Untold lives blog

25 posts categorized "Australasia"

30 March 2022

The travel writer Mary Ann Parker

Mary Ann Parker's A voyage round the world in the Gorgon man of war (1795) was the first travel memoir, by a European woman, of her voyage and visit to New South Wales.  Beyond this memoir, and grant applications made to the Literary Fund, Mary Ann Parker's origins, family, and later biography remained obscure.  Here, I historically identify Mary Ann Parker's father as the Georgian medical practitioner, John Burrows.

Black and white view of Sydney with boats in the bay and buildings along the shore.Fernando Brambila, View of Sydney (1793) British Library Online Gallery Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Burrows was a London apothecary’s son who identified himself at different times as a ‘surgeon’, a ‘doctor of physick’, and an MD.  A medical adviser who was sometimes favoured by wealthy patients and patrons; who travelled and worked as a doctor in other European countries; who translated, wrote, and published medical books; who obtained a patent in 1772 for Velnos vegetable syrup, from the sales of which another man later succeeded in making a fortune; and who was described as a ‘druggist’ when he was declared bankrupt in August 1783, a few months after his daughter Mary Ann Burrows married a Royal Navy officer, John Parker, in London.

Title page of A voyage round the world by Mary Ann ParkerMary Ann Parker,  A voyage round the world in the Gorgon man of war (1795) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Mary Ann Parker completed the fifteen month return voyage to New South Wales with her husband, Captain John Parker, of HMS Gorgon, in 1791-2.  She had previously travelled with her parents, in Europe, in 1775-82.  Living in Spain and Italy, and travelling home through France.

In September 1782, Amelia Barry, who was stranded in Pisa, entrusted ‘Dr Burrows’ to carry a letter to Benjamin Franklin in Paris. Observing that

Docr. Burrows, the Gentleman who will have the honour to present you this letter, is one of the few friends to whom I am under infinite obligations.   During his residence in Tuscany, I have found united in his Person, the character of a skilful Phisician, and a most sincere Friend: To my lasting regret, he is going with his family, to England.

By the time Amelia Barry next wrote to Franklin in February, ‘Miss Burrows’ was married to John Parker, at a wedding on Monday 29 January 1783, in her home parish of St James Piccadilly in London.

John Parker obtained promotion to Lieutenant from February 1783.  It was Lieutenant John Parker who purchased insurance for the Burrows' new London home on James Street, Golden Square, and was probably the leaseholder.  Within a few months of being declared bankrupt, Burrows obtained his certificate, and recommenced trading. He was listed in London directories up to the mid 1790s.

A quack doctor stands outside his house surrounded by a pyramid of bottles inscribed 'Velnos Syrup', one of which he holds up, demonstrating its virtues with a complacent smile to a band of rival practitioners who are furiously threatening his barricade.Thomas Rowlandson, Mercury and his advocates defeated, or vegetable intrenchment (1789). The pyramid of bottles is inscribed 'Velnos Syrup'. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Captain John Parker, by then of HMS Woolwich, died of yellow fever in Martinique in 1794.  His widow did not marry again. In 1818, the Parkers' eldest daughter, Margaret, married Robert Vincent, a solicitor.  In 1841, the census enumerator found ‘Mary Parker’, aged ‘70’, at home on Harpur Street, Holborn in London with her two granddaughters, aged 15 and 20.  All three were described as independent, not as employed or in school.

By 30 August 1848, the Vincent family had moved to Connaught Terrace, where Mary Ann Parker died, aged 82.  Mary Ann Parker’s death notice appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine, edited by John Bowyer Nichols, whose father, John Nichols, had printed and appreciatively reviewed A voyage round the world in the Gorgon man of war (1795).

Dr Charlotte MacKenzie
Independent Researcher
@HistoryCornwall

Further reading:
Marie E. McAllister ‘John Burrows and the vegetable wars’, Linda Evi Merians (ed) The secret malady: venereal diseases in eighteenth century Britain and France (1996), pp. 85-102.
Charlotte MacKenzie, The travel writer Mary Ann Parker (2022).

