Walter Hancock (1826 – 1871) and Louisa Hall (1833 -1887) (Callan) – London brickmaker to Hawke’s Bay pioneers.

I’ve been researching this one for some years now. Even with the arrival this week of the death certificate from New Zealand there is little I can conclusively prove regarding the origins of our Hancock origins.

I’ve been checking regularly through ‘Thru Lines” on DNA looking for a connection to the (English based) Hancock line. I have been able to find DNA connections through both Walter and Louisa via their children Emma Sarah Hancock and Elizabeth Hancock.

I hope you enjoy the story that I’ve been able to put together for Walter and Louisa.

Mystery Children. Linked to Fowles or Lorkin/Larkin?

These photographs are on card, are quite small and are exactly what you would expect for pre-twentieth century photography. Each of these photographs were taken at the same time at the Stevenson and McNicoll studios at 108 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. From 1885 on-wards Stevenson and McNicoll added the ‘gold border’ around their photographs and this was something common in their work. With this in mind I know that these photographs were taken from 1885 onwards. These photographs originally belonged to Lily Mary Lorkin/Larkin Fowles. I had thought at first that they might be her first three sons and daughter as children however, I can’t corroborate that and the little girl doesn’t look old enough to be the eldest child. So I’m back to the drawing-board and looking for help to identify these children.

Puzzle Mystery, Frank?

This very dapper gent is Frank and I know that because it’s written in pencil in beautiful scrolling script on the back of the card, well actually the more I look at it it could even be Izaak. I’m really not sure anymore. However, if you can help me ID this fellow I would be deeply grateful. This is going to be somehow linked to the Fowles or Lorkin/Larkin family.

Puzzle Solving WW1 photograph.

Hello everyone,

I’m undertaking a spectacularly large project with photographs that have been given to me. The puzzle is that not all have names or information on the back to serve as clues.

If you know who this fellow is and I suspect he may be linked somehow with the Fowles family? I would dearly like to hear from you. I have the original which is in very good condition on heavy card. There is absolutely nothing to indicate who this came from, not even a photographic studio name.

Any help identifying this fellow would be deeply appreciated.

Susannah Nairn and Elizabeth Hopper and the unfortunate Mr Twydell…

I can’t believe I missed this.  And thank goodness for eagle-eyes,  I’m going to give full thanks and credit to our cousin Glenda Humes who has made some remarkable discoveries through her research of our Susannah Nairn and Elizabeth Hopper and their dual connection to Mr Twydell, fabric merchant in London.

Both ladies were convicted and transported (at different times) for stealing from the same shopkeeper!  Poor old Mr Twydell was the victim of several light fingered ladies over the years. Two of ours included.

Here is the research/correspondence from Glenda: 

“I have been researching convict Elizabeth Hopper (wife of William Hazlewood, convict) trying to pinpoint the location of her 1787 crime which was the drapery store of Anthony Twydell. From a search on Anthony Twydell on the Old Baileys site, I came across Susannah Nairne who stole fabric from the store of Anthony Twiddle in 1791. More research led to Anthony Twiddle, Twydell, Twedall, all apparently the same person and victim of multiple fabric thefts between 1783 and 1795. The 1791 court transcripts lists a brother Levi Twiddle – a Levi Twidale was listed as a breeches maker – the same person when you search for Twidale under the Old Bailey site as it brings up Susannah Nairn’s proceedings (and there is an Ancestry tree for Levi Twidale which shows Anthony as his brother). It seems the store was located in the Minories, north of the Tower of London and possibly close to John St. now called Crosswall, west of the Minorities road (a Starbucks sits of the east corner now!) The church at the north end of the street is St. Boltoph Church and Twydell was an active member. Both Elizabeth Hopper and Susannah were transported but Mary Snow who stole fabric in 1795 got off with a fine despite stealing more than Elizabeth (Susannah stole 20 shillings worth of handkerchiefs). I thought this back story was an interesting addition to Elizabeth Hopper (my 5th G-Grandmother and Susannah Nairn whom I believe I must be related to distantly but haven’t found the connection yet.”

