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.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The relationship between Miss A. Batley and Mrs.Margot Gaye

My previous post discussed the gift of the Worgan letter/journal to the State Library of New South Wales. The information as it existed is stated in that post, but fundamentally this is what is known: "Presented by Mrs Margot Gaye for her deceased aunt, Miss A. Batley, 1955. The relationship between Miss Batley and the journal has not been discovered"

Miss A. Batley

I believe I have now identified who A. Batley is and her relationship to 'Margot' Gaye.

I achieved this by reading the English National Probate Calendar, looking at all deaths for BATLEY females with the first initial A, from 1955 and working backwards. That process identified one entry where probate was to Louis Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. The middle name Margaret could be shortened to 'Margot'.

England Probate Indexes
BATLEY Agnes Emma of 52 Latymer-court Hammersmith London W6 spinster died 10 February 1953 Probate London 11 June to Louise Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. Effects 2947 pounds.

Death indexes for England reveal her death registration, supporting the probate index information, and a burial index at indicates she was buried at Seaborough, Dorset (it would be interesting to see the headstone):

Her death:
Name:     Agnes E Batley
Birth Date:     abt 1862
Date of Registration:     Mar 1953
Age at Death:     91
Registration district:     Hammersmith
Inferred County:     London
Volume:     5c
Page:     1139

Buried Seaborough, Dorset
14 Mar 1953, 91 years

Agnes was 91 when she died, making her born about 1862. Searching census records revealed Agnes E Batley living with her family in 1871, which I have summarized here:

1871 - Family in 7 Kensington Park Gardens, Kensington, London. John Batley, head, 47, arms and ammunition manufacturer, born Nolinforth, Yorkshire. Maria L Batley, wife, 37, born Lille north of France. Louisa M., dau, 17, born York, Leeds. Annette N., dau, 16, born York, Leeds. Edith B., dau, 13, born York, Leeds. Blanche M., dau, 11, born York, Leeds. Agnes E., dau, 9, born York, Leeds. Ralph C., dau, 8, born York, Leeds. Plus one visitor and five servants.

Agnes' father was John Batley, an 'arms and ammunition manufacturer', with French wife and a large number of children largely born in Leeds, though in 1871 they resided in Kensington, London. Among Agnes' sisters is an older sister Blance M., who will become relevant shortly in this discussion.

John Batley was a successful manufacturer. I presume that obituaries were published on his death but I have not yet found one, however there is information available on the web here and here. It is likely that there are archives holding Batley correspondence that may be instructive.

Margot Gaye

Agnes BATLEY's probate was granted to Louis Margaret Clayton GAYE widow, apparently called Margot. The SLNSW statement indicates she was a niece of Miss A. Batley. Her death registration was identified:

Death reg
Birth Date: abt 1890
Date of Registration: Sep 1968
Age at Death: 78
Registration district: Surrey South Western
Inferred County: Surrey
Volume: 5g
Page: 389

This means Margot was about 65 when she found Worgan's letter among her mother's possessions and donated it to the SLNSW, and she 78 when she died, so was born about 1890. We know Margot Gaye was married (Mrs), and the marriage indexes for England identified her marriage in 1914, and revealed her maiden name to be RUSSELL. Margot was widowed by 1953 according to the probate entry.

Marriage index 1914:
Russell      Louise M C      Gaye      Bedford      3b     742 
Gaye      Arthur D      Russell      Bedford      3b     742    

Based on the marriage and death entries, Margot's birth registration in 1890 could be found:

Births Sep 1890
Russell      Louise Margaret C            Bradford, Y.      9b     235
The district Bradford, Y. is an alternative name for Bradford and it spans the boundaries of the counties of West Riding of Yorkshire and West Yorkshire

To confirm the relationship of aunt/niece between Miss A. Batley and Mrs Margot Gaye, it was necessary to identify Margot's presence in the censuses in the hope of finding her parents. Presumably one of the parents would be a BATLEY sibling to Agnes.

1911 Census
1911 - Louise Margaret Russell (20, born Calverly), with family (parents John Clayton and Maude Morris RUSSELL and sister Sibyl. Living Bedford.
So Margot's parents were John Clayton and Maude Morris RUSSEL. There is only one possible match in the England marriage indexes, for 1882, and that is of John to Blance Morris BATLEY, Agnes' sister.

Marriages Mar 1882   (>99%)
Batley      Blanche Morris            Windsor      2c     608      
RUSSELL      John Clayton            Windsor      2c     608 

This work identifies who 'Miss A. Batley' was, and also confirms the relationship between her and 'Mrs. Margot Gaye'.

