The Martin’s faced several tragedies during the mid-19th Century. Robert Martin’s eldest daughter Isabella aged 14 years was drowned in 1868 when she attempted to get water from the well for washing. Mrs. Lily Martin noticed her daughter was missing about 9am. Mrs. Martin and Mr. Coughrane used a grappling hook to check the well and discovered her body.
Local school teacher Richard Hall also came to assist after being told by a student that Isabella had drowned. Once her body was secured, the party which by this time included Mr. Martin, drew her to the top. Isabella was carried to the house.
Her mouth was cleansed and her head raised. Friction was applied to various parts of her body and she was wrapped in blankets. Attempts to resuscitate Isabella for over 30 minutes failed.
Lily Martin died the following year in 1869, leaving six surviving children of their family of eleven.
The Martin’s Settlers Arms Inn was destroyed by fire at around three o’clock in the morning of 8 April 1872. The townsfolk evacuated all the family and an enquiry into the fire was held at the ‘Steam Packet Inn’ four days later. The district Coroner, Mr. H Connell could find not evidence how the fire started.
Settlers Arms Hotel at Shellharbour c.1860
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.
Article on the death of Isabella Martin
Illawarra Mercury 4 August 1868.