- 1822 (Sep 8) – baptism of Eliza Cross in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire
- 1832 (Mar 15) – Isaac Coote sentenced to death, commuted to transportation for life, at Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk
- 1832 (Apr 6) – arrival in Tasmania of John and Frances Cross and ?five children aboard ‘Forth‘
- 1832 (Dec 29) – arrival of Isaac Coote in Hobart aboard ‘York‘
- 1838 (Feb 28) – Eliza Cross marries Isaac Coote
- 1838 (Jun 17) – baptism of Matilda, dau of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
- 1840 (May 5?) – birth of Emily, dau of Isaac (‘taylor’) and Eliza **Coots**
- 1841 – Isaac Coote granted Ticket of Leave
- 1842 (Aug 16) – birth of Clara, dau of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
- 1845 (Dec 15) – Isaac Coote granted Conditional Pardon
- 1847 (Aug 21) – birth of Alfred Richard, son of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
- 1848 – Isaac and Eliza Coote recorded on census with 2 daughters + son, with another unmarried freed convict
- 1850 (Sep 29) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Angel Inn, Charles Street, Launceston (until 1854)
- 1851 (Nov 13) – birth of Adelaide Frances, dau of Isaac and Eliza Coote
- 1854 (May 9) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Jolly Farmer, Perth (Tasmania)
- 1855 (Nov) – birth of Arthur Isaac, son of Isaac and **Sarah** Coote
- 1862 (Jan) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Hadspen Inn, Launceston (until 1865)
- 1868 (Feb 26) – death of Eliza Coote – death notified by Isaac, widower
- 1869 (Apr 14) – marriage of Isaac Coote and Adeline Laird
- 1870 (Jun 30) – birth of Thomas James Coote, son of Isaac and Adeline Coote
- 1873 (Dec 25) – death of Isaac Coote, (‘tailor’) , of ‘dropsy’, aged 58
In 1832, John Cross – a mason from Tingewick – and his wife Frances née Terry arrived in Tasmania aboard the ship ‘Forth‘. He seems to have led a most interesting life and I’m hoping one of his more knowledgeable descendants might write about him here in due course.
John and Frances’ second surviving daughter Eliza was barely fifteen and already pregnant when she married convict Isaac Coote, to whom she bore at least five children before dying of ‘paralysis’ in 1868, aged just 45.
Who, though, was Isaac Coote? My search led me to discover the wealth of information available through the Tasmanian Archives Online website and its Tasmanian Names Index – a vast number of searchable scans, freely available. A word of warning, though – the images are HUGE and very slow to load, so not something to attempt on a mobile phone signal!
Isaac was, it seems, convicted of housebreaking at Bury St. Edmonds Assizes on 15th March 1832, one of thirteen men sentenced to death for offences ranging from sheep-stealing to sacrilege. As often happened at the time, none of the sentences were carried out: most were commuted to transportation – one for 7 years, the others (including Isaac) for ‘life’ but one man (a sheep-stealer) was merely imprisoned for 12 months!
Six months later, Isaac was one of 200 convicts aboard the ‘York‘ sailing from London and Plymouth, arriving in Hobart on 29th December 1832 after a three month voyage.
On arrival, his description was carefully noted: he was 5’5½”, aged 19, with fair complexion and a small head. His hair was brown and he had ‘small’ brown whiskers. His ‘visage’ was small and narrow, his forehead low and retreating. His eyebrows were dark brown, his eyes dark grey, his nose small and his mouth ‘normal width’. His chin – in proportion with the rest of his face – was ‘small’ and he had a blue mark on his left arm.
Once disembarked, he was assigned the number 1442 and assigned to work for a Mr Fletcher as a ‘house servant’.
According to his conduct record, he had a few brushes with authority – absconding, ‘neglect of work’, and helping himself to his master’s ‘porter’ and chickens.
However, in February 1838 he was granted permission to marry Eliza Cross; in June their daughter Matilda was born followed by Emily (1840), Clara (1842) and Alfred Richard (1847) – Isaac’s occupation recorded as a ‘tailor’ on each of the birth / baptism records.
In 1841 he was given a Ticket of Leave and granted a Conditional Pardon in December 1845. The governor’s recommendation states that his ‘conduct having been good for many years past and … having completed beyond the ordinary servitude with a Ticket of Leave‘
The 1848 census return gives a full and interesting view of their household. The house was brick-built, in parish ‘No 2′ There were three adults (aged 21-45) living there, presumably Isaac and Eliza and another unmarried male. Both men seem to have been freed former convicts.
Although Isaac and Eliza had four children by the last day of 1847, only three were recorded as living at home at the time of the census. All are said to have married and had children: who and where was the missing child? Matilda was by this time 10 years old, soon to be 11. Was she, perhaps, already working in another house in the town? No names are given in the census, so we may never know.
Rather surprisingly, both men and the baby are said to be Church of England, but Eliza and the two girls were Roman Catholics! Isaac’s occupation falls under the heading of ‘Mechanics and Artificers': the other man was a ‘Domestic Servant‘.
In 1850, Isaac took up a new career – licensee of the Angel Inn in Charles Street Launceston – a licence he renewed three times, the third time in October 1853. This new occupation is reflected in the baptism record of their daughter Adelaide Frances in 1851.
In May 1854, Isaac took on the licence of another hostelry – this time the Jolly Farmer in the township of Perth on the plains to the south of Launceston.
18 months later, there is a rather odd birth recorded at Longford (close to Perth and around 7 km / 4.5 miles to the West): Arthur Isaac Coote, son of **Sarah** and Isaac Coote: father’s trade is given as “Licensed Publican” so it seems reasonable to assume this is ‘our’ Isaac.
It’s been suggested that Sarah might have been Sarah Cross – Eliza’s sister – but I’m unconvinced. She was married to James Devall, had borne him a daughter in the previous year or so and would bear him another two years later. My best guess is that the wife’s name has been mis-heard, mis-written – or even mis-remembered by the registrar. The page does not seem well-maintained – several entries (including this one) are lacking the informant’s signature, and the mother’s maiden name is also omitted.
By 1862, they were back in Launceston, this time running the Hadspen Inn, renewing the licence each year until at least 1865.
In 1868, Eliza Coote died of “paralysis”, aged 45, and two days before her 30th wedding anniversary. Her occupation is given as “Publican’s wife” and Isaac registered the death. Hardly the actions of an estranged husband who was living with another woman, since they had grown-up children who could have done what was necessary.
Fourteen months later, Isaac married again – this time to the 24 year old Adeline Laird. The marriage took place in his house in Youngtown.
Their son Thomas James was born the following year, 1870: Isaac was still recorded as a ‘Licensed Victualler’.
Isaac died at Launceston on Christmas Day 1873 of ‘Dropsy’, aged 58 – having apparently reverted to his original occupation of ‘tailor’.
What, though, of Isaac’s origins? My money is on Isaac Coot, born (according to Ancestry) 29th November 1814, at Sudbury in Suffolk, son of Isaac Coot and Matilda. There are other births recorded for the couple: Robert (15 Oct 1812), Richard (8 Mar 1817) and Eliza (17 May 1819) but I’ve not found their marriage.
On 29 Jan 1761, at All Saints, Sudbury, an (earlier) Isaac Coot married Sarah Pain.
On 10 Oct 1734, at All Saints, Sudbury, an (earlier) Isaac Coot married Elizabeth Sneell.