Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A story about William Howlett

Around 1990 (nearly 24 years ago) I contacted the late Bill Howlett, a descendant of  my great great parents, William Howlett (1819-1884) and Mary Hogben (1821-1919).  Bill's family line is through their son Henry Howlett (1844-1915). 

Bill generously shared a lot of his Howlett and Hogben family research with me. The research he had originally undertaken were in the days on few computers, and I re-transcribed quite a bit of his original typed notes for him. Bill passed away in 1999.

Please note: This material was compiled a considerable time ago and since then more material and records are available which may indicate some inaccuracies which could not be confirmed at the time. I know there are dates which are slightly incorrect but I think the "story" warrants sharing.

William Howlett  (1819-1884)

Here is a part of Bill's story....
Original typed documents given to Robyn Fisher by Bill Howlett, Flagstaff Hill SA,  around 1990.  Re-transcribed 2003



The birth of William, the second child of Charles and Temperance, took place at Ampton Hall, Suffolk, England.  He was the son of a sailor and was baptised in a very old church, St. Mary the Virgin, on 7th January 1819.
Conditions in Suffolk were poor and living conditions extremely difficult.  Charles Howlett, apparently seeking the best for his family, is recorded as having foregone his life at home and joined his distant cousins in France, accepting the occupation of sailor on the Hugo ship La Recherche, operating from Brest, Brittany.
It was no easy task for his mother Temperance to raise a family, as only one month before William's birth, her first child Susan passed away, aged only two years.  With her husband almost permanently at sea, continuous assistance from her parents and cousins, the Palfrey family, who were masters of Ampton Hall in 1819, was necessary.
William attended the church school in the Ampton township with approximately 10 other students, until the age of 12 years, during whi.ch time he welcomed seven brothers and sisters into his family.  Lloyds of London records state that William, at the young age of 13 years was permitted to join his father on a voyage from London to Calcutta in 1829.
However, at Calcutta, William "signed off" the La Recherche and joined the crew of a Brig named the Hero.   It can only be assumed that the father and son relationship on board was unacceptable, or perhaps a more lucrative offer was received from the Hero's captain.
Thus he advanced as a sailor until in 1835, when the Hero, in port in Devon England, was requisitioned by the English government for convict transportation to Sydney Australia and the crew were dismissed to be replaced by a Mariner group, who also acted as guards.  These naval marines, on arrival at Sydney, were to stay in the colony with the convicts so the Hero's captain, W.W. Hughes, requested his sailors to obtain passage to Australia by whatever available means, in order to join him for the return voyage.
As free citizens, such passage was almost impossible, so William and at least 5 other sailors applied to the newly formed South Australia Company in London.
He requested permission to emigrate and was accepted.  On the 5th October, 1836, William Howlett, aged seventeen years, arrived on the Emma at Glenelg, South Australia.
His emigration number was 442.  (Please refer to Before the Buffalo page 18.)
Early records show that he resided in Trinity Place, Adelaide, for nearly a year and worked as a hotel employee of the South Australian Arms Hotel in Hindley Street, whilst he awaited the arrival of his captain and fellow sailors from the Brig Hero.
Records show that, depressed and near penniless, he again rejoined his ship and returned to sea late in 1857.  Captain Walter Watson Hughes, owner and master of the Brig Hero, left the China Seas abruptly before the onset of the opium wars, and sailed to Port Adelaide, where the ship was sold.
The known sailors on the Hero in 1838 were: -
William Jolly -1st Officer
Samual Jackson
William Howlett (18 years)
Edward Hogben
George Hogben
Charles Maidment
Walter Maidment
Isaac White
The Captain and his crew were to return to England and be discharged on the Brig's arrival but all the crew decided to return to Australia by personal means.
Records in the South Australian Archives indicate that William Howlett left England in 1839 on the sailing ship Anna Robertson and arrived in Adelaide on 20th September, 1839.  Whilst his fellow sailors arrived thus:-
Captain Walter W. Hughes      Delhi            arriving 20.12.1839
Charles Maidment                    Charles Kerr             28.12.1839
Edward Hogben                       Resource                             1839
William Jolly                             Recovery                             1839
