Facebook and blog visitors from Ireland recharge the Whitfield family history — Part 2

Let’s start with a visit to Cootehill, County Cavan, where my ancestor William Whitfield (1812-1897) was born. More on him later.

William and Caroline Whitfield — Picton NSW — my 2X great-grandparents

And a song at the end.

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:

sheilds1

Jacob was accused of receiving stolen goods, namely hats, but the outcome of the trial was in his favour:

article32166887-4-002

So that gunsmith, who was murdered in 1864, may have been just a bit unfair about my ancestor. Then in 1846 there was the curious case of the goat…

article12885088-4-001

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.

800px-The_Mellish_in_Sydney_Harbour

Mellish entering Sydney Harbour 1830

Elizabeth_St_by_John_Rae_(1842)

Elizabeth St from Lyons’ Terrace in 1842 by John Rae (1813-1900)

StJamesChurchSydney

1836

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.

** Presumably Jacob’s wife Mary Gowrie. This would contradict the assertion “His wife Mary did not go to Australia.” And just to complicate matters, here is another story!

GOWRIE, Miss
Birth : C1790 Ireland
Gender: Female
Family:

Marriage: C1810 in Ireland
Spouse:

WHITFIELD, Jacob
Birth : C1787 Ireland
Gender: Male

Children:

WHITFIELD, William
Birth : 16MAR1812 County Cavan, IRL
Gender: Male

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
(Donagh)
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
(McCooey)
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
(McCooey)
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 Bradley
Eliza Donovan
Jerimah Doyle
Patrick Doyle
Mary Farraher
Mary McCovey
Rose Murray
Mary Owens
Ann Whitfield
James Whitfield

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:

Depression

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?

article13964590-4-005

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:

article13516136-4-011

To summarise the story of William Whitfield:

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

Moments in my eBook Library — 7 — James Joyce or better late than never

Yes, I know!

To mark Bloomsday 2022 (June 16) and the centenary year of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and its global network of Embassies and Consulates have collaborated with dozens of partners worldwide to present their largest global Bloomsday celebration to date.

“Hold to the Now,” a new short film for Bloomsday, is a collaboration between the DFA and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) with 35 Irish Embassies and Consulates worldwide.

And yes, James Joyce is well and truly in my eBook Library on Calibre.

OK, I have never read Finnegan’s Wake and probably never will. The only person I ever knew who has actually done so was the late Dr Gustav Cross of the English Department at Sydney University some 60 years ago — when indeed I was a student. It begins thus:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen-core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all’s fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe.

Dubliners is just wonderful though — a pleasure never exhausted:

Table of Contents
The Sisters
An Encounter
Araby
Eveline
After the Race
Two Gallants
The Boarding House
A Little Cloud
Counterparts
Clay
A Painful Case
Ivy Day in the Committee Room
A Mother
Grace
The Dead

And at 16 I first read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with mixed wonder and mystification! I must reread it!

You will note that the eBook Library also has thanks to Project Gutenberg the rare Chamber Music.

IV
     When the shy star goes forth in heaven
     All maidenly, disconsolate,
     Hear you amid the drowsy even
     One who is singing by your gate.
     His song is softer than the dew
     And he is come to visit you.

     O bend no more in revery
     When he at eventide is calling.
     Nor muse: Who may this singer be
     Whose song about my heart is falling?
     Know you by this, the lover’s chant,
     ‘Tis I that am your visitant.

But of course Ulysses is king!

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

—Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called out coarsely:

—Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

—Back to barracks! he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

—For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long slow whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

—Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages. A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.

—The mockery of it! he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek!

He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck.

Buck Mulligan’s gay voice went on.

—My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn’t it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?

And if you were wondering — yes, I have read it! Every word!

1822 – 2022 — the bicentennial year!

The what?

Missed it back in 2020! The bicentennial of my ancestor Jacob Whitfield’s trial that is — not at the Old Bailey, but in County Tyrone, Ireland, in June 1820. CORRECTION: As you will see further into this post. Jacob’s trial, according to a contemporary news report, was in August 1820, though his 1834 Ticket-of-Leave says July! The June date concerns the co-accused Thomas Fisher of Lear in County Cavan.

Continue reading

After all it is St Patrick’s Day

Late today — in fact I was going to skip the day. However, some wonderful things came my way via Facebook/YouTube. But let me remind you:

In September 2011 I posted Returnee! It featured this photo of my grandnephew Nathan in an Irish landscape that year.

Nathan

I am 99% sure he is the first of Jacob Whitfield’s descendants to set foot in the Old Country since the 1820s! Of course someone may have…

As I said on Facebook this morning: My great-great-grandfather William Whitfield was born here (Cootehill, County Cavan) in 1812. He arrived in Sydney in 1826 via the “Thames” to join his convict father, Jacob, who had arrived via “Isabella 1” in 1822.

In some circles however one would best keep quiet about coming from a “plantation” town. Do make sure you hear the lovely song at the end.

And here is the song:

For William Whitfield, born in Cootehill 1812, died in Sydney 1897. Long a resident of Picton NSW. My great-great-grandfather.

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

Was Jacob Whitfield, my convict ancestor, a Quaker?

This place in Devonshire Street Surry Hills, seen here pre-tram, always intrigued me, even when from 1955-59 I passed it when walking (or running!) from Sydney Boys High to Central Station.

25sept8

Now as for my Whitfield family, all the funerals we went to in Picton in the 1950s were held in the Church of England, and the Shellharbour Whitfield weddings etc were always in the Church of England.

