Monday, 27 January 2014

Henry Edwin Atkins and our Edward Atkins may well be one and the same but confirmation is not yet complete.


We have some reports in from a Gloucestershire researcher who seems to think that Henry Edwin Atkins (convict) and our Edward Atkins are one and the same person.

There are, she says, good grounds for taking that position although of course we do not yet, and may never have, absolute proof that the two men are one and the same. However, at this point in time there is more evidence pointing in that direction than in the opposite.

The image we have of our Edward with his daughters Mary and Lizzy fits well with the description given of the convict Edwin Atkins although any capacity to identify moles on the face of our Edward would be a clincher. Luke said the photo we have of him and his daughters is in the possession of a cousin so there is some chance we might be able to have a look at the original and possibly get ‘mole’ proof of what we now believe. Or not as the case may be.

At this point in time there do not seem to be too many more avenues to pursue in Gloucestershire or the UK in terms of establishing the connection in any concrete way.

The information in the reports from the researcher does not add much to what we had but is worth having all the same and I shall post it here and follow on with previous posts on the topic of whether or not, Henry Edwin Atkins, sentenced to death and then commuted to seven years transportation in Australia, in 1830, is our ancestor, Edward Atkins who died at Wirrabarra in South Australia more than half a century later.

If they are one and the same then our Edward stood in the dock at the age of 18 and heard the death sentence, for stealing a sheep, pronounced. What went through is mind from that day until his sentence was commuted? We can only imagine. No doubt being transported to Australia became a joyful prospect when compared to dangling from the end of a rope.

Recent research indicates what common sense and logic told me and no doubt many others long ago, that we have a cellular memory and in fact 'inherit' many emotional experiences from our ancestors. How much of Edwin/Edward's trauma was passed down is open to conjecture, but one can imagine to some degree the horror he felt when he was sentenced to death and the nightmares of imaginings which pursued him until he was granted a King's pardon.

He was eighteen, young, almost a boy, about to sail across the world to a distant and alien land but compared to death,  it was no doubt a joy and perhaps it was an adventure he found exciting. From reports in Australia he seemed well behaved during his time as a convict and perhaps he had learned his lesson.

Or perhaps he had been innocent. The case was strange in that he and two others, William and Amy Walker, were charged with the crime of sheep-stealing and yet William Walker was found not guilty while Edwin and Amy were sentenced to death. Why Walker’s wife and his friend should be ‘more involved’ in the crime is interesting and leads the sceptic in me to surmise that perhaps there was more at work with this than stealing a sheep. Perhaps Edwin and Amy were lovers, and William had them framed for the crime because he wanted them dead.

Whatever the truth both Edwin and Amy ended up in Australia although we have no idea what her fate might have been.

Edwin, like our Edward, was a blacksmith who could read and write and who would prove to be adaptable in terms of making the best of what life would bring. I think and feel they are one and the same man even without absolute proof that this is the case.
Photo: Edward Atkins with his daughters Mary (left) and Elizabeth circa 1860.

The reports:

Aim: to establish whether Edward Atkins d.1891 is the same as Edwin Atkins transported to Australia in 1830/31.

Gloucestershire Archives hold the gaol registers for the county gaol at Gloucester. There is an entry for Edwin Atkins which ties in with the newspaper report of the crime supplied:

Gaol register
Committal 9/2/1830

9th Feby 1830 Edwin Atkins age 18 Cubberley committed by Sir Wm Hicks bart. Wm Hicks, clerk, James Clutterbuck Esq, H. Norwood Frye Esq

Charged on the oath of John Bishop and others with having on the night of Friday the 5th day of February instant at the parish of Cubberley feloniously stolen taken and carried away one ewe teg the property of Richard Bishop of Cubberley aforesaid farmer.

