Mary Atkins Ross, tiny but tough and a street-fighter to boot…….

This is from a blog I am writing about my family’s ancestry:

It is the snippets of information which bring the people of the past alive. I had always thought my great-grandmother Mary (Polly) Atkins Ross was feisty because of things my aunt said, but a distant relative came up with a similar story and today supplied a newspaper court report of her being in trouble for fighting and swearing in the street in Gladstone, South Australia!

She was tiny from what one can see in photographs although of course, her sister-in-law Annie Clavin Atkins may just have been tall but even as a child Mary looked slight and short and photos of her brother, James Haynes Atkins show him to be of similar stature. There is no doubt that photographs are wonderful but Trove, the Australian National Library resource of increasingly available online, newspapers from the time, is also throwing up insight into the lives of our ancestors and light at times onto their personalities.

I find these small peeks into personal lives so interesting. What makes it even more interesting is that it comes in the same week when I remarked that my great-grandmother Mary Atkins Ross had a reputation for being feisty, according to her grand-daughter Jessie Ross Sands and then Luke provided a story from his side of the family verifying her as a rather powerful personality, or at least someone his mother found terrifying when she met her frequently as a child.

To now read that she was something of a rebel, as was her sister, rough some might say, fighting and swearing and throwing stones in the street, means the picture has been ‘painted’ with broader strokes. She was little but clearly she was tough. It is interesting, and hardly surprising, how much more we can relate to these ‘forgotten faces’ when we read of them in such a personal and descriptive way.

And in 1878 Mary (Polly) was no child. She was just twenty and she had given birth to an illegitimate child, Edward (Welsh) Atkins twelve months earlier. And Lizzie, or Elizabeth, her older sister was twenty-one! They were in fact, two, for the times, mature young women, acting like street urchins.

And they are throwing stones at a boy – a term used in those days for someone probably under the age of thirteen, so in essence, a child. Did the rebellious, if not ‘angry’ nature come from their father Edward or their mother, Elizabeth Mashford? There is no answer to that question although given the suspicions we have that Edward arrived in Australia as a convict, the ‘finger of conjecture’ would probably more easily point to him.

Mary Atkins Ross aged about 10Photo: Mary Ross, aged about ten or twelve.

Then again, they did get off and the evidence was considered to be ‘trivial.’ One wonders what it was that incited the two Atkins sisters and perhaps what it was which the magistrate saw as mitigating factors.

In this article from the Northern Argus 1878


Lizzie and Polly Atkins were charged with using threatening language and with throwing stones at a boy named John Blackwell, at Gladstone, on October 31 last. Messrs. Bonnar and Hardy for defendants, and Mr. Hosier with Mr. O’Halloran for informant. The information was dismissed without costs, the evidence against defendants being of a rather trivial character.

And a second charge in the same court related to Sarah Lewis who is undoubtedly the wife of George Lewis, Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins oldest son by her first marriage.

Sarah Lewis was charged with using obscene language towards John Blackwell. At Gladstone, on October 31. On the application of Mr. Hosier the information was amended by altering the date of the alleged offence to November 13. The hearing was then adjourned until the January Court.

Sarah Lewis was then charged with assaulting Annie Moy, at Gladstone, on Nov. 13 by striking her on the back with a stone and attempting to throttle her.

Complainant gave evidence of the assault, admitting, however, that there was violence used on both sides. Her two daughters testified to having seen the assault, and to rescuing her from defendant’s violence, but said they had in no way provoked the assault or retaliated. Defendant’s evidence proved that the real assaults were committed by informant. The S.M. dismissed the case, commenting unfavorably on the evidence for the prosecution. Two other informants connected with the above matter were withdrawn.Northern Argus Tuesday 3/12/1878 p2

Edward Atkins 1860

Photo: Edward Atkins, circa, 1867.

Sarah Lewis was the wife of Mary’s half-brother George Lewis. He was ten years older than Mary and Sarah, who had been born in Wales in 1850, was twenty-eight. She had come to South Australia in 1855 with her parents in the ship Glantener. Her father John Griffiths had been captain mason of the E. & A. Copper Company at Burra. She married George in 1872. George was working as a boundary rider for H.B. Hughes on Booyoolie Station, a job he would hold for 41 years.

So here we have three women brawling in the street with a boy and later we have Sarah fighting with Annie Moy. Why? It may just have been the way of things for them although if that were the case the magistrate would have said as much. What is curious is that all three of them got off. Again, why? Usually in such cases there are reasons given as to mitigating factors.

Logic suggests, given the circumstances, that a fight arose from something which was said to the Atkins women. It could have been anything but, given that it was barely a year since Mary had given birth to an illegitimate child and such events were hardly uncommon, nor from the frequency of them, reasons for censure, one can only wonder if there was something else which could have been said which raised Mary and Elizabeth and their sister-in-law Sarah, to such rage. There is little doubt that accusations of incest would bring such a violent response, whether true or not.

George was Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins oldest child and he would always have been on her side, if such a side had to be taken, against his stepfather. And given the fact that Elizabeth and Mary were his only sisters, he would also have been protective of them. That attitude would naturally be taken up by his wife.

Something set the Atkins women on fire with righteous and savage indignation.
The other bit of fact-crunching involves the where and when of Elizabeth and Edward’s movements. An obituary for Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins said she went to Booyoolie in 1856. A year later she married Edward. In 1850 Henry Edward Atkins (the second Henry) was born to Edward and Hannah at Bundaleer. So Edward must have been working at Bundaleer at this time and had Hannah with him.