But in the first decade of this century when I posted my initial family history page a very fruitful dialogue ensued there about Jacob Whitfield, our ancestor, who received a life sentence to transportation in 1820 and arrived in Sydney in 1822. The main participants were family historian Bob Starling, John Van Luyn in Perth and Stuart Daniels. The question arose: Was Jacob a Quaker?

Surname Whitfield
First Name Jacob
Reb
Ship Isabella I (2) [1822]
Tried 1820
Trial Place Tyrone Co
Term Life
DOB 1760
Native Place Tyrone
DOD
Death Place
Remarks Ploughman

That is from a listing of the convicts on the Isabella — and the birth date is clearly wrong. The consensus now is that 1774 is more likely. Here is how the dialogue proceeded:

Recent emails to October 2008 (Links may or may not work in 2021!)

Stuart Daniels wrote to me in September 2008, and more recently John Van Luyn has been in touch several times, and through him, indirectly, Bob Starling. The family story is certainly being advanced through the work these people are doing.

Stuart wrote, and I have edited at his request: “Neil, we (Bob & I ) have traced the deaths of Jacob’s wives in Australia and have documents to show the details. Jacob was born May 1774 in Ballyhagen Co Kildare and his father was John and mother Sarah. This information was supplied by Marguerite Fenn & James Sullivan. Also the Leslie family of Innisfail have the same list. [See my entry below — N. W.] Jacob’s children are listed as Mary b. 1808 d. 1872  in NSW; Catherine b. 1810 d. ?;  Judith b. 1811 d. 1858 ; William b.16/03/1812 d 12/10/1897 Sydney NSW , Jacob b 1820 d ?. Jacob was convicted of horse stealing 1820 and there is a report in The Belfast News Letter of Friday the 4th Aug 1820, no. 8084; page 4, column 3. He was found guilty and was sentenced to hang but was sent to Australia. Jacob married Elizabeth Smith  in 1840 and her death was recorded at Darlinghurst Goal 12 Aug 1851. The records are only found in state archives and not on BDM records. He also married Jean Connell in 1832 but she died the same year from TB. This information has just come to light. Jacob at one stage had a market garden in Market Lane where he grew strawberries. That site is now known as Wentworth Avenue. He was also consigned to his daughter Mary SWEENEY and finally to his son William. His date and place of death remains a mystery. There is also a record of 1848 letter no. 48/3329 , dated 30/12/1847: Application by Jacob to have his sons, John aged 40 and Joseph aged 38, of Coote Hill, with their families, brought to Australia by the Government. Did they come? Jacob was a protestant and Rita, my cousin, has his Orangeman’s sash. He would have belonged to the Church of Ireland which was the same as C of E.”

John Van Luyn has pointed to quite a few other new items of information. It may be that Jacob was buried in the old Devonshire Street cemetery, which was resumed when the current Central Station was built. The bodies and headstones were moved to various other cemeteries, but we do not know at this time what became of Jacob. Writing to Bob Starling in September 2008, John said: “Yes, obviously women’s rights in Ireland had a much lower status than a convict in Sydney. The only thing I can think of in splitting the children up between Mary and Jacob would be that there was no social security in those days and your children were your life insurance policy in old age. Jacob’s details & death are a mystery indeed.  From reading this article….http://www.hotkey.net.au/~jwilliams4/d6.htm there would be a very low likelihood of travel back to Ireland or anywhere else I think without the official paper work. Jacob was pardoned in 1841 and….’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’. I have a possible sighting that is dated 1842. It is a reference to a ‘Whitfield who lives in a hut in a Garden near Jonathan Leake – had a ticket of leave for Windsor and is now free’. The only details I could find were for a Jonathan Leak who was a convict potter. There is a tonne of information on him and his pottery on the net if you search “Jonathan Leak” and “convict” which roughly indicates where his pottery was.”

That pottery is at “Brickfield Hill”, but apparently that isn’t exactly where the World Square complex now is, but rather may have been back towards Chinatown (Hay Street) and Surry Hills. It may indeed turn out that Jacob’s hut was in or near the Downing Centre, a Sydney Law Court complex these days, which is a touch ironic. Rather than Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, then, as I speculate below, he would have lived closer in to the city, and not far from Chinatown. The links above are a combination of ones John suggested and others I have found for myself.

Bob Starling added a comment in 2011:

I have lodged my research with the Society of Genealogy (SAG) Sydney who in turn have made reference to the research on the National Library of Australia web site -http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/158430430

For some years I have been searching for Jacob Whitfield’s death. It was noticed that Jacob gave his religion as a Quaker on one of his applications to marry. With this fact the Quaker society in Sydney has carried out some research and came up with the following piece of information:

“In searching the incomplete records we have of burials in the Friends Burial Ground within the old Devonshire Street (Sandhills) Cemetery, I came across a reference to:“Burial Notes missing of … Jacob Whitfield” Unfortunately, there is no indication of his date of death or burial. Burials took place in the Friends Burial Ground from about 1837 through to about 1880.”

Whilst we can now accept that Jacob died in Sydney, probably between 1851 and 1856 we cannot quite put him to rest until we find an exact date.

The comment thread on that page really is quite a treasure trove now!

Now we know that Jacob’s son William Whitfield — I posted about this a few days back — was born in Cootehill, Parish of Drumgoon, County Cavan. Thanks to YouTube I found a brief clip of the Quaker Graveyard in Cootehill. But first a longer video explaining what is different about Quaker graveyards.

Now to Cootehill:

Finally, how about this for a linkage? County Cavan meets Kunming China!

“Corner boy” is an Irish expression meaning a disreputable man or youth who spends his time loitering on the street.