Isaac Coote: convicts in Van Diemen’s Land

Timeline

  • 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!

Lent Assizes for Bury St Edmunds, 1832 (from Ancestry.com)

Lent Assizes for Bury St Edmunds, 1832 (from Ancestry.com)

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.

1832Coote,Isaac-description-CON18-1-21_00261_L_c

Description list from Linc Tasmania CON18/1/21

 

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’.

Conduct record from Linc Tasmania CON31/1/7

 

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.

Marriages at Launceston, 1838 from Linc Tasmania, http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD35-1-42p34j2k

Marriages at Launceston, 1838 from Linc Tasmania, RGD36/1/3

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.

Approx. 1845, from ancestry.com HO 10/59 page 102

Approx. 1845, from ancestry.com HO 10/59 page 102

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

1848 census of Van Diemen’s Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

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.

1848 census of Van Diemen's Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

1848 census of Van Diemen’s Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

 

 

 

 

 

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‘.

Births at Launceston, 1851 from Linc Tasmania, RGD32/1/3  http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD32-1-3-p673j2k

Births at Launceston, 1851 from Linc Tasmania, RGD32/1/3

The Launceston Examiner, Wed. 8 September 1852 (from trove.nla.gov.au)

The Launceston Examiner, Wed. 8 September 1852 (from trove.nla.gov.au)

 

 

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.

Births in Longford, from Linc, Tasmania, RGD33/1/33

Births in Longford, 1855, from Linc Tasmania, RGD33/1/33

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.

1868 death record from Linc Tasmania

Deaths at Launceston, 1868 from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/37

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.

 

18690414-Coote,Isaac-marr-IMAGE_282_c

Marriages in Launceston, 1869, from Linc Tasmania RGD37/1/28

 

Fourteen months later, Isaac married again – this time to the 24 year old Adeline Laird.  The marriage took place in his house in Youngtown.

 

Launceston birth record from Linc Tasmania RGD33/1/48 no 59

Births at Launceston, 1870 from Linc Tasmania RGD33/1/48

Their son Thomas James was born the following year, 1870: Isaac was still recorded as a ‘Licensed Victualler’.

 

from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/42 no 2239 Deaths at Launceston, 1873

Deaths at Launceston, 1873 from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/42

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.

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The loss of the Northfleet, 1873

Fetch-2473I wrote most of this piece six months ago but got side-tracked (as usual!) before I’d finished tying up loose ends.  Then, quite by chance, two things happened within a week: I had an email from a descendant of Caroline Holton; and I came across a newspaper cutting (The Bucks Herald of 1st March 1873), reporting on the inquest into another of the people who drowned.

 

[The account of the wreck comes from the Maritime Moments website, to whom I am greatly indebted.]

Some years ago I contributed notes and annotations to a book entitled “From Tingewick to Tioga” – the last few copies still available by emailing author Jan Anderson on janeandrs ‘at’ gmail.com.  It was based on an account of the Holton family, written in 1917 by Joseph T. Holton whose father had emigrated from Tingewick to Pennsylvania in 1851.  One of his notes said:

“My aunt, Caroline Holton was born 1826 and she married John _________ and they had children born unto them and they was drownded in the North Sea in 1873 and one child was safe in a boat and was adopted by people near Dover, but they say it died.  But they say that they left two girls and they married two brothers named Day and that they went to London, but they have not heard.”

Caroline had, in fact, married John Taplin in October 1848 at Tingewick.  He was probably working on the railway line, which was built across the northern edge of the parish around 1847. They had six daughters in the next twelve years.  The second was baptised in Tingewick but died in infancy: the two youngest were twins, born in 1862.

The family was constantly on the move: Welling in Hertfordshire in 1849; Whatlington in Sussex in 1851; Dudley, Worcestershire in 1854; Tiveydale in Staffordshire in 1859; Bakewell in Derbyshire in 1861; Rosebury in Derbyshire in 1862; and  Finsbury in London in 1871.  By 1873, perhaps the boom in railway work in England had ended.  John signed up to work on the Tasmanian Railroad, and – with his wife and three youngest daughters – boarded the Northfleet in London.  On board were 379 people (including the crew and the pilot), 340 tons of iron rails, and 240 tons of other equipment, bound for Hobart in Tasmania.  At 11 am on January 13 1873, she slipped down the river from London.