In 1851 Joseph Atkins was born to Edward and his first wife Hannah, in the Clare Valley, Penwortham, so Hannah at least is in Penwortham at this time, even if Edward was still at Bundaleer working.

In 1855 Edward was still at Bundaleer and Hannah and the children must have been with him because it is here that four year old Joseph dies. They are still at Bundaleer two years later, in 1857, when Henry Edward dies.

When Elizabeth moved to Booyoolie, near Gladstone, her eldest son George is eight and John is six. Little Henry, born in Adelaide, if he was still alive, which is doubtful, would have been four. Sometime after Henry’s birth in 1854, Elizabeth moved to the mid-north and while she may well have gone first to the Clare Valley, all we do know is that by 1856 she was at Booyoolie – the area where Gladstone would later be established, or perhaps the station, where she was working.

Elizabeth Atkins (Lewis) MashfordPhoto: Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins circa: 1870.

Booyoolie is some 37 kilometres away from Bundaleer, and while it is possible that sometime in 1857 she moved to Bundaleer and met Edward, it is perhaps more likely that she met him through friends or family in either the Clare Valley or at Booyoolie Station.Elizabeth had lost her brother John Cann Mashford in 1849 and her mother Mary Cann Mashford and her much loved brother George May Mashford in 1850.

At some time after 1854 when Henry was born, her marriage to Peter Lewis had broken up and perhaps little Henry had died. Her brother Josiah and her two sisters Jane and Mary Ann had moved to Melbourne and so she was alone. Josiah was involved in the publican trade, along with quite a few other things, and he had also applied for timber licences in South Australia, the Wirrabarra Forest being a likely area.

Depending upon firm dates, some eighteen months to two years after Henry’s birth, Elizabeth had left Adelaide and was in Booyoolie. She may well have already spent a year in the Clare Valley with friends and met Edward and Hannah Atkins there when they returned to visit.

At this time Clare was a larger and more civilized ‘hub’ for the surrounding areas and it was also the Government centre where births, deaths and marriages were lodged. No doubt it was also where medical help could be sought if needed and those living and working in isolated areas like Booyoolie, Bundaleer and Wirrabarra Forest would no doubt have found their way to Clare at least once a year.

But there is one point where it gets tricky. The record states that Henry Edward died at Bundaleer in 1857 although we do not have a date. What we do have is the following information about Edward and Elizabeth’s marriage:

Bundaleer Station 1870Photo: Bundaleer Station.

His marriage record for January 12, 1857 to Elizabeth Mashford Lewis has them residing in Rocky River, which is the Wirrabarra Forest Area. They were married at St. Mark’s Church, Penwortham and the witnesses were Abraham Cundall, farmer, Connaught (Clare Valley) and E. Greenslade, no occupation listed, Penwortham.

If young Henry Edward died at Bundaleer in 1857, and possibly his mother Hannah died at the same time, that gives Edward just twelve days in which to bury them, meet Elizabeth, or re-connect with her, and organise a marriage which to all intents and purposes appears open and legal and to move to Rocky River.

This suggests two things to me, one, that Edward and Elizabeth ‘knew’ each other beforehand although not for long given that Elizabeth arrived at Booyoolie in 1856, barely a year earlier, and that Hannah had died before Henry Edward. The death of his wife and his son, following on the death of Joseph in 1855, and if it was late in the year, barely twelve months earlier, would have made a quick marriage imperative for the sake of his surviving children.

The only other scenario is that Edward and Elizabeth had met, connected and moved to Rocky River sometime after her arrival in 1856 – love at first sight perhaps – and that when Hannah died, along with her son, in early 1857, no doubt from some sudden and infectious disease, they made their way to Penwortham to legalise the relationship and perhaps to collect the surviving children from his first marriage.

If this were the case then Hannah’s children would have had good cause to ‘hate’ their stepmother and to reject her at the first opportunity.

However, the fact that the witnesses at the marriage were locals suggests some sort of relationship with them and the couple before the wedding. The E. Greenslade is probably a woman which suggests a relationship with Elizabeth, not Edward.

An Ellen Greenslade is listed as applying for a publican’s licence in the Penwortham areas and Elizabeth’s Cann connections had links with the trade including her mother, Mary Cann Mashford, who was listed as a publican in the 1841 Devon census and her brother, Josiah Labbett, who later owned hotels in Victoria and was bankrupted by them.

The presence of a female Clare Valley publican, Ellen Greenslade, as a witness at Elizabeth’s marriage to Edward Atkins and the fact that they were living in the Wirrabarra Forest area at the time, suggests a possible link with Josiah, the wheeler-dealer, largely unsuccessful entrepreneur and bigamist of the Mashford family.

It is conjecture but perhaps Josiah met Ellen Greenslade when he travelled up to his timber areas and she offered to take in Elizabeth, who needed to leave a violent Peter Lewis – and we know from newspaper reports he was violent – and perhaps to give her a job and it was through this connection that Elizabeth later found more secure employment at Booyoolie. And also through this connection that she retained some contact with the Atkins family.

