Tuesday, 20 March 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 11 - Lucky

Hard work, determination, knowledge of how to work the system (usually in his favour), preparedness to try new endeavours plus the sense not to give up when a scheme failed to succeed all contributed to Simeon's change in status from convict to merchant, manufacturer, landowner, entrepreneur and magistrate. However luck also played a part.

Simeon Lord started life living with his family on a small sheep farm on the Yorkshire moors near Todmorden. Yet  references to Simeon Lord can be found in most histories of the early years of the colony of New South Wales as he was a (mainly) successful businessman and property owner acquiring great wealth for himself and his family. 
How did this happen? Simeon was 15 when his mother died while his father died the following year. Although he had relatives living in the Todmorden area, Simeon was at an age when he would be expected to earn his own keep so he appears to have travelled twenty miles to Blackburn, a town whose main industry was the textile industry.
Google Maps
Unfortunately we do not have information about Simeon's time in Blackburn except that when Simeon was 19 he was arrested for stealing a quantity of fabric, including calico, from Robert Peel & Associates near Blackburn, a firm best known for printing calico. This resulted in Simeon being tried at the Manchester Quarter Sessions in April 1790 and sentenced to seven years transportation. He travelled to Australia, with 220 other male convicts, aboard the Atlantic arriving in Sydney in August 1791.

So far luck did not really appear to be on Simeon's side. He was now 20 and lived on the other side of the world from his home and family in a convict colony that was only three years old. 

However early in 1792 Simeon's luck did change. He was assigned to Lieutenant (later Captain Rowley) of the 102 Regiment because Simeon was a convict who was able to read and write while Lieutenant Rowley was illiterate. Simeon's new role was to assist Lieutenant Rowley with his paperwork. This allowed Simeon to gain an insight into how the colony functioned, particularly the trade arrangements operated by the military.

Once Simeon had his ticket of leave Rowley helped Simeon with his initial trading ventures including the provision of contacts needed for going into business. There were many opportunities in the new colony for those who were prepared to try something new. Gradually Simeon had enough money to purchase a warehouse and other buildings in what is now Macquarie Place, Sydney. Two years later he began building his three storey house near the Tank Stream.

Although not all of Simeon's business ventures were successful, he gradually accumulated substantial wealth and property, usually acquired by land grants. Simeon was one also of the emancipists supported by Governor Macquarie who appointed him as a magistrate. The former convict was now involved with another side of law and justice.

It was in 1814 that Simeon established his first mill and factory at Botany. He now worked in the textile industry. At Todmorden his family had a room where fabric was woven from wool grown on the nearby hills and also, at times, cotton purchased in Manchester. This was small scale textile industry but now Simeon was able to experiment with making textiles on a larger scale. You could say that he was lucky to have learned the basics of the industry at an early age.  At the end of the eighteenth century small water powered woollen mills were being built in the Todmorden area and Simeon, no doubt, observed them. Simeon almost certainly worked in some aspect of the textile industry when he moved from Todmorden to Blackburn. He was now able to build on this knowledge and become a pioneer of the textile industry in New South Wales.

Who knows what path Simeon might have navigated if he had remained in England. We do know that both his early education plus his growing up in an area reliant on producing textiles helped establish and then cemented his position as a manufacturer, landowner and gentleman in New South Wales. You could definitely say that he was lucky to have had the opportunity to create a new life for himself in a new land.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 10 - Strong Woman

Last Thursday (8 March) was International Women's Day and the prompt for the week was Strong Woman. Strong women abound in Australian pioneer history. I suspect that just to survive the convict system and setting up a new life in a strange land required moral and physical strength, determination and a sense of adventure. The person I have chosen for this post, however, is my great, great, great grandmother, Mary Hyde.

This is the only picture that we have of Mary and she was obviously a considerable age when she sat for the photographer.

Mary was sixteen when she was arrested for stealing clothes from her employer in November 1795. She had to wait until the Warwickshire Assizes were held on 21 March 1796 to learn that she was sentenced to seven years transportation in Australia. It was not until January 1798 that the ship, Britannia II, left Portsmouth for Sydney Cove, arriving on 18 July 1798. When 19 year old Mary arrived, the colony was ten years old. She had been in prison on land and sea for more than two and a half years.

