LINDEN SHADBOLT – the child who stayed behind

The following  is a  continuation of my  convict ancestors’ story  The Exoneration of Solomon Shadbolt. The first piece was prompted by what I saw as an unfair representation of  my three times great-grandfather, in the late   Maurice Shadbolts’s memoir One of Ben’s.  I have always been fascinated by family dynamics and I wondered what lay behind Maurice’s very negative view of ‘my lot’, ie;  the Tasmanian Shadbolts  This is what my research uncovered.  The old family enmity no longer exists of course, but it’s an interesting story and I have tried to give an accurate and fair account of events.

Shortly  after Solomon’s death at Tasmania’s  Cascades probation prison  in 1848 ,  my ancestor George  and his cousins Jonathan and Ben  Shadbolt were granted ticket-of leave status.  Jonathan threatened to burn down his employer’s house and was soon back in gaol at infamous Port Arthur. Ben followed, spending two years in that awful place for stealing geese.  My ancestor George did not re-offend and underwent a religious conversion, perhaps a reaction to his father’s death. He had been christened in the Anglican church back in Hertfordshire,  but  became a strict Methodist. He married a fellow ex-convict, Jane Whitton.

As I mentioned in my original piece, Jonathan  eventually vanished to parts unknown and was never heard from again.  Ben married Elizabeth, a free settler’s daughter and became a hawker. However,  he was  soon gaoled again for horse theft. He was finally granted a conditional pardon in 1858.

Perhaps hoping to make a clean start or ‘encouraged’,  by George, he and a pregnant Elizabeth decided to try their luck in New Zealand.  They left on March 4 1859 with their three children; Linden, now seven years old, and their two little  girls aged four and two.  Unfortunately  the weather was so bad  that after slopping about in the Tasman sea for a fortnight their leaking ship limped back to Tasmania.   I suspect George’s heart sank at their reappearance, but before Ben could get into any more trouble the ship was repaired and they set off again.

Elizabeth Shadbolt
Ben Shadbolt’s wife Elizabeth

Oddly enough,  the decision was made to leave young Linden behind with his Uncle  George and Aunt Jane. The child had suffered badly from sea sickness and was probably loathe to set foot on the ship again!  Another point is that Ben had been in gaol for most of Linden’s life and George had become  a father figure to his nephew. Presumably Linden was happy about the decision. It is difficult to believe he would have been  left behind against his will.

The following year George and Jane  moved  north to an area known as Sassafras, with Linden and their own baby daughter. An idea of  how forbidding the country was is contained in the book,  Bush Life in Tasmania , by James Fenton;  ‘…cold, damp, black, forbidding scrub, with huge, tall trees standing erect like a phalanx of warriors that were master of the situation, and seemed to say, ‘Hitherto, man, thou shalt come, but no further’.  He confessed ;  ‘…we always gave Sassafras a wide birth in the early days. There were  tracks to the right of it, tracks to the left of it, tracks to the back of it, tracks  to the front of it, but there lay Sassafras in its primeval solitude – a place to be avoided both by man and beast.’  But for George, who had felled and milled trees while a prisoner  and who had gained  blacksmithing and carpentry  skills as a ticket-of-leave convict, it represented opportunity.

Shadbolt's  Smithy

He cleared land for a farm and  became a very successful blacksmith and wagon builder. 

No doubt it gave him great satisfaction to  pass his skills on to his nephew.   Linden  grew up  in Sassafras, working  in the family business.  He married local girl Mary King in 1875. Shortly afterwards the newlyweds travelled  to New Zealand.  No doubt Linden wanted his wife to meet his parents, and hoped to re-establish a relationship with them himself.

I was unable to find out much   about  the couple’s stay in New Zealand. However, recently I came across an advertisement from The Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser. It was dated February 6 1877.

Linden Shadbolt 001

One would imagine that Linden   enjoyed all the business from his father’s  large stable of horses, and that the Shadbolt name  was a huge positive for the  forge. It  had every chance of success, so I suspect it was more personal issues that  caused trouble.  Having been raised in the strict Wesleyn faith, Linden must have been shocked by his father’s flamboyant lifestyle.  In turn, he and Mary  were viewed as  sanctimonious wowsers by their Kiwi relatives.  By the end of 1877  the couple  had returned to Sassafras. Linden took over the  blacksmith and wheelwright business from his aging Uncle George. and Mary became the local  postmistress.

