Saturday, 14 March 2015

Ruminations and fancies on the 'noble connections' story surrounding Elizabeth Mashford.

Photo: Chanter's House, Ottery St Mary, home of the Coleridge family.

Having revisited the 'social status' of the Mashfords in recent weeks, it might be time to have another look at the family story, passed down through a number of ancestral lines, that Elizabeth Mashford was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, and, one presumes Mary Cann although that is not necessarily a given.

It was not uncommon in the times for homes to be found for such illegitimate children and for the wealthy family to pay the foster parents for their care, co-operation and often silence.

I will just clarify, that my musings and meandering are without substance and are merely an exercise in pondering various possibilities which might explain a family story but probably do not.

The story has it that Elizabeth was the illegitimate daughter of a man of noble rank and that his mother, Lady Elizabeth, paid for the family to emigrate to Australia. A survey of the Cann family in Devon reveals that being employed as a servant was common for many. There is more chance than not, that Mary Cann Mashford worked as a servant before she married. No doubt a trawl of census records prior to 1818 would clarify this.

The Mashfords lived in Coldridge, Devon and until 1900 the village was called Coleridge.  Now, the label of 'noble' could have been something which morphed over time from a father who was not necessarily an aristocrat, but a wealthy or upper-class individual. However, let us begin at the 'top' so to speak.

There is a Dukedom for Coleridge, and John Taylor Coleridge, 1790-1876.

John Mashford married Mary Cann in 1818 and given varying dates for Elizabeth on census, marriage and death certificates, she was born sometime between 1818 and 1822, but, with a baptism record for 1820, we can assume either late 1818 or sometime in 1819 or 1820 and without a birth date, it cannot be verified.

In 1818, John Coleridge was 28 and had been married for two years to Mary Buchanan. His parents were James Coleridge and Frances Duke Taylor.

His first son, John Duke was born in 1820, and his second, Henry James in 1822, so they are about the same age as Elizabeth Mashford.

The problem with this local noble is that there is no Lady Elizabeth, although, having said that, the 'Lady' may apply but the Elizabeth was added later, by default, when the original name was forgotten. And the Lady being his mother could just as easily be the Lady as his wife, given the variation on themes which accompanies such oral histories.

It also does not make sense that Elizabeth would be 'sent on her way' in her late twenties. Why wait so long? More likely if she was fostered out, or even Mary's natural illegitimate daughter, that the money paid by her noble father enabled the Mashfords to start a new life in Australia. Not that John, George or Mary Cann got to live much of it, dying within three years of arrival.

The ancestral family home for the Coleridges was The Chanter's House, Ottery St. Mary, some 50 miles from Coleridge (Coldridge) but Sir John Taylor did not inherit the house until 1838 although he and his family may well have been living there before.

In the way of the times, Mary Cann could have been employed as a servant so far from home, or, regular contact was likely between the family and the village which shared their name.

Photo: The library at Chanter's House is my dream. The house was sold privately so it may still exist.

The Coleridges were one of Devon's oldest families after John Coleridge, the gifted son of a Crediton weaver, became headmaster of the Kings School and settled there in 1760 with his four daughters and eight sons. The most famous of them all was the youngest son, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born in 1772.

Another possible link is between John Coleridge, headmaster and John Mashford, schoolteacher.

The links with The Chanter's House, at Ottery St Mary date from 1796 when Samuel's second-eldest brother, James, a successful career soldier who married a local heiress bought one of the  grandest houses in town. Built in the 1340's as a chantry, a private chapel, the house was part of a group of buildings around the great 1th century church of St. Mary.

After the Reformation, the house passed to the Duke family, and it was from there, in 1645, that Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell directed the New Model Army's Civil War operations in the West Country.

 Sir John Taylor Coleridge,a High Court judge, and his son, John Duke Coleridge together planned the first modest extension, adding a new service range, a coach house and stables, and rebuilding the drawing room. The original 30 acres of grounds were also extended and landscaped. 

 John Duke Coleridge decided to create a country seat by rebuilding the family home which he inherited in 1876. He commissioned the architect William Butterfield to create a Victorian country mansion around the kernel of the original chantry building. The 1840s service wing was replaced with extensive new stables and service quarters, the entrance moved to the east, and an extra storey added to the old south-facing main façade. The entire west wing was taken up by a huge library 90ft long, 33ft wide and 40ft high built to accommodate Lord Coleridge's collection of 24,000 books, and said to be the largest such room of any house west of Salisbury.

The other possible noble floating around the region, comes from John Mashford's parents, John Mashford and Mary Labbett who lived in Eggesford, Devon. Eggesford is a small parish, midway between Exmoor and Dartmoor. It was hardly even a village, more a collection of houses, whose inhabitants supported the 'big house,' Eggesford House, the residence of the Earls of Portsmouth.

However, the carryings on at Eggesford House, while making bastards likely, also made farming them out to faithful 'servants' unlikely, and the source of the 'bastards' in this case was not a nobleman, although those things also get mixed up, but the daughter of a lawyer, so middle class, married to a nobleman although none of the children were his, and the father of the bastards was another lawyer.

John Charles Wallop, 3rd Earl of Portsmouth (18 December 1767 – 14 July 1853), styled Viscount Lymington until 1797, was a British nobleman and recognised lunatic.
The Earl was known from an early age to have an unsound mind, and his estate was placed under the control of four trustees.  Portsmouth had periods of sanity but he indulged in bizarre and sadistic behaviour, whipping servants, beating horses and killing cattle with an axe. He was also obsessed with funerals and attended as many as he could, sometimes flogging the ringers with the bellrope afterwards.

In 1799 he married the Hon. Grace Norton, the sister of one of his trustees, William Norton, 2nd Baron Grantley. Portsmouth's younger brother, Hon. Newton Fellowes encouraged the marriage as Grace was 47 at the time and even though Portsmouth was only 31, an heir to displace him was unlikely.  Grace proved useful in managing the madman but by 1808 his manias were beyond even her control.

Grace died five years later and another trustee, John Hanson, saw an opportunity and put his daughter, Mary Anne forward. They married on March 7, 1814 with Lord Byron, another of Hanson's clients, giving the bride away.

Newton failed to have his brother declared insane and the new Countess quickly grew into her role by avoiding her husband and having an affair with William Alder, a lawyer, who fathered three children by her. So there is always the chance the children were fostered out.

A new commission de lunatico inquirendo took place in 1823, at the instigation of Portsmouth's nephew, Henry Wallop Fellowes, and it was revealed that the Earl had been badly mistreated by his new wife and her lover, who had spat on him and beaten him. He was adjudged to have been insane since 1809.

In 1828, his second marriage was annulled, and Mary Anne's children were declared bastards. A judgment for the £40,000 cost of the trial was issued against her, and she fled abroad. She later married Alder but there is no mention of the children. And since the children were declared bastards in 1828, one presumes, although it is not a given, that they were still with their mother.

Photo: Elizabeth Mashford Lewis Atkins.

Photo: William Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon.