Shortly after arriving in Sydney, Mary met a young ship's officer, John Black (also 19), who had travelled to the colony aboard the Indispensable in August. They began living together whenever he was in port.  In 1799 John leased some land not far from Martin Place where they kept a few animals. Mary and John had two children, John born in May 1799 and Mary Ann born October 1801. Mary received an absolute pardon from Governor King in  September 1801. John had also leased some land from Simeon Lord on which he set up a liquor store. John continued to go to sea from time to time so Mary was left looking after the two children and possibly keeping an eye on her husband's liquor project. Mary and John appear to have been managing reasonably well until, in May 1802, John's ship disappeared at sea. Mary was now alone with two small children to care for.

By 1805 Mary had formed a relationship with former convict, Simeon Lord, who was on his way to becoming a successful businessman and landowner. The following year their daughter, Sarah was born. By the time Mary and Simeon decided to marry on 27 October 1814 at St Phillip's Church, Sydney, they had five children. Edward was born the week before the wedding. They then had five more children, making a total of ten. Add to these children Mary's son and daughter, plus Joanna, an orphan who became Simeon's ward, and there were thirteen children to care for. Fortunately they lived in a large house and no doubt were assigned convicts or hired help to look after them.

Mary also supported Simeon in his business interests for when Simeon died in 1840 Mary continued to manage the factories and mill at Botany where she and her family now lived. Mary was still managing the business concerns, no doubt with assistance from family, in 1855. She was 76 when the government decided to reclaim some of the land, including the stream that supplied the mill with water. Mary considered the compensation offered unacceptable so she sued the government for adequate compensation. Many appeals later the Privy Council in England ordered that Mary should be suitably compensated for the loss of her land and business. Mary was now eighty.

On 1 December 1864 Mary died at the family home at Botany, however when the will was read there was a surprise. Although Mary had allocated property and assets to all her children, which was to be expected, Mary stipulated that the portion given to each of her daughters was to remain their property. It was not to become the property of the daughter's husband. Mary was ahead of her time in making this decision. Unfortunately such actions were not possible in the 1860s.

Convict, mother and businesswoman, Mary can be considered a strong woman, not only for the life that she lived and survived but also for her belief that women should be entitled to equal ownership of property and possessions with men.

Towards the end of her life Mary used a bell ear trumpet to improve her hearing. This item is now part of the collection at the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).  There are also other items at the museum relating to Mary and Simeon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 9 - Where there's a will

Where there's a will should ensure the smooth transition of possessions after the death of a family member. However this was not always the case. 

 The Public Record Office of Victoria has digitised many Victorian wills and probate records in its collection and made them freely available online.

National Archives (UK) via their Discovery website is also beginning to digitise wills in their collection. In Victoria these can be accessed from the State Library of Victoria website. Some Australian wills can now be accessed on Find My Past. A Google search should assist in locating whether wills and probate documents from a particular area have been digitised and are available.

Wills and probate documents can be useful resources for family history research. Wills can provide valuable information relating to a family, sometimes supplying clues which may assist further research. However not all wills are straight forward.

The intentions in the will of William Forbes Hutton, who died in 1896, were clear. Most of his land and possessions were left to his wife though he did leave a portion of the land (clearly described in the will) to two of his sons. A codicil added that the buildings and vineyard on this parcel of land were also left to the two sons. His eldest son, George, was not mentioned in the will. This confirms the belief that George was previously provided with money to assist in the purchase of a property in New South Wales. The Statement of Assets and Liabilities indicates the value of land and other assets.

When William's wife, Eleanora MacKillop, died in 1900, her will stated that the remaining family property was to be sold with the proceeds distributed between designated family members. A codicil requested that an inheritance she was about to receive should also be divided between members of her family.

Not everyone made a will of course. When John Pendergast died in 1833 he had already distributed his land among family members. 
One of the challenges encountered when reading nineteenth century wills is being able to read the writing and also understand the legal terminology. The wills of William and Eleanor Hutton are relatively easy to read however I have a copy of the will of Henry Brougham Hillcoat which is written in small closely spaced writing and is almost impossible to read - a future project.