There is no doubt that people were tough and opportunistic in the times, particularly when their lives and that of their children were at risk. I doubt very much that Hannah remained alive given the connection that she and Edward had with people in the Clare Valley, where he married Elizabeth.

penwortham church
Photo: St. Mark’s Church, Penwortham, Clare Valley, South Australia.

The original information regarding Edward and Hannah and Edward and Elizabeth can be found here:

However, that does nor preclude a de-facto relationship for a brief time before Hannah conveniently went to her celestial rest allowing Edward and Elizabeth to marry. Hannah’s daughters were old enough to understand and remember their mother’s suffering if this was indeed what happened.

They would forgive their father because children always forgive their parents, but any rift between him and their stepmother would bring late but swift revenge. She and her children would be expunged from their lives suddenly and effectively if they believed that Elizabeth had been the cause of their mother’s death and perhaps the cause of the death of their last brother.

The girls, once rid of the evil stepmother, would have rallied around their father as doubly ‘wronged’ by an opportunistic woman and their mother’s memory would be restored to its rightful place, at the forefront of his mind.

All of which suggests to me that the one son mentioned in Edward’s obituary is not James Haynes and the numbers of children and grand-children do not include any of Elizabeth’s children or grand-children.

Which merely ‘begs’ the question of who was the surviving son? There are three possibilities -(1) there was another son born to Hannah and Edward of which we have no record;(2) there was another son born to Edward, but illegitimate, so listing that son would be a gloriously vindictive strike at the ‘evil stepmother’ and her spawn, or,(3) Edward Welsh Atkins was Edward’s illegitimate son with his daughter Mary, and listing him was an even better ‘strike’ at the evil stepmother!

I doubt that (1) is likely because given how much we have found out about the descendants of Edward and Hannah’s daughters, the Newberry, Pole and Puddy families, and how much work members of that side of the family have done, it seems unlikely that a surviving son would not have emerged.

Option (2) is possible but we would have to find a birth record for a son born to an Edward Atkins and ‘mother’ sometime between 1857 (anything is possible) and the time of his death.

Which leaves the simplest and perhaps most likely explanation as Luke suggested. Perhaps Mary’s illegitimate son was the result of incest and he was raised by his father, Edward Atkins, or at least by one of his aunts in the same house where Edward lived. It could be the simplest explanation for the one son mentioned and also account for Edward putting his father’s name on his marriage record as Edward Atkins and not Edward Welsh or Welch!

One doubts that Elizabeth would have wanted to live with the ‘proof’ of her husband’s disgraceful behaviour and her innocent daughter’s shame and given Mary’s toughness, perhaps she too wanted to ‘put it all behind her.’ He had created the problem and he could take care of it! Edward would have been eleven when Mary married Charlie Ross and a ‘big brother’ to my grandfather for at least a few years of his life and yet there are no family stories of his presence.

Sometimes the simplest answers are the best.

Finding a few more nuggets about Edward Atkins ……
There is not much that is substantially new in regard to Edward Atkins and his first and second marriages but there are a few new ‘nuggets’ which may have emerged from recent discussions and plenty of grist for the conjecture mill .

The question of where he was living when he died, or rather, with whom he was living has been raised given that an earlier assumption was he lived with Jasper and Margaret Newberry. Margaret was his daughter from his first marriage to Hannah McLeod.

But it now seems he was living with his other daughter from the same marriage, Emily and her husband Edward Puddy. And questions still abound in regard to just which family members were mentioned in Edward’s obituary and if none of them include Elizabeth and her children and grand-children, then why?

As Luke writes:

Edward Atkins was living at Whyte Park when he died. He may not have always lived there, but he was there when he died. The obituary just states that he died at the residence of his son-in-law. However, it is a good chance that if he was 84 years old and Elizabeth Mashford and her children were living at Gladstone, then in his old age he well may have been living at Whyte Park being cared for by his daughter when he died.

However, it was not Jasper Newberry and Margaret Newberry nee Atkins who were looking after him at Whyte Park, but Edward Puddy. In the attachment that Jillian sent it states that the son-in-law was Jasper Newberry and she has got that information from your blog site Ros. I think I may have given you that information, but it was a mistake on my behalf and I do not know if I ever told you it was mistake. The reason why I think it was Edward Puddy is outlined below as I have it in my Family History Journal.

Who was the son-in-law who placed the obituary in the newspaper? I believe it was Edward Puddy because there were two children born to Edward and Emily Puddy around the time of Edward Atkins’ death:-

· Sydney Walter Puddy born 1890 at Whyte Park North Wirrabara.[1]

· Edward Prentice Puddy born 1893 at Whyte Park North Wirrabara.[2]

Thus Emily Puddy and Edward Puddy were living at Whyte Park North Wirrabara between 1890 and 1893. Edward Atkins died in 1891 at the exact same place. So the son-in-law who placed the obituary in the newspaper was more than likely Edward Puddy. Thus Edward Atkins died at the residence of his daughter Emily and his Son-in-law Edward Puddy at Whyte Park.

Jasper and Margaret Newberry’s last child was Edith Newberry. She was born on the 5/10/1889 at Glenorchy.[3] As a result, at least two years before Edward Atkins died the Newberry family was living at Glenorchy and not Whyte Park. And it would seem from the recollection of Alma Newberry the Newberry family always lived at Glenorchy.