Linden and Mary Shadbolt (sitting front row, either side of their youngest son)
Linden and Mary Shadbolt (sitting front row, either side of their youngest son)

Negative stories  about Linden  and Mary  filtered down the generations.  In his  memoir,  Maurice Shadbolt  suggested that  Linden tried to ‘touch’  Ben  for a handout, and that subsequently he and the rest of the Tasmanian Shadbolts  tried to hide their convict ancestry by pretending they were  from unblemished  New Zealand stock. I doubt if the handout story was correct, because Linden was a proud, hardworking  man and an accomplished blacksmith.  However,  there  is substance to the latter claim. Even today some of the Tasmanian Shadbolts insist they are descended from New Zealand free settlers.

Ben Shadbolt died on April 13th, 1882  after  a full and varied life  as ferry boat operator,  saw miller, race horse owner , farmer,  and hotel proprietor. He left a very considerable estate of  £11,000 pounds.  Four hundred people attended his funeral. A  memorial poem appeared in the paper, and the  following lines were clearly written by someone who knew their subject well;

He wasn’t a saint, God bless him!   We liked him better for that.

Ben Shadbolt's grave
‘Gentleman’ Ben’s grave

In 1935, Linden’s eighty three year old widow Mary was interviewed for a local newspaper. She died a few weeks later, on December 9. Recalling those early days at Sassafras she said;

I was kept very busy – I baked bread twice a day, having at times 13 men to cook for, as well as my children and the post office to attend to. Never once were the boots left to be cleaned on Sundays! To go to church every Sabbath was the one and only outing I had throughout the week. I was too fully occupied to do otherwise.

Further in the interview she spoke about bushrangers and told an interesting story concerning Ben and  Elizabeth Shadbolt, Linden’s parents.

Although the bushrangers never visited our house, they invaded the home of the parents of my late husband when he was about five years old. They demanded to be housed and fed for the night. Throughout the evening they nursed my late husband and told him stories. They also taught him to help them to make bullets!

On leaving next day, they ordered that no information be given as to their whereabouts. If disobeyed they would return and ‘settle’ my husband’s parents. About a quarter of an hour after their departure the police arrived, hot on their tracks.’

It is likely the bushrangers  had imposed upon the hospitality of an old prison mate from infamous Port Arthur, and that this sobering experience contributed to Ben’s decision to leave Tasmania.

George Shadbolt also died in 1882. He  (and later Linden)  had played an important role in the  transformation that  took place in Sassafras. In January 1884 an article about the once forbidding area appeared in the Tasmanian Mail. Beneath the virgin forest and dense scrub my convict ancestor  had discovered rich, chocolate soil:

Sassafras farmland, Tasmania
Rich farmland at Sassafras, Tasmania

generally potato growing appears more like gardening than field cropping, acres and acres being in sight without a weed. The latter maybe said of wheat, oats, barley, and peas, hundreds of acres free of weeds.  Besides grain and root-growing, cattle and sheep fattening receives much attention.’

George’s death  was reported in the  Devon Herald;  The deceased was much respected in this neighbourhood, and his loss will be greatly felt by all who knew him, for he ever proved himself to be a good neighbour, and a kind friend to any who were worse off than himself.

George Shadbolt's grave next to Sassafras church
George’s grave (front left) next to the Church he helped build

In New Zealand, the memorial poem to his cousin Ben went on to say;

All I can say is, he loved his fellows,

And gave them a helping hand,

And the man who sincerely does so

Is as good as the best in the land.

The cousins were vastly different in personality, yet  both succeeded financially after a terrible start in life.  Far more importantly, two men who once robbed a widow in the middle of the night were remembered as  good,  kindhearted  neighbours.  I like to interpret this  as a form of redemption  for old Solomon Shadbolt, who died  so far from home and who, I suspect, may never have been able to turn his life around.

 Arthur Singleton - Gallipoli Veteran
Arthur Singleton – Gallipoli Veteran

POSTSCRIPT – The first Tasmanian Shadbolt to return to  England was George’s grandson Arthur Singleton.  He enlisted the day war was declared in August 1914. His battalion (the 12th) was one of the first ashore at Anzac Cove on April 25th 1915,  and participated in the horrific Battle of Lone Pine.  Arthur later served in the trenches in France.   He spent a long period in a London hospital, where his injured shoulder was reconstructed, but probably had no idea that  his grandfather had spent time  in nearby Millbank prison. The  above photo was taken in Egypt after he returned from Gallipoli.  Not surprisingly he looks haunted, and  years older than in the photo taken just before he went.