Light brown hair, dark blue eyes, fair complexion, long face six small moles on his forehead six small moles on right cheek a small mole near his left ear, four small moles left arm, two moles near R armpit three small moles left arm two moles on his back, three moles on the back of his neck.
Read and write; blacksmith; height 5’7”

Lent assizes April 7 1830

Death recorded
Transported 7yrs - see penitentiary registeri
Removed 24th May 1830
Orderly behaviour
[Source: Gloucestershire Archives Q/Gc/5/4 Entry No 217]

National Archives, Kew, London hold the registers of convicts held on the prison hulks prior to transportation:

Registers of convicts in the hulk 'Cumberland', moored at Chatham, with gaoler's reports, 1830-1833

Entry 396; Received from Gloucester 24/5/1830
Aged 18 convicted of sheep stealing 7 April 1830. Sentenced to 7 years.
Single, can both read and write, blacksmith
Discharged 14/8/1830 to Florentia
Gaolers report – character disposition convictions [sic] and former course of life – bad. Orderly in gaol.
[Source: National Archives via Find my Past ADM6/418]

Registers of convicts in the hulk 'Dolphin', moored at Chatham, with gaoler's reports, 1829-1835
Entry 396; Edwin Atkins age 18 convicted of sheep stealing at Gloucester on 7 April 1830, sentenced to 7 years. Single, blacksmith
On 4th October 1830 discharged to Florentia
Gaolers report – character disposition convictions [sic] and former course of life – bad. Orderly in gaol.

[Source: National Archives via Find my Past ADM6/421]

 Photo: The convict ship Florentia which took Edwin/Edward Atkins to Australia.

NB. Virtually all other convicts had the same entry re former life. I note from the information sent to me that Edwin had a tattoo of his initials. This does not appear in his physical description from Gloucester gaol but further research has shown that convicts would often get themselves tattooed whilst on the journey over with varying items including their initials.

The parish registers for Coberley were checked for a period between 1804 and 1830 and no Atkins entries were found. [Source: Gloucestershire Archives P105 IN – microfilm copy]

The following registers were checked for Cirencester:
Christenings 1784-1831
Burials 1809-1833
Marriages 1778-1812
[Source: Gloucestershire Archives P86 IN – microfilm copy]

As was suggested by your earlier researcher the christening of Henry Edwin was in February 1812 with a birth listed as January 1812. All children born to parents Joseph and Ann are listed below, starting with the marriage of Joseph. Burials are included and events are in chronological order.

14/8/1809 Atkins, Joseph & Haines, Ann m both of this parish
23/2/1812 Atkins Henry Edwin s Joseph & Ann born 22/1/1812 c
13/2/1814 Atkins Joseph Lewis s Joseph & Ann born 18/1/1814 c
5/10/1816 Atkins James Webb s Joseph & Ann born 14/8/1816 c Cirencester
28/12/1817 Atkins Susannah d Joseph & Ann born 30/11/1817 c Cirencester
15/1/1818 Atkins, Susanna d Joseph & Ann 6wks b Cirencester
2/1/1819 Atkins George s Joseph & Ann born 12/12/1818 c Cirencester
3/11/1820 Atkins Jane d Joseph & Ann born 17/9/1820 c Cirencester
19/5/1822 David s Joseph & Ann born 31/3/1822 c Cirencester
shoemaker [Poss gaol record copied Q/Gc 5/6 1/10/1840]
24/7/1825 Atkins Thomas Haines s Joseph & Ann born 20/6/1825 c Cirencester
30/10/1825 Atkins, Thomas s Joseph & Ann 4m b Cirencester
4/2/1827 Atkins Mary Ann Haines d Jsp & Ann born 10/1/1827 c Cirencester
16/11/1828 Atkins, Alfred s Joseph & Ann 6m b Cirencester
Note – b=burial; c=christening or baptism; m=marriage. A cordwainer was another term for a shoemaker

In 1841 Joseph was living in Cheltenham, in Witcombe Place which was a cul de sac of about 17 houses erected by the 1820s. His occupation is listed as a shoemaker. He and wife Ann were both listed as 50years old, David was 15 [a labourer], Marian [Mary Ann] 14, and another girl, Eliza 10. She was presumably a daughter but as no relationships are given in this census year this must not be assumed on this evidence
alone. Ages of those over 14 were rounded to the nearest 5, but not all enumerators followed this ruling therefore ages may not be accurate.

A copy of the page is included.
[Source: National Archives via Ancestry HO107/353 schedule 29 page 22]

Photo: Ceylon in the early 18th century when Joseph Atkins was on military service.