Here is how I can explain your connection to both ladies. Elizabeth Hopper would have one child on New Norfolk Island.  Susannah would have one child from our (Riley) line, two more with her (Wells) husband and one child presumably Riley left back in London. In effect four children, three fathers.

Elizabeth Hopper of London was convicted and transported in 1789 aboard the Lady Juliana (also known as The Floating Brothel).  Her ship was the first one to arrive in Sydney after the first fleet had landed.  This was in 1790.  Elizabeth was sent to Norfolk Island. She would die there in 1795. She married William Hazelwood.

Susannah Nairn was transported in 1792 aboard The Kitty to Australia on what is now known as the “fourth fleet”.  Somewhere between being incarcerated and arriving in Australia Susannah became pregnant and the father remains unknown. She had been married twice? in England, to a Tolbert/Talbot and Riley.  She was delivered of a son, John Riley not long before arriving in Sydney. However the father remains unknown as due to time incarcerated and travel could not have been husband.  Once arriving in the colony of New South Wales, Susannah would go to and remain living the rest of her life in the Parramatta area.  She would marry Robert Wells.

Now, here is the connection, Elizabeth Hopper had a daughter named Maria Hopper-Hazelwood in Norfolk Island.  After her death and when the island population was relocated to New Norfolk in Tasmania, Maria went to live there with her father.

Susannan Nairn descendants (my line) 

John Riley (freeborn) went on to marry convict Catherine Latimore (Wanstead). NSW.

Their daughter Diana Riley (freeborn) married William London (freeborn) NSW.

Their son William London married Matilda Ann Mitchell. NSW.

Their daughter Priscilla London married Arthur Helmrich. NSW.

Their daughter, Neva Helmrich would marry Ernest Kingshott Whitehead.

Elizabeth Hopper descendants (my line)

Maria Hopper Hazelwood, (freeborn) married convict Robert Hay. TAS

Their son John Hay (freeborn) married convict Sophia Morgan. TAS

Their daughter Mary Ann Morgan-Hay (freeborn) married Francis Kingshott (freeborn). TAS

Their son Francis Kingshott (freeborn) married Hannah Oakley (freeborn). TAS

Their daughter Edith Kingshott went to NZ and married Ernest Whitehead. NZ

Their son Ernest Kingshott Whitehead would marry Neva Helmrich.

This however is just the connection with my line.  It is likely if not probable that there could be other connections between these families simply because of the close proximity that families had and the limited ‘marrying’ options in those days. We have to remember that for quite a long time NSW and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) were our earliest settlements.








Michael Larkin, Ferbane, Kilcolgan, King’s County.

Much has been written; regarding the Irish Potato Famine and the subsequent destruction it caused to the indigenous Irish between 1845 and 1852.  Similarly much is known of the ill-feeling and discontent between the Irish and the supplanted English who had control of Ireland, her resources, finances, governance, religion and indeed people during this time.

It should then come as no surprise then that we have been able to find at least some of the role that our Larkin family played in resistance during these dark times. Our Larkin’s were agricultural people.  Small tenant farmers in the county now known as Offaly but at the time King’s County in the province of Leinster. The area is located in the Irish midlands.  Ferbane itself being a small land-locked rural village. Eighteen-forty-nine found the Irish deep in the grip of the famine. Food was scarce and similarly the more-wealthy land-lords were now actively using their agents to forcibly remove tenant farmers and their families from their small-holdings and were ‘throwing-down’ their houses once they were emptied.  The term throwing-down meaning to destroy the home so that it could not be reinhabited once the agent and constables had left.  A widely unpopular move that caused extreme hatred amongst the poorer people towards these agents and indeed the land-lords.  The constabulary of the day were engaged in carrying out these reprehensible actions. The newspaper I have used for research here discusses in other articles the wide practice of night-time raids on properties of wealthier farmers and land-lords and ‘carrying away their corn’.  This meaning that bands of the poorer people would gather under the protection of night and numbers and then raid these crops and steal away the food for their own and neighbours use.  A highly risky activity that if caught in the act would see you most likely shot at and if you were taken into custody you would appear before the quarter-sessions.  The sentence could range from imprisonment, hanging right through to transportation to the colonies. Back in England there was a dearth of compassion for the plight of the Irish which exceeded even the grim attitudes they held towards their own English poor at the time in its cruelty.

