My dinner party

#52ancestors theme for week 4 is ‘Invite to dinner’  I knew exactly who was coming to my dinner party.

William Chandler and his wife Caroline Chandler nee Bryant and John England and his wife Rebecca England nee Jackson are my great great grandparents on my mother’s paternal line.

I have already written some posts about William and Caroline as well as others on John and Rebecca.

But the reason I want to ask them to dinner is I have a lot of questions to ask them. I have settled for three questions per person.

William:

  • Where exactly were you born and when?
  • Who are your parents?
  • Did you know Caroline and her family before you came to Tasmania in 1855?

Caroline

  • Who was your father and what was your mother’s maiden name?
  • What happened to Charles before you and your mother came out to Tasmania?
  • Did you know William back in England and did he ask for you to emigrate to Tasmania?

John

  • Do you think your life in Tasmania was an improvement over life in Yorkshire?
  • Who were your parents?
  • How did you get to know Rebecca once you were both in Tasmania?

Rebecca

  • I know your father was William but what was your mother’s full name?
  • How is Sarah (Jane) Steele related to you?
  • What relation was Ann Jackson to you?

This would be an interesting dinner party as William and Caroline were free arrivals to Tasmania while John and Rebecca came at their majesty’s request (convicts). I wonder if this would make any difference to the conversation.  William’s family were into gardening while John was an iron moulder. The Chandler family lived in Sandy Bay while the England family were around Molle St, Barrack St and Goulburn St in South Hobart.

William and Caroline’s daughter Julia married John and Rebecca’s son Henry in 1885. I wonder how the two met. Maybe a local church?

Story 2 – Notorious Jackson Gang

It is a cold, dark night in April 1846. Members of the Jackson family are inside the Monglass home occupied by Caldwell Motherwell.

“Da, hurry up,” whispers Rebecca. She listens intently for any sound coming from the bedrooms above.

“Don’t you be worrying, me girl,” William replies, “We still have plenty to get from here.”

“But, da, we all have a coat or cloak to wear. We don’t want to wake up Mr Motherwell with any sudden noise.”

Rebecca slowly edges to the doorway with her younger brother William, who was wearing a macintosh, and her friend Mary Jane Gallagher, who was wearing a cloak.

William the elder, Anne Jackson and Jane Steele, who were also members of the notorious Jackson gang, picked up the last of their stolen goods and followed the children out the doorway.

Quickly and silently they headed over the fields that should have been filled with potatoes, towards their home in Garshooey, about a mile away. But with the potato famine happening all over Ireland, there was little in the way of food to eat. Pawning the pieces of clothing meant food in their stomachs for another week or so.

Eight months later, Anne reports the thefts to the local sub-constable James Lowe. William, his son and daughter and Jane Steele are convicted of theft and sentenced to transportation. Thus begins a new life in Van Diemen’s Land for my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson.

Source:

Report of court trial at Lifford Quarter Sessions, Donegal,  1 January 1847. Found in the Court of Petty Sessions records for Newtowncunningham held at Donegal archives, Lifford.

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Two students replied to this story mentioning a bit of confusion with the two William – father and son. Also to maybe set the scene more with lots more description.

Readers: Where else could I improve this writing? As it is only going to be published on this blog, feel free to re-write whole paragraphs if you want.