1 — 1815 — Christisons, Whitfields

Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on 6 January, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially. Now it is finished, and you can just keep scrolling down to get a continuous set of posts!

I have decided to start a series going back through my “personal” decades – that is mentioning things from family history – starting with 1815, when most of my family connections were elsewhere. One exception — my former sister-in-law’s family: see Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story — Warren Whitfield. My former sister-in-law is a descendant of the family of Bungaree.

Sydney was a tad different c.1815:

C 359 Joseph Lycett's painting of Natives and the North Shore of Sydney Harbour, courtesy of Mitchell Library.lightbox

1815

Jane Brooks writes of how Koorie people live in the Domain ‘in their gunyahs made of bushes.’ She also remembers seeing ‘the very tiny canoes with a gin (Koorie woman) fishing in them, quite alone, sometimes with a streak of smoke from it, and we supposed she was cooking.’ (Karskens, p. 209)

See also Bungaree and the George’s Head Settlement: 31 January 1815

On Tuesday last, at an early hour, HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR and Mrs. MACQUARIE, accompanied by a large party of Ladies and Gentlemen, proceeded in boats down the Harbour to George’s Head. The object of this excursion, we understand, was to form an establishment for a certain number of Natives who had shewn a desire to settle on some favourable spot of land, with a view to proceed to the cultivation of it; — The ground assigned them for this purpose (the peninsular of George’s Head) appears to have been judiciously chosen, as well from the fertility of the soil as from its requiring little exertions of labour to clear and cultivate; added to which, it possesses a peculiar advantage of situation; from being nearly surrounded on all sides by the sea; thereby affording its new possessors the constant opportunity of pursuing their favorite occupation of fishing, which has always furnished the principal source of their subsistence.

On this occasion, sixteen of the Natives, with their wives and families were assembled, and HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR, in consideration of the general wish previously expressed by them, appointed Boongaree (who has been long known as one of the most friendly of this race, and well acquainted with our language), to be their Chief, at the same time presenting him with a badge distinguishing his quality as “Chief of the Broken Bay Tribe,” and the more effectually to promote the objects of this establishment, each of them was furnished with a full suit of slop clothing, together with a variety of useful articles and implements of husbandry, by which they would be enabled to proceed in the necessary pursuits of agriculture; — A boat (called the Boongaree was likewise presented them for the purpose of fishing.

About noon, after the foregoing ceremony had been concluded, HIS EXCELLENCY and party returned to Sydney, having left the Natives with their Chief in possession of their newly assigned settlement, evidently much pleased with it, and the kindness they experienced on the occasion.

We Whitfields were presumably in this part of the world in 1815:

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Near Drumgoon, Cavan, Ireland

Before the next decade the first one of them would arrive in Sydney involuntarily. I note a new family history source, by the way, on Wikitree, maintained by a distant relative, Sandra Green, which reminds us that my great-great-grandfather William Whitfield was born 16 Mar 1812 , Parish of Drumgoon, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Ireland, arrived on the “Thames” from Cork via Brazil and Cape Horn, age 14, married Caroline Philadelphia West 1836, died  Sydney 1897. The Wikitree page includes copies of the inquest finding into his death and his death certificate, and this portrait with his wife Caroline:

Whitfield-680-1

On my mother’s side of my family – the Christisons – I note my great-great-great-grandfather David was a teenager in 1815, having been born in 1799 in Fettercairn, Kincardine. Seems the poor old sod died in the poorhouse July 21, 1860 of chronic bronchitis. His wife had also died July 2, 1859 in Poorhouse, Luthermuir, Marykirk, Kincardine.  That I’d never known before. Note Poorhouses in Scotland “provided medical and nursing care of the elderly and the sick, at a time when there were few hospitals and private medical treatment was beyond the means of the poor.”