The other possibility, remote as it may be, is the Earl of Devon. The family seat was Tiverton, some 22 miles from Coldridge, although there were no doubt various country estates and homes where the family could have lived which might have been even closer to Coldridge.
But dates do not fit for the 11th Earl, as he was born in 1807 and would have been either 11, 13, or 15 when Elizabeth Mashford was born, depending on which date is correct. His wife was a Lady Elizabeth but they did not marry until 1830 when Elizabeth was either 10, 12 or 7 and unlikely to be playing around with the Duke. And since his first son was born in 1832, not much chance there either and he died in 1853 so not likely any shenanigans given age differences with either Mary Cann Mashford or her daughter.

But, if we go back to the 10th Earl of Devon, William Courtenay, 1777-1859, we have him aged 41 in 1818, the earliest possible birth date for Elizabeth Not only was he an acceptable age, he also had a wife called, Elizabeth - Lady Elizabeth Ruth Scott. But she was his second wife, and they did not marry until 1849.

And, since the story said it was his mother, but it could well have been a wife, the other factor with this contender is that his mother was called Elizabeth, but she died in 1815 and was well out of the picture even before Elizabeth was born.

His first wife, Henrietta died in 1839 and he remarried ten years later, two years after the Mashfords had set sail for South Australia.

William Courtenay and Elizabeth Scott married on January 30, 1849 and given his age, 72,  there were no children. This is hardly surprising, despite the fact that Elizabeth Scott was only 35 years old, although since her birth date is not absolute, she may well have been closer to 40 and unable to have children even if the Earl had been up to it.

Elizabeth was from Ireland, the daughter of a Reverend and with aristocratic connections. Perhaps Courtenay had met her in Ireland where there were family estates. Why she married so late in life for someone of her rank and times is a question to which I have no answer. Elizabeth's birth is given circa. 1814 and she died 100 years later.

Perhaps Elizabeth had been his lover for some years and, on hearing of the bastard daughter, decided that she and her family were best removed. Or, perhaps Elizabeth was something of a puritan and that was why she had not previously married and, when she did, it was to a man with whom there was going to be no sexual relationship. The courtship may have lasted for years and one of her conditions might have been - remove your past and the stain of the bastard daughter.

It does not make a lot of sense given that she would have no heirs and the succession was assured anyway with three sons from Courtenay's first marriage. But, who knows and it is certainly possible, although, in the way of these things, probably highly unlikely.

The Debrett's entry:
DEVON, Earl of," His lordship's predecessor was his father, William, 10th Earl of Devon. He was b. June 19, 1777, and succeeded his cousin, May 26, 1835; was a Governor of the Charterhouse and High Steward of the University of Oxford :
m. 1st, Nov. 29, 1804, Lady Harriet (the Peerage source gives the name Henrietta which is no doubt correct) Leslie, daughter of Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart, and Eliza-beth, (in her own right) Countess of Rothes, (she d. 1839), having had issue four sons and one daughter; 2ndly, Jan. 30, 1849, Elizabeth Ruth, (laughter of the Rev. John Middleton Scott; and d. March 19, 1859, without having had any issue from 2nd marriage.
DEVON, Countess of, " ELIZABETH RUTH, daughter of the Rev. John Middleton Scott and of Lady Arabella BarbaraBrabazon, daughter of the 8th Earl of Meath; m. 1849, as his 2nd wife, the 10th Earl of Devon, who d. 1859.

 Mary Cann is shown on an 1841 census as aged, 48, which has her born in 1793, some 15 years younger than the Duke, and somewhere between 25 and 29 when Elizabeth was born. John and Mary married in 1818, which is the earliest possible birth date for Elizabeth, when Mary was 25.

I am inclined to think, given that we now know the Mashfords were literate, that Elizabeth Mashford Atkins and her family, knew what her age was and 1818 is likely to be the correct date as recorded on her death certificate.

Was it possible that Mary was working for the Courtenay family and fell pregnant by the Earl of Devon? Possibly.  It was certainly extremely common for the times. His wife, Henrietta had given birth to five children in nine years - 1807, 1809, 1811, 1813 and 1816, an average of two years between each pregnancy. And then no more.

Henrietta was 39 and while perhaps at the end of her child-bearing years, perhaps not, and it simply indicated the end of their sexual life. Their third son had died in 1814 at the age of eight months and perhaps a variety of factors were at play.

Bedding a housemaid was common even when sexual relations were maintained, and even more likely if they were not. And Mary was more than old enough to  make up her own mind about what she did and with whom.

Having said that, Mary Cann was connected with pubs through her family and later, as a publican, and may have been working in a local establishment where this nobleman or some other, stayed, while visiting the area. It may have been a one-night stand although that really puts paid to the Mashford's being paid to leave theory, or an occasional dalliance where there was a case for who the father might be. We shall never know, I am sure.

We do not have a birth record for Elizabeth but if she was born in 1818,  then, with a May 29, wedding date, it means Mary was pregnant before she married John Mashford or the birth was premature. Now, of course the most likely scenario was that if Mary was pregnant before marriage then the baby was John's. But that is not a given.

In addition, as the daughter of a Reverend, perhaps Lady Elizabeth wanted an end to the 'bastard story' and any rumours and did make funds available to have the entire family sent to the other side of the globe. If the wealth arrived in such a fashion it could explain why Elizabeth's education had been neglected and why her brothers, who would have handled the money, had the funds to set themselves up in South Australia. It might also explain why George was so solicitous of his older sister and stood in her defence.

In addition, the fact that Mary Cann Mashford, as recorded in the Montefiore court case, said she had also been looking for a job as a servant, suggests that she had previous experience, and one could surmise, with highly respectable former employers.

We have, therefore, a potential noble father, a time-frame which works, a Lady Elizabeth in the picture who could more plausibly have been involved at packing off the Mashfords at so late a date, and a possible scenario, and we have Lady Elizabeth as mother even though she had departed the scene long before Elizabeth was born. But such is the stuff of family stories and oral recounting.

So, while all of this is pure conjecture and no more than a bit of interesting history, here is where we are at with research and questions raised about the Mashfords and the possibility that there is some truth in Elizabeth's story:

1. The Mashfords had the money to get the immediate family and possibly others, some fourteen in all, to South Australia. Even with assisted passage it means they were not poor. Did that money come from tailoring and being a publican?

2. George and John Mashford had connections to upper class individuals both in South Australia and in England, which indicates they had a modicum of social standing. There was more flexibility in the colonies but it is clear the relationships predated this time.

3. George Mashford took a large sum of money to SA and by the time he died three years later had a considerable estate to hand on to his family. The tenant living on his property was Lavington Glyde, who was from Devon and the upper rungs of the social ladder.

4. Elizabeth's sister, Jane, married the son of an Irish nobleman, which was certainly possible for the times, more so in the colonies,  but more likely indicates a moderate level of social standing and certainly education. Mary Ann married a William Mollison Strachan, from Scotland, who sounds as if he was above servant status.

5. Elizabeth's siblings all seem to have been reasonably if not highly literate but there remain questions as to whether Elizabeth was literate to any substantial degree. Why would this be so? As the oldest child and eldest daughter she should have been as literate as her siblings.

6. Elizabeth agreed to work as a servant for a noted South Australian, the Montefiore's while en route to Adelaide. This suggests that she was a fairly respectable person even though still a servant.

