“In writing about Harriet Henniker, 3rd child of Thomas Henniker and Jemima Willis I need to advise readers that I am including a newspaper post that might contain some distressing information. After considering carefully whether to post it here, I talked to a number of relatives and others who write blogs. I decided that the information is freely available to anyone who searches the Trove newspaper site. I believe in this day and age, most people are open to discussion and information sharing, and sme events that happened in the past would probably not happen today, or if so, very rarely.”
Harriet Heneker christened on the 3rd July 1831 in Westwell, Kent. She arrived with her parents Thomas and Jemima Henniker on the Hooghly at Holdfast Bay, South Australia in 1839.
On the 11 May 1847 *Harriet married *George Ferguson at the Holy Trinity Church in Adelaide, South Australia.
Their children were:
*Margaret 1847-1920; *Martha Jane 1857; *Sarah 1859-1859; *Charles William 1860-1861; *George 1866; *Albert 1868-1869.
*Margaret Ferguson (1847) married *Mallard Hart on the 4 August 1874 at St Mary’s Church, Wallaroo, South Australia. Margaret passed away on the 30th April 1920 at Melrose, South Australia. She was aged 73 years.
*George Ferguson (1866) married *Edith Creek on the 8th November 1888 at the residence of T. Mundy of Gawler, South Australia. Their children were: *Victoria Pearl born 9 May 1895 at Gawler South; *Arthur George born 16 March 1890 at Gawler West; and *Howard Chapman Ferguson born 24 April 1893 at Gawler South, South Australia.
Sadly in 1856 Harriet Henniker and George Ferguson lost a child at birth. I am unable to find any reference to the registration of the birth of this child. There is no death record available. I wonder if the child mentioned in the newspaper article below was *Martha Jane whose birth is registered as 1857, (but could she have been born in 1856 instead?). There are no marriage records recorded for Martha Jane so it seems to me it may be an error on the date of registration. I can’t be sure of this, it is only my reasoning. Other’s may disagree or know of Martha Jane Ferguson. The Coroner’s Inquest can be difficult to read, but considering the early years of the colony, and the rough way many settlers lived at the time, I can only feel sympathy for the people involved. If anyone knows any more or feels it is not appropriate to have the inquest printed here, I am happy to delete it and perhaps just add the link in Trove so that people who are interested can read it. It does show the type of difficulties and issues that people dealt with back in 1856.
[Note: A “Mary Henke gave a statement and stated Harriet was her daughter. I believe the spelling Henke was a mistake either by the journalist or in the printing of the newspaper article.]
An inquest was held, on the 11th inst., at the Old Bushman Inn, Gawler Town, before Henry Dundas Murray, Esq., J.P., and a respectable Jury, on the body of a female infant, under the circumstances detailed in the following evidence :—
William Frederick Richards, having been sworn, de-posed that from information he received from Dr Mahoney, he went to the Cemetery and there found a child covered over with a soojie bag. It was lying in a small cavity in the ground. Another policeman was with him. They took up the child and carried it to the Bushman.
Elizabeth Grills, on being sworn, deposed that, in the morning, her sister’s little girl went over to the burying ground to fetch her own little girl; when she came back she said she had seen a baby in the Cemetery. She then went over herself to the Cemetery and saw a child there. It was wrapped in a piece of white cloth and covered over with a bag. Mrs Ferguson went with her to see the child. Could not swear whose child it was. It was lying on the top of another grave. It was not in a hole. She did not know how long it had been there. There was no loose earth where it was lying. Had heard there was a child at Ferguson’s. Did not see it. It was about a fortnight ago. Heard that Mrs Ferguson had had a child. She has not one now. The child was still-born. Dr Nott attended her.
Dr Mahony, having been sworn, deposed that Mrs Pinson came and told him there was a child lying in the Cemetery. She asked him what she had better do, and he said he would go and see. He went to the Cemetery and saw the child there with a piece of calico wrapped round it. There was no sign of a grave having been dug. There was a little sand scraped round it, such as would be scraped by any person’s hands. He gave in-formation to the police. It was a female child, far advanced in a state of decomposition. He did not con-sider it possible to say whether it had been born alive. He did not consider the child full-grown, on the ground that the nails on the toes and fingers were not full-grown.