David’s son, also David (b May 1828), ended up in Australia when his son, John Hampton Christison, brought him here from Brechin in Scotland. Or did he? Is this Brechin David the same as Fettercairn David? The family pictured below are definitely my ancestors and in the later 19th century for sure they were in Brechin. That is surely J H Christison’s parents and siblings.

brechin1

David Hampton Christison, father of of my grandfather John, in Scotland. Exactly when and where  was he born?

The photo is from Arbroath near Brechin.

Fettercairn David Senior married a Hampton or Hanton; this suggests that they are my maternal family: the Hampton name persists to this day.   The date on David Junior’s gravestone is one year out though. So I am left wondering if we have two families here…  Mind you, Fettercairn and Brechin are not all that far apart. That poorhouse is halfway between. Perhaps the family just moved a bit south.

The Niven Family Tree claims David Hampton Christison was born July 13 1829 in Fife,Ceres Scotland. That makes even less sense of the gravestone! And Fife doesn’t seem right, given the photo above.

welb937a

See also Fascinated still by (family) history (November 2013) and My great-grandfather: “morally dubious to say the least.” (October 2013).

Meantime in the big world in July 1815:

Napoleon on board the "Bellerophon".  Illustration from Highroads of History series (Thomas Nelson, c 1920). NB: Scan of small illustration.

Sir William Quiller Orchardson — “Napoleon on Board the Bellerophon”

 

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1a.2 — Fascinated still by (family) history

Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on November 14, 2013 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

My cousin Ray Hampton Christison has sent his almost final draft of the life of our fascinating, talented, but at times repellent great-grandfather John Hampton Christison. Ray has really done a great job. I am sure it will be of interest to, but also way beyond, John H’s descendants. So colourful and paradoxical a character!

I meanwhile have been sidetracked into my convict Whitfield ancestry, inspired by Tony Moore’s Death Or Liberty: Rebel Exiles in Australia 1788 – 1868. Not that my ancestor was a “political prisoner”. On those who were see an article in The AustralianRebels sent to our shores have a story to tell us.

Researching my book Death or Liberty I learned that in an old cemetery in Dapto bush where we skylarked as teenagers lay a French-Canadian revolutionary named Joseph Marceau, transported as a convict in 1839 for rebellion against the British Empire. The understated resting place of the Canadian rebel disturbs our conventional understanding of the convicts as criminals, and leaves us asking why we don’t learn about such people at school or in our civic remembering. Few Australians realise their homeland was once the British Empire’s Guantanamo Bay, where about 3600 rebels, radicals and protesters were transported as political prisoners in the late 18th and 19th centuries. “Death or Liberty!” was the rallying cry of a stream of political exiles including liberals, democrats and republicans; English machine breakers, trade unionists and Chartists; radical journalists, preachers and intellectuals; and of course Irish, Canadian and even American revolutionaries. While viewed by the British government with the same alarm as today’s terrorists, the political prisoners are now revered in their homelands as freedom fighters. Yet in Australia, the land of their exile, memory of these martyrs has dimmed.

This is surprising, as many of the principles for which they were transported: freedom of speech, publishing and assembly; universal suffrage; and responsible government, animate both the Liberal and Labor sides of politics…

And in the comments a loud harrumph from a fogey, whether old or young I know not:

Romantic Nonsense. We were given our political liberties by the British not because of agitators but because a prosperous, strong, politically-conscious middle class developed very quickly here. It was the safe pair of hands into which the British were willing to place responsible government. It’s this strong middle class which still forces government into the centre and keeps Australia on a steady trajectory. I’m glad we never had a revolution here. The rebels and radicals were a sideshow.

That of course is also Romantic nonsense, even if I am fogey enough to be myself glad we have avoided the tragedies that revolution rather than reform has so often wrought.  But then Tony Moore, while clearly a republican – NOT in the US sense – is hardly advocating revolution either.

But I have found lots of interesting things.

Here is a convict ship, the “Minerva”, leaving Cork Harbour in 1819.

