Let’s start with a visit to Cootehill, County Cavan, where my ancestor William Whitfield (1812-1897) was born. More on him later.
Oh fare thee well, sweet Cootehill town
The place where I was born and bred
Through shady groves and flowery hills
My youthful fancy did serenade
But now, I’m bound for Amerikay
A country that I never saw
These pleasant scenes, I’ll always mind
When I am roving far away
The pleasant hills near Cootehill town
Where I have spent my youthful days
Both day and night, I took delight
In dancing and in harmless plays
But while I rove from town to town
Fond memory in my mind shall stay
Of those pleasant happy youthful hours
That now are spent and passed away
I hope kind fate will reinstate
And fortune’s face upon me smile
To safe conduct me home again
To my own dear native Irish isle
When my comrades all and friends likewise
Will gather round and thus will say
We will sing and dance as in the days of old
For you’re welcome home from far away
That Cavan Old Irish Photos group item I told you about in my first post led, through the comment dialogue I engaged in, to the WikiTree for William Whitfield which in turn led to the WikiTree for his father, the convict Jacob Whitfield. This year is the bicentennial of Jacob’s arrival in Sydney on the convict transport Isabella 1. Here is one of my own posts about Jacob and the Isabella 1. The actor Geioffrey Rush’s ancestor was on board as well!
There are lots of details about the Isabella here.
The vessel was moored at Cowes on Thursday 2nd August 1821 when the detachment of the 24th regiment under orders of Lieut. Harvey from Albury Barracks embarked. There were 28 Privates and Corporals and three women. The following day at noon they weighed anchor and passed through the Needles under light and variable winds. On the next Friday (10th) they arrived at the Cove of Cork after a rough passage when the Guard and women suffered very much from sea sickness. They remained at the Cove of Cork for some time during which time several of the guard became unruly and rebellious. A court-martial took place on board and six soldiers were sent back to shore.
On October 14th forty-seven convicts were received onto the vessel making the total to 200 men. They were divided into messes and sent on deck during each day in two divisions. This routine continued until nearly the end of October when rain set in and the men were kept below. The surgeon reported that the prisoners were orderly and well behaved. The bad weather continued and the men were allowed on deck intermittently. By November they had set sail and most of the convicts, guard and women were all experiencing sea sickness in the boisterous weather.
Over the next four months Surgeon Price kept a daily record of the position of the vessel and weather experienced as well as the various illness of the convicts.
There were light winds on the 10th March when they came to anchor in Sydney Cove. The convicts were mustered on deck and divine service performed. The following day the Colonial Secretary came on board to muster the men.
On the 14th March at daylight the guard and the convicts were all disembarked and at 11am Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane inspected the prisoners in the gaol yard.
One item in the Jacob Whitfield WikiTree that caught my eye is this: “Seems Jacob continued his life of crime, bad behaviour and womanizing in the colony of Australia. He is mentioned a few times in News Articles in the early 1800’s.”
This may not be so, as I explained here.
I have alluded before to this article from 16 October 1839 concerning my ancestor the convict Jacob Whitfield. See Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days and Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind? Jacob was here:
Jacob was accused of receiving stolen goods, namely hats, but the outcome of the trial was in his favour:
Jacob had gained his Conditional Pardon, making him an emancipist, published in October 1842. “A Conditional Pardon, when approved by His Majesty through the Secretary of State, but not before, restores the Rights of Freedom, from the date of instrument, within the colony. But it bestows no power of leaving the colony, and no rights whatever beyond its limits”. The last we hear of Jacob is in 1851 when he was still living in Market Lane and witnessed a domestic.
The William Whitfield WikiTree contains a flat-out error or confusion: “Name: William Whitfield Vessel: Baring Province: New South Wales Title: General muster Year(s): 1822.” Must be another person. Jacob arrived in 1822 as we have seen, but at this stage my William would have been 10 years old and no doubt was still in the Cootehill area. He arrived in 1826 on the Thames and was never a convict. See 5a — William made it–or I wouldn’t be blogging, would I?
