Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review - The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner

I read The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner, in the mistaken belief that it related to the First Fleet. I was delighted to learn it was in fact the memoir of a sailor in the Second Fleet. Nicol, a Scot, was a career sailor - his occupation was that of cooper. He delivered his memoirs verbally to John Howell (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Howell_(polyartist)) as an old and impoverished man. Howell acted as 'editor' and signed the income from sales to John Nicol.

Nicol's autobiography was published in 1822, around the time the (American) First Fleet sailor Jacob Nagle was writing up his memoirs (though his didn't surface in print for another 150 years), and there are remarkable parallels in the stories they highlight of their years at sea. Both were involved in naval engagements, both appear (admittedly by their own account) very competent. Nicol though admits to more weaknesses, straying from his religion at sea. Nicol even admits to his relationship with a female convict during the journey to New South Wales on the Lady Julian.

Nagle's New South Wales experience is told in more detail than Nicol. As sailors, both largely confined themselves to their boats in Port Jackson, but Nicol did not have the opportunities (and perhaps curiosity?) to explore the surroundings. Instead, Nicol falls in love - a love that is clearly life-defining for John. On the journey he fell in love with Sarah Whitlam, a convict from Lincolnshire. They had a child, a son that stayed with Sarah when John sailed out of Port Jackson after six weeks. John and Sarah promised to be faithful to one another, and that he would return.

John was true to his word, and spent the next several years trying to devise a scheme to join a ship sailing for a port, through which he could connect with a ship back to New South Wales. Destiny was not on his side, and the timing was never right. John returns to Sarah again and again in his subsequent narrative. A year or so after leaving Sydney, he intersected with another ship that had left Sydney and had an escaped convict aboard. This convict (not named) eventually spoke with John and told him Sarah had sailed for Bombay. 

John was devastated and states that he then set his sights on a ship for Bombay to find her.  The records do not bear this out, and in fact while John pined, Sarah had married another man the DAY AFTER he left Sydney. Michael Flynn's excellent 'The Second Fleet' biography of Sarah Whitlam states that she then spent time on Norfolk Island, and after gaining her freedom did sail for England via India. Nothing more is known of Sarah or their son John. Amazingly, John Nicol visited Sarah's home town when in England again, and her parents indicated they had not heard any more of her. It must have been remarkable to have a sailor arrive on their village doorstep with tales of their convict daughter from the other side of the globe, and the grandchild born out of wedlock that they did not know existed.

That romantic thread, that John relayed through his autobiography, is truly touching. The voyage to New South Wales does not receive remarkably more attention than other aspects of his sailing life. But the love he found reverberates through the decisions he made for many subsequent years. John eventually settled back in Edinburgh when he felt too old to continue his trade at sea, and married a cousin, Margaret. I did find an index entry for this marriage:

Much like Nagle, Nicol struggled to London to try and achieve a pension for himself based on his military service, but to no avail.

John did not have children in his marriage, and Margaret was dead by the time he published his autobiography. John Nicol died in 1824, apparently found dead in his bed.

Apart from the 1824 edition (available in digital form on-line), the story was republished in 1936 (the version I read), and was again reprinted with a new introduction in 1999. The latter is very affordable.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

searching for Robert 'Bertie' BEATTIE of Scotland

Occasionally this blog has the opportunity to help people solve a genealogy mystery. This is the case again with an old friend Olivia trying to solve a Scottish mystery. A 20th century mystery at that, making it all the more difficult. Olivia has provided some text outlining the challenge, which I have edited.