And here is a photo of his sister, my Grandmother  Alice (daughter of George Shadbolt’s daughter Emma)  Grandma had her faults but was as tough and spirited  as all the Shadbolts.  She was more like the Red Queen than Alice!  What a character.

Alice, grand-daughter of George Shadbolt.
George’s granddaughter, taken in the late 1950’s

It’s always lovely to receive your comments – see below. 

  1. As my husband is also one of Ben’s – Linden’s great grandson I am prompted to respond to the Shadbolt stories. Recently visiting Tasmania from Queensland we drove past the old blacksmith’s works at Sassafras and made the usual comments about the site of our ancestor.
    Linden’s son Alfred, my husband’s grandfather, continued the blacksmith business at Sassafras. Alfred was born while Linden and his wife Mary Rebecca were in NZ. They returned to Tasmania when Alfred was two.
    It is also the continuance of an entrepreneurial talent that Benjamin brought with him as we see it. Scoundrel or rogue, saint or sinner, however Ben was seen, these were strange times that required strong responses and Ben was up for the job.
    Alfred took his blacksmithing business to Burnie and prospered, investing in real estate and more. His grandson spent many hours driving Alfred around in his car at the ripe old age of 12 years, and recalls a man who was always looking for a main chance but whose passion for his family was his driving force in his strong work ethic.
    A recent visit to the tramyards and blacksmith shop in Launceston brought a strong response about Alfred Shadbolt’s life. It was also the influence that led my husband into the modern version of blacksmithing – that of engineering.
    Books collected from Alfred’s estate are in our family and they are the early versions on the motivational literature now commonly used by those who want to make their mark.
    Mention the name Shadbolt anywhere in Tasmania and to NZers and you will get the same response – an interesting family full of characters and standout achievers.

    • Pauline

      What a wonderful further chapter in our Shadbolt saga Ange Du Nord, thanks so much for sharing this. Did your husband ever hear stories of what transpired when his parents were in New Zealand, and did they remain in touch with Ben’s family’?

      • Sadly no. Their life in NZ was not spoken about after the return that the family is aware of. Historical discussion has mentioned that Benjamin went to NZ because there were no convicts there, a source of a new untainted start perhaps?
        Perhaps practical matters like Linden taking over the position of blacksmith ruled. As is noted in ‘Sassafras: A History of its Settlement and People” compiled by Miles Ford in 1988. Linden and Mary moved to North Motton and Alfred took over as blacksmith and Thomas as wheelwright, younger brother Leonard was painter. I note from the book at this time Ethel Shadbolt, Alf’s wife took over as postmistress from Mary Rebecca, her mother in law, who had served as postmistress for 22 years.
        So it seems that the NZ connection was broken when Linden and Mary returned to Tasmania.
        It has been my experience that many Tasmanians still do not wish to talk about their convict ancestry. Another of Ben’s refuses to entertain such an idea ! Perhaps this is why the past is little considered. I suspect Linden left Benjamin in history and followed George whose religious conversion and Protestant work ethic redeemed his past sins.

        • Pauline

          It’s a bit hard to deny documented history, but I think you are right Ange, nothing would have convinced my grandmother (George’s granddaughter) that she came from convict stock. She was so proud and snobbish that I have to admire herself despite myself.

          I love the fact that Tim Shadbolt is such a larrikin (like Ben) but has such a strong moral conscience.

          • We often hear about Tim as a high profile Shadbolt family member. However, little is know of him on this side of the family. He is, I believe, a descendant of our Ben, so it would be good to hear more about his life.

  2. Pauline

    Actually Tim has told his own story in a couple of autobiographies; Bullshit and Jelly Beans and Mayor of Two Cities.
    In a way he brings the Shadbolt story full circle as, like his ancestors, he was arrested (multiple times ) in his youth. However, in his case it was for standing up for what he believed in; anti- apartheid, nuclear issues and Maori land rights etc.
    He is funny and fearless and I am proud to be his distant cousin. Of course my Grandma would have thought he was the devil incarnate.

