Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Correcting an error about Edward Atkins which makes for a neater 'fit' with other 'facts'....

Photo: Early settlement in South Australia in the 1830's and 1840's was in tents.

I have been set to right by Luke in regard to an error about Edward Atkins, or rather, the E. Atkins listed in brackets next to the names of Daniel and Hannah McLeod as registered on the passenger list for the ship Eliza, which brought them to South Australia in 1840.

The assumption had been that (E.Atkins) was another passenger, or crew member on the same ship and perhaps this signified the arrival of Edward in the colony. But as Luke wrote today:

There was no E. Atkins upon the Eliza. I asked the State Library about this when I looked up the Hannah Mcleod record on the "Register of Emigrant Labourers 1836-1840 Pike Index South Australia State Library." They said that the Barry Leadbeater website is misleading because all he is saying that E. Atkins is connected to Hannah McLeod by marriage, and with the birth of the first Henry Edward Atkins. I checked the whole passage list and there is no E. Atkins on the list.

So this means that we have absolutely no record of Edward arriving in South Australia by ship. It does not mean it did not happen but it does add weight to the theory that he came overland and may well be the Edward Atkins found in other reports or in fact, originally, Edwin Atkins the convict.

It had always seemed curious that he was not registered in the 1841 census if he had indeed been on the Eliza and entered the colony by open and legal means. Again, this is not to say he did not enter the colony openly and legally, but that he probably did not come by ship which means he is more likely to have been in Australia some years earlier and that fits with the Edwin Atkins theory.

And Luke has come up with another mention of an Edward Atkins on Trove:

Photo: The settlers built simple slab huts to replace their original tents.

I also believe that Edward Atkins came over land to South Australia. I am not sure about the Yass Society theory about W.H. Dutton, but all has to be taken into consideration. Anyway, I went on TROVE this morning to re visit the name Edward Atkins and I do not know why I have not noticed two stories I have just found regarding a person called Edward Atkins before.

Thomas Fielding, Joseph Best, and Edward Atkins, were charged with assaulting Thomas Wilson at Mr Reed's station on the Para, on the 30th of last month. The Clerk of the Peace stated that this was so serious a case that he was instructed to request his Worship to send it for trial at the next general gaol delivery. The prisoners were accordingly committed, but allowed to procure bail. The complainants who presented a shocking appearance, is an inmate of the infirmary, and a certificate from the Colonial Surgeon was handed in stating that he was suffering from compound fracture of the jaw.
Southern Australian (Adelaide SA 1838-1900)   Saturday 18 January 1840 p 4.
There is nothing in the above story which links the Edward Atkins above to our Edward Atkins. However, if you read the story below the same names appears and thus the same case. However, this time people’s ages appear and Edward Atkins is listed as “aged 27”

Thomas Fielding, aged 29; Joseph Best, aged 25; Edward Atkins, aged 27; violently assaulting and beating Thomas Wilson, in December last, near Adelaide.

Southern Australian (Adelaide SA 1838-1844)   Thursday 5 March 1840 p 3

Map of the area north of Adelaide where the Little Para river runs.

I am not saying that the Edward Atkins above is our Edward Atkins but if you consider his age as 27 in 1840 then the Edward Atkins in the story above was born c 1813.

We have two years as a possible year of birth for Edward Atkins c1813 and c1807.  The only reason the possible year of his birth is known is because his marriage certificate to his second wife, Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford, lists his age as 44 in 1857 when he married her.[1] As a result, he had to have been born around the year c1813. However, if the reader studies the obituary it states that Edward Atkins died at the age of 84 in 1891. Thus, he would have had to have been born around the year c1807. As a result, there are two years for his birth which are 1813 and 1807.

Be that as it may, I have found that discrepancies in people’s ages back in the 1800s are not uncommon for many reasons. As a result, it can sometimes just add to the confusion when researching a past family member. Thus, all that can be said, at this stage, is that Edward Atkins was born somewhere between the years 1807-1813. However, I prefers the year of c1813 as the year of his birth. This is because Edward Atkins would have had a better idea of how old he was in 1857 when he married a second time. His family may have had to guess his age when he died in 1891.

Also the convict Henry Edwin Atkins was born in Cirencester Gloucestershire.[2] Henry Edwin Atkins was baptised on the 23/2/1812[3].

As a result, does the story above relate to our Edward Atkins????? If so was he living along the Para River in 1840???

Another thought has occurred to me. Do we have the wrong Hannah McLeod??? Maybe, the Hannah McLeod who married Edward Atkins in 3/1/1843[4] is not the Hannah McLeod who arrived in South Australia on the 14/5/1840 upon the ship called the Eliza.[5] What if there was another Hannah McLeod who was born in NSW or was a convict and Edward and her met one another interstate??? Just a thought.
The station which belonged to Mr Reed was some sort of sheep farm located in Gawler somewhere along the Para River.
Southern Australian (Adelaide S.A 1838-1844) Thursday 16th Jan 1840 p 1.