18 March 2022

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 3

Discussions about sending girls to New South Wales from the Madras Female Orphan Asylum took place throughout 1841 and 1842.  The Asylum drew up a list of girls willing to emigrate, with details of their ‘Character, Disposition, and Proficiency’.
• Caroline Davey – 13 years 11 months.  Generally quiet and obliging, not far advanced in learning.
• Mary Ann Cardwell – 13 years 7 months, and Caroline Smith – 14 years 11 months.  Both generally quick, but indifferent workers.
• Mary Watts – 15 years 2 months, and Ellen Tooner – 13 years 4 months.  Both generally quiet but not very good-tempered.

On 3 January 1843 the ship Duchess of Kent arrived in Sydney with these five girls travelling in steerage.  There were a number of convicts on board but no objection was raised because a ‘steady and respectable matron’ had been employed to look after the girls in case they might be ‘corrupted’.  Mrs Wooller accompanied the girls for a fee of £35, half paid in advance and half paid on arrival in Australia once the ship’s captain had confirmed that she had discharged her duties properly.  She had recently accompanied the family of Major Cortlandt Taylor from New South Wales to Madras and now wished to return home to Hobart Town.

Female Orphan School at ParramattaView of the Female Orphan School, near Parramatta, New South Wales by Joseph Lycett (1825) – image courtesy of State Library Victoria 

The girls were taken initially to the Female Orphan School near Parramatta, and the New South Wales authorities said a report on their ‘disposal’ would be sent after six months.  A letter from Sydney to Madras dated 26 April 1844 explained that the enclosed report from the school matron had been delayed because of a reluctance to give an unfavourable one.  It was said that the girls had been ‘kept in India too long, having apparently acquired confirmed habits of indolence’.  In future, no girls should be sent from Madras above the age of ten or eleven.  The girls’ wages when placed as domestic servants were £5 per annum, increasing by £1 each year to a maximum of £10.

• Caroline Davey – Placed on 7 August 1843 with Mrs Hallen at Prospect as a children’s maid.  Conduct good but sent back to school on 23 August because she had ringworm (not true).  Went in September to Mr Pearse, a farmer at Seven Hills.  Nothing heard of her since.
• Mary Ann Cardwell – Indolent at school, not troubling to learn anything.  Placed with Dr Bell of Windsor on 18 July 1843 as a children’s maid.  Nothing heard of her since.
• Caroline Smith – Sullen and idle.  Went to Mr Mills, schoolmaster at Parramatta, on 25 July 1843 as a children’s maid.  Conduct so bad that she was only kept there two months.  Then sent to Mr Buchanan, a clerk at North Shore, without wages.  Was returned again to the school with ‘a most disgraceful character’.
• Mary Watts – Very good conduct.  Went on 25 July 1843 to live with Dr Smith of 99th Regiment as children’s maid, but returned on 2 December after the baby died.  Went on 4 December to Mr Fletcher, shoemaker in George Street Sydney.
• Ellen Tooner – Still in the school, ‘the worst conducted Girl I ever met with’.  Would learn nothing even though great pains were taken with her.

Here the evidence from India about the girls’ lives  appears to end.  Australian archives might reveal what happened next to the children sent from Madras.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Library IOR/F/4/1855/78480 Papers regarding the administration of the Madras Military Female Orphan Asylum - impoverished state of the Orphanage funds - dilapidated state of the buildings - Madras Government grant an immediate subvention of 15,000 rupees from the interest on the Wooley Fund - question of the salaries of the chaplain and medical officer, etc (includes list of past and present girl pupils from 1829 to date, with particulars as to parentage, father's occupation, etc), 1838-1839.
British Library IOR/F/4/1855/78481 Proposal of John Sullivan that boy and girl pupils from the Madras Military Male and Female Orphan Asylums should be sent as apprentices to New South Wales - Madras Government forward the proposal to the New South Wales Government, 1838-1839.
British Library IOR/P/247/68 Madras Public Proceedings, pp.979-981 Consultation 1 March 1842, pp. 1041-1042 Consultation 8 March 1842.
British Library IOR/P/247/67 Madras Public Proceedings, pp.25-29, 563-565 Consultations January 1842.
British Library IOR/P/247/72 Madras Public Proceedings, p.4255 Consultation 9 August 1842.
British Library IOR/P/247/73 Madras Public Proceedings, pp. 4273-4274, 4534-4540 Consultations August 1842.
British Library IOR/P/248/13 Madras Public Proceedings, pp.1521-1524 Consultation 26 April 1844.