    • Hi I’m Frank Shadbolt I’m 51 live in Danville IN USA

      • Pauline

        Hi Frank. I’m glad you are enjoying the Shadbolt family history. 😃

  3. Wow!

    I wish my family had as much interesting history 🙂


    • Pauline

      They may well do if you delve around enough Vikki! But yes, the Shadbolts’ were a colourful bunch alright.

  4. Very interesting, as ever, Pauline. I know very little about Australian and NZ history and it’s fascinating.

    • Thanks Diane

      My interest in Australian history and my own family is relatively recent.

      I was brought up learning about the Battle of Hastings and King Alfred. Not that I mind, as it led to a fascination with English history…and hence to the writing of my books.

      But now I am turning more to my own backyard. It started a few years ago when Rob and I went on a tour down to the Murray River during the big drought, and then to Canberra where I sat in at the supreme court and visited the National Library etc. A few switches turned on in my brain and soul!

  5. I would encourage anyone to follow through on their family history for it forms and informs who we are as individuals.
    While researching my husband’s Walsh side of the family we discovered pictures of gravestones in Ayreshire where there had been a series of marine engineers of his family buried, all generations from the same family.
    It was particularly interesting as my husband is a marine engineer ! We like to think that his driving desire to take on this occupation was already in his DNA !

    • Pauline

      I agree with your sentiments entirely Ange. Can’t imagine not wanting to know about my ancestors.

      How strange about the marine engineers continuing across the world. Perhaps such things really are in our DNA, although I’m a little worried about mine one way and another!

  6. Very interesting read, Pauline! I have been fascinated by my Shadbolt distant cousins in Australia and New Zealand since I first discovered the connection on Maria’s site (I am a Datchworth/Tewin descendant also) So nice to hear more of the story from the other side.
    It’s wonderful that they were able to overcome the harsh conditions they were sent to, and prosper.
    In the comments below re Tim Shadbolt, it reminds me of a trip I took by coach last year where there were several New Zealanders on board. When I mentioned Tim, they were quite impressed – their comment being “he’s quite a character, and a hell of good mayor, he won’t turn anyone away from his office, all are welcome to come and say their piece!” – Made me also proud of my distant cousin Tim Shadbolt.

    • Well, how lovely to hear from you Marion! I see from the big Shadbolt site that you are from Canada. There must be members of our clan all over the world .
      I will be very interested to hear what your connection to Solomon & co. is.. Was so thrilled to see the photo of George’s sister Jemina. I will be in the UK for a few months soon and will have a drink in her pub on behalf of her father and brother. I hope I have inherited some of Jemina’s genes; 98 and still baking bread is not bad! Tim’s books are well worth reading. Made me both laugh and cry, and most writers would be happy with with that…I certainly would.

  7. Fascinating family, Pauline – and wonderful detail. Those early settlers sure had it tough – I guess that’s what contributed to the legendary Aussie character! Like the photo, too. Interesting point about your man and how he looks after Gallipoli. My man’s diary entries for early 1916 in Egypt are pretty awful in their brevity. I must transcribe some of them and put them in a blog – think you’ll find it interesting.

    • Hello Ann

      Yes, the Shadbolts were an entertaining bunch alright. My farmer father certainly inherited George Shadbolt’s work ethic.

      Was your Gallipoli great-uncle serving with the Australians? Please do put those 1916 diary entries in a blog. Arthur Singleton was in Egypt at that time too, before moving on to fight in France.

  8. Hi Pauline, well I scrolled back into the Big Shadbolt tree, and it appears my ggg grandfather William was brother to Solomon, so maybe that makes him my ggg gt uncle! – we would both be descended from Joseph Shadbolt and Martha Stewart. Regardless, their story is fascinating and I admire and am proud of their resilience.
    Though I live near Vancouver, BC, I am in fact a transplanted Londoner, born in Herts (quite by accident-bombs were falling on London) – Nearby in Burnaby, BC there is a “Shadbolt Centre for the Arts” named for a well-known Canadian artist Jack Shadbolt, who was born in Essex, but Maria feels they came from Hertfordshire. – What a wonderful talented bunch of writers and painters our ancestors produced.

    • How interesting cousin Marian! Now I presume your William managed to stay out of trouble…do you know much about him?

