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.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Tinkering with the bits and pieces of information in a bid for better understanding....

It is the processing of bits and pieces of information and thoughts and insights which is so much a part of ancestry research and which leads ultimately, with any luck, beyond assumption, conjecture and speculation to realistic theories and sometimes, facts.

The following is a series of conversations between fellow family researchers with useful information for anyone on the same path and so I am posting them on the blog.

Luke wrote:

I think the problems is what did Edward Atkins mean when he said his place of abode was Bundalee. Did he mean Bundaleer Run, Bundaleer North, Bundaleer Springs or Bundaleer? Or did he live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest place was Bundaleer, what ever that was. That is why it would be very good to see if he had any land lease hold or freehold as that will tell us more information. If there are no records it could mean the records is now lost or he never had freehold or leasehold which could also mean he lived on the run with his family. As we now know people or families living in tents on runs was not neccessary a problem.

The other problem with Runs this. There is a difference between where the homestead was located and where the outstations were located. People may have lived on a run, but they were not necessarily near the main homestead and could have worked miles away from it, as long as they had a water supply, but still they stated they lived on a Run.

Kylie wrote:

I was referring to where the Homestead was as well as the time frame of farming starting in the Bundaleer area.  Farming and private ownership didn’t start until just before it did at Gladstone.  Bundaleer was “picked on” in the lead up to the Strangeways act, mostly because of the fact it was one of the best runs.  It was making tremendous money and paying very little in rent.  That’s why I am fairly certain there was no farming prior to 1869 or thereabouts.

This article in very interesting – it is from 1864 but gives you a good idea of how big these stations were.

Booyooloo is VII had 29 huts and yards.  48000 sheep = a lot of shepherds,  1000 horses – that would take a lot of breakers and grooms.

Bundaleer is  XII had 38 huts and yards, 72000 sheep

I understand your point of the outstations,  the shepherds lived in the huts with yards.  I suspect the more outlying places would not have had families in the early days as the aboriginals would have kept the women and children to a minimum. It was a good way to make money though as the shepherd got a good wage but also the night watchman, often the wife’s job, also got about 15 pounds per year.  A nice bonus payment for a family.

Anyway I think the situation would have been the same as Gladstone – if Edward said he lived at Bundaleer in the 1840’s he worked for the station.

 Photo: Bullock teams were vital in the early years of settlement of South Australia. 

Luke wrote:

It can get complicated when people are talking about South Australian geographic positions or locations in the 1800s and especially the early 1800s and I will try to explain the best that I can the point Kylie is trying to make. 
 I will give you an example, because it took me awhile to work out where Cornelius Clavin and Margaret McGuire were living at the time of their marriage to each other. Then you can apply the same principle to Edward Atkins when he said he lived at Bundaleer.

At the time of Cornelius Clavin marriage, the residence of both parties was Alma Plains for Cornelius Clavin and Gilbert for Margaret McGuire.   Trying to find an exact address of where Cornelius Clavin and Margaret McGuire lived, I discover, was impossible because there is no town or village that ever existed called Alma Plains or Gilbert.

 To facilitate the selling of crown land by the South Australian Government in the 1800s all the land had to be surveyed first before the land could be sold off which is (freehold), or before land was rented by the government which is (leasehold). This way the government could decide what was the best land for sale so they could get the best price, or for whatever reasons, the government decided what land they wanted to keep for themselves either as crown land or leasehold.

As a result, at different times throughout the 1800s the government commissioned certain areas of SA to be surveyed and once that was done these surveyed areas of land were then proclaimed and people could move into them.  Counties and Hundreds were established, but only for surveying reasons.  Counties would incorporate number of Hundreds and these areas called Hundreds were further sub divided into smaller areas called Sections. Sections were then divided into lots (I think).

 Land could only be purchased within the proclaimed areas of Counties and Hundreds. However, just because a County was proclaimed not all the Hundreds within that County was proclaimed at the same time. For instance, the County of Victoria was proclaimed in 1857. Within County Victoria different Hundreds were surveyed and then proclaimed. As a result, within the County of Victoria you had the Hundred of Bundaleer which was proclaimed in 1869, but the Hundred of Booyoolie was proclaimed later in 1871. The two best websites that I know, to find the dates, are Barry Leadbeater SA Family history and “Lands Administrative Divisions of SA Wikipedia”

 Once people started to buy land (Freehold), or once they rented land (Leasehold) within a County, towns were then established by the government. When I say a town in some places it may only have been basic governmental services such as a post office or police station etc. However, People then started to buy land around these services and then Churches, shopkeepers, Hotels etc. started to buy land close to these areas to services the needs of the local community. It all started to grow into a town or village. Some were more successfully than others for a whole range of reasons.

