Will, will or will

For this post, week 9 in #52ancestors, I had to decide:

  • Will I research a relative named Will or William?
  • Will I look at a will from one of my relatives?
  • Or will I research a relative who was willing to do more than most?

My decision was to check out the wills of some of my relatives. We are very lucky here in Tasmania that the wills of many people are found online at the LINC Tasmanian names index.

What did I learn from these wills?

My grandmother Hannah ENGLAND had bequeathed 25 pound to each of her grandchildren when they attained the age of 16.

My grandfather Henry Lewis ENGLAND bequeathed his piano to me. I remember as a child learning and practicing those scales and even now, after many years of not using the piano, I can still play most of Fur Elise from memory.

It looks like my great great grandparents John and Annie DAVEY did not leave wills so the Supreme Court appointed some of their children to make an inventory and then to sell the goods and chattels and hand the money to the court to pay costs. I am not very good at reading all that legalese though so it might mean something else entirely.

My great great grandfather Francis COLGRAVE left everything to his two youngest sons, presumably as the older sons already had their own properties and the older sisters were all married with their own families.

I can’t find any more wills of my direct relatives but one of my indirect relatives (sister of my great great grandmother Caroline Chandler nee Bryant) named Esther Julia WINTER left many instructions on who was to receive what in her will.

Readers: What is the most interesting will you have read in your family or from collateral kin?



Story 5 – Murder at the lodging house

“Murder!” One of my children knocked frantically on our bedroom door. “Ma, someone’s being murdered in the back room.”

Dashing out of bed in my nightgown, I lit a candle and moved quickly down the hallway following the child.  At the doorway to the back room, I called out nervously, “What’s the matter?”

Someone inside the room replied. “Get a light missus, one of the men is being murdered.”

On entering the room, I saw a man, later identified as Richard Furlong, kneeling at his bed and stooping over it, holding his hands to his stomach. He had been stabbed but he was not yet dead. The woman he called his wife was sitting up in bed. This couple and another man had arrived at the lodging house about three hours earlier. All three were rather drunk when they arrived but they stayed up, sitting in the kitchen. About 9.30pm the man and his wife went to bed.

The other three beds in the back room were also occupied but I only knew the name of the woman Eliza Kelly or Higgins. She was now standing in the kitchen, screaming. Richard’s mate, dashed out the front door and ran to get the doctor.

I went to check the other bedroom where six more men were sleeping but one bed was empty. Where was that man? Had he committed the murder and then run away?

I remembered hearing Richard’s wife talking to the absent man earlier that evening. “Hello, what fetched you here?” He replied, “I only came here today.”


1861 ‘THE LATE STABBING CASE AT EVANDALE.’, Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), 23 February, p. 4. (MORNING.), viewed 17 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38757954
Background: The woman Isabella Colgrave nee Watkins is my great great great grandmother.

Men who influenced Isabella

There were four men who I believe had an influence on the life of Isabella Watkins.

The first is her father of whom I know nothing other than his daughter Isabella decided she needed to steal clothing to survive in Victorian London. This thieving led to the next man of influence.

Mr. Baron Parke (Photo by Liszt Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Mr. Baron Parke (Photo by Liszt Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

This is the judge at her trial, Baron Parke, who decided transportation for seven years was a suitable punishment for a persistent shoplifter or thief.

James Parke was a well respected judge especially working in the Court of Exchequer and was mentioned in a Harvard Law Review in 1897:

“one of the greatest of English judges; had he comprehended the principles of equity as fully as he did the principles of the common law, he might fairly be called the greatest. His mental power, his ability to grasp difficult points, to disentangle complicated facts, and to state the law clearly, have seldom been surpassed. No judgments delivered during this period are of greater service to the student of law than his”.[1]

He was so influential in the legal world, a rule of law was named after him.[2]

Would the sentence and punishment he gave Isabella be a positive influence in her life and cause a change in her behaviour?