As for the obituary, I think there are just too many variables contacted in it. As a result it is open to personal interpretation E.G. was Anne Pole one of the daughter who “mourn their loss” when she was dead, or was there another unknown daughter? Who was the one son? Was it James Atkins? Why was Elizabeth Mashford and her two daughters not mentioned in the obituary? No matter which way you interpreted the obituary there will always be another interpretation.

The problem with finding another son or another daughter is that we have never found a death record for Hannah McLeod so we do not know when she died. All we know is that Edward Atkins last child to Hannah was Emily in 1854 and Edward remarried Elizabeth Mashford in January 1858. Therefore this leaves three possible years for Hannah to have another child before Edward remarried. However, I have never found another child, but this does not mean he/she did not exist. None of the children of Edward and Hannah have birth certificate so it would not surprise me if there was another child, But who was it?

As far as I can work out Edward had four sons. Three to Hannah and one to Elizabeth. The three sons of Edward Atkins and Hannah McLeod are

· Henry Edward Atkins DOB 1843 Adelaide DOD 1843 Adelaide???

· Henry Edward Atkins DOB 1850 Bundaleer DOD 1857 Bundaleer.

· Joseph Atkins DOB 1851 Penwortham DOD 28/11/1855 Bundaleer.

The one son of Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Mashford was:-· James Atkins DOB 2/1/1862 Charlton Mine DOD 16/9/1907 Jamestown Hospital.

Photo: Booyoolie Station, South Australia.

However, I have come up with another idea about the one son mentioned in the obituary, and I must admit that it is outlastdish. Could the one son mentioned in the obituary be Mary Ross nee Atkins illegitimate son Edward Atkins??????

It was common knowledge in my family that Mary Ross had an illegitimate son. My grandmother talked about it, so did my mother and my aunties. My Aunty Blanche even met two of the sons by Edward Atkins and Mary Wise when she was working at the age care home for ex military men at Fullerton in Adelaide.

I find it interesting that when Edward Atkins married Mary Wise that the marriage record on names Edward Atkins’ father as Edward Atkins and not Edward Welsh.

Did Mary Ross hand over her first born to the first family of Edward Atkins to be raised.???

I have not looked into the grandchildren of Edward Atkins to see if Mary Ross’s illegitimate son’s children could be included as part of the 47 grandchildren.

The death notice for Mary Ross states that she had a stepson which is incorrect it was her son, but I have never found out if Mary Ross raised her own son or not. s? This leaves it open that the one son mentioned in the obituary could have been the son of Mary Ross.

Now as for other points:

I agree with that Ann Pole married John Pole in 1886 and not 1887.
The notice about Mary Ross dying states that she moved to Gladstone with her parents. This notice is hard to work out. It could mean that she did move to Gladstone with Elizabeth Mashford and Edward Atkins and then some sort of split happened. Or the notice was provided by the Ross Children and they gave wrong information to the paper. However, I find a bit hard to believe that the Ross children did not know who Mary Ross’s parents were because the Ross children would have known that James Atkins was Mary Ross brother and not her father. As a result due to the many mistakes in the notice could it be possible that a friend of Mary Ross told the newspapers about the death and she/he gave wrong information to the newspaper.
As for a split between Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Mashford I believe it happened but when did it happen? And off course why it happened. May be Kylie you have the answer. I do not have any of the original photos of Edward Atkins or Elizabeth Mashford, but you Kylie have the original photo of Elizabeth Mashford. If you look at both photos I believe it was taken at the same time in the same photographic studio because the carpet is exactly the same in both photos. Kylie does the original photo of Elizabeth Mashford have a name at the back of the photo stating which photographic studio took the photo? If it does we could Google the name to see if the photographic studio was located in Gladstone or Wirrabara. If it was Gladstone it could indicate that the family did live at Gladstone and then Edward Atkins moved away. Or if the photo was taken at Wirrabara it would give an indication of when Elizabeth Mashford moved to Gladstone by the ages of the children.

As for BDM notices of stories of the two sides of the family please look at the attachment of all the notices I have found. If you two have any I do not have please let me know.

Ros you mention that Mary Ross was “Feisty” My mother stayed with her Aunty Elizabeth (her father’s sister) at Gladstone for three months and met Mary Ross many times and she said Mary Ross “scared the life out of her “and was very strict. I think if Edward Atkins was the father of her firstborn it would not surprise me if she would name the child after him just to annoy the first side of the family. Likewise, I cannot find any reference to a person called Edward Welsh. It just could also be the case that Edward Atkins was not the father, but Edward Welsh was the father, but he was just travelling through the Wirrrabara area which is why I cannot find a reference to an Edward Welsh living in the area. However, at this stage I do believe there was a major split in the family, but what caused it is open to speculation and personal interpretation. However, I still find it interesting that when Elizabeth Mashford died there was no reference to her as been a “Relict” of Edward Atkins.

Photo: Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins with James Haynes Atkins circa 1870.

The Two Henry Edward Atkins

Below is a record of a burial for a Henry Edward Atkins, however there is a problem with it. The record states:-

“Parish Records:


St Barnabas Church of England Clare:

Name: Henry Edward Atkins 7 years


The problem with the above record is that the date of birth does not correspond with the date of birth of the first Henry Edward Atkins who was born in 1843. Let the author explain. If the above Henry Edward Atkins died at the age of 7 years in 1857 then he was born c1850. Thus there is a 7 years difference between the birth dates of the two Henry Edward Atkins. Even in an age when people were illiterate or poorly educated the author has problems in trying to explain how Edward Atkins could not know how old his own son was when he died, especially at such a young age. So the question must be asked were there two different unrelated people with the same name of Henry Edward Atkins’? or did Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins nee McLeod have two sons both with the same name. The author has a number of theories:-

1. The Henry Edward Atkins who was buried at the age of 7 years in 1857 is not a son of Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins nee McLeod and is just another person with the same name.

