THE TWO WIVES OF HECTOR MACQUARIE…..PART TWO

MARGARET MACQUARIE  (NEE GOODWIN)

Recently I posted the story of  Hector Macquarie, and his marriage to the unfortunate Margaret Simson. Hector was the  dissolute nephew of  Governor Lachlan Macquarie.   You can read the first part HERE.   And now the story continues……

It had always been assumed that Hector  died  a widower, but my research revealed that he remarried.  His second wife  was also called Margaret, and she was a relative by marriage. The story has its beginnings in New South Wales.

THE EMIGRANTS

On December 31 1838,  the barque Sovereign arrived in Sydney from the Scottish port of Greenock.

The Sovereign in full sail.

The Sovereign in full sail.

She was carrying general merchandise  and a small number of paying passengers.  Among those on board were Hector’s half brother Charles Macquarie Jnr.,  Charles’ new bride Margaret, and his sister Marianne.  Following the death of his father, who died leaving debt burdened Scottish estates, Charles was hoping to carve out a new life in New South Wales.

Nineteen year old Marianne had decided to throw in her lot with her brother. A yearning for love and security may explain why, just one month after arriving in Sydney, she wed John Goodwin, a twenty year old wine merchant from  Ashbourne (Derbyshire). Goodwin was the son of a highly respected surgeon.  He  had been in the colony less than a year himself, but had already established a business in  lower George Street.

The couple were married  in Sydney’s Philip Street Church on January 31, 1839.  Charles Macquarie acted as one of the witnesses before he and his wife headed ‘up country’ to begin farming.  It was a difficult time on the land due to severe drought. Their story can be read by clicking here;  The Hungry Forties.

The Goodwins  set up home in fashionable Newtown.  By the middle of  1841, John’s wine business had failed spectacularly. The Sydney Gazette reported on  his insolvency and were scathing about the young man.  He had amassed debts of an incredible twenty  five thousand pounds, a consequence of wildly speculative deals. He was later referred to in the Gazette as ‘an upstart kite flyer’.  Goodwin displayed no remorse whatsoever. During insolvency proceedings he commented that his creditors had treated him so badly that, as the newspaper reported; ‘He cannot think of affording them any assistance or information in respect of his affairs…‘ It was feared he would abscond, and (like his brother-in- law Hector  back in England) )  he was arrested.  He and Marianne left Sydney in disgrace the following year.  They returned to John’s hometown of Ashbourne with their infant daughter.

As fate would have it, Ashbourne was conveniently close to Coventry, where the widowed Hector Macquarie (now nearly fifty) was residing.  While visiting his half-sister Marianne, the aging  roué  met and courted  Goodwin’s sister Margaret.  At thirty two, Margaret may have viewed him  as providing  a belated deliverance from spinsterhood.  One wonders how much John Goodwin had heard of Hector’s unsavoury past in Sydney?  We might remember that he had got into all sorts of trouble, including being accused of rape.  However much Goodwin knew, it is unlikely he cared. It conjures the unpleasant spectre of the  pair sharing  tales of shady dealings and debt evasion.

Hector and Margaret  were married at St Oswald’s church Ashbourne (pictured below) on March 28 1843.

St Oswald'sChurchAshbourne

Their union was childless and short-lived. Hector died in Coventry on January 8 1845 from consumption.  It appears he had separated from Margaret.   The informant was listed as Maria Milbourne, a young woman  who was present at his death and residing at the same address.  This may explain why Hector’s age was recorded as forty seven when he was actually fifty one.

AN UNPLEASANT DISCOVERY

Less than two months after her husband’s death, Margaret found a copy of her predecessor’s will among his effects. It had been written on December 30 1834, while Hector and the first Margaret were lying low at Tilbury Fort before their ship sailed to India. The will reaffirmed  the provisions Margaret Simson had made in her marriage settlement regarding any children the couple may have. As there had been no living child, Hector  Macquarie was the principal beneficiary.  He was also sole executor The will detailed small legacies to the dead woman’s relatives, including a special  sum for her sister to purchase a mourning ring. It is a measure of Hector’s  character that he  disregarded  these legacies.  As the law allowed, he simply claimed the entire  estate as Margaret’s spouse, without producing the will.

Hector’s widow made the admirable  decision to submit the first Margaret’s will for probate. Early the following year, she was given permission to administer the estate. It is doubtful whether any funds remained, but  it would  be lovely to think  she honoured  the legacies, albeit nearly ten years late.  In 1851 Margaret remarried. The groom was  Irish born solicitor Anthony Martin.  Oddly enough the Martins emigrated to Australia. No doubt Margaret had heard a lot about the country from both Hector and her brother John Goodwin.  It was a childless but happy union.  Margaret died  in the Victorian town of Chiltern in 1889.

Headston for Margaret Goodwin, who became Margaret Macquarie but died Margaret Martin.

Headstone for the woman born Margaret Goodwin. She  became the second Margaret Macquarie, but died Margaret Martin.

 

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