Monday, 17 February 2014

52 Ancestors #8 Susannah Alderson

Susannah Alderson was possibly born in 1780. She was baptised on  27 March 1780 in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Sleighthome is provided in the register as place where the family lived. Bowes is given as the village where she lived on some family trees while the index to the Yorkshire Assizes gives her place of origin as Gilmanby NR. Gilmonby is a village very close to Bowes and both are close to Sleighthome Moor. Sleighthome is also mentioned in some records. Her parents were Thomas Alderson and Hannah Longstaff. In some records Susannah is referred to as Hannah.

We next hear of Susannah when was working as a servant at Kirby Hill approximately 12 miles south east of Bowes. It is not known when Susannah first went to Kirby Hill but in 1805 she was working for the local schoolmaster, William Johnson when she became pregnant. Her son, who she named William, was born on 4 July 1806. Susannah said that William Johnson was the father of her child. William denied the accusation and took Susannah to court where she was tried and convicted of perjury. at the Yorkshire Summer Assizes on 4 March 1807.

York Courthouse in 2008

The History of York website has this image of the York Courthouse built in the 1770s and which was where the Assizes for the county were held. Additions would have been made to the building since 1806 when Susannah was tried there.

York Female Prison building in 2007
The Female Prison was built in 1780. It was used primarily to house female prisoners though males could also be imprisoned there. Two wings have been added so it would have not been so large when Susannah would have been imprisoned.

On 18 May 1808 Susannah was aboard the convict ship, Speke, when it left Falmouth Harbour in Cornwall with 99 female convicts aboard. Therefore, sometime in the months before, Susannah with her baby and other female prisoners had been brought down to Cornwall from Yorkshire by cart which cannot have been a pleasant journey. The ship travelled to New South Wales via Rio de Janeiro and The Cape of Good Hope arriving at Sydney Cove on 15 November 1808. Susannah's son, William was now almost two and a half years old and had been allowed to stay with Susannah in prison and on the ship to Australia.

Shortly after arriving in Australia Susannah must have met the former convict Charles Daley. She would have moved to Windsor soon after her arrival in Sydney as Susannah and Charles had a daughter, Ann, who was born in Windsor on 10 September 1809. On 27 August 1810 Susannah married Charles at St Matthew's Church of England in Windsor. Charles owned and farmed land in the area. Susannah and Charles had another five children, Mary Ann born 1811, Charles born 1813, Sarah born 1815, John born 1817 and Susannah born 1819. William lived with Susannah and Charles though he kept his mother's surname.

Charles died in 1831. Susannah died thirty-three years later on 7 October 1854 after being burned in a fire at her home in Windsor. An inquest was held the following Saturday with a report in the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser 18 October 1854:

INQUEST AT WINDSOR -On Saturday, the 7th instant, an inquest was held at Windsor on the body of Mrs. Susannah Daley, an old resident.  On the Thursday evening a neighbour saw an unusual light in the house of deceased, and running towards her met her at the door enveloped in flames. Her head, face, and upper part of her body were dreadfully burnt, so much so that she could give no account of the accident; she was very old and feeble. The jury found a verdict that she had died from the effects of a burn accidentally received.- Sydney Morning Herald, Oct. 14 1854.

Susannah was buried at St Mathews Church of England, Windsor.  

Six of Susannah's children married and lived in the district producing many grandchildren. As to be expected the parents of the people they married had been convicts who had made a new life in the Hawkesbury region. Susannah's youngest daughter, also Susannah, did not marry.

Louise Wilson has written books about families that in the Hawkesbury district. Three of the books, Robert Forrester - First Fleeter, Paul Bushell - Second Fleeter and Southwark Luck are about families that the Daley family had contact with and in some cases, married into. Susannah and Charles' son, John (1817-1884), married Mary Ann Martin - the grand-daughter of Robert Forrester, and the daughter of Ann Forrester and Charles Martin. Isabella Forrester who married Charles Daley(1813-1886) had also been 'adopted' by Paul Bushell and his first wife.

William Alderson, Susannah's son who came on the ship from England with her, initially farmed land at Wilberforce before moving into Windsor where he owned and operated a tannery. He died in Windsor on 10 July 1885. 

Susannah was my great (x3) grandmother. 

Reference for photos:History of York -  The County Court House  and The Female Prison 

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