The next step for me is to investigate the BATLEY family to try and identify a possible connection to the WORGAN family, more specific than obvious factors such as London. It seems unlikely that the Worgan letter passed down through the BATLEY family, given that John BATLEY was from Yorkshire, but there is more to reveal, and more to do!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where did the Worgan journal come from?

I recently wrote a review of 'Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon', by George B. Worgan (1757-1838), surgeon on the 'Sirius'. The journal is in fact a long letter to his brother Richard, describing the journey and establishment of the settlement, in which George copied entries from his diary for the first six months and appended these to the letter. Worgan states in his letter that he is including these journal entries to sate the curiosity of family and acquaintances till Watkin Tench's work came into print in London.

The letter
That notion has really caught my interest, as has the origin of the letter held by the State Library of New South Wales. The original manuscript along with a full transcript can be viewed digitally at the State Library of New South Wales site.

The foreword to the published transcript 1978 states how the manuscript was acquired. It states that the letter was was donated to the Mitchell Library in 1955 by Mrs. Margot Gaye of Guildford, Surrey who found it amongst the possessions of her Aunt, Miss A. Batley, after her death. Nothing is known of the earlier history of this manuscript.

Curiously, the library catalog notes for the letter state "Presented by Mrs Margot Gaye for her deceased aunt, Miss A. Batley, 1955. The relationship between Miss Batley and the journal has not been discovered." It is surprising to me that the library did not speak to Mrs Gaye in 1955, or ascertain her relationship to her aunt.

Reading closely, it is also clear that Mrs. Gaye was of Guildford, Surrey, but the residence of Miss A. Batley is not stated.

In an attempt to clarify this, I wrote to the State library of New South Wales asking whether the library holds any information on Mrs Gaye's connection to A Batley from the initial gift, or whether any correspondence shows how the family came to decide to send it to the NSW State Library, and what the correspondence revealed about Mrs Batley.

I have received a response and it is a little confusing:

Response from State Library of NSW
There is no additional information regarding this relationship available. Miss Batley was not married and was considered to be Mrs Gaye's maiden aunt. Miss Batley did not have a husband and was therefore not a widow.
George Worgan had two sons and a daughter and each of them is recorded as having "no spouse".
Apparently the two sons migrated to Australia to live but there is no information available.

It would be extremely useful to know if Miss A. Batley was descended from the recipient of the letter Richard Worgan, George's brother. Worgan had 2 sons, both of whom emigrated to Australia, and one has to think that such a manuscript would have quickly surfaced there. As such, his daughter who remained in his village of Liskeard would presumably have retained the journals. If they weren't lost in a house-they may well be sitting unappreciated on a bookshelf somewhere in Cornwall or elsewhere in England right now! Who knows what insight they would throw onto early Sydney.

So a few simple things I'll say at this point:
- There are obviously many A. Batley deaths in England during and immediately prior to 1955, but i cannot find a likely Australian death.
- I can no reference to a Margot Gaye in any genealogy site that looks like it may have a bearing, except for an article in a Canadian newspaper (Quesnel Cariboo Observer) about a Margo Gaye living in Belcombe Court, Bradfor-upon-Avon, Wiltshire, England who died around 1973. Is this her? Her granddaughter Amanda Gillcash was based around Quesnel, Canada at the time. It is hard to know if this could be a lead.

I will summarize the Gaye and Batley leads in my next entry, and hope I can find a connection. Or at least a country to work with!

The journal
One implication of the letter is that a complete journal, covering a great time period, was created by George Worgan and may still exist somewhere. Worgan was born in London, the son of a prominent musician/organist, joined the Navy at 18 and trained to be surgeon, and joined the Sirius in 1786, sailing for Sydney with the First Fleet in 1787. After returning to Britain, he served in the Navy till about 1800, married and lived in Liskeard, Cornwall, and died in 1838. In theory, the journal returned to England, more specifcally Cornwall, with Worgan. That the journal existed is mentioned in the 1978 transcript foreword, with the statement that Worgan's son confirmed holding a 2-volume journal in the 1830s - but no reference was provided! I need to find this reference.

I'm not quite sure what I'm doing, but I am going to dig forward and backward in the Worgan family trees to try and understand where the journal may have moved in the immediate years after Worgan's death.

I am amazed at how little we actually know about where this journal came from.

Breakthrough reading through BATLEY probate indexes - note the connection to GAYE:

England Probate Indexes
BATLEY Agnes Emma of 52 Latymer-court Hammersmith London W6 spinster died 10 February 1953 Probate London 11 June to Louise Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. Effects 2947 pounds.