7. Elizabeth took work as a servant in SA and married  servant while her brother George set himself up as some sort of professional and brother John, had premises as  tailor. Her two sisters had the funds to travel to Melbourne and to make a number of trips back and forth to Adelaide. Why was Elizabeth working as a menial servant when the rest of her family were doing much better? Although supposedly her mother also planned to take work as a servant which raises new questions.

8. Elizabeth left Adelaide after her brothers and her mother had died and either she had left her husband, Peter Lewis or he had left her. Why did she not move to be with her sisters?

It is the discrepancies in the fortunes of the siblings which makes one wonder if there was something 'different' about Elizabeth, i.e. less respectable.

Fellow researcher, Luke Atkins Harris offers his thoughts on the mystery:




As to Elizabeth Mashford and the story of her illegitimacy. I do not think the story will ever be resolved and I do not think she was an illegitimate daughter to a wealthy nobleman in England. However, I do believe there is something behind the story.
I agree with you that the Mashford did have more money than one expected. Where they got that money from I really do not know. Unless Mary Cann’s husband, John Mashford, because he was the oldest son, inherited land from his father. Upon his death Mary Cann got the land and she sold it to Josiah Mashford. It is just a thought and I do not know if this happened where to find the evidence.
It seems to me that if Elizabeth Mashford was illegitimate and she was an embarrassment to one “Lady Elizabeth” why wait until she was an adult to move her out of Devon. Unless, as you suggested, she started to make waves.
There is no birth certificate for Elizabeth Mashford because compulsory registration of English births, marriages and deaths did not occur in England until I think c1836. As Elizabeth was born in c1820 there would be no civil birth certificate for her. As to her age yes it is confusing because there are different records, but the best one to go by would be her baptism record because the date was written by the local priest who would have known the date when she was baptised.

NB: We need to check if there are birth certificates for the other children and if Elizabeth's is missing that raises questions.
It makes no sense to me that if somebody wanted to get rid of Elizabeth Mashford from Devon why send the whole family out to South Australia. There must have been thousands of illegitimate babies in England at this time.
Furthermore, in the two newspaper story in TROVE about her court battle with Joseph Barrow Montefiore one of the story speaks about an Aunty (I have never found who this Aunty was) but the story also stated there were 14 other people on board the same ship who were connected to the Mashford family.
Thus the Mashford family did have an extended family in South Australia. If some wealthy nobleman wanted to get rid of the Mashford family why send out about 20 odd people to South Australia? The story does not make any sense to me.
However, as stated, I do believe there is something to the story and I am thinking it goes back to c1856 when George Mashford will was settled. It never made any sense to me as why all of a sudden Elizabeth Lewis (Mashford) just took off with her two sons and moved to Rocky River. Why Rocky River? Why not stay in Adelaide where she could find employment, why not move to Victoria where her sister were living for extra family support? But why go all the way to Rocky River?
Was Elizabeth Mashford involved in some sort of social scandal with a notable person in Adelaide around 1856? Peter Lewis had deserted her so in her mind she was a free woman. It is clear that George May Mashford knew both George Aldridge and especially Lavington Glyde. Lavington Glyde would have known many notable people in Adelaide.
When Elizabeth Lewis returned to Adelaide from Melbourne, after Peter Lewis deserted her, did she end up living with her brother in his house acting as a servant and she knew Lavington Glyde on a personal level?
I find it interesting that after Elizabeth Lewis left Adelaide in 1856. Lavington Glyde entered political life in 1857 by representing East Torrens in the House of Assembly.  Was this purely coincidental? If there were rumours about Elizabeth Lewis, due to a real or a false accusation, did she seek the help of Lavington Glyde? Or conversely, did Lavington Glyde agree to help her on the proviso she left Adelaide with a letter of introduction and a reference to Herbert Bristow Hughes of Rocky River?
Both Lavington Glyde and Herbert Bristow Hughes may have known one another. Lavington Glyde knew John Bristow Hughes (Herbert’s brother) as both Lavington Glyde and John Bristow Hughes were Members of the Electoral District of East Torrens.  Both men served as Treasurer. John Bristow Hughes in the Torrens Ministry in 1857 and Lavington Glyde was Treasurer under the Premiership of Francis Dutton.  Both Lavington Glyde and Herbert Bristow Hughes were wealthy and well known men in South Australia.

Lavington Glyde would have known people such as George Fife Angas, Henry Ayers, George Goyder, Robert Barr Smith and Thomas Elder all notable South Australia. Thus did Elizabeth Mashford embark upon an affair with some famous South Australian or was she accused of having an affair with some famous South Australian?
This could be the reason why Elizabeth Lewis moved to Rocky River. There was some sort of scandal with her and a famous South Australian. She had to be moved from Adelaide to stop embarrassment. She was given a letter of introduction and a reference to Herbert Bristow Hughes of Rocky River?  There was a position of employment awaiting her and hence the reason why she did not move to Victoria to be with her sisters, or anywhere else, because there was no job to go to and she could not stay in Adelaide.
Thus it was not Elizabeth Mashford who was an illegitimate child, but it was either:-
·        Her who had an illegitimate child in South Australia and the family oral history has become disordered over time?
·        Or she was accused of having an illegitimate child?
·        Or she was just attacked with rumours that she was an illegitimate child and was convinced to leave Adelaide because it was causing embarrassment for some well-known South Australia?
Thus it just could be the case that Elizabeth Mashford told her children that she was accused of being an illegitimate child in England and she was forced to leave. In turn, her children would say to their children “that mum told us that she was an illegitimate child” and over time what was once an accusation due to some rumour or scandal that really happened in Adelaide has become an historical family history fact that Elizabeth Mashford was an illegitimate child and was forced to leave Devon?
To my mind, all scenarios are plausible although experience so far has taught me that details are usually general right although often about the wrong person.

I don't think there is any doubt that there was an issue of illegitimacy involving Elizabeth, whether for herself or a child although I still think it is the former.

Elizabeth as Mary Cann's illegitimate child to someone notable and wealthy, or Elizabeth as an illegitimate child of someone notable and wealthy who was fostered, could explain how the Mashfords had more money than one would expect and better connections than one would expect for a humble Devon family.

It would also explain the discrepancies between Elizabeth's expectations, fortunes and education.
We are unlikely to ever know but the conjecture remains an interesting exercise.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

More Mashford musings

Photo: Elizabeth Mashford Lewis Atkins, circa 1870.

I have a few bits and pieces to add to our slowly growing story of the Mashfords. This from a Mashford family connection in the UK, Peter Selley:

I have had a few more thoughts about the Mashfords of Coldridge, 5 miles from where I live.

For various reasons I doubt they originated in or had any connection with Lincolnshire.

I haven’t been able to confirm that that Elizabeth Mashford’s grandfather, John (1771-1834), was Parish Clerk at Coldridge; but his younger son Josiah Mashford (1798-1871) certainly was (1861 census and Will).

NB: I have a copy of the Will and just have to work out how to post it.