As a rule, people would not normally settle in areas which were not proclaimed by the government because the land was still considered crown land and not ready for sale until the area was surveyed. If people did live in unsurveyed areas it would have been considered illegal to do so. However, this did not stop many people from doing this and these people were called squatters. Sometimes the government turned a blind eye to it at other time the government forced people off the crown land. 

  Alma is a Hundred which was proclaimed in 1856 and it is within the County of Gawler which was proclaimed in 1842.  Gilbert is Hundred located in the County of Light.  On a modern map of SA if you look closely you will find a place called Alma and the surrounding area is called Alma Plains located in the Hundred of Alma. (I have been Alma and believe me there is hardly anything there) There was no such village or town called Gilbert in the 1800s only the Hundred of Gilbert.

 Nevertheless, both the Hundred of Alma and Gilbert are located next to each other. As a result, when Margaret McGuire said she lived at Gilbert she just meant somewhere within the Hundred of Gilbert. Thus it is impossible to say exactly where she lived. However, I believed it was near Stockport because when her mother died an obituary appeared in the paper stated “Catherine McGuire of near Stockport” which is located in the Hundred of Gilbert. 
This just show the problems people had when they lived in country areas, but did not live in a town or village especially in the early 1800s and they had to declare they place of residence. All Margaret McGuire could say was that she lived at Gilbert. 

To make matter more complicated District Councils were established with different names and their boundaries did not always correspond with the boundaries of Counties or Hundreds. For instance, in 1869 Cornelius Clavin name appears on a Government petition to separate Alma Plains from the District Council of Stockport and Rhyine. Sometimes the District Council would have the same name of a particular Hundred of County. So when somebody stated they lived in Gawler did they mean the town of Gawler, The District Council of Gawler of the County of Gawler? They may have lived in the County of Gawler, but not in the town of Gawler itself, and not within the borders of the District Council of Gawler.

Now as for Bundaleer what did Edward Atkins means when he said he lived at Bundaleer

Below is a quick timeline:- 
1851: Baptism of Joseph Atkins. Father is Edward Atkins labourer and abode is Clare.
1853: “Dipkosey V Atkins.” Abode for Atkins was Bundaleer.
1854: Baptism of Emily Atkins in Clare. Father is Edward Atkins occupation blacksmith and abode is Bundaleer.
1854: Burial of Joseph Atkins at Saint Barnabas cemetery abode Bundaleer.
1857: Marriage of Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Lewis nee Mashford. Residence, Rocky River. 
As a result, sometime after 1851 the family moved from Clare to Bundaleer, by my reckoning, and by 1857 they were at Rocky River so we have anytime between a possible 7 years when they lived at Bundaleer. But what is Bundaleer? You have Bundaleer Run, Bundaleer itself, (i.e. the place I saw with all the old homes) Bundaleer North, Bundaleer Springs and Bundaleer Hundred. 

So what was around, between the years c1851-1857, called Bundaleer? Bundaleer Hundred was not proclaimed until 1869 so what Kylie is saying (I think) is that the Atkins family could not have lived at Bundaleer because it was not around between the years 1851-1857 But,  if Edward Atkins said he lived at Bundaleer there is no reason why he did not live at the place I saw because that was all the facts I had when asking questions of the historian. If I said he lived at Bundaleer between c1851-1857 she may have said that he could not have lived at Bundaleer because it never existed between those dates.  

As a result, what Kylie is saying is that between c1851-1857 the only place called Bundaleer was Bundaleer Run and hence the Atkins family must have lived nowhere else but Bundaleer Run. 

As a result, there are a number of possibilities that we need to eliminate and that is through the Land Title Office. I do not know enough about the history of Bundaleer Run and the surrounding areas. If Edward Atkins has no freehold or leasehold Certificate of Title in the area of Bundaleer Run then more than likely the family lived as tenants on Bundaleer Run or they lived for free on Bundaleer Run living in a tent, tin, wooden structure somewhere close to a water supply. (Unless they were squatters living on crown land or unless they were tenants renting a leasehold or freehold property close to Bundaleer Run. If they were tenants the Land Title Office would not have a record).

The other problems with Runs is that sometime the Run may be Freehold or it may be Leasehold or it may be a bit of both. For instance a Run and surrounding land where the main homestead is freehold, but hundreds of acres could also be lease hold and when the lease expired the government wanted the land back to sell as freehold. As a result, the areas of Runs have changed over time.

 For example, let’s say that somebody on their birth/marriage certificate might state that their residence was Booyoolie Station. The main homestead is just outside the town of Gladstone so hence you might then say my GGGfather lived on Booyoolie Station at Gladstone. However, Booyoolie Station was much bigger back in the 1800s than it is now and a person’s GGGfather may have lived closer to where Laura is today than let say Gladstone because back when GGGfather lived on Booyoolie Station, the Station had leasehold land close to Laura which the government took back and sold as freehold.  As a result, it can then be misleading to say GGGfather lived at Gladstone. It can all get complicated sometimes.

Kylie replied:

You pretty much have it right.  However before the land was surveyed and sold in small lots the runs were surveyed and leased from the govt.  I know a bit about this type of surveying because the owners of the runs were responsible for it and some employed Thomas Freeman Nott to survey their runs.  He arrived in 1849 so surveyed runs further north . You are right about the homestead being freehold.  They had to buy a certain amount of land and then could lease a proportional amount at a rather small rent.  They could be given just two months’ notice to give up the lease.  They could not cultivate the land (excepting personal food supplies) nor remove timber (which was done under a separate licence, the same applied to minerals), they could only graze it.

This way the land was being productive until such time as enough people arrived to fill the farms.  They also wanted labourers to assist on existing farms for three years before going it along.  Partly to provide labour to existing farms, partly to provide experience to the labourers to increase the chance of success.  This scheme was set up in 1835 by the Commissioners in London.

Improvements on the runs were taken into account in the leasing fee so that it was still worth improving it with stone buildings as doing so reduced the lease fees.  The link to Trove I sent  shows how many huts were one these runs.  Some of these huts would have been very isolated others would have been close to the homestead.  There was plenty of building materials so they would not have lived in tents around the homestead for very long.

As the hundreds were surveyed and released the runs moved further north, until at last they released land beyond the Goyder line.  Most of this land had to be handed back after the first drought  and was leased back to the runs as it was not suitable for cultivation only large scale grazing.  That was the end of the expansion north.  Some of the runs were taken back after the first world war for soldier settlements.  I believe Bundaleer had some of these.

Normal people didn’t do a lot of squatting in South Australia as the land was officially leased to people who would not have put up with it.  They couldn’t risk the work and money it takes to clear the land for cultivation only to be moved on.  Also by putting the runs in first they moved the aboriginals into small communities and made them rely on handouts thus reducing the risk of attacks on farmers.  Most attacks took place on the runs before the farms moved in.

So yes I do think that Edward lived on the run.  You are right about where on the run we will probably never know.  If he was still employed as a smith at this time it is more likely he lived near the homestead.  Smiths were often trained as farriers at this time and looked after the horses as well as built stuff and made the tools that were needed.  Whilst he may have worked over the different areas of the run he was most likely based at the homestead. 

I found another snippet of info that is very interesting concerning Hutt River.  I knew this was an undefined area from Penwortham to the river Broughton running through Clare.  Edward was there very early on stating that as his residence in Jan 1843.  During this time it was inhabited by all the usual suspects, Gleeson, Horrocks, and Hawker and it turns out JB Hughes

Mr John Bristow Hughes, of the River Hutt"
Friday 11 March 1842

So it is possible that Edward was already working for him before his marriage to Hannah and moved with him to Bundaleer when that was set up.

I also have a suspicion that we need to be cautious about the ”labourer, Clare”  Most men would not downgrade their occupation from blacksmith to labourer even if they were only labouring at the time.  This minister couldn’t be bothered putting dates on the records, did he just look at Edward and label him and the same as the place of abode. 
From the email from Clare history group:

BAPTISMS - a James Haynes Atkins in St Michael's C of E Bungaree church in 1862 and his birth is on state records as 2 January 1862 at Charlton which is in the district of Wirrabarra with Elizabeth as the mother. Three others baptised in St Barnabas C of E in Clare - child of Edward & Anne with no name or date shown in 1850 father shown as a labourer, abode Clare;  Joseph baptised 30 August 1851 son of Edward and Hannah, still a labourer and still Clare;  Emily baptised 11 August 1854 and born 10 March 1854, daughter of Edward and Hannah, abode Bundaleer and Edward is now a blacksmith. Rev.William Wood officiated at this last one. The other two were baptised by Rev. Bagshaw. These are from the original church records.

