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Jefferson Pickman Stow (1830–1908)

The death is announced, in his 78th, year, of Mr. Jefferson Pickman Stow, who passed away at his residence, Jeffcott-street, North Adelaide, early on Monday morning.

Mr. Stow belonged to a family which has a distinguished place in the history of South Australia. He was the second son of the Rev. T. Q. Stow, the pioneer Congregational minister of the State, and his elder brother was the late Mr. Justice Stow, who before his elevation to the Supreme Court bench was a leading figure in politics. Another brother, the late Mr Augustine Stow, once held the position of Chief Secretary, having sat both in the Assembly and the Council. Mr Jefferson Stow never entered the Parliamentary arena, but as a journalist he did much to influence the trend of political thought and action. He was born at Buntingford, Hertfordshire, on September 4, 1830, and before he was seven years of age he left England with his father for Adelaide, where he arrived in the ship Hartley after a voyage lasting five months. The Hartley brought also Mr. William Giles, afterwards manager of the South Australian Company, and Mr. Randell, father of Mr W. R. Randell, the pioneer of steam navigation on the Murray, as well as many cattle and sheep, from the Cape. Mr. Stow at first lived in a tent on the Torrens flat, a tribe of natives 300 strong living close by, while later the marquee was removed to a spot on North-terrace, near where Morphett street bridge now stands. A reed hut followed, after which Mr. Stow removed to Felixstowe. He was educated by his father and Mr D. Wylie, M.A., and at the age of 20 started farming, but he was drawn away to Victoria by the gold fever in 1856. After his return he started a business at Gawler, and while there he was associated with Messrs. E. L. Grundy, and George Isaacs, and Dr. Nott in the foundation of the famous "Humbug Society." In 1864 he went with the late Mr. B. T. Finniss to the Northern Territory, and he was one of the party of seven persons, who, starting from Adam Bay on May 7, 1865, made a perilous and adventurous voyage in the Forlorn Hope, an open boat, to Champion Bay, Western Australia, a distance of 2,600 miles. He wrote a stirring account of this voyage, which was published in The Advertiser at the time, and has often since been quoted. Before a Constitution was granted to South Australia Mr Stow was associated with many exciting political contests, and he had numerous stories to tell of his experiences connected with them. He joined the staff of The Advertiser in 1865, and on the death of Mr Harcus, in 1876, he was appointed editor, a position which he filled with great ability until December, 1884. He then accepted office as a stipendiary magistrate, his first circuit being at Narracoorte. Afterwards he was transferred to Mount Gambier, and subsequently to Port Pirie. He was also Commissioner of the Gladstone Insolvency Court, chairman of the Licensing Bench for the district, and divisional returning officer. Mr. Stow retired under the provisions of the Septuagenarians Act a year or two ago. He wrote a History of South Australia for special circulation at the Calcutta Exhibition, and recently he published an interesting volume of reminiscences. Mr. Stow was a man of great geniality of disposition, and he possessed a fund of quiet humor which made him a popular companion, while his skill as a raconteur was everywhere recognised.

Mr. Stow had been failing in health for some time, but his illness did not assume a serious aspect until about five or six days ago. Mr. Stow's wife pre-deceased him, but he left a large family. The daughters are — Mrs. Moore (Burra), Mrs. W. Symon, who resides in America, and, the Misses O. Stow, N. Stow, and L. Stow, of North Adelaide. The sons are Mr. J. W. Stow, who is in Western Australia and Mr. S. Stow who resides in London. The eldest son, who was an officer of the Treasury, died some years ago.

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Citation details

'Stow, Jefferson Pickman (1830–1908)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


4 September, 1830
Buntingford, Hertfordshire, England


4 May, 1908 (aged 77)
North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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