Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cat fights, court cases and conjectures

Photo: Gladstone Gaol where Mary Atkins Ross's son Charles Vangelios would work. 

We have snippets of information coming through in regard to the Atkins family. Trove has published further accounts of the street-fight incident involving Mary Atkins Ross and her sister Elizabeth and sister-in-law, Sarah Lewis, wife of George, Elizabeth Mashford Atkin's eldest son by her marriage to Peter Lewis.

It seems that the Atkins girls were the aggrieved parties in the incident and it will be interesting to find out more about what actually happened. Perhaps the Moy girl was taunting Mary for her illegitimate son - probably we may never know. But what we do know is that Mary and her kin were more than capable of defending themselves.

But Sarah Lewis had been banged about the head with an iron bar so the disagreements between herself, or the family, and Annie Moy were substantial. Given earlier charges for Mary (Polly) and Elizabeth (Lizzie) attacking a boy, it is a fair bet that there were two sides to the story and our girls were far from innocent.

In this article from the Northern Argus 1878


Lizzie and Polly Atkins were charged with using threatening language and with throwing stones at a boy named John Blackwell, at Gladstone, on October 31 last. Messrs. Bonnar and Hardy for defendants, and Mr. Hosier with Mr. O'Halloran for informant. The information was dismissed without costs, the evidence against defendants being of a rather trivial character. 

 And a second charge in the same court related to Sarah Lewis:
Sarah Lewis was charged with using obscene language towards John Blackwell. At
Gladstone, on October 31. On the application of Mr. Hosier the information was amended by altering the date of the alleged offence to November 13. The hearing was then adjourned until the January Court.

Sarah Lewis was then charged with assaulting Annie Moy, at Gladstone, on Nov. 13 by striking her on the back with a stone
and attempting to throttle her.

plainant gave evidence of the assault, admitting, however, that there was violence used on both sides. Her two daughters testified to having seen the assault, and to rescuing her from defendant's violence, but said they had in no way provoked the assault or retaliated. Defendant's evidence proved that the real assaults were committed by informant. The S.M. dismissed the case, commenting unfavorably on the evidence for the prosecution. Two other informants connected with the above matter were withdrawn.Northern Argus Tuesday 3/12/1878 p2

Thursday, January 23.
[Before Messrs. Edmonds, S.M., Moorhousp,
and Inglis, J.Pd.J

Lewis v. Moy. — £100, damages for as
sault. Messrs. Bonnar and Hardy for the
plaintiff, and Messrs. Hosier and O'Halloran
for the defendant. The Messrs. Lewis and
Moy both lived at Gladstone, and had rows
promiscuously; and in this one a female
Lewis got battered about the head by a metal bar,
witnesses (mostly wives and daughters of
neighbors) described the affair ad nauseam,
and the Bench gave a verdict for plaintiff
for £30. -

Atkins v. Moy.— £100, damages for as
sault. The attorneys and counsel appeared
in this case. The claim arose out of the
same disturbance as the previous cause of
action. Both plaintiffs were related, and
both seemed to fall equally under the dis
pleasure of the Moys. Verdict for plaintiff
for £15.

Atkins v. Moy. — £50, damages for 'as-
sault. In addition to the advocates appear
ing in the other cases, Mr. Bright acted for
Michael Moy '(nominal defendant), who ob
jected to being sued for an assault alleged
to have been committed by his daughter—
a minor. Nonsuit.

Perhaps Mary had inherited her father's temper although her mother may well have had one as well, hence the breakdown of the marriage. Again, conjecture.

But to move on to more conjecture regarding the possible links between Henry Edwin Atkins, born Gloucestershire to Joseph and Ann (Haines) Atkins and convict, Edwin Atkins, born Gloucestershire and our Edward Atkins, probably born Gloucestershire, we have a bit more information following research.

We now have a copy of the court recording for the trial of Edwin Atkins for sheep-stealing in 1830 and it includes a physical description of him.

Seven Springs house. - - 1514316.jpg 

His parish is given as Cubberly (now Coberley) which is in the Cotswolds and just over two miles south of Charlton Kings where Joseph Atkins and Ann were recorded in census registers.

The court record has the following description:

Light brown hair, dark blue eyes, fair complexion, long face with small moles on his forehead, six small moles on r.h. cheek, small mole near his left ear, four small moles left arm, two small moles near right armpit; three small moles left arm,  two moles on his back, three moles on back of his neck. Reads and writes.

Lent Assizes April 7, 1830. Death Recorded. Transported for seven years. Discharged May 24, 1830. Behaviour orderly. Blacksmith. Height: 5.7. 

A convict record had 'grey eyes' for Edwin Atkins but such things are probably a moveable feast. One assumes grey is light grey but it may be dark grey, which looks more like dark blue. Or eyes can change colour. Perhaps a few months in prison, experiencing no doubt great stress, could do that. Did they return to grey during his trip to Australia? Maybe. Or did they change colour on the voyage? Maybe. Or is it just another error in the mistake-making way of the times in regard to names and ages? Maybe.

Moles seemed to be the mark of the day with others appearing in court on the same day, recorded as having moles and more than one 'long face.' Perhaps he meant it in the metaphorical - long as in sad!  It would be understandable given the punishments. Edwin got death for stealing a sheep, or at least being found guilty. He had it transmuted to transportation for seven years which must have been a relief although one presumes it was not a given. Nearly four months after appearing in court, Edwin would board the Florentia and set sail for Australia, on the other side of the world. His last time on English soil would be August 11, 1830 when the Florentia set sail.