Now the third man of influence, her master Mr Legge from Cullenswood near Fingal in Van Diemen’s Land, enters her life. Robert Vincent Legge arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1827 with his brother and five sisters.[3] He was granted 1200 acres near St Mary’s. He called the property Cullenswood after a property in Ireland. He returns to Ireland and marries in 1839. Bringing his wife back to Van Diemen’s Land, he now needs servants to help run the property and look after his house and his growing family.

Isabella is still behaving badly. But she only committed one offence while under sentence. The local magistrate decided to send her to the Launceston Female House of Correction or factory. She was sentenced to one month’s hard labour which probably meant time at the washtub. Maybe it was this final punishment that helped Isabella mend her ways.

The third man with influence would be her husband. Francis Colegrave arrived in Van Dieman’s Land on theCircassian 16 February 1833, having been tried at Huntingdon Lent Assizes 7 March 1832 on two indictments: one of stealing chests of tea valued 3 pound and  the other of stealing wearing apparel.  He was found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years transportation. He received a Ticket of Leave in March 1839 and a conditional pardon 28 October 1841.[4] This meant he was a free man at the time his wife-to-be applied for permission to marry him. Francis had only two offences while under sentence and was either reprimanded or admonished.

I feel Francis was the steadying influence in Isabella’s life but if it were not for her father, Baron Parke and Robert Legge and their reactions to her behaviour, she would not have arrived in Van Diemen’s Land to eventually become my great great great grandmother.


[1] Wikipedia contributors, “James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_Parke,_1st_Baron_Wensleydale&oldid=718145459 viewed 11 June 2016

[2] http://definitions.uslegal.com/b/baron-parkes-rule/

[3] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~becher/legge_family_of_rodeen.htm

[4] TAHO, CON 31/1/7 p178, Conduct record Francis Colegrave

Readers: Who do you think was the most influential person in changing the behaviour of your convict?

Following Isabella’s paper trail

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland, http://maps.nls.uk/view/103313045
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland, http://maps.nls.uk/view/103313045

It was at St Mary Newington in Surrey on Monday 7 December in 4th year of Queen Victoria (1840) when Isabella Watkins was convicted of a felony using the name Mary Johnson. This record was found while I was visiting the National Archives at Kew in 1990. The reference was HO 27/65.   But using England and Wales Criminal register 1791-1892, I could find no reference to her name being Isabella Watkins. Instead it was Mary Johnson (16) who was given three months imprisonment for larceny on this date.[1]

A little over three months later, Isabella Watkins of the parish of St Mary Lambeth was charged on 15 March 1841 of stealing two shawls valued one pound from Isaac Atkinson and Thomas Coates who owned a shop on Westminster Bridge Road.[2] This road in Surrey has Newington on one side and Lambeth on the other.

Two weeks later, she was tried at the Surrey Assizes and sentenced to seven years transportation.  According to her conduct record, she had been convicted before, serving three months for stealing a dress, 21 days for stealing stockings and two months for stealing dress material called Mousseline de Laine.  Isabella stated ‘I lived the last two years by thieving.’ [3]  No more references to Isabella can be found in the criminal register for stealing stockings and dress material.

Extract from The Morning Post (London, England), Sunday, 31 March 1841 p 7
Extract from The Morning Post (London, England), Sunday, 31 March 1841 p 7

The newspaper report of her trial mentions she was a respectable looking young woman; maybe this was why she stole clothing, especially fancy dress material. But she was also a vocal individual.  Baron Parke, the judge at her trial, was known to be a very straight speaking man and I noticed in other trials he presided over that repeat offenders were usually transported. He was looking after the tradespeople who had to be protected from others like Isabella.[4]

Extract from The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, for Lancashire, Westmorland, &c. (Lancaster, England), Saturday, 24 March 1832; p1 issue 1606
Extract from The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, for Lancashire, Westmorland, &c. (Lancaster, England), Saturday, 24 March 1832; p1 issue 1606

Apparently Isabella and her soon to be husband Francis Colgrave were like minded in the way they treated the judge when he pronounced sentence upon them at court.[5]

The convict transport Garland Grove had docked at the London Customs House at Woolwich in early April.[6] Where had Isabella been held between her trial date and 12 April? The gaol report on her conduct record mentions she was bad but having searched records for many gaols in the area of London and Surrey, nothing has been found telling us where she was incarcerated. Isabella is also missing on the census taken on 6 June 1841; I now realise she would have been travelling down the Thames on the evening it was taken.