2. If the Henry Edward Atkins who was buried in 1857 is the same person as the Henry Edward Atkins who was born in 1843 the author cannot explain the difference in the dates of birth. It could be the case that the record concerning the burial record of Henry Edward Atkins found at the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society was hand written and may not have been recorded correctly from the original record and the Henry Edward Atkins who was born in 1843 died in 1857. However, the author does not believe this is the case.

3. More than likely, the two Henry Edward Atkins’ are two different sons of Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins nee McLeod. What is the likelihood that there were two unrelated people with the same name called Henry Edward Atkins who lived in the 1840s and the 1850s in an area of South Australia where there was a sparse population? I.E the midnorth. Furthermore, what is the likelihood that there were two different unrelated people called Henry Edward Atkins’ that lived in the area covered by the parish church of Saint Barnabas? Furthermore, the author cannot find any records of any other person called Henry Edward Atkins who was born around the same time span which leads him to believe that the two people called Henry Edward Atkins are two different sons of Edward and Hannah Atkins.

It was a common practice in the 1800s for parents to rename a child with the same name of a child that had died. I have noticed this many times with other branches of his family tree. The first Edward Atkins who was born in 1843 may have died very young and there is no record of his death or burial. However, There is a record of a child buried in West Terrace Cemetery. The date of death was 3/2/1846 aged 2 years. There is no name of the child, the record just states “child of Mrs Atkins”.[2]

Without a first name it is impossible to state that this child was the son of Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins nee McLeod. If it was the son of Edward Atkins and his wife then he did die young and then, around 1850, a second son was born and Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins nee McLeod called their son by the same name. However, there is no record of the birth or baptism of the Henry Edward Atkins who was born in 1850. The first Henry Edward Atkins who was born in Adelaide in 1843 had his birth registered there because the main office to register births etc was located in Adelaide. He may have died in Adelaide and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery.

Or perhaps Edward and Hannah Atkins moved back to the Clare Valley after his birth, and Henry Edward Atkins died in the Clare Valley. Possibly, his death was not recorded, because by the time government officials travelled to the Clare Valley to take statistics on births and deaths in the area it did not seem to be important to register his death or Edward Atkins missed the government officials when they were in the Clare Valley. Or if Henry Atkins died on his way home his body would have to be buried straight away. Consequently, no record would have been kept, not even a church record of his burial as no minister or priest was available to perform the rites.

Many children died as infants in the 1800s. In some country areas, there was no church and thus no church cemetery to bury people. Many parents buried their infants close to where they lived in a simple grave marked with a wooden cross. These were called family plots and were scattered across the countryside. After a while the wooden cross weathered away and in the course of time the burial sites of people become forgotten and no records were kept until church cemeteries or council cemeteries were available to bury people.[3] Even if there was a cemetery, sometimes the only record which was kept was ‘Person buried lot etc” Some cemetery did not record full details of a person who was buried until much later. Thus, it would not be outside the realm of possibility that the first Henry Edward Atkins did die as an infant in 1843 and his death was never recorded, an event not uncommon for children during the early 1840s. A second son was born around 1850 and was called by the same name.

However there is another problem. The St Barnabas Church of England Baptismal Certificate Register has a record dated 1850 which shows: – “No name, child of Edward Atkins and Anne Atkins.[4]” (the name Anne can be interchangeable for Hannah much like the names of William and Bill can be) However, what does the record indicate:-

· Is it a record for a second person called Henry Edward Atkins who was born c1850?

· Is it a record of a still born hence “No Name” was recorded?

I suppose the answer is there is no answer, as frustrating as it is.

Above the Baptism Certificate of the first Henry Atkins

[1] St Barnabas Church of England Burial Records Clare: Parish Records South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society.

[2] Adelaide Cemeteries Authority website.

[3] Jennifer Gagger Australian Colonial Medicine p 191-199

[4] Baptisms Records of St Barnabas Church of England Penwortham.

Family notices and newspaper notices collected so far for the Atkins, McLeod, Puddy, Newberry, Pole, Ross families:

“Atkins.-On the 15th November, 1891 at the residence of his son-in-law, Whyte Park, Wirrabara, Edward Atkins, aged 84 years. A colonist of over 50 years, leaving 1 son, 5 daughters, 47 grandchildren and 3 greatgrandchildren to mourn their loss. Gloucestershire papers please copy”[1]

“Lewis-Griffiths, On the 30th July, at St. Mary’s Church, Coring, by the Rev. L. W, Stanton, M.A., the Incumbent, Mr. George Lewis son of Mr. Peter Lewis of Mount Gambier, to Miss Sarah Barber Griffiths daughter of Mr. John Griffiths of Hampton, and granddaughter of Thomas Barber Jones, Esq, of Swansea, South Wales. Swansea papers please copy.”[2]