Then again, people did not travel far in those days and married into local communities time and again so it would hardly be surprising if they had similar physical attributes. It is not possible to discern moles on our Edward's face from the image we have of him with Mary and Elizabeth but if I can get hold of the original photograph, it might just be possible.

We have also found a few more children for Joseph and Ann (Haines.Haynes) Atkins and amended the list as follows:

Children of Joseph and Ann Atkins. Joseph listed variously as shoemaker and cordwainer. A cordwainer is a shoe-maker and the names are used alternatively.

Charles Atkins baptised (abbreviation bp.) 1 July 1810

Henry Edwin Atkins bp. 23 February 1812Born January 22, 1812. (This now gives a birth date for Henry Edwin of 1812 but it is close enough to 1811 given the vagaries which always seem to surround ages at the time.)

Joseph Lewis Atkins b. 18 January 1814, bp. 13 February 1814, bur. 3 April 1814.

Sarah, b. April 30, 1815.

James Webb Atkins b. 14 August 1816, bp. 5 October 1816

Susannah b. 30 November 1817, bp. 3 January 1819

George, born 12 December 1818. Baptised January 2, 1819.

Jane, born September 17, 1820. Baptised November 3, 1820.

David Atkins b. 31 March 1822, bp. 19 May 1822 

Thomas Haines Atkins b. 20 June 1825, bp. 24 July 1825, d. 30 October 1825

Mary Ann Haines Atkins b. 10 January 1827, bp. 4 February 1827 

Eliza Atkins was born in 1831.

At this point we can clarify existing links between the three men although this does not constitute evidence and remains conjectural.

 Photo: The Florentia on which Edwin Atkins sailed to Australia.


Henry Edwin Atkins and Edwin Atkins, convict:

1.      Age – birth year
2.      Location - Gloucestershire
3.      Edwin Atkins has the initials HE*A tattooed on his wrist.
4.      Edwin is from the parish of Cubberly (Coberley) which is close to Charlton Kings where Joseph and Ann Atkins, parents of Henry Edwin Atkins, are recorded in the census.
5.      Father of both named Joseph.

Edward Atkins and Edwin Atkins

1.      Age – birth year.
2.      Time-frame in Australia.
3.      Profession – both shepherd/blacksmith.
4.      Employer connections
5.      Description of Edwin fits image of Edward in photograph closely.
6.      Origin Gloucestershire.
7.      Both could read and write.

Henry Edwin Atkins and Edward Atkins

1.      Same name of father, Joseph.
2.      Edward’s first son called Henry, not Edward.
3.      One of Edward’s daughters calls son Edwin Henry
4.      Two of Edward’s daughters share names with Henry Edwin’s sisters: Jane and Sarah. One is called Anne, possibly after mother (Hannah) or paternal grandmother.
5.      Age – birth year
6.      Location – Gloucestershire
7.      Maternal name Haines or Haynes. Henry Edwin’s mother is Ann Haines/Haynes. Edward’s son James Haynes Atkins and grandson Haynes Mashford Atkins.
8.      Edward’s son is James; Henry’s brother is James.

Henry Edwin Atkins, Edwin Atkins and Edward Atkins

1.      Origin Gloucestershire.
2.      Age – birth year 1811/12.
3.      Father named Joseph.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Cirencester, Ceylon, convicts and conjectures.....

We know that the father of Edward Atkins was called Joseph and we established in previous research that a Joseph Atkins married Anne Haines (Haynes) in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in 1809 which fits the time-frame for parents of our Edward.

This time-frame would also fit for parents of the convict Edwin/Edward Atkins, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, who is a possible ‘same man’ fit for our Edward.

The link between them was made on the presence of the Haynes (Haines) family name for Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Mashford’s son, James Haynes and grandson, Haynes Mashford; the fact that Edward had Gloucestershire links or family and the relevant time-frame.

Any absolute connection remains unproven, but, as research continues, we have learned a little more about Joseph Atkins who married Anne Haines and who is still our best bet yet as the father of a man called Henry Edwin Atkins, and  potentially the father of the convict Edwin/Edward Atkins who came to Australia in 1831 and  possibly, our Edward Atkins.

Joseph and Anne have been found in the 1851 and 1841 censuses for Cheltenham,  Gloucestershire. He is listed as shoemaker and Chelsea Pensioner, the latter giving him a military connection which has now been confirmed and expanded.

The names and ages of children listed are just a little at odds with previous information but ages, as we know, can be a moveable feast and names can also change.

In the 1841 census, Joseph Atkins, 50, shoemaker, is living in the Parish of Cheltenham, St. Mary’s, Cheltenham, with his wife Anne, also 50.

The children are:

David, 15, labourer, born 1826.

Marian, (Mary Ann) 14, born 1827.

Eliza, 10, born 1831.

Joseph Preston,  30, painter, born 1811. NB: although he is probably a lodger and possibly a relation. Preston could be a middle name but it is not likely. At his age he would be independent and the lodger theory is most likely.

 Elizabeth, 30 (Joseph’s wife presumably)

Photo: Governor's House, Ceylon.

In 1851, Joseph Atkins is recorded in the census as living  at 3, Charlton Place, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, born Cirencester, Gloucestershire. He has aged considerably and is now 67, with a birth year of 1784 as opposed to his age of 50 just ten years earlier which would have given a birth year of 1791. Anne is now 65 with a birth year of 1786 as opposed to the 1841 census where she was the same age as Joseph.