Trove newspapers e.g. Sydney Morning Herald 4 January 1843.
Findmypast for baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records.
FIBIS wiki.

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 1
Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 2

16 March 2022

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 2

On 22 February 1841 the first group of boys from the Madras Military Male Orphan Asylum arrived safely in New South Wales on board the Sesostris.  The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser wrote: ‘Seven youths, all of whom have been taught trades. have arrived from Madras, to the care of the Government of this Colony.  These youthful immigrants, all of whom are natives of Madras, are said to have been reared in one of the public Orphan Schools.  They promise to be excellent mechanics, and are very intelligent.  Those who have arrived are tailors, carpenters, and printers’.

View of Sydney from east side of coveNew South Wales - View of Sydney, from the east side of the cove by John Heaviside Clark (1810) BL flickr

The boys were kept at the Orphan School for two or three months so they could adjust to the climate before being apprenticed.  The New South Wales government promised that great care would be taken to find suitable masters for them, and the East India Company directors in London were keen for the Madras authorities to obtain reports from Australia on the boys.

A report on the Sesostris boys was sent in February 1844.
• James Marlow was apprenticed to Alexander Martin of the Cowpastures as a farmer.  He was generally well-behaved although somewhat sullen, and was becoming a useful worker.
• Christopher Connors, Samuel Hobart and John Harris were apprenticed as shoemakers to William Mackie, J. Fletcher and James Scott respectively.  All were diligent and well-behaved.
• William Bird was apprenticed as gardener to Henry Cox. a magistrate residing at Penrith.  Cox had no reason to be dissatisfied with William, who displayed ‘no symptom of vice in his disposition’.
• James Barry (named as John in the report) had been apprenticed to Captain G. B. Christmas as a miller who stated that the boy’s behaviour was very bad at first but now greatly improved.  His weak constitution and small size prevented him from being employed in the mill at present and he was on light work until he gained strength.
• James Mackin was apprenticed to Mr Urquhart as a coachbuilder.  His initial stubborn disposition had improved and he was making good progress.

In October 1842 the New South Wales government reported on the boys who had arrived in December 1841 in the British Sovereign (also called Royal Sovereign in the records).
• Matthew Thornhill and Edward Wallace had been apprenticed to the Government Printer in Sydney.  Both were doing well, especially Matthew who was already able to work as a compositor.  Edward was not so advanced so he was still attending the Protestant Parochial School of St James every morning.
• Matthew and James Bradshaw were apprenticed to Robert Dawson, a magistrate living four miles from Sydney.  Matthew was a gardener and James a house servant.  At first, Matthew had tried being a tailor but had not made much progress.  James had a skull fracture before arriving in Sydney and so a house job had seemed best for him.  Both boys were free from any vicious habits, but rather dull and indolent.  The Australians believed that their indolence could be attributed to early habits contracted in India.
• James Callaghan had poor sight so he had been kept in the Male Orphan School of New South Wales.  He was now considered fit for apprenticeship and would be placed once a suitable master was found.