Notice how the two baptised by Rev Bagshaw have so many less details.  The first one has no name and only has a year!!  I would like to have a look at the actual page this is on to see if other entries are as brief. 

Luke replied:

It can get very complicated sometimes but, as mentioned, it is a working progress researching family history and sometime a Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate does not necessary give the full picture and you have to dig deeper and explorer or research the history of South Australia or the surrounding places where a family use to live. 
Getting back to Mary Atkins and her first son Edward Atkins.  You are right, now  knowing when Elizabeth Mashford first went to Gladstone that dear old Edward may not have been around and hence had nothing to do with her pregnancy so that is a good  observation  on your part. Again assumptions were made on my part without having all the facts on hand so to say, but sometimes making assumptions can weed out theories and can lead to the truth. 

This leads onto another assumption on my part and I do not think it has been mentioned before or addressed and that is was Mary Atkins raped while she was living in Gladstone? As a young teenager she may have been a victim of some worker who worked on Booyoolie Station. There would have been more males living at Gladstone at this time than females. 

If she was raped was it reported to the police? If so, does a police report still exist? Or is there a criminal record for the so called father Edward Welsh? I am going to the State Archives this Tuesday so I will make some enquiries into the matter. On the other hand she just may not have any knowledge of sex and consented not fully realising the ramifications of her actions. Who knows? 

If I find out any information at the State Archives I will let you both know. I am going to have a look at the gaol lists and see if there is an Edward Atkins listed for 1840 or any police reports still in existence about the fight he had while he lived along the Para River in Gawler. I will also go the Probate Office to see if there are any wills.

Kylie replied:

 “On the other hand she just may not have any knowledge of sex and consented not fully realising the ramifications of her actions. Who knows?”

Mary was a country girl, you cannot grow up in the country and not know how babies are made.  It is front and centre every day, every year.  It is openly talked about and most children have it all worked out by age five or six.  You know the various gestation periods by heart.  You see the animals mate and you see the babies born.  You cannot be sheltered from it.  No one can tell you that a kiss will make you pregnant. 

If she was raped it probably would have been made known to the relevant people and action would have been taken, not necessarily through the courts.  The resulting discipline was often reported as an accident so that everyone knew the consequences of this sort of behaviour.  So as a result it was not common.  Still worth checking out for criminal records or any records that show an Edward Welsh.  There were definitely Welsh’s in the area so I have always considered the most likely explanation is that an Edward Welsh is the father.  I also think it most likely she just got herself into trouble.

On another subject – I have been thinking some more about Elizabeth buying the 5 lots.  I doubt whether there would have been access to a bank at Gladstone at such an early date.  The government lots may have been done on credit – farms were but I am not sure about the town lots. Bank representatives may have travelled to the town in the weeks prior to the Government sale. However Elizabeth was buying the private side of town.  I would guess it was more likely that it was vendor finance.  It is very uncommon in Australia that the seller supplies the credit to the buyer, but it is much more common in some other countries even these days with banks on every corner.

However it is still done occasionally here as a way of getting a sale that the banks would not approve.  You can put a mortgage on a private sale so there is no risk of loss, the risk is on the buyer rather than the seller as even if you have paid off a lot of the money the seller can reclaim the land under mortgage and resell them including improvements.  They can keep all money outstanding including interest and all costs.  Only the leftover goes back to the buyer. 

So I don’t think that credit would have been such a problem for her if she needed it.  The real question is why did she buy them all herself when John and George were both old enough to own the land themselves.  Perhaps the creek did have something to do with it.  With five blocks with water a garden would have been a real possibility or at least growing a large portion of your own veg.

I replied:

I agree with Kylie here. If Mary had been 'simple' which we know she wasn't then ignorance may have played a part but otherwise, I suspect a lot of these girls were more streetwise than some today.

I wasn't assuming anything in regard to Mary's money and did not mean to give that impression. I simply said that if James died before his mother, which he did,  then his widow, Annie, would not have gotten anything unless Elizabeth specified, which she may well have done. Then again, we do not know if she had a will and if she did not, I am presuming the situation then was the same as now and that her estate would have been divided amongst her living children: George, Elizabeth and Mary.