They have two children still living with them. Their daughter Mary, one presumes the earlier Marian,(probably a phonetic spelling of Mary Ann) is living with them and is aged 25, which gives a birth year of 1826, also in Cirencester, and she is a servant out of place – or unemployed.

Daughter Eliza is also an unemployed servant and unmarried like her sister, and is aged 20, with a birth year of 1831 which accords with the earlier census, and a birthplace of Birlingham Worcestershire. Information on Eliza may have slipped under earlier radars because she is listed as Altins not Atkins.

The earlier data provided by a Gloucestershire researcher had the following:

Joseph Atkins married Ann Haines on August 14, 1809 in Cirencester in the county of Gloucestershire.  All the children were baptised in Cirencester, Gloucestershire:

Charles Atkins baptised (abbreviation bp.) 1 July 1810 – he would be 31 in 1841 so not living at home.

Henry Edwin Atkins bp. 23 February 1812 – he would be 29 in 1841 so not living at home but also possibly in Australia. NB: Our Edward has a birth year of 1811 if his age at death is correct. With baptism in February of 1812 he was probably born a couple of months earlier, December of 1811.  Family trends show baptism between 4-8 weeks after birth. James Webb nearly 8 weeks later; David nearly seven weeks later; Thomas Haines five weeks after birth; Mary nearly four weeks;  Susannah five weeks later and Joseph Lewis nearly four weeks after birth. It is a good bet if Henry Edwin was baptised at the end of February that he may have been born at the end of the previous December. NB: Our Edward called his first son by Hannah McLeod Henry Edward.

Joseph Lewis Atkins b. 18 January 1814, bp. 13 February 1814, bur. 3 April 1814. Died as a baby so not likely to be the Joseph (Preston) registered in the 1841 census. Preston could be a second name but it is not likely. Lewis must be a family name, maternal or paternal. NB: Our Edward called his second son by Hannah McLeod, Joseph.

James Webb Atkins b. 14 August 1816, bp. 5 October 1816 – he would be 25 and not living with his parents in 1841.  Webb must be a family name, maternal or paternal. NB: Our Edward called his son by Elizabeth Mashford, James.

Susannah b. 30 November 1817, bp. 3 January 1819 – In 1841 she is 24 and either married or working away as a servant.

David Atkins b. 31 March 1822, bp. 19 May 1822 – He would be 19 in 1841 and not living at home but the David Atkins who is, is only 15, so this first David may have died between 1822 and 1826 when the David recorded in the 1841 census was born.

Thomas Haines Atkins b. 20 June 1825, bp. 24 July 1825, d. 30 October 1825 – this child did not survive but the name Haines, a maternal surname, now appears.

Mary Ann Haines Atkins b. 10 January 1827, bp. 4 February 1827 – Mary Ann must be the Marian mentioned in the 1841 census with a birth date of  1827 in the 1841 census and one of 1826 in the 1851 census. Marian is probably  a phonetic mistake from Mary Ann.

Eliza Atkins was born in 1831 and not mentioned in this earlier list.

St. Mary’s Church, Cheltenham which the Atkins family would have attended and where Joseph and Ann were probably married and their children baptised, had been dedicated in 1190 by William Bishop of Hereford as a chapel of ease to St. Mary’s Cheltenham which at that time belonged to the Augustinian Abbey of Cirencester.

The following comes from the website of St. Mary’s Charlton Kings which drew upon the research carried out by Mrs Mary Paget M.A.,and published in the book “A History of Charlton Kings”.


 Photo: St. Mary's, Cheltenham.

It originally consisted of a nave, a chancel, two short transepts and, it is believed, a small bell tower at the crossing. Towards the end of the 13th century the south transept was adapted to become a chantry chapel and was dedicated, like the high altar, to Our Lady. A room was created above this to accommodate a visiting, or resident chantry priest.

In the late 14th/early 15th century the tower was rebuilt with a very high chancel arch. A south aisle was added at a similar or slightly later time.
In 1629 an agreement was made with Jesus College, Oxford whereby they would nominate three celibate, graduate members of the college from whom the patron of St Mary’s would select one to serve in Charlton Kings for a maximum of 6 years. Soon after this pews and, very possibly, the 3-decker pulpit (removed in the 1860s) were installed.

At the beginning of the 18th century the south porch was rebuilt and around this time the church clock was installed.

The early 19th century saw the first major building alterations for 400 years. At around 1800 a south gallery with an external staircase was built and between 1822-24 the north aisle was built and the church was repewed. The Rose Window was installed at the west end between two new 3-light windows.

But some of the most interesting new information, courtesy of family researcher, Kylie comes from records of Joseph’s service in the East India Company.

 Joseph was in the 66th Foot Berkshire Regiment and served in Ceylon between 1804 and 1807.  He spent five years in the regiment, joining at 18 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and being discharged at the age of 23 after five years and one month of service.

His discharge, on September 10, 1807 records ‘contraction of the right leg,’ which translates to lame and was a condition which often resulted from ulcers – not uncommon in the tropics of Ceylon. This gives a birthdate of 1784 for Joseph which correlates with his age in the 1851 census.

The military records show that Joseph Atkins of the 66th Regiment of Foot, landed 18th July 1804, Trincomalee, the isle of Ceylone in the East Indies and left East Indies 11th September, 1807.

What an adventure it must have been for a ‘boy’ from Gloucestershire. Trincomalee boasts a magnificent harbour. The District was captured by Portugese in the 16th century. The destruction and looting of the Koneswarar Temple by Constantine De Saa on a New Year day in the beginning of 1620 was a turning point in the history of the District. The Dutch conquered this district from the Portugese in 1693 and it fell into the hands of British in 1796.