Our next post will tell the story of the girl emigrants from the Madras Female Orphan Asylum.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records


Further reading:
British Library IOR/F/4/1855/78481 Proposal of John Sullivan that boy and girl pupils from the Madras Military Male and Female Orphan Asylums should be sent as apprentices to New South Wales - Madras Government forward the proposal to the New South Wales Government, 1838-1839.
British Library IOR/F/4/1916/82082 Seven boys of the Madras Military Male Orphan Asylum are at their own request sent to New South Wales to be apprenticed under the Government of that colony - the Madras Government provides them with a passage to Sydney, [1834]-1841.
British Library IOR/E/4/956 pp.798-802 Letter from London to Fort St George in the Public Department, 8 December 1841.
British Library IOR/E/4/958 pp.566-567 Letter from London to Fort St George in the Public Department , 21 September 1842.
British Library IOR/P/248/5 Madras Public Proceedings, pp.1911-1916 Consultation 13 June 1843.
Trove e.g. The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser 26 February 1841.
Findmypast for baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records.
FIBIS wiki.

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 1
Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 3

14 March 2022

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 1

In the late 1830s both the Madras Military Male Orphan Asylum and Madras Female Orphan Asylum were experiencing difficulty finding employment for children old enough to leave the institution.  The Madras Government approached the authorities in New South Wales outlining a scheme for sending children to be apprenticed there.  It was said that the Asylum pupils’ superior education and the care bestowed on their morals might make them a valuable acquisition to the colony, especially the girls.

South east view of Fort St George Madras - DaniellSouth east view of Fort St George, Madras by Thomas Daniell,  from Oriental Scenery. Twenty four views in Hindoostan,Tab.599.a.(2), plate VII  (1797) British Library Images Online Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The New South Wales authorities agreed on condition that the children would be at least twelve years of age and of ‘pure European descent’.  They were to be sent to Sydney free of charge and would be apprenticed in the same way as children from local orphan schools.  Apprenticeships lasted until 21 for males and until 21 or marriage for females.  Masters or mistresses had to provide sufficient and suitable food, clothing and bedding, and make payments into the Savings Bank of New South Wales which were handed to the apprentice, with accrued interest, at the end of their term.  When practicable, apprentices had to attend divine service at least once every Sunday.  Particular attention was to be given to the apprentice’s morals.  Justices were to investigate complaints about ill-treatment by masters, lack of provisions etc, as well as misdemeanours by apprentices.

The Madras Military Male Orphan Asylum compiled a list in August 1840 of seven boys willing to emigrate who met the criteria set by New South Wales.

• Samuel Hobart, aged 14 years 3 months, son of Matthew, Sergeant Major of Artillery and Ann.  He could read and was learning to write, cypher, and make shoes.
• James Marlow, aged 13 years 7 months, son of Edward, Private HM 45th Foot, and Catharine.  He was learning to read and write, and could make shoes.
• John Harris, aged 12 years and 7 months, son of Hugh, Sergeant HM 41st Foot, and Jane.  John could read, write and cypher well, and was employed at the Asylum Press as a printer.
• James McKin or MacKin, aged 13 years 7 months, son of Thomas, Private HM 48th Foot, and Mary.  He was able to read, write and cypher tolerably well.
• Christopher Connors, aged 12 years 6 months, son of Daniel, Private HM 54th Foot.
• William Bird, aged 12 years 5 months, son of William, Sergeant Major HM 54th Foot.
• James Barry, aged 12 years, son of Patrick, Gunner Veteran Battalion, and Anne.
Connors, Bird and Barry could all read, write and cypher well.

The terms of emigration and apprenticeship were explained carefully to these boys.  They arrived in Sydney in the Sesostris in February 1841.

Five more lads from the Asylum ‘anxious to emigrate’ took their passage in the British Sovereign (or Royal Sovereign) which arrived in Sydney in December 1841.

• Matthew Thornhill, born October 1827, son of Matthew, Commissariat Department, and Julia.
• Matthew and James Bradshaw, born 1827 and 1829, sons of Matthew, Private HM 41st Foot, and Ann.
• James Callaghan, born 1828, son of Patrick Callaghan, Hospital Sergeant, and Louisa.
• Edward Wallace.