As with similar posts, my hope is that someone Googling names mentioned here will find this article, and make contact.  Contact details are at the end of this post:

Since 2006, I have been looking for information about my Scottish grandmother's father, Robert 'Bertie' BEATTIE, and I am hoping that people may have known him or his family may have information. The place and town of primary interest are:
1. Newfield, Chapeltown, Ballindalloch
2. Glasgow

According to the birth record, he was born Robert Daniel CAMERON ('illegitimate') on June 20 1910, the son of Jane Ann CAMERON, at Newfield, Glenlivet, Banff. His father is not listed as he was born out of wedlock. In the 1911 census, 'Robert Daniel' was living with his grandmother Helen BEATTIE and aunts/uncles who were not much older than himself at a home named Newfield, Inverarton. When Robert later married (in 1932), his name was entered as Robert BEATTIE and he gave his maternal grandparents Helen (nee CAMERON; Jane Ann Cameron's mother) and James BEATTIE from Newfield, Chapeltown as his parents. This suggests that he may have been raised by his grandparents.

Robert BEATTIE moved to Glasgow at some point, where he met my great-grandmother, Jessie NICOL. He was working at Southern General Hospital as a Mental Hospital Attendant and was living there at the time of their marriage in April 1932.

They subsequently had two children. The first (my grandmother) was born on 5 May 1932. She was named Helen (I later learned she was named after he grandmother). Her younger sister was born in 1933. A few days later following the birth of their second child in 1933, Jessie BEATTIE nee NICOL died aged only 22. In her death certificate, her husband Robert BEATTIE was listed as an asylum attendant, and while Jessie died in the County Hospital at Motherwell, the family residence was listed as Govan Road, Glasgow (where the hospital complex still stands).

The family narrative from this point is unclear, but the following is known:

The two daughters were raised by their maternal uncle, Angus NICOL (Jessie’s brother). The girls were told that her father intended to separate the girls, but the family refused to let him separate the girls. For reasons unknown, Robert BEATTIE left his job by 14 Nov 1933 and returned to Newfield, Chapeltown (a distance of ~150 miles from Glasgow). Two short letters remain in the family from Robert BEATTIE (known as Bert and Bertie) sent to Angus a few months after Jessie's death, where he indicates he is signing over the girls to him. Forms are referred to, but we do not know what these are. He said he would come for Helen when she was 13 but was never heard from again. It can be concluded that Robert knew where his daughters were, but they are not aware of ever having met him again.

Later, the daughters were moved to Australia and the possibility of finding Bertie BEATTIE was removed.

A great deal of research into the fate of Robert BEATTIE has only lead to dead ends. The only clue from a distant relative in Canada is that a 'Bertie' was a policeman in Glasgow. Given how young he was (about 23) when his wife died and his children were adopted by family, it is entirely possible Robert re-married and had children, and there may be descendants out there to connect with their unknown Australian cousins.

The family would like to learn more information about Robert (his daughter his still alive) and she would also treasure any stories about the BEATTIE and CAMERON families she is descended from as the official records only provide limited insight into who they were.

If you have any information, or any photos of Newfield House or headstones in the chapel’s graveyard please email oliviajmason at gmail dot com, or comment to the host of this blog (Matt - cispt2 at gmail dot com).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

1802 Map of Sydney - translated

In my last post I included a reference to this map of 1802, which was actually published in German.

I sourced the image here: http://mapco.net/sydney1802/sydney.htm and that page also includes translations to the KEY shown at the bottom of the map. I was not smart enough to notice this, so I asked my good German friend Daniel Pursche to translate - and here are his translations to the map. Very useful guide for circa 1802 reading (such as when the Sydney Gazette started in 1803).

1. River
2. Battery / Depot with signal flag
3./4. Hospital buildings
5. Mr Campbell's storage depot
6. Ship's carpenter's place
7. Chalupe (boat) of Mr Bass
8. Hospital street
9. Prison
10. Brandy and salted meet storage depot (my favourite :-) )
11. Weapon's place ( I assume a central storage for all kinds of weapons...???)
12/13. General Governor's House and Garden
14. Public Education building (I assume: a school...)
15. Crop storage depot
16./17. Barracks and yard
18. Officers' buildings/housing
19. Gun powder depot
20. Church
21. Windmill
22. Bridge
23. Battery
24. Saline
25. Governor's street
26. General furniture and tool depot
27. Clothing and rope depot
28. Public work house (whatever that may have been....???)
29. Governor's House and Garden
30. Governor's millhouse and bakery
31. Governor's print and newspaper shop
32. / 33. / 34. Housing, brick manufacture, and shipyard of Mr Palmer (that guy must have been Sydney's entrepreneur of the year 1808...)
35. The old / former gallows
36. The new gallows
37. Graveyard
38. Village 'Brick-Field', where many brick shops, potter's workshops and Faience shops are located (Faience: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faience)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The first bridge in Sydney