It was very strategic and in that gift came the curse as great European powers fought to control it. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English, each held it in turn, and many a sea fight was staged off the cliffs of Trincomalee. It looks today, largely as it did when Joseph Atkins first saw it. The placid waters and gentle breezes made it a haven for ships and men alike. More like a lake than a sea, the harbour is guarded by two projecting headlands.

Among the sights are the seven hot springs of Kanniyayi, on the road to Trincomalee. The water is mildly hot and it is a good bet that Joseph and his fellow soldiers, used it more than once.  He probably also visited the Kon─ôsvaram temple, which attracts pilgrims from all parts of India even today.

The Kon─ôsvaram shrine itself was demolished in 1622 by the Portuguese (who called it the Temple of a Thousand Columns),  in that thuggish and barbaric way of conquest, and who fortified the heights with the materials derived from its destruction. Some of the artefacts from the demolished temple were kept in the Lisbon Museum including the stone inscription by Kulakottan (Kunakottan) It has an emblem including two fish and is engraved with a prophesy stating that, after the 16th century, westerners with different eye colours will rule the country for 500 years and, at the end of it, rule will revert back to Vadugus.  And they got that pretty much right.

The 66th Berkshire Foot would land at Trincomalee just a few years after the British had taken control. The original uniform was a red coat lined with white and faced with yellow-green; lace for officers and white, with one crimson and green and one green stripe for the men. Waistcoat and breeches were white. The uniform did not change its green facings until 1880 and would have been what Joseph wore as a soldier.

Joseph had joined the Regiment in 1802 and in that year it received orders to proceed to Jersely where it landed on November 3 and occupied Fort Henry and Granville Barracks. The Regiment has been based overseas and now had eleven months of well-earned rest. For Joseph it would have been an easy start to army life.

In 1803 Napoleon broke the Peace of Amiens and hostilities broke out with war formally declared against France on May 18, 1803. In just couple of months the Regiment, with Joseph, would be sent to Ceylon, no doubt as part of a greater plan for power and defence against the French, who had already tried to take the island previously. It was also a time of intense recruitment and depending upon when Joseph joined the Regiment, and the reality that there would have been whisperings for a time, he may well, like many of the English, been indignant at French aggression and sought to fight for his country.

Within a year the First Battalion would embark for Ceylon and services on the Madras Coast.  On March 3, 1804 the 1st Battalion 66th Regiment left Winchester to be billeted in the neighbouring towns during the Spring Assizes, but on the following day, orders were received at Bishop’s Waltham, where they were headquartered, for the Regiment to proceed to Portsmouth and await transport to Ceylon.

Three days later the 66th marched into Gosport, over 1000 bayonets strong, and went on board the Brunswick, Canton and Marquis of Ely – three merchant ships engaged in the China trade – who would carry them to the East Indies.  But it would be two weeks of laying off the Mother Bank before the winds arrived which enabled the vessels to weigh anchor. Sailing down the Channel they began a journey which would take them nearly four months, arriving at Trincomalee on July 16, 1804.

When they disembarked some had the luxury of Barracks but for others it was life under canvas. As a ‘new boy’ it was probably tents for Joseph. They rested for six weeks, following, as the records attest, ‘the tedious voyage around the Cape,’ and then the Battalion was broken into detachments.

The Commanding officer, Major-General Wemyss, expressed regret at breaking up the Battalion and declared himself ‘highly pleased with the handsome and soldier-like appearance of the men.’ For the next two and a half years the soldiers were on duty across Ceylone and also on the Indian mainland, in the Madras Presidency.

In 1807, Colonel Hatton, who had the Regiment in his charge, returned home on leave and was replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeney. On September 3, 1807, just a couple of weeks before Joseph Atkins would take ship for home after being discharged from the service, the following Order was issued by Lieutenant-General Maitland, on the occasion of his visit of inspection at Trincomalee.

" Lieutenant-General Maitland felt great satisfaction
at the whole state of the Garrison of Trincomalee
and its dependencies, at his visit to that important
post. His Majesty's 66th Eegiment, he is happy to
observe, has not suffered by the temporary loss of
that excellent officer. Colonel Hatton. The steadiness
and appearance of the men is highly reputable to
Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeney and the officers of the
Corps. The general character and good conduct of the
officers does credit to the Regiment, and the whole
state of the Regiment does honour to the Service.**

Interestingly, while Joseph’s military career was comparatively brief, he had, by the time of discharge, risen to the rank of Corporal. Not bad for a labourer in just five short years. And if his ‘contracted right leg’ had been due to ulcers, Joseph must have recovered good health as he would live another 54 years, dying at the age of 77 years – a goodly innings.

Photo: 18th century Gloucestershire. Where Joseph Atkins grew up.

Perhaps the ‘limp’ with which he was left was why he became a shoemaker. One presumes that four years with the East India Company in Ceylon, with little on which to spend wages, would have left him enough money to retrain and set himself up in business. He would have nearly two years from the time he returned to England the time that he married – more than enough time to train as a shoemaker, perhaps, as was the way, with a relative or family friend.

While at this stage we do not know if Edwin/Edward Atkins the convict is either our Edward Atkins or the son of Joseph Atkins and Anne Haines (Haynes), Henry Edwin Atkins, there is a reasonable fit on either count or on all three counts.  Henry Edwin Atkins may be our Edward Atkins or he may be Edwin/Edward Atkins the convict – or the three may be one and the same man. If this is the case then we have in the material to hand for Joseph Atkins and Anne Haines a wealth of new material for the family ancestry.