Our next post will tell the story of what happened to these twelve boys when they arrived in New South Wales.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records


Further reading:
IOR/F/4/1855/78481 Proposal of John Sullivan that boy and girl pupils from the Madras Military Male and Female Orphan Asylums should be sent as apprentices to New South Wales - Madras Government forward the proposal to the New South Wales Government, 1838-1839.
IOR/F/4/1916/82082 Seven boys of the Madras Military Male Orphan Asylum are at their own request sent to New South Wales to be apprenticed under the Government of that colony - the Madras Government provides them with a passage to Sydney, [1834]-1841.
Findmypast for baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records.
Trove for Australian newspaper reports.
FIBIS wiki.

Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 2
Emigration of children from the Madras Orphan Asylums to New South Wales – Part 3

10 March 2022

Mary Broad's origins in Cornwall

The extraordinary escape from Botany Bay of nine transportees in an open boat has been narrated many times.  Mary Broad was the only woman who escaped on this boat in March 1791, travelling for 69 days, before reaching Kupang in Timor, with her two children and husband, William Bryant, who led and organised their escape.

Painting of The Hamoaze and Dock, Plymouth Devon Hamoaze, Plymouth where Mary Broad was held in the Dunkirk prison hulk before being transported with the First Fleet. 

Painting of The Hamoaze and Dock, Plymouth, Devon by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde. Image courtesy of Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery.

Mary’s husband and children died before she was returned to London in 1792.  James Boswell took up the case of the five returned transportees, and advocated their release from prison.  It is thanks to Boswell that Mary Broad’s family origins in Cornwall can be identified here.

Boswell's papers noted that Mary Broad’s ‘aged’ father was living in Cornwall.  He met Mary's younger sister Dolly Broad.  Boswell corresponded with Mary's married sister Elizabeth Puckey.  And her husband, Edward Puckey, a tailor in Fowey, who wrote to Boswell about an anticipated Broad family inheritance, which was a Pope family legacy.

Using this information, Mary Broad can be historically identified as the granddaughter of Prudence Pope, who married Josiah Broad.  Mary’s father was their eldest son William Broad, who was aged 84 in 1793, when Mary was aged 28.  Mary’s mother was William’s wife Dorothy Guilleff, who died aged 50 in 1778, when Mary was aged 13.  And William and Dorothy Broad’s daughters were Elizabeth (baptised 1756), Mary (baptised 1765), and Dorothy (baptised 1769).

Josiah and Prudence Broad, and most of their adult children, lived in the neighbouring Cornish parishes of St Neot or Braddock.  William and his brother Matthew Broad described themselves as ‘colliers’, and obtained leases to coppice woodland.  It may have been the profits from this trade which enabled William Broad to obtain a farm.  In the 1760s, William Broad moved his family between parishes within a few miles of Fowey.  Mary’s christening in 1765 was at Lanlivery, and Dorothy’s in 1769 was at St Veep.  By the late 1770s, some family members were present in Fowey, where the elder Dorothy Broad died in 1778, and Elizabeth married Edward Puckey in 1779.

Map of Fowey, Cornwall1805 Map of Fowey river and parishes by Robert Dawson British Library Online Gallery Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

In the 1930s, the Boswell scholar Frederick A. Pottle sought to identify Mary Broad's family origins.  Through the assistance of members of the Old Cornwall Society, the Fowey and Lostwithiel parish registers were searched for her baptism.  This led to the suggestion that her parents had been a mariner William and his wife Grace Broad, who also had a daughter named Mary.  Judith Cook later acknowledged that there were many inconsistencies and gaps between the evidence related to this family and Boswell’s account.  William and Grace Broad did not have daughters named Dorothy or Elizabeth, and they had left Cornwall before Mary Broad returned home in 1794.