The late January weather was stormy and more than a week later they had only reached Dungeness, where they spent the night of the 22nd at anchor, in company with perhaps 300 other boats waiting for the weather to lift.  Sometime after midnight, disaster struck – a steamer ran into them, striking them hard on the starboard side.  Without identifying herself, the steamer backed away and vanished into the night.

For whatever reason, only two of the seven lifeboats were launched.  Perhaps there wasn’t time (from the inquest I just found, ‘the lashings were too tight’) – within 30 minutes, the boat had sunk.  In spite of the captain’s best efforts (including, apparently, shooting a man in the knee who disobeyed his orders), only two women, one child and one baby were saved.  The rest of the 86 survivors were all men, including 11 of the crew.  So much for women and children first!  In all, 293 lives were lost: 41 were women; 43 were children; and 7 were babies under 1 year old.

The one child that was saved was Maria Taplin.  It seems they were soon picked up by a steam tug, the City of London, and taken to the Seaman’s Mission in Dover.  The captain’s wife – now widowed – offered to take Maria to London: the newspapers printed her story, and offers to adopt her poured in.  Some versions say she went to live with her older sisters, now married: but the death registered in Dover in the third quarter of 1879 of a 17-year old Maria Taplin is probably hers.

“NEXT OF KIN WANTED and others to their advantage” – 1910

Advertising. (1910, November 15). Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1860 – 1947), p. 4. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148951166

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Bradbury, Henrietta, who lived at Tingewick, Bucks, about 30 years ago,  wanted to her advantage. L.L. 4639

 

Henrietta’s father, Richard Bradbury, was a grocer in Islington on the 1881 census: he was the son of Thomas Bradbury, for ten years or so around 1838-1849 the landlord of the White Hart public house in Tingewick.  Richard and his six siblings were all baptised in Tingewick but Henrietta was born in Islington, and I’m not aware that she ever lived in Tingewick.

Anglicans, Baptists and Mormons – the Johnson family

On 26th February 1837, two-month-old Sarah Fountain Johnson from Northall (Bedfordshire) was baptised at Tingewick parish church along with her parents.  Adult baptisms – although unusual – are not unheard-of: my late father-in-law’s father was born in Padbury in 1871, shortly before the family moved to Tingewick.  He was, as far as I can discover, never baptised until a week before his 60th birthday, when he travelled to the family’s original parish (Lacey Green near Princes Risborough) for the ceremony.

Sarah’s parents were Benjamin and Charlotte (nee Budd); her grandfather, William  Johnson, was baptised at Tingewick in 1775, as had been his sister Ann in 1771.  Ann had married in the parish church in 1795, (witnessed, perhaps, by another sister, Catharine) but neither William nor their father John is recorded in Tingewick in the Posse Commitatus of 1798.

An email two years ago directed me to a history of the Johnson family on the FamilySearch website.  The link at the time failed to load … or it may be that, as now, the file viewer takes so long to display that I had given up.

That history quotes “The Baptists of Northall 1802-1969” by R.F. Broadfoot:

“In one of these churches [founded by John Wesley], at Eaton Bray, in Bedfordshire, a young lay preacher, William Johnson by name, was actively engaged in his itinerant ministry among the surrounding villages.  For some time his superintendent minister and the circuit officers had been critical of the young man’s independence of outlook, and sought to confine his preaching activities to those places to which he had been allocated by the Methodist ‘plan’.  To this he could not agree and accordingly, late in the year 1802, he left the Methodists and, together with some twenty others, formed an ‘independent church’ at Northall, just over the borders of Buckinghamshire.”

In 1805 he was pastor of the new church, and in 1807, when the group adopted Believers’ Baptism, William was in the first group to be baptised.

Why, then, did his son and daughter-in-law take their new baby  30-miles back to Tingewick in late winter – and be themselves christened at the same time?

One family story says that the child was named after a maternal aunt, who promised a legacy; another suggests (wrongly) that only children who appear in Church of England registers can inherit property from their fathers.  The second reason is wrong – it is the legitimacy of the parents marriage which matters, and  even if Benjamin and Charlotte believed it to be the case, they would surely have gone to the local church where they were living.

The obvious explanation is that they had become unhappy with William’s Baptist church, but – to avoid embarrassing William by a public split – had gone to a church where his parishioners would be unlikely to learn of it.

Matters did not end there, though.

In April 1846, Benjamin was baptised into the Mormon church Whipsnade by an American missionary; three weeks later, Charlotte joined him in their new faith.  By the end of the year, Benjamin had been ordained and under his leadership the Edlesborough branch became the largest in nineteenth century Buckinghamshire.