I am employing a Gloucestershire researcher to attempt to resolve the questions.

The connections so far between the convict Edwin Atkins and our Edward Atkins are:

1. Edward Atkins gives his father's name as Joseph on both of his marriage certificates, firstly to Hannah Mcleod and secondly to Elizabeth Mashford Lewis.

2. His obituary has a note asking that Gloucestershire papers  be notified, when he died in 1891 at the age of 80.

Edward Atkins was born circa. 1811 or 1812. - Henry Edwin Atkins was baptised February1812 so may have been born 1811.  A few weeks or a couple of months has been recorded between birth and baptismal dates for two of his siblings.  Joseph Lewis Atkins was born January and baptised February; James Webb Atkins was born August, baptised October.  The convict Edwin/Edward Atkins has in most records, a birth date of 1811.

Image: Gloucester Assizes, court report on the conviction of Edwin Atkins.

There is an age discrepancy in  one convict record to date but we have the following, and it is probably wise to ignore the one discrepancy regarding age:

Edward Atkins    1830  Florentia    - on convict muster record but not transcribed to ship record.   24 yo Gloucester. (This may be another Edward or the age may be incorrect and this is most likely given the other records which give a correct age for Edwin/Edward the convict and our Edward.)

Edwin Atkins      1830  Florentia  (transcribed to ship record)  19 yo  from Yas Plains.

Convict Registers
Edwin Atkins              Gloucester Assizes      7 April 1830    7 years                        
Convict & Passenger Records

Edwin Atkins    19      Florentia          1830    7 yrs  Protestant          Hy O’Brien  ‘Yass Plains’

NSW Muster Rolls
Edward Atkins           20        Florentia          1830                Gloucester

3. The convict, Edwin Atkins arrived in NSW in April 1831, having departed August 1830, after having been convicted At Gloucester Assizes and given a seven year sentence, which would have ended in 1837. He was found guilty of sheep stealing. Edward Atkins appears in South Australia definitely in 1843 and possibly in 1840, both dates occurring after Edwin/Edward would have completed his sentence.

4. Edwin Atkins worked as a shepherd on NSW properties whose owners later had links with South Australia. There were numerous cattle drives between the area where Edwin served his sentence and South Australia between 1837, when Edwin finished his sentence and 1840 when an Edward Atkins appeared in South Australia.  Edward Atkins worked as a shepherd and both Edwin and Edward had trade recorded as blacksmith.

5. Description of (Henry) Edwin Atkins is a good match for a photograph of Edward Atkins, circa 1860, when he would have been about 49.

Photo: Edward Atkins with his daughters, Mary (left) and Elizabeth (right), circa 1870.

The Certificate of Freedom report on Edwin/Edward Atkins says he  had dark grey eyes, sandy hair, a ruddy-freckled complexion, eyebrows meeting and he was 5ft. 71/2 inches and had a tattoo HEA on his right inside wrist.

6. Edward Atkins 'appeared' officially in South Australia in 1843 when he marries Hannah McLeod. There is no record of him arriving in the colony by ship.

7. An Edward Atkins is mentioned in an assault record in SA in January 1840, aged 27 which is a birth date of circa. 1813 - in the region of 1811, the same age as our Edward and Edwin Atkins.

8. Edward's son by his second marriage to Elizabeth Mashford is named James Haynes (Haines) Atkins. James called his son Haynes (Haines)  Mashford Atkins.

9. His first son to his first wife Hannah McLeod was called Henry, not Edward, which was a common tradition of the time, and his second son was called Joseph.  We have found nothing beyond the birth notice for Henry but we have a death notice for Joseph as a child.

10. The name Edwin Henry appears for one of Edward's grandsons. Sarah Atkins, daughter of Edward and Hannah McLeod,  who married Walter James Stacy in 1872 at St Marks Church in Penwortham. They had 11 children ) and one of they was called Edwin Henry Stacy DOB 31 Mar 1882 Bundaleer Springs  DOD 08 Apr 1882 Bundaleer Spring.

Photo: Life as a convict was harsh. 

Further information from the Gloucestershire researcher is as follows:

James W. Atkins and his wife Jane, and son George aged 1 were living in Cheltenham.
Figure 1 - James Atkins, 1841 Census of St Mary, Cheltenham

The researcher found possible deaths for Joseph in Cheltenham in 1860 and Ann in Cheltenham in 1865. These records had them both aged 74, which would give a year of birth c. 1791. NB: The 1851 census which fits with the age of Joseph on discharge from the military, and birth dates respectively of 1784 and 1786, for Anne,  would have him aged 76  or 77 at death and Anne 79 or 80. Certainly good ages for the times.

In Slater’s Directory of 1850, under Cirencester,  the researcher found one entry that may be of interest – Payne & Atkins, of Castle Street, who were listed as milliners and straw bonnet makers.  This may be a female enterprise, perhaps one of the sisters listed above in partnership with another person?

Subsequent censuses revealed George Atkins and David Atkins with their spouses, but not ‘Edward’ Atkins at all, which seems to suggest that he was elsewhere.

Figure 2 - David Atkins, 1851 Census of Cheltenham
Figure 3 - George Atkins, 1861 Census of Lutterworth, Leicestershire
Figure 4 - David Atkins, 1861 Census of Stroud, Gloucestershire
Figure 5 - David Atkins, 1871 Census, Stroud, Gloucestershire
A David Atkins married a Hannah Holder in Cheltenham, during the September quarter of 1842, which seems to tally with the above.

