Friday, August 21, 2020

Jane Mason's daughter, Lizette

In my post about Henry Hartland, I mentioned that I'd received an email from a descendant of Jane Mason. (Jane was a younger sister of my great great grandmother, Susan Mason). She has very kindly provided me with an outline of the story of Jane's daughter, Lizette. Here it is, with some additional information that I've found online.

The Shamrock Hotel (since renamed several times) in 1927

Lizette was born to Jane in March 1879, in Campbelltown, Adelaide. Lizette's father, Thomas Boddington, was the landlord of the Shamrock Hotel in Currie Street. He was also the lessee of a notorious row of cottages on Light Square, known as Boddington's Row, which were let out as brothels. 

Thomas' father, a baker also named Thomas, had been transported to Western Australia in 1851, for receiving stolen goods. The rest of the family followed him to Australia in 1855. They moved to South Australia in 1859 and Thomas senior established a bakery in Rundle Street. His advertisements drew attention to his 'superior style of Wedding Cakes'.

Jane Mason worked as a servant for the younger Thomas Boddington. But sometime in 1877 she lost her job. On a Friday evening, 28 September 1877, she went to the Shamrock and pleaded to be taken back. 

When Boddington refused, she was "overcome with emotion", and grabbed him by the coat. She was charged with disturbing the peace and appeared in the police court the following day. The magistrate, Mr Beddome, made her promise not to return to the Shamrock and fined her 5 shillings plus costs.

Newspaper article about Jane Mason appearance in court

The Express and Telegraph, 29 September 1877

Despite this distressing experience, Jane must have had further contact with Boddington (who was divorced from his first wife) since she gave birth to Lizette 16 months later, on 11 March 1879. Sadly, as was often the case in those days, Jane was unable to keep her child, and it seems Lizette was handed over to the care of one of Thomas Boddington's brothers and his family. (The child's name was spelled Lizzette on the birth register and some later records.) 

Jane appears to have died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1886. In 1895, Lizette, still in her teens, gave birth to a boy named Herbert Harry Bartlett. His father was listed as Henry Bartlett on the birth registration. Nothing is known for certain about this Henry, but possibly he was the same Henry Bartlett, MP, who was charged in 1892 with failing to support an illegitimate child

Nor is it clear what happened to the baby. But  like her mother, Lizette probably handed him over to someone else to bring up, not by choice but out of necessity.

Lizette travelled to Western Australia in 1901. We next see her in 1912, at the age of 33, when she appears on the electoral roll at Twin Peaks station 'via Yalgoo', east of Geraldton in Western Australia. She is listed as a lady's help, and is living with Albert and Hannah Boddington. Albert was Thomas  Boddington's youngest brother, born in Western Australia after the family arrived from England.

In 1919, Lizette married Edward Charles Atkins, the owner of the sheep station adjoining the Boddingtons. They had two children, who had children of their own. So despite her hard and short life, Jane Mason has descendants who have been successful in ways she could not have dreamed of.

My correspondent, one of Lizette's grandchildren, writes "I feel sorry for Jane as she had a difficult life. I am also extremely proud of her and all the extended family she has produced." I'm delighted that Jane Mason is no longer one of the "unsolved mysteries" in my own family tree.

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