Amazed still by the extra pieces of information about how my great-great-grandfather William (1812-1897) arrived here as a kid just turned 14 in 1826. And imagine this, citing Dr Linton, surgeon on the Thames:
James Whitfield (12) Came under the care of Surgeon 2/2/1826 died 17/2/1826 After gradually sinking died
Ann Whitfield (9) Came under care of Surgeon 22 January – died 21/3/1826 – Examination of the cadaver revealed a collapsed lung and possibly other contributing factors
And it may be his mother also died…
William arrived in Sydney 11 April 1826. Ten years later, 20 June 1836, at St Andrews Church of Scotland, Sydney, New South Wales, he married Caroline Philadelphia West. Their first son, William Joseph John Whitfield, my great-grandfather, was baptised on 18 September 1836 at St James Church, King Street.
As I mentioned in Unexpected connections the point is that William Smith arrived on the same convict ship as my ancestor Jacob Whitfield and his wife and children were on the Thames, the same immigrant ship as were my great-great-grandfather William Whitfield and his sister Mary. Mind you, whoever wrote that inscription gets two things wrong: the convict ship should be Isabella or Isabella 1, not Isabella 2; the Thames arrived on 11 April 1826.
On the Thames I repost a 2011 comment by Bob Starling from my family history page:
An update on the information dated 30/11/2010 –DOCTOR LINTON THAMES SHIP’S SURGEON/DOCTOR RN – meticulous records were maintained by Dr. Linton with his report now held by the Mitchell Library – Special Collections on Microfilm AJCP PRO Reel 3214 Page 522 onwards (79/8555 Identifying number on film). The film is most difficult to read but with patience I was able to decipher records that are of interest. During the voyage there were 223 passengers put on the sick list with 207 being discharged from the Doctor’s treatment with 16 deaths being recorded 3 wives and 13 children. Fevers and fluxes (whatever this symptom represents*) were the main illnesses treated. The 16 deaths were spread across a broad number of categories that cannot be deciphered although fluxes and debility accounted for 8 deaths. Dysentery was prevalent amongst those treated. If Dr Linton treated 223 passengers there is no way that the Microfilm has captured all of the Doctors medical journals. Perhaps he treated several patients on multiple occasions for minor ailments and did not record their medical history as all told here were only 161 passengers on board and although there is no mention of the number of crew there was possibly no more that 20 crew. I have only identified 9 of the 13 children’s deaths. Dr. Linton’s Report comprises 111 pages and has been captured to a CD but only addresses 31 medical cases plus a pre sailing report and a report at the conclusion of the voyage. Perhaps there are other medical journals maintained by Dr Linton that have not been microfilmed by the Mitchell Library. I have asked the Mitchell Library to see if they can locate the original Surgeon’s Report so that I can examine it with the view to locating the possible death of Mary Whitfield**.
The “Thames” was the 1st ship to carry wives and children of convicts that had sought permission to bring their family to Sydney. There is document at the Mitchell Library, although I have not viewed the document, that indicates that there lengthy delays to the “Thames” departure from Cork Ireland. This may account for the date that Dr Linton starts his records 20 September 1825 and sailing date 14 November 1825. Dr Linton was treating patients between these two dates. Perhaps Mary died before the Thames departed Cork.
* Dysentery – NW.
Marriage: C1810 in Ireland
Birth : C1787 Ireland
Birth : 16MAR1812 County Cavan, IRL
That is the William Whitfield who arrived on the Thames – same date and place of birth – but those other details vary from other records. In this Jacob is considerably younger! Bob Starling’s dates for him are “Born 1774 in Ballyhagen alternate date 2 April 1772” and some convict lists give his DOB as 1760! — NW
Index of Surgeon’s Report
Generally speaking if a passenger died on the voyage their names would not appear on either the Lyndon Genealogy or Michael Sheedy data bases
Family & Age Comments by Bob Starling
Page 1 Pre Sailing
Page 2 – 3 Ann Moore (32) No passenger with name of Ann although there is a Moore Family
Page 3 – 4 Catherine Smith (14) Discharged
Page 5 – 9 Rose Murray (16) Died 15/2/1826 – there is no family with this name
