Friday, 7 October 2011

Time in gaol for Elizabeth Mashford but it was a petty 'crime', very petty....

 It seems great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Mashford spent time in gaol, although to be fair, it was hardly for a crime which we would recognise and only for two days, and within weeks of arriving in South Australia.

The Adelaide Gaol had opened in 1841 so we can presume that is where she spent her 48 hours. Little could she know that her grandson, my grandfather, Charles Vangelios Ross would later work as a warder at the same prison. 

Still, our ancestor has a record. Luke found the following in Trove records:

 The South Australian Tuesday 30th March 1847 p 5

Elizabeth Mashford, aged 25, Was charged, under the Masters' end Servants' Act, with having broken her agreement to eater the service of J. B. Montefiore, Esq. The young woman had been engaged on board the Princess Royal, as housemaid, for one month, and was to have come to her place in two or three days after the agreement, but did not do so. Her wages were to have been £16 per year. The mother of the defendant stated that she had sought an engagement for herself also at Mr Montefiore's, and not succeeding in her application, induced her daughter not to go. His Worship, after some comments on the law between master and servant, told the defendant that, in consequence of the intercession of Mr Montefiore, he should award to her a much lighter punishment than it was within his discretion to do, viz., two days imprisonment.

So, after arriving on March 16, Elizabeth, having given her word, was meant to take up employment with a family on arrival. One could presume that she had met them on board but that was not the case. From the look of this report of the case, her mother had talked her out of it when she also failed to gain employment with the same family.

Given that Mary Cann Mashford had younger daughters I am not sure why she wanted to stay with Elizabeth, but it seems she did. And given that Mr Montefiore interceded on Elizabeth's behalf and as a consequence she received a lighter sentence, it sounds like he was a reasonable sort of bloke. Perhaps he thought Mary was a bit too dodgy to employ, given her experience in the rough and tumble world of English pubs.

Although the Montefiore's had their own 'shady' past having made their fortune in Barbados, no doubt through slavery. However, given the times, they were hardly orphans amongst the wealthy.

Elizabeth had crossed the path of someone with very different origins and future to her own. Montefiore Hill in North Adelaide is named after a member of this family, which played a major role in the development of South Australia.

But the J.B. Montefiore who wanted to hire Elizabeth and who did not want to hire her mother, had not been on the Princess Royal with them. He had come out to the colony a year earlier. One can only presume he had an agent on board ship seeking to hire before arrival in order to get the 'pick of the crop.' The fact that Elizabeth was chosen perhaps says something about how she presented and what sort of a young woman she was. Or maybe it doesn't.

Joseph Barrow Montefiore, 1803-1893, merchant and financier, had emigrated to New South Wales in 1828.

In partnership with his brother Jacob (1801-1895), who in 1835-39 was a member of the South Australian Colonization Commission in London, he made a large fortune in real estate, helped to found the Bank of Australasia and was one of the channels through which English capital contributed to the pastoral expansion and speculative boom of the late 1830s. Joseph B. Montefiore was one of the sponsors of the bill, which became known as the Forbes Act of 1834, advocating interest rates free from statutory limits to encourage the flow of capital into the colony: 'restrict the rate of interest', he warned a sub-committee of the Legislative Council, 'and you at once destroy the stamina of the colony'. After the depression the Montefiore firm in Sydney went bankrupt. The London firm had suspended payment in 1841 and Montefiore had returned to England.

By 1844 the Montefiore brothers, were back in business and Joseph B. Montefiore decided to try his luck in South Australia. He arrived in Adelaide from London on 27 July 1846 bringing with him his wife, nine daughters and two sons, two servants, 'a harp, a piano and 300 packages', and soon set up in business with his nephew  as importers and shipping agents. Joseph invested heavily in copper mines and served on the board of a number of mining companies, notably the Royal South Australian Mining Co. He was a member of the stock exchange, a committee member of the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce and an original trustee of the Savings Bank.

In 1851 he stood for election to the East Adelaide seat of the Legislative Council as a 'good friend of free trade and moderate, unhurried reform and an opponent of state aid' but was roundly defeated. He retired in 1860 and returned to London.

Photo: Cells at Adelaide Gaol. 

Or perhaps Elizabeth had met Peter Lewis and did not want to commit to service. Although given that she and Peter did not marry until November 9 of the same year, I doubt that.

