Friday, November 22, 2013

Update (5) on Ewer's in Colonial NSW

I posted a list of EWER people in Australia prior to 1901, the Colonial period ( This has now been expanded and updated yet again. I would like to thank those who have written to contribute information, particularly Michael EWER who has shared his research.

Colonial Ewer’s in Australia:
Thomas EWER, Private, NSW Corps, SAG pay list 1798, recorded receiving land in 1800. ‘Australia’s free coat settlers’ ( notes that he was in the 102nd Regiment (Rum Corps), and returned to England. The 102nd (NSW Corps) was raised in 1789 for service in Australia, and returned in 1810.

Thomas Ewer’s regimental discharge papers reveal a great deal:

HERTFORD, Hertfordshire
Served in New South Wales Corps
Discharged aged 40 after 13 years of service

“His Majesty’s New South Wales Corps whereof Francis Grose Esq. Is Colonel. These are to certify, that the Bearer hereof, Thomas Ewer Private in the Regiment aforesaid, aged forty years, five feet three inches high, fair complexion, fair hair, grey eyes, ? visage, born in the Parish of St Stephen’s in or near the Market Town of Hereford in the county of Hereford Kingdom of England and by Trade a Laborer hath served honestly and faithfully for the Space of thirteen years, but on the reduction of the Corps to the Peace Establishment was discharged therefrom at Sydney on the 24th May 1803 and is hereby discharged, and humbly recommended as a proper object of His Majesty’s Royal Bounty of CHELSEA HOSPITAL. He having first received all just Demands of Pay, Cloathing, &. from his Entry into the said Regiment, to the Date of his Discharge; as appears by receipt on the back hereof.

Given under my Hand and Seal at Parkhurst Barracks, this fourteenth Day of September 1804.”

So Thomas was born in approximately 1863, and enlisted aged 27 in 1890, served 13 years in the NSW Corps and was discharged aged 40 in 1803/4. It appears that after serving in Sydney, Thomas was discharged in Sydney in 1803 prior to sailing for England, receiving his discharge papers at Parkhurst Barracks on the Isle of Wight.

Thomas’ home county is mis-written as ‘Hereford’ on his discharge papers - the covering leaf states it correctly as Hertford. The St Stephen’s Parish in Hertford covers the Presbyterian and Unitarian Chapel, Dagnall Lane, St Albans (in Hertford), and parish transcripts reveal that Thomas Ewer, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Ewer, was baptised ‘near Tenements’, on 18 June 1762 by the minister Jabez Hirons.

Thomas was the eldest child of Thomas EWER and Elizabeth nee WRIGHT (who were married at St Stephens on 6 Nov 1761, both of parish of St Stephens). Their other children, also baptized under the same church, were George (baptized at Searches Farm, 21 March 1765), Elizabeth (baptized at Searches Farm, 30 Sept 1767), John (baptized at Searches Farm, 27 March 1771), James (baptized at Searches Farm, 1 Jun 1773), Joseph (baptized at Whitehouse Farm, St Stephens, 20 Dec 1775) and Rose (baptized at Whitehouse Farm, St Stephens, 10 Feb 1777).

I have not yet determined whether Thomas had a family in England – there are not births of Ewer’s in Australia during the period of the NSW Corps in NSW. As a side-note, given that Thomas was in NSW during the period in which my ancestor Edward and his siblings were born, he cannot be the Thomas Ewer, soldier, living at Clewer, Berkshire during that period.