Further research in the Cirencester family also found possible further siblings for Joseph Atkins.  A Thomas Atkins married Grace Boulton on June 3, 1778, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

A Thomas Atkins was cited as the father of the following children:

Joseph Atkins, who was baptised 22 June 1788 in Cirencester. NB: This is four years too late for Joseph Atkins who married Anne Haines but the records are often very hard to transcribe accurately and the year may well be 1784 and not 1788.

Mary Ann Atkins b. 26 June 1795, Cirencester.

Thomas Howell Atkins bp. 26 June 1796, born Cirencester, d. 28 August 1797

Thomas Atkins bp. 1 July 1798, Cirencester.

NB: It is a longshot but given the habits of the time, the presence of the name Lewis as a middle name for Joseph and Ann’s son indicates a connection to family with the surname of Lewis. If Joseph and Ann are found to be the parents of our Edward Atkins, there is always the possibility that there was a connection between the Peter Lewis that Elizabeth Mashford married, and that this played a part in her meeting Edward Atkins at a later date, in South Australia.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

How some money may have come to Elizabeth Mashford

Latest research has thrown new light on just how Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins could afford to buy land in her own right in Gladstone in the early 1870's.

Elizabeth was very close to her older brother, George May Mashford, who had been involved in a fight with her husband, Peter Lewis, in 1848, who, as reported in the newspaper, threatened to shoot George and accused him of all sorts of calumnies.

But just two years later he would be dead, as would her brother John and her mother and her remaining two sisters and brother would be living interstate. 
  In March of 1848 barely a year after the family arrived in South Australia, her sisters Mary Ann and Jane had sailed for Melbourne on the steamship Juno.

Her brother John Cann Mashford had died a year later in 1849 and, the following year, on September 14, her beloved brother and protector, George May Mashford died, and eight weeks later, to the day, her mother, Mary Cann Mashford died. Barely a month after losing her mother, her remaining brother, Josiah Labbett Mashford sailed for Melbourne on the schooner Amalia.

Sadly, it was a pattern which would be repeated for her daughter, Mary Atkins Ross, who would lose her husband, Charlie Ross and brother, James Haynes Atkins within weeks of each other in September 1907 and her mother, Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins, barely nine months later.

Elizabeth had been living with George for a time but with his death, and the departure of her remaining family, she was very much alone. In 1850 Elizabeth had two small children and little Henry would be born four years later, sadly dying before the age of two, but clearly with Peter Lewis as his father.

It would take some six years for George's Will to be finalised and there is a good chance that Elizabeth had no choice but to return to her violent husband, for the duration. It is not confirmed but there is a possible death record for Peter Lewis in Melbourne in 1854, two years before the Will would be finalised, but one presumes Elizabeth if she had been living in her brother's house before his death, would have been able to remain there.

But we now have evidence that George left his estate to his mother and his three sisters and with Mary Cann Mashford dying two months later, the three sisters would have shared whatever he had. Eventually anyway.

The Will seems to have been contested on the basis that George May Mashford appointed a George Aldridge, storekeeper and presumably friend,  to be his executor. It is significant that he did not nominate his brother, Josiah Labbett Mashford and neither did he include him as a beneficiary. There is a good chance that it was Josiah who challenged the Will and hence was responsible for the delay in his sisters receiving their inheritance.

Given Josiah's later exploits in bankruptcy and failed entrepreneurship, one can guess that George did not trust his younger brother to be executor and saw no need to leave him funds, as he was doing with his sisters, which would only be wasted.

And given that Elizabeth would marry Edward Atkins on  J
anuary 12, 1857, and the Will had been settled less than 12 months earlier, it is a pretty good guess that once she had her money she took her two surviving sons and headed north. Whether Peter Lewis was dead or disappeared we do not know. But marry she did, and given how long it would have taken her to get to Bundaleer or the Clare Valley, depending on where she worked,  it looks like she met and married Edward within a ten month period.

It would have made sense to put her money into the bank, beyond what she needed for her travels, and perhaps this is why the funds were never shared with Edward and remained available until she was in a position, or had a need, to buy land in Gladstone. It is conjecture but the new information regarding George's Will, as provided by Luke, does give a credible answer to the question: 'How did Elizabeth Atkins get the money to buy land?'

It looks like George May Mashford had a reasonable estate to leave at his death and given the brevity of his stay in the colony, he was either very fortunate in his business dealings and a man of acumen, once arriving in South Australia, or he had money behind him when he arrived. Either way, the money he left to Elizabeth was no doubt instrumental in giving her the opportunity for a new life for herself and her sons.

Here is the exchange regarding the latest information we have, and Luke writes:

I had a look at the Gaol records for 1840 to see if any of the people who committed the assault against Thomas Wilson went to gaol and they did, but it seems it was for only for one day and got bail and were released on the same day. If the matter went to court then it would seems that they were found not guilty because there are no more records. I was hoping that the Gaol record may have had a record of Edward Atkins’ physical appearance or mentioned the tattoo to match him with Henry Edwin Atkins, but no such luck.

Kylie: I wonder if the case was dropped and that’s why it was never reported?  After investigation police may have found he started it etc.

However, I did find out some other information, but to get any results I will have to go to the Gepps Cross office where all the records are kept. There were no records for an Edward Welsh going to Gaol. Any Police report about Edward Atkins and the assault I will have to go to Gepps Cross. However, all the Police report for the Gladstone from 1877 through to the 1900s are in existence, but again I have to go to the Gepps Cross Office so again it is a working progress.

