Captain Henry Cowell Hawson and Frances Maria Brodribb

Captain Henry Cowell Hawson and Frances Maria Brodribb

Captain Henry Cowell Hawson was born on 26 October 1814, Mrs Whiting's house, Dartmouth, the eldest of eleven children born to Henry Hawson and Elizabeth Emlyn Cowell. He lived in Dartmouth, Devon until he was three and a half, and then his family moved to St John's, Newfoundland, where they lived until early in 1834, when the whole family of two adults and twelve children departed on their brigantine, the Abeona to sail to Brazil, South Africa and Australia, where after trying several places, eventually settled in Port Lincoln. At age 19 Henry had become the Master of the Abeona in Brazil & continued to Captain her in trading ventures to Timor and Australian ports. Henry also Captained other ships, such as the Lord Hobart to Sydney and Timor, the Lively and the Billow. The Abeona was sold on the 18th August 1840.
In 1839 Henry Cowell Hawson led several expeditions to explore the region around Port Lincoln, accompanied by his brothers Edward and Thomas and other local men.  A range of Hills were for a time called Hawson Ranges after him, but later renamed Marble Ranges.
On the 5th September 1840 at St David's Cathedral, Hobart Town he married Frances Maria Brodribb, the daughter of William Adams Brodribb and Prudence Jane Keene. Her father was a Solicitor and  had been transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1817 after being found guilty of administering an unlawful oath to a group of men, who while poaching, killed a man. Luckily for William he was freed on the voyage over so he could replace a sick clerk & by the time he arrived at Hobart Town was announced in the paper as part of Governor Sorrell's party. His wife and four children joined him and five more children were born to the family, including Frances Maria on the 10th March 1822 at Green Ponds.
Henry's parents came across from Port Lincoln to Hobart Town for the wedding and it was while they were away that the tragic death of 12 year old Francis Tapley Hawson occurred after he was speared by aboriginals. The family had otherwise been luckier than most; of their thirteen children none had died in infancy & only Frank didn't live till adulthood.

Captain Henry Cowell Hawson taken by               Frances Maria Brodribb, sketched by Wainwright. The original
Townsend Duryea in 1865. Photo belongs to             is in the South Australia Art Gallery.
Jenny Stiles                                                         

Henry Cowell Hawson's house at Port Lincoln. Unfortunately, this house has been demolished a number of years ago.

Henry Cowell Hawson [26 October 1814 at Dartmouth, Devon-20 December 1882 Payenham Rd, Norwood, South Australia] and Frances Maria Brodribb [ 10 March 1822 Green Ponds, Tasmania-14 October, Bel Yet, Burnside, South Australia] lived at Port Lincoln & Streaky Bay South Australia, and the Deniliquin region of NSW and then Adelaide and had eleven children together.