Although probaby written with the best intentions, wills could sometimes make life difficult for those left behind. John Pendergast's son, William Pendergast, died in 1850 and left a fourteen page will detailing his plans for his estate. Some of the land was to be kept in trust for his children until they turned 21. The remaining land was to be sold and the money distributed to the children once the youngest had attained 21 years. His youngest son was one when William died. It is probable that William did not anticipate his death arriving so close to writing his will. Separate arrangements had previously been made for his eldest daughter.

Provisions in a will could also be challenged by family members. When the wealthy merchant and land owner, Thomas William Birch, died in Hobart in December 1821 there were complications with his will and the final sale of some of his land was delayed until 1839. The validity of the will had been questioned and the matter was taken to court to establish when and how the properties could be sold.

Provisions within a will may not have been acceptable to the general population at the time the will was written. When Simeon Lord died in 1840 his will ensured that his large family was well provided for and his wife, Mary Hyde, continued to operate much of the family business until her death in 1864. In her will Mary divided the family assets among all children, but she stipulated that property inherited by her daughters was to  remain in their name and was not become the property of their husbands. Today there would be no problem with such a request however, at the time, there was no way to legally enforce this wish.

A will was therefore normally used to distribute a person's property or possessions equitably among family members after death, unless prior arrangements to individuals had previously been made. Usually the process worked smoothly unless, as we have seen, the will was contested.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Family history in strange places

A friend from primary school days has sent me a photo that she took recently of wallpaper on the wall of the public toilets at Campari House in Hardware Lane, Melbourne. The wallpaper in the photo was a page from The Argus newspaper 24 November 1956 page 3 in the Olympic Games liftout. One assumes that the newspaper has been coated or it would have disappeared long ago. The article is about the mens' 100 metres where the first three place-getters were expected to be American athletes.

Why was this image sent to me? The journalist who wrote the article was Ken Moses - my father.

NB: Checking Trove, another article by my father, published in The Argus on 26 November 1956, reported that although American sprinters came first and second in the race, Australian runner Hec Hogan won the bronze medal.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 8 - Heirloom

An heirloom is an object, often valuable, that has belonged to a family for generations. Of course there are many ways of placing a value on an item. It may be monetary value, it may be the rarity of an item or it may just be that the item conveys memories of people and places.
Dining area at Rosemount - family china and other items on display (1950s)
In the lounge / dining room family portraits adorned the walls and pieces of fine china and wooden items were on display. Many of these items had come with the Hutton family from England via India, though unfortunately many of the family possessions, including furniture, were lost when the ship carrying them sank on the voyage to Australia. Members of the Hutton family had settled in Australia by 1874 so this ship wreck would have occurred around this time. [Another project to research.]

One of the items that came from Rosemount that I now own is a Wedgwood cake plate.

I searched images of Wedgwood designs online and the closest suggests that it is a variation of the Japan design.

 I found a photo and information about a plate with a similar, but not identical, design on the Hampshire Cultural Trust website.
Hampshire Cultural Trust dinner plate.
Early in the nineteenth century Wedgwood began to use Japanese style designs when making table-ware and the plate above possibly comes from that period.

The following mark appears on the bottom of my plate. Checking a website describing marks on Wedgwood plates I found the information that a vase symbol with WEDGWOOD printed underneath was the 'basic printed mark on porcelain from c1878+' England was added from 1891. My plate was therefore probably made within that thirteen year period.

There is also a second mark on the plate. I found some information about impressed markings used to signify date and potter but this mark is written and sequence used over the years is confusing. Consequently I have not been able to narrow the possible date range any further.

The Hutton family settled in Australia in the mid 1870s. The plate would have come into their possession after their arrival in Australia.

A selection of china with another version of the pattern on my plate was produced with what was called Kashmar decoration in retro style in the second part of the twentieth century. Many images of items with this design can be located online via a Google search.

Over time I may be able to find more information about the plate which appears to have possibly belonged to members of my family for around 130 years. 

Whatever its age turns out to be, the plate will continue to be used to hold a cake (or cakes) on special family occasions.

Another heirloom post

#52Ancestors - Week 8 - Heirloom 2

This week I decided to do two posts for the prompt Heirloom.

Like many people I have a special cup and saucer so I decided to investigate its history as well.