“ELECTORAL DISTRICT of the BURRA and CLARE. To G. C. HAWKER, Esq., J.P. We the undersigned, Electors of the District of the Burra and Clare entertain the highest regard for your political principle, and that from your extensive colonial experience, and being the advocate of the most liberal measures, we most respectfully invite you to be placed in nomination for the representation of our District. ”

“Edward Atkins”[3]

“Donald McKinnon”



“The shearers’ annual sports at Wirrabarra were held on Saturday, November 9th. The attendance was good, and a pleasant day was spent. Mr. Marshall acted as Starter, and Mr. A. Murray as Judge. The Stewards were selected from among the shearers. Subjoined is the program of the events. The last race was run during heavy rain. Wirrabarra Stakes”

“Mr. E. Atkins Bess 2 2”[4]

“Aitkens[5] on the 11th March at the residence of her daughter, M Ross, Gladstone, Elizabeth Aitkens, nee Mashford, aged 89, late of Devon. England & NZ home papers please copy. A colonist of 52 years. At rest after suffering.”[6]

:- “We have to record the death on Monday last, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs Ross, of Mrs Atkins, one of our oldest residents. The deceased arrived in South Australia on March 17th 1847 in the “Princess Royal” and went to Booyoolee Station in 1856. She leaves one son Mr George Lewis and two daughters Mesdames Ross & Cox. The old lady was nearly 90 years old.”[7]

“NEWBERRY-ATKINS. -On the 24th December, Booleroo Station, North, by licence, by the Rev. James Read, Jasper Newberry, eldest son of Mr. William Newberry, Wiltshire, to Margaret Atkins.”[8]

Photo: Edward Atkins with Mary (left) and Elizabeth (right) circa: 1866.


NEWBERY:-In loving memory of our dear mother, who departed this life on 26th September[9], at Bangor. Two years ago. It is sad to recall it is a day of remembrance to all; so suddenly on us our sorrow fell. To part with one we loved so well. So dearly loved so sadly missed. Inserted by her sorrowing husband and sons and daughter.”[10]

“Pole. On the 25th May, at Glenorchy, near Wirrabara, John Pole in his 44th year, from the accidental discharge of a rifle, leaving a wife and nine children to mourn their loss. A resident of the district for many years.”[11]

“Hatch-Pole: on the 24th November at the residence of Mr E. P. Puddy. White Park Forest Reserve by licence by R. C. Yeaman. Henry Hatch to Ann Pole both of Glenorchy.”[12]


“By Telegram September 8th”

“Port Germein”

“A fatal accident occurred at Glenorchy, near the Germein Gorge, last night. Mrs Hatch was driving home in a spring-cart which accidentally collided with a large stump. This overturned the vehicle and Mrs Hatch was killed on the spot. A son of the deceased, who was also in the trap, escaped unhurt.”[13]


“[By Telegraph.] Port Germein September 8th”.

“Mrs. Harry Hatch; of Glenorchy, was accidentally thrown from a spring-cart yesterday and killed. It is singular that the deceased’s first husband, Mr. John Pole, of Glenorchy, was a few years ago killed near the same place by the accidentally discharge of a gun.”[14]


Port Germein, January 21”.

“Mr. William Pole, aged 22, was sun struck yesterday in the Port Germein Gorge, and died to-day, being the third of this family who have come to untimely ends in this locality. His father was accidentally shot, and his mother was thrown from a cart and killed.”[15]


“[By Telegraph]”

“Wirrabara, January 21”

“A young man named William Pole, aged twenty-two years, had a sun stroke whilst at work at Back Creek yesterday afternoon, and died from the effects this morning. Port Germein, January 21st. Two cases of sunstroke have occurred at Bangor, near Port Germein. One terminal fatally: the other is recovering.”[16]

POLE: – On the 23rd January, at Wirrabara, Mrs. John Pole, of twin sons.[17]

POLE: – On the 13th December, at Glenorchy the wife of John Pole, of twins, son and daughter.[18]

“Charless-Pole.-On the 18th January, at the residence of the bride’s uncle, by the Rev. U. H. Painter, Andrew William, eldest son of William Andrew Charless, Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, to Elizabeth eldest daughter of the late John Pole Glenorchy, Wirrabara.”[19]

“On the 6th October, at the residence of the bridegroom. Tumby Bay by the Rev. R. Marks. August Wilhelm Schreiber, to Emily Jane, third daughter of the late Mr. John Pole, of Wirrabara.”[20]

“STACEY: On the 26th December, at her father’s residence, Bundaleer Springs, of diarrhea, Sarah Ann, the beloved daughter of James and Sarah Stacey, aged one year and nine months.”[21]

“STACEY: On the 18th January, at Bundaleer Springs, the infant son of James and Sarah Stacey, after a short illness, aged 2 years and 11 months.”[22]

“Puddy. In loving memory of our dear father and grandfather, died on the 23rd December, 1918, age 73 years. Empty is your corner, father. Vacant is your chair, when we go to visit home, father. That’s the time we miss you there. We have lost, but heaven has gained. One of our best that earth contained; so dearly loved, so sadly missed. Inserted by his loving daughter and son-in-law Alice and William Dansie, and his loving grandchildren, Gertie, Stanley, and Hilda.”[23]

“Puddy. In loving memory of my dear father, Edward Puddy, who died on the 23rd December, 1918. A loving father, true and kind, no friend on earth like him we find, One year has passed, and none can tell the loss of a father we loved so well.