William EWER, Private, 73rd Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion. Recorded in 1812 Pay List. The 73rd was sent under Leiut. Gen. Lachlan Macquarie to relieve the NSW Corps, arriving in 1810, and departing in 1814. The NSW Criminal Court records show that William Ewer, along with Joseph Accroid (Akroyd?) and William Grimes were charged with ‘riot and rescue’ on 30 Aug 1813.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales
Saturday 2 October 1813
Sitting Magistrate – A. RILEY, Esq.
John Grimes, Joseph Akroyd, and John Eure were indicted, the two latter for having upon the 7th day of June last rescued from the custody of several Peace Officers, the first mentioned defendant, Grimes, who had been taken into custody at Howell’s Mill, near Parramatta, for riotous and disorderly conduct.
A number of witnesses were examined for the prosecution ; from whose evidence it appeared that a large assemblage of persons had been drawn together for the purpose of passing the day in cock-fighting, and such other amusements ; that the Resident Magistrate of Parramatta, attracted by the noise and tumult generally attendant on such meetings, had been induced to repair thither, at about four, or later, in the afternoon ; at which time some of the persons appeared much intoxicated and rather riotously disposed ; that the Reverend and Worshipful Gentleman, fearing lest towards the close of day some serious disturbances might arise from their irregularities, admonished them to depart peaceably to their own homes, as the evening was drawing on, and it was a fit time for them to separate ; against the propriety of which very salutary and appropriate advice no one attempted to remonstrate or object, but in general a disposition to compliance was manifested ; that upon the Reverend Gentleman’s return to his own house, he directed Mr. Oakes, Chief Constable of the Town and District, to repair to the place of meeting, attended by some of his insubordinates, for the purpose of seeing that the people should separate as he had directed them to do ; that Mr. Oakes, as soon as he arrived there, informed the people of his errand ; but found immediate opposition from the prisoner Grimes ; who, with accompanying imprecations, vehemently declared a determination to resist the order, and not to quit the place for any authority whatsoever ; and thus by his own example, stimulating others to a spirit of opposition and resistance ; to check which, the Chief Constable ordered him to be taken into custody for a breach of the peace ; that the defendant Grimes was accordingly attached by two constables, between whom and the prisoner many of the by-standers immediately interposed themselves, some of whom forcibly dragged the constables away from him, and among the latter number the defendant Ackroyd was positively sworn to, but the evidence against Eure was doubtful ; that the Chief Constable considering it prudent for the instant to suffer Grimes to go at large, the latter was conveyed with disorderly exultation into the house of Howell ; the well-disposed persons gradually dispersed, and rimes remained at large until a warrant was afterwards issued for his apprehension, and informations given in against the other two defendants, for aiding and abetting in his rescue.
The defendants, in reply to the evidence produced in support of the charge, rested upon an exculpatory plea, implying that the meeting which had taken place was merely for the purposes of revel and amusement, and that no breach of the peace had taken place previous to the apprehension and rescue of Grimes. After a deliberation that occupied an hour and a half, the Court returned a verdict, Grimes and Akroyd guilty ; Eure not guilty.
The JUDGE ADVOCATE, before he passed sentence on the defendants, wished to have it clearly understood, that the object for which the concourse of persons had assembled at or near Parramatta on the day charged on the indictment, had made no part whatever of the question upon which the court had decided. The act of resisting the authority, or of disobeying the commands of a Magistrate, who in the just discharge of his duty had admonished and directed a mob of persons to disperse was in itself an offence against the law – for where twelve persons are assembled under any pretext whatever, the power of dispersing them is vested in the Magistrate, whose commands are to be treated with submission, and will be enforced by Law. The defendant Grimes, as from the whole of the evidence it had appeared, had in the first instance been taken into custody for daringly standing forward in an avowed determination to resist that legal authority. He was rescued from the peace officers, went at large, and so continued to do until afterwards re-apprehended. The other defendant (Akroyd), had been found guilty of aiding and abetting in the rescue, and by force and violence assisting to disengage the defendant Grimes from the custody of the police officers.
That offences of so dangerous a tendency required to be restrained every rational being certainly must feel ; and the Court, after the most serious deliberation had therefore ordered, that they John Grimes and Joseph Akroyd should be imprisoned in His Majesty’s gaol at Parramatta for the space of one kalendar month ; and afterwards find bail for their gaol behaviour for the space of sex months themselves in 100l. each, and two sufficient securities in 50l. each.

The 73rd left in 1814. A William EWER appears on the 1828 general muster having arrived on the Florentia (arrived NSW 1828) and employed in the No. 6 Iron Gang – no sentence is entered, nor is a year of arrival making it unclear as to whether this person arrived as a convict. No indication that he remained in Australia.

Held by The National Archives, Kew
Born: WINDSOR, Berkshire
Served in: 73rd Foot Regiment
Discharged: aged 26
Covering dates: 1809-1817
Availability: Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before

After returning to England out of the 73rd, William Ewer married Mary Ann Rudd on 11 Dec 1818 at Clewer, Berkshire, and appears to have probably died before 1825 in Slough, where a daughter Caroline was baptized in 1821 (by 1825 his wife was entered in the parish register as a widow).