      Aren’t we lucky that Maria started the big Shadbolt site, it has become an extraordinary archive. It is also fortunate that so many family members are willing to share their stories and photographs.

      Do you visit England on a regular basis?

      • Hi Pauline, I don’t have a lot of info on William, but am in the process of trying to find out more. Maria has been an absolute god-send. Between her and Alan in Perth, they were able to fit me into the Datchworth tree after I got bogged down. My grandfather wasn’t very forthcoming with info, we only knew he had spent a lot of time in Tewin with cousins. – My dad Ernest Shadbolt passed away in 1970 and would be fascinated by all the info we have found (even some french huguenots on his mother’s side! He would turn in his grave if he knew we had discovered relatives in Napoleons’s Imperial guard – he was so English – Nelson, Trafalgar and Waterloo and all that) Mum is 96, but sadly has dementia. I do get to London about every 2 years and enjoy my stay ! Do you get to visit often?

        • Pauline

          I have always been a bit of an Anglophile Marion. We had a holiday house at Marlow for many years, hence my forthcoming book on the Thames. Rob and I generally spend a few months in the UK each year and will be making two trips next year for book launches, the first from February to May and the second in August/September.

          Good luck with your research re William. Pity we can’t all meet at Jemina’s pub! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  9. Pauline, you have such a colourful ancestory to reflect on. I am sure it was not easy to live through the 1800’s, we will never really know what conditions some were born into. It seems your ancestors had to do what ever was necessary to survive. You are lucky to be able to get information that goes back that far, no matter what the lifestyle. I think people did what they had to do at times out of desperation. It’s not how you start out in life that counts, but how you finish it. To be able to pave a new and better path for future generation to follow is in the end an admirable trait. With you documenting their trials, tribulations and hardships they were forced to endure and finally they get to step into the sunshine and feel the warmth and beauty of their acomplishments.
    You are a wonderful author. Your stories are interesting and I always look forward to reading them. Kudos to you.

    • Thank you for such warm and generous comments Patricia, I appreciate them on my own behalf but more especially on behalf of my ancestors. I love your imagine of them stepping into the sunshine, because they endured so many dark days with such unquenchable spirit.

  10. Hi honey

    I’ve nominated you for The Liebster award!

    Please don’t feel obligated to accept, but if you’d like to take part all the info is here.


  11. Hi Pauline
    My husband Rodney and Tim are brothers. Rodney viewed your facebook page and he said that you are definitely a Shadbolt. Their father is Ernest Shadbolt. That was nice writing to exonerate your GGG grandfather Solomon. It’s a pity that Maurice didn’t double check his facts. I will pass this on to Tim as this will mean a lot to him. You should travel over to Invercargill and meet him. Tim is lovely and will welcome you with open arms. If you do happen to be visiting Auckland at any stage, please call on us. Message me.

    • How lovely to hear of one of Linden George Shadbolt’s brothers’ family. A bit of a gap between Linden being born 1852 and Ernest 1873 and of course they would never have known each other given Linden returning to Tasmania when young into the care of his cousin George of Pauline’s line.

      My husband as noted above is descendant of Linden – his daughter Gwen (d 2009) was my MIL. That makes Tim, Rodney and Gwen first cousins.

      Visiting our other branch in NZ is on our bucket list, so any son of Benjamin we will happily embrace across the ditch !

      • Oops, a tad overexcited there ! Must be the end of troppo here in Queensland ! Talking family always gets me going !
        It should be Linden as Gwen’s GRAND father Rona – My apologies. Gwen’s father was Alfred Shadbolt, son of Linden born in NZ but returned to Tasmania with his parents Linden and Mary Shadbolt.

        It always makes us chuckle that Pauline has Shadbolt connections to my husband’s side, and the Larcombes bring in my Morey side of the family. Well, you know what they say about Tasmanians.

        • Hi Ange,

          I agree, it’s wonderful to make contact with some more of our Kiwi cousins. Think I might have to venture over there. And Rona has given me a clue as to how Ben became so prosperous. Another fascinating story.

          Oh dear, you are right about we Tasmanians. One big happy family you might say!

    • Welcome Rona and Rodney.How exciting to hear from you.
      Have contacted you on FB. I lived in NZ for some time (in Wellington and Nelson) but have never been to Auckland.

