Author Topic: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia  (Read 6109 times)

Offline mrs.family

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James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« on: Sunday 25 May 14 16:30 BST (UK) »
I'm hoping somebody can help me with a little mystery.
I'm posting this on the Australian and the Pembrokeshire parts of the Forum.

There is a James Lewis born in St Davids, Pembrokeshire in 1814, son of Thomas Lewis, a weaver. His adult life is not definitely traceable locally, but a James Lewis was buried in 1845 [though aged 33, which puts his birth at c.1812], and a [obviously different!] James Lewis was a witness at his brother's wedding in 1850.
 Of course, James Lewis isn't an uncommon name ......so maybe neither of these is 'my' James......

There is also a James Lewis who emigrated to Australia and died in 1891; and there are a number of Trees on Ancestry, all saying
[a]James is the son of Thomas Lewis of St Davids
Thomas Lewis is a clockmaker.
Some also show [c] a ship's arrival list in which James is listed as being from 'St Davids, Mon' [Monmouthshire is of course a different county from Pembrokeshire].

I have contacted a few of these owners, asking where they got this information from - when they have replied, the reply has turned out to be "from someone else's Tree". H'm....

My gut feeling is that somebody at some time has mistaken 'cloth-maker' for 'clock-maker', and that James is quite probably who these Trees say he is.
 But as things stand, I haven't found anyone who has any PROOFS or family stories or anything else that James is actually the son of Thomas the weaver of St Davids.

This little mystery has been driving me mad for a few years now - so if anyone can help I shall be very grateful (and I shall possibly have a whole new branch of my family....).

Elaine



Offline Dundee

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 25 May 14 16:45 BST (UK) »
OBITUARY. Mr. James Lewis, a pioneer, died on Tuesday, April 14, at his residence, Richmond House, on the Wakefield River, and was buried at Balaklava on Thursday. The late gentleman had been very unwell for some months past. Mr. Lewis was born in the City of St David's, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and was the third son of Mr. Thomas Lewis, of Lewis Brothers, clock manufacturers, of that town. As a young man he followed a sea- faring life and came to this colony by the Rapid, brig, in, the year 1838. On his arrival he joined the Survey Department and served under Colonel Light, then Surveyor-General, for three years, and assisted in the survey of Districts A and B, from South-terrace to Mount Terrible. In the year 1841 he went in the cutter St. Vincent on a sealing expedition. The cutter was blown out to sea, leaving Mr.Lewis and four comrades on a reef, where they remained for six weeks, subsisting on limpets. In 1842 he went out with Lieutenant Frome from Adelaide on a trip north to Blackrock Hill, Mount Remarkable, and back by Clare. The deceased was one of Captain Sturt's party on his celebrated trip through the Barrier and Cooper, and on his return was engaged as a carrier on the Port-road before the railway days. In 1851 he went overland to the Victorian diggings with teams, returning to South Australia in 1852. After this he continued farming at Richmond until 1881, and then went north and remained there until the time of his death. He leaves a wife and a grown-up family of five sons and six daughters.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48099030

It is quite possible that his father's occupation is an error made by the newspaper.

Debra  :)

Offline Dundee

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 25 May 14 17:06 BST (UK) »
" Some also show a ship's arrival list in which James is listed as being from 'St Davids, Mon' "

The reference for his name appearing on that list is BISA - which is the Biographical Index of South Australia - information submitted by researchers and not always correct.

Others on the board will help you out with South Australian resources, but I suspect that most of the BISA info has come from his obit.

Unfortunately South Australian marriage certs do not give the father's occupation.  Perhaps you need to find out if there was a Lewis Brothers in St Davids who were clock manufacturers.

Debra  :)


Offline mrs.family

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 25 May 14 23:36 BST (UK) »
Many thanks Dundee,

Yes, I've seen this obituary before, and while it refers to father Thomas as a 'clock-maker', the Trees I've seen all link James to Thomas the weaver of St Davids - and I can't find why they make the connection [except that the replies from those my cousin and I have contacted said they have just "copied the information from other Trees"- how I wish folk would do their own research, instead of churning other people's errors!].
Interestingly, it does mention his early years as a seaman; and there are maritime records in the 1830s of a James Lewis born 1814 in St Davids. But James Lewis being a common name, and NonConformity in Wales meaning not all children would be shown as baptised in Parish Registers, it would be a leap of faith to make an assumption that this chap is 'our' James.....

There's no Lewis family of clock-makers at St Davids that I've been able to find. There is a 'Lewis Clockmakers' in Wales, but not in St Davids.
Also, James was the second of six sons - not the third, as the obituary states - but this is a minor point, the informants presumably never having had much to do with the family in Wales, in the nature of things!
And then, the weavers of St Davids and Solva in the 1840s and 1850s Directories are recorded as Thomas, John and James Lewis - which may or may not mean anything - Thomas the weaver had brothers John and James.....

What I want to do, is to find is the person who first linked James to father Thomas the weaver - did this person just link James purely on the basis of his name/age/place of birth; or did he actually have some evidence that James was the son of Thomas the weaver?

One thing I hadn't considered was your point that the obituary notice might just have picked up the word 'cloth-maker' and printed it as 'clock-maker' - I had thought that my looked -for 'first Australian Tree-maker' had read a census entry incorrectly [the C1851 has a poorly-written 'cloth-factor' as employment], which had then been copied by every other Australian Tree-owner. But I think you may well have the answer here!

I shall go and have another look at James. My gut feeling is that he is in fact the son of Thomas the weaver and part of my family - but without proper evidence, I can't include him, of course!
One thing I can do, is go through the local census entries in St Davids/Solva and see if I can find all the James Lewises. And I feel a visit to the |Records Office in Haverfordwest coming on.....maybe they have some information tucked away somewhere....

I think you've cleared my head somewhat on this little puzzle, so my grateful thanks - Elaine

Offline judb

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #4 on: Monday 26 May 14 00:52 BST (UK) »
1841 Wales census

The address is a bit tricky - it may be Goat St, Witwell St or Back Terrace (which may just refer to the back of another street).  As you would know relationships are not shown for 1841.
Thomas Lewis    53, weaver
Mary Lewis    54
John Lewis    23
Mary Lewis    15
William Lewis    13

Judith

DYER - Wilts, London, Somerset, MIDLANE - Hants, Wilts, SONE - Hants, WRIGHT - London, Hants, SEAGER - Deptford, DWYER, FERGUSON - Victoria, MASON - Woodford Vic, BALLARD - South Wales, GOULDBY - Lowestoft
"Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future..." T S Eliot

UK Census information Crown Copyrightt, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline judb

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #5 on: Monday 26 May 14 01:23 BST (UK) »
1861 Wales census

Thomas LEWIS   64, head, tailor, b St Davids
Mary LEWIS   66, wife, b Norton? Pembs
John Bucklinam    12, grandson, b Newport - Monmouthshire may be crossed out and I can't read the other recorded place.  I am aware that there are at least three Newports in UK

I am not seeing any Thomas LEWIS, clockmaker - which isn't to say there wasn't one  :-\


   

DYER - Wilts, London, Somerset, MIDLANE - Hants, Wilts, SONE - Hants, WRIGHT - London, Hants, SEAGER - Deptford, DWYER, FERGUSON - Victoria, MASON - Woodford Vic, BALLARD - South Wales, GOULDBY - Lowestoft
"Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future..." T S Eliot

UK Census information Crown Copyrightt, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline judb

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #6 on: Monday 26 May 14 02:15 BST (UK) »
There is this will which may be worth chasing up when you go to Haverford West - would have to be a grandfather of James.  This person was apparently of Haverford West
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/A2A/records.aspx?cat=210-prob_sd_13&cid=-1#-1


Thomas Williams, Watchmaker  SD/1787/44  1787

Contents:
Will.
Diocese: St David's
Parish: Haverfordwest (St Martin)
County: Pembrokeshire
DYER - Wilts, London, Somerset, MIDLANE - Hants, Wilts, SONE - Hants, WRIGHT - London, Hants, SEAGER - Deptford, DWYER, FERGUSON - Victoria, MASON - Woodford Vic, BALLARD - South Wales, GOULDBY - Lowestoft
"Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future..." T S Eliot

UK Census information Crown Copyrightt, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Dundee

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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #7 on: Monday 26 May 14 02:29 BST (UK) »
James' daughter tells a different story:

"...her father (Mr. James Lewis) and his parents in the Rapid with Col. Light......Col. Light, who boarded with her grandparents while his own home was being built..."

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55728734

...and different again:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43772551

Perhaps it was the reporter who couldn't get their head around who was who.

Debra  :)


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Re: James Lewis b1814 St Davids Pembs and d1891 Balaklava, S Australia
« Reply #8 on: Monday 26 May 14 02:32 BST (UK) »
...and his son:

"Mr. Lewis is keenly interested in South Australian history, as he said to day that his mother came to this State when she was 13 in the same ship as Col. Light. His father. James Lewis, came to Australia with Sturt's expedition..."

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/131204025

Family stories  ::)

Debra  :)