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Anna Maria BILL
1840-?

Born on 5th December 1840, Anna Maria was the third girl in the family of the village baker, Johann Christoph Bill, and his wife Maria Elisabetha Bodenroeder. A total of ten children were born during the period 1825 and 1846, but three of the boys did not live beyond infancy.

The Bills were relative newcomers to the village, having first appeared in the 18th century; it may be that the original Bill was brought in as baker for the Order of St John. Anna Maria's mother was also from a family of bakers, although her father would be the last of the line, as he had no sons.

Anna Maria lost her father when she was only six, but the eldest brother was able to carry on their business and provide for his mother and the young ones. After Anna Maria was confirmed in 1854, her mother decided to send her away from the violence in the village. She arranged that Anna Maria with her older sister Anna Margaretha would travel out to Victoria with a group of about fifteen young people who were planning to leave early in 1856. 'Greta, the other sister, decided to stay with her mother in Nieder-Weisel. This group reached Liverpool in time to book passages on the ship "Red Jacket", which was tugged from the Pool on 2Oth May to begin her 84 day journey to Melbourne. Weather during the trip remained favourable and the young people made the most of this novel experience.

Disembarking on 11th August, the sisters went up to Ballarat, before making their way to the northern goldfields around Beechworth. They made have been with the Klippel group. By 1858, they were in the township of Yackandandah, a few kms to the north-east. Here, Anna Maria formed an attachment with Robert Hall Foster, an immigrant from County Tyrone; they were married in December 1859.

Anna Maria gave birth to a child at Christmastide but it was not a season for rejoicing, as the boy did not live long enough even to be baptised. The next pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and it was not until February 1863 that a child was born who lived; they named her Ann for her mother. Another son, William Lee, was born two years later. Anna Maria produced twin girls, Jane and Mary, in 1867 but each of them was sickly, and they died on the same day three months later. Maria quickly became pregnant again but before she even knew this, she was a widow. Robert Hall Foster died in July 1867 and was interred in the cemetery at Yackandandah; his daughter Mary was born in March 1868.

Anna Margaretha and her husband Fredrick Backhaus were establishing a vineyard in Yackandandah and, living nearby, were able to help Anna Maria until she remarried. Her second husband was an emigrant from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Joh. Friedrich Gloy; they were married in January 1871 and settled in Yackandandah. A son, named for his father, was born at Christmastide that year.

The birth of Joh. Friedrich junior is the last event for which the uncommon name of Gloy occurs in the Victorian records, so it must be assumed that the couple left the colony soon after this, perhaps to return to Schleswig-Holstein.

View Anna Maria's Family Chart or return to the top.