Joseph EWER, Private, 73rd Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion, just like his brother William EWER. Recorded in 1812 Pay List. 73rd sent under Leiut. Gen. Lachlan Macquarie to relieve the NSW Corps, arriving in 1810, and departing in 1814. No indication that he remained in Australia.

Held by The National Archives, Kew
Born: WINDSOR, Berkshire
Served in: 73rd Foot Regiment
Discharged: aged 24
Covering dates: 1809-1817

The births of William and Joseph Ewer can be found in Clewer (the parish adjacent to Windsor) in Berkshire, the two eldest sons of Thomas and Jane EWER. William was baptized on 27 Jun 1790 and Joseph on 26 Feb 1792 (in keeping with their ages on leaving the 73rd Regiment). After they had returned to England, their younger brother Edward (my ancestor) was found guilty of theft and sentenced to transportation to New South Wales. As such, Edward would have had some first hand information on the colony when he departed for the other side of the world.

Joseph Ewer, bachelor, of New Windsor, is recorded marrying Jane Stone, spinster, of Pulborough (in Sussex) at Storrington in Sussex on 8 May 1819. He was buried at New Windsor on 25 Sep 1837 aged 46 years, entered as being 'of George St'. His wife Jane was buried on 15 Jan 1854, aged 62, 'of Clewer Lane'.

Nathaniel EWER, christened 23 Nov 1783 at Chatham, son of Clement EWER. Nathaniel married Sarah PARKER in Islington, Middlesex in 1810 and had a son Clement in 1812. Nathaniel appeared at the Old Bailey charged for simple grand larceny (theft) on 21st June 1815. Prior to his conviction, he was an articulator, employed to put skeletons together at St. Thomas and the London Hospitals. In the trial, the co-defendant John SILVESTER attested that he was guilty but that he had never met Nathaniel Ewer before, and that he was not guilty. Nathaniel was nevertheless found guilty and sentenced to be transported for seven years. Nathaniel was transported in July 1816 on the ‘Mary Anne’.

Whether or not it was due to his innocence, Nathaniel made several attempts to escape from the penal colony to which he’d been banished. The first escape was on the ‘Harriet’, which departed NSW in 1817, and he made it as far as the Cape of Good Hope before detection and his return in 1918. This was reported in 1818, here reprinted in the Hobart Gazette:

“The following important extracts we copy from the Sydney Gazette to the 30th ultimo:

From Captain Carns, commander of the ship Neptune, we learn, that he left the ship Harriet, in which Mr Alexander Riley left the colony, at the Cape; from whom he has brought 15 male prisoners who had secreted themselves on board the Harriet. Five women were also concealed on board, who are not returned.

The male prisoners who had effected their escape from hence in the Harriet, and returned by the Neptune from the Cape, were this day brought before a Bench of Magistrates, and sentenced one hundred lashes each, and worked in the gaol gang for 12 calendar months. The following is a list of the prisoners names:

Chambers, Henry
Chapman, William
Cochrane, John
Druet, John
Edwards, Thomas
Ewer, Nathaniel
Holliday, William
Latham, John
Little, Benjamin
Lowry, Patrick
Moore, Henry
Oliver, Benjamin
Plummer, Robert
Quinn, James
Skelton, John
Solomon, Moses a boy

It appears from a written statement transmitted from the Cape of Good Hope, that the delinquents have not made their appearance for considerable time after the vessel's departure from hence, although it was known by some of the crew they were on board; and, but for timely information being given to the commander, the consequence might have been very serious, as it was then represented to have been their intention to take the vessel, after the cargo had been received on board at the Cape, and carry her to South America; in which design they would very probably have been aided by seamen and other persons on board; with which assistance they could scarcely have failed in accomplishing their purpose. The result of this discovery was, that the troops, in concern with the passengers, were compelled constantly to keep the deck till they reached the Cape.”

In 1820, he escaped again on the ‘General Gates’ with four other convicts including Francis EWER on a boat which made its way to New Zealand before being returned (see NZ Historical Records Vol 1). This shows Nathaniel and Francis knew one another.