I was recently reading through the Sydney Gazette when I read a brief article published on 5 Jun 1803 stating that a new stone bridge was being built at the head of Sydney Cove. In other words, over the Tank Stream that fed into Sydney Harbour:

This map (with a German legend) from 1802 shows the layout of Sydney.

When we magnify in on Sydney Cover (now Circular Quay) item 22 ('Bridge' in German) is visible, the bridge at the head of Sydney Cove:

This painting from 1803 by John William Lancashire (dictionaryofsydney.org/image/40423) shows at the extreme right a STONE bridge, allowing water to pass under it, just as described in the newspaper article. Based on the article above, the painting with the stone bridge was surely rendered in the second half of the year!

Here is another painting from 'circa 1803', by George William Evans (http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemLarge.aspx?itemID=457903). In this case the wooden bridge can be seen, suggested it was rendered in the first half of 1803 (or earlier):

So you can see we can do a lot with just one small article in the Sydney Gazette.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A first fleet letter home - John and Elizabeth RUSSELL, 1788

I was reading the diaries of James SCOTT (http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/scott-james-2640). With the diary when it came to Dixson in the 1890s was a letter written by John and Elizabeth RUSSELL to Elizabeth's mother. The wonderful State Library of New South Wales has digitized it and included a transcript (http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/album/albumView.aspx?acmsID=944049&itemID=966961). While I have been reading accounts of the First Fleet voyages (and subsequent records) this is an interesting letter home from Sydney ('Sidney') to a family in Devon.

As with Worgan, the RUSSELL/FOGNELL(sp) families were connected to Devon. It is frustrating to think of all the letters home from the First Fleet that wound up being discarded. 

As with my ponderings on the WORGAN family, I hope that there are a few more First Fleet lettesr sitting somewhere in a book or box in England.

The letter below is remarkable and in three written pages on two sheets (it could not be longer because of paper shortages). Mrs Fogewell is informed by her daughter and son-in-law that her family has arrived in Botany Bay/Port Jackson safely, of the events on their journey, that a new grandson has arrived and that her granddaughter is recovering after illness. Norfolk Island is mentioned and the indigenous peoples of NSW are described. Some leaves are included used by the settlers to sweeten tea (which reminds me of the "Leaves from Botany Bay used as tea" in the possession of James Boswell, given him by Mary BRYANT: http://randomfh.blogspot.com/2014/07/review-boswell-and-girl-from-botany-bay.html and http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=455934).

I find it interesting that in the post script, it is noted that an Ann, Agnes or Elizabeth (difficult to read) LAMB 'came out on the same ship with me'. I have not found a convict that matches the name, perhaps she was the spouse of a Marine.

Addressed:- To Mrs Mary Fogewell Totneess Devon

Letter from Sydney
Head Quarters Sidney Town New South Wales July 10th 1788
Hon’d Mother This with our duty to you and Love to our Sister and all Friends hoping you are in good health as it leaves us thanks to God for it, Since we left England we have a son Born and blessed be God he remains in Good health and is About A Year Old he handles his feet bravely and can walk Alone a little. Our daughter have had A very trying fit of Sickness but thank God she also is recovered; I now Intend to give you A hint of our Passage to Botany Bay under the Command of Capn Arthur Phillips new Governor of New South Wales and its Dependancys. 1787 We Set sail from Spihead on the 13th May and on the 3rd of June made the Isle of Tenereif and Anchored the Fleet in St De Cruze Roads the Same day here we Stayd for 7 days and Compleated our water