Inserted by his loving daughter and son-in-law, Jane and Hugh McKenzie.”[24]

“PUDDY: In loving memory of our dear husband and father; Edward Puddy, who died at Boolaroo Hospital, on the 23rd December, 1918, aged 73 years 10 months. One year of sorrow has passed since our great sorrow fell and in our hearts we mourn the lost of a father we loved so well. I think I see your smile, dear father. Through the mist of falling tears, but the loved one’s part is a broken- heart and a burden of lonely years. Inserted by his loving wife and family, Bangor.”[25]

“Lewis on the 14th January at his mother’s residence, after a long and painful illness John Mashford Lewis Gladstone aged 37 years. “For so he giveth his beloved sleep.”[26]

“Cox. On May 17th, at the residence of her daughter. Terowie. Elizabeth, relic of Henry Cox. Late of Gladstone. Aged 85 years.”[27]

“Mrs. Elizabeth Cox. One of Gladstone’s oldest residents, died recently at the age of 85. She was born at Wirrabara. Those surviving are:—Mr. H. C. Cox (Wirrabara). Mrs. Mary Hales (Terowie). Mrs. Edith Medlin (Clarence Park) and Mr. J. M Cox (Terowie).—A Red Cross ball raised £20.”[28]

“Cox on the 18th June at Wirrabara Henry Charles dearly-beloved husband of Elizabeth Cox aged 81 years late of Gladstone, leaving a wife, two sons, and 2 daughters to mourn their loss. English papers please copy.”[29]

“Atkins on 26th April, at Bartelo Street. Percy Mashford, the dearly beloved son of Edward and Mary. A. Atkins of pneumonia aged 1 year and 10 months.”[30]


“Atkins-In loving memory of our dear father and grandfather, who passed away on August 9th 1940. Ever remembered by Eddie, Mavis and boys.”[31]

“ Atkins-In loving memory of Edward Atkins (Ted), the loving husband of Mary Atkins, Who passed away on August 9th 1940. In my garden of memory, I take a walk each day. Inserted by his loving wife, Mary.”[32]

“Aitkens[33] on the 11th March at the residence of her daughter, M Ross, Gladstone, Elizabeth Aitkens, nee Mashford, aged 89, late of Devon. England & NZ home papers please copy. A colonist of 52 years. At rest after suffering.”[34]

“Mr “Jimmy” Atkins of Booyoolie who has been suffering a great deal during the past fortnight took such a bad turn on Sunday that his medical adviser ordered his removal to Jamestown Hospital. Up to the present there is no change in Mr Atkins’ condition, but we have hope soon to hear of a turn for the better in our popular townsman’s health.”[35]

Photo: James Haynes Atkins.

“It is with most sincere regret that we record the death of Mr “Jimmy” Atkins of this town. For a long time past the deceased had been unwell, but no serious results were anticipated until 2 or 3 weeks ago, when Dr Chanceller was called in and ordered his removal to the Jamestown Hospital. It was found, however, that nothing could be done and death ensued on Monday morning last, the cause of death being Tubercular Meningitis. The funeral on Tuesday was largely attended. The Rev T P Wood officiated and Mr Badgen read the Oddfellows Service. Members of the lodge served as bearers. “Jimmy” Atkins as he was generally known had been groom at Booyoolee Station for about 30yrs, and was much regarded by all classes of the community. He never missed an opportunity of doing a kindness and was loyal to his employer and his friends. His untimely death is much deplored. A widow and 10 children are left and we join with the many others in tendering to them our sincere sympathy. Mrs J H Atkins and family tender their sincere thanks to the many friends for their kindness and sympathy in their recent bereavement and especially to Mr C Bidge for arranging the details of the funeral.”[36]

“GLADSTONE, September 17th”

“Regret is felt by all classes of the town, and district at the untimely death of Mr. ‘Jimmy’. Atkins of Booyoolie Station, which occurred at the Jamestown Hospital yesterday.”[37]

“On the 13 Sept at the Jamestown Hospital James Haynes beloved husband of Annie Atkins of Booyoolie Aged 45years.”[38]

“We regret to record the death of Mrs Annie Atkins, relict of the late Mr James Atkins, which occurred at the residence of her daughter. Mrs M Sexton, Norwood, on Friday last. The deceased was a well-known and highly respected resident of Gladstone, where she had resided for about 49 years. The deceased, who had been in ill-health for the past two years, was born at Laura in September 1866*[39], and for about 30 years resided at Booyoolie Station where her late husband was employed for many years. The latter dying some twenty-three years ago. The deceased was a kindly disposition and had on numerous occasions rendered assistance in cases of sickness. One son, the late John Raymond Atkins was killed whilst on active service in the great War. The surviving members of the family being Haines Atkins (Port Pirie) Leslie Atkins (Broken Hill) Frank (Cyril) Atkins (Adelaide) and Laurie and Roy Atkins (Gladstone) Mesdames C Rearden (Hamley Bridge) J Madigan and V Robinson (Gladstone) and M Sexton (Norwood) There are 14 Grandchildren. The funeral took place on Saturday last. The remains being interred in the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. Much Sympathy is felt for the bereaved ones.”[40]