Minerva Leaving Cork Harbour 11

As did my ancestor, Jacob Whitfield, in November 1821.

isabella

More detail about the “Isabella 1” is here.

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.

As well as two hundred convicts, those arriving on the Isabella included 32 people belonging to the guard including the officer; two soldier’s wives (one died on the passage); passengers 1 man, wife and two children.

Back on the vessel after everyone had landed, a party of men came on board from the dockyard and dismantled the on-board prison in preparation for the return to England.

A list of all the 200 is online.

For a time Jacob was housed in the Convict Barracks, now an attractive tourist spot.

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Life at the Hyde Park Barracks

When Governor Macquarie’s convict barracks opened in 1819 it was remarkably the colony’s first facility to house convicts.

After 1815, as convict numbers grew, a shortage of housing resulted in many men being homeless. This caused disorder in the town. Macquarie established the barracks in order to control the living and working arrangements of the convicts.

By accommodating convicts together, Macquarie hoped to keep his workforce sober and well fed, to ensure they turned up for work on time and put in a full day’s labour.

Construction began in 1817. Designed to hold 600 men, at times it housed up to 1,300.

These re-enactment photos taken a the Hyde Park Barracks (example above) may help you imagine what life was like for a convict.

penal colony

See also Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days.

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Convict ship “Success” off Point Piper.

1a.1 — Rush of the “Isabella”

Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on August 5, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

I was quite surprised by last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are on SBS, featuring actor Geoffrey Rush.

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… Rush learned that on both sides of his family there were great, great, great etc grandfathers who battled unfair treatment. On his mother’s side, in northern Germany, an ancestor fought a local mafia which was trying to keep him from running the musicians’ guild. “I read the letters that he wrote to the king,” Rush says. “They were pretty amazing, pretty bold, saying ‘I’m really talented and I’m better than these people, I’m born to fulfil this role’.”

On his father’s side, Rush found a convict sent to Sydney for “diddling a pig jobber” (stealing from a seller of farm animals) who campaigned against being unfairly transferred to the dreaded Port Macquarie. “He ultimately was so tenacious, he was serving his seven-year sentence, and right till the very end he was placing that in jeopardy by wanting to right a wrong, for which he had considerable support. He proved that he was a victim of controlling ruling forces. He was either very smart or a loudmouth Irish ratbag.”…

Rush’s convict ancestor fell foul of this man, apparently:

Archibald Bell (1773-1837), soldier and magistrate, was the son of Archibald Bell, a Nonconformist minister and schoolmaster of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England. He worked for a time as a schoolteacher, and in 1794 married Maria Kitching of Cheshunt. He served in the Hertford Southern Yeomanry as a lieutenant, and was commissioned an ensign in the New South Wales Corps in December 1806. He arrived in Sydney on 12 July 1807 in the Young William with his wife and nine children, and property worth more than £500; unfortunately the transport commissioners had felt it ‘totally impracticable’ also to convey his Alderney cow. He was recommended by ‘persons of great respectability’, notably Sir Abraham Hume, as leaving the country ‘not from distress, unfortunate antecedents, or any circumstance affecting his conduct or character’, but in hope that the colony might offer him better prospects. He received a town allotment and 500 acres (202 ha) near Richmond, which Major George Johnston confirmed when he seized power. Another child was born soon after his arrival, and his colonial life was characterized by a continual effort to provide for his large family…

What particularly struck me about John Thomas Rush was that he arrived in Sydney in 1822 via the convict transport “Isabella”!  He also spent some time in the Hyde Park Convict Barracks – which are still there today as a tourist attraction.

Hyde-Park-Barracks-1820s

So did my convict ancestor. See especially my post Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” and Search Results for:Jacob Whitfield.

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.

1a — Unexpected connections — Whitfields

Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on January 10, 2014 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

As you may know I do from time to time visit The Illawarra Brewery, which overlooks grounds that once were the Catholic cemetery.