The information on the base of the cup and suacer describes it as being Tuscan Fine English Bone China.

The cup and saucer have a delicate floral pattern, primarily yellow and green with a touch of orange - favourite colours of mine.

The saucer carries a mark in gold - C9861 with a squiggle underneath. Next to the number is a W. I therefore did a Google search for 'Tuscan C9861' which proved successful. The Etsy website has a photograph and description of a cup and saucer the same as mine.

I then searched for history of Tuscan china and discovered that it was made in North Staffordshire. The company's name was originally RH & SL Plant (Ltd) who manufactured fine porelain at the Tuscan Works, Longton, from 1898-1966. The company then became part of Wedgwood.

Checking the Maker's Mark showed that this version of the mark was first used in 1947.

The cup and saucer is representative of a time when ladies sat down to enjoy afternoon tea with friends. The best cups and saucers were used for the occasion. In the 1950s I can remember a glass fronted cabinet at home displaying the family's best china.

Although this cup and saucer is never used it will always have a special place in my collection, not only because I like it but because it also represents a time now past.

Another heirloom post

Sunday, 18 February 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 7 - Valentine

Valentines's Day (14 February) is celebrated by many as a time for Love and Romance. It is thought to have dated back to Roman times as a festival - Lupercalia - which celebrated the coming of Spring. Since the fourteenth century it has been celebrated as Valentine's Day in many countries.

When my convict ancestors arrived in Australia I suspect the main emphasis on their lives was the need to survive. Sydney was first and foremost a convict settlement which had to be established in an environment that appeared alien to those who had previously lived in England and Ireland. Over time the convicts [later emancipists] had the opportunity to acquire small parcels of land on which to grow food essential for the survival of themselves and the settlement in general.

The first marriages occurred in the new colony on 17 February 1788, only a few weeks after the arrival of the convicts. The Reverend Johnson, a Church of England minister, officiated. However men greatly outnumbered women in the new settlement.

Seven hundred and seventy-eight male convicts arrived in the First Fleet (January 1778) along with one hundred and ninety-two female convicts. However when the Lady Juliana arrived in the colony in June 1790, another 226 women joined the Sydney Cove population. Seventy-eight female convicts arrived aboard the Neptune later in the month.

The proportion of male convicts compared with female convicts in the colony was still high but the new arrivals provided a window of opportunity for First Fleet convicts to find partners.

In my family, William Roberts (1756-1820) and George Guest (1765-1841) were sent to Australia on First Fleet ships. Then, in 1790,  Mary Bateman (1773-1829) arrived on the Lady Juliana followed by Kezia Brown (1771-1854) aboard the Neptune. Eventually George and Mary married on Norfolk Island on 5 November 1791 while William and Kezia were married in Sydney on 17 August 1793.

George Guest (24) arrived at Norfolk Island in January 1790 and Mary Bateman (17) arrived there in August. On 5 November 1791 they were married when Rev Johnson briefly visited the island. He married up to 100 couples during his short stay. As Mary and George's daughter, Sarah, was born on 1 May 1792 they, like most of the others married at this time, would have been living together before the clergyman made his first visit to to Norfolk Island. Rev Johnson also performed many baptisms.

William Roberts was 22 when he married 21 year old Mary Russell (1757-1802) at Helston, Cornwell, England on 1 July 1778.They had three children, Mary, William and Richard. However the family's life dramatically changed when William was arrested for stealing a quantity of yarn and sentenced to seven years transportation in August 1786. The following year he was on his way to Sydney Cove aboard the Scarborough. As we have seen, Kezia arrived in the colony in June 1790. William and Kezia's first child was born in 1791 so it would appear that they had formed a relationship shortly after Kezia's arrival in the colony. However, because William had a wife and family back in England, William had to wait seven years from the time of his sentence until he could remarry. Consequently William (now 37) and Kezia (22) were married in Sydney on 14 August 1793. Together they had ten children.

On October 18 1813 William and Kezia's eldest daughter, Mary Roberts (1793-1863) married Richard Holland (1783-1867). Twelve days later their first son, William, was born. Richard, aged 23,  had been arrested in 1806 for stealing a parcel from a delivery van in the middle of the day. When transported to Australia he left a wife behind in England. Richard, now 30, therefore also had to wait seven years before marrying 20 year old Mary. They had nine children.

