Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Strange Story of George Henry Sandwell and his Conjical Rights

George Henry Sandwell sued his wife Elizabeth for "RESTITUTION OF CONJICAL RIGHTS", but that was in the early 1900's and we should begin at the beginning.

George was the son of William Danton Sandwell and Mary Clark, one of twelve children.  His birth was registered in the last quarter of 1849 at Thanet, Kent, but all later documents list his place of birth as Ramsgate Kent.  Thanet was most likely the district, and Ramsgate the town.  By the age of 21 he was a Baptist Minister according the the census, and was living with the West family  He seems to have been living in the town as Mr West was a draper in Queen Street (now Cliff St) Ramsgate, 2 doors up from the Lord Nelson Inn, and next door to a Grocer on one side and a boot maker on the other.  This is the only information I found about the Lord Nelson Inn:

One year later, in 1872 he married Emily Johnson.  Emily appears to have been born in Russia, and I have not found her parents.  Her age is uncertain as she is listed in various documents as being born anywhere from 1848 to 1853

By the 1881 census George and Emily had two children and were living in Hillingdon, Middlesex, but both the children were born in Ipswich Suffock and as their daughter was just 1 they must have moved to Hillingdon in the year before the census.  George is listed as an Minister of Independent means.

Sometime in the next ten years the family moved to Canada, this time with another daughter born in England.  George is listed in the 1891 Canadian Census as living in York Ontario as a minister, his wife possibly born in Russia and her father born in Russia.  Six years later the family seems to have moved back to the UK  arriving on the St Paul in march 1897 at Southampton, but without their son Bernard.

On Ancestry I found this picture of George from his time as a minister in New England:

In July of 1897 George and his son Bernard (Bert) are listed on the Lucania traveling back from New York, George is listed as a minister and Bert as a student, so it appears Bernard must have continued studying in the US.  (Or perhaps came from Canada via the US, or the family moved to the US after Canada at some time?).

In 1898, just 2 years later, Emily died, and is registered as living in Essex at the time, She and George had been married 26 years.  In 1900 George married again, this time to Elizabeth Farley, daughter of Ebenezer (a Baptist Minister)  and Eliza Farley.  Elizabeth was three years younger than George, and it was her first marrige when she was 48 years old, which was unusual in those days.  In 1901 George and Elizabeth were living with three servants in Essex England, things must not have gone well however as by 1906 George was petitioning for the restitution of his conjugal rights.

According to the documents I found the matter appears to have begun in Dec 1906, by January 1907 his wife was appealing.  The registrar gave the parties two extensions of time, and then a letter was sent in March 1907 to both parties asking for documentation of adultery so that it could be inspected by his the other.  Something must have been forthcoming, as by the 19th of March an order is issued that the matter be heard by a special jury.  More documents were submitted, then on 28th May 1907 there is an order that the cause be struck off the list.

The petition states that they were lawfully married, lived together as husband and wife, then on or about 3rd October 1903 Elizabeth "withdrew from cohabitation" with George, without any just cause.  She "kept away from him and refused, and still refuses him his conjugal rights."   In the petition, George asks for his rights and for his wife to pay costs.

Elizabeth then accuses George of bringing the action "for the purpose of obtaining an annuity by her for the petitioner or otherwise securing monetary payments to him"  She states she cannot live in Leystone (their home) due to her health.

George goes on to state that he wrote to her (calling her Bessie) asking her to come home and reinstate his rights, and stating he has visited her in Italy and Switzerland during the previous 3 years but she still remains absent.  Quote:"I must therefore insist on my right as your husband and ask you to return to your home and duty".  He goes on to say that the "circumstances that hastened your departure have long since passed away" and that "if the house is too small for you" he is prepared to obtain a larger one.  He says "Surely it is possible for us to start afresh and realise some degree of happiness together".

Reading between the lines George seems to have come up wanting as a husband, I wonder if George not only had his eye on another women but also Elizabeth's money.

Apparently Elizabeth replied to the letter that she had received his "second letter of threat" (in Geneva) and she declines to discuss the matter, but is placing it in the hands of her solicitors.  (I think I am beginning to like Elizabeth!)  Sadly that is all I know from these documents, if I go to London again I think I will try to track the file down and see what happened.

It seems that they may have never divorced, but Elizabeth was a wealthy woman and she stayed in Switzerland, dying in 1927.  Her probate states she left no money to George, but to her brother and solicitor the huge sum of PDS 54,697.17.3d  (that is over 3 million pounds in today's money). 

Click here to view some of the legal documents.

