Thursday, February 20, 2014

The fourteen children of David and Susan Whybrew - part 1

According to the 1911 UK census, Susan Whybrew gave birth to 14 children in total, of whom only 7 were still alive at the time of the census. I hadn't given this much thought until an observant fellow-genealogist asked me if I knew what had happened to them all. Both he and I had the names of 9 children from the various census records, but what of the other five? And which of the nine were no longer living in 1911? After some digging, here's what I've been able to discover so far of the 14 children born to Susan.

Five 'missing' children

First of all, those missing names. These are most likely to be children who were born between the census years and then died in infancy. The England and Wales index of births doesn't provide the parents' names or the mother's maiden name, so it's impossible to be sure from the Index that a child named Whybrew was a  child of David and Susan. But likely names include:

Photo credit: magro_kr / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

  • Frank William Whybrew - born in Colchester in the December quarter of 1870 (ie between October and December), died in Colchester in early 1875 aged 4.
  • David Whybrew, born in Colchester about 1872, died in the September quarter of 1874 aged 2.
  • Alfred Whybrew, born in Colchester December quarter 1888, died in 1889 aged 1.
  • JamesWhybrew, born and died in Colchester December quarter 1892.
  • Lily Whybrew, born in Colchester December quarter 1896, died March quarter 1897.
(Update, 28 Feb 2017: Frank is excluded, the others are all now confirmed.)

In theory, Frank William should have appeared on the 1871 census with Susan if he really was one of her children. (David was in the barracks on census night). In practice, I haven't been able to find him anywhere on the census. Only Eliza (who is listed as 'Emily') is recorded with Susan. Possibly Frank was staying with someone who didn't know his correct details, or perhaps he was simply overlooked by whoever mis-recorded Susan and Eliza's name on the census.

On the other hand, it seems strange that David and Susan would call their first son Frank rather than David (after his father) or James or John (after one of his grandfathers), so perhaps he doesn't belong in the list.

Susan would have been 48 years old when Lily was born (if she was her mother), so it's unlikely that there were any other children after this.

Whatever the true details, it's clear that, as was common in those days, Susan and David lost several children in infancy. Their births would account for the long gap between Eliza and Alice, as well as between William, Ellen and Ada (all five years apart).

What of the remaining 9 children? Here, in order of birth, is what I know about them.


Harriet was born in Adelaide on 17 September 1868, eight months before David and Susan married. Eliza's birth followed in December 1869. When David and Susan returned to England in about 1870 with his regiment, they took Eliza with them, but Harriet remained behind. 

Although I don't have any documentary evidence, I have it on good authority from her descendants that Harriet was taken care of at some stage by the Lindrum family in Adelaide. It's quite possible that this was from birth. In 1868 the Catholic church in Adelaide set up the first refuge for unmarried mothers and their small children at Fullerton. But prior to this it was customary for children of unmarried mothers to be handed over at birth, either to a family member or a privately-arranged carer, or into the care of the State if this was not an option. 

It's not clear what the connection was between the Lindrum family and the Masons at this time. Frederick Wilhelm Lindrum, an immigrant from Germany, married Clara Wolff in Adelaide in 1862. They had 3 children, Frederick William (1865), Clara Wilhemina (1868) and Lavinia Elise (1871, died in 1872.) The younger Frederick later married Harriet Whybrew's cousin, Harriet Atkin (daughter of Susan's sister Mary Ann Mason and Henry Atkin) but that was not until 1886, when Harriet Whybrew was in her late teens. (Frederick and Harriet Atkin went on to be the parents of Frederick and Walter Lindrum, two of the all-time great billiards players.)

Perhaps the Lindrums were simply a generous family who knew of Mason family's hardships. Or perhaps Frederick senior played billiards with David Whybrow or his officers from the 50th regiment, like these men of another regiment:

Billiard Players from the 14th Regiment of the Foot British Army.
Photo B18519 courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.
Frederick Lindrum senior was the landlord of the Clarence Hotel in King William Street, as well as the owner of other properties in South Australia. He ran a billiards room which was very popular. When he died in February 1880 he was described as a well respected man with a large circle of friends.

However, within a few months of his death his widow Clara was advertising the Crown Hotel in Port Victor for sale, and in May 1881 she advertised the sale of household goods and furniture due to a move to the hotel in Ardossan (150km from Adelaide). By the end of 1881 Clara had begun making appearances in the insolvency court and she was declared insolvent in December 1881.

The apparent dispappearance from public life of Mrs Clara Lindrum after her insolvency case is something of a mystery. Mrs Lindrum's daughter Clara married in Adelaide in 1885, and Frederick married Harriet Atkins in Melbourne in 1886, but there is no mention in the newspapers of their mother, and no record anywhere of her death or possible remarriage. 

So what happened to Harriet? Not long after Mrs Lindrum's insolvency case, the name 'Harriet Whybrow' (sic) starts to be mentioned in newspaper reports from the police courts in Adelaide. This is almost certainly Harriet Whybrew. The Australian Birth Index lists her as Harriet Whybrow, daughter of David Whybrow, and I haven't found any other Harriet Whybrows/Whybrews born, married or arriving in Australia in this period.