In spite of these escape attempts, in December 1820 he was recommended for a pardon, by 1822 had been granted a ticket of leave that allowed him to work for himself and he was listed in the 1822 muster as a ‘whitesmith’ (a tin and pewter worker) in Sydney. Nathaniel must have thrived in Sydney from here on, as from 1822 the Colonial Secretary Index shows he testified at a Board of Enquiry into the Engineer Department, was assigned convicts, and had offered his services to the government as a tin and copper smith.

The 1825 muster shows that Nathaniel was a blacksmith, and a Certificate of Freedom (119/3347) was awarded to him on 17 Mar 1825.

No subsequent records have yet been unearthed for Nathaniel, and he does not appear on the 1828 NSW census. It is possible he departed NSW after receiving his Certificate of Freedom.

An infant, Thomas R EWER, died in 1817. I do not have the certificate for this child. Any info welcome.

Francis EWER, born 25 Sep 1797, son of Thomas and Jane Ewer, St Sepulchre, London, and a plumber prior to his conviction. Convicted at the Old Bailey (First Middlesex Jury) for breaking and entering a house in St Luke’s, 19th Feb 1817, aged 19 and sentenced to death. Departed for Australia on the ‘Ocean’ in Aug 1818. In 1820, he escaped on the ‘General Gates’ with four other convicts including Nathaniel EWER and made their way to New Zealand before being returned (see NZ Historical Records Vol 1). This shows Nathaniel and Francis knew one another.

On 13th January 1821, the Sydney Gazette reported that Francis Ewer had been sentenced to 25 lashes and transportation for ‘purloining a quantity of lead:

The Sydney Gazette
13 January 1821
‘At a Bench of Magistrates convened this day at Sydney, Francis Ewer and Robert Ward, prisoners of the Crown, were found guilty of purloining a quantity of lead, the property of the government, and were sentenced to receive 25 lashes each and be transported to Newcastle for two years. Peter Jackson, and Mary Jackson is wife, each possessing the indulgence of a ticket of leave, were convicted of receiving the said lead, knowing to be stolen and sentenced two years to Newcastle’.

He was transported to Newcastle on the 27th of that month. A year later, on the 15th February 1822 the Sydney Gazette reported that Francis had absconded from the Newcastle settlement and he was still considered outstanding on the 29th March when that edition described him as ‘26 yrs old; native of London; 5 ft 8 inches; grey eyes; dark sandy hair; fair ruddy complexion’. However, the Colonial Secretary index indicates that Francis gave himself up under a proclamation of Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, and he was on a list of convict runaways removed to Port Macquarie per "Newcastle" (and he appears in the 1822 muster as under ‘Govt employ Port Macq’), though he was returned to Sydney to act as witness in a murder trial in December 1822 and may still have been there as there is also correspondence regarding his confinement to the Convict Barracks.

The 1825 general muster again shows Francis to be at the penal colony in Port Macquarie. No subsequent records of Francis have been found, and he does not appear in the 1828 census of NSW. The Port Macquarie settlement was closed in 1834 and convicts were transferred to Norfolk Island.

Edward EWER. Born Clewer, Berkshire, England 1796, died Howick St, Bathurst NSW 20 Sep 1859. Edward was convicted of stealing at the Berkshire Assizes on 28 Feb 1820 and sentenced to hang, but was transported to NSW on the ‘Mary’ (2), departing 28 Aug 1821 and arriving in Jan 1822 and assigned work – in 1822 his muster indicate was working at the Benevolent Asylum. Married Ann EDWARDS in 1825 at Parramatta NSW. The NSW census of 1828 indicates that Edward was a shopkeep in Parramatta, and he appeared in court in relation to a number of matters, including when Alexander Stuart was charged with ‘shooting at Edward Ewer with intent at Parramatta’ in 1829 – Alexander was a servant to Edward Ewer in the 1828 census. Edward was awarded a pardon in Jul 1834, and an absolute pardon in 1841 (after which Edward may have moved to Bathurst). They had 9 children in Parramatta (1827-1839) and the Bathurst district (1843-1848). His wife died in 1854, and Edward died in 1859. His death was noted in the "Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal" on 21st September 1859.

Ann EWER nee EDWARDS, born in colony. Daughter of convicts Rowland EDWARDS and Jan FLETCHER. Married Edward Ewer in Parramatta, 1825. d. Bathurst, 1854.

