WATKINS LAPHAM updated 2009

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  • ID: I1679
  • Name: William Rees
  • Sex: M
  • ALIA: William /Reeves/
  • Birth: ABT 1800 in Bettws Newydd
  • Death: AFT 1860 in probably Australia later William Reeves
  • Baptism: 25 MAR 1804 Bettws Newydd
  • Event: Transported 1838 ship Coromandel arrived 25 october 1838 Van Diemens Land
  • Burial: http://www.absoluterealtime.com/photos/Rees/Tree/PS01/PS01_007.htm
  • Event: False name 7 AUG 1854 William Reeves
  • Occupation: 1838 Mason, labourer, in Tasmania stone mason
  • Event: Transported 1 25 OCT 1838 Convict number 1342 work parties 5 April 1839, 2 May 1842 and 25 October 1842
  • Event: Convicted 1 JAN 1838 Monmouth Quarter Sessions 10 years
  • Event: Transported 2 1848 due for release Van Diemen's Land, as Tasmania was called until 1855
  • Reference Number: 1686
  • Medical Information: height 5 ft 9 ½" 1838 tallest convict on Convict Work Assignment Page sallow complexion Oval head Brown hair Oval visage mid forehead brown eyebrows grey eyes small nose long chin remarks 1
  • Note:
    Suelwinch@aol.com wrote on 13/02/2004, 14:34:
    > Margaret Rees, baptised 15 November 1772, Bettws Newydd. Margaret died in
    > 1843, Bettws Newydd.
    >
    > Margaret gave birth to an illegitimate son, William Rees, baptised 23
    > March 1804, Bettws Newydd. He was transported to Van Dieman's Land in
    > 1838, for the theft of 2 sheep from a local clergyman, Rev. Thomas Williams.
    >William never returned.
    >
    Family research has put me in touch with family abroad too. One of William the convict's sons emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1866, and his descendants found me online last year - delightful people. One of them is visiting us in late February. His name is Rick Rees, and his family history website, including Holmes names, can be found using absoluterealtime+rees+familyhistory.

    I know that William the convict had descendants in Aussie, but have not traced them yet.
    http://www.absoluterealtime.com/photos/Rees/Tree/PS01/PS01_024.htm
    From Sue Winch:
    He was an illegitimate child, born to Margaret Rees. (This is very unusual - only around 2% of the UK population were born illegitimate at that time, and the unwed mothers were often publicly whipped. This may explain why the Rees moved from Bettws Newydd to Kemeys Commander.)

    Who the father of her child was, I don't know, but we may be able to find out from Bastardy Records. The family were poor farm labourers, but Margaret's illegitimate William later managed to buy an Apprenticeship for Stone Masonry - perhaps his unknown father supported him financially in this?

    ===========
    Departure of the steamer Eagle
    from Sydney 13th Jan 1853
    to Moreton Bay
    Vessel details
    Name Eagle
    Type steamer
    Master G A Griffiths
    Weight 154

    Passenger / crew list
    Rees W sh:4889


    sue_winch to monfh
    More options Oct 27 (2 days ago)



    I notice, from time to time, quite a few Australians using the site.
    I wonder if any could give a little advice?

    Iam trying to trace what became of an ancestor of mine, William Rees,
    who was transported to Van Dieman's land in 1838. I have traced him
    as far as 1854-ish, when he married an Irish woman called Frances
    Code, although he married her under the pseudonym, William Reeves (I
    know it's him, because his convict number matches.) However, I can
    find no burial record of him on Tasmania - as Reeves or as Rees.
    When Frances dies years later, there is no mention made of a husband,
    or of her marital status.

    My hunch is that he may have skipped to mainland Victoria during the
    goldrush - could anyone give me any advice on how I might be able to
    trace him from this point, or how to prove he left Tasmania?

    Many thanks in advance for any help,

    Sue Winch.

    PS Apologies this is not strictly a Monmouthshire enquiry - William
    was FROM Monmouthshire, however!

    Hi again Hugh

    yes, Mary Rees, born Mary Jones of Goytre, b. 1793, buried 5 Feb. 1882, Bettws Newydd. She had been living with her son, William, in Blaenavon, for a while. In the 1841 census and 1851 census she is named as Head, but then, in 1861 she is named in the census as a widow. This makes me think that our William, convict, died some time between 1854 (His marriage to frances Code in 1854 in Tasmania) and 1861 (The census). There is absolutely no burial record of him in Monmouthshire, so I believe he died "down under". Of course, the term widow, which Mary used in the 1861 census, could mean that she was pretty fed up with waiting for him to return!

    Census details for her:
    1841 - in Bettws Newydd with children Margaret, William, John and Mary (last illegitimate). HEAD
    1851 - Farmer, Bettws Newydd. with 9 year old daughter Mary (illegitimate) HEAD
    1861 - WIDOW, aged 65, with son John. Bettws Newydd.
    1871 - 77 years. WIDOW. Domestic servant, with a James Arthur (please note that a James Arthur stood as a witness against her husband in his trial back in 1838...). Bettws Newydd.
    1881 - with son William at 1 Cross Street, Blaenavon, Mon. aged 88. WIDOW.

    Best wishes to you,

    Sue :)

    ================================

    William Rees was transported for 10 years, convicted at Usk Quarter
    Sessions, in Monmouthshire. He was born in 1804. He was sent out aboard the
    Coromandel, which arrived in Van Dieman's land on 25 October 1838. He was
    sent out for apparently stealing 2 sheep from a local clergyman! (Nothing like a
    bit of good Christian forgiveness in those days!!).

    On 7 August 1854 he married a Frances Code at St. Matthews Church, Hobart,
    under the name William Reeves. Guess he wanted to hide the fact that his Welsh
    wife was still alive - but then, I have a feeling that the 7 year rule of
    spouse absence was kind-of applied for convicts. I remember reading somewhere
    that the authorities turned a blind eye to bigamy, because they wanted the
    convicts to settle down after they were released.

    Frances died in 27 March 1872 in New Norfolk, Tasmania. She choked to
    death, of all things. In the local paper, The Mercury,no mention is made of a
    husband, or whether she was a widow by then. She is named as Frances Reeves.

    So we know William was in Tasmania until 1854. Then - ??!! There is no
    evidence found so far of William and Frances having children, BUT during World War
    I a young ANZAC came to my family's shop in Monmouthshire (in Blaenavon), to
    find his lost Rees family - he was a descendant of William - a son or grandson
    - don't know. Surname unknown too - could be Rees or Reeves, I guess. But
    the point is, clearly William had children "down under". The young soldier was
    sent packing by an indignant and pompous aunt! Very sad - I've always had a
    thing about wanting to find out what became of this ANZAC, and how sad it was
    that his family turned him away.

    Oddly enough about 10 to 15 years ago an Aussie couple - mind you, they could
    have been New Zealanders, I guess - came to Blaenavon looking for Rees' Shop,
    and their lost family. Unfortunately our paths never crossed, since they
    were wrongly informed by a local that the family had long gone. The local
    realised his mistake too late!

    The Tasmanian research was kindly done for me by a Tasmanian lady whose
    ancestor was also sent out abroad the Coromandel.

    It is difficult, of course, to do research in Australia - so I would be very
    very grateful for any help at all - in whatever timescale.

    From Sue Winch:
    He was an illegitimate child, born to Margaret Rees. (This is very unusual - only around 2% of the UK population were born illegitimate at that time, and the unwed mothers were often publicly whipped. This may explain why the Rees moved from Bettws Newydd to Kemeys Commander.)

    Who the father of her child was, I don't know, but we may be able to find out from Bastardy Records. The family were poor farm labourers, but Margaret's illegitimate William later managed to buy an Apprenticeship for Stone Masonry - perhaps his unknown father supported him financially in this?
    =========================================================

    The convict transport Coromandel of 1801, owned by Reeve and Green
    Coromandel Peninsula (east coast, North Island New Zealand )
    Navy Hulks Overseas, 1800-1976
    BERMUDA


    Coromandel ex 56 (guns ship) 1827-1853 convict ship
    http://www.danbyrnes.com.au/blackheath/ships3.htm
    1801-1802: Coromandel 1, owned Reeve and Green or Brown, Welbank and Petyt. Arriving Sydney 13 June, 1802.

    1804: Coromandel 1 (2), probably owned as Coromandel I above. Arriving Sydney 7 May 1804.
    no date in Shelton's Contracts No 25, for Coromandel and Experiment, contracts with Messrs Reeve and Wigram, 382 cons, Shelton charged £381/14/8d. with three Scotch convicts; as found in Byrnes, `The Blackheath Connection', p. 97, Note 156.
    Shelton's Contracts are filed at PRO as AO/291

    confusion exists about just which merchants took contracts for transportation, due to Shelton's Contracts having been ignored. For example, for 1801, Bateson connects Brown, Welbank and Petyt regarding the contracts for the convict transports Coromandel and Perseus, but Shelton's Contract No. 22 links only Joshua Reeve to those two ships

    http://www.danbyrnes.com.au/blackheath/thebc46.htm




    Mother: Margaret Rees b: 15 NOV 1772 in Bettws Newydd

    Marriage 1 Mary Jones b: 1793 in Goytre
    • Married: 27 MAY 1828 in Kemeys Commander, Wales
    Children
    1. Has No Children Margaret Rees b: 15 AUG 1830 in Kemeys Commander, Wales
    2. Has Children William Rees b: 1834 in Bettws Newydd or Kemeys Commander, Wales c: 25 MAR 1804 in Bettws Newydd
    3. Has Children John S? Rees b: 1 OCT 1837 in Kemeys Commander, Wales

    Marriage 2 Francis Code b: ABT 1817 in Dublin ? Ireland
    • Married: 1854 in Van Dieman's land - Tasmania
    Children
    1. Has No Children - Reeves b: AFT 1853 in Tasmania

    Sources:
    1. Title: Tasmania Stae Archives
      Page: CSO5/148/3653

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