See The Illawarra Brewery–and pioneer cemetery! See also my 2011 posts Pioneers: Wollongong’s Old Roman Catholic Cemetery — 1, Pioneers: Wollongong’s Old Roman Catholic Cemetery — 2, Pioneers: Wollongong’s Old Roman Catholic Cemetery — 3.

Recently I have also been revising my main family history page: Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days. That, in summary, is:

William WHITFIELD (above) & Caroline Philadelphia WEST: William WHITFIELD Born: 16 Mar 1812 – , Parish of Drumgoon, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Ireland. Died: 12 Oct 1897 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Buried: Rookwood, New South Wales, Australia. Father: Jacob WHITFIELD (1774- ? ) Mother: Mary GOWRIE (1781-1841) Married: 20 Jun 1836 – , St Andrews Church of Scotland, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Wife Caroline Philadelphia WEST: Born: 12 Jul 1817 – Seven Oaks, Kent, England. Died: 21 Oct 1881 – Picton, New South Wales, Australia. Buried: Redbank Cemetery, Upper Picton, New South Wales, Australia. See also Jacob WHITFIELD & Mary GOWRIE. Convict Jacob is given this birthdate: Born: May 1774 – Ballyhagen, Co. Kildare, Ireland, and Mary died in Co. Tyrone, Ireland in 1841. Mary, the wife of Daniel Sweeney, was the daughter of these two, and William (above) their son. Curious though that we don’t know when Jacob died.

Jacob Whitfield was transported to Australia 1821-22 from Cork in the convict ship Isabella 1

‘ISABELLA I’ Built 1818 at London. Wood ship of 579 Tons. She carried 200 male convicts to Sydney and had no deaths en-route. She departed Cork, Ireland on the 4th of November 1821 and arrived in Sydney on the 9th of March 1822. Master: Captain John Wallis. Surgeon: W. Price.

Jacob’s son William and his daughter Mary arrived as free settlers on the Thames in 1826. To quote family historian Robert Starling (2011):

My interest is the Irish immigration ship the Thames which brought wives and children from Cork Ireland to Sydney to unite with their husband/father who had been transported prior to 1826. The Thames was the first immigration ship to carry families direct from Ireland. My connection with the Thames is through my wife’s line. Her Grandmother was a Whitfield with her line back to Jacob Whitfield who was transported with his family immigrating on the Thames.

Researching the families that immigrated on the Thames is a challenging undertaking as there is no official passenger list existing in the NSW State Archives, the National Archives in Canberra or the National Archives in Dublin Ireland. Fortunately a researcher named Lyn Vincent of Lyndon Genealogy has managed to reconstruct a passenger list through using the 1828 Census, the Ship Surgeon’s Report, Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and the Australian Biographical & Genealogical Record.

A Constable Michael Sheedy in the 1830s, who may be linked to the Costello family, also compiled a list of family names that travelled on the Thames. I believe the interest by Constable Sheedy may have been that he married one of the passengers on the Thames. I hold a copy of Lyn Vincent’s, Michael Sheedy’s and The Thames Surgeon’s Reports which all reveal interesting facts about the families which made their way to Sydney. Unfortunately there were 16 deaths on the voyage (3 wives and 13 children). Close analysis of the Surgeon’s Report (Dr. Lynton) has identified 2 of the wives and 8 children) on a microfilm held by the Mitchell Library. I have asked the library to try and find the original report as it would seem that not all of the Surgeon’s report has been copied to microfilm….

The Thames carried 37 wives and 107 children. There were also 16 paying passengers and crew captained by Robert Frazier. Apart from the reference material referred to above which has produced a reasonably creditable passenger list, the internet resources, mainly the State Archives of NSW and the Society of Genealogy has been a valuable source of gathering initial data to make contact with the descendants of the passengers on the Thames…

Note that Robert Starling has collected two volumes of Thames immigration ship Cork Ireland to Port Jackson Sydney 1825 – 1826 : family stories related by descendants of families that emigrated on the Thames 2012 — available at the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG), and in 2011 he published Jacob Whitfield’s journey from Cootehill County Cavan Northern Ireland to the land down-under : embracing the Whitfield family history.