Her death: Name:     Agnes E Batley
Birth Date:     abt 1862
Date of Registration:     Mar 1953
Age at Death:     91
Registration district:     Hammersmith
Inferred County:     London
Volume:     5c
Page:     1139

Buried Seaborough, Dorset 14 Mar 1953, 91 years

'Margot' was widowed by 1953, but her marriage was in 1914: Russell      Louise M C      Gaye      Bedford      3b     742
Gaye      Arthur D      Russell      Bedford      3b     742  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Boswell and the Girl from Botany Bay by Frederick A. Pottle

Boswell and the Girl from Botany Bay by Frederick A. Pottle appears to be the first published narrative of the story of Mary BRYANT nee BROAD and her cohorts (including her two infant children), who escaped the penal colony at Sydney Cove on 28 March 1791 in a small boat and sailed about 5,000 kilometres to the island of Timor. A summary appears in several places including here.

The episode itself has subsequently been covered several times in published books - I first came across the story in a book I purchased and was extremely disappointed to discover was a fictionalized account - a romaticized novel based on the facts, rather than an accurate discussion of details. Frustrated, I turned to the earliest title I could identify on the story, by Frederick Pottle, a Boswell expert at Yale University.

Pottle's account is outstanding in its focus and simplicity. It is in fact the published form (Viking Press, NY 1937) of a Presidential Address given at the Elizabethan Club of Yale University by Pottle in 1932. The first print run was of only 500 (numbered), giving some sense of the relatively minor read interest in the topic, presumably partly because it was published in the United States. The book is structured into three parts, the first introducing Boswell and citing his mysterious support of a woman named Mary Broad in Cornwall, the second explaining to the American 1930s audience the settlement of Australia by the British and the journey of the First Fleet, and the third outlining Boswell's correspondence and diary entries relating to Mary.

James Boswell was a Scottish lawyer and diarist, living in London in the early 1790s. Pottle explains that when Boswell's correspondence was being transcribed, a letter written in 1794 shortly before Boswell's death outlines some financial instructions, including "…and put into the Banking Shop of Mr Devaynes & Co five pounds from me to the account of the Rev. Mr. Baron at Lestwithiel, Cornwall, and write to him that you have done so. He takes charge of paying the gratuity to Mary Broad". Transcribed in the 1920s, it was not known then who Mary was, or why Boswell would be supporting her financially. Pottle examined Boswell's records to show Mary was one of the escaped convicts from Botany Bay, and that Boswell advocated for the survivors arrested at at Timor and brought back to England. Ultimately the escaped convicts were granted clemency.

Pottle's description of the establishment of New South Wales is given (with an apology to Australians and Britons who might be more familiar with that tale), and he then turns to the escape of the convicts.

Pottle states that he had two sources to draw on when recounting the escape and journey. First, an account published in a newspaper by a reporter over a year later (cited are the London Chronicle, June 30 - July 3, 1792, published at the time the absconders were examined in court on their delivery in England). The second is the published journal of Watkin Tench, who had been to Botany Bay with the First Fleet on the same ship as Broad/Bryant, and was returning on England on the 'Gorgon' which picked up the Mary and the other survivors and carried them to England. Tench's journal recounts some details he obtained from the survivors. Pottle quotes directly from these sources in order to avoid the 'temptation to sentimentalize the story'.

What Pottle (in Connecticut) could not know is that a third source existed for the journey. In the archives of University College London was and is a folder entitled 'Journal (original) of J. Martin who in company with 12 others escaped from Botany Bay—on 20th March, 1791'. The document, commonly called 'Martin's Memorandoms', after the convict James Martin who identifies himself at the beginning of the text, describes the escape up to the point when the absconders arrived in England. Bentham had acquired the document, presumably as part of his opposition to the penal colony system. The memorandums were first published in the same year as Pottle's work (C. Blount, Memorandoms by James Martin, Cambridge, 1937), and have recently been re-transcribed with an excellent and lengthy foreword by Tim Causer (Memorandoms by James Martin, The Bentham Project, University College London, 2014).

Pottle makes the interesting point that three open-ocean voyages of such a vast distance  were made at that time: Bligh had arrived in Timor in the same manner two years earlier, and Edwards arrived shortly after Broad's party. Bligh (Bounty) and Edwards (Pandora) received great praise for their virtuous (and legal) journeys, whereas Broad's party achieved the same feat with little nautical training and two infants aboard the boat, to little modern recognition. Pottle suggests this disparity of recognition is due to the ability of the naval leaders to submit and publish their story in written form, whereas he asserts it is unlikely that any of the absconders could write.