Samual Jackson                        Cygnet                                 1841
Isaac White                               unknown
David Harvey                           Arab                                    1843
On his arrival, William again resided at Trinity Place Adelaide, with Edward Hogben and his newly emigrated family, which included his daughter Mary.  He also returned to work at the South Australian Arms Hotel in Hindley Street.
Edward Hogben purchased land in Sturt Street and became a brewer.
Romance flourished between himself and Mary Hogben.  On December 17th, 1840, the betrothed couple purchased the Tiers House Tea Rooms near Mount Lofty.  A purchase invoice of furnishings bought is included at the end of this chapter.
On the 14th April, 1841, William Howlett and Mary Hogben, on licence number 452, were married at the Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide, by Colonel Chaplain B. Howard - William Roberts and Ann Colls were witnesses.
After their marriage, William and Mary, who were pioneers of Adelaide, commenced their life with a spirit of survival and the will to battle with the extreme odds of nature in the Tiers.
During the day, Mary tended her house duties and managed their tea rooms, whilst William joined his forester friends and hewed trees for timber to sell in Adelaide.
Using his home as a store area, he advanced to also purchase cattle, horses, sheep and farm produce, which once a week he would haul to Adelaide on a German style waggon to sell to city merchants.  In return he would purchase all types of imported foodstuffs, articles of clothing, axes and implements for farming and forestry trades.  These goods were for sale at reasonable prices or exchanged on a barter system.
In order to glean a scale of the price economy of that era, a price reference of one of his purchases has been included in this book.  It must be assumed that this purchase from David Browne and company would be compatible with the sales and barters conducted by William and his fellow Tiersmen.
The locale of the Tea Rooms is listed as cottage 133 Tiers, Mount Lofty, and was burnt down in latter years; its ruined walls remained until the foundations were made use of to erect several cottages.  These adjoin the grounds where the Grand Church of the Epiphany stands today.
On the 11th December 1841, the young couple sold the tea rooms and purchased at auction sale for Three Thousand Pounds, the Norfolk Arms Hotel, from David Crafer.
Included in this chapter is an advertisement inserted by David Crafer in the South Australian Register on 2nd December and the 11th December, 1841.
William and Mary renamed their Hotel the Forrester's Arms Hotel.  Records in the general registry office of the South Australian Lands Department validate that the young couple were land owners of 80 acres at the Tiers, or Crafers, as it is known today.
When Mr. David Crafer sold Howlett this hotel, it encompassed a great deal of goodwill, coupled with a name that would remain to posterity, perpetuating itself in the name of a township, "Crafers".  The Crafer's Hotel, a solid, homely structure in timber and brick, bears no resemblance to the thatched shanty known then as the Forrester's Arms.
The "Tiers" was at this time the hideout of all manner of unsavoury characters.  They had, if the journals of the day may be relied upon, a reputation as unhallowed as the "evil one himself".  Escaped convicts from Tasmania, with nothing to lose after bestial treatment by guards who regarded them as "scum", were not likely to treat with geniality any intrusion on the haunts of their newly found freedom.
Runaway sailors, desiring anonymity from the long arm of their ships' masters, who showed no mercy to deserters, also found sanctuary there and could hardly be expected to be "friendly" to the law-abiding citizens of the time.  However, there was much hilarity and enjoyment at the opening dinner of the new Inn, an advertisement for which appeared in the press of the day, stating :-
"Opening Dinner - Forresters Arms,
Stringy Bark Forest,
Mt. Barker Road,
Two Guineas a Head”
It is presumed that any diners who attended this opening function came from Adelaide and were not local clients of the area.
It is quoted in the book "Pump on the Roadway" by Tom Dyster, that the Howletts were quite capable of putting saucy "Tiersmen" in their place, serving in the bar, looking after the cuisine, and supervising the stores.  The locals respected them as hard working pioneers.
Visitors from the city could testify to the friendliness and efficiency of the service at the Inn, to say nothing of the spotless condition in which it was kept, albeit the floor was of mud and the roof thatched with straw.
There must have been many unpleasant incidents in a period such as this at the "Tiers" but the Howletts continued to prosper as good servants of the public and within one year had replaced their shanty with an inn constructed of timber and stone.
On June 18th, 1842, Mary Howlett gave birth to their son, Charles William.
Glen Osmond was a deep ravine opening out and terminating somewhat abruptly about five miles into the Adelaide Hills.  Up this ravine trudged horses, carts and bullock wagons, gradually wearing a clearly defined track which wound through gullies and along sharp ridges, becoming the origin of the major highway through the foot hills today.
A map of the original route in 1841 can be seen in this chapter.
On June 11th, 1841, a Bill to enable the construction of a solid road from Glen Osmond to Crafers, was passed by the Legislative Council.  The metal for this road had to be carried, ground and levelled and the surface rolled -no wonder those labouring gangs got thirsty -and small wonder Howlett's Inn flourished.
The South Australian Almanac of 1844 lists the population of the Tiers as 225, of which 103 were children.  It was because of the Tiersmen and their needs that William and Mary’s Forrester' s Arms Hotel came into being.  Men, bow-legged from too many hours in -tile saddle, graced the bar.  They were young men with old faces.  Sailors seeking refuge, told yarns of the sea and recounted rumours about young ladies from the best families down in Adelaide.  So the noise went on -and the drinkers resolved to enjoy themselves.  It can only be assumed that the ale was purchased from Hogben's brewery in Sturt Street, Adelaide.
There is little doubt that this auspicious inn had more interests than just being a house of hospitality and a Tiersmen's trading post, for, according to the Forrester's Arms ledgers and lodgers' books, as well as documents of the South Australian Archives, marriages, births and funerals were conducted there.
The Happy Valley Council 'Contact' of April 1986 reports the wedding ceremony of a Jacob Mackereth and his wife Sara on October 15th, 1842.  During their stay, the newly-weds rented room number 3 for one guinea per week.  Their total account on completion of their stay was £3.15.10 which included six evening meals and two shillings for drinks.  A few months later, according to the record book, Jacob and Sara opened a trading account.  They sold pears, mulberries and vegetables at barter, exchanging them for an axe, shovel and linen goods.  Later that year, Sara gave birth to their first child.  Sara needed medical care at the time and spent two days in room 2.  Mary Howlett acted as midwife.
Maps indicating the location of local residents' homes were kept at the Inn and acceptable traveller's enquiries could be answered.  However, most tracks were narrow and treacherous in wet weather.
It was about this time that William and Mary met David Harvey and his bride Maria (nee Sturgeon) David arrived in South Australia on the sailing ship Arab from Hounslow London England.
Also, a fellow sailor from the ship Hero, Edward Charles Maidment, married Sara Ann Hogben on 22nd November, 1843 at the "Tiers".  Mrs Sara Ann Maidment was the sister of Mary Howlett.
The friendship between the families of Howlett -Harvey -Maidment was very strong and was to remain so for the rest of their lives.
In 1844, Captain Walter Watson Hughes discovered the green rolling downs of the Angus River.  The expatriate Scotsman purchased the property of Temple Bar near Macclesfield and settled there.  It was here that his ex- sailors found mutual respect between their master and themselves.
The Howlett's Forrester's Arms Inn continued to trade prosperously until March 1844 when this entrepreneurial hotelier, upon being informed by his wife Mary that their second child was soon to arrive, cast his eyes to the green plains of Macclesfield.  This investment, they considered, was too lucrative to miss.
On 15th March 1844 Mary Howlett gave birth to their second son, Henry.
William and Mary sold their hotel to Richard Hawkins.
The Forrester's Arms Hotel as it was long known, became the birth-place of the Crafer's Hotel of today.  Its exact location in 1844 was half a mile nearer Adelaide, on the southern side of the new Freeway of today (1986), on the spot where a television tower is now erected.
Records in the general registry office of the South Australian Lands Department, indicate that William Howlett and David Harvey, gardeners, leased half of section lot 1448 near Wistow, at six shillings a year, on the condition that they continue as gardeners for Captain W.W. Hughes.
They were entitled to keep half of the fruit cuttings, suckers and layers they produced but were expected to fence, plough and clear the new land they used.  Farming this virgin land was difficult, particularly one section which was covered with Stringy Bark trees.
The list below, which is based on information published in Allen's Almanac of 1845, indicates how some of our pioneers of Macclesfield were using their leases:-

Howlett and Harvey
4 acres of wheat and 19 cattle
4 acres of wheat, ½ acre of garden, 9 cattle and 1 goat
9 acres of wheat, ½ acre of potatoes, 14 cattle and 2 pigs
The first clear indication of who was farming these lands can be obtained from what is referred to as the Declaration of Acreage in the South Australian Register of February 1846.  This quotes :-
Howlett and Harvey     on      100 acres
Maidment                     on      140 acres
Jackson                         on      80 acres (also a publican)
It is interesting to note that with the selling of Howlett's Forrester's Arms Hotel at Crafers in 1844, a fellow seaman from the Brig Hero built an Inn at Macclesfield, naming it the Goat's Head Inn.  Can it also be assumed that the Goat's Head Inn purchased its ale from Hogben's Brewery in Sturt Street Adelaide?
In 1846, Captain Walter Watson Hughes leased the Lake Albert and Peninsula estate, a property which later increased to 33,000 acres.  This property covered an area from Strathalbyn to a lake area of the lower River Murray, nearly to Meningie.  This area was rough, virgin land so that year he approached William Howlett, David Harvey and Edward Maidment and requested that they re-locate in Woodchester.
During this year a, council was formed, comprising four councillors, and was named "Onaunga".  "Onaunga" is an Aboriginal word meaning Big Water Hole, which signified Lake Albert.
William Howlett purchased the local animal pound for £100.0.0 from William Moulden, which gave the family a better sense of security.  This was located on lot 1791.  David Harvey purchased land at Hartley (lot 1314), some miles towards the east.
Charles Maidment purchased lot 1788 near Woodchester.
William and Mary Howlett, with their brother-in-law Charles Maidment's agreement, built their new home on the eastern edge of lot 1788 near Woodchester.
The house was built using materials obtained from local sources.  These consisted of Gum slabs, straw thatching and a mortar of Paris Creek lime set between Grey Whacker solid walls.  The floor was laid with slate paving which had to be cut from a nearby quarry.
William and Mary's new home was of two rooms, each approximately 12 feet x 12 feet, one being used as a bedroom and the other a kitchen.  The present ruins indicate that an outhouse dwelling of approximately 10,feet x 10 feet may have been used as a bathroom, laundry and store area.
And so, among the trees of the virgin scrub, these first' farms were designated, the first crude homes erected and the first cellars dug.
Nearby, mining had commenced and mines such as Wheal Ellen and others badly needed timber for their hungry boilers hence rapid scrub clearance and 'tilling of the soil enabled the area to develop rapidly.
By 1848 large leases of virgin land had been selected by settlers at Woodchester.  The Chapel and its reserve served as a physical and cultural centre for an increasing influx of pioneers.
William Howlett immediately recognised the pastoral potential of the area but, lacking assistance, he decided to return to Ampton, England and enlist the support of his brother James; leaving his family ,in the safe care of his trusted friends, Harvey and Maidment.
William and James returned home to Woodchester in 1852, when James was 23 years old.
In the year 1857 William and Mary's second son Henry, then aged 13 years, left his parents' home and secured an occupation as a live-in, shepherd with Captain Walter Watson Hughes and his wife Sophia, on their new leases at Moonta, on a wage of nine shillings and six pence per week.
On the 6th June, 1864, James Howlett married Ann Stodden Burnard, at Woodchester, changing his residence to Langhorne Creek where he became employed as a store salesman.
In 1867, Edwin Charles Maidment built a hotel at Woodchester and named it the Everley Arms Inn.
In the same year, 1867, David Harvey named his homestead and farm “Ampton” -  the name of the birth town of William Howlett.  Today, 1986, the Harvey family wool bales, still are registered and branded Ampton”.
On 18th August, 1869, Sara Ann Maidment passed away at Woodchester.  Sara was the sister of Mary Howlett.
On the 29th March, 1869, Charles Harvey, son of David Harvey, married Ann Maria Williams.
Ann Maria had a brother, Alfred, who later married Sussannah, daughter of William and Mary Howlett.
Ellen Howlett married William Pearson in 1871 at Woodchester and they became farmers at Brinkley, neighbours to David Harvey.
William and Mary were to have nine children: -
Charles William     1842
Henry                    1844
Sara                      1845
John                      1846
Ellen                      1848
Alfred                    1849
Sussannah              1851
William                  1853
Frederick               1856
William Howlett was appointed a special constable in 1873, with his head office at Mount Barker., William and Mary continued to live in this manner until William's death' on the 20th January, 1884, aged 64 years.
He was buried in the Woodchester Cemetery, Row 1, Grave 2, with his sister-in-law, Sara Ann Maidment.
Mary, his widow, later shifted to Morwell, Victoria and resided with her married daughter, Sussannah Williams.
Mary Howlett passed away on the 29th August, 1919, aged 98 years.
William and Mary Howlett crossed the Plains and though they lived beyond the age allotted to man, never forgot the ungratified thirst, the intense heat and bitter cold, the craving hunger and utter physical exhaustion of the trail and the rude crosses - which marked the last resting places of loved companions.  But there was another side - never would they forget the level plains covered with lush grass due to their labours.
The glorious sunrise in the morning-s and the camp fire at night, the last prayer at bed -time and the pure sweet air of the land they toiled for.

True, they suffered, but the satisfaction of deeds accomplished and difficulties overcome more than compensated and made their being a fact never to be forgot-ten, and a life-long pleasure for their descendants in remembrance.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Robyn, I am a descendant of Samuel James Howlett, son of Henry and Mary Howlett. Samuel, George Henry and Edward Charles came to WA in 1898 and married and died here. My living Uncle, Sam's son, can remember Edward, but we are unable to verify his birth in SA. According to the records at the Kellerberrin cemetery he died in 1937 at the age of 69 which would make his birth about 1868 which was the year of Henry and Mary's marriage.
    I would be interested to know if you have any further info on him? Thank you for all your research.
    Regards, Meryl Knight