I suspect that George May Mashford b 1825 was named after George May who was a cordwainer (shoe maker) in Coldridge where he died aged 43 in December 1823. It seems that although married, he had no children. (In 1802 George May married Agnes Passmore in Bondleigh: a Stephen Cann was a witness, and George’s apprentice was Peter Cann Passmore, so they may be related to Mary (Cann) Mashford.)

NB: I came across this information regarding Peter Cann sometime ago and think he is related.
In 1841, Widow Mary Mashford, a publican, was living in Coldridge with three daughters Elizabeth (21), Mary Ann (10) and Jane (8). Her sons were out to work – John Cann (18) was an apprentice to William Clotworthy a tailor in Zeal Monachorum, George May (16) was apprenticed to John Harris, publican of the Taw Bridge Inn, West of Coldridge. Josiah Labbett (13) was a servant at Birch Farm near East Leigh, South of Coldridge.
In 1841 Josiah Mashford (Mary’s brother in law) was also a publican (and shoe maker) in Coldridge, probably at the “Ring of Bells”.

Photo: Elizabeth circa 1870 with her son, James Haynes Atkins.

A mystery is how or why Mary should take her family to South Australia without either having a contact there, or emigrating with another man. A possible explanation for Elizabeth’s illegitimacy story would be if her mother arrived with or associated with a man who was not Elizabeth’s father?

All things are possible when it comes to sifting through the past but it seems difficult to believe that Mary arrived with another man and even if she did, that it would impact Elizabeth who was then 27 years old. 

I am not convinced Elizabeth was illegitimate, although that is the family story. From my understanding illegitimacy was shameful for the times and did impact class. Elizabeth may have been a poor relation; a poor illegitimate relation - both of which would make her a lower class than the others, or she may not.

But we have since gone on to establish that both George May and John Cann Mashford, her brothers, were upper working or even lower middle class, which leaves our Elizabeth where? Again, there is always the possibility of poor relations but at this point, there seems no reason to believe that Elizabeth was not the daughter of John Mashford and Mary Cann.

There was a controversy surrounding Elizabeth when she arrive in South Australia over the fact that, supposedly, she had agreed en route to take a job with the Montefiore's, a prominent family.

The South Australian Tuesday 30th March 1847 p 5Elizabeth Mashford, aged 25, Was charged, under the Masters' end Servants' Act, with having broken her agreement to eater the service of J. B. Montefiore, Esq. The young woman had been engaged on board the Princess Royal, as housemaid, for one month, and was to have come to her place in two or three days after the agreement, but did not do so. Her wages were to have been £16 per year. The mother of the defendant stated that she had sought an engagement for herself also at Mr Montefiore's, and not succeeding in her application, induced her daughter not to go. His Worship, after some comments on the law between master and servant, told the defendant that, in consequence of the intercession of Mr Montefiore, he should award to her a much lighter punishment than it was within his discretion to do, viz., two days imprisonment.

The Montefiore's were Jewish and perhaps that was why Elizabeth changed her mind, but what it says is that the Mashford's were not amongst the lowest of the low and the poorest of the poor, even if Elizabeth was thinking of working as a servant, which, in fact, she ultimately did.

I do begin to wonder though what was different about Elizabeth given that both of her brothers were seemingly possessed of some wealth and considered respectable and one sister went on to marry someone from the upper echelons of society.

Jane Mashford married George O'Brien in St James's Church, Melbourne on February 23, 1853. George O'Brien was the fifth son of Admiral Robert O'Brien, born at Dromoland Castle, County Clare in 1822. He was thus the grandson of a baronet, and through him a direct descendant of a dynasty of Irish kings. Moreover he was first cousin to the thirteenth Lord Inchiquin who succeeded to that title in 1855.

We have here, Elizabeth facing life as a servant, and marrying one, and her sisters not! Why? She was the eldest and generally in a family of the times, that confers even more rank, but her destiny was servitude.

It is another reason to question whether or not Elizabeth was the natural born daughter of John and Mary even though every indication is that she probably was. Unless, perhaps, she was Mary's illegitimate daughter to said nobleman, as the family story recounts, and the money which helped the family in general and got them to Australia, had come, over the years, from Elizabeth's natural father.

In the way of the times, this money would not necessarily have gone to Elizabeth herself, but to her half-brothers, and given the closeness of her relationship with George, and perhaps his guilt, it would or could explain why she was looked after in his Will.

Illegitimacy, even with a noble father, still conferred lower rank and the fact that she married Peter Lewis, a servant, offers some insight into her position. It may not have been a ranking in the past, or it may well have bee, but when she got to Australia, it was.

There has also been a suggestion that Elizabeth was not literate, when clearly, her siblings were. Was it why she 'married down?'

As Kylie wrote previously:

I have never considered our Mashfords as poor, in fact I suspect that they were reasonably well off whilst John was alive.  He was a tailor and all of his sons ended up with trades, and all the children appear literate.  Naturally the death of the male in the family at an early age would have significantly reduced their ability to maintain their lifestyle.  We don’t know their condition before John’s death.  We do know that Mary had no servants in 1841, however she had a 20 year old daughter,  a 12 year old and 7 year old.  Josiah’s female servant was only 15.  His daughter was 10, his son was 15 and he may have been a student. 

Whilst I consider them reasonably well off I do not think that they were of a class that would have employed a servant to prevent a daughter having to get her hands dirty, they were upper working class, bordering on lower middle class.  So the fact that Josiah employed a female servant may have been necessity, not an indication of wealth.  Mary and Elizabeth running a public house would have been equivalent to Josiah’s wife and the female servant.

This is an idea of the makeup of Coldrige.  There are three public houses and all except Mary’s were a secondary occupation.    George Mashford lived in an another section of the parish and may not have been training with Josiah who already had two apprentices. 

From the 8 pages of the 1841 census of people in the section of Coldridge Parish that includes both Mary and Josiah Mashford.

Josiah Mashford publican and shoemaker – he had wife and two children plus a female servant and two apprentices.
Samuel Cann born 1797 – Shoemaker – he is a Cordwainer in 1851 who employs 7 men or women I am not sure.
Mary Mashford Publican

Another  3 shoemakers in separate houses
11  farmers
Minister of the Parish
5 carpenters
1 surgeon
10 weavers  in different houses
Blacksmith and Publican
1 independent person

Plus 10 male servants, 12 female servants, 11 apprentices and 39 ag labs and families.

I can’t tell if there was a weaver’s workshop there or if they were independent weavers.  There is no manager or anything listed in the village so I would guess they did piece work at home or they walked to another section of the parish I haven’t looked at.

From a random page on the internet I found this piece on public houses.  I did notice that there is no description of an inn or anything on any of these houses.  There is other places that are described as an Inn but not these so I suspect that they were not what we would consider a pub.

The publican in the past  In olden times the public house was literally that, a house that the public used. Most of our ancestors were poor, so the public house was used by the local community to gather and save lighting and heating their own homes.  Everything happened in the public house. The post was distributed from there, friendly societies set up, autopsy could be performed, courts held there by travelling judges and even hangings. The community could also show it’s allegiances by the signs they displayed outside their public houses.  Most public houses had a blacksmith attached and stables.