By 1851 the family had moved to Charlton Kings, now almost a suburb of Cheltenham but at this time a separate village. Charlton Place is a section of London Road comprising 7 houses at the time of the census.

Joseph is now listed as a 67 year old shoemaker and Chelsea Pensioner. A Chelsea Pensioner was an ex soldier who was in receipt of an army pension. They are still in existence today with their base in London.

Ann is 65, Mary A 35 and Eliza 20. Interestingly Eliza is listed as daughter, confirming the evidence from the 1841 census but she was born in Worcestershire [Birlingham]
[Source: National Archives via Ancestry HO107/1972 Folio 99 page 14]

A likely death for Joseph is in 1860 Cheltenham aged 74. The burial registers for the town may confirm the correct person but the death certificate would be the best evidence.

[Source: Gloucestershire Registration – Cheltenham registration district 1860 register 32 entry 431]

Ann is living on St James Street, at Sion House, as a lodger in 1861. She is listed as on poor relief so records may survive in the Overseers disbursement and payments for Cheltenham in this year. Daughter Mary Ann is still with her, also on poor relief.
[Source: National Archives via Ancestry RG9/1797 Folio 70 Page 40]

Ann’s death is probably the one recorded in 1865 with her age as 74.
{Source: Gloucestershire Registration – Cheltenham registration district 1865 register 40 entry 371]

Further Research:
Worcestershire Archives to view parish registers for the birth/baptism of Eliza c.1831. Any other evidence of the family in the location and any documentation as to why they may have moved there. Note the timing around the time of Edwin’s transportation. Did the family move away to avoid the scandal?

Civil Registration certificates of the deaths of Joseph and Ann and the burial registers, although these are extensive but well kept and written. To search for the two events will take about an hour but there is no guarantee that the burial entries will be found.
Gloucestershire Archives to view Cheltenham Poor Relief records for any information regarding Ann and Mary Ann’s hardship.

 Aim: to establish whether Edward Atkins d.1891 is the same as Edwin Atkins transported to Australia in 1830/31.

Results of search at National Archives by Geoff Swinfield [GSGS] on behalf of Lynne Cleaver [LCRS] done on 15/1/2014.

ASSI 5/150/5 Indictments
1/ Printed papers giving same information regarding alleged crime as the Gloucestershire Gaol registers already supplied

2/ handwritten report of the trial [transcribed – the edge of the page is tightly bound hiding some words; the lack of punctuation is as was written at the time]

Gloucestershire The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath present that William Walker, late of the parish of Cubberley in the County of Gloucester labourer Amy wife of the said William Walker and Edwin Atkins late of the same labourer on the sixth day of February in the eleventh year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the fourth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King defender of the faith with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the county aforesaid One Lamb of the price of twenty ... of the goods and chattels of Richard Bishop then and there being found feloniously did steal take and drive away against the peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity And the jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do further present the said William Walker Amy his wife and Edwin Atkins afterwards [to wit] on the same day and year aforesaid with force and arms at the ... aforesaid in the county aforesaid one lamb of the price of twenty shillings of the goods and chattels of the said Richard Bishop then and there being found wilfully and feloniously did kill with a felonious intent to steal take and carry away the carcase of the said last mentioned lamb against the form of the statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity

Names sworn in court: Richard Smith, John Bishop, Andrew Hathaway, Isaac Deaves, Thomas Griffiths, Richard Bishop

Second Roll – William Walker found not guilty; Amy wife of William Walker guilty to be hanged; Edwin Atkins guilty to be hanged.
ASSI 2/31 Crown & Gaol books
Edwin Atkins transported for seven years for sheep stealing
HO 6/15 Judges & Recorders letters and reports

May 1830 letter and pardon presented
To the Kings most excellent Majesty
These are humbly to certify to your Majesty that the following prisoners were convicted before us respectively your Majesty’s Justices of assize and General Gaol Delivery for the last Oxford Circuit of the several offences hereinafter mentioned and sentence of death was recorded against them for the same pursuant to the statute but some favourable circumstances appearing in their respective cases they were reprieved and we humbly recommend them as fit objects of your Majesty’s Royal Clemency on the condition hereinafter mentioned if Your Majesty shall so please - that is to say list of names until:
Amy wife of William Walker