I don't know enough about the law to know that if Elizabeth had a Will and left her estate to her four children, including James, and did not change it after his death, if it would automatically go to Annie. My understanding of Wills today is that you must specify if it is to be handed down the line from your child, but, as I said, my knowledge of what happened then is seriously minimal.

Kylie replied:

Then as now a lot depends on who is the executor of the will or estate, usually a family member.  He can decide that his mother would have decided to give it to the widow and do so.  Unless it was contested by other family members it was his decision that counted.  If everyone agrees there is no reason to follow the will.  The only time it becomes an issue is if contested.  Even when contested, courts can decide that the literal interpretation of the will is not what the person would have wanted and overturn a perfectly legal will and do the fair thing. 

I just meant that most families would want the heirs to inherit their share so that is what would have happened.  Chances are that they would have been helping her out anyway, her youngest was a baby, she had five kids under ten years old. 

Perhaps that why there were no headstones.  It was considered more important to support the living than glorify the dead.  They may have thought they would do it later but never got around to it. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sifting through the latest research

Photo: The station at Bundaleer in the 1840's.

Luke's trip around the mid-north has brought some new information and sifting through the latest research, offers some insights, both potential and fixed.

Knowing when farming began at Bundaleer would be useful, as Kylie wrote that there was only the run at Bundaleer in 1856 and the Homestead was much closer to Clare than Bundaleer is now.

She also recalled that the Bundaleer graveyard came up previously as a possible resting place for Hannah Mcleod Atkins but it was not used until after Hannah would have died.

The use of the name Edwin for one of the children of Sarah Atkins and Walter James Stacy is interesting because it might stand as another link between our Edward Atkins and the convict Edwin Atkins from Gloucestershire whom we still hold as possibly being one and the same person. Although there is also the chance, with a few Edwards in the family, that Edwin was chosen to differentiate. Although given the traditions of the times it is still likely, in my view, that the name was meaningful to the family in some way.

There is no doubt that finding out more about Edward Atkins as a land-owner would be useful.

The theories regarding Elizabeth and Booyoolee all make sense to me. In 1877 John Lewis and E. Atkins are named as Occupier and Owner of Allotments 19,20,21,22,18 Gladstone.

Perhaps John had earned enough to buy a house and when Elizabeth needed to leave Edward, he offered her a roof over her head. Or perhaps George and John had both been buying land in Gladstone and helped her out. They were both in their twenties and probably working for 15 years. I think also what this says to me is that the Lewis brothers were hard-working - whether that came from Peter or Elizabeth one could not say although given Peter's drinking and violence, I am prepared to guess it was Elizabeth.

Photo: A map of the mid-north in the early 1800's.

Although we did have an earlier reference to 1872 when Elizabeth bought 19, 20,21 and 22 allotments along Bondowie Street.   She was the first buyer of the land. The paper work also states ‘Elizabeth Atkins wife of Edward Atkins of Gladstone.” 

This record places Elizabeth in Gladstone in 1872. She had married Edward in 1857, just 15 years earlier. Elizabeth was born November 22, 1857, the same year of the marriage; Mary December 8, 1859 and James Haynes on January 2, 1862. In 1872 Elizabeth is 15, Mary 13 and James 10 and the question has to be, why was Elizabeth living apart from Edward with children so relatively young? The town of Gladstone was first laid out in 1872 by Dr Mathew Moorhouse, a well known and respected protector of Aborigines in the early years of settlement so this puts them there from the beginning.

The death notice for Mary Atkins Ross in 1937 said she had been one of the earliest to live in the town and had lived there, in tents, before any houses were built. This suggests 1872 is a reasonable date for Elizabeth’s arrival in Gladstone although there is still the possibility that she had left Edward earlier and worked at Booyoolie.

The money to pay for the land she purchased in 1872 must either have come from her own efforts and those of her adult sons, George and John, or from her husband, Edward. Although why he would dispatch her to Gladstone, so far from Wirrabarra, to buy land, remains a question.

I also believe this earlier date puts paid to the ‘theory’ of Edward Atkins being the father of his daughter’s bastard child. If Elizabeth and her children had been living apart for at least four years before Mary fell pregnant, it is highly unlikely that it was her father who was the culprit. Then again, we are assuming the children were with Elizabeth????

As Kylie wrote:  I found this very interesting,  was Edward living in Gladstone at this point?  More interesting to me is that Elizabeth bought 5 lots.  Where did she get the money?  We don’t know how much she paid for them.  She had five kids, was the idea to give one each?  She sold off two in 1877 the same year that Mary had Edward.  Was this coincidental or not?

The Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922 has Edward Atkins born in Gladstone, November 14, 1877 with father Edward Welsh and mother Mary Atkins.
Clare, South Australia. Page Number:400 Volume Number:191.

And there is no doubt that this is our Edward Atkins because the death is later recorded of his infant son, Percy Mashford Atkins, the name Mashford being the clincher:

Edward William Atkins, Born 14 Nov 1877 ,Gladstone, South Australia, Australia
Died  Yes, date unknown
Person ID  I214944
Australia. South Australia
Last Modified 5 Dec 2009    

Edward Welsh
Mary Atkins
Bef 1877
Family ID
Group Sheet    

Mary Ann Sheehan,   b. 1875,   d. Yes, date unknown
28 Dec 1904
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [2]
1. Living

2. Living

3. Living

4. Percy Mashford Atkins,   b. 30 Jun 1913, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1915, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location
Family ID
F66553 Group Sheet

1.    [S11] [Indexes] South Australian Birth 1842-1906, Cla 191 400.
See also WELSH, Edward
2.    [S27] [Indexes] South Australian Marriage 1842-1916, Ade 221/1323.
brides age 29 years - widow
grooms age 27 years

Photo: Annie Clavins Atkins, wife of James Haynes Atkins, in front of her cottage on Booyoolie Station, circa: 1910.

And, as strange as it may sound Elizabeth may have found it easier to get a loan in 1872 than I would have in 1980.  However did she need a loan.  The value in 1877 was 50 pounds.  She probably paid less than this five years earlier.    As we know it is hard to find wages that are relevant to each time period but lets guess 40 pounds per annum (consistent with wages 10 years earlier I can’t find the 1870’s). 

Considering by 1872 James was already 10, Elizabeth could have been working for a few years (£20) plus George and John on full wages (£40 each), Elizabeth would certainly been working (£15) and maybe even Mary or perhaps she was supervising James and keeping house.  It would not have been impossible for them to have an income of over 100 pounds.   Now in addition to this they would have some rations from the station, meat in particular, but also flour, sugar and tea.  If no rations were supplied they would have been paid more.  Also remember that it was very likely that any loan required came from the vendor and with wages like this may have been very short lived.

As to wills – whether someone has a will or not is more to do with organisation and superstition than the property they own however if they owned property in their own name only at death then with or without a will an application for probate would be required.  If you don’t have a will the state decides how your property is split up.  In this case it would have been split between the children.  I don’t know if it was even between the sexes.  So if she owned the property at death there will be a record in the courts.

Elizabeth died May 11, 1908;  James Haynes Atkins  had died eight months earlier at Jamestown Hospital, on September 16, 1907 and Charlie Ross had died September 10, 1907... just six days earlier than his brother-in-law. Mary Ross lost her husband, brother and mother within eight months.

One presumes Elizabeth would not leave everything to James because he was the youngest of her two surviving sons. She may have divided it between George and James, or, given that she was living with Mary when she died, probably divided it between all four of her surviving children. No doubt Annie would have gotten what James had when he died a few months later. Unless there was something more complex, again we would need a legal opinion, and James died before the Will was ratified- although then I would have thought it would just be divided between the three surviving children in which case Annie would get nothing. 

Kylie wrote:  Normally, whoever is alive at the time of death, not when the estate is finalised, is who gets the money.  In other words – James would have inherited, it would go into his estate, then be distributed per his will or if intestate, by the law which would have been Annie.

Luke wrote:         I am not sure what to make of “Lewis John Allotment 22 –open T.V £12 Annual V. £ 2-10 Rates  2-6 Pd 27.2.79 Arrears £5-4 Pd 30.7.79” does this mean he owned  allotment 22 and lived next to his mother” Does he have a will if he owned land?

Photo: Booyoolie Station.

Unless things have changed dramatically, he would not be paying rates if he was renting but only if he owned land. He may well have had a Will. One presumes, being unmarried, he left what he had to his mother. The tombstone looks impressive and expensive for the times. She must have had money or perhaps used some of his estate for it.   Unless he transferred it before he died there would be a record.

However, if she had money and left money in her will, or her land was left to Mary Ross and Elizabeth Cox, and they sold the land why did Elizabeth Cox or Mary Ross not pay for a tombstone for their own mother?