Edward (Jr) EWER, b. 1827, Parramatta, first of nine children to Edward EWER and Ann nee EDWARDS. Married Catharine HARAN/AHERN in Carcoar, NSW, 1851 and they had nine children, all born in Bathurst. Confectioner, declared insolvent in 1863, and present in the 1871 and 1878 electoral rolls living in Bathurst. Died 1884 in Bathurst NSW.

James Garnet EWER. A 'James Garner EWER' was born 23 Jul 1799, the son of James Ewer and Mary nee GRAHAME at Holywell, Flintshire (Wales), a relatively wealthy family. James appears in the 1832 Poll Book for Liverpool, England as: EWER, James Garnet, Occupation: Broker, Address: Rodney St, District: Liverpool.

Shipping intelligence in the Sydney Gazette of 10 Oct 1835 lists James G Ewer arriving on the barque 'William', from London. The Colonial Secretary letters relating to land reveal correspondence from James Garnett EWER from 1838-1845.The purpose of James' move to Australia seems to be revealed in the report of a civil case heard in the Supreme Court of 1842 (The Australian, 26 April 1842) - James Garnet EWER appeared as a witness and stated that James had come to NSW as an agent for Richard Aspinall to deal with his business and personal estates.

Several papers in July 1847 contain reports from Mr Ewer “a gentleman who has recently taken up a station on the Condamine” that he encountered the explorer Dr. Leichardt near his property, and in 1848 his sheep were attacked by a local tribe. The Maitland Mercury of Wednesday 29 August 1849 lists two claims for leases of land outside the ‘settled districts’. His were in the Darling Downs district in Queensland:

“53. EWER JAMES GARRETT. Name of run, 'WOMBO FOREST. Estimated area, 40,000 acres. Estimated grazing capabilities, 12,000 sheep. Bounded on the north by ten miles of the Lower Condamine River, commencing at a marked tree adjacent to the westerly boundary mark of Mr. G. Goggs's run; on the south by a scrub south of Dooduggan Creek ; on the east and north-east by a scrub ; and on the west by a marked tree E on the Werinbilla Creek to its junction with the Condamine.

54. EWER JAMES GABNETT. Name of run, YAMO (Condamine.) Estimated area, 12,000 acres. Estimated grazing capabilities, 500 cattle. On the north side of the Lower Condamine River, bounded on the south by ten miles of the river, commencing at a marked tree E, about two miles below the junction of Charley's Creek ; on the north by a scrub one mile from the river ; on the east by a scrub ; and on the west by a marked tree on a creek unnamed, to its junction with the Condamine”

A Mr. Ewer is shown as an unassisted arrival in Sydney on four dates between 1847 and 1852, in each case from Moreton Bay (Qld), and this is likely to be James Garnett EWER.

James Garnett again featured in the Sydney Morning Herald in July 1849 when one of his farm labourers was murdered:

“MORETON BAY. JULY 3.-MURDER.-This place has been the scene of another of those diabolical murders which disgrace humanity. The facts elicited at the Coroner's inquest, on the 21st ultimo, are these:-The deceased, John Leonard, lately in the employ ol Mr. J. G Ewer, of the Condamine River, came to Brisbane with his master on Friday, the 15th
ultimo, and there obtained his discharge from that gentleman's service; but signified his intention of returning to the country again, and agreed to meet Mr. Ewer on the Ipswich road on Sunday. His not keeping his appointment, and a man named Owen Molloy being seen in South Brisbane, on Sunday evening, with a portion of Leonard's clothes about him, and other property known to have been previously in the deceased's possession, suspicion was excited that he had murdered the man; and the following Monday, upon the police being made acquainted with the matter, he was apprehended, and, after an
examination, remanded, whilst search was made for the body. District constable Murphy, in company with Mr. Ewer, and two native black«, proceeded on Wednesday to Cowper's Plains, tracing the road along for marks; at Canoe Creek the deceased's dog showed evident signs of unwillingness to cross the creek, but run on one side of the road into the bed of the creek. Upon Murphy following the direction the dog had taken, he came upon the body of poor Leonard lying in the creek horribly disfigured, and the skull fractured, evidently from the blow of a tomahawk ; several witnesses proved at the inquest that Molloy had been in company with the deceased on the Sunday morning, and that he knew Leonard had money about him, and which was subsequently found on the person of Molloy ; the jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder against Molloy, who stands committed to take his trial. Since his commitment the prisoner has accused two other persons, named M'Carthy and Stevens, as being the murderers; in consequence warrants were issued for their apprehension, and the chief constable (Moore), of Ipswich, lost no time in following their route up the country, whither they bad gone with their teams; be overtook them on the Main Range, and returned with them yesterday to Brisbane, where they will undergo an examination this day. -Herald Correspondent.”

