52 Ancestors #23 – Going to the Chapel – Sarah Darling

The blog prompt for week 23 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks “Going to the Chapel” could really be written about any of our ancestors who married in a church or chapel. However, Sarah Darling whom I’ve chosen for this blog, married in the Office of the District Registrar at Champion Bay (Geraldton, Western Australia), more than likely because her husband, Samuel Mansell was a convict and still a ticket-of-leave man. He didn’t receive a Condition of Pardon until 2 years after their marriage. Sadly, Samuel was given a Condition of Freedom 4th February 1975 just 16 days before Sarah died.

I was inspired to put this story together after being involved in the launch of the Convict Tracks of the Victoria District (now part of the Midwest of Western Australia). By writing down what I do know about Sarah in this blog post will cast the baited line and it just might reel in a big fish! Her research is ongoing.

Working backwards from what I know about Sarah Mansell nee Darling, we find that she died at the age of 40 years on the 20th day of February 1875, in childbirth. This entry is on the back of the original marriage certificate. [1]

Darling, Sarah_Mansell_death

Sarah and Samuel Mansell had 8 children, the eldest Emma, born in 1859 at the Geraldine mine, was 15 when her mother died; Sarah, born in 1861 at Gwalla, 13; Matilda, born 1863 died aged 2 years and 2 months old; Meriah (Maria), who is my husband Bob’s grandmother, was born in 1865 at Gwalla, 9 years old; Samuel jnr, born 1867 at Gwalla, 8; John, born 1869 at Gwalla, is 6; a second child named Matilda, born 1871, is aged 4 and little Mary Jane, born 1873 was just 2 years old and was indentured out to a grazier, Sampson Sewell. [2]

Hannah Williams nee Thomas writes in her memoirs “My grandfather, Samuel Mansell worked in the Wheal Fortune mine. My mother [Maria] lived in one of the little huts and kept house for her father. Mother did the washing at Wiggin’s Well and spread the clothes on branches to dry. She was only nine years old when her mother [Sarah] died, and was then taken care of by the first Mrs Samuel Mitchell who came from Cornwall, England. My mother was nurse to Edgar, the Samuel Mitchell’s second son.” [3]

When Sarah married Samuel Mansell on the 15th November 1858 at the Office of the District Registrar, Champion Bay (Geraldton), she states that she is above 21 years of age, a spinster living at the Bowes and her father was Jas [James] Darling, a Paperstainer. [1] See explanation below.

Darling, Sarah_1848_Marriage_Mansell, Samuel_Champion Bay 2

At the time of their marriage, Samuel was working at the Wanernooka mine at Northampton. As he was a ticket-of-leave man, every 6 months he was required to report to the resident magistrate. Is it possible he met Sarah when he reported to William Burges, the magistrate, one of two brothers who owned the Bowes station and maybe Sarah worked there as a servant? William was the first resident magistrate of the Champion Bay district. [4]

Sarah was a servant, from Middlesex, London, aged 20 when she arrived per the Bride Ship Emma Eugenia 25 May 1858. (Note: if she was 20 in 1858, she would have been only 37 when she died in 1875, not 40! However, it has been known that ages were not recorded accurately on the shipping lists.)

The term Bride Ship came about in 1848, when Capt F. C Irwin, administrator of the colony, pending the arrival of Governor Fitzgerald, had sent a despatch to the Imperial Government asking for fifty female servants, the need for

‘which was daily becoming more distressing, and while the sexes are out of proportion, little relief can be expected from small occasional supplies of females who are speedily withdrawn from service by offers of marriage’. [5]

The original settlers at Swan River, proud of their free origins, brought their servants with them. After twenty years of diminishing fortunes, there were less than five thousand people in the colony, and men outnumbered women by two to one. Whereas formerly the dominant need had been for male labourers, for the first time there was an official call for female servants in large numbers. [5]