“Atkins:-In loving memory of our dear mother and Grandma Annie Atkins of Gladstone who passed away at Adelaide on the 2nd May 1930. Her days of pain and weary hours. Her sleepless nights are past. She suffered god only knows, but found sweet rest at last. One of the kindest, one of the best, a beautiful memory to us is left. Ever remembered by her loving son and daughter-in-law Haines and Ivy and grandson Colin Port Pirie.”[41]

ATKINS: In loving memory of our dear mother, who died on 2nd May 1930. Not a day do we forget her. In our hearts she is always near. We who loved her sadly miss her. As It dawns another year. Inserted by her loving daughters, Gladys and Lizzie.”[42]

“Atkins; in loving memory of our dear mother, who passed away on the 2nd May, 1930. Dearest of memories linger yet. Too dearly loved to ever forget. Ever remembered by her loving daughters, Lizzie and Gladys Atkins. A tribute of love, in memory of our dear mother, who passed away at Adelaide, on 2nd May 1930. Inserted by Ella and family, Roy and family.”[43]

[1] South Australian Register Tuesday 22 December 1891 p3.
[2] South Australian Register Friday 2 August 1872 p 4
[3] South Australia register Friday 16 January 1857 p 9
[4] South Australia Register Tuesday 19th November 1872 p3
[5] Note the different spelling of the last name.
[6] The Advertiser Thursday 18th June 1908 p 6.
[7] The Areas Express & Farmers Journal. Friday May 15th 1908.
[8] South Australian Register Tuesday 31st December 1872.
[9] * Two different Newspapers record two different dates for Margaret Newbery’s death.
[10] Port Pirie Recorder and North Western Mail Saturday 27th September 1913 p 1.
[11] South Australia Register Tuesday 2nd June 1885 p 4.
[12] SA Register Wed 28th Nov 1888 p4
[13] South Australia Register Monday 9th September 1889 p5.
[14] The Advertiser Monday 9th September 1889 p 5.
[15] The Advertiser 22nd January 1892 p5.
[16] South Australian Register Friday 22nd January 1892 p 5.
[17] South Australian Register Wednesday 11 February 1874 p 4.
[18] South Australian Register Friday 22nd December 1882 p 4.
[19] South Australia Register Saturday 21st January 1888 p 4.
[20] The Advertiser Tuesday 13th October 1908 p 6.
[21] South Australian Register Thursday 31st December 1874 p 4
[22] South Australia Register Saturday 27th January 1883 p 4
[23] The Advertise Tuesday 23 December 1919 p6
[24] The Advertise Tuesday 23 December 1919 p6
[25] The Register Tuesday 23 December 1916 p 6
[26] South Australian Advertiser Thurs 16th February 1888 p 4.
[27] The Advertiser Tuesday 18th May 1943 p6.
[28] The Advertiser Wednesday 26th May 1943 p 3.
[29] Advertiser Wed 24 June 1908 p 6.
[30] Advertiser Sat 8th May 1915. p14.
[31] The Advertiser Saturday 8 August 1942 p 10
[32] The Advertiser Saturday 8 August 1942 p 10
[33] Note the different spelling of the last name.
[34] The Advertiser Thursday 18th June 1908 p 6.
[35] The Areas Express and Farmers Journal Friday September 13th 1907.
[36] The Areas Express and Farmers Journal Friday September 20th 1907.
[37] The Register Wednesday 18th September 1907 p 9.
[38] The Areas Express and Farmers Journal Fri Sept 20 1907 (Page 150 Col D)
[39] Annie Atkins nee Clavin was not born at Laura, but Alma Plains. However, she was so young when she moved to Laura that her family who provided the information to the newspaper may have not known this information.
[40] The Areas Express and Farmers Journal Friday May 2nd 1930.
[41] The Advertiser 2nd May 1933 p 8.
[42] The Advertiser 2nd May 1933. p 8
[43] The Advertiser Wednesday 2nd May 1934 p 18.

Photo: Annie Clavin Atkins standing in front of the house on Booyoolie Station where she lived with her husband James Haynes Atkins.

The other thing mentioned of late is that George Lewis, the eldest son of Elizabeth Mashford and her first husband Peter Lewis, married a woman with illegitimate children. More to the point Kylie came up with information on George’s daughter having four illegitimate children before she finally married which makes it harder to believe that Edward (Welsh) Atkins did not know he was illegitimate.

And in terms of Henry Edward being the one son mentioned in the obituary of his father, again, we really have no way of knowing although with the recorded deaths of two Henry Edward Atkins it is unlikely.

It is hard not to believe that the first Henry Edward died young and that perhaps there was another who also died as a child. Given the amount of information we have been able to find about Edward Atkins and the families of his first marriage it is difficult to see why Henry Edward would have disappeared so completely if indeed he did grow to be an adult. Then again, it is also possible and he may have been a black sheep…. perhaps trying to trace him through criminal records might be the way to go. If he had disconnected from the family in such a way it is still highly likely that if he were alive, he would be listed as the one son – particularly if there was only one son.

The only other most likely alternative is that he was dead and the one son was James Haynes Atkins. Or that there was another son born to Edward and Hannah and he remained alive.

The most outlandish conjecture would be that the one son was Edward (Welsh) Atkins who had been raised by his father and accepted by the family of the first marriage and so included in the obituary. Anything is possible. Although Edward did retain contact with and clearly acceptance by his mother’s family with Charlie Ross.


About rosross

Editor, writer, poet.
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