It was on 5 June 1841 when Isabella departed London, heading first to Gravesend then to the town of Deal near the area of the North Sea known as The Downs.[7] This is where many ships would anchor until fair weather allowed them to sail out into the English Channel.

The barque Garland Grove, which was built in 1820, arrived in Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 10 October 1841. The master for this trip was William Forward and the surgeon superintendent was Robert Dobie. The trip took 109 days.[8]  Isabella must have had an uneventful voyage as she was not mentioned in the surgeon superintendent’s medical journal as having been in sick bay at all. But the surgeon’s report on her conduct record mentions she was bad. This must relate to her behaviour on board rather than her health. Despatches and newspapers dated up to 24 June were sent onboard from England; many related to the Corn Laws being discussed in Parliament at that time.[9]

Upon arrival in Van Diemen’s Land, Isabella was probably one of the 80 convicts from the Garland Grove who were sent to Launceston as less than 4 months later she had committed her one and only offence noted on her conduct record below.


TAHO, CON 40/1/10, p228, Conduct record Isabella Watkins
TAHO, CON 40/1/10, p228, Conduct record Isabella Watkins

It was on 10 February 1842 when she was given one month hard labour at the Launceston House of Correction or Female Factory.  This was for disobedience of orders and insolence while working for Mr Legge (most probably Robert Vincent Legge at Cullenswood near Fingal in north eastern Tasmania.)  A decision was made by the Lieutenant Governor on 18 February 1842.  The magistrate was probably William Franks who was based at Fingal and it was requested that Isabella be returned to Government service after she had finished her time in the factory.[10]

The next piece of paper we find on her trail is that of her permission to marry.[11] Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land had to apply to the Convict Department for permission to marry if they had not finished their sentence.

Permission to marry for Isabella Watkins, CON 52/1/2, p027 TAHO

Permission to marry for Isabella Watkins, CON 52/1/2, p027 TAHO

Like many female convicts at that time, they were encouraged to marry about a year after arriving in VDL and so it was on 14 November 1842 that Isabella married Francis Coldgrave (Colgrave) from Evandale.  They were married at the newly built St Thomas Anglican Church at Avoca.[12]

Marriage certificate for Isabella Watkins, RGD 37/1/3 No 85/1842, District of Avoca, TAHO

Marriage certificate for Isabella Watkins, RGD 37/1/3 No 85/1842, District of Avoca, TAHO


St Thomas Anglican Church, Avoca taken by Sue Wyatt in May 2016

St Thomas Anglican Church, Avoca taken by Sue Wyatt in May 2016

Over the next few years, the only times Isabella was mentioned in the newspapers was when gaining her ticket of leave in 1845, being recommended for her conditional pardon in 1846 and receiving that pardon in 1847.[13]

In her 48 years of marriage to Francis, they raised a family of nine children (two daughters and seven sons). They remained in the district of Evandale where at one stage they ran a boarding house and mention was made in the local paper of a murder on the night of 17 February 1861.[14]

They must have had a very loving and close relationship as Francis died on 24 October 1890 aged 85 and just over a week later Isabella died on 3 November aged 67.[15]

But the questions still are:

Is she Isabella Watkins or Mary Johnson?  Is she from Yorkshire or Surrey?

Maybe we will never know the answers but Isabella Watkins, either convict or free woman, raised a fine family, with hundreds of descendants still living in Tasmania today especially around Evandale.