If she only left land there is no assumption that her children would sell. They may not have had the money to pay for a tombstone. Mary was after all a widow with a young family still to raise. I don't know about Elizabeth. George also had his own family.

They may well have paid for a tombstone and it was destroyed or stolen. The cemetery is in pretty bad shape.

If Edward Atkins owned land in Bundaleer or anywhere else how can we find out? I have now forgotten how I managed to get the paperwork I have on the land concerning Elizabeth Mashford land, but I must have got it from the Land Titled Office when I was much younger. May be, and only may be, and it is only a suggestion, If Edward Atkins owned land and there was one hell of a family fight may be Elizabeth Mashford got the money from Edward Atkins to buy the land in Gladstone. She may have forced him or blackmailed him for the money.

Well, conjecture has led us to truth in the past. It is a stretch to have Edward as the father of Mary's bastard son now and logic suggests that the most likely scenario was that Elizabeth wanted to leave her husband - perhaps for drinking and violence, or other women, who knows - and with her oldest sons George and John in Gladstone, that is where she went. Logically, that is where she would go.

The fact that she had money in 1872 to buy so much land makes me wonder if she did not leave earlier and worked at Booyoolie and that she and George and John pooled resources to buy the allotments. I doubt there is any way of finding out whether or not she worked at the station but if she and Edward were to spend nearly twenty years apart before he died, there's a good chance it was closer to twenty-five years, which would have given her the chance to save some money.

And yes, great to have cause of death for Edward.... he was living with one of his daughters and clearly ailing. Then again, perhaps he was a drinker, which is why Elizabeth left - Senile Decay  can be euphemism although years of heavy drinking may have left him addled. Still, to be living with his daughter he could not have been too bad.

Edward died in 1891 which is the date on the newspaper obituary.  His birth date then was 1807. If Elizabeth was in Gladstone by 1872 then they were living apart for nearly twenty years before he died.  

Luke has written down a few more thoughts which will be of interest to all those accessing this blog and researching the shared families.

Photo: Elizabeth and James Haynes Atkins, her son with Edward Atkins, circa: 1872. James looks about nine in this photograph but he was short and slight as an adult and so may be twelve. But the photograph would have been taken around the time we know Elizabeth was first living in Gladstone.

He writes:

When I was at the Discovery Centre (Gladstone Historical Society) they had a photocopy of the diary of Mr Hughes, the founder of Boolooliee Station. I knew he wrote one, and the State Library has a copy. I read through it because it is not very big, but the diary is mostly about the weather and the state of the station nothing about the workers or certainly not in a direct way that mentions names etc. As a result, we can eliminate that source to find out anything more concerning Elizabeth Mashford or family.

As you noticed from the photo of the grave of John Mashford Lewis that it does have bricks around it and you can notice some writing on the bricks. I had a look, but the writing is backwards however, it seems to be a name of a company, but it does say Laura. So I think the tombstone and bricks came from Laura. I agree with you Kylie that it is a cast and not made by a blacksmith. I also agree that at one stage Elizabeth may have had a tombstone, but it may have been made out of wood which has long since gone. Just because today there is no tombstone that does not mean the family did not care or did not have money to mark a grave of a loved one.

I had a look at the directory which the Gladstone Historical Society had. Again it was only a photocopy so I do not know where the original is or what the name of the original directory is called, but it had George Lewis listed living at Gladstone in 1886 Bondowie Street and in 1898.

I have done some more research about wills and titles to land and this is what I found out. Getting a copy of a will is very easy. I talked to the SA Probate Office they are at 301 King William Street. You just go in and look at their index. Every name has an index number. You just give the index number to the staff and they then get the will and photocopy it for you.

Finding out about land is more complex. The Land Titles Office in Grenfell Street has copies of all the records. However, their records only go back to 1858. This is because in 1858 the law changed about land ownership.  Records before 1858 are held in two separate places because it is the Old Title System. First of all it helps to know if a person had Lease Hold Land from the crown or free Hold Land (Private Ownership).

If the land is Freehold you have to go to 300 Richmond Road which is behind Adelaide Airport because that is where all the records are kept for Free Hold Land. If the land was lease hold you have to go to another place to look at the records. However, in saying this, I was also told that this is not always exactly so for a range of reasons. As a result, people should always start at the Land Title Office because they do have some records before 1858 Lease hold and Free Hold. Once you find out that what you are looking for is not at the main office in Grenfell Street then you try the other places.  I was told to try to find out if Bundaleer and Wirrabara were freehold or lease hold.