The Church of England was the official religion of the early settlement at Sydney Cove. However not all convicts transported to Sydney were members of the Church of England. This may have affected decisions regarding marriage for some of the convicts.

John Pendergast (1769-1833), a Catholic, was transported to Sydney Cove in 1799 arriving in January 1800. It is believed that he married another convict, Catherine, and they had a son, also John, born in 1801. Catherine also died in 1801. Records show that Jane Williams (1775-1838) was assigned to John Pendergast shortly after her arrival in the colony in 1801. There are no records showing that John and Jane married, however they had five children, the first born in 1803. John and Jane were both Catholics and although there was one Catholic priest in Australia in 1803 his permission to perform marriages was withdrawn shortly after his arrival. The next Catholic priests arrived in Australia in 1820.

Uriah Moses (1780-1847) was transported to Sydney Cove arriving in November 1800. He eventually settled in Windsor where he ran a bakery, along with other businesses. Uriah was 20 when he arrived in Australia but he did not marry until he was 50 years old. Uriah was a Jew but on 9 March, 1830 he married Ann Daley (1809-1880) at St Matthews' Church of England. Ann was the 20 year old daughter of convicts, Charles Daley (1775-1831) and Susannah Alderson (1780-1854).  Uriah and Ann had nine children, their eldest son arriving three months after they married. Twenty-two years after Uriah's death Ann married James Powell.

It was not unusual for the convicts to have married more than once in the colony as we have already seen with John Pendergast. Charles Daley arrived in Australia in 1793 and three years later he married another convict, Ann Lockett. Ann died ten years later in 1806. They had no children. On 27  August 1810 Charles married Susannah Alderson who had arrived in Australia with her son in November 1808. Susannah had been charged with perjury after she accused the schoolmaster she worked for of being the father of her child. Charles and Susannah had five children.

Mary Hyde (1779-1864) arrived in Sydney in July 1798. She lived with a ship's officer (John Black) when he was not at sea. They had two children. Captain Black's ship disappeared at sea in May 1802 and was officially declared missing in February 1803. By 1805 Mary was in a new relationship with Simeon Lord (1771-1840) and their first child was born in 1806. By the time they married on 27 October 1814 they had five children. Another five were born after their marriage. Simeon adopted the two children that Mary had with Captain Black plus another girl whose parents had died. 

So looking at this small sample what factors contributed to the need / ability to form a relationship / marry once in the  new colony? 

Forming a relationship, whether it resulted in marriage or not, could provide a form of protection for the female convicts, especially in a male dominated society. However for convicts who had been married in England it was necessary to wait seven years before they could legally marry again, though there was nothing to stop them forming a new relationship and new family in the meantime. For some couples there was no hurry to marry anyway or to marry at all. Religious beliefs that differed from the established Church of England could also influence or delay decisions. Most of the couples, with the possible exception of Mary and George Guest, appear to have built a comfortable new life with their partner and family in their new land, so hopefully there was some romance as well as practicality in the arrangements.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Japanese submarines off Sydney

A previous post on the shelling of Rose Bay covered some of the story of the prescence of Japanese submarines in the vicinity of Sydney in June 1942.

A number of books have been written about this period of Australian history. Some I mentioned in a post in another blog on books written about Sydney during World War II.

Two books, in particular, Battle Surface! by David Jenkins and The Battle for Australia by Bob Wurth have used Japanese records as well as Royal Australian Navy records to describe what was happening at the time.

Japanese midget submarines entering Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May - 1 June 1942 is the story that people remember. Three Japanese submarines were stationed outside the harbour entrance. Being midwinter it was dark early although there was a full moon. Earlier the Japanese had flown a small plane to check shipping in the harbour. During the evening three midget submarines left the mother submarines, I-22, I-24 and I-27, and entered the harbour. Technically there was a black out in Sydney but some lights were still on. Although parts of the harbour were netted, the city was not really expecting an attack by submarine.

The first midget submarine entered the harbour around 8 o'clock but its propellers encountered the anti-submarine nets and became entangled. The two men in the submarine destroyed the submarine before crew of Australian craft could investigate.