[1] England and Wales Criminal register 1791-1892: Class: HO 27; Piece: 62; Page: 243 , 1840 Mary Johnson viewed 17 May 2016

[2] The National Archives, ASSI 94/2329, Isabella Watkins, viewed June 1990

[3] TAHO, CON 40/1/10, p228, Conduct record Isabella Watkins

[4] British Newspapers 1600-1900, The Morning Post (London, England), Sunday, 31 March 1841, p 7 issue 21905, viewed 18 May 2016

[5] British Newspapers 1600-1900, The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, for Lancashire, Westmorland, &c. (Lancaster, England), Saturday, 24 March 1832, p 1 issue 1606, viewed 18 May 2016

[6] British Newspapers 1600-1900, The Morning Post, Tuesday 13 April 1841, Issue 21916, viewed 18 May 2016

[7] British Newspapers 1600-1900, The Morning Chronicle, Saturday 5 June 1841, Issue 22317; The Morning Chronicle, Saturday 19 June 1841, Issue 22329; The Standard, Thursday 24 June 1841, Issue 5309,  all viewed 18 May 2016

[8] http://www.hawkesbury.net.au/claimaconvict/shipDetails.php?shipId=764

[9] ‘THE COURIER.’, The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), 15 October 1841, p 2., viewed 18 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2955433

[10] TAHO, CON 40/1/10, p228, Conduct record Isabella Watkins

[11] TAHO, CON 52/1/2, p027, Permission to marry Isabella Watkins, Francis Colegrave

[12] TAHO, RGD 37/1/3 No 85, District of Avoca 1842, Marriage certificate Isabella Watkins, Francis Coldgrave

[13]  ‘THE GAZETTE.’, Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), 28 September 1847, p. 4. , viewed 01 Jun 2016, http:/nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8761424;

[14]  ‘SUPREME COURT.’, Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), 4 May 1861, p. 3. (MORNING.), viewed 04 Jun 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38759339

[15] TAHO, RGD35/1/59 no 681 District of Evandale 1890, Death certificate Francis Colgrave; TAHO, RGD35/1/59 no 683 District of Evandale 1890, Death certificate Isabel Colgrave

Readers: What was a great website you used that had interesting information relating to your convict ancestor?

PS I still need to insert the images correctly with captions but this is how they copy and pasted across direct from Our Family Past.

Letter N challenge

Today is ANZAC Day here in Australia and New Zealand so I thought I could combine three things in one post.

Wreaths in Hall of ValourThe letter N is for

New Course

I have enrolled as a student in a new course HAA007 (part of the Diploma of Family History) at the University of Tasmania titled “Convict Ancestors” run by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and his team. I have previously been involved with “Founders and Survivors” also organized with Hamish and a different team. They were looking at descendants of convicts and how their improvements in health evolved over time eg height , weight of sons, grandsons  etc

So this leads to the second part of this post which is looking at the descendants of my convicts who may have served in WWI. I will need to carefully look at my database and check them out – so far I know of three in the COLGRAVE side of the tree.

Finally to the third thing in this post is a link I found on another facebook group which is about a special blog post for Military Monday and relating to ANZAC Day. For those searching for information on their soldiers in WWI, check out the great links in that blog post.

So now let’s start the true part of the post.  My convicts and their descendants who served in WWI:

Francis COL(E)GRAVE:

Great grandson – Private Roy Graham COLGRAVE who I have researched carefully and already written a post about his life in WWI. His records are in the National Archives of Australia SERN 5996 – 56 pages

Grandson –  William COLGRAVE – SERN 834 – 66 pages

Grandson –  Walter COLGRAVE – SERN Depot – 20 pages

Great grandson –  Walter William COLGRAVE – SERN T9050 – 15 pages

Great grandson –  Tasman Allan COLGRAVE – SERN 1060 – 33 pages

Great grandson – Angus Colin COLGRAVE – no digitised record yet

William TEDMAN

Grandson – Edward James TEDMAN – SERN 6096 – 37 pages


Grandson? – Edward ENGLAND – is this Vivian Edward ENGLAND? – SERN 2177 – 16 pages

I haven’t researched the BOYD side of the tree enough to know the grandsons and great grandsons who might be mentioned in the Discovering ANZACs website.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with N that relates to your family history or your research.

 letter N