Edwin Atkins
To be transported beyond the seas for and during the term of seven years
HO 13/55 & 56 Correspondence, Warrants and commutations 1830
Letter from Whitehall [offices of the parliament and civil service] dated 29 April 1830
GSGS has copied six pages the first of which is not good enough to transcribe in full but has a general greeting and outline of the request followed by the start of a list of prisoners, their crimes before the following plea:

And you having by certificate under your hands, humbly recommended them to His Majesty as fit objects of the Royal Mercy, on condition of their being transported beyond the seas for and during the terms hereinafter mentioned viz

Follows a list of prisoners and their new sentences including ‘Mary’ wife of William Walker and Edwin Atkins

Both Edwin Atkins and Mary [sic] wife of William Walker had their sentences commuted to seven years transportation to New South Wales or Van Diemens Land by the King, signed by Robert Peel [by 1834 he was prime minister].

Geoff writes in an email ‘As can be seen, Edwin Atkins and Amy, the wife of William Walker, had their sentence commuted to seven years transportation on 28th April 1830 (HO16/15 & HO13/55), and this was recorded on 29th April. Both had originally been sentenced to be hanged (ASSI 5/105/5). William Walker was found not guilty at the trial. ASSI 2/31 simply records the hearing as of “William Walker & 2 others”.

Edwin was always recorded as such except in the printed index to ASSI 5/105/5 where he is listed as Edward Atkins.’

As Geoff has observed re the name, that Edwin was Edwin apart from the occurrence of a printed list with Edward. Likewise Amy Walker appears once as Mary. This is due to the italic writing which could very easily be mistaken for either by a clerk. These can both be taken as clerical errors and clearly refer to the same people in both cases.

My thoughts re Edward Atkins being one and the same are that they are indeed the same, more evidence points towards this than against. On release wishing a new start he made a slight alteration in his name and went on to live a long and good life.

Further Research:
Worcestershire Archives to view parish registers for the birth/baptism of Eliza c.1831. Any other evidence of the family in the location and any documentation as to why they may have moved there. Note the timing around the time of Edwin’s transportation. Did the family move away to avoid the scandal?
Civil Registration certificates of the deaths of Joseph and Ann and the burial registers, although these are extensive but well kept and written. To search for the two events will take about an hour but there is no guarantee that the burial entries will be found.
Gloucestershire Archives to view Cheltenham Poor Relief records for any information regarding Ann and Mary Ann’s hardship.

Photo: life as a convict was hard but Edwin Atkins was said to be well behaved and so hopefully avoided being lashed.

National Archives and/or Regimental Records for Joseph Atkins military service. There are two references on Find My Past: 1/ Princess Charlotte of Wales [Royal Berkshire Regiment] 49th and 66th Regt. of Foot National Archives reference WO121 [According to the record for this Joseph served in the East Indies and Ceylon between 1805-8.]

While there is no clear evidence that the two men are one, the researcher, Lynne Cleaver, has taken the view that there is more chance they are than they are not and with years of experience in ancestry research, I think that is worth taking into account.

She had not seen the photo of our Edward Atkins but I also feel quite strongly that the description of Henry Edwin Atkins (convict) and our Edward’s image as recorded in the photograph with his daughters are a match which is better than good.

We also had more children for Joseph and Ann than the researcher found:

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.

Photo: Wedding certificate for Edward Atkins and his first wife Hannah Mcleod.
But to just run through the connections which were put together for another post although I don’t think there is much doubt that Henry Edwin Atkins, son of Joseph Atkins and Ann Haines, is the convict Edwin Atkins. The researcher does not seem to think there is any doubt about this.

And I am re-posting earlier information so that it is all in one place for any family researchers who arrive, new to the quest.


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 and whose second son was Henry Edwin Atkins.
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.
  Father named Joseph.
Photo: Marriage certificate for Edward Atkins and his second wife Elizabeth Mashford Lewis.

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.

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).

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 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.

Photo: Edward Atkins.
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 researcher suggested more work on Joseph’s military history but in fact this had already been done and I will pre-post it here so everything is in one place:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo: The remains of a hut in the Wirrabarra Forest where Edward Atkins and his family lived in the mid to late 19th century. No doubt their home would have been something like this.

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.

Further information  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.

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