A Government Gazette in the Maitland Mercury on Wednesday 8 August 1849 proclaimed that “James Garnett Ewer, Esq., of Wombo Forest, Drayton” had been appointed a magistrate of the territory by the Governor. The Sydney Morning Herald of 13 Aug 1853 notes the “sale to-day, at auction, of J.G. Ewer, Esq’s, station of Womba Forest at Darling Downs, with about 9100 sheep, at 17s.a, 9d. per head, terms cash.”

He married Louisa HAWKINS (born abt 1816) at Trinity Church, Kelso, NSW (essentially a suburb of Bathurst NSW) in 1859, and appears not to have had any children with her. Marriage announcements describe Louisa as 'fourth daughter of the late Thomas Fitzherbert Hawkins, Esq., of Blackdown, Bathurst' (SMH, 23 Jul 1855). The 1867 NSW Post Office Directory lists James Garnet EWER as secretary, Church society, 256 Crown St in Sydney. It is tempting to suggest there was a connection to Edward EWER (convict, above) and his family given that both were living in Bathurst at the same time, but this is not the case based on their separate origins. However, given the rarity of their name, they may have sought each other out to meet in spite of their class distinction.
James died in Sydney NSW on 12 Aug 1886, aged 87. His funeral announcement (SMH 13 Aug 1886) indicates his residence was at 197 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW and he was buried at the Necropolis (Rookwood Cemetery). His wife Louisa died on 14 Aug 1902 at ‘Wirrulda’, Redmyre Rd, Strathfield NSW, aged 86. She too was buried at the Necropolis. The NSW State Library appears to own a number of items belonging to J.G. and Louisa Ewer, including a photograph of Louisa taken ca. 1871-1879 (call number P1/543), a card case belonging to J.G. Ewer (call number R 347), and call number MLMSS 678 contains correspondence among the Hawkins family including letters by Louisa and a copy of J.G. Ewer’s probate.

Mary Anne EWER, born abt 1856. Arrived in Sydney the ‘Earl Dalhousie’ in 1877, aged 21. Married William Fyfe, engineer, on 25 Mar 1880 at Balmain NSW. She is listed in the Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 1880) as the second daughter of 'the late J.H. Ewer, of Fulham, England'. She was probably daughter of Joseph Ewer and Mary Ann nee HITCH, birth registered in the December quarter of 1855 at the Chelsea district GRO. Mary Anne and William had at least five children in the Balmain area, including Emily (Balmain 1881), Alice (Sydney 1885), William (Balmain 1886), and Nellie (Balmain North 1891).


Van Diemen’s Land

Matilda EWER, born abt 1813. She is probably Matilda BRIGGS, the wife of Jeremy Lagden EWER – they married at Ipswich on 8 Aug 1828. Jeremy was born 27 Aug 1803 and baptized 5 Jun 1807 at Horseheath, Cambridge, the son of Thomas and Katherine Ann EWER.

The following is from Michael Ewer: In 1839 Jeremy was landlord of the George & Dragon on Wellington St, Newmarket (Cambridgeshire). It is believe they had three children; Harry Lagdon born 1833 at Horseheath, Cambs, Katherine b. 1838 and Emma b. 1839 both at Newmarket, Cambs. In the 1841 census Jeremy is an agricultural labourer living near Newmarket, and son Harry is listed beneath him (Matilda by this time had been transported).

Matilda was convicted in Cambridge on 24 Jul 1840 to be transported for life. She was transported on the ‘Rajah’ which set sail from Woolwich England on 5 Apr 1841 and arrived in Hobart Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land) on 19 Jul 1841, aged 27. On this trip, the 180 female convicts produced the ‘Rajah quilt’ ( The 1841 muster describes her employment as ‘Mr Turnbull, New Norfolk’ – there was a James Turnbull, Farmer at New Norfolk, west of Hobart at that time.