There is a grave in the Wollongong old Catholic cemetery:

inscrsmith

As best as I can judge from this and this, it would appear this is someone who arrived, along with my great-great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Whitfield, on the Isabella 1 in 1822! That is the unexpected connection of my title, but there’s more! Seems there is also a connection to the Thames (1826)! That is the context for Bob Starling’s remarks above. Another contributor to that thread notes: “Mary and Catherine Smith were passengers on the “Thames” which also carried Mary and William Whitfield, children of Jacob Whitfield who had been transported on the “Isabella I” with William Smith.”

2 — 1825-6 — Whitfields

 Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on January 8, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

I leave my maternal line, the Christisons, in Scotland as we found them in the post for 1815. After all, I strayed into the 1825 decade by noting not far from that date the birth of my great-great-grandfather David Hampton Christison.

Jacob Whitfield, my great-great-great-grandfather, left Cork, Ireland on the convict ship “Isabella 1” in November 1821 and arrived at Port Jackson 10 March 1822. After a time in the famous Hyde Park Convict Barracks, he was assigned to a master at Windsor NSW, where he worked in an iron gang.

windsor-inn

Windsor Inn c.1825

He had a life sentence; until recently we didn’t know what crime he committed, his record being one of those lost by fire in Ireland much later on. However, a few years ago came this information:

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…

For much more on the voyage of “Isabella 1” see Fascinated still by (family) history and here.

Now we approach 1825 when a most significant event in the history of my family occurred: the arrival of the immigrant ship “Thames”, departed Cork on 14 November 1825 reaching Sydney via Cape Horn on 11 April 1826. There was loss off life during that voyage, including members of the Whitfield family, not least, it seems, Mary (Gowrie), Jacob’s wife. In November 1823 Jacob had petitioned Governor Brisbane to have his wife and six children join him in the colony. For detail see my posts Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” (2014), Stray stories of family and Australiana — 2 (2014), William and his tribe… (2014).

We saw last time how William Whitfield, my great-great-grandfather, and at least also his sister Mary (1808-1872), fetched up on the shores of Port Jackson in 1826. Mary married Daniel Sweeney, convict transported on the “Daphne” to Sydney in 1819, and they had three children.

Extract from the marriage record of Daniel Sweeney and Mary Whitfield at St Matthew’s Windsor. 15 January 1827.

My grandfather’s full name was Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield – though he tended to deny it. See also Continuing my trawling through Trove and family history. William went on to sire quite a tribe with Caroline Philadelphia West.

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Interior St Matthews, Windsor

Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, and built between 1817 and 1822. Beautiful building — photo by Scott Bird.

See what else happened in 1825.

2a — Irish again – new light on Jacob Whitfield’s 1820 crime?

A good example of how our family historians Bob Starling and Stuart Daniels are still adding to our knowledge. Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on April 23, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

On St Patrick’s Day I posted:

As you may recall my father’s family descended from an Irish convict who arrived in Sydney 10 March 1822, and his son who joined him age 14 as a free settler in 1826. They came from this bit of Ireland, or nearby [followed by a scene from County Cavan].

Reminder of what constituted Ulster in 1820:

2000px-Ulster_counties.svg

I needed that to follow a marvellous document sent to me by family historian Stuart Daniels that came his way through the research of Bob Starling. It is a transcript of a petition relating to a trial in County Tyrone in June 1820. The petition is addressed to Charles Chetwynd, 2nd Earl Talbot, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time.

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Charles Chetwynd, Earl Talbot

Here is a key part where my ancestor is mentioned:

Jacob Whit  trial1

The document goes on to argue that Fisher (the petitioner) is not getting a fair trial in County Tyrone because a number of witnesses for the defence are in County Cavan.