Members of Mary Broad's extended family as identified here can be found in other historical records, including the Clift family letters.  She was not the only member of her family to be accused or convicted of assault.  And it is possible to see her influence and legacy in the decisions of James and William Puckey, the nephews of Edward Puckey, to travel from Cornwall to Tahiti, New South Wales, and New Zealand.

Dr Charlotte MacKenzie
Independent researcher
@HistoryCornwall

Further reading
Tim Causer (ed), Memorandoms by James Martin (2017)
Charlotte MacKenzie, Mary Broad the documentary (2021)

 

07 July 2020

The Jacob orphans – lives linking three continents

We continue our story of the Jacob family.

When Vickers and Anne Jacob died in 1836, they left seven orphans aged between fifteen and nearly two.  According to newspapers, only four of them were with Anne in Tasmania at the time of her death.  Amelia Australia Harriet Jacob (1821-1873) had returned to England on the ship Ocean in 1824, probably in the care of the Irvine family. Mrs Irvine was the sister of Thomas Cudbert Harington, Assistant Colonial Secretary of New South Wales.  Harington administered Vickers Jacob’s estate and in 1845 was named in East India Company cadet papers as guardian of his son Vickers Gilbert Jacob. A newspaper in November 1830 reported the arrival of Miss Australia Jacob at the Royal Hotel Leamington Spa with a number of her mother’s Watson relations.

In March 1838 the passenger list of the Portland shows the children of Vickers Jacob returning to England from Sydney in the care of Mr Powis and Dr Clifford - probably William Clifford, an Irish surgeon who served on convict voyages.  The number of Jacob children on board is not specified.

Sydney - view from east side of the cove 1810

View of Sydney from the east side of the cove by Eyre and Clark (London, 1810)  BL - Images Online 

In 1841 Amelia and her sisters Frances Matilda (1824-1871), and Eliza Anne (1834-1866) were living in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, with their maternal aunt Catherine Frances Watson.  Amelia was married in India in 1849 to Frederick Elms, a Madras Army officer.  Elms retired in 1860 and the couple lived at Undermilbeck in the Lake District with Miss Watson.  Frances Matilda continued to live in Southwell for most of her life, but died in Marylebone, London. Eliza Anne married William Ernest De Veuelle from Jersey in 1856 at Southwell.  After Eliza’s death on the Isle of Man in 1866, their three daughters lived with the Elms family as Frederick’s wards.

Distant view of Bowness and part of Lake Windermere 1801A distant view of Bowness and part of Windermere Lake by Francis Jukes - British Library Online Gallery

Vickers Gilbert Jacob (1828-1857) attended the Diocesan School Lincoln and King’s School Chester.  In 1838 his father’s lands in New South Wales were transferred to him in his absence.  He was awarded a cadetship in the Madras Army in December 1845.  Vickers Gilbert died on SS Colombo off Gibraltar in August 1857 when returning from sick leave in England.

La Martiniere College CalcuttaLa Martinière College, Calcutta from R Jump, Views in Calcutta (London, 1837) BL - Images Online 


Archibald Hamilton Jacob (1829-1900) was educated at La Martinière College, Calcutta, and in Lincoln from 1840. He studied for the church at Chester, but ill health set him back and he joined the Liverpool and Manchester Bank.  In 1851 Archibald decided to go to Australia to farm with his brother Robert.  He married Mary, daughter of Colonel Kenneth Snodgrass, in 1853 and they had seven sons. From 1872-1880 Archibald was a member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales.

Portrait of Archibald Hamilton Jacob - The Daily Telegraph ( Sydney) 29 May 1900Portrait of Archibald Hamilton Jacob from his obituary in The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) 29 May 1900 via Trove 

Robert Jacob (1831-1906) left school in Calcutta in 1840 and joined the merchant navy as a midshipman in 1846.  Robert became a farmer in West Maitland in New South Wales.  He married Eliza Lorn McDougall in 1860 and they had twelve children.