Page 2
and wine and then put to Sea for the Isle of St Jagos but the wind but the wind being Against us Made Sail for South America and made the Brazilian Colonies on August 1st and on the 5th Anchored the Fleet in Rio Janerio roads, The portugees recieved us with Great Salutations and and feasted us for A Month on the best of the Land. All things here is very Plentiful and Cheap. After Compleating our duties with. About the Begining of Sepr (we) made sail for the Cape of Good hope and reached it on the 13th of October here also we was Supplyd as at Rio and Recruited Ourselves for 5 weeks. We the made sail for Botnay Bay. On this Passage I must remark the Different Climats also of the Prodigeous Large Whales seen here but for our Parts the Passage was very Good and we reached botoney Bay on the 26th Jany 1788. but the Comodore not Aproving of the Place removed us to Port Jackson where we still remain since our Arival the Supply Tender have found an Island About 3 days Sail from Head Letter from Sydney p.2.

Page 3
Quarters that Abounds with Plenty of Turtle and Tame Fowl this Country Abounds in all kinds of Birds & Fish but no tame Cattle The natives of this Country are A Straight neet Limmd People Entirely naked and almost Black They live on fish Roots & fruit & what the Country Produces of its own Accord Since our Arival we have found several Shrubs that serve as Teas Sweetining the rest which I have heare sent some Leaves as a sample As to the Pigs(?) Cattle and Poultry we brought with us they come on very well we have at Preasent Potatoes (Turn)ips, Lettice (gre)en Pease, Greens and the Corn coming in Ears I have many more things want relating conserning this new Settlement but the Limets of the Paper will not Admit I hope you will send me an Answer by the return of the fleet So with my Kind Love to all Enquiring Friends We Remain Your Dutiful Children Jno & Elizh Russell Please to remember me to Mrs folks and Mrs Basto Age Lamb came out in the same ship with me but she may have sent to her frends before now

Friday, August 8, 2014

Children of George Worgan

It is written of George WORGAN that he married Mary LAWRY in Liskeard after he and returned to England, and then had two sons who moved to Australia. Given that I'm interested in the fate of Worgan's journals/manuscript I wanted to look into his children/

According to Hunter's published journal , the crew of the wrecked Sirius arrived in Portsmouth (England) on the 22nd April 1792. Worgan married Mary Lawry of Liskeard in 1793, the transcript being available through Cornwall OPC.

23 May 1793 Parish Liskeard Groom George Bouchier WORGANGroom Residence St Andrews, Holborn, London Groom Condition Bachelor Groom Rank Profession Surgeon in the Royal Navy Groom SignedBride Mary LAWRY
Bride Residence of the parish & town Bride Condition spinsterBride SignedMarried by Licence Witness William LAWRY Witness Mary WATSON

The Cornwall OPC also reveals several children born to George and Mary. These will be dealt with separately below. The first baptism identified is in 1798, though it is not clear whether the five year gap is due to WORGAN being away on service, or because children born prior to that date have not yet been identified.

1. Mary WORGAN (1798-1799).
2. George William WORGAN (1800-1862).
3. Mary WORGAN (1801-?).
4. John WORGAN (1803-?).
5. John Parsons WORGAN (1805-?).
6. poss. Charlotte Eliazbeth WORGAN (1855-1864).

George Bouchier Worgan, aged 80, was buried on 8 Mar 1838 at Liskeard. His residence was entered as 'Borough'. His death was also entered in the parish register for West Briton (which appears to be in Truro 35 miles away) on 9 Mar 1838. Details entered are George Worgan, age 81, residence Liskeard, "On Sun last; formerly a surgeon in the Navy".