By the 1911 census George is living, retired, with his daughter Vera and his son Arnold in Woodford Green, Essex.  Arnold was born in the United States in about 1893 and is a journalist.  One of his other sons Bernard settled in Canada, he was also a journalist and became Professor of Economics at McGill University.  He was a theater critic and editor of Saturday Night and an eminent Canadian author.  Meanwhile George appears to have travelled to and from Canada quite often.

George Henry Sandwell died on 15th July 1938 and his death was registered as London, his probate was valued at PDS 268.4.4d.  Considerably less that his wife!

The story throws up a few questions, particularly where did Elizabeth get all this money from?  It seems from her father who died in 1894 leaving PDS 86,699.14.10d to be devided amongst Elizabth, her brother Joseph and a William Roff.  But where did a Baptist minister get so much money?

Documents about Elizabeth and George Sandwell

Court Documents 1905-1908
George HenrySandwell vs Eliabeth Sandwell (Farley)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Major Henry Blackshaw 1836 - 1907

A crack shot of the NSW colony.

He eyed the mark that was 600 yards away and aimed his rifle carefully, taking his time.

The crowd went silent, but Henry knew that he was going to win the prize and slowly squeezed  the trigger.  A cheer went up as the crowd watching the competition cheered for one of their favorites.  Sure enough it was a bulls eye, after all, Henry was the crack shot of the Goulburn Volunteer Regiment.   A Captain at the time, Henry beat two of his Sergeants to win in the wind and rain on a cold day in August.

It was 1884, and he was competing for money at the Goulburn Volunteer Rifle Association Annual Event.     Two years after winning the Event at Goulburn he competed in London and won the 1886 Windmill contest in an event at Wimbledon.  He shot over 200 and 500 yards, and won a Martini-Henry rifle and 25 PDS.

A Martini Henry Rifle like the one that Henry Blackshaw won in 1886
A Martini Henry Rifle like the one that Henry won.
In the 1850's the provision of responsible government to the colonies led to increased responsibility and self-reliance, and volunteer infantry units were formed. These were unpaid positions and men were required to provide their own uniforms, although the government furnished them with arms and ammunition. Goulburn was the first inland city to form its own unit.

Henry was just  7 years old when he immigrated from Scropton, Derbyshire, England to Australia.  His father John was the brewer at Goulburn Brewery for a period in the 1800's, his mother was born Mary Slater and they married in 1825 at Broughton Church, Derbershire, England.

The church where Henry's parents were married as it is today.
Henry was educated at the St Saviours Church of England School, and served an apprenticeship as a saddler to Mr. T. Musgrave.  He operated his own saddlery business in Goulburn for 20 years.  In the 1872 Postal Directory, he is listed at Auburn Street.  Some investigation reveals that the saddlery business had some interesting history. 
Henry married Mary McKinlay in Goulburn in 1858, and they had 13 children in total, living in Goulburn all their married life.

In 1869, when the volunteer regiment was formed, Henry was one of the founding members.  By 1900 he was the President of the Association.  When he retired he was given the  honorary rank of Major, and with permission to wear the Uniform of the regiment by the Governor, and received the Queens decoration for long service in 1895.  Henry clearly had a competitive spirit, he won many footraces when he was in his 20's, played cricket,  and then went on to shoot competitively, winning many contests.

The Queens medal presented to Henry Blackshaw in 1895
The Queens medal presented to Henry in 1895.

Henry's wife, Mary, died in 1889, and in 1891 he married Sarah Jane Bushell.  They had one child together, Henrietta Louise Jane Blackshaw, born in 1893.  Not much is known of Sarah, other than her birth in 1850 at Kurrajong, NSW.  This made her 41 when she married  Henry who was then 55 years old.

In 1901 Goulburn was flooded, and 460 points of rain fell in 24 hours, as a result the Mulwaree River overflowed.   The family took refuge in large pine trees near the house, which was almost completely covered by water.  Fortunately they were rescued, but it was a very close thing, particularly as they had seven young children.

One of the reports of the resue of henry Blackshaw and his family from flooding in 1901
One of the reports of the rescue of Henry Blackshaw and his family during the 1901 flooding of Goulburn.

Henry died on 6th January, 1907 and was buried at Saint Saviours Anglican Cemetery, Goulburn, NSW.  Sarah died in 1936 and she and Mary are both buried at the same Cemetery.  Henry's funeral was very well attended, and (along with other newspapers)  the Goulburn Herald contained an obituary. 

 A final point - Henry kept a diary, and excerpts were published in 1907 just after his death.  Presumably someone in his family has the diary, it would be very interesting indeed to read.

More Information? If you are researching
Major Henry Blackshaw, Mary McKinlay or Sarah Jane Bushell
 and would like the sources for this story, 
please contact me or comment below.  I would be happy to collaborate with you.