And Luke wrote:

That seems right to me about the birth date for Josiah Mashford. I have also never found any other children for John Mashford and Mary Labbett. I think Josiah Mashford married a Jane Shobrooke on the 1/10/1822. There seems to be a vast disarity in terms of wealth between John Mashford and his wife Mary Mashford nee Cann and his, may be, brother Josiah Mashford. In the 1841 census he seem to have other people living with him.

The 1841 census does not state the relationship to the head of the household as does the 1851 census does so it is hard to know who the other people were, but they might be servents because in the 1851 census Josiah Mashford does have servents living with him including a William Harris. I wonder if this Harriswas the same person who George Mashford lived with in the 1841 Census?

Josiah Mashford  son Joseph Mashford was the local schoolmaster in Coldridge as stated in the 1851 census. Furthermore in the 1851 census sample Josiah Mashford is listed as a farmer of 30 acres. This indicates to me wealth which does not seems to fit with our John Mashford and Mary Cann who's lifes comes across to me as somewhat poor or at least middle class. So this begs the question were John Mashford and Josiah Mashford brothers or unrelated people with the same last name.

However there is one thing to remember and that is when Elizabeth Mashford, Lewis, Atkins died her daughter Mary Ross asked the english papers to copy the obituary. This shows to me that Mary Ross knew her mother had family back in England so who were those family members. Did Elizabeth sometimes write to family members in England and Mary Ross knew about them?

The family members may belong to the Cann side and not the Masford side. Yes you are right, Mary Mashford nee Cann's brothers Richard and Stephen Cann are listed in the Bellings Directory 1857 Devon Heritage Website as Farmers, Maltsters and Brewer. So there may be a connection between the Mashford family as publicans and the Cann family.

This could be a birth for Josiah.  I have never found any other children for John Mashford and Mary Labbett.

In the 1841 census George Mashford is staying with a Publican (and Farrier I think) by the name of Harris.  He is just listed as an apprentice.  So he was most likely not living with Josiah but whether he was apprenticed to him is another matter.  Publican could be different from what we think of as a person running a Pub.  At this time it could just mean a house that was open to the public and they would serve beer and keep the fire going so that you didn’t have to heat and light your own house. 

The brew was still often brewed on the premises, so was relatively cheap.  Also there were some Mashfords or Cann that were brewers or some such related occupation so they may have got the brew from them.  I wonder if Harris was married to a daughter?  

I am just looking at the relationship between our John Mashford’s family and Josiah Mashford family. Now I think we may have, in the past, talked about a possible connection, but I cannot remember what the connection may have been.

 Anyway I have been looking at Josiah Mashford and yes  a Cordwainer is a shoe maker and was not George May Mashford a shoe maker which is from his death certificate. Also in the 1841 English census Josiah Mashford has his occupation as (I think it reads) Publican and shoemaker. Was not Mary Mashford nee Cann listed as a publican also in the 1841 census? Could Mary Mashford nee Cann be working for him after her husband John Mashford died?

Also I have confused myself I have a record on my Family tree maker that another possible brother of John Mashford is Robert Mashford, but I no longer know where I got this information from. The date for his birth is 1788, but if Robert Mashford was a son of John Mashford and Mary Labbett then he was born before the possible marriage of John Mashford and Mary Labbett which was in 1796.

As for Josiah Mashford (Maxwell) yes it is a close one but still a possibility. It could be if he was a drunk which there is a TROVE story about and his family had left him and he changed his name to Maxwell he just may have tried to covered his whole identity god knows he would have reasons to do so with his record. He may have told people he was from the Isle of Man. However, on the other hand it may be the wrong Josiah Mashford, but I have always found it strange there is no record for his death under the name of Mashford, but then again there is no death record for Edward Atkins either. So it does not really help much at this stage.
  The class system was very strong in England and that social aspect was just transferred to South Australia in the early 1800s. Even if Elizabeth Mashford, Lewis, Atkins was a servant that would just mean that men had trades and not allways women as there was not the same scope for women as there was foe men. However, if we look at the story again of Elizabeth and J.B Montefiore there is a clue about the class system. J.B Montefiore was upper class and he would not have hired Elizabeth Mashford if he thought she was a, well let’s say, a foul mouth dirty lower class servant. Elizabeth Mashford must have had some education and class even to be considered to be hired. The fact that she decided not to full fill her contact is not the point. The point is J.B Montefiore would not have consider her if she was from the lower class.
  MaryAnn and Jane Mashford travelled a few time to Melbourne. As far as I know people had to pay their own way interstate therefore they would have had money.
 John Cann Mashford worked from a shop as a tailor. There is no evidence that he owned the shop, but he may have rented it. Therefore money. Also do you both remember this ad below:- 

 George May Mashford had his executor as George Aldridge. If you look him up on TROVE he was a man or class and property. I do not think that George May Mashford would have named him as executor if he did not know him. Therefore the classes stayed together. And also George May Mashford in his will had his own house so he must have had some money.
Jane Mashford married George O’Brien. I know he was a painter, but he was also from an aristocratic background so he may have been a man of some standing and I do not think he would have married lower to his class.

So yes I now think the Mashford family were reasonable well off for their time. Why John Mashford’s brother, and I are pretty sure they were brother, ended up with 30 acres I do not know. John Mashford was the oldest. My date of birth for him is 1797 and the date for Josiah is 1798.

Maybe their father, John Mashford was a man of wealth and had land. When he died the land was divided between the two sons. Josiah Mashford listed himself as a shoe maker and publican in the 1841 census, but by 1851 he had 30 acres why? Did John Mashford sell his land and shortly after he died and left everything to his wife Mary Mashford nee Cann. Did the Mashford family bring the money out with them to SA? Just a thought.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A peek into colonial life in South Australia in the 1840's.

Photo: Colonial Adelaide in 1839, just three years after the colony was established.

This report was written by Lavington Glyde, a friend of George May Mashford. George was dead within three years of arriving in the colony and Glyde went on to become a notable politician and grazier in the South Australian colony.

Glyde differentiates between classes and it is very clear he was not a member of what he calls the working classes and that suggests, neither was George May Mashford and if he was not, then it was unlikely his family in general belonged to that class.

Glyde has written this at the end of 1847 and is said to have moved to the colony in 1850, so this may well have been a visit. In March of the same year, 1847,  the Mashfords had arrived on the Princess Royal and just three years later George would be dead and Lavington Glyde would be mentioned as living in the house George left in his will to his family.

NB: Some biographies have Glyde arriving in 1847 and some in 1850.

Three years is not long to make the sort of money required to leave a substantial estate and this begs the question of whether the Mashfords in general and George in particular, came with more money than first thought.

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ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA. To the Editor of the Bradford Observer. Sir, — I have left many friends and acquaintances behind me in Bradford, and it has occurred to me that it might interest and amuse them and your readers generally, if I were to send you some account of the condition and prospects of this colony.

I have now been here nearly five months, so that I have had time to look about me a little, and as I know that there exists in Bradford a desire for information with regard to the various fields for emigration, perhaps my " First Impressions of South Australia" may be of some value to intending emigrants, and of some interest to all.