His wife, Mary, was probably baptized 7 Oct 1765 at Liskeard, daughter of William and Elizabeth LAWRY. In the 1841 census, she was living at Wadeland (?) Cottage, Liskeard, listed aged 65, of independennt means, born in Cornwall. Also in the home were Charlotte, 25, born in county, and Charles, 6, born in county.

She was buried at Liskeard on 17 Dec 1846, age 82, residence "Borough". Her death was also noted in the 'West Broton and Cornwall Advertiser' on 18 Dec 1846 "and on Tuesday, Mrs. WORGAN, widow of the late Mr. WORGAN, surgeon, R.N., aged 82 years".

Their Children

1. Mary WORGAN (1798-1799)
Mary was baptized on 6 May 1798 at Morval, Cornwall (parish adjacent to Liskeard), father given as George Bouchier Worgan, mother given as Mary. Mary Worgan was buried at Liskeard on 19 Sep 1799.

2. George William WORGAN (1800-1862).
George William was baptized on 9 Jan 1800 at Morval, Cornwall (parish adjacent to Liskeard), father given as George Boucher Worgan, mother given as Mary. He appears in the Royal Cornwall Gazette in 1837 in trouble with the local law, and the next year the Sydney Morning Herald (6 Aug) notes that a W. Worgan, music master, arrived on the Forentia from Plymouth, having departed in April - the month after his father died. From that time there were regular advertisements relating to music teaching, such as the example from October 1838.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 31 March 1837
On Thursday last Messrs Geo. Worgan, jun., Nicholas Clemence, and Joseph Elford were brought before the Liskeard Borough Magistrates charged with committing depredations by breaking various gates &c. on the night of the preceding Saturday. After an investigation of the case, which lasted several hours, the parties were fined 5 pounds each, besides the costs and repairs.

The Sydney Herald Monday 1 October 1838
Member of the Royal Society of Musicians, London, Singing master, and Teacher of the Pianoforte, BEGS respectfully to acquaint the Ladies, the Gentlemen, and Inhabitants of Sydney and its Neighbourhood, that he has just arrived from London, and intends giving instruction in the above branches of his Profession. For terms, &c , apply at Mr. Francis', Prince street, opposite the Military Hospital. Schools attended. The Pianoforte tuned by Mr. G. W, W. on an improved principle.

In 1843, William had bankruptcy hearings. There are numerous references to piano-playing performances by Mr. Worgan at this time, and in 1849 he advertised as the organist for St Patrick's Church, located in the Rocks district and still standing.

In 1847 he married Mary Tuohy (NSW BDM V184764 32C/1847) at St James' Church in Sydney. In 1849 a daughter Mary C Worgan was baptized (NSW V1849217 141/1849). SMH for 3 Jan 1850 has an announcement: "BIRTH. At Woolloomooloo, on Sunday, December 30, Mrs. George William Worgan, of a daughter." In 1845 several concert performances were advertised at which Worgan was listed playing, and included in these lists is a "Miss. Tuohy" - this may be the same person he later married.

The relationship may have become estranged, as in 1851 the Sydney Morning Herald (13 Feb 1851) reports that George William had been summonsed for not paying a weekly sum to his 'deserted wife', the original order being given on 26th August 1850. A ruling was not made as the parties had been living together again. The Electoral Roll for 1851 showed George William Worgan living in a dwelling house in Crown Street, Sydney.

{Empire, 21 March 1851, A 'Mary Worgan' was listed on the departure list for the 'Alert', for San Francisco. May or may not be connected}

No advertisements are found for George William between 1852-1860.

The last advertisement found related to music was placed in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 Nov 1861, stating that "MR. WORGAN, professed Tuner of the Pianoforte, having returned to Sydney, respectfully requests all orders for him to be left with Mr. WILLIAM KING, Pianoforte Warehouse, Market-street." 

In 1862, the death of a George Worgan was registered in Sydney, aged 65. The death of a Mary Worgan has not been found.

3. Mary WORGAN (1801-?).
Mary was baptized on 17 Sep 1801 at Morval, Cornwall (parish adjacent to Liskeard), father given as George Boucher Worgan, mother given as Mary. Fate not yet determined.

