Thursday, December 27, 2007

James Border and Sophia Mason

My earliest Australian Border ancestor is James BORDER, born 1818 in Buckfastleigh, Devonshire, the eldest child of Thomas BORDER, a cordwainer (shoemaker), and Ann ROWLANDS. James married Sophia MASON (born 1819 in Ilfracombe, Devonshire, the daughter of Richard MASON and Agness HUXTABLE) in 1844 in Ilfracombe. James must have settled in Sophia’s home village of Ilfracombe as they had at least three children born there: Ellen in 1845, Sophia in 1847 and Richard Mason in 1848 (Richard died the following year). It appears they also had a son Richard in Pilton, Devonshire in 1851, who deceased the following year (1852).

The UK census for 1851 shows James and Sophia living at Pilton, a small village about 10 miles south of Barnstaple, with three children, Ellen, Richard M., and Sophia. James’ occupation is given as ‘woolcomber’, and it confirms all three children were born in Ilfracombe, like their mother. A woolcomber operated machines that separate the fibers ready for spinning – an occupation soon to be replaced by machinery.

In 1852 James and Sophia departed from Plymouth, Devonshire, with their two children Ellen and Sophia for Australia on the ‘Wilson Kennedy’, arriving in Sydney on the 27th December – they paid 5 pounds for their passage. James Border listed his occupation as a woolcomber and fellmonger, and both James and Sophia could read and write.

James and Sophia moved to the Carcoar district between Cowra and Bathurst, and had three more children in Australia: Samuel Litson (b. 1857, Mulyn NSW), Mason (b. 1859, Carcoar NSW) and Thomas (b.1861 Binalong NSW). When Samuel Litson was born in 1857, the family lived at Mulyn, Cowra (I’ve not yet located it), and James’ profession was given as shepherd.

Only two of seven children survived adolescence to marry – Sophia married Andrew MCCLYMONT in 1865 in Carcoar NSW, and Samuel Litson married Amy CASTLE (or CASSEL, in Wallaroo, Cowra NSW in 1884).

Sophia died in 1898, aged 79, and is buried in Cowra Presbyterian Cemetery NSW. In the 1903 Electoral Roll for NSW, James is entered as living in Cowra, with no occupation (he was in his 80’s), and he died in 1913, aged 94 – his place of death was listed as Mulyan, Cowra NSW, and he is buried at Cowra.

There’s clearly quite a bit more to piece together about this family in NSW.

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