Back in England, Jeremy (her husband) married Eleanor Toon at Stamford, Lincs on 11 May 1843. In the 1851 census Catherine & Emma are living with their step-mother Eleanor Ewer, a labourer’s wife.

In VDL Matilda applied for marriage with Giles TIMMS (a free person) and this was approved as she married him in Hobart in 1843. In 1842 she is recorded traveling from Launceston to Melbourne, however given her marriage in 1843 she must have returned. In 1846 the muster notes she had earmed a ticket of leave and in 1847/8 she was granted a pardon in VDL, with the comment that ‘There is only one offence, and that of a trifling character recorded against her since she has been in the Colony’.

Nothing further is known of Matilda’s fate at this stage. However, the birth of a Harry EWER, mother Matilda EWER (no father recorded) is registered in 1858 in Victoria, and Matilda’s daughter ‘Katherine’ married Thomas COTTLE in 1861 also in Victoria. As such, her children may or may not have followed her to Australia.

There are still many questions here (as Michael points out):
Was the Matilda who was convicted at Cambridge and subsequently transported actually Jeremy’s wife?
Was he allowed a divorce since she was transported ‘for life’?
When did Matilda’s daughter emigrate, and did she join her mother?

Richard EWER was born Stoke Poges, Bucks, 26 Oct 1806, the son of William and Sarah. He had 3 children before he was transported and another, Jabez, when he returned. He was convicted at Bucks on 29 Jun 1841, and is on the 1841 England census, residing at the Buckinghamshire County Gaol and House of Correction as a prisoner, with occupation listed as ‘sawyer’. He was charged, aged 34, reading and writing imperfect, ‘on the oath of Francis Agar and others, with having on the 13th of April last, at the Parish of Burnham, feloniously stolen two sheep of the value of four pounds, the property of the said Francis Agar’. He was tried alongside Henry Martin.

He arrived in Tasmania on ‘Marquis of Hastings’ in 1842. The 1846 muster reveals that Richard had a 3rd Class pass (the lowest of three classes) assigned to Mr Walker of Longford. He departed Tasmania, free of servitude, on ‘City of Melbourne’, 2 Dec 1851. Richard appears in the 1861 England census living in Denham, Bucks with his wife Elizabeth (born Sathall, Middlesex abt 1814) and son Jabez, and again in the 1871 and 1881 censuses. The UK BDM indexes show a Richard Ewer registered as dying in 1889, in Uxbridge, Middlesex.


South Australia

Edward EWER Edward Ewer christened 18 Mar 1824 in Belchamp St Paul's, Suffolk. Edward is living with his father, 2 siblings and nephew at Melford (close by) on the 1851 census. He gives his occupation as a machine maker. Edward's father (Edward 1786-1857) made his sons Edward and John B executors of his will in 1849. When the will was proved in 1857, John B was the executor present and was charged with overseeing a legacy to Edward, which fits with Edward being abroad at that time.

He married Emma STRUTT in 1853, registered in nearby Sudbury (Suffolk) England. They arrived in Port Adelaide on the barque Lismore on 23 Aug 1855. The ship had left England from Southampton on 6 May 1855 with government immigrants. Edward, 30 (born abt 1825), stated he was a carpenter previously residing in ‘Suffolk’. With him came his wife Emma, aged 22 (born abt 1833) and an infant son also named Edward. Their son Edward must have died shortly after arrival as the first of three births registered to Edward EWER and Emma Elizabeth STRUTT was another Edward (30 Apr 1857 Adelaide). Harry EWER followed (13 Oct 1859 Adelaide) and he too must have died as a third son of the same name, Harry, was registered (19 May 1863 Adelaide). Edward Ewer (sen.) died in April 1911 at his residence, Park St, Hyde Park (Adelaide) and interred in the West Terrace Cemetery.

Information on their two sons according to the Biographical Index of South Australians:

Edward EWER, son of above Edward, born 30 Apr 1857 SA, died 3 Oct 1915 buried West Terrace Cemetery. Occupation Clerk, residence Parkside, religion Church of England. Married 9 Aug 1882 in South Australia to Emma (born abt 1863, died 7 Jun 1928). Children Laura Elizabeth 1887, Frederick Charles 1889, Elsie May 1891, Walter John 1894, Dorothy Myra BURROW 1896.