I telephoned Forestry SA at the Wirrabara office because they have the responsibility for the State Forests in those areas. The lady who I spoke to said that Bundaleer was mostly Leasehold, but Bundaleer Springs was mostly Freehold. Wirrabara was a mixture of both.

I told her that Edward Atkins was listed as a blacksmith while he lived at Bundaleer and did she know anything about a blacksmith shop in the area she said no, but that does not mean anything. She said the problems with these old stone building, which I saw, was that they were originally bigger than what remains today. She said that often these old stone cottages were of one or two rooms. The main room was the Lounge Room, Kitchen and Dining Room and the other room was the parent’s main bedroom. (The children may or may not have slept in the main room) However, at the back of the stone cottages there would be galvanized tin rooms for the children and any other reasons e.g. to keep supplies, horses and workshops.

Photo: The family bible handed down from George Lewis, the eldest son of Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins from her marriage to Peter Lewis.These tin structures have long since gone due to rust and the passage of time, but if a person looks closely there are still remains of the tin rooms scattered around the place. As a result, if Edward Atkins was a blacksmith his work room would have been made out of tin so any remains would no longer be identifiable as a blacksmith work shop.

She said she knew of an old cottage in the Wirrabara Forest, which the general public does not know about, and the chimney and parts of the house still remains and it is all made out of galvanized tin. Then she said something which I found very interesting which I have never thought of before. She said that many people in the 1800s preferred to have their home made out of tin and wood because if they had to move they would dismantled their tin and wooden homes, place it on their carts, and just move to another area and rebuild their homes. As a result, a block of land may no longer have any remains on it, but at one stage their use to be a home there.

I also asked the lady at the Wirrabara office if she knew anything about the photos I took of the old house at White Park on White Park Road with the sign that said White Park. She said that old building was the accommodation building for the workers who use to live and work in the White Park Forest. She did not know of the name Atkins, but she knew of the name Edward Puddy, but had no idea where he lived at White Park.

I have sent an email off to the Jamestown Historical Society and a letter to the lady who showed me the Wirrabara burial record to see what other information they can give me.

Now I will try to answer some of your responses. There are two sheep runs in the area back in the 1800s they were larger than they are now. The first one was Bungaree Station which is just outside of Clare. I have the book at home on the history of Bungaree Station it was established in 1841. Then you have Bundaleer Station which is at Bundaleer North. I drove past the road that leads to it. It is just before the Bundaleer Picnic Grounds and oval and it is a lot closer to Jamestown than it is to Clare. It was established in c1840.

The other thing I forgot to mention, which may or may not be important.  If you have a look at the certificate of title, lot 21 and 22 fronts Bondowie Street, but the back of the lots end at the border of a creek. I am sure in the Gladstone area that the creek may be dry in the summer time, but it is a source of running water and as you drive down Bondowie Street you have to cross a bridge which goes over the creek and I noticed water. Thus the land would have been worth more, than say, land that did not have a creek.

Maybe in the winter time they dammed the creek and had a supply of water for the summer time. All the lots are walking distance to the main road of Gladstone. (Gladstone is so small everything is within walking distance of the main road except the cemetery. Even the main entry to Booyoolee station is in walking distance of the main street).

I know we can find out a lot of information from records online etc, but there was nothing like going to the areas and getting a feel for the place and especially talking to people who live in the area for a long time and have personal knowledge about the history of the area.

Also have a look at the newspaper article I found on TROVE it does not directly relate to any of our families, but it is interesting in terms of the problems people had back in the 1800s  registering births, death etc.

“…There is no District Registrar nearer than Clare, which being 79 miles from Melrose. Involves a journey of 158 miles to the 'householder' or other person who may have to register a birth or death occurring at Mount Remarkable. Formerly it was allowed to send information to the Registrars by letter,  but as the persons giving such information frequently neglected to call subsequently, and sign the entries as required by law, a Gazette notice was published in last July, requiring in future personal attendance in all cases of' registration.

Suppose, therefore, that a shepherd, or other person; dies at Mount Remarkable, his employer must equip a special messenger for a journey of 160 miles, and often much more, to give information. If he fails in the performance of this duty, he runs a risk of a £10 penalty. But as the cost of the journey and the loss of time is often a more serious consideration than the £10 itself, the Registration Act is in danger of becoming a dead letter in the remote districts…”

South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839-1900) Tuesday 4 November 1856 p2.