the United Methodist connection for the past 12 months, was yesterday unanimously elected to the position of president for the ensuing year.  Although about the youngest clergyman of the connection, Mr Walton is very popular, and showed his business capability whilst presiding over the conference throughout yesterday" (20)

1900 - Ministered at Ballarat (21)
1901 to 1904 - Ministered to Heathcote and surrounds, which was considered to be one of the biggest districts in Victoria (22).
In 1903 he was also elected as the Reporter to the the Press for the Bendigo Synod (23)
1904 to 1907 - Ministered at Pyramid Hill  and helped out at Portland (24)
1907 to 1908 - Heywood.  In 1907 Levi was appointed the assistant secretary for the Methodist Western District Synod (25).  In 1908, he was elected to the Temperance committee. (26)
1909 to 1911 - Seymour (27) (28).  In August 1911, Reverend Walton was contacted by the Nhill Circuit
1911 - 1916 - Reverend at Nhill, where he moved around the area, ministering to my grandmother's family at Winiam and my grandfather's family at Gerang Gerung (29).

During his parsonage at Nhill, there are regular accounts of his involvement with the community.  He baptised, married and buried several of my relatives in the area.  Mr & Mrs Walton were also very involved in sporting clubs, schools (including Sunday School), community events, the Red Cross and fundraising (29). Additionally, during his time at Nhill, he was unfortunately called upon to deliver the bad news to many families, who had lost their sons during the war.
"He did not fear any man's frown, neither did he court any man's favour"  
Nhill Free Press about Reverend L Walton - 4th April 1916 (30)

1916 to 1920 - Reverend Levi Walton ministered to the Stawell community (30) (31), where another branch of the family of the family lived.   When I checked, I found that the Warrick family were also Methodists and Reverend L Walton buried my Great Great Great Grandfather!
Excerpt of the Death Certificate of my Great Great Great Grandfather William Warrick,
which shows that Reverend Levi Walton was the witness to the burial in 1917
1920 to 1924 - Eaglehawk (32) (33) 
1924 and 1926 - Essendon North (34) (35)
1926 - Williamstown (36)
1927 - Albert Park (37)
1928 to 1930 - Echuca.  Back to his childhood town (3)

Reverend Levi Walton then retired to Ivanhoe, Victoria, where electoral rolls indicate that he resided until his death, on 21 October 1938, from heart failure.
1928  Back of Winiam Methodist Church on Left, School back middle and Winiam Hall on Right.

A card received by my grandmother from the Winiam Methodist Sunday School
My Grandmother received a Hymn book from the Winiam Methodist Sunday School as a wedding present
Winiam Methodist Church, where my grandparents, Eva Pilgrim and Allan Scott married
2nd May 1934