Benjamin died in 1853, just weeks after his father.  Charlotte sold everything, intending to to move to Utah to join the church community there.  Alas, all the money was stolen by a missionary entrusted to take it to Liverpool to pay the families sea passage.  It would be another eleven years before they finally embarked and, eventually reached Salt Lake City.

“From Tingewick to Tioga” – a history of James Holton (1831-1917)

James Holton was born at Tingewick  in 1831, eighth child of James and Maria.  At around the same time, his uncle Thomas emigrated to Tioga in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.  Twenty years later, James joined him.

dsc01960

Some years ago, two of  his 3-great and 4-great granddaughters took a family history written by his son and collaborated on turning it into a book.    We transcribed the diary – exactly as it was written – then I checked and wrote footnotes about all the people mentioned.  Mary Holton Robare assembled a wonderful selection of family and local photographs: Jan Ezell Anderson cross-checked my notes and tracked down nearly 1,000 direct descendants.

The result was, though I say it myself, rather impressive.

dsc01962

Today I learned – thanks to Sue Dudley – that it appears in the National Library of Australia online library list.

If anyone is interested in a copy, I believe they can still be bought from Creative Continuum.

Henry Bartlett Pulley 1826-1882

When I first became interested in family history, some 25 years ago (jings!) it didn’t take me long to discover that my in-laws were descended from Richard King (1810-1891) and his wife Matilda nee Pulley (1805-1870) – photos here – who married at Akeley in 1831.

Richard and Matilda King on the 1861 census of Tingewick

Richard and Matilda King on the 1861 census of Tingewick

When I looked at the 1861 census of Tingewick I found on page 18 details of Richard King, aged 51, Parish Relieving Officer (administering Poor Relief) and Registrar.  Matilda was 55.  Two of their children – William aged 21 and Amelia aged 17 – were in the household.  There was also a ‘visitor’ – Henry Pulley, aged 5, a carpenter’s son born in Lambeth. Presumably a relation of some sort; I made a note and passed on, trusting to future research to uncover the link.

Fast-forward nearly twenty years, then,  to 2004, and I received an email – now, alas, lost in moving from one system to another – from a John Dews who was researching the Pulley and Butler families.  He told me that Matilda had given birth to an illegitimate son, Henry Bartlett Pulley, in 1826.  Sure enough, the Oxfordshire FHS transcript fiche for Weston-on-the-Green shows a baptism on 9th March:

1826 baptism of Henry Bartlett son of Martha Pulley

1826 baptism of Henry Bartlett son of Martha Pulley at Weston on the Green

Henry Bartlett son of Matilda Pulley, Spinster

No father named … but … nine months previously, at the marriage of Matilda’s sister Martha, the two witnesses were Matilda  and one William Bartlett.

1825WoGmarr

1825  30 May  John Baker of Blechington, Oxfordshire, bachelor & Martha Pulley OTP spinster by licence witnesses William Bartlett, Matilda Pulley

Did “Something Happen”  that night between the barely-twenty-year-old Matilda and William, under the influence of too much romance and wedding wine?  Was William be the father of Matilda’s child?  If so, since he was presumably a close family friend, why did he not marry her?  Or was he just that – a dear family friend who was supportive and was honoured – perhaps as a godfather – by the use of his name for the baby.

A search of the OFHS fiche transcription doesn’t reveal much.  Mary, daughter of John and Mary was baptised in 1777 … and was buried soon afterwards, with her mother.  Two years afterwards, John married again: and 1782 they had a son William – who was buried in 1806, aged 24, followed a year later by his mother, aged 62.  His father died nearly ten years later, in 1816, aged 78: but this seems to be the only family named Bartlett recorded in the parish.  Oddly, though, there is a document mentioned on the Oxfordshire roots list that apparently says there was a William Bartlett resident in the parish in 1807: perhaps, though, they were in fact a landowner in the parish but living elsewhere.

What happened to Henry Bartlett Pulley?  I wonder if he was fostered, perhaps by a trusted family servant.  Someone must have paid for his indentures as a carpenter’s apprentice: in 1881 he was a 55 year old carpenter in Southwark, Surrey (now part of London) with a wife nine years his junior .  Henry jnr, who had been in Tingewick twenty years before, was in the household and had followed his father into the carpentry trade.  There were two daughters, and another son.  He died in London a year later, aged 56.