Harriet Ferguson, deposed—I saw the child in the Cemetery, about 3 o’clock, in a piece of rag with a bag thrown over it. It was my own child. It was still-born. It was dead nine days before it was born. I was confined a fortnight ago to-morrow. Dr Nott attended me. The child was placed in the Cemetery the day I was confined. I suppose my husband put it there. I thought he had buried it. Dr Nott was in the house at
the time it was born. She asked her husband where he had put the child, and he said he had buried it. It was a female child. Did not know what killed the child; the doctor said it was the cramp.
George Ferguson, on being sworn, deposed—Dr Nott attended my wife in her confinement; it took place on a Sunday night, I took it, with a man named Hagan, and buried it in the Cemetery, in a white cloth and a bag. I made the grave with my hands, and should think the hole was nearly three feet deep. I was sober at the time I did it. It was a female child. My mother-in-law was present at the birth. Dr Nott has been there several times since it was born. He was not there when I took it away to bury it.
Mary Heneke deposed —I am aware of Mrs Ferguson being confined about a fortnight ago. She is my daughter. The child was not alive when it was born. I was present, but do not know the reason it was still-born. The doctor told me it was the cramp. Did not know what became of the child. Ferguson buried it. Dr Nott was present at the birth.
Corporal Richards, being again sworn, stated he had shown Ferguson the body, and he seemed to recognize the clothes. He had been to the Cemetery with him. Ferguson pointed out two graves where he intended to bury the body, and one of them was the place where I first saw the body. I should suppose the hole to be about twelve inches deep. Should think the child had been buried deeper; the place had the appearance of the body having been disinterred. Thought a dog might have been there. The grave had the appearance of the earth having been scraped away.
The Jury, through their foreman, stated they were of opinion that the child was still-born, and that the father, Mr Ferguson, was highly culpable for not having had the body properly interred.”
[Adelaide Times (SA : 1848 – 1858), Tuesday 14 October 1856, page 3]
“Also a big thank you to my cousin and avid researcher Harold Boddy for pointing out the sad case of Harriet and George’s baby. He is a great source and dedicated finder of information, with a keen eye, and a stickler for correct referencing. Thanks again Harold for all your help.”
George Ferguson is noted as passing away in 1880, at Gawler, South Australia. I haven’t been able to find an exact reference to this date. Checking on the GenealogySA website, I can’t find an definite reference to his death. I have also checked under the spelling of George Fergusson. The date of 1880 seems to be the date used by most genealogists who have been researching him, but I need to check further to find a source of the information. It appears this could be a close date as Harriet then remarried in 1890.
Harriet Henniker Ferguson 2nd Marriage
On the 8th May 1890 *Harriet married William Hamilton at the Primitive Methodist Church in Gawler, South Australia. The records shows that William was aged 43 years and was a Widower. Harriet was 60 years of age and also a Widow. On major difference is that Harriet’s father is named as *Thomas Hawker. I am assuming this may be a transcription error, as having worked with GenealogySA, records are transcribed from handwritten records. Newspaper records show that on her death in 1909 an obituary inserted by her daughter *Margaret and M. Hart prove that this is the correct Harriet. Margaret being the daughter of Harriet’s marriage to George Ferguson
*Harriet Hamilton passed away on the 4 April 1909 in Adelaide, South Australia. Her daughter Margaret Hart inserted this obituary into the newspaper.
“On the 4th April at Adelaide, Harriet Hamilton, wife of William Hamilton, aged 79 years late of Melrose. “All you who have a mother dear, love her while you may, she like our dear mother, too soon may pass away. – Inserted by her loving daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and M. Hart, Melrose.”
[Express & Telegraph/Wed 5 May 1909/Page 1/Family Notices]
I plan to add more to this post, as there is probably a lot more to be written, and I also need to research more dates to ensure correct information.
PLEASE NOTE: Where I have identified births, deaths, marriages or any other references obtained from the Genealogy Society of SA I have put an asterisk * at the front of the person’s name, to save having to enter the reference everytime. The Genealogy Society of SA website allows non members to check records, but not all information is shown. Members can see the complete record as transcribed by the Genealogy Society of SA. The website is https://genealogysa.org.au/. The society is situated at 201 Unley Road, Unley, South Australia.