Harry EWER, son of above Edward, born 19 May 1863 SA, died 14 Jun 1914 buried West Terrace Cemetery. Married Leila Maude (born abt 1870, died 7 Aug 1957).



Eliza Lydia EWER. Married Joseph William TORREY in Victoria in 1854. According to Michael Ewer she was christened 21 Nov 1831 at Deptford St Paul, the daughter of William Ewer (butcher) and Tabitha nee PLAISTED. Eliza and her parents are not present in the 1841 or 1851 census in England so it is assumed they left England prior to that time (needs to be clarified).

Information on Joseph William Torrey:
"TORREY, Joseph William, rajah of Amboy and Mavoodu, Borneo, born in Bath, Maine, 22 April, 1828; died near Boston, Massachusetts, in March, 1884. He was educated in Roxbury, became a reporter on the Boston "Times," and was subsequently connected with Benjamin P. Shillaber in the publication of the "Carpet-Bag." He became a clerk in a commercial house in Melbourne, Australia, in 1853, and went to Hong Kong in 1857, where he was a partner in the firm of Montgomery, Parker and Co., and editor and manager of the "Hong Kong Times" and the "China Mail." He was subsequently appointed vice-consul in Siam, and practised law with success in that country. He founded the American trading company of Borneo in 1864. At that time the whole of Borneo was under the absolute sway of the sultan, but the Trading company settled upon about 20,000 square miles in the provinces of Amboy and Mavoodu. In 1865, the sultan's power being threatened by the encroachment of foreign nations, he made an ally of the company by recognizing Mr. Torrey as rajah or governor of all the territory that it occupied, the company paying him a small yearly tribute. As chief executive of the provinces, Torrey exercised the rights of an absolute sovereign, with power of retaining his office for life and of naming his successor. He occupied that post for fourteen years, and then became secretary to the United States legation in Siam. He returned to this country in 1883, and few weeks before his death was appointed by the king of Siam his chief adviser, but died before deciding whether to accept or decline that office."

'The Torrey families and their children in America' by Frederic Crosby Torrey (1924) states that "He married first Eliza Lydia Ewer and second Mrs. Charlotte Ann Lemon
and had one son and three daughters

Joseph and Eliza had two children, Emiline Eliza Torrey in 1856 and Cordelia Grace Torrey in 1858, both born in Melbourne.

Eliza died in 1859 in Victoria:
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), Wednesday 16 March 1859, p4
"DEATHS. On the 4th inst., at her residence, Sandridge, in her 27th year, after an illness of 5 days, Eliza Lydia, the beloved wife of Joseph William Torrey, Esq., of Roxbury Mass. USA. American papers please copy."

In the 1865 Massachussets, USA census (available on IGI Pilot Search) Emmaline and Cordelia are living with their grandparents in Roxbury, Mass. In the 1900 census Emeline (aged 42) and Cordelia (aged 40) were born in Australia, still unmarried, living in the City of Boston, both were school teachers, and stated that they immigrated to America in 1860. Emeline appears in the 1920 US census in Boston, but nothing further is known of either daughter and it is believed they had no issue.

Robert Horatio EWER. Lived in Victoria. Married Anastasia MURPHY on 17 Mar 1868 at Tarrawingee, Victoria. At this time he was 28, and so born abt 1840. His marriage certificate stated that he was born in Scotland and that his parents were Daniel EWER and Hannah CHURCHILL - they were married in London in 1828 and had numerous children. Michael EWER informs me that Daniel and Hannah had nine children in Acton (Middlesex, London), none named Robert Horatio. A family story states that he arrived with a brother and that his name was changed, and this appears to be the case based on the absence of a registration/baptism under this name. In the 1851 census, Hannah was a widow living with three children, Thomas, Eliza and Hannah - suggesting that Robert Horatio was Thomas. Robert Horatio died 31 May 1891 at Yarrawonga aged 53, and was buried at Bundalong, Victoria cemetery (it is likely no headstone remains if there was one). His death certificate stated that he had been in Victoria 40 years.


I will add to the biographies of these individuals as information comes to hand. Please contact me if you have any information on any of these EWER lines. I have not found any EWER people in the 1800's in Western Australia or New Zealand.

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