There is another Mashford cited in a court case in August of the same year but we are not sure if it is one of ours. If it is then it is likely to be Josiah, the youngest son who seems to have had a knack for ending up in court records. That however at this stage is assumption.

The South Australian Friday 27th August 1847 p 3
For wages, £6 15.; and cash, 5s. Debt denied, and set-off for clothes, &c, to £4 ls. lld. Mr Poulden, for defendant, objected that plaintiff was not of age. He said he was so far of age as this, that he had no one to take care of him, and had to support himself. His Worship That makes you no older. You had better apply under the Masters and Servants Act. Plaintiff, by advice of Mr Milner Stephen, agreed to make a settlement out of Court if possible. The amount in actual dispute was only two days' wages.

And following in Luke's footsteps I found a couple of other items on Trove which are interesting. I wrote earlier about the incident between Peter Lewis and George Mashford but it seems Trove has a bit more detail on the case. It sounds like Peter Lewis was a violent sort of man and if Elizabeth did leave him, she had good cause. There is still the possibility that Elizabeth was a bigamist when she married Edward but then there's a chance he was also which makes it a moot point.

POLICE COURT. Thursday. 7th December,
Peter Lewis was charged with threatening to shoot George Mashford, his brother in-law, at Kensington, on the 3d instant. ' George Mashford made a long statement, from which it
appeared that his sister (the prisoner's wife) was afraid to live with him, he having repeatedly threatened her, and -even on one occasion attempted to choak her. On last Sun day evening he came to witness's house demanding to see his wife. He then went to the Chapel looking for her, and created a disturbance there. He made use of the threats complained of on that occasion, and he had circulated the most abominable stories of witness and his sister. Mrs Lewis stated that she feared her husband would some times put his threats into execution, particularly as he was in the habit of getting drunk purposely to increase his violence. She was willing to support herself and child without troubling him. The prisoner admitted having called and asked to see his child, which was denied him. He declared he had no wish to hurt his wife or her brother, but hoped his Worship would order them to let him see his child. His Worship could say nothing to that. He would require him to give bail to keep the peace for six months. And to the wife he said she should endeavour to soothe the violence of her husband's temper. Her bargain might be a bad one, but she should make the best of it After entering into recognizances, the man again applied for an order to see his child. His Worship declined to give it, and admonished him not to resort to any violent means to effect that object.

From the sound of it Elizabeth was a chapel goer although being married to someone like Peter Lewis she no doubt needed any support that she could get. However, clearly they made up because she went on to have two more sons with Lewis.

I also found the following court record and I am wondering if it might be the first-born son of Edward and Hannah. The age is about right - thirteen. It is conjecture of course but we are still looking to find evidence that Henry Edward survived to adulthood and is the one son mentioned in Edward's death notice.

 March 13, 1856
Mail-Coach Manaqemest. — Peter Jewell, one of the firm of Haimes & Co., was charged with an assault upon Henry Atkins, at Crafer's Inn, on tho 23rd ultimo. A counter-information charged Atkins with abuse and insolence to the passengers. Mr. Ingleby, for Mr. Jewell, wished to alter its wording so as to bring the case under the Masters and Servants Act, and the hearing was adjourned for a week to enable him to do so. It transpired that Atkins, a young lad, was engaged in some way about the Mount Barker mail, and that Mr. Jewell, hearing he had been very insolent to the passengers, met him a day or two afterwards at Crafer's and gave him a sound thrashing. Upon this issue will be joined on Wednesday next.

In that synchronicitous way of things, or connections across the years, if this is our Henry then he was working in an area I know well.... we have a farm at Hahndorf, half-way between Crafers and Mount Barker. It is one of the prettiest parts of Australia.

Mount Barker was first sighted by Captain Charles Sturt in 1830, although he thought he was looking at the previously discovered Mount Lofty. Captain Collet Barker fixed this error when he surveyed the area in 1831. Sturt named the mountain in honour of Captain Barker after he was killed later that year by Aborigines, at the Murray Mouth.

Mount Barker was first surveyed in 1839 by Duncan McFarlane, who was hoping the area could be used for wheat and grain farming. The land was divided into lots of 80 acres (320,000 m2), although farmers didn't settle until 1844, when John Dunn built the first steam flour mill outside of Adelaide.

Crafers is a tiny town these days and was not much more than a place to change horses and get something to eat on the journey between Adelaide and Mount Barker in the 19th century.