Between 1842 and 1849 about 230 Parkhurst boys, from England, were sent to Western Australia to serve the remaining periods of their terms of imprisonment as apprentices to settlers. [5]

Unemployment in Great Britain was widespread, also women outnumber men and therefore a large number were destined never to marry. When the girls and young women were told that in Swan River Colony they would all find work, and moreover there were twice as many men as women, some of the more venturesome were tempted to step forward for interviews, and in due course submitted to a doctor’s examination to determine their fitness for service. [5]

The first Bride Ship, the Mary, anchored off Fremantle, Western Australia on 20th October 1849, with young women and girls from several London poorhouses and orphanages and boys from Parkhurst prison. [5]

At this time, there were no convicts in Western Australia but this was soon to change when the first ship, the Scindian arrived in June 1850. Western Australia agreed to accept convicts under two conditions. Firstly that an equal number of free immigrants should be sent out at the cost of the Imperial Government, and secondly that no female convicts were to be transported. [5]

It was some 10 years later when Sarah Darling arrived per Emma Eugenia with 116 single girls, 22 married couples, 7 male and 11 female children and 5 single men. [6]

According to a letter dated 5 July 1858, to the Immigration Office in Perth, just 2 months after the ship’s arrival, of those received at the depot for service, 2 were married, 4 left the depot, 5 were taken by friends, 3 to be married from the depot, while the others, except for 32 were sent to their engagement to various areas out of Perth. It doesn’t state if any came to Champion Bay.

My challenge now is to find more out about Sarah Darling, born circa 1835, whose father is James Darling, a paper stainer. A quick search of the births & baptisms does show a Sarah Darling in Saint Pancras, Middlesex, father James, a bookseller, mother Sarah. However, the birth year 1832! There are also a couple of possibilities in the 1851 census, which will be the only one that Sarah will appear on. Determining which Sarah Darling, house servant is ours is going to be a challenge.

[1] Source: original certificate owned by Jenny MacKay
[2] Source: Indenture dated 1876 – original owned by Jenny MacKay
[3] Source: Every Year The Christmas Bush by Mary Veal; Chapter 10 – Memories by Mrs Hannah Williams
[4] Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, Burges, William (1806-1876)
[5] Source: The Bride Ships by Rica Erickson
[6] Source: SRO (State Record Office) CSR Vol 408

Paper Stainer is a generic term for any worker engaged in colouring paper by hand or machine. Paper-staining, the creation of wallpaper, was an industry that benefitted from the expansion of house-building in London.

About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
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6 Responses to 52 Ancestors #23 – Going to the Chapel – Sarah Darling

  1. tstatton says:

    I can’t wait for the next instalment of these ancestors! You have done some very thorough research on all your topics. I always look forward to your next challenge.

  2. I think Carroll was a convict around too – but would need to check my “stuff”. I even had to,have a look for Sarah on Ancestry while here with not much other research I can do. The bap of Sarah Emma to James and Sarah, bookseller, is promising especially as her first daughter was Emma. But nothing else that I could see and nothing in either census. She will be your wall, but keep at it.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      I’ve picked up some entries in the criminal records on FMP of a Sarah Darling from Middlesex who got 1 month for larceny aged 16, I. 1848. Bringing the dob to be the one born in 1832. She will be a brick wall, so now.

      • Jenny MacKay says:

        There are several Carroll’s however I’m sure it’s William Carroll #3071 as he also came out on the Ramillies, same time as Samuel. The last signature is Jas Evans (James) would have to be #3320 married Isabella Meldrum and drowned himself at the salt lake at Lynton.

  3. I’m so looking forward to the sequel… so it appears that Sarah must have worked for William Burges. He was the sole owner of the Bowes. His nephew was his successor. The witnesses look like J Carroll and J Evans……. possibly Jeremiah Evans, also Convict and miner. And forebearer of many you know.
    Edgar was the first of Sam Mitchell’s children born in WA at Chiverton House – if only we could tap into those stories.

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