Some time ago I was told that any criminal Supreme Court records was not available to the general public. This has now changed and the general public can have access to them. So if the court case which involved George Mashford and Peter Lewis was in the Supreme Court we are allowed to have access to them. However, the law has only just changed and The State Archives does not know if they will create their own index list or use the existing index list developed by the Supreme Court so it may be a while before I can find out anything else.
Now, as for George May Mashford he has a will. I knew he might due to the newspaper article below. 

NOTICE: A11 Persons having any Claim on demand on the estate of the late George May Mashford are requested to send in their respective accounts to George Aldridge, Kensington, immediately, in order that the same may be examined and paid, if found to be correct.”[1]

I bought a copy of his will and it is really interesting.

A lot of it I do not understand. I had problems trying to read what the will said. I have written it below. Anything in brackets are words which I think what the will states. Anything in brackets with a (?) I just cannot make the word out. It also does not help because there are no full stops or comers which makes reading difficult. I will photocopy the Will for the both of you, but I will need your address so I can post a copy of the will to you. I think, and I am not sure, but it may be the case that somebody made a challenge to the will in terms of George Aldridge being the executor.

As a result, the matter had to go to the Supreme Court to decide. The Supreme Court decided in the favour of George Aldridge.  As a result, the will was not finalised until long after the death of George Mashford. 

Re George May Mashford
I the Honourable Benjamin Boothley one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the Province of South Australia Do by these present make known to all men that on the Twenty Third day of November in the year of our Lord one Thousand eight hundred and fifty five George Aldridge of Kensington near Adelaide in the Province of South Australia storekeeper the executor named in and by the last will and testament of George May Mashford late of Marryatville in the Province of South Australia shoemaker deceased (a time?) Copy of which said last Will and testament marked ‘A” is (here under written)? did appear in the Supreme Court (aforesaid? Makes sense) and claim probate of the said will Whereupon the same was proved and registered (and? makes sense) the administration of all and singular the goods and chattels rights credit and effects of the said George May Mashford deceased was granted unto the said George Aldridge (who?) the said George Aldridge having first sworn that he (proved?) the (paper?)(valid?) marked “A” then exhibited and filed in this honourable Court to be the last will and testament of George May Mashford deceased who died at Marryatville in the said province  on the fourteenth (should be the fourteenth) day of September one thousand eight hundred and fifty and that he would well and truly execute the said will and testament and that the said George Aldridge would make and exhibit unto this Honourable Court a [time and (file etc?)]  (could this be “true and perfect”?) inventory of all the goods and chattels rights credits and effects of the said deceased on or before the (twenty third day?) of April one thousand eight hundred and fifty six and also under a full and true account of the Executorship of him the said George Aldridge when he shall be lawfully called upon so do and Lastly that the goods chattels rights credit and effects of the said deceased within the Province of South Australia and its Dependencies did not exceed in value the sum of fifty pounds
(given?) at Adelaide this twenty eight day (of?) January in the year of our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and fifty six under my hand and seal of the Supreme Court of the province of South Australia Benjamin Boothley Judge.

Marryatville September 12th 1850 I hereby certify that believing myself upon the point of death I do bequeath to my mother Mary Mashford and to my three sisters  Elizabeth Lewis, Mary Ann Mashford and Jane Mashford my house and land situated at Marryatville now occupied by (Mr Lavington Glyde?) the (same? Makes sense)  to be equally divided between them after all (my First?)(could this be “my just debts”) debts are paid I further wish to appoint George Aldridge as  executor to carry out the same I further bequeath the debt owing to me by (examined and?) (found?) Mr White to be equally divided to the (aforesaid?makes) parties to be a (covered?) probate this is my last will and Testament (whereto?) I (sign?) copy Dated this 12th my name George May Mashford (witnessed?) Thomas (Day?) February (1850?) (Taylor?) (?) George Aldridge   

Could this last bit be:
Whereto I sign this copy my name George May Mashford, this 12th day of September 1850, witnessed Thomas Taylor, George Aldridge.
All muddled up?  Can’t see so am only guessing.  The reason I say Sept is that he died the 14th day of Sept.  if February – was this a earlier close call??
Debt “examined and found” = taken to court to claim it???  This could be another source of information.
I have no idea what a covered probate could be.  Google didn’t help with this one.   

I have not really had the time to study all the implication etc, but Mary Mashford died not long after George so any sale of the house and land he had would have gone to the three sisters.(I think)

(I agree unless Josiah tried for her share. If she had a will that would have come into force and her quarter would have been distributed according to her will)

I believe the will was finalised the 28/1/1856. George died 1850 so it took 6 years to fix the matter up. John Cann Mashford was dead so he is not mentioned and Josiah Lebbot (Labbett) Mashford is not mentioned at all. I wonder if he made the challenge.

If George owned a house, one would assume land.  Next trip to the land office try Mashford. John was married so if he owned anything his wife would have automatically received it so very likely no probate required. 

I would have no idea after George’s debts were paid what money was left to the three sisters. It may have been very little. I have no idea what amount of money Mr White owed George Mashford. However, What I find really interesting is the date 1856. If the court matter was settled in 1856 then the year 1856 corresponded to the year when Elizabeth Mashford went up north. If the newspaper story is correct. 

See below:-

The total net assets was less than £50 or at least anticipated to be less than that.  