The crew of the second midget submarine unsuccessfully attacked Chicago, a ship in the harbour.  One shell remained unexploded on Garden Island while a second torpedo sank the former ferry, Kuttabul, killing 21 men. The submarine diappeared and was not found until 2006 when divers discovered the wreckage in the harbour.

The third midget submarine entered the harbour several hours later. Patrol boats detected it and the submarine was sunk. When the vessel was retrieved by RAN divers it was discovered that the crew had shot themselves.

The war had come to Sydney.

The bodies of the four Japanese discovered after the incursion into the harbour were given a funeral with military honours.

The mother submarine, I-24, remained in the area for several days after the attack before firing shells across the peninsula of land near Rose Bay on the night of 8 June.

After this week of activity the Japanese submarines returned to their prime task of disrupting shipping along the coast.

A summary of the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour can be read on the Australian Navy website

#52Ancestors - Week 6 - Favourite Name

Quoting Shakespeare, 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.' (Romeo and Juliet). However the names chosen for family members can cause many challenges when doing family history research.

When I first did the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge in 2014, at the 26 week mark I wrote a short post about the family naming patterns to that point.

As an update to that post, of the 52 people chosen for that project Sarah and Anne / Anne / Annie were the most common female names, each used four times. There were three ancestors in that list named Mary, and two named Catherine, Agnes or Jane. The most unusual name was Keziah.

George and William plus John / Joshua were the most popular male names, each appearing four times as a first name. Henry and Simeon appeared three times, while two ancestors  in the list were named Charles.

There are some names you would expect to be difficult to locate. I do have a third great grandfather named John Smith! Fortunately my second great grandfather had a more distinctive name - Charles Septimus Smith - which eased some of the pain when searching this branch of the family.

Looking at the family tree in general it is interesting to see how families stuck to naming patterns. An example is Simeon Lord. You would think with an ancestor named Simeon Lord there would be relatively easy to locate his family, especially as I knew the family lived in the small community of Todmorden in England. Unfortunately the extended Lord family also lived in the region near Todmorden and each branch of the family in the eighteenth century appear to have had a son named Simeon. Just one of the challenges of family history research.

In another branch of the family tree the name Eleanora or Eleonora is a family name used through the generations. This branch of the family tree can be traced back to the Plantagentets where Eleanor was also often used. My great aunt was Eleonora Ruby Hutton and I remember my grandmother telling us that her sister was the eleventh Eleonora / Eleanora in the family. This is another theory that I should explore further.

#52Ancestors - Week 5 - Census

I have used the English and Scottish census data available from 1841 until 1911 to locate information about some of family members who didn't come to Australia until the mid to late nineteenth century, or remained in England. However, as my twelve convicts arrived in Australia prior to 1806, it is the convict musters that I have used to trace the movements of family members during early colonial settlement.

Being initially a convict settlement, the British government kept records of the convicts transported to the colonies. Ancestry has a collection of records entitled, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters 1806 - 1849. The musters in the collection were conducted in 1806, 1811, 1822, 1823 - 1825, 1837 for NSW  and 1808-1849 for Tasmania. The information in the muster records varies but can provide information about the convict or former convict, their family, present occupation and where they are living at the time of the muster. The musters are only one of a series of records available for researching convicts in Ancestry.
Click on image for larger view
The above image tells us that Simeon Lord arrived on the ship, Boddington, in 1793 and that in 1825 he was a merchant in Sydney. His wife is listed as Mrs Lord though she had also been a convict. The names of eight children are also listed. Two of the daughters by this time were married and their husband's names are recorded.
Click on image for larger view
The 1806 muster concentrated on the land owned by convicts or former convicts and how the land was being farmed, including livestock owned. A section on the second page indicated numbers of family and workers associated with the person.
Click on image for larger view
As the colonies grew regualar data about the development of the colonies, especially, industries was collected but information about individuals was not recorded. Regular statistical information has been kept and made available via the Australian Bureau of Statistics since Federation. Recent census forms have provided those filling in the forms to indicate that they approve their individual information being made available in the future - one hundred years from the census date. Fortunately, in the meantime, family history researchers have access to directories and electoral rolls to assisit in filling in the gaps when researching family stories.

Early Australian census records - SLV guide