1. Henry Francis Hawson
b. 22 July 1842 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 20 October 1910 Encounter Bay, South Australia. Henry & Annie are buried at North Road Cemetery.
Married 14th February 1884 at St Johns, Adelaide to Annie Hillier Downey [nee White. Annie was born in about 1850, the daughter of James White. She was previously married to John Downey at Menindie, NSW in 1870. John Downey died in Menindie in 1882. Annie died 18 December 1932.] They had 4 children; Muriel Frances, Edith Annie, Ruth and Arthur Francis.
2. Frederick George Hawson
b. 23 June 1843 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 3 August 1913 at Port Lincoln, South Australia of a burst blood vessel and buried at Port Lincoln.
I have two marriages for Frederick; to May Liscombe in 1879 at Menindie, NSW and to Alice Tatum in 1910 at Broken Hill, NSW.
3. Frances Marian Hawson
b. 18 June 1845 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 20 August 1928 at Perth, Western Australia & buried at Karrakatta, Perth, WA
She married in South Australia on the 12th January 1870 to Charles Stephens. They had 5 children.
4. Albert Eugene Hawson
b. 27 June 1847 Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 30 December 1905 at Bransby Station, Queensland
5. Kenric Arthur Hawson
b. 13 July 1849 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 11 September 1849 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
6. Elizabeth Jane "Bessie" Hawson
b. 20 August 1850 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 22 November 1911 at Eurnella, Oakey, Queensland.
Bessie married at just 16 1/2 on the 14th February 1867 at Point Brown Station to Henry John Wooldridge.
Elizabeth Jane "Bessie" [Hawson] Wooldridge,        Eizabeth Jane "Bessie" Hawson
taken in March 1869                                                    unknown date, from "The Abeona" by
                                                                                       Mary Carrick.
7. Kenric Edward Hawson
b. 4th June 1852 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. ? Believed to have died in infancy
8. Charles Driver Hawson
b. 30 March 1854 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 6th June 1928  at Adelaide, South Australia, Late of Greystone, Plympton and Bransby Stations, QLD.
9. Florence Emilia Hawson
b. 27th November 1855 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 14th October 1953 at Carlos Rd, Artarmon, Sydney, NSW, Australia, aged 97!
10. Edith Hawson
b. 31 May 1858 at Port Lincoln, South Australia
d. 16 August 1930 at 37 Sutherland St, Lane Cove, Sydney, NSW.
Married in 1885 to Walter Henry Lee. They had no children, but adopted a little girl, Elsie Hamyn [Harris]. She was born in 1904.
11. Arthur Edwin Hawson
b. 29 August 1861 Streaky Bay, South Australia
d. 20 October 1930, Willits rd, East of Noyo, Mendocino, California, USA & buried 23 October 1930 at Rose Memorial Park, Fort Bragg.
Arthur is listed as a subscriber to the South Australian Institute in 1881. Married 14th December 1888 at the Registry Office, Adelaide, South Australia to Jane Constance Chalmes Douglas. Jane was born on the 25th July 1856 in Adelaide to Robert Douglas and Elizabeth Robertson.
Family story has it that Arthur somehow was "disgraced" and "sent" overseas in the company of his sister Florence Emilia. The NSW Police Gazette of 1890 provides a clue. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Arthur Edwin Hawson for the desertion of his wife Jane Constance C Hawson of Woollahra. The description of Arthur mentions that he was clean shaven except for a small moustache 12 months ago, implying that it had been that long since his wife had seen him.  From the census images I can find, it seems that Arthur and Florence both lived in California & Arthur apparently never returned, although Florence did sometime between 1946 [recalled by Harry Wooldridge as an article in the SMH about the oldest passenger to fly across the Pacific. Harry was told by his father Francis Wooldridge that the passenger was his Aunt Florence Hawson. Unfortunately, despite the digitisation of the SMH I cannot find the article.] and 1953.  Florence died in Chatswood, NSW in 1953, Arthur dying in 1930 at Mendocino. I have located both Arthur & Florence in the USA census and unexpectedly in the Welsh Census! In 1891, Arthur E Hawson and Florence E Hawson, both born in South Australia are lodgers in the house of John Lloyd at Gwynfoyn, Llanbedr, Wales. I have no idea how long they stayed in Wales or why they soon emigrated to the USA.
In the 1900 Census, Arthur E Hawson is in Harrison, Gulch Township, Shasta County, California, born Aug 1861 Australia. He states that he is married [14 years duration] & immigrated in 1891. His position in the household is a servant & his profession is that of a miner. There is no sign of his wife Jane . The only Florence I can find is said to have been born in 1870, Australia & is in San Francisco, California as a lodger. Her profession is given as a compositor & she is said to have been in the USA since 1890. It seems likely that the head of the household John Caveney  just didn't bother to get her correct age, or that she was pretending to be younger than she was.
I can only see Florence in the 1910 Census and she is at Monterey, California, aged 50 and employed as a magazine writer. In the 1930 Census Arthur & Florence Hawson are together at Mendocino, California, living on a farm & own their own home. Arthur is 68, single, born in Australia, immigrated in 1891 and is a farmer. Florence is 67, born in Australia, single, immigrated in 1896 and is a writer for a magazine.
In 1898 at Fremantle, Western Australia Jane Chalmes Hawson married Paul Conrad. It may be that she was able to get a divorce on the grounds of desertion. Confusingly though, in 1914 at East Coolgardie, a Jane C Hawson married Thomas Carroll. Presumably, Jane divorced Paul Conrad & reverted to her previous married name. Jane died on the 8th April 1921 in Adelaide, South Australia & Thomas Carroll died 17th August 1938 at North Adelaide, South Australia. Surprisingly, in the Kalgoorlie Western Argus Tuesday 8th May 1906 is a death notice for Albert Eugene Hawson [who died 30 December 1905 in Queensland], describing him as the "beloved brother" of Mrs. Arthur Edwin Hawson. Apparently, Constance still had some connection & fondness for some members of the Hawson Family!