In January 1882, in a case somewhat reminiscent of her mother, the 13 year old Harriet was charged with stealing a watch:
Harriet Whybrow, a young girl, was charged with stealing one watch, value 45s., and various other articles, value 24s., the property of Francis Harris, on January 10. The prosecutor missed several of the articles from her bedroom and on a search being instituted it was found that the prisoner, who was living in the same house, had pawned them with Mr Berliner.When arrested prisoner owned to pawning all the articles with the exception of the watch. The prisoner, who pleaded guilty, was sent to the Industrial School for one year.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17. (1882, January 21). South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889), p. 12
Why Harriet was staying with Francis Harris isn't clear. Perhaps she was employed as a maid. The South Australian Register reported that Miss Harris lived in Rosina Street, while the South Australian Police Gazette said Harriet was accused of having stolen goods from 'Sophia Harris'. Putting all this together, it's possible that the owner of the watch was Frances Sophia Harris (born 1866), youngest daughter of John Harris, who owned a general goods cum second-hand shop in Rosina Street. Later the same year, while Harriet was confined in the Industrial School, Frances Sophia married William Barrett, the son of a London solicitor, in Melbourne.

The Industrial School was a reformatory where 'wayward children' and orphans awaiting placement were sent to be taught useful skills as well as continuing their general education. Despite the skills they acquired, a record of having spent time there made it very difficult for girls to find work afterwards, as it was taken to be a sign of bad character. Harriet apparently stayed out of trouble for a while, but in June 1884 she and several other girls were charged £2 each for 'loitering'. In November 1884 she received another £2 fine for loitering, and again in April 1885. After that we hear no more about Harriet Whybrow in Adelaide. 

Harriet Malone, nee Whybrew
It seems that sometime between 1885 and 1888 she decided to return to the family she had never met in England. Perhaps she hoped to make a fresh start. However, things didn't go well for Harriet in Colchester. The next mention I can find of her is in a newspaper report from the Colchester police courts in August 1888, when she and her sister Eliza are named as witnesses in a domestic dispute between her parents, Susan and David Whybrew.

Then in October 1888, Susan Whybrew was charged with assaulting Harriet during a row in which Susan is said to have told Harriet to 'clear out of the house'. Perhaps she did clear out. When Harriet made a final appearance in the Colchester courts in 1890, this time after a dispute with another young woman, both girls were said to live in Magdalen St.*

Henry and Harriet Malone

Life seems to have improved for Harriet when she met Henry Malone, the son of a soldier, Peter Malone. Henry was born in India, but seems to have lived most of his early life with his grandparents in Colchester (in Magdalen Street, in fact). He and Harriet were married in Colchester at the end of 1890. Their first child, Cissy, died within a few months of birth in 1892, but their son, Henry Everett Malone, survived to adulthood. The family continued to live in Colchester for several years, and were there in 1911. After that I haven't been able to trace them.


As Eliza plays a direct role in our family history, I intend to write a separate post about her. A basic outline of her life appears here. Suffice to say that Eliza married William James Beales in 1891 and they and their family were living in Colchester at the time of the 1911 UK census.


Alice was born in 1875 while David and Susan were stationed in Ireland. She married Herbert Arthur Miller, a carpenter, in Colchester in 1896, when she was 21. Their daughter Alice Frances was born 1900 and they were still living in Colchester in 1901.

In about 1904 the family migrated to Cook County, Illinois (ie Chicago), possibly travelling via Quebec in Canada. I haven't been able to find them for certain in any passenger lists, but on the 1910 US federal census Herbert states that they arrived in 1904.

[Update: I have since found Alice with her two children, Alice Frances and Betsy Mary (born 1903) on the passenger list of the Tunisian, which arrived in Quebec in August 1905. Herbert had arrived earlier on board the Virginian. Betsy seems to have died soon after their arrival in Canada, since she disappears from the records after this.]

At first glance it appears from the 1910 US census that Herbert and Alice were living in Cook county with their daughter Alice Frances. But a closer look at the image of the census document shows that the "Alice M Miller" married to Herbert in 1910 was 5 years younger than Alice Whybrew, had been married for less than a year, and had no children living or otherwise. The new Alice Miller also had two Irish parents. (Alice Whybrew's parents were English and Australian). 

The puzzle is resolved by records showing that Alice Miller (ie Alice Whybrew) died on 7 December 1909 and was buried at Forest Home cemetery in Cook County. Herbert Miller married an Irish immigrant, Alice M McKeon, on 12 March 1910. Thus Alice is one of the two Whybrew children who survived childhood but died prior to 1911. The cause of her death is unknown. Herbert and his second wife Alice lived on in Chicago and Alice Frances married there.


Rose married George Henry Anthony in Colchester in 1897, but in the 1901 census Rose was staying with Harriet and Henry, and I haven't managed to discover where George was at that time. Like Alice and Herbert, Rose and her husband George migrated to Cook County Illinois. The records indicate that they travelled there via Canada, sailing on the "SS Canada". They arrived in Quebec with their baby son George in June 1907, and were living in Chicago at the time of the 1910 US federal census. 

Tragedy struck in April 1913 when six year old George died. He was buried, like Alice Miller, at Forest Home cemetery in Cook County. The records helpfully show his mother's name, Rose Whybrew. The family's address is given as 626 S. 48th Ave.

In 1917, George Anthony received call-up papers for the US army, although he wasn't a citizen at the time. Whether or not he joined the army isn't known. The papers show that he was unemployed. His wife was named as Rose Anthony, but her address was different to his. He was still living at 626 S 48th, while she was at 4823 Congress St. After this date, I haven't been able to trace either Rose or George. It's possible that they separated and Rose remarried. 

I'll continue with the other children of David and Susan in my next post.

* These reports are all from The Essex Standard, West Suffolk Gazette, and Eastern Counties' Advertiser

You may also be interested in:

Susan Mason, a wild colonial girl
David Whybrew's military career part 2
David Whybrew's military career part 1
Discoveries in Adelaide part 1
Discoveries in Adelaide part 2


You can find out more about Susan and David Whybrew and their family in my book Susan: convict's daughter, soldier's wife, nobody's fool.
It's available on Amazon and other online books stores

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