While little to nothing is known of Mary BROAD and the other convicts following their release, Pottle shows that Boswell was forwarding money to Mary via the parish priest at her home village in Cornwall. It is remarkable that Pottle's research has not been greatly added to, insofar as facts related to the absconders and their fate is concerned. That Pottle was thorough is clear - he had  Vicars at a number of parishes in Cornwall search the registers for any sign of Mary after 1793.

Mary's fate is still unknown, and the work leaves mysteries that still remain unanswered. For example, Pottle notes that at their final farewell, Boswell wrote two pages of Mary's account of her escape, and these sheets had not yet been identified by Boswellian researchers. Included in the book is a picture of 'Leaves from Botany Bay used as tea' discovered in Boswell's collection as part of the search for documents relating to the escape. Two of these were later donated to an Australian collection.

Partly by being the first, partly because the work was first delivered in speech form, and partly by being outside the sphere of influence of Australian historical circles, Pottle's work is clear, well-structured, and gives an excellent factual summary of the events as they relate to Mary BROAD and Boswell's assistance in gaining her freedom. Pottle cleared a path than many of others have followed without greatly adding to.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The marriage of Jacob NAGLE

I've been reading first-hand accounts of the First Fleet. One that I'm thoroughly enjoying is the journal of Jacob Nagle, an American sailor. His journal was transcribed and edited by John C. Dann, then Director of the University of Michigan Clements Library (who holds one of two handwritten copies).

I'll write a full review in the future, but I noted that the biographies of Nagle in the Australian Dictionary of Biography and elsewhere noted that Nagle's wife had not been identified, despite his diary indicating he married in London in 1795.

I ran some searches of London marriage indexes and came up with the following marriage at St Botolph, Aldgate in London in 1795. The signature matches that of Jacob from other documents.

St Botolph, Aldgate in London
The Year 1795
No. 29
Jacob Nagle of the Parish Batchelor and Elizabeth Pitman of the Parish Spinster 
Married in this Church by License this Tenth Day of August in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Five by me A Slatt, Curate
This Marriage was solemnized between us Jacob Nagle (signed), the mark of + Elizabeth Pitman 
In the presence of Jno Taneer (?) and Ann Elizabeth Poupard (both signed)

In Dann's published transcription of the Nagle Journal, Nagle describes that he was in London after returning from a voyage to India. Nagle states (p 186, 1st ed.) that "When in London before {i.e. a previous stay in London}, I got acquainted with a family [that] lived near Stepney Church, though they came from the Isle of White [Wight] abreast of Portsmouth Harbour.  I took a liking to a daughter of Mr. Pitmuns, a lively hansome girl in my eye, and married hur. She had three brothers that I was acquainted with before."

The Stepney Church referred to is about a mile from St Botolph, Aldgate, where the two were married.

Friday, February 7, 2014

First Fleet sources

I'm interested in accounts of First, Second and Third Fleets. Let's start with the easy one - First. There is a Wikipedia page describing 'journals' that states there are nineteen known accounts, and the State Library of New South Wales has a page that describes primary accounts in their possession. Neither page seems to include the broadside published by Richard Williams, nor the account  published by an unknown officer (both were probably published in 1789). There are also abstracts of letters sent back to England published in newspapers at the time - these do not appear to be considered.

So here is a quick list I made of known accounts, and links to transcripts where available. Please let me know of any other records you are aware of! I'll try the Second Fleet next.

David Blackburn, Letters

Arthur Bowes Smyth, Journal
Images of journal pages published as 'Original Daily Journal Kept on the Transport Lady Penrhyn', F. Edwards, published 1964, London, one hundred copies printed

Transcript of journal, edited by Paul G. Fidlon and R.J. Ryan, Sydney Documents Library, Sydney, 1979

William Bradley, Journal
Transcript of journal, William Bradley, 'A voyage to New South Wales', published 1969, Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 1969

Transcript at:

James Campbell, Letters

John Campbell, Letter

Ralph Clark, Journal
Published 1981

David Collins
Published account, Pub 1798 and 1802 (combined in 1804)

1804 edition available on Google books

John Easty, Journal
Published 1965

Newton Fowell, Letters
Published 1988

John Hunter
Published account 1793

Richard Johnson, Letters

Philip Gidley King, Journal
Published in Hunter’s 1793 book, and alone in 1980 

Jacob Nagle
Published account 1840 (rare) and Pub 1988

Arthur Phillip, Published account 1790, also letters

Account available of Google books

James Scott, Journal
Published 1963

Watkin Tench
Published account 1789

Unknown officer
Published account 1789

Henry Waterhouse, Letters

John White
Published account 1790

Richard Williams
Broadside, abt 1789

George Bouchier Worgan
Letter containing journal excerpt, Pub 1978