[1] Marriage Certificate of Edward Atkins & Elizabeth Lewis South Australia Birth, Death, Marriage Registration Office.
[2] Unpublished report concerning the family of Atkins by John J Tunesi Beacon Genealogical and Heraldic Research 31.12.2011.
[3] Unpublished report concerning the family of Atkins by John J Tunesi Beacon Genealogical and Heraldic Research 31.12.2011.rr
[4] Marriage Certificate of Hannah McLeod and Edward Atkins
[5] Register of Emigrant Labourers 1836-1840 Pike Index South Australia State Library

Photo: Gawler, South Australia, in 1869 which is situated on the Para River.

And Kylie replied:

That is interesting because of the link below.  The Mr J Fisher is, I am guessing, CB Fisher’s brother James Fisher, they own a pastoral lease at Little Para at about this time.  Perhaps Edward was already in SA. 

In 1838 the brothers sought another partner and occupied their first pastoral lease, Little Para, a few miles north of Adelaide. The run was sold in 1840 but the Fisher brothers soon acquired other pastoral leases from which they supplied Adelaide with sheep and cattle. Such leases were then issued on condition that they were stocked within three months with 16 cattle or 100 sheep to the square mile.

I have seen this report in Trove before and can’t remember if I ever found out if he was convicted.  If he was I would be surprised if he was out by 1843.  Or did he skip north?


The Para River is near Gawler, close to the Barossa Valley which is south of the Clare Valley where Hutt River was and where Edward lived when he married Hannah.

Given that we have only found two Edward Atkins and they turned out to be the same man and now here is a mention of a third, in the same area, in the same period, there is a good chance that this is also the same man. 

This means that if they are one and the same our Edward was in South Australia in 1839, one of the very earliest settlers, and, if he were found to be the Edwin Atkins, from Gloucestershire, that would fit with the end of his sentence in 1837, presuming he served out his seven year sentence in full.

And given how early the Yass area was settled it is logical to assume that there were other cattle drives to South Australia in which Edwin or Edward may have taken part, anytime from 1830 if he got an early ticket of leave, or 1837 if he served his full sentence.

And Luke replied:

I agree it is looking good for 1839 and it all seem to fit so far. The Mr Reed  homestead, I think is Thompson Reid  homestead. He was a early settler in Gawler and had a farm or homestead in Gawler along the Para between 1839-1850.

William Livingstone Reid emigrated with his parents, sister and four brothers from Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland on the Orleana. The ship arrived in Holdfast Bay, Glenelg, South Australia on the 15th January 1839. This Reid family were the first Europeans to settle in Gawler, South Australia taking up 750 acres which they named 'Clonlea'.

William and brother John went to the Victorian Goldfields in 1850 for two years to feed the miners (more lucrative than mining). William and brother Richard drove cattle from Queensland and, then with brothers John and Ross, leased Torlano Station on Darling River in New South Wales. Eventually they bought Tolarno, gradually taking up the previously mentioned 16 runs, giving Torlano 60 miles of river frontage by 60 miles deep.

If it is dear old Edward, then he was one of the first settlers in Gawler, the Clare Valley and Wirrabara. It sounds to me that the man did not like towns or cities.

Maybe he had something to hide or he just did not like to be around people. Just a thought, maybe he had a drinking problem (Dipkosey V Atkins Action for spirits) maybe dear old Edward took the booze without paying for it. If the drinking caused him to be a violent man then maybe that would explain the fight at Gawler and also explain why Elizabeth Mashford left him especially after her experience with Peter Lewis.

Photo: Hutt River Cottage in the Clare Valley, built in the mid 1800's, is now a holiday rental.

 So our Edward could easily have had links with the Reid or Fisher families, or both, which could link him to the Edward Atkins charged above and to the Edwin Atkins, convict. Both Reids and Fishers were involved in cattle and sheep droving between New South Wales and South Australia beginning in the 1830's.

William Reid was at Little Para by early 1839 and the Fisher brothers were there in 1838. The Fishers would later buy Bundaleer in 1854, where our Edward worked and Hill River, near Clare, in 1855 where Edward and Hannah's daughter Jane would raise her family.
Given the small population of South Australia in the late 1830's it is likely that the Reids and Fishers knew each other well, and labourers worked for each at different times.

In 1838 there were 6,000 settlers in South Australia and most of them were in Adelaide. The German Lutherans had arrived the previous year and some of them had moved out to the Barossa and Clare Valleys but the major immigrant group was from Britain. It was fifty years since the English had landed at Sydney Cove and the first group of convicts had staggered ashore, alongside their gaolers.

It was seven years since the first plans were made to create a new colony for free settlers in South Australia - free of the convict taint, well, officially anyway, unlike Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

Edward, Hannah and Elizabeth did not know it but in their own small way they were 'making' history. It has ever been thus.

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