First, then, a word or two about the voyage :— The fare in the cabin of a respectable merchant vessel is generally about seventy pounds, which includes fresh meat, bread and milk every day, and wine, spirits, and ale ad lib. In the " inter- mediate " the fare is from thirty pounds to forty pounds, including a bottle of wine weekly, and in the " steerage " the fare is 20/. Provisions, of course, are included in each of these, but from what I saw on my own passage out, I cannot recommend any one to come in the " intermediate."

The difference made between them and the steerage passengers was very slight, and certainly not worth £15 or £20. If a man cannot afford to come in the cabin, let him go in the steerage, and spend £5 in little comforts, such as preserved meats, &c. and at the end of the voyage he will be £10 in pocket, and not thought any the worse of for being economical. "To persons of good character among the working classes, the emigration commissioners in London are empowered to grant free passages, in the best ships they can procure, and to provide and put on boaard them abundant and excellent provision, with every necessary for the voyage, including medicines, and the personal superintendence of an experienced surgeon."

There is no washing allowed on board of any vessel, so that every one must bring a sufficient stock of linen to last through the voyage, which generally takes about 100 days from Gravesend to Adelaide. " South Australia is a British colony " (I quote from the South Australian Almanac) "situated on the southern coast of the continent of Australia, and contains about two hundred millions of acres.

It was established by Governor Hindmarsh, who landed and proclaimed it a British province in December, 1836. It has always been a free colony, and the Acts of Parliament by which it was constituted, have specially declared that no convicts shall ever be transported to it." About 400,000 acres have been purchased from the Crown, which are inhabited by a population of about 30,000 whites. It is estimated that there are at present in the colony about 1,000,000 sheep, 50,000 head of cattle, and 5,000 horses.

The running streams and springs are found to be much more numerous than the early settlers had any idea of. Nothing that can be called a drought has occurred during the existence of the colony, and there is said to be generally an increased degree of moisture, attributable in part to the clearing, breaking up, and tillage of the soil. The climate of the settled parts of the country is highly salubrious, and the air is generally light and clear.

The soil of the colony is fruitful beyond the most sanguine anticipations of its first settlers, and in a few years it will be one of the most prolific wine countries on the face of the globe." I have myself seen apples and pears, peaches and plums, and nearly all our English fruits growing side by side with oranges and lemons, pine-apples and pomegranates, loquats and melons, and other tropical fruits, and during the season all these are to be procured at a very cheap rate.

In fact, all eatables are cheap enough here. Good beef and mutton can be bought for 2d. per lb., and just at present for even less, and the 21b. loaf of the finest wheaten bread is never more than 3d. Good tea may be had at 18d. per lb., and brown sugar is worth about 3d. With such prices as these, you may imagine, sir, that every one has plenty to eat and drink, and hunger is unknown. I wish some thousands of the half-starved operatives in and around Bradford could be prevailed on to come out to this land of plenty.

There is abundance of room for us all, and they need not fear but they will obtain immediate employment at much better wages than they can ever earn by combing, &c. The city of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, stands about five miles from the sea, and seven miles from Port Adelaide, and is situated on the river Torrens, which divides North Adelaide from South Adelaide, which is the principal business part of the town. Its population is nearly 10,000, and a wonderful place it really is, considering that it is not yet eleven years old.

It has a government house and offices, a council chamber, a handsome and bustling exchange, a hospital, a post- office, a court-house, a theatre, a fine large gaol, (though happily very little used,) two- banks, half a dozen churches and chapels, and plenty of shops as good as any in Bradford. We have a Bible society, a mechanics' institute, a savings bank, fire and life insurance offices, and one or two temperance societies, not to mention the Oddfellows and Freemasons, both of which are in a flourishing condition.

We have two weekly newspapers, and two which appear twice a-week, and all of these are well supported, and are conducted in a very respect- able manner. The plan is laid down for the town to cover a square mile, and government has reserved some thousands of acres round the town, to form a park for the free use of the inhabitants. The streets and roads throughout the whole colony are 22 yards wide, and in a few years Adelaide will be really a hand- some town.

It is strange to a new comer to see the natives lounging about with very scanty drapery, and expressing in many uncouth ways their approbation of the fine things they see displayed in the shop windows. There are a good many of them about Adelaide, but they are perfectly harmless, and are frequently employed as " hewers of wood and drawers of water."

I find I am spinning out this rambling letter to a much greater length than 1 had intended, but I hope you will not grudge me half a column in which to try and point out the advantages of emigration to some of the good folks at home.

First, then, a word or two to the middle-aged gentleman, with five or six thousand pounds, but who is blessed with a " very fruitful vine, and plenty of little olive branches." You are working hard in your business, but cannot make it yield more than 10 or 12 per cent., and this is all swallowed up by sundry little bills, such as, "

To half year's board and education for Miss Jemima ;" or, "To one Tunic suit, complete, for Master George," and so on, not to mention the odious income tax, and other little annoyances of the same nature. Now if you will come out to South Australia, you can put out your money at interest, on first-rate mortgage securities at 15 or 20 per cent, per annum, and live an easy and independent life in the finest climate in the world, all but tax-free.

Or, if you choose to be a " lord of the soil," £5000 judiciously in- vested in houses and lands, will certainly yield you a thousand a year at present, with every probability of your property being worth two or three times as much in the course of a few years.

The society here is good, and untainted by the penal system, and there is no lack of good schools for the education of your children. As they grow up, if yon can give your sons a hundred pounds each, and a hundred acres to work upon, they are well provided for, and with common industry must get on, while your daughters are sure to get off, for the matrimonial market is not yet overstocked in South Australia. 2. To the young man, just beginning the world with a few hundreds. I will give you a few facts and figures, and you may judge for yourself. If you come out here, and choose to begin sheep-farming, which here requires no previous experience, you can now purchase good healthy ewes at ss. each. These ewes will give you at the end of the year nearly three pounds of wool each, at say a shilling a pound, and will very nearly double themselves every year. If you turn your attention to agriculture,—for £160 you can purchase 160 acres, which will yield you at least 3600 bushels of wheat at 4s. 6d. per bushel.

Or, if you prefer remaining in (he town, there are many ways of turning your time and capital to much greater advantage here than you are likely to meet with in England. Now, just compare this with the toil and anxiety of pushing your way in England, where every trade and profession is overstocked ; but if you do decide on coming out, as I suppose you will, I should recommend you to ponder well the last clause of the preceding paragraph, and act accordingly. Verbum sat. And now to the working classes, I can still more strongly recommend immediate emigration to South Australia. I know that hundreds of you in Bradford are obliged to stick to your combs twelve hours a day to make 12s. a week, and with no brighter prospect on this side the grave.

I know that provisions are so dear, that many of you can only taste meat once a week, and that you are compelled to send your children at a very early age to the mills, that they may make some little addition to your little incomes. In short, in Bradford labour is plentiful, and consequently cheap. In South Australia, on the contrary, labour is very scarce indeed, and consequently commands a good price But as my single testimony would perhaps not have much weight with you, I will make two or three extracts from "A Voice from South Australia," being an address to the starving or suffering millions of Great Britain and Ireland," issued in July last and signed by nearly two hundred of our most respectable colonists [As the greater part of this address appeared in our paper a few weeks ago, we need not now repeat it.]