Jacob Whit  trial2

I am not sure what light this casts on my ancestor Jacob Whitfield, who was convicted in relation to this matter and sentenced to life in New South Wales. I am inclined to read it as suggesting that Jacob Whitfield framed the petitioner. Stuart Daniels reads it differently:

Also I have been reading the trial of Jacob Whitfield in Cavan Ireland , and I don’t think he got a fair trial. One of his witnesses could not travel to the court room that was 40 miles away. The trial was held in Tyrone and the witnesses lived in Cavan. Both men protested about the restriction of their witnesses. Makes you wonder was it a kangaroo court, or the Irish equivalent. Was he innocent? We will never know. Our ancestor might not have been such a bad person. The writing is very hard to decipher.

…the original copy of the trial is VERY hard to read as it is in a yellow and faded copy, but Bob [Starling] did a good job of getting a readable copy.

I found also this account of County Cavan in those days.

Cavan, the southernmost county of the old province of Ulster, was a bleak inland region of limited agricultural and commercial development, but it was populous and contained the disfranchised boroughs of Belturbet and Cavan, where county meetings and elections were held. The Catholic population greatly outnumbered, yet were electorally in thrall to, the almost exclusively Protestant gentry, of whom none individually had a sufficient interest to return a Member. The leading figure since the Union had been the only resident nobleman, the 2nd earl of Farnham, a Tory representative peer and joint-governor, whose large and comparatively advanced estate at Farnham gave him an interest which was described by the Irish government in 1818 as ‘very great’. His estimated 1,000 electors were enough to ensure control of one seat, since the potential electorate was only about 6,000 (although one calculation put it as high as nearly 8,000) and in practice was probably far smaller…

2b — Irish

NOTE: Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on March 17, 2015 by Neil.

As you may recall my father’s family descended from an Irish convict who arrived in Sydney 10 March 1822, and his son who joined him age 14 (or 10) as a free settler in 1826. They came from this bit of Ireland, or nearby:

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I am not sure where they would have stood on St Patrick’s Day – which is of course today. See National Museum of Australia.

St Patrick’s Day has always been the day for the Irish in Australia. On 17 March 1795 there were rowdy festivities among the Irish convicts, and the cells were filled with prisoners. Later the occasion gained in respectability, marked by formal dinners attended by the colonial elite, many with no Irish connections.

By the early 20th century, parades were held in capital cities and rural centres. These were demonstrations of connections with an Irish Catholic past, or support for Irish political causes.

Today, St Patrick’s Day in Australia has evolved into a fun day marked by revelry, green beer and comical hats. On that day, some say, there are only two kinds of people — those who are Irish, and those who wish they were.

While “the wearing of the green” apparently commemorates the United Irishmen of the late 18th century, many of whose leaders were Protestants, it is now rather associated with the Catholic majority. My ancestors were not Catholic, presumably descended from the 17th century Plantations. They certainly lived in the Six Counties. The picture above is near Cootehill in County Cavan.

Whatever, I refer you to an item in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

From its humble St James Gate brewery beginnings in Dublin to its position as one of the world’s most recognised beer brands, the black brew with the stark white head can come with some turf wars. Some Guinness enthusiasts may cry “It tastes better in Ireland!”, but the black stuff is now brewed in more than 55 countries and the distinction is best settled from pub to pub.

Sydney’s raft of Irish pubs may lay claim to the best Guinness in town, but it’s sometimes in the spots you least suspect it that the black nectar finds its best expressions. Sydney’s pubs host a wealth of bartenders serious about their Guinness pouring but, in the end, the cream rises to the top.

Surry Hills pub The Porterhouse heads the list. Now that brings back memories!

Sunday lunch was at the Porter House

Posted on December 14, 2008 by Neil

How long have we been coming here, I asked Sirdan. We couldn’t remember for sure, but suspect it may go back to last century… It certainly goes back to 2000 or 2001, as I recall The Rabbit coming here… This is a real Irish Pub with real Irish people, and a great $12 Sunday roast.