Page 9 – 14 Ann Carr (3) Discharged
Page 14 – 18 Margaret Farraher (11)Died 20/2/1826
Page 18 – 20 Bridget Farraher (49) Discharged
Page 21 – 22 Mary Smith (12) Discharged
Page 22 – 24 Mary Bradley (49) Died 25/3/1826 – there is no family with name (Paradby)
Page 25 – 30 Patrick Doyle (12) Died 14/2/1826
Page 31 – 33 Patrick Costello (12) Discharged
Page 33 – 36 Jerimah Doyle (10) Died 3/2/1826
Page 36 – 38 Patrick Real (7) Discharged
Page 39 – 40 Richard Casey (4) Discharged
Page 40 – 42 Patrick White (12) Discharged
Page 43 – 45 Judith Fogerty (11) Discharged
Page 46 – 49 Eliza Donovan (5) Died 26/3/1826
Page 50 – 51 Mary Killduff (38) Discharged
Page 52 – 52 John Owens (7) Discharged
Page 53 – 54 Ellen McCarthy (35) Discharged
Page 55 – 62 Ann Whitfield (9) Came under care of Surgeon 22 January – died 21/3/1826 – Examination of the cadaver revealed a collapsed lung and possibly other contributing factors
Page 63 – 64 Jane Hinks (32) Discharged
Page 65 – 69 James Whitfield (12) Came under the care of Surgeon 2/2/1826
died 17/2/1826 – corrected NW
After gradually sinking died
Page 70 – 74 John Harvey (5) Discharged
Page 75 – 79 Mary McCovey (10) No passenger by this name – died 31/3/1826
Page 79 – 81 Mary White (56) Discharged
Page 82 – 84 Mary Owens (38) Died 6/3/1826
Page 85 – 86 Ellen Chawner (32) Discharged – difficult to read name
Page 87 – 89 Mary Curton (15) Discharged
Page 90 – 91 Mary Real (38) Discharged
Page 92 – 93 Ann Smith (12) Discharged
Page 94 – 95 Alica McCovey (9) Discharged
Page 96 – 110 Post arrival Report by Dr Linton
The Post Arrival Report would make great reading if only it could be deciphered and understood relative to legal terms. Page 102 does mention the words “highly probable, specifically from inappropriate food and drink”. James Whitfield is also mentioned on Page 108 with the word “hemorrhage” identified. Page 110 mentions the word “lemon Juice” which in those days may have been associated with scurvy, a deficiency in vitamin C.
ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF 10 IDENTIFIED DEATHS IN SURGEON’S REPORT
Mary Whitfield’s name does not appear on the Surgeon’s Report and there is every possibility that she died during the voyage as there are six deaths that cannot be identified from the Surgeon’s Report. Eight children and 2 wives have been identified leaving a discrepancy of eight children and one wife that are not accounted for in the Surgeon’s Report.
Bob’s research on the Thames and what happened to the people on her is now held by the Society of Australian Genealogists….
But see note on 5b — Stray stories of family and Australiana — 4.
A plus in the WikiTree is some new information about William Whitfield’s death. Sadly he took his own life — I have told the story before.
The new information is this:
Name: William Whitfield Birth Year: abt 1812 Admission or Discharge Date: 7 Mar 1896 Admission or Discharge Place: New South Wales, Australia Age: 84 Asylum: Government Asylums for the Infirm and Destitute Title: Register of Inmates Nov 1894-Jun 1896
And there is a prequel of course:
It is worth exploring the 1890s in Australia. See for example the My Place site. One aspect:
Between 1890 and1893, a severe economic depression caused the closure and collapse of many banks. The Federal Bank of Australia ran out of money and closed. In April 1893 the Commercial Bank of Australia, one of Australia’s largest banks, suspended operations. Twelve other banks soon followed. Those who had put their savings into building societies, as well as those who had borrowed heavily to fund their own speculative investments, found themselves in desperate straits. Businessmen, pastoralist farmers and land speculators weren’t able to pay their overdrafts, and thousands of small and large investors were ruined.
Is that why we have this from 18 August 1894?
Sure looks like his son’s — William Joseph John’s — business is going down the tubes. According to Australian biographical and genealogical record series 1, 1788-1841, with series 2 supplement, 1842-1899 / series 1 edited by John T. Spurway, assistant editor Allison Allen; series 2 edited by Kenneth J. Cable and Jane C. Marchant WJJ’s Bluegum Saw Mill in the early 1890s employed 34 men. WJJ “during the Great Depression of 1893 … supplied timber for the building of Catholic Schools and piles for the construction of Sydney wharves.”
Caroline, William’s wife, William Joseph John’s mother, had died in 1881.
The following year William sold up:
To summarise the story of William Whitfield: