merrick.doc 26 May 2011
by Ken STEWART
Charles Barnes Merrick was baptised on 4th April
1824 at St James Clerkenwell in
His father Barnabas MERRICK was born 23rd April 1792 and baptised 2nd September
1792 in the
Barnabas (1792) was
married three times. His first marriage was 12th April 1815 in
Wanstead in Essex to Ann BOWDEN who was possibly born 23rd October
1793 and baptised 1st December in 1793 in St Leonards Shoreditch in
The father Barnabus (1792) married just three months after March 1826
to his second wife Sarah JONES on 3rd June in 1826 at St Ethelburga Bishopgate in
The third marriage of Barnabas (1792) was on 19th March in 1837 in Radford in Nottinghamshire to Sarah ROCKLEY, and they raised a family of three children in Leicester – Joseph Rocklea (1838 - 1897), Henry (1840 – 1921) and Charles Barnabas (1846 – 1925). A grandson from this third marriage, a son of Joseph Rocklea, was Joseph Carey MERRICK, the renown Elephant Man.
Barnabas (1792) died on the 12th April in 1856 at the Union Workhouse in St Margarets Leicester with Sarah Coltman of the Union Workhouse in attendance. He was a journeyman bobbin turner aged 64 years and died of heart disease and dropsy.
With the third
marriage of his father in Nottinghamshire, and their subsequent young family
growing up in St Margarets Leicester, Charles was
left to fend for himself in
Merrick is first seen in
CHARLES MERRICK was indicted for stealing, on the 5th of March, 6lbs. weight of pork, value 3s., the goods of Jane Wing.
JANE WING . I live in John's-row, St. Luke's—I am a widow, and keep a pork-shop. On the 10th of March, I had two bellies of pork, one on each side of my window—I saw them safe a minute before one of them was taken—I merely walked into my room from the shop, when a little girl called me, and told me something—I ran to the door, and a witness brought back the prisoner, and the pork, which was one of the bellies I had in my shop.
GEORGE STOCKSLEY . I am a butcher, and live in Bath-street, opposite John's-row. I saw the prisoner and three others come down John's-row—they stopped near my shop—the prisoner then went and took the pork out of the prosecutrix's window—one of the other boys took it from him as soon as he had taken it out of the window—they came towards ray shop—I took the prisoner, and the other boy threw down the pork—one of the other boys picked it up, but they were pursued, and he dropped it again —a man took it up, and gave it to me, and I took it back—the other boys escaped.
Prisoner's Defence. I saw two boys go and take the pork—they began to run, and this man took me—I am innocent.
SENTENCE: GUILTY . * Aged 16.— Transported for Seven Years.—Convict Ship.
Charles was firstly detained in Parkhurst Prison, but immediately ran foul of the prison authority when he attempted to steal the sum of ₤15. For this he received an additional sentence of 3 months. This sentence was apparently added to his 7 years transportation.
Charles was transported on the “Runnymede” departing
During his early years of servitude he had a few run-ins with the authorities.
2 September 1841 - Misconduct making away with some tobacco. Three days of solitary confinement
9 January 1843 - Absconding from
2 January 1843 - Insubordination, no sentence stated.
19 April 1843 - Absconding, to be kept to hard labour 3 months the first and last months in solitary confinement.
6 Nov 1843 - Disorderly Conduct, 10 days solitary confinement and then kept to his station.
He served out his remaining sentence in
Fifteen months after getting his free certificate he was on
the “Thomas Lord” bound for
After spending some time in NSW, he moved to
On the 20th July 1857, at the age of 28, Charles married
Mary Ahern. The ceremony took place in
the house of the Reverend Alfred Scales on
Mary Ahern was a 23 year old spinster from Youghal,
These dates point towards Mary's arrival on the "Arabian" - on 27th January 1857 aged 25(?). (Another Mary Ahern aged 22 arrived on 6th June 1857 but was from County Clare.)
On her arrival, Mary Ahern was engaged by Mrs Graham of
Mercers Hill in Geelong from Jan 30th 1857 for 3 months for wages of
20 (shillings?). It is likely that the Hannah AHERN aged 19 years also from
Charles Merrick and Mary Ahearn's family were
David b 1858
13 May 1861
Ann Martha b 1863
Mary b about 1864 (died very young)
William Edward b 1865
Mary Ahearn died in childbirth, with the stillborn child, on 27th October 1867 leaving four boys and a surviving girl, all under twelve years of age.
Charles Merrick remarried quite soon after, in 1868, to
Bridget Cunningham, the thirty year old daughter of an Irish farmer, Thomas
Cunningham and Bridget O'Connell of
Charles Merrick worked as a boot-maker for many years in his
“About ten o’clock on the night of the 15th ult, a fire broke out at the
Mr Hoad’s official report of the injury caused by the fire .... No. 248, C. Merrick, boot and shoe maker: Stock damaged by removal. Insured for ₤100.
The evidence adduced did not tend in any degree to solve the mystery as to how the conflagration arose. ... The jury returned an open verdict, but expressed an opinion that the fire occurred accidentally.”
In 1878, his eldest son David, then aged 20, took over as
the family breadwinner operating as a boot-maker from
Bridget died at
THE SONS OF CHARLES MERRICK
The two eldest sons David and Charles both became
Charles Merrick junior does not appear in the directories,
however in the 1899 Electoral Roll prior to Federation, Charles is given as a
From 1895 until 1904 the "EBC Boot Company"
operating from various street numbers, mainly at 378/380 of
The third child of Charles and Mary Ahern was James Merrick, my grandmother's father. His story continues below.
The fourth son of Charles and Mary Ahern, William Edward
Merrick was living in
James was a Potter, aged 21, of Richmond when he married on the 20th August 1881 at the Registry Office, to Margaret O'Mahoney, daughter to Thaddeus Mahony and Jane Stafford. In 1894 he was a potter of Montague St Footscray when his youngest daughter Ethel Margaret Merrick (my Grandmother) was born. James assumed the middle name of Bond for the births of some of his children, but I have yet to find out where this supposed family name originates from. James Bond Merrick is a well-known Victorian potter, but I have not found much on his potting fame.
He is not located in the 1899 Electoral Roll, however two
different entries for James Merrick appear in
James and Margaret MERRICK (circa 1883) with
children James (1881) Maud (1879) & Lillian (1883)
Margaret Merrick is remembered by several of her grandchildren as the active old girl who liked her drop of beer. In her desires she was known to have hocked anything she could lay her hands on - tablecloths, silverware and whatever - for another jug or two. At one time she broke her leg climbing over a fence to get a jug of beer.
James Bond Merrick and Margaret Mahoney had nine children born in different parts of Victoria and NSW, (see family on Merrick2 file)
Maud Christina Merrick (1880 Vic. - )
James Thaddeus Merrick (1881 -1967)
Mary Merrick (1884 – 1885)
Merrick b. 1888
Annie Merrick (1890 - )
John Merrick (1892 - )
Ethel Margaret Merrick b. 26 Feb 1894 Montague St, Footscray. (see Ethel's family in
the KITTO family file [link]
William Charles Merrick (1898 – 1977)
Six are known to have reached adulthood, and four have descendent
families, but none are
The family did not always operate harmoniously. It seems that James was at some stage separated from Margaret. There was at one stage a need for Margaret to claim maintenance from James.
Margaret Merrick v. James Merrick claim by a wife for maintenance. As the police had not been able to serve the summons in this case, it was extended for seven days.
the Argus - Saturday 29 September 1883, page 2
This was some time after their third or fourth child. They were together again for five more children
The fourth son of Charles and Mary Ahern, William Edward
Merrick was living in
The youngest of the family, George is given as a labourer of
Dora MERRICK from Claire DUNCAN written 1996
Dora MERRICK married William WILSON in 1911 at the Methodist
Dora, the grand-daughter of two convicts, was working as a
housekeeper in Burra, SA. a bustling copper mining town, when she met William.
He was the first Australian-born child of William WILSON and Agnes SMITH who
had emigrated from
Dora and William returned to the
Frank was born in 1915. He worked as a trainee conductor on
Lorna, born in 1920, remembers her father giving her
twopence to cheer her up when he went away to attend William senior's funeral
William was quite clever despite his lack of training. His
father was a chair carver, no doubt introducing woodworking skills to his sons.
William devised a folding stool which was a popular item among his football
loving friends. While he worked as a shunter on the cable trams in
The family owned a Fiat car by 1926 which allowed for picnics, especially to Ferntree Gully, and rabbiting trips to Sunbury and beyond.
The Fiat was sold when the family bought a house in Campbellfield in 1930. Dora drove William to and from the Fawkner Railway Station using the horse and cart. While there was a motor rail from Fawkner to Somerton, it was very unreliable. The horse and cart was replaced by a Harley motorbike with a
side-car to cope with the odd times of his shift work.
William, Lorna, Frank, Doris, friend, Dora. (Photo 1926)
The Campbellfield house has no fond memories foe Lorna. It cost $120 and they were paying it off at 1 pound per week. The house was very small, had hessian-lined walls and was home to many unwanted vermin. The acre of land allowed for chooks and a house cow. More than once, Dora would find a drowned mouse floating on the cream in the milk separator.
William was hit by a car while at work and was moved to lighter duties of cleaning buses for the Tramways-owned Clifton Hill Bus Depot. At this time, electric trams were beginning to replace the cable trams.
They separated during the 30's. He was living at Hurstbridge while Dora, with Lorna, became cook and housemaid t a variety of sheep stations. They were at Chumley Station near Euroa during the Black Friday Fires, and later at the Fairbairn Station in Albury.
William died in 1957.
Dora continued as a housekeeper until she was 75. She