Our correspondent concludes as follows. I have neither time nor space to add anything to this eloquent appeal  - eloquent because I am sure it must come home to the hearts and pockets of many of you. But perhaps in a few weeks I may find an opportunity of scribbling a little more about South Australia. I am, sir, yours respectfully, _ . LAVINGTON GLYDE. December 15th, 1847,




Snippets, tidbits and trivial bits of information....

Lavington Glyde, a noted South Australian colonist and friend to George May Mashford. 

There have been a few bits and pieces of information dribbling in, but, as with a jigsaw puzzle, every little bit serves to build the picture.

One newspaper notice connects John Mashford, Elizabeth's brother, with a James Rattenbury, Clerk of Works, which suggests, given the social structure of the times, that John was reasonably well educated and far from the bottom rungs of society as we previously thought. This has also become clear with his brother George May Mashford's connection to Lavington Glyde, who is mentioned as renting his house in Kensington, and who later went on to become notable in South Australian Government and society.

Such links are useful guides to just where the Mashfords stood on the social ladder although Elizabeth may well have married 'beneath herself' with both Peter Lewis and Edward Atkins. We had thought for a time that the Mashfords were poor and probably illiterate but evidence to date indicates the opposite.

The following public notice has appeared:

SHOULD this meet the eye of a gentleman who sailed from England on or about September, 1846, nd who was entrusted with a parcel of letters, &c, directed to Mr Rattenbury, of Melbourne, Port Phillip,  and which, at present, have not been received, the un dersigned will feel particularly grateful to the party in whose possession they are supposed to be, if he will leave it with Mr J. Mashford, Tailor, Hanson-street, Adelaide, or forward the same to Melbourne, directed Mr JAS. RATTENBURY. Collingwood, Melbourne, Port Phillip.
 James Rattenbury, Clerk of Works, Port Phillip, from 1839.The role of clerk of works would place someone in the lower rungs of the Middle Class I would assume.

The clerk of works (or clerk of the works), often abbreviated CoW, is employed by an architect or a client on a construction site. The role is primarily to represent the interests of the client in regard to ensuring that the quality of both materials and workmanship are in accordance with the design information such as specification and engineering drawings, in addition to recognized quality standards. The role is defined in standard forms of contract such as those published by the Joint Contracts Tribunal. "Clerks of works" are also the most highly qualified non-commissioned tradesmen in the Royal Engineers. The qualification can be held in three specialisations: electrical, mechanical and construction.

And George having Lavington Glyde as a tenant, also indicates connections with at least the middle rungs of society if not more. The early South Australian colony would have had more flexibility and Glyde did rise to much higher ranks perhaps than he had attained when he knew George, but, here again, the Mashfords are linked to middle rungs of society and that is an indication both of wealth and of education, not to mention social acceptance.

Lavington Glyde was also from Devon and given social connections of the time, there is a good chance he knew George in England.
Lavington Glyde (1823-1890), accountant and parliamentarian, was born at Exeter, England, son of Jonathan Lavington Glyde. One of his brothers became a Dissenting minister at Bradford and another a partner of Sir Titus Salt at Saltaire. Educated at Exeter and Denmark Hill School, London, Glyde studied accountancy and the wool trade in Yorkshire and in the Agincourt arrived at Port Adelaide in July 1850.

He brought a fair sum in cash and a sixty-day draft on the Bank of South Australia, mostly on behalf of relations in Yorkshire. Within a week he lent all his cash at high interest, he tried to borrow on the draft but the manager, Edward Stephens, refused so bluntly that Glyde waited till it matured and promptly transferred his account to the Bank of Australasia. To his agencies and money-lending he soon added wool-buying and an export-import business on his own account. Later he included wheat and wine to his speculations and even invested in copper-mines once he modified his extreme caution.
A Congregationalist, Glyde attended Clayton Church and became active in public affairs. In the 1850s as 'A Looker-on' he wrote for the press a series of articles delicately satirical in vein. He supported John Howard Clark in founding the South Australian Institute and served for many years on its governing board. He became a director of insurance companies and chairman of many building societies. Well read and intelligent he never courted public favour but retained his independence.

A stalwart Liberal with a strong conservative cast he represented East Torrens in the House of Assembly in 1857-60, Yatala in 1860-75 and Victoria in 1877-84. From the outset he was notable for his grasp of constitutional procedures and specially for his competence in financial issues. In 1858 he served on the select committee on taxation and in a 'protest report' advocated the total abolition of distillation laws. In evidence to a select committee on the Real Property Act in 1861 he complained that the commissioner's powers were too great particularly on mortgaged land. In 1863 he represented South Australia at the intercolonial conference in Melbourne on uniform tariffs and then became treasurer in Francis Dutton's eleven-day ministry in July. He was then appointed commissioner of crown lands and immigration under (Sir) Henry Ayers until July 1864. He held the latter portfolio under John Hart for a week in 1865 and under Ayers from May 1867 to September 1868 and again from October to November. He constantly opposed any interference with wool-growers either by the Pastoralists' Association which, he claimed, 'wanted to turn the colony into one vast sheep run', or by government regulations, although in 1867 as commissioner he had to arrange relief for drought-stricken graziers.
Glyde's greatest work was as treasurer under Arthur Blyth in 1873-75 and John Bray in 1881-84. Always a severe critic of government expenditure he closely watched the raising of South Australian loans in London. He fearlessly fought the National Bank in London and forced it to repay with interest a five-year accumulation of unwarranted surcharges for floating loans. The total sum was not large but assured British investors of the colony's budgetary care.

In Adelaide he was denounced as pessimist and alarmist and lost his seat in the assembly. For years he fought the muddle and extravagance of departments raising and spending their independent revenues and by 1884 succeeded in consolidating the colony's funds under parliamentary control even though the change gave the colony the first land and income taxes in Australia.
Glyde's wife Mary Ellen, née Hardcastle, died on 16 December 1869. On 20 July 1870 at Clayton Church he married her widowed sister Alice Phoebe Kepert. Although marriage with a deceased wife's sister was legalized next year in South Australia, Governor Sir James Fergusson called it 'indecent' and refused to invite the Glydes to a ball at Government House.

However, Glyde was gazetted an Honorable in 1875. After resigning from the assembly in March 1884 he visited England with his family. His object was to promote the Talisker mine at Cape Jervis but it suffered heavy losses after he returned to Adelaide. He was accountant to the Insolvency Court in 1885 until he died aged 67 at his home in Kensington, Adelaide, on 31 July 1890. He was survived by his second wife and several children mostly under 21. His estate was valued for probate at £1326.

Glyde seems something of an independent thinker and perhaps this played a part in his relationship with George Mashford, given the fact that he seems to be much higher on the social ladder.

The Clare Valley.

In the meantime, fellow researcher Luke Atkins Harris has been continuing his research:


I wrote to the Care Historical Society asking about the possibility of baptism records for Mary and Elizabeth Atkins. They had one for James Atkins baptised at Bungaree Station which we know about. They had no records for Mary and Elizabeth Atkins, but they said to try the Port Augusta Library as they kept old records there. 

I emailed the Port Augusta Library and asked them some questions about the Atkins family. They emailed me back and said the only record they had was for James Atkins. They have the original 1800s Birth, Death and Marriage Registry Books. 