One night of the 14th October, 1849 around 1am a group of about thirty-men from the local villages travelled to Killoughey. They were not meaning to carry away in their arms the crops either.  They took with them horses and carts so they meant- business. The property they assailed was that of a tenant named John Keys who asked the constables who attended to let this be, however the constable would not and a fight ensued. Keys was a tenant of the Reverend John Baldwin so who knows whether this had been set up beforehand?  Anyway shots rang out between both sides and one constable was killed and four more wounded in the affray. The constables wounded were Balfour, Gleeson, Doyle, Hall (who had argued and scuffled with Keys) and sub-constable Patrick Mortimer who was shot dead.  By this time the mob who appeared to be well-organised and well-armed had swelled to about fifty. The constables retreated to their barracks and it was believed that some of the mob members must have been injured, some perhaps grievously as blood marks were later found along the road-ways in the light of day. Following the mob outbreak significant numbers of armed reinforcements were brought into the area and stationed whilst a thorough search was done in the district for any who might have participated. A coroner and magistrates  were also brought in. Offenders located were brought to Tullamoore where they were held pending their appearance at the assizes.  A hand-picked ‘suitable’ jury was rapidly put together. Eleven Protestants, eleven Catholics and one Quaker (all deemed to be respectable men, made up the jury). During the court-case the witnesses for the prosecution stated that about thirty shots had been fired in the affray to the best they could recall.

The witnesses would also state that they did not fire until they were fired upon and that they had thought it was John Keys who gave the mob the order to fire upon them.  They also stated there were between 100 and 300 people in the field and on the road-ways they felt that night. Men who were charged with being at the affray were relatives of John Keys, being Joseph Keys and Michael Keys.  Joseph Keys property was searched, a gun was found, the coroner stated that the gun was the gun used in the murder of Mortimer (bullet matched gun and recent evidence of firing).  As a result Joseph Keys was committed to stand trial for his murder.

Following the incident, a head-constable and ten constables, were brought in from Dublin and stationed at Killloughy.   Now here is where it gets interesting.  John Keys was located in the searches.  He was found and believed to have been ‘being hid’ by Patrick Larkin at Cornamona near Shannonharbour.  Another prisoner was found hiding at Michael Larkin’s home in Ferbane.  (We have to think that this is our Michael Larkin, father of John Larkin (who came to Australia).  Given the rapacity with which the constables were gathering together any and all offenders or those they believed to have been involved it is highly likely that the Larkin’s found themselves swept up into this mix.  Particularly as they were harbouring fugitives.  Killoughy to Ferbane is 26 mile.

Now on the day preceding the nights affray an agent of Sir Gore Booth, Charles Gage, Esq (denoting that he was considered a man of respectable means) was shot dead on his way to prayers.

Sunday, October 14, 1849 – This morning as this unfortunate gentleman was riding to prayers on one of the tenants’ horses, he was shot dead on the road coming out of Creggan townland, a little above the bridge which divides Ferbane townland and Curraghdown. He fell dead off his horse, and was completely riddled from under his ear down to the lowest rib, on the left side. There were two shots fired at him both at the same instant. It is supposed three men were engaged in the dreadful affair; they were behind the ditch on Ferbace or Corr side, a place well selected for such a villainous deed. There was a country-man chatting him along at the time, and he fell completely over on the man, who being on his right side, received no injury. It is an awful sight. I was out and saw the poor fellow lying on the road just as he fell. His neckerchief was blown into bits, and some of it got in Royston’s field on the opposite side. As yet (4 o’clock p.m.) no clue to the murderer. The police are all out. The fellows fled in the direction of Corr or Ballinahown. Escape of Mr. Cage was impossible, as he could not have been more than five yards from the muzzles of their deadly weapons; and the villains were so completely concealed behind the hedge escape was impossible. We are all excitement here. – The Kings County Chronicle and General Provincial Intelligencer

Wednesday 14th November 1849.