4. John WORGAN (1803-?).
John was baptized on 23 Nov 1803 at Morval, Cornwall (parish adjacent to Liskeard), father given as George Boucher Worgan, mother given as Mary. Burial not yet identified.

5. John Parsons WORGAN (1805-?).
John Parsons was baptized on 12 Mar 1805 at Liskeard, father given as George Boucher Worgan, mother given as Mary. The middle name 'Parsons' appears to have come from his aunt, Charlotte PARSONS nee WORGAN, who married Sir William PARSONS, at St Marylebone, London on 21 Sep 1778.

John appears in the local newspaper in 1827 being granted with a hunting license:
Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 22 September 1827
Cornwall Game Lists
Persons who have gained game certificates for 1827
Worgan, John P, Liskeard

While I have not cited it, multiple sources state that John's father George wrote to authorities in NSW asking that his son be given a position. In 1830 the brig 'Elizabeth' has a 'Wm Worgan' stated as arriving on the ship. This was possible an error, as from that year till 1836, John P Worgan is entered in the Returns of the Colony as Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Hyde Park Barracks, appointed 13 Sep 1830 by the Governor. As per a previous post, during this period Worgan was on contact withJohn Lhotsky, to whom he communicates the existence of his father's journal.

It is not clear whether John left his position, or the colony in 1836, but there is no further evidence of him till 1843, when he is entered in the Gaol Description and Entrance Books.

The Darlinghurst Gaol books states that John Worgan, arrived on the ship 'Elizabeth' in 1830, Free on arrival, was born in Cornwall, was Protestant and has the occupation of Clerk, admitted to gaol on Nov 9 1843 by the Police for Trial, and discharged on 12 Dec 1843. The Description Book for the same period adds that John was born in 1807,  was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall, with a fresh complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes. According to the Sydney Morning Herald (10 Nov 1843), he was charged with stealing a £ note.

Again in 1849, John Worgan is entered at Darlinghurst gaol. The information entered is similar to that above, including the occupation of Clerk, with the addition that he is stout. He was admitted 26 Feb 1849, for one week, and discharged 14 Mar 1849.

No subsequent information on John has been identified.

6. poss. Charlotte Eliazbeth WORGAN (1815-1864).

On 20 Nov 1833, a Charles Parsons WORGEN was baptised at Liskeard, mother Charlotte WORGAN, no father listed. The Parsons name confirms that there is a connection to the George WORGAN and family.

In the 1841 census, Mary Worgan (George's widow) was living at Wadeland (?) Cottage, Liskeard, with Charlotte, 25, born in county, and Charles, 6, born in county. If Charlotte was George and Mary's daughter, then Mary would have been over 40 when she was born. I have not been able to find a baptism for a Charlotte WORGAN.

Charlotte married in 1842: On the 25th ult., at Liskeard, MR. WILLIAM MURRAY, jun., to MISS CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH WORGAN.
The civil registration was made at Liskeard, Dec 1842, Vol 9, Page 219

On 13 Jul 1848 Charles Parsons WORGAN, son of Charlotte, aged 15, was buried at Liskeard.

In 1851, Charlotte MURRAY, married wife aged 47 (therefore born about 1804), was living on Castle St in Liskeard, but stated her birthplace as Cardinham, a village of some 10 miles from Liskeard. Charlotte's husband, William Murray Jr was head, aged 36 , an 'auctioneer; high bailiff county court', born at Liskeard. Also at the home is a brother of William (George), and a servant. No children are present at the home.