(1) Nhill 

 Free Press (Vic 1914-1918) Friday 13 November 1914, page 2  - National Library of Australia - Trove
(2) Birth Certificate
(3) Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW: 1869 - 1954) Saturday 31 March 1928, page 2 - Trove
(4) South Bourke and Mornington Journal (Richmond, Vic.: 1872-1920) Wednesday 6 April 1887, page 2 - Trove
(5) The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic.: 1863-1918) Friday 12th March 1886, page 2 - Trove
(6) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957) Saturday 18th February 1888, page 14 - Trove
(7) Australian Marriage Index and Death Certificate
(8) The Brisbane Courier (QLD 1864-1933) Friday 15th February 1889, page 5 - Trove
(9) Williamstown Chronice (Vic.: 1856 - 1954) Saturday 15 February 1890, page 2 - Trove
(10) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Wednesday 12 February 1890, page 4 - Trove
(11) Reporter (Box Hill, Vic 1889-1918) Friday 23 January 1891, page 3 - Trove
(12) Williamstown Chronicle (Vic 1856-1954) Saturday 8th October 1892, page 3 - Trove
(13) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Saturday 18 February 1893, page 3 - Trove
(14) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Friday 15th February 1895, page 7 - Trove
(15) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957) Friday 12th February 1897, page 7 - Trove
(16) The Coburg Leader (Vic: 1890-1913) Saturday 26th March 1898, page 2 - Trove
(17) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Saturday 5 March 1898, page 5 - Trove 
(18) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Thursday 16 February 1899, page 4 - Trove 
(19) Geelong Advertiser (Vic.:1857-1918) Thursday 24 August 1899, page 4 - Trove
(20) Geelong Advertiser (Vic.:1857-1918) Thursday 16 February 1899, page 4 - Trove
(21) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Saturday 17 February 1900, page 14 - Trove
(22) The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic.: 1863-1918) Thursday 7 April 1904, page 2 - Trove
(23) Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.: 1855-1918) Wednesday 4 November 1903, page 3 - Trove
(24) Portland Guardian (Vic.: 1876-1953) Friday 1 March 1907, page 2 and Friday 21 June 1907, page 2 - Trove
(25) Camperdown Chronicle (Vic.: 1877 - 1954) Thursday 7 November 1907 - Trove
(26) Portland Guardian (Vic.: 1876-1953) Monday 9 November 1908, page 3 - Trove
(27) Electoral Roll (1903-1980)
(28) The Broadford Courier and Reedy Creek Times (Broadford, Vic: 1893 - 1916)  Friday 4 August 1911, page 2 - Trove
(29) Nhill Free Press (Vic.: 1914-1918) Friday 7 April 1916 , page 3 - Trove
(30) Nhill Free Press (Vic.: 1914-1918) Tuesday 4th April 1916, page 3 - Trove
(31) Electoral Roll (1903 - 1980)
(32) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) 15 July 1920, page 8 - Trove
(33) Electoral Roll (1903-1980)
(34) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.:1848-1957) Saturday 31 July 1926, page 13 - Trove
(35) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Tuesday 6 January 1925, page 1 - Trove
(36) Williamstown Chronicle (Vic.: 1856 - 1954) Saturday 27 February 1926, page 2 - Trove
(37) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957) Saturday 5 March 1927, page 36 - Trove

This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday


  1. If anyone can provide a photo of Reverend Levi Walton, I would really appreciate it.

  2. Such a great collection of memorabilia Sharon. Pilgrim is such a distinctive name too isn't it? A bit like one on my husband's side of the family - Proverbs.

    1. Proverbs is interesting. It would be good to know the story behind that one.

      Yes lucky that my grandmother kept so many thing. I thank her (send a small prayer) regularly.

  3. A genealogy of great men! None of those gentlemen wasted any of their time! Good post.

    1. Yes the Pilgrim men were all very busy men! Reverend Levi certainly moved around a bit too!

  4. Your opening photo made me laugh. Those poor girls look like wilted pansies that could use some water. You've done excellent research to get everyone lined up in time and place.

    1. Lol. Yes not the best photo of my grandmother!

      Thanks Mike

  5. It starts with a fabulous old photograph and what follows is such an interesting and well-crafted piece of research. Fascinating and enjoyable to read. Sepia Saturday at its best.

    1. Thank you Alan. Probably too much for most Sepians but hopefully a family member of Levi Walton finds it useful in future! I enjoy the challenge of research!

  6. As a family historian too, I LOVE this post and how you crafted it. I like SS for its ability to make me find an appropriate photo and then do my genealogy thing.

    1. Thank you Wendy. I really appreciate your comments.

      Yes I agree that SS is very inspiring.

  7. Those certificates are works of art!

    1. Especially the Young Australian Temperance League Certificate!

  8. Wonderful research and an interesting read. Reverend Walton certainly accomplished a lot during his life. Moved around so much!

    1. My thoughts too Helen. I suppose it was like bank managers, they moved them around regularly so they did not become to familiar with people/families, which could impact their judgement.