William Higgins Jacob (1833 -1918) may have been educated at Christ’s Hospital in Hertford – the 1841 census shows a seven-year-old William Jacob born in foreign parts.  He became a bank clerk in Manchester and then at the Bank of England.  In 1864 William married Charlotte Emma Chapman and they had two children.

Seven very different overlapping lives connecting the three continents where their father Vickers Jacob had lived.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Trove for Australian newspapers
Free Settler or Felon – Newcastle and Hunter Valley history 
Australian Dictionary of Biography for Archibald Hamilton Jacob
British Newspaper Archive 
Baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records have been digitised by Findmypast 

 

03 July 2020

Vickers Jacob – a life in Ireland, India and Australia

In 1818 the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India received a memorial from Edward Cahill, a boot and shoe maker in Dublin.  Mr Cahill reported that in 1808 he had supplied Vickers Jacob, a Bengal Army cadet, with boots and shoes to the value of £10 16s 0½d.  Jacob left Dublin shortly afterwards without having paid and Cahill asked for help in recovering the debt.

First page of Edward Cahill's memorial about Vickers Jacob's debtFirst page of Edward Cahill's memorial about Vickers Jacob's debt IOR/E/2/51 f.1 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Vickers Jacob was born in Queen’s County Ireland in 1788.  He enrolled at Trinity College Dublin in 1806 before joining the East India Company’s Bengal Army in 1808.  Jacob took part in the Nepal War 1814-1815 with the 3rd Bengal Native Infantry.

In August 1817 Lieutenant Jacob married Anne Watson at Barrackpore.  Anne’s father and brothers were officers in the Bengal Army.  During the early years of their marriage, a son and daughter died.  Because of ‘a deep conviction that the climate of India would have bereft me of my only surviving child and of my wife’, Jacob took furlough in 1821 and travelled with Anne and their daughter to the ‘genial clime’ of New South Wales.

In early October 1822 the authorities in Australia received ‘private information’ that Jacob’s request for furlough was a cover for mercantile speculation in Sydney.  This was considered ‘subversive of military feeling and character’.  Unless Jacob could prove he hadn’t been trading, he would have to return to duty or resign from the Bengal Army.

 Vickers Jacob's advertisement in Hobart Gazette 20 April 1822Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land AdvertiserSupplement 20 April 1822.  Image courtesy of Trove

Jacob refuted the allegation.  In April 1822 he had placed an advertisement in the Hobart Town Gazette announcing his intention of going from Tasmania to settle in New South Wales as a general merchant and agent.  The ship carrying his letter of resignation did not arrive in India until 20 October.  In November 1822 Jacob was granted permission to resign from the Bengal Army with effect from 11 July 1822.

In 1823 Jacob was granted 2,000 acres of land in Newcastle next to the Hunter River which became the Knockfine estate.  In December of that year tragedy struck the Jacob family again when baby Vickers Frederick died of a teething-related fever.

Death notice for Vickers Frederick Jacob in The Sydney Gazette 11 December 1823Death notice for Vickers Frederick Jacob in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 11 December 1823 Image courtesy of Trove

In February 1824 Amelia Australia Harriet Jacob, aged nearly 3, was a passenger for England on the ship Ocean, perhaps sent away by her grieving parents to a place they considered safe.

The ups and downs of Vickers Jacob’s eventful life in Australia can be traced through local newspapers, including a challenge to fight a duel and a case of defamation of character.  He published a pamphlet entitled A letter addressed to Earl Bathurst on the subject of hardships complained of by V. Jacob ... in New South Wales.  Two more children were born there, one of whom died as a baby.

In February 1825 the Jacobs sailed for Calcutta on the Princess Charlotte.  Vickers Jacob became an indigo planter at Jessore.  He and Anne had another five children, all of whom lived to be adults.

In June 1836 the Jacobs and four of their children were about to sail from Calcutta to Hobart on the ship Boadicea when Vickers died of a fever.  Anne and her children carried on to Tasmania but on 3 October 1836 she also died.

I can't tell you if Edward Cahill ever received his money.