Henry & Frances spent most of their married life South Australia, mostly in the area of the Eyre Peninsula. A number of public positions were filled by Henry; he was various described as JP, Commissioner for Peace, Stock Superintendant, Post Master at Port Lincoln [until 1857], harbour master and sub-collector of customs at Port Lincoln, as well as Deputy Registrar!

The South Australian Advertiser  20 Dec 1858 mentions Mr. Hawson [Superintendant of Stock]  lending his boat to a visitor to Poonindie and taking him out to the snapper ground of Tumby Island. In quarter of an hour they caught 3 dozen large snapper. These were baked whole and were apparently delicious. Henry Cowell Hawson moved from Port Lincoln to his pastoral leases in about 1859, with their last born child born at Streaky Bay in 1861. A short article in the South Australian of 27th September 1860 mentions that [at Streaky Bay] the store of  our respected J.P. Captain Hawson was robbed. The Point Brown Peninsula [37 square miles] was leased in 1861-2 by Henry & a homestead built there. Apparently a series of droughts led to him and others to sell their leases to Smith & Swan.

I lost track of the Hawson's after they sold their pastoral leases in South Australia & decided to follow up Mary Carrick's idea [in "Abeona and the Hawson Family"]  that the family went to Victoria. Searching the Victorian papers for Hawson "hits" I was pleased to find a letter from Henry in the Argus, especially so when it provided his address; not in Victoria but NSW. On the 2nd February 1877 H. C. Hawson gives his address as "Burta, Darling District, & Deniliquin, NSW". The letter is on the subject of smallpox outbreaks in the Aboriginal people & he details a case of an 18 year old aboriginal who was successfully nursed through small pox by Hawson's second eldest son in about 1865 at Streaky Bay. A further letter was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 9th May 1879 in which Henry C. Hawson [writing from Adelaide] was protesting a bill that proposed raising the minimum rent on blocks of land. He was proposing that it would be fairer to base the rate on the head of stock able to be run on the property, rather than the size. He pointed out that he had spent 8,000 trying to secure permanent water without success & that it would be better to allow him to keep his capital to improve the land first & then pay his dues after the land had been improved & was returning a profit. Luckily, he states that he and his sons took up four blocks 95 miles west of Menindee, on the River Darling, [300 square miles in total] adding that their blocks are on the South Australian boundary line & that similar land in SA has a much lower rent. From stock reports in the Maitland Mercury it can be seen that the Hawson brothers were also stock agents in the area [along with their brother -in-law Henry John Wooldridge, Bessie Hawson's husband]. From these reports, the Hawson sons in the Darling District can be identified as Henry Francis Hawson, Charles Driver Hawson, Albert Hawson & Frederick George Hawson. in 1872 they are listed as shifting "Brodribb's sheep", presumably belonging to one of Frances's siblings. Frederick Hawson seems to have had several near escapes; the Maitland Mercury of 29 Nov 1879 describes a near drowning of him in the Tallawalk River, saved only by his companion John Burgess's quick thinking & bravery. A news item in the Maitland Mercury of 11 Jan 1881 [and also the SMH 17 Jan] describes how Frederick Hawson nearly perished in searing heat of 115F while travelling from Wilcannia to Coulks after his horse died. He survived after digging a hole in the sand and scrub to shelter from the heat. Another man survived the same conditions by drinking blood from an emu brought down by his dogs! Frederick was described as a well known Wilcannia resident.

Charles Driver Hawson is recorded as having a Homestead Lease in Wilcannia from 1886-1892.  In 1893 Henry Francis Hawson had one of 10,237 acres at Willyama-Yancowinna, NSW & more surprisingly, Emilia Figurado Hawson was granted a lease of similar size in the same area. Frederick Charles Hawson had a leasehold in 1887 at Nickeville, Purnammota, also in the Broken Hill region.

A list of subscribers to the South Australian Institute for 1880 lists Henry Cowell Hawson, Ward St, North Adelaide & he died at his residence "Magill", Payenham Rd, Norwood, South Australia. His widow Frances lived until the 14th October 1911 and then she died at Bel Yet, Burnside, South Australia. I don't know if Frances lived on her own or with one of her many children.

Frances Maria [Brodribb] Hawson                               The Abeona
I would love to find a better copy of this picture.


Sources: "Abeona and the Hawson Family" by Mary D Carrick, personal correspondence with Harry Wooldridge, Parish Records, various newspapers accounts, Land Grant Records, Census records etc. Thanks to Phil Carnahan for finding Arthur Hawson's death. Many thanks to Marie Palmer for all her help with the Hawsons.

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