1856 Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford left Adelaide and moved to Booyoolee.[2]
And now some questions:-

·         If money was left to Elizabeth Mashford and Peter Lewis was still around did Elizabeth Mashford just pack up and left him? 

 I suspect he would have been entitled to claim the money.  He certainly would have under English law.  Will have to check SA situation.

·         She may now have been a woman with money so why stay with him? 

She stated in 1848 when she left him that she would support herself.  I wonder if she was working for George.  She was certainly living with him at that time.  She would not have had access until after probate then it would have been up to the executor to decide if anything could be distributed to her.

There must have been a continuing relationship with Peter Lewis because John  was born October 12, 1850 - nearly a month after George May died and a month before Mary Cann Mashford died. You get the sense that perhaps Elizabeth and Peter had a sexually powerful relationship perhaps, given his violence and given the arrival of babies. They married November 9, 1847 and George arrived eight months later so she was pregnant probably, when she married.

It was early December 1848, the newspaper report was 7/12, when Peter tried to shoot George May and then John Mashford was born October 12, 1850 so Elizabeth and Peter must have made up by January of that year.  Or she was living with George but fell pregnant on a 'one night stand' with her husband. Henry Lewis was born, also at Marryattville, in 1854, so either Elizabeth and Peter had been reconciled after George's death, or again, an interlude which resulted in pregnancy.

Little Henry died in 1855 and by the following year, when Elizabeth left Adelaide, she would have had George turning eight in July and John turning six in October,  both ages easy enough for travelling. If little Henry had lived perhaps she would not have moved to the Mid-North, not met Edward Atkins and some of us would not be claiming her as an ancestor.

·         Or even with no Peter Lewis around was it a good opportunity for Elizabeth Mashford to leave Adelaide and start again?

May have been an opportunity to earn higher wages, fully found including children.  It would have been hard to find a job that she could keep her children with her in Adelaide but if they employed her on a run her children would have been included in the food rations etc.  This effectively increased wages that would have already been higher due to the isolation.

·         If the matter took a while to settle than what throughout 1850-1856 happened to George Mashford's house E.g tenants paying rent into the estate therefore more money?

It was being rented at the time of his sickness, according to the will, to a Mr Lavington Glyde (and yes that is his name) He came from Exeter in Devon by the way.  They probably continued to rent it out during this time.  Or they could have occupied it.

·         Did she tell dear old Edward about the money? 

 If she had any brains she would have made an agreement to keep the money herself otherwise it was his.  As a widow she would have had no problem opening a bank account and could have kept it with her husband’s agreement.  If she didn’t tell him he was entitled to it (English law, SA ??)

Perhaps after her experience with Peter Lewis, she was reluctant to 'put all her eggs in one basket' with another man. I know there is no evidence but within the conjecture as to why Elizabeth split with Edward, we have touched upon a possible drinking problem - very common in the times- which might be the real reason behind the 'senile decay' which killed him. But the point is, people often marry the same sort of person second time around and Elizabeth may have had two violent drunks in her life, not one.

I also recall that in the story of the convict Edwin Atkins, he was found 'having a drink' with his mate's wife and perhaps it may have been the drink which got him into trouble in the first place. But we have yet to confirm that Edwin is our Edward.

·         Was it her brother’s money which she eventually used to buy the land at Gladstone? 

 Who knows but it would explain how she could buy them in her own name whether she was still with Edward or not.

I had a look for wills under the names Elizabeth Atkins and could not find one. I also look for Mary Ross, Charlie Ross and John Mashford Lewis and did not find one. There was two people called James Atkins and George Lewis. The wills cost $19.00 each and I asked the lady how did I know if James Atkins and George Lewis were the same person I was looking for she had a quick look for me and the will which belong to George Lewis was a hairdresser which I had a laugh about because somehow I could not image George Lewis ever being a hairdresser.

James Atkins was the same person, but it was just Annie Atkins claiming administration on his estate. I told the lady I did not think he had any estate she said he may have had a small amount of money in the bank under his name. I asked how I could find out the results and she did not know. I said Elizabeth Atkins owned land in Gladstone. She said some people had wills and if the executor or anybody else had no problems then the matter would have processed. (I really did not understand this.)

The executor often just goes ahead and carries out the instructions contained in the will.  If no one argued or required probate it would have just been done and dusted and no one would have worried.  As soon as anyone insists on probate, you have to get probate.  Banks and most business people would have known the family in Gladstone so there would have been little problem with just going ahead with the details without probate.  If you need to fight someone in court for recovery of debts, the court would have required probate.  Sometimes land will not be sold or transferred without probate.  When did Elizabeth sell her land?? Or is that next trip info??

I went to the Land Title Office. However, it took me a while to understand their computer data base. I re-found Elizabeth Atkins title to her land, but nobody else. However, like I said the system is not straight forward so I will have to go back there another day as it may take a while to fully understand how their computer system works, but anybody can just walk in and sit in front of their computer and search all day if they want to.

It has been a long time since we have talked about the Mashford family from Devon, but has anybody done any research on George May Mashford middle name (May). It is not really a name for a male so it may have some connection to another branch of his family like the middle name of John Cann Mashford and Josiah Lebbot Mashford.  NB: Labbett is the correct name but Lebbot often comes up.
I never found the May link.

[1] South Australian Register Tuesday 27 April 1852 p 1.
[2] The Areas Express & Farmers Journal. Friday May 15th 1908.

We touched on this three years ago but found nothing concrete about the Mays but did about Canns and Labbetts.