Our next post will tell the story of the Jacob children after their parents’ deaths.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
V C P Hodson, Officers of the Bengal Army 1758-1834 (London, 1927-1947)
Trove for Australian newspapers 
Vickers Jacob, A letter addressed to Earl Bathurst on the subject of hardships complained of by V. Jacob ... in New South Wales (Sydney, 1825) - British Library General Reference Collection 8154.aa.56.  There is also a copy in The National Archives Colonial Office papers CO 201/167 – digital version available via Trove 
Baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records have been digitised by Findmypast 
Documents relating to Vickers Jacob in New South Wales State Records and Archives 
Free Settler or Felon – Newcastle and Hunter Valley history 

12 April 2020

The Bunny Family of Berkshire

The Bunny Family was well-known in the Newbury area of Berkshire in the late 18th and 19th centuries.  Descendants of grocer Blandy Buck Bunny became prominent members of local society working as bankers and in the legal profession.

Blandy’s grandson Jeré Bunny was a solicitor in Newbury.  In 1813 he married Clara Slocock, the daughter of a brewer.  Clara died in 1835 at the age of 46.  Ten of their children, born between 1815 and 1834, survived to adulthood, and their lives took many different paths: vicar’s wife, soldier, farmer, fugitive, solicitor, gold miner.

The Bunny daughters were Clara, Caroline Eliza, Laura, Gertrude and Alice.  Clara married Charles Hopkinson, a wealthy banker.  Gertude and Alice became the wives of clergymen Henry Towry White and Douglas Belcher Binney.  Caroline Eliza and Laura remained single and lived as annuitants.

Eldest son Charles farmed at East Woodhay in Hampshire on land passed down the family. 

The next brother Brice Frederick trained as a barrister.  He emigrated to Australia in the early 1850s and worked as a gold miner at Forest Creek in Victoria, but gave up after six months, moving to Melbourne to resume his legal career.  Brice became a highly regarded equity lawyer.  He served as an MP and then became a judge.


Forest Creek Victoria
S. T. Gill, Forest Creek, Mount Alexander Diggings 1852- from National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Edward William Bunny studied at Oriel College Oxford and trained as a solicitor. He had to have a leg amputated because of a diseased knee joint.  In 1861 Edward moved to New Zealand, becoming Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Henry Bunny also qualified as a solicitor and worked with his father in Newbury.  By 1853 he was the town clerk.  Then he suddenly disappeared with his family to escape his debts.  A special messenger was sent by his creditors to the Duke of Portland which was about to sail from Plymouth to New Zealand.  Mrs Bunny and her children were found on board but there was no sign of Henry.  It was rumoured that he was on the ship but disguised in women’s clothes.

In New Zealand Henry set up business as a solicitor but was suspended when a case for fraud was brought against him in the UK.  However he bounced back and then entered politics.  He was elected a representative in the Provincial Council of Wellington and served in the New Zealand Parliament.  Sadly Henry committed suicide in 1891 whilst suffering from ‘melancholia’ and sciatica.   The inquest returned a verdict of temporary insanity.  A monument funded by public subscription was erected in his memory.

Youngest son Arthur Bunny had a distinguished career in the Bengal Artillery.  He fought in many campaigns and received awards for bravery.  At the battle of Multan in 1848 he was wounded by a musket ball in the shoulder and had his horse shot under him.  Arthur was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1873.

Siege of MultanHenry Martens, The Siege of Multan, January 1849 British Library Foster 198 Images Online


Jeré Bunny died in 1854.  Newspapers speculated that his death had been hastened by the strain of the legal proceedings against his son Henry.  Jeré’s will was made in May 1851, but a codicil dated November 1853 revoked all bequests to Henry, except 20 shillings.   Another codicil the following month withdrew all bequests to Charles, Brice, Henry and Arthur as their entitlement had been already been spent on their ‘advancement’.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive also available via findmypast
Trove  - Australian newspapers
Papers Past  - New Zealand newspapers

 

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