I have seen original 1800s Registry Books before. The Goolwa Library has a family history reading room where the original 1800s Registry books are kept for the whole area. When I went up north I went to the Riverton Historical Society and I saw their original 1800s Registry Books for the area. 

On James Atkins’ birth certificate the place of abode was Charlton which we know about. However, on the original 1800s Registry Book, now held by the Port Augusta Library, the place of abode was Pekina which was then crossed out and then Charlton was written instead as the place of abode. 

Pekina is a small S.A town after Jamestown and between Peterborough and Mount Remarkable National Park. 

When I went to the SA Genealogy Society the other day I asked them why Pekina was written first and then crossed out.  

They said there was a process that people went through to report a birth etc. Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Mashford had to travel to Melrose to report James Atkins’ birth, as that was where the local Registrar was located. When the Registrar asked where the place of abode was for Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Mashford somebody said Pekina and Pekina was written down first. Then an exchange of views happened, or a disagreement happened, between Edward Atkins, Elizabeth Mashford and the Registrar of exactly what the place of abode was. An agreement was reached and Pekina was crossed out and Charlton was written instead. 

The Registrar at Melrose then had to write out a copy of the details of James Atkins’ birth and post the details to the main office in Adelaide. Except, the Registrar left out Pekina as the place of abode because all the parties agreed that Charlton was the place of abode. This is why Charlton now appears on James Atkins’ Birth Certificate as the abode for his parents. 

The people at the SA Genealogy Society said that sometime peoples details are different on the original 1800s Registry Books and what was posted to Adelaide. 

They said more than likely what happened was, at the time of James Atkins birth, Edward Atkins was working and living at Pekina and thus he considered Pekina was his abode and thus he told the Registrar this. Then Elizabeth Mashford may have said “No Charlton is our place of Abode.” 

In terms of family history, the people at the SA Genealogy Society said more than likely Edward Atkins was, at times, a travelling or seasonal worker based at Charlton, but he moved around all the time and went to different locations where the work was. He thus worked and lived at Pekina for a short while when James Atkins was born, but he was based at Charlton. 

On James Atkins’ Birth Certificate, Edward Atkins listed himself as a shepherd. It would make sense that when James Atkins was born, Edward Atkins may have been working away from home and thus living and working at Pekina.

Bundaleer Station where Edward Atkins worked.
Edward Atkins owned no land himself, however he was going to buy some land at Melrose. The way the official explained things to me was at some stage Edward Atkins entered into a contract to buy some land, but then somethng happened and he decided not to go through with the contract. Somebody else wanted the land so the owner and the new buyers had to get Edward Atkins to state he was no longer intrested in the land. The legal document is mostly about a new agrement with the owner and the new buyers, but Edward Atkins had to make a short statement. What is intresting is that he stated:- "I Edward Atkins a labourer of Mount Remarkabale" etc etc. and it is dated 18/12/1856.  
The last place of abode we had for Edward Atkins was Bundaleer with the birth of Emily Atkins in 1854. Thus at some stage he left Bundaleer and moved to Mount Remarkabale. I was thinking that may be Dec 1856 is a date when Hannah McLeod died. It could be the case that she died all of a sudden and with no wife to look after 5 daughters Edward Atkins had to pull out of the contract at the last moment and he moved to Rocky River where he met Elizabeth Mashford.
As for George May Mashford land at Marryatville he brought it for 20 pounds in 1849. However, the land today is at the foothills in Burnside. The area called Marryatville back in the 1800s was a lot bigger than it is today.
I had a look at some original birth certificates . Most of it we know. I had a look at Edward Atkins occuption at the time of birth of Elizabeth and Mary Atkins and it was Blacksmith. I also had a look at the birth certificate of Mary Atkins' first son Edward Welsh (Atkins) and the occupation of the father Edward Welsh was "Miller."

We also had some additional information come in from a Devon family researcher to which Luke responded:

I was totally fascinated reading the account of Captain Louis Von Zuilecom and his account of the Princess Royal. 
Yes I think you just might be right about the Mashfords and their social status and education in society. I know we have discussed it before, but when you really think about things there are a really a lot of clues to go by:-
·        If Josiah Mashford, the brother of John Mashford, was a Parish Clerk and a land owner then that is a sign of social standing and education.
·        Jane Mashford married George O’Brien who was from an aristocratic background. He was the son of Admiral Robert O’Brien a direct descendant of Murrough O’Brien the 57th King of Thomond who was a medieval Irish King. Would he have he married below his status?
·        Elizabeth Mashford brother, Josiah Mashford, was secretary to the band of the Adelaide band of musicians and hence had to be educated to be a secretary.
·        George May Mashford executor was George Aldridge and if you look him up on TROVE he had a number of business interest and his name always appears in the newspapers. I doubt George Aldridge would agree to be George May Mashford executor unless George has some social standing.
·        The Montefiore family wanted to hire Elizabeth Mashford and hence she must have had some social breeding for them to be interested in her. Why she decided to marry Peter Lewis and Edward Atkins is anyone’s guess. Sometimes education and social standing has no direct relation to wisdom.

And yes if Lavington Glyde was a wealthy man and he associated with George May Mashford then that is another sign of the social standing of the Mashford family. They were not obviously working class as we would understand working class people in the 1800s.

John Mashford, Tailor. 
I was just thinking about Elizabeth Mashford and the family oral history which was passed down to both our branches of the family that she was illegitimate daughter to a wealthy noble man in England. Maybe the family oral history is slightly wrong or it has become twisted over time.

For instance I was told that my GGGrandmother Margaret Cassidy moved to New Zealand with her husband. I search and search records, but their were no records. However, I did find out that her daughter also called Margaret Cassidy did move to New Zealand so the event was right, the name was right, but it was the daughter and not the mother who moved to New Zealand.

So what I am saying is that there could be some truth to the story of Elizabeth Mashford except I do not believe she was illegitimate, but maybe she had an illegitimate child in Adelaide after Peter Lewis left her. After all as far as she was concern she was a free woman.

If George May Mashford mixed with some wealthy men maybe Elizabeth Mashford had an affair with
George Aldridge or Lavington Glyde or even a member of the Montefiore family? Maybe and I know there is no way to prove it, but may be things just got a bit hot in small conservative Adelaide and Elizabeth gave up the child and hence was the reason why she left and moved to Gladstone??? I know it is wild theory and it will remain a theory and I have no way of knowing how to prove it, but there has to be something to the story.
I always thought that Elizabeth Mashford left Edward Atkins because there was something wrong with dear old Edward E.g. drink problem etc., and Elizabeth Mashford was the victim, but may be Edward Atkins found out something about Elizabeth Mashford and ordered her out of the house and it was Edward who was the victim??? Maybe Peter Lewis was a victim because he found out something about his wife and hence he left???Who really knows???There is no doubt that ancestry research frequently reveals a story is right and details are wrong, so, the family story that Elizabeth Mashford was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, could be a reworking of Elizabeth giving birth to an illegitimate child of someone of higher rank in Adelaide, who then paid for her to leave town instead of, as the story goes, paying for her to leave England.

It is certainly possible.