In 1861, Charlotte is not at home with her family. At Castle-villia, Castle street, Liskeard, Charlotte's husband, William Murray was head, aged 45 , an 'auctioneer; &c', born at Liskeard. Also at the home (in order) is Jane Whitford, 29, unmarried housekeeper born in Kenwyn, along with three children: Lewis W. Murrayton Murray age 4, Edith Jane Murray age 3 and Emma Mary age 1. These were not Charlotte's, but in fact William's children with Jane Whitford, with whom he was carrying on an affair and co-habiting.
The children are registered as follows:

Jun 1856 WHITFORD Lewis William Murrayton Murray Liskeard 5c 86
Edith Jane Whitford at Liskeard Q1 1858 vol 5c p90
Emma Mary Whitford Liskeard Q2 1860 vol 5c p79

Where was Charlotte? In 1861, Charlotte herself was living alone in Plymouth at 8 Compton St, married, 55, born at Glynn, Cornwall. This may seem to contradict her previously stated birthplace of Cardinham, but in fact Glynn House is in Cardinham.

It appears Charlotte died in 1864 (civil registration Charlotte Elizabeth, reg Liskeard, Sep 1864) aged about 58, and William Murray almost immediately married Jane Whitford and had more children by his second wife.

The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser Friday, October 28, 1864.
MURRAY-WHITFORD – At the parish church of St. Martin’s-by-looe, October 20, by the Rev. Mr. Farwell, William Murray, Esq., jun., of Murrayton-lodge, Liskeard, to Jane, daughter of the late Captain Whitford.

This blog entry touches on Murray's life and helped me 

I think Charlotte's family is of great interest. She lived with her mother after George's death, so it is possible that she inherited the diaries. In which case they would be in the MURRAY family. I should note that I have not yet found a baptism for Charlotte, it is possible Charlotte was brought into the family rather than born into it, but she lived with her parents, so was certainly a part of the family.


So if the diary went to a child it was:
with John P when he came to NSW in 1830
with George W when he sailed for NSW just after his father died in 1838
with Charlotte after her mother's death in 1846.

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone with more information.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Could the Worgan diary have survived?

In this post I reflect on the various written records George Worgan may have produced.

George Worgan's letter with appended copies of journal entries was written to his brother Richard, and is owned by the State Library of NSW. As discussed in previous posts, the indication is that Worgan copied these entries from a journal he was keeping. Therefore, aside from this letter, a journal (or journals) maintained by Worgan may have returned with him to England and more specifically Liskeard in Cornwall.

What other evidence exists for Worgan's journal? On the 11th of July, Worgan wrote to his brother:

I am keeping by me an Account of the Voyage &c. &c. in a Series of Letters which You shall have the Reading of when I return Home, They are something fuller & more accurate than this.

Certainly more than one letter was written by Worgan. In his letter to Richard he mentions letters. On March 25th, 1788 he states "I shall put Letters on Board the Three Ships, for You, Denton, and all my Friends...". On May 12th he states "The Charlotte and Scarborough Transports, sailed, to Day for China, and as it is a matter of Doubt, whether those Ships will not arrive in England, before any of the Transports, Can, that sail direct for England, as soon as they can be cleared of their Stores. I have put 2 or 3 Letters on Board them for You & all my Friends, indeed, it is natural for Us, in such a distant part of the World, to snatch greedily at every Opportunity to convey our Hopes & Wishes to our Friends." Shortly afterwards on May 19th he writes "They have begun to unlade the Transports, and land the Stores, and it has this Day been publickly announced that some of the Transports will sail for England in 6 Weeks, so a scribbling we will go. I shall put a Letter on Board each Ship for You. Pray don't neglect to forward those that I intend to Inclose in yours". On the 2nd July again "It has this Evening been announced that two of the Transports will sail for England on the 10th. Instant, & two more on the 12th.- I shall put Letters on Board of  each, for You, & many of my Friends, so that you will receive One among them all.... I have written a very long letter, similar to this to my Friend Mr
 Mein of Fowey, & I am thinking to put His & Yours on Board different Ships, so that if his, or Yours 
should Miscarry, You or Him can communicate some Accounts of your Infant Colony. "

Worgan signs off his letter "The Ships sail to Morrow Morning therefore, as I find I have no less than 31 Letters (& 5 of them almost as long as y') to Close, Seal, Enclose & direct, I must Conclude.

The published transcript of Worgan's letter (1978) has an unattributed introduction, which stated that "There are references to a longer manuscript by him, one, by John Lhotsky being to a manuscript in two volumes 'communicated to me by a son of the author, Mr John P Worgan'. The whereabouts of these manuscripts is not known at present."

The citation is to John Lhotsky's book, A journey from Sydney to the Australian Alps, 1835, pp12-13.

While I do not have access to Lhotsky's book here in the US, Google Books has a segment accessible, but I need the entire book. It states that Worgan's son now living in Australia informed Lhotsky of its existence:
'...Colonisation of New South Wales - also, of that part of the Country colonised, its inhabitants &c. &c., in a series of letters to a friend, by G.B. Worgan, Esq., surgeon in His Majesty's Ship SIRIUS." This manuscript communicated to me by the son of the author, (Mr. John P. Worgan) will, when published, afford much information, and complete the - as it were, primordial narratives of Captain Phillips, Hunter, Collins, &c.

Two important points should be made.
1. While John Parsons Worgan lived in Australia, Lhotsky does not explicitly state the manuscript is also in Australia. His father George was still alive and living in England, and it is possible that John was communicating that the manuscript existed, not necessarily that it was in his possession. The entire book section may reveal more.
2. It is made clear that the manuscript is comprised of 'letters to a friend' - not a journal.

There is a second reference to Worgan's diaries. In 1856, John Allen published his 'History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity'. There are several references to George Worgan, one of which is a short biography included in Chapter XVII ('Notices of Principal Individuals and Families'). While no sources are stated, the book was published 18 years after George Worgan's death, suggesting that the details were provided by those who knew him. In the biography it states in part (p525-526):

'In 1778 (sic), while young, he went out at surgeon in the first expedition with convicts under Commodore Phillips, to Botany Bay, then but little known. He wrote an interesting account of the voyage and colony : it was however never published, and has been mislaid. 

This statement, written in Liskeard in 1856, states the manuscript has been mislaid, and therefore that it has been search for. This is in contrast to the certainty of the information provided by John Parsons Worgan twenty years earlier in Sydney, that the manuscript was intended to be published.

Why would the manuscript not be composed of Worgan's original journal?

George Worgan was a member of the ship Sirius. On 19 March 1790, the Sirius was wrecked on a reef at Norfolk Island while landing stores. The crew was stranded on Norfolk Island until 21 February 1791, when they were taken back to England. The sailor Jacob Nagle was also on the Sirius that day, and his handwritten account has survived (two copies have survived) and been published by John Dann.

Nagle clearly describes the wreck, and the following points regarding the possessions of those on board is of relevance:
- "Having a pleasant breeze, we arrived at Norfolk Island about the 18 of March 1790 [sic. March 13]. Lay too and out boats and sent the Leut[enant] Govener and his troop, all the men and womin convicts on shore, the baggage remaining on board".
- "We began to secure our clothing in our chests and lash them well with cords and hove them overboard, thinking the surf would take them on shore, but being a strong currant setting to the westward, they either drove to see or into the whirlpool, so we lost all, only what we stood in".
Nagle then describes the effort to rescue provisions, mainly barrels, over the course of two weeks while the ship sat on the coral, but makes no mention of any luggage being recovered.

If Worgan's diary was lost (Nagle's was probably lost at the same time), the letters referred to by Worgan, some very long, may have been gathered together by Richard, or George on his return. These could be used to reconstitute his journal using the copies he forwarded to friends back home.

This would account for John P Worgan's description to Lhotsky of the manuscript that existed.

Whether the letter to Richard Worgan was part of that collection known to exist in 1835 is of course another point of conjecture. Perhaps the manuscript was broken up into its original letters, or perhaps this letter (addressed to Richard the brother, not a friend) is separate to this collation. Understanding George's family will help me understand possible fates of the manuscript.