      • Hi again Pauline, I spoke yesterday to a Tasmanian family member who asked of the connection to the Ewington name. I believe it was via George Shadbolt (his mother) but the person concerned wasn’t too sure how George and our Benjamin of NZ connections were actually related.

        Not being great at explaining these connections, can you make that a bit clearer for me in your historical learnings. I see that Solomon was the person in common but from there on it becomes a bit foggy.

        I feel it is important to pass this on succinctly to the Tasmanians who are still a bit timid about convict ancestry and who should be well proud of their clan.

        • Pauline

          Hi Ange
          Well, the brief answer is that Ben and my George Shadbolt were first cousins. Old Solomon (We call Solomon old but of course he wasn’t really) and Ben’s father were brothers. Ben’s father (I can’t recall his name right now) died shortly before the infamous robbery!

          • Yes, you are right. They were first cousins. I applied myself to sorting out all the Benjamins on the line in my lists, and I found that Solomon b 1798 was the brother of Benjamin b 1781. Solomon’s son was George b 1820 and Benjamin’s son was the Duchauvelle character Benjamin b 1825.

            Linden married Mary Rebecca King was the postmistress at Sassafras for many years as you wrote. Their son Alfred Shadbolt (my husband’s grandfather) married Ethel Walsh who is descended from Cumming family members of Ayreshire. She she took over the postmistress duties when Mary retired.

            As to the obfuscation around Linden trying to obliterate his convict heritage I tend towards believing this. As mentioned above, there is a huge ambivalence today about that ancestry. And it was always said that Benjamin absconded to NZ so that he could not be tainted as a convict.

            Mary has certain meditteranean characteristics to her visage and one day I shall try to find out why. Olive skin and almost black eyes continue to run down through generations of the family. Was she an Irish/Spanish girl from the Armada diaspora ? Who knows ? With a name like Mary Rebecca King there is some sort of Anglicism going on there.

            On present day visage inheritances (which fascinate me!) I see that my husband and one son have the nose of Mary Rebecca Shadbolt (nee King). And my youngest grand daughter has the nose of Ethel Shadbolt (nee Walsh), also a nose owned by her grandmother Gwen Shadbolt.

            Talk about “nose-talgia”.

  12. I too am a direct descendent of Solomon Shadbolt. Solomon’s youngest son William later emigrated to Australia and made a good name for himself as a stonemason and a publican in Dubbo NSW. His second eldest daughter Emma was my grandmother. Emma married Oliver Williams, also a bricklayer/stonemason, and they had a number of children all except one girl were bricklayers/builders. One of the youngest, Robert, was my father. I am the youngest of 10 children and the direct descendants of my father and mother number, at last count, around 98! Of all of those children, grandchildren etc all are hard working, good honest people. My son and several nephews are 5th generation builders. I have been to Cascades, the probationary station in Tasmania, where Solomon died. It now has tourist accommodation in the refurbished officers quarters etc. very interesting. The solitary confinement cell is still standing but the prisoners quarters are long gone. I love reading about poor old Solomon, I often wonder what he would think about these descendants as they would number in the hundreds from his granddaughter Emma alone!

    • Pauline

      Hi Bronwyn, it’s always lovely to hear from another Shadbolt relation. Poor William, must have been dreadful for the family when Solomon and the others were transported. I looked up the hotel William owned and read his obituary.

  13. Hello, Pauline, finally writing on your blog. Very nice! I just wanted to say that it is heart warming to know so many can understand and appreciate our family’s story. Solomon is my ancestor through his son Edmund. George of Sassafras was Edmund’ s brother. Benjamin and Jonathan his 1st cousins. Jemina who owned the Railway Pub was his sister. William of Dubbo his brother too. Siblings Solomon Jr. and sister Harriet or Emma immigrated around Sydney.
    When my son was born in 1978. At that time there was no research online and much of my communication with other researchers was with letters and research in libraries and archives in person. I dug into the Shadbolt tree and of all the family names I was researching I had more enquiries on Shadbolt than any other. I started a website for research into all Shadbolts and researchers shared their hard toiled work. It became sort of a one name study. The day I discovered the fact of the transportation of our Shadbolts I was shocked not by the fact that I had a criminal ancestor but the immense and horrific fact that one family suffered the lost of their husbands and Fathers being torn from them all in one go. As far the participants of this tragedy were concerned it was as if they were dead. The wives would never see their husbands again and the children their Fathers. Can you imagine that last goodbye? I made one of my main efforts in my research to find out what happened to the women and children left behind in England. I believe to a man they discussed what should be done and there must have been some agreement between the wives and husbands that they would not wait for the men to return. There was no divorce at that time in England but a marriage was considered null and void, abandoned, after seven years if neither party had seen the other. The wives remarried after seven years and inevitably had more children. They moved away from Penge , south of London.
    As the years past in my research I met more and more Shadbolt researchers some related to the ones from Datchwrth and Tewin some not. I invited all to the Shadbolt website. Eventually we had on the website a large group of Shadbolt descendants from ND,Australia, England, Canada, US and we all shared the same history, the same story. We were all related and it was as
    if the once divided family was now united again. A romantic notion perhaps
    but a true observation I think.
    One more point, after I found out about the transportation, a few years later a person not Shadbolt related told me about this book, One of Ben’s. Said the story was very similar. I was amazed to read my basic research in the first four chapters. I wrote to Maurice, hoping to trade info at the very least or perhaps start a dialog on the Shadbolt clan, or a glean information from his research notes. I did get a reply from his son and told sadly told his Father was ill.He joined us on the website later.
    What I hope to gain by sharing this was that I think what happens in the past resonates forward into the future and this circumstance that occurred to this Shadbolt Family certainly did and in a positive way!
    I also wanted to say, if Pauline doesn’t mind, that if you want to see the Shadbolt website you can find it on or by contacting me.

    • Pauline

      Thanks so much Maria. I will add the details to the body of the story.
      Your website is amazing. I seem to have lost my password again, so will have to get it sorted out.

    • Hi, How do you see the Shadbolt tree on Spokt? I just joined up, but do I need you to invite me? Cheers, Terry Love, Wellington, New Zealand.

    • Hi Maria,
      Thank you Maria for the Spokt link. I have joined Spokt and would like to join the Shadbolt tree. I have sent out a message to reach out to other Shadbolt descendants. Is that correct? Would appreciate any help as Spokt is new to me.
      Solomon Shadbolt was my 4 x GG. I descend from his daughter Harriet & son Henry. Harriet’s son Alfred Walter Overall married his first cousin, Mary Jane Shadbolt , who was Henry’s daughter. Their daughter Rose Ellen Overall was my great grandmother.
      My mother grew up in Welwyn where the Shadbolt’s lived; my mother, now in her late 70’s, lives not too far away at present.

  14. Hi Pauline, Thanks so much for publishing all this fantastic information. And Hello to all Shadbolt relatives out there! After a while in Akaroa, Ben Shadbolt wrote back home to his brother Peter (born 10 Dec 1826) talking about his success, and how he should also come out. Peter did – on the ship British Empire in 1864. At the time of her arrival in Lyttleton, British Empire was the largest ship to enter the port. On board she had 33 cabin passengers and 366 immigrants. She was a vessel dogged by bad luck… but that is another story! Peter Shadbolt was my 3rd Great Grandfather. If it hadn’t been for Ben, and perhaps Solomon, I wouldn’t be here in New Zealand! Cheers, Terry Love, Wellington, New Zealand

    • Pauline

      Hello Terry, thanks so much for your message. Yes, I read that Peter made his way to New Zealand. The Shadbolts did pretty well for themselves in Australia and New Zealand.

  15. George Married Jane Whitton , their daughter Elizabeth married Joseph Ewington , son of convict John Ewington…John and George were also cousins

  16. Hi Pauline. I have read your blog before and also the book One of Ben’s. Recently Terry Love has sent me the link too so I have refreshed my memory. Benjamin and his wife Elizabeth Perham were my great aunt and uncle. My interest comes from DNA research untaken over the last 3 years and the many links I have found to the Shadbolt and Perham families. My current research focuses on a Bertina Shadbolt who was born (possibly 8th October) 1920 in Hamilton NZ and adopted at birth as Bertina Kirk. She appears to have married and American serviceman in 1942 and had a son Frederick Clarence and moved to the USA in 1944. Have you or anybody else reading this have any knowledge of this Bertina. I have no idea which Shadbolt line she belonged to but have found several real strong links to me in the USA. The person thinks they are related to Shadbolt. Hoping to hear.

    • Pauline

      Wow, this is so intriguing, Charles. I have never heard anything of it before. Why was Bertina adopted, do we know? I presume she was illegitimate. Thanks for making contact…I will do some checking.

  17. I suspect that Bertina is the illegitimate daughter of Bert Shadbolt. The more likely birth is Bertina Shadbolt in Dunedin. This is being discussed on a NZ genealogy site currently. The newspaper articles in the truth and otago press would make Dunedin likely. This would make the most likely Bert Ben’s grandson Albert Edward (junior) who divorces in 1923…

  18. Hi
    I am fascinated with Benjamin’ life, he was my ex husband’s great great great grandfather. A lady called Snow Swale and also Yvonne Bayliss and Jeanne Porteeus came to visit Datchworth some years ago.

    • Pauline

      Thanks so much for your message, Pam. Yes, Snow Swale provided me with some photographs of Benjamin. Sadly, she died a few years ago. I loved my own visit to Datchworth. Do you still live there?

  19. Ahh that would make sense as Snow used to email me and wondered why she had stopped, she was a lovely lady.

    Alas since my divorce I do not live in the villages anymore, I live in Stevenage, not far from Datchworth. I did have a photo somewhere of Benjamin outside the hotel with a horse and carriage outside.

    I have a daughter who is 23 and explained that is her ancestor and was interested in knowing more. Have you written a book on him? (would make a great film!)

    • Pauline

      I am an author, Pam, but haven’t written a book on Benjamin. There is only the one by Maurice Shadbolt, called One Of Ben’s.

  20. Hi Pauline,
    Thank you so much for this blog, sharing such interesting facts about Solomon and the other descendants.
    I’m delighted it has finally worked and I can send a message on here to you, after reading all this lovely information on the Shadbolt’s.

    I am a direct descendant of Solomon; he was my 4 x GG. His daughter Harriet and son Henry ,were both, my 3 x GG. Harriets’s son Alfred Walter Overal(l) married his first cousin Mary Jane Shadbolt, Henry’s daughter. They had Rose Ellen Overal(l) who was my great grandmother.
    There was so much moving around back then: although Harriet was born in Herts , she ended up having Alfred in London, which was also where his daughter Rose was born. However the family ended up back in the same area of Herts again where Alfred ended up dying. My great grandmother moved back to London, where my grand mother was born, but then my grandmother ended up living back in the Welwyn area, where my mother was born & grew up. My mother, now in her late 70’s, still lives not far from there.

    If there are any other family living local to this area, we would love to connect; I have already found my mum, a new first cousin.
    I would also like to connect with new descendants, from ‘ across the pond’ too. I have joined Spokt but can’t seem to search anyone to do with the Shadbolt tree. I have sent out a message…. Is it a matter of awaiting an invite to join the group?
    Any help , would be greatly appreciated
    Kind regards,

    • Pauline

      Hi Maria, I enjoyed reading about your family line. It’s a shame I can’t travel to the UK these days due to the wretched Covid.
      Now I’m afraid Maria Hessman closed down the vast Shadbolt site as it just became too much for her to manage. She is a FB friend of mine, so I will ask if there is any way you can still access it.

  21. As I can well imagine Pauline…… I can’t believe the varsity of my tree alone….especially when they were all having very large families.
    I know Solomon had 9 children before he was transported , I think I even counted as many as 14 children from Daniel Shadbolt & Alice.
    The mind boggles with how many possible descendants there could be, around the world today!

    Would love to connect with more decsendents, should anyone want to do the same? .

    Kind regards

  22. Pauline

    Apologies Maria, I was supposed to send you Maria Hessman’s email address as she had problems leaving a message here. It’s [email protected] Maria will give you the link to access the Shadbolt site.

    • Hi Pauline,
      I read your Shadbolt stories some time ago, and really enjoyed them. I am related to Mary Rebecca nee King through her brother John Thomas King, my great great grandfather. It was wonderful to see a photograph of Mary Rebecca, who looks so like the photographs I have of her brother.
      I have been researching the origins of their parents Robert and Sarah King(nee Strickland), who emigrated from Lincolnshire on the Northumberland in 1853. I am a bit stuck on Robert King’s origins, and wonder if you or anyone else has any information.
      Many thanks,

      • Pauline

        Sorry Gwen, but I don’t really know anything about the King family. Have